Picture of pesticide spray system

You've probably seen private landowners posting homemade "NO SPRAYING" signs along the roadways that border their properties. Now some residentes are seeking to make that the rule for all roadways in Jackson and Josephine Counties.


The light regulatory touch preferred by the current White House means regulations proposed in earlier administrations are being altered or cancelled outright.  That includes a plan left over from the Obama years to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. 

The Trump administration backed off the ban, but not the state of California.  The state Department of Pesticide Regulation is moving ahead with plans to effectively end the use of chlorpyrifos in California, out of concern for its health effects on creatures other than pests. 


The chemical glyphosate may not be a household word, but products that contain it get used in many households.  Glyphosate is the key ingredient in herbicides like Roundup, which makes money for Monsanto and makes environmentalists cringe. 

The City of Eugene recently decided to place a moratorium on the use of Roundup on city property, in order to protect public health.  We get into the specifics of the ban and its uses with reps from Beyond Toxics and the group Consumer Safety

Still from video by Tom Hitchcock

It's hard to imagine counting up to a billion of anything.  But that's the approximate weight--in pounds--of pesticides used in the United States each year. 

And it gets more interesting: close to a third of those pesticides, in weight, were substances that are illegal in Europe.  The United States continues to allow the use of pesticides banned in other countries. 

Recently published research compares American pesticide use and regulation with that of Europe, China, and Brazil.  And it finds us lagging behind all of them in banning pesticides. 

Nathan Donley of the Center for Biological Diversity is the author of the study. 


California's enormous agricultural bounty involves the use of a lot of pesticides.  In fact, pesticide use trended upward in recent years. 

This is despite state laws requiring county agricultural commissioners to sign off on local pesticide use, to protect farmworkers. 

A study out of UCLA finds counties not taking many steps to exercise their responsibilities under the state law. 

Public Domain, Pixabay

Shopping trips always bear interesting results for the Environmental Working Group

It's become a frequent occurrence: EWG analyizes test data from USDA and FDA, and the government tests frequently show the presence of pesticides. 

Dr. Olga Naidenko is a senior science advisor on children's environmental health at EWG; she participated in two recent pieces of research that detailed the non-food items found on common food items. 


We trust that regulators will make sure nothing deadly gets into our food.  But that doesn't mean our food is completely pesticide-free. 

Recent research by Friends of the Earth and Eugene-based Beyond Toxics sampled store-bought foods away from the organic aisle.  The research found measurable amounts of pesticides in many products, including breakfast cereals and produce like spinach and apples. 

Public Domain,

Growing cannabis is now legal in both California and Oregon, but that doesn't mean all the practices involved with growing it are legal. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Carol Van Strum is not fond of pesticides.  And that may be the understatement of a lifetime. 

Van Strum fought the aerial spraying of pesticides on federal land in Lincoln County back in the 70s, and she's continued the fight up to the present day.

Her work earned her the ire of the timber industry, and the recent awarding of a lifetime achievement award from the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene. 


The federal Environmental Protection Agency was preparing to order the pesticide chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) off the market a couple of years ago.  Then Donald Trump became president, and the EPA changed its approach. 

Now a recent report indicates chlorpyrifos and two other commonly-used pesticides present a clear threat to sensitive fish species in the Northwest and California--salmon and steelhead and the like. 

It took court action by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and allied groups just to get the report released. 

Tim McCabe, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Public Domain,

Two things are generally true about conventional agriculture: 1) it takes people, 2) it takes pesticides. 

So there are situations where people are exposed to pesticides when they work on farms and orchards. 

Oregon OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) adopts new rules to protect farmworkers and people who handle pesticides, effective sometime next year.   We explore the rules and the reactions to them: Michael Wood from Oregon OSHA visits. 

Harry Rose, CC BY 2.0,

Like it or not, the plants that surround us are often NOT the plants that would be here without people and their constant tinkering with the environment. 

