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Archive for August, 2011

U.S. researchers find Roundup chemical in water, air
Significant levels of the world’s most-used herbicide have been detected in air and water samples from two U.S. farm states, government scientists said on Wednesday, in groundbreaking research on the active ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup.
“It is out there in significant levels. It is out there consistently,” said Paul Capel, environmental chemist and head of the agricultural chemicals team at the U.S. Geological Survey Office, part of the U.S. Department of Interior.
Capel said more tests were needed to determine how harmful the chemical, glyphosate, might be to people and animals.
The study comes on the heels of several others released recently that raise concerns about the rise of resistant “super weeds,” and other unintended consequences of Roundup on soil and animals. (more…)

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A new study finds that older men living in California’s Central Valley are more likely to develop prostate cancer if they were exposed to certain agricultural pesticides than those who were not exposed. The study examines exposure via drift rather than occupational exposure, although similar results have been noted in farmworker populations. Exposure to methyl bromide or various organochlorine pesticides increased the risk of cancer by about one and a half times. The study, “Prostate cancer and ambient pesticide exposure in agriculturally intensive areas in California,” was published in the June 2011 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.This is not the first study to link pesticide exposure to prostate cancer. (more…)

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The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.  When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply — the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods — secret documents now reveal that the experts were very concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried “serious health hazards,” and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply. But the biotech industry had rigged the game so that neither science nor scientists would stand in their way. They had placed their own man in charge of FDA policy and he wasn’t going to be swayed by feeble arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie. (more…)

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In 2007, the United States used 684 million pounds of pesticides in agriculture, accounting for 80% of all U.S. pesticide use.[i] While this is a slight decline from past years it is still a staggering amount of toxic substances being applied to our nation’s food supply. By their very nature, most pesticides create some risk of harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms.One group that is especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure is the American farmworker. In the U.S. there are between 3 to 5 million farmworkers and their families who labor in fields and factories across the country to bring fresh fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products to our tables. The exact number of farmworkers in the United States is difficult to determine for reasons such as the mobile nature of the population, the seasonal nature of agricultural work, the varying agriculture tasks performed, and the fact that there is no local, state, or national agency responsible for collecting this information. (more…)

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The US uses about 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides each year, representing more than one-fifth of the annual global use of 5.2 billion pounds.[1] Pesticides are designed to harm or kill insects, plants, and other living things and are released over our land, water, and food crops, exposing wildlife and people to them. For these reasons, laws regulating pesticides are much stricter than those for industrial chemicals. Despite the safeguards, however, weaknesses, loopholes, and flaws undermine the legal requirements, their implementation, and their enforcement and oversight. (more…)

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In 2010, the American Public Health Association (APHA) passed a policy resolution urging the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require pesticide manufacturers to develop methods for detecting human exposure to their chemicals. The resolution highlights a growing effort among clinicians, researchers, and advocates to better protect farmworkers and other populations overexposed to pesticides. The policy statement, “Requiring Clinical Diagnostic Tools and Biomonitoring of Exposures to Pesticides,” is excerpted below. (more…)

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Our current conventional agricultural system relies heavily on synthetic pesticides, and when pesticide exposure is mentioned, the first thought that may come to mind is pesticide residues on food. But for those who live in agricultural areas or work on conventional farms, exposure is a full-body experience. Farm workers have the highest exposures, since they are often involved in applying pesticides or working in the crop soon after the pesticides are applied. And ironically, people seeking a bucolic rural lifestyle may also have higher exposures simply from living near farms where pesticides are used. (more…)

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