Archive for February, 2013

Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress response David Crewsa,1,2Ross GilletteaSamuel V. ScarpinoaMohan ManikkambMarina I. Savenkovab, and Michael K. Skinnerb,1,2

Author Affiliations Edited by Fred H. Gage, The Salk Institute, San Diego, CA, and approved April 18, 2012 (received for review November 15, 2011)  http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/15/1118514109.abstract

Abstract- Ancestral environmental exposures have previously been shown to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance and influence all aspects of an individual’s life history. In addition, proximate life events such as chronic stress have documented effects on the development of physiological, neural, and behavioral phenotