EPA to phase out sulfuryl fluoride — a pesticide contributing to Americans’ overexposure to fluoride

Just days after the federal government announced it wants to lower the safe limit for fluoride in drinking water, the EPA has put out notice that will be phasing out a fluoride-based pesticide used in food storage and processing.

The rationale for phasing out the pesticide sulfuryl fluoride is the same as the reason to lower the safe limits for fluoride in drinking water: To scale back Americans’ exposure to the toxic substance.

“Although sulfuryl fluoride residues in food contribute only a very small portion of total exposure to fluoride, when combined with other fluoride exposure pathways, including drinking water and toothpaste, EPA has concluded that the tolerance (legal residue limits on food) no longer meets the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA)….,” the EPA said in a statement on Monday.

The move comes after pressure for changes from environmental and health groups, including the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Beyond Pesticides and the Fluoride Action Network.

Fighting to save the bees and other pollinators

By Barbara Kessler

If you’ve been wondering about all the buzz over honeybees, here is some food for thought – or rather some thought about food: Bees play a role in one out of every three bites of food Americans eat.

Pollinators, mainly bees, but also butterflies, songbirds and even bats, perform such a critical function in the food chain that their absence threatens everything from the viability of vast fields of commercial corn and other crops to the tomatoes in your garden. Without the bees and other pollinators, plants can fail to produce the fruits and seeds we eat.

Which is why a San Francisco-based group called the Pollinator Partnership has dedicated itself to the survival of pollinators — from hummingbirds to small mammals to the fragile and busiest pollinators of them all, the bees. Partnership members, along with beekeepers and researchers testified before Congress last week to lobby lawmakers for more funding to research the decline of many pollinators, particularly the loss of millions of bees around the world to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).