May 11, 2023

Observing the beauty and wonder of our region's natural world during this season of rebirth – the trees, plants, colorful flowers, our herb and vegetable gardens, the birds, bees, butterflies, squirrels, wildlife and more – not only provide us the opportunity to connect to these species that are all essential to humanity’s existence, but also the need to protect the preciousness of the environment that we depend on. Our individual and communal actions count. As we say, “Vote with your wallet, vote with your fork!” is an action we can all take that includes, and even goes beyond, our food choices. This newsletter highlights actions from the eggs and produce we purchase, to avoiding pesticide use and exposure, to exempting our homes and communities from mosquito control programs (state-conducted or HOA-hired) that use toxic pesticides – now likely to be contaminated with PFAS! And the bottom line: reducing pesticide use and exposure in our region also assists in mitigating climate change. These are choices that count!

At a time when the world can feel out of control and unsafe, taking control of how we live our lives can help us feel safer, healthier., and more connected. Our collective actions make a difference. We're grateful for all the ways you make your daily "votes" (choices) count!

Vote With Your Wallet, Vote With Your Fork!  GO Organic! How to go organic in all you do – even on a budget! Learn more
Rules for organic food labels are finally changing in a long overdue move, which will give consumers more information and allow them to avoid imposter foods trying to claim they are organic. Learn more
The Regenerative Organic Alliance and Organic Consumers Association have put out a list of 23 reasons why you should start your own organic garden in 2023: Learn more
Environmental Working Group's latest ”Dirty Dozen/Clean 15” shopping guide to avoid pesticides in produce – check it out here! Learn more
Also check out this Treehugger Op-ed discussing the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” foods and why it is so important to buy them organic!  Learn more
Cornucopia Institute publishes its updated Organic Egg Scorecard. Check out the best brands that make it to the top of the list! Learn more
  MOSQUITO CONTROL: Dangers & Safe Management  

The Md. Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) is contracted in about 2,100 communities for mosquito management. Their program relies on toxic pesticides that can exacerbate respiratory illnesses and are considered probable endocrine disruptors by the US EPA.  And, some of these products have been found to contain the “forever chemicals” PFAS.  Privately contracted vendors are also using these toxic chemicals – except those that are effectively using non-toxic, garlic-based mosquito-eliminating products such as Garlic Barrier!  

Check out our Mosquito management page for how to opt out of the state program and how to safely and effectively manage mosquitoes around your home. Download these flyers for key points and tips:

PFAS and mosquito control products

Know the health risks of mosquito control pesticides for your family

Protect outdoor areas and yourself with safe effective alternatives

Repel mosquitoes with essential oils, plants and other protections

  NEWS and VIEWS  
In a first-of-its kind study, researchers found children exposed to the pesticide glyphosate (RoundUp) more likely to develop liver disease, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Learn more
Another new study has shown that populations experiencing higher levels of pesticide exposure also experience a higher rate of irritable bowel syndrome, a disorder which affects 25 to 45 million Americans. Learn more
Use of pesticides can lead to Antimicrobial Resistance in people. At present, human infections by bacteria with anti-microbial traits cause over 700,000 deaths annually. If unchecked, by 2050, it is estimated anti-microbial infections will be responsible for 10 million deaths each year. Learn more

PFAS in Pesticides

Additional testing finds PFAS are present at potentially dangerous levels in more widely used pesticides sprayed on food crops destined for Americans’ plates. This research further underscores the need for Maryland to ban all PFAS-containing pesticides and the need to increase organic eating. Learn more
Maryland has taken a crucial step towards banning PFAS in pesticides by requiring clarification on several questions regarding how to best test pesticides for PFAS. This will help clear the way for a bill restricting PFAS in pesticides in 2024. A huge thanks goes out to the bill's sponsors, Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Shirley Hettleman! Learn more
Washington became the first state to develop a nationwide strategy to conserve bumblebees, in the wake of significant global pollinator declines. Will Maryland do the same and follow suit?  Learn more
Glyphosate (RoundUp) is not only linked to human developmental issues, IBS, and cancer diagnoses, but is also linked directly to the decline of honey producing bees. Truthdig discusses the controversial continued use of this chemical, legal and PR challenges against its restriction, and the harm it is continually doing. Learn more
  LET'S GET SERIOUS ABOUT SOIL, food security & climate change--yes, they're related!  
Environmental Health News 3-part series: Rural communities of color and farmworkers are most vulnerable to pesticide exposures. Learn more
University of Texas bioengineers have developed ‘ground-breaking’ sensors that monitor carbon by providing accurate, real-time, continuous data for improving soil health and mitigating climate change by improving soil’s ability to draw down carbon from the atmosphere. Learn more
Regenerative farming allows small growers to reap huge profits utilizing carbon capture technology and smart farming practices that drastically reduce the need for pesticide use. Learn more
As mentioned in News and Views,  Governor Wes Moore has signed into law a first step towards restricting PFAS contamination in Maryland! Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Shirley Hettleman's bill will examine issues on PFAS testing, in preparation for a 2024 Maryland bill to restrict PFAS in pesticides. Learn more

Please help support our work to protect our babies, bees, and the Bay!