Posts Tagged ‘Pesticides’
Scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, took dozens of samples from women.
Traces of the toxin were found 93 per cent of the pregnant mothers and in 80 per cent of the umbilical cords.
The research suggested the chemicals were entering the body through eating meat, milk and eggs from farm livestock which have been fed GM corn.
The findings appear to contradict the GM industry’s long-standing claim that any potentially harmful chemicals added to crops would pass safely through the body.
To date, most of the global research which has been used to demonstrate the safety of GM crops has been funded by the industry itself.
It is not known what, if any, harm the chemicals might cause but there has been speculation it could lead to allergies, miscarriage, abnormalities or even cancer.
One of the researchers told the scientific journal Reproductive Toxicology: “This is the first study to highlight the presence of pesticides associated with genetically modified foods in maternal, foetal and nonpregnant women’s blood.”
Pete Riley, the director of GM Freeze, a group opposed to GM farming, described the research as “very significant”.
The Agriculture Biotechnology Council, which speaks for the GM industry, has questioned the reliability and value of the research.
Dr Julian Little, its chairman, said: “Biotech crops are rigorously tested for safety prior to their use and over two trillion meals made with GM ingredients have been safely consumed around the world over the past 15 years without a single substantiated health issue.”
Written by laudyms
May 21, 2011 at 9:05 am
Increase vulnerability to infection at minute doses
The honeybee’s vulnerability to infection is increased by the presence of imidacloprid, even at the most microscopic doses. This new research result by Dr Jeffrey Pettis and his team at the US Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory has remained unpublished for nearly two years, according to an ‘exclusive’ report in UK’s newspaper, The Independent . Increased disease infection happened even when the levels of the insecticide were so tiny that they could not be detected in the bees that the researchers had dosed.
The neonicotinoid insecticides, introduced since the early 1990s, are increasingly used on crops in the US, Britain and around the world. Bayer, the German chemicals giant that developed the insecticides insists that they are safe for bees if used properly, but they have already been widely linked to bee losses. Imidacloprid was Bayer’s top-selling insecticide in 2009, earning the company £510 m.
Link to colony collapse of the honeybee
Neonicotinoids have attracted growing controversy since their introduction by Bayer in the 1990s, and have been blamed by some beekeepers and environmental campaigners as a potential cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), first observed in the US in 2006, in which bees disappear from hives en mass (see  Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees, SiS 34). Prof. Joe Cummins at ISIS was among the first to link neonicotinoid insecticides to CCD ( Requiem for the Honeybee , SiS 34); which had led to swift action on the part of the German Government in banning the pesticides ( Emergency Pesticide Ban for Saving the Honeybee, SiS 39).
Between 20 and 40 per cent of American hives have been affected, and CCD has since been observed in several other countries from France to Taiwan, though it has not yet been detected in Britain , where the area of cropland treated with neonicotinoids has gone from 0 in 1993 to more than 2.5 m acres in 2008.
The chemicals have been banned already in France, Germany and Italy. In Britain, the Co-op has banned their use in farms from which it sources fruit and vegetables, but the British Government has refused to ban or suspend them.
Buglife director, Matt Shardlow, commented on the Pettis study: “This new research from America confirms that at very, very low concentrations neonicotinoid chemicals can make a honeybee vulnerable to fatal disease. If these pesticides are causing large numbers of honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and moths to get sick and die from diseases they would otherwise have survived, then neonicotinoid chemicals could be the main cause of both colony collapse disorder and the loss of wild pollinator populations.
“The weight of evidence against neonicotinoids is becoming irresistible – Government should act now to ban the risky uses of these toxins.”
Written by laudyms
January 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Nanoparticles are already used in many sunscreens.
One month ago, the Committee on Environment, Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament voted in favor of excluding nanotechnology from the EU list of novel foods allowed on the market. This committee vote represents one of the first times ever that a legislative body has weighed in on the issue of nanotech particles in food. (Nanotechnology refers to materials or devices developed on an atomic or molecular scale, sized between 1 to 100 nanometers — basically, really, really, really tiny novel particles that our skin and other organs have never before encountered at this scale.)
For those of us watching how government views nanotechnology, this was welcome news.
Whether we are focusing on food or other consumer goods, so far more than a thousand products containing nanoparticles are currently available in the U.S. These nano-enabled products have been put on the market without testing their possible impacts on human health or the environment. And, without stringent government review and without regulation, these products are foisted on an unsuspecting public. People are using nanotechnology, such as sunscreen containing nanoparticles of zinc oxide, on a daily basis, almost completely unaware of what they’re putting on their bodies.
In some cases, nanotechnology has proven benefits, but without a clear understanding of the health and environmental impacts, how can the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the public assess whether or not use of nanotech products is worth the risks? Nanotechnology practically cries out for regulation.
It is a clear, prudent recognition of the overwhelming need for testing in the name of public safety.
That’s what’s encouraging about the European Parliament committee’s action, which also included a declaration that food produced from nanotechnology processes must undergo risk assessment before being approved for use and must be labeled on packaging. The decision was approved by the influential committee almost unanimously, with 42 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions. While the final plenary vote on the issue is expected to take place in the European Parliament in July, the lopsided committee vote speaks to the absolute logic of such a move. It is a clear, prudent recognition of the overwhelming need for testing in the name of public safety.
It now looks as though U.S. regulatory agencies may be coming around to the point of view that testing should not be considered a burden, but rather an urgent need. The EPA is promising that it will release proposed regulations on nano pesticides soon. We hope the regulations will require companies to report the presence of nano-silver and other nanomaterials in hundreds of consumer products ranging from children’s pacifiers to athletic clothing.
EPA has broad authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) over all substances intended to kill pests, including germ killers, but has not addressed until now the growing nano-silver market (primarily as an anti-microbial agent in food packaging), or the market for most other nanochemicals. The proposed rules would be a response to a legal petition filed with the EPA by the International Center for Technology Assessment and the Center for Food Safety in May of 2008, on behalf of a coalition of 12 other public interest organizations, calling on EPA to regulate nano-silver products as pesticides.
The nanotechnology industry often touts the benefits to humanity that their discoveries and applications have created. Lawmakers and regulators should carefully review those real advances, but with balance and logic. We shouldn’t rush to include technology in foods and other products without a clear understanding of the long-term risks these products may pose. The European Commission should follow the directive of the Parliament and to put strong policies in place that will adequately protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of these novel products. And in the U.S., the EPA and the FDA should do likewise.
A new book published in China examines GMO technology and its potential impacts on world food security. (full info at end) The foreword to the book was written by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho from the Institute for Science in Society.
By Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
It has been 16 years since the first genetically modified (GM) crop – Flavr Savr tomato for delayed ripening – was approved for commercial growing in the USA. It was also the year that I became a ‘science activist’, on realising how science itself was falling prey to corporate manipulation. Flavr Savr was soon withdrawn as a failure; but it was only a decoy, as agbiotech corporations like Monsanto were after much bigger game.
Genetic modification actually focussed on three major crops and two main traits: herbicide-tolerance (HT) due to glyphosate-insensitive form of the enzyme targeted by the herbicide – 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) – derived from the soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens , and insect-resistance due to one or more toxins derived from another soil bacterium Bt ( Bacillus thuringiensis ).
Commercial planting of these crops began around 1997 in the USA, the heartland of GM crops, and increased rapidly thereafter. Though, thanks to strong resistance from informed citizens in Europe and other parts of the world, GM crops have remained confined, to this day, to less than 3 percent of global agricultural land, with 79 percent of the area planted concentrated in the USA, Argentina and Brazil .
In the USA, GM crops now occupy 85-91 percent of the area planted with the three major crops, soybean, corn and cotton. And it is the USA that’s now facing an ecological meltdown due to GM crops .
HT crops encouraged the use of herbicides sold as a package with the crop, resulting in herbicide-resistant weeds that demand yet more herbicides. But the increasing use of deadly herbicide and herbicide mixtures has failed to stall the advance of the dreaded palmer superweed that stops combine harvesters and break hand tools. At the same time, secondary pests such as the tarnished plant bug, against which Bt toxin is powerless, became the single most damaging insect for US cotton. The US corn belt, meanwhile, has been ravaged by yet another secondary pest, the western bean cutworm ( Striacosta albicosta ) . Farmers are at a loss to deal with the crisis. They are being advised by misguided academics to use an armoury of more deadly herbicides and insecticides that accomplishes little else than make bigger profits for the same agbiotech companies that sell them the offending GM crops. Those farmers that have held out against planting GM crops, or want to stop planting them, are finding it increasingly difficult, if not impossible to buy non-GM seeds, as corporations like Monsanto have been consolidating their monopoly on seeds in the mean time . In addition, they are offering new GM varieties with up to eight ‘stacked’ traits to keep farmers on the transgenic treadmill .
The situation is bad enough for farmers in the United States; but it has been deadly in India, where farmers do not have any state subsidies, unlike their counterparts in the USA, and many are already caught in a cycle of indebtedness from the ‘green revolution’ agriculture that depends on high chemical inputs.
Written by laudyms
May 6, 2010 at 10:28 am
The world may be on the brink of biological disaster after news that a third of US bee colonies did not survive the winter
The Observer, Sunday 2 May 2010
Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.
The decline of the country’s estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.
The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy.
Reyes, one of our agriculture campaigners in India, shares her immediate thoughts on this ‘first-of-its-kind’ admission by Monsanto
This was my Saturday’s lyrics to breakfast in sunny Bangalore: Monsanto has decided to tell the truth about something: its technology doesn’t work!, reports The Hindu. I’m going to need a second cup of chai to digest this, Monsanto speaking honest!? Indian farmers and scientist have been seeing this in their Bt cotton fields for a few years: pests become resistant to Monsanto’s genetically engineered toxins and thus farmers apply huge amounts of pesticides. Monsanto has always denied this, has the recent massive rejection of its Bt brinjal in India woken up its senses?
For years Monsanto has been shouting that the main – read only – benefit of Bt cotton in India (the only genetically engineered crop planted here) was the reduction in pesticide use. Well, it seems they have just admitted this is not true. Pink bollworm, a serious pest for cotton farmers in India, is now resistant to the toxin in Bt cotton. Meaning that this bug is now sort of a super-pest that farmers will have to work harder and harder to avoid.
What is Monsanto’s solution to this? Maybe you have guessed it: use Monsanto’s next weapon – same technology – Bt cotton 2.0. With double the amount of toxins (and almost double the price of non-Bt seeds). Read the rest of this entry »
Written by laudyms
March 16, 2010 at 11:07 am
By Michael Jolliffe
NaturalNews.com, July 21, 2009 (NaturalNews)
A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has revealed that children are dangerously vulnerable to the effects of environmental pesticides, and for far longer than originally suspected.
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have discovered that children lack sufficient levels of the enzyme most responsible for detoxifying pesticides up to the age of seven and possibly for longer. Known as paraxonase or PON1, the enzyme is the most important defense the body has against organophosphate chemicals, a major ingredient of the most commonly used agricultural pesticides.