July 6, 2023

Summer is upon us, and with that we are more in touch with the insect world. While we may have a repulsive primal reaction, insect species are crucial to the web of life that supports us: insects pollinate the flora around us, they feed birds, and predate on other insects to maintain a balanced ecosystem. Insecticides kill all species, beneficial insects alike. Choose more targeted strategies when you encounter imbalance in your environment: nourish your soil, companion plant to repel, spray insecticidal soaps, use mechanical methods like a fan on your porch to blow away mosquitoes. 

Conventional mosquito pesticides harm children, pollinators and beneficial insects, and poison our landscape, but recent testing has found some insecticides are even more poisonous – they are contaminated with PFAS 'forever chemicals'. Use our effective strategies to beat mosquitoes, from our infographics below and keep your fummer bite-free. And, if yours is one of the 2,100 communities in Maryland's mosquito spraying program, you can opt-out for your property and learn alternatives to manage mosquitos that are safe from pesticides.

Speaking of PFAS, there is movement in several states, including in Maryland, to address PFAS pollution, but we need to stop PFAS at its sources in manufacturing, and especially in pesticides which are applied by the tens of millions of pounds in our state, year after year. 

Among the trending news in this edition, honeybees had their second deadliest year on record in 2022. Be kind to pollinators and "Go organic!" in your yard and with your purchasing power.

We have a timely and special request. To continue to address the issue of PFAS in pesticides, we must provide more testing data to the 2023 legislated PFAS in Pesticides Study Group that was the outcome of the 2023 effort to ban PFAS in pesticides. We will use a globally renowned laboratory to test a number of pesticides used in Maryland to further identify the percent of PFAS-free vs. PFAS-containing pesticides. We honestly are not budgeted for this unexpected, yet needed effort, in preparation for promoting passage of a 2024 bill banning the sales and use of PFAS-containing pesticides. We need to raise at least $12,000 to initiate this effort and are requesting your assistance. Please consider making a donation this month, so we can launch this effort.

Vote With Your Wallet, Vote With Your Fork!  GO Organic! How to go organic in all you do – even on a budget! Learn more
Download 3 fact sheets for summer: Safe mosquito repellants | Know the risks of mosquito-cides | Repel with plants and essential oils.
Weeding woes? Weed Terminator is a safe effective herbicide alternative to RoundUp or problematic areas to hand-weed. Learn more
This guide identifies beneficial insects to add to your garden in place of pesticides, as they can pollinate our gardens, help the soil, and sometimes eat the insects we want to discourage.  Learn more
From aeroponics to zero waste, here's a useful glossary of environmental terms to build your sustainability lexicon of lingo. Learn more
Save the butterflies with this "Milkweed & Wildflower Vendor Map" to help you locate plant vendors who sell native plants & milkweed species without using systemic pesticides. Learn more
Recent testing of kale found 7 of 8 brands from U.S. grocery stores in different states were contaminated with PFAS at thousands of times above EPA"s lifetime drinking water limit. One likely source is PFAS-containing pesticides used on conventionally grown kale. Learn more
  NEWS and VIEWS  
Scientists looked at 172 categories of consumer products and found 105 categories had chemicals regulated for health impacts by California. Learn more
Ornithologists, zoologists, biologists & ecologists across Europe and the U.K. identify the chief cause of declining bird populations is the agricultural use of pesticides & herbicides. Learn more
Early exposure to pyrethroid pesticides increases the risk of developmental disorders in children – even at levels currently recognized as safe by federal regulators. Learn more
Beyond Pesticides links pesticide impacts with “existential health crises, biodiversity collapse, and climate emergency”Learn more
Organophosphate pesticides plague agricultural communities year-round, not just during application seasons. Learn more
Concerns about EPA’s proposal to allow use of the pesticide chlormequat on grains, especially for children, who are avid consumers of grain-based products. Learn more
Mounting evidence shows chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbates preexisting damage to the nervous system. Learn more
Two popular brands of oat milk, MALK Organic Oat Milk and Silk Extra Creamy Oatmilk, contain cancer-causing pesticide glyphosate. Learn more
U.S. and Maryland honeybees suffered their second deadliest season on record, with nearly 50% of US bee colonies dying off last year. Learn more
New research identifies the best flowers for pollinators and beneficial insect predators of many common farm & garden pests. Learn more
Honeybee colonies benefit from organic beekeeping methods, according to Penn State entomologists. Learn more
  LET'S GET SERIOUS ABOUT SOIL, food security & climate change--yes, they're related!  
The cereal giant General Mills praised regenerative agriculture as the “most promising solution to reach [their] climate goals” and embarked on a farmer-driven regenerative agricultural strategy. Learn more
Monsanto and its corporate parent Bayer allegedly violated the civil rights of a farmworker by excluding her from a Roundup cancer settlement due to her immigration status. Learn more
Researchers find that planting hedgerows help farmers sequester carbon in the soil, manage pests, and provide habitat for pollinators & other wildlife. Learn more
Here's a new way to understand the importance of healthy soil in a successful and productive garden. Learn more