News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
The active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates, a new study led by researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has found. Professor Jack Heinemann of the School of Biological Sciences in UC’s College of Science said the key finding of the research was that “bacteria respond to exposure to the herbicides by changing how susceptible they are to antibiotics used in human and animal medicine.” The herbicides studied are three of the most widely used in the world, Prof Heinemann said. They are also used on crops that have been genetically modified to tolerate them. Prof Heinemann said, “They are among the most common manufactured chemical products to which people, pets and livestock in both rural and urban environments are exposed. These products are sold in the local hardware store and may be used without training, and there are no controls that prevent children and pets from being exposed in home gardens or parks. Despite their ubiquitous use, this University of Canterbury research is the first in the world to demonstrate that herbicides may be undermining the use of a fundamental medicine - antibiotics.”
Replacements for bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical in plastics and food containers, could be just as harmful or even worse than it, according to a new study by the National Toxicology Program. The study of 24 replacement chemicals found that many already in use are structurally and functionally similar to BPA, and, just like BPA, may harm the endocrine system.
Environmental groups in Wilmington, NC are trying to stop chemical companies from polluting their drinking water with perfluorochemicals, called PFCs, which are highly persistent and magnified up the food chain. They are an increasingly common contaminate in food, water and household dusts. DuPont de Nemours & Company, for example, discharges a PFC abbreviated PFOA. Numerous studies have linked PFCs to genetic and reproductive damage, developmental problems in unborn children, and cancer. The scientific literature, therefore, contains ample evidence that chemical companies are to blame. In a letter to DuPont, The Weinberg Group, a leading public relations firm, offered to reshape the scientific literature. The firm stated that it would “construct” a scientific study to establish that PFOA is safe and provides “real health benefits.” Constructing studies with predetermined outcomes is not science in any sense of the word. And any benefits reported in the scientific literature from such a study would be nothing but fake science. Unfortunately, the peer-reviewed scientific literature is filled with fake science.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use laboratory infected mosquitoes carrying the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis to be released into the wild. The laboratory-raised mosquitoes are meant to be a way to infect Asian Tiger mosquitoes, which are believed to carry harmful infectious diseases. The long term environmental consequences are unknown. Because mosquitoes are prey for birds and fish, the long-term effects on the greater ecosystem are unclear.
In 2015 the USDA reported orange juice was the most consumed fruit juice in the United States and oranges were second most consumed fruit overall, just slightly behind apples. The average person in America consumes 2.7 gallons of orange juice and 3 pounds of oranges each year. “100% Pure Orange Juice” is a common claim used by many juice brands that allow consumers to feel safe when serving it to their families on a daily basis. However, recent testing revealed that every one of the five top orange juice brands Moms Across America sent to an accredited lab tested positive for glyphosate weed killer. Glyphosate is the declared active chemical ingredient in Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto, and 750 other brands of glyphosate-based herbicides. Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world, often sprayed as a weedkiller between citrus trees, found in irrigation water and rain.
A new study out this week suggests that Americans’ exposure to the herbicide glyphosate, a possible human carcinogen, has increased by roughly 500 percent since it was first used in U.S. agriculture more than 20 years ago.
On 16 October a cross-party group of MEPs demanded a phase-out of glyphosate by December 2020. They want a ban on non-professional use of the herbicide and use in public parks or playgrounds after 15 December 2017, when the current authorisation expires. The MEPs want the Commission to withdraw its proposal for a 10-year renewal. The MEPs also want a ban on agricultural application after 15 December 2017 in cases where integrated plant protection methods are sufficient. They are asking for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds to be made available to farmers to support the transition to more sustainable methods of weed control.
In the 2013 report "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States" issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 superbugs were identified as "urgent, serious and concerning threats" to humankind. The majority of these dangerous bacteria are in the gram-negative category, as they are equipped with body armor that makes them particularly resistant to the immune response. Most disturbing of all, an increasing number of bacteria are now exhibiting "panresistance," which means they're resistant to every antibiotic in existence. The emergence of E. coli carrying the drug-resistant mcr-1 gene is also major cause for worry. While this bacterium is most commonly thought of in terms of food poisoning, a form of E. coli known as ExPEC (which stands for extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli) is responsible for over 90 percent of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Interestingly, while conventional wisdom has maintained that UTIs are primarily caused by sexual contact with an infected individual and/or the transferring of fecal bacteria from your anus to your urethra, research has linked drug-resistant UTIs to contaminated chicken meat. As early as 2005 papers were published showing drug-resistant E. coli strains from supermarket meat matched strains found in human E. coli infections. The researchers contend that poultry is the bridge that allows resistant bacteria to move to humans, taking up residence in the body and sparking infections when conditions are right.
France has decided to set 2022 as a deadline to phase out the use of glyphosate, the controversial active ingredient in one of the world's most widely used weedkillers, the government said on Monday. Glyphosate is the main component in the best-selling herbicide Roundup produced by the US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto, but there have been concerns it may cause cancer. "The prime minister... has decided that this product will be banned in France by the end of the government's term, as well as others that are similar and which are a public health threat," government spokesman Christophe Castaner told RMC radio.
The damage here in northeast Arkansas and across the Midwest - sickly soybeans, trees and other crops - has become emblematic of a deepening crisis in American agriculture. Farmers are locked in an arms race between ever-stronger weeds and ever-stronger weed killers. The dicamba system, approved for use for the first time this spring, was supposed to break the cycle and guarantee weed control in soybeans and cotton. The herbicide - used in combination with a genetically modified dicamba-resistant soybean - promises better control of unwanted plants such as pigweed, which has become resistant to common weed killers. The problem, farmers and weed scientists say, is that dicamba has drifted from the fields where it was sprayed, damaging millions of acres of unprotected soybeans and other crops in what some are calling a man-made disaster. Critics contend that the herbicide was approved by federal officials without enough data, particularly on the critical question of whether it could drift off target.