Non-native species abound, and efforts to eradicate invasive species are ongoing.  But not always with the use of pesticides. 

Mount Shasta residents and friends gather this weekend (April 8) for a second annual community weed pull, designed to get the invasives out and replace them with native plants

Exploring WHY Neonicotinoids Are Harmful

Feb 3, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Reading a pesticide label is a bit like plunging headlong into a foreign language, one with a fast-changing vocabulary. For example: neonicotinoids.

They're a relatively new class of pesticides, favored now because they cause less toxicity in birds and mammals than insects. But that's not good news for pollinators.

Two pesticide experts join us to translate what neonic pesticides mean for the insects who actually help plants grow.  Aimée Code is Pesticide Program Director for The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Dr. Susan Kegley heads up the Pesticide Research Institute.

Alexander Hamilton was supposed to get the axe, but now it appears Andrew Jackson will be cut from the 20-dollar bill, in favor of a woman.  Which woman? 

Tell us in this week's VENTSday, by survey or on the air. 

Our other topic is Earth Day-related: how have you changed your behavior with chemicals to be kind to the environment? 

Listeners take stage on our weekly VENTSday segment, a chance to vent on a couple of topics in the news--by phone, by email, or through our online survey. We provide the topics, you provide the opinions. Your thoughts are front and center on VENTSday.

What To Do Instead Of Use Pesticides

Apr 14, 2016

You can start a pretty heated discussion just by using the term "pesticides" in a small gathering. 

People do not like the side effects of pesticides, but see the need for SOMETHING to keep weeds and insects from crowding out important crops. 

The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, NCAP, does what its name implies: look for non-pesticide solutions to pests. 

NCAP is one of several organizations taking part in "Pesticides, People, Pollinators, and the Planet," Saturday April 16 at Southern Oregon University. 

An Unwelcome Ingredient In Wine

Apr 13, 2016

The herbicide glyphosate is better known by its commercial name, Roundup. 

By any name, it has many critics, including the organization Moms Across America

MAA recently tested ten California wines for evidence of glyphosate, and found it in all ten--even in a wine from an organic vineyard.   The wines came from Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties.

A Lesson In Integrated Pest Management

Mar 24, 2016

You can almost imagine the dawn of pesticides: "hey look, when I put this on, the bugs die." 

It was a great thing... until people noticed the unintended effects.  Substances that poison one living thing can poison others. 

Recent years have seen the rise of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an approach to pest control that does not rule out pesticides, but does not place them at the center of control either. 

IPM is well known at Oregon State University's Integrated Plant Protection Center, where Paul Jepson is the director. 

Pesticide Use On Easter Lilies

Mar 24, 2016
Matt H. Wade/Wikimedia

Drive along the Southern Oregon and Northern California coast, and you'll see a sign proclaiming "Easter Lily Capital of the World." 

The flowers do grow well in the coastal climate, but some of the practices associated with lily cultivation concern nearby residents. 

Those include chemicals used to keep pests off the plants, chemicals not welcome in the nearby Smith River, California's only un-dammed river. 

Siskiyou Land Conservancy works to keep lily cultivation from harming the river or the land. 

Arthropods Invade Our Homes

Jan 25, 2016

Is it safe to say we all believe in biodiversity on the Earth?  How about inside our homes? 

Entomologists from North Carolina and the California Academy of Sciences recently studied the numbers of arthropods in our homes--think ants and spiders and such--and found a surprising number: about 100 different species in the average home. 

Species, not individual critters.  Before you reach for the fly swatter or the bug spray, hear the entomologists out. 

EPA About-Face On Pesticide Pairing

Dec 4, 2015

The federal Environmental Protection Agency angered environmental groups with its approval of the joint use of two herbicides as one product. 

So the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit. 

Just recently, the EPA announced that it would reconsider its decision, asking the court to remove the registration of the product.

The joint product, Enlist Duo, combines the herbicides 2,4,D and glyphosate (Roundup), individually the targets of scientific study and environmentalist concern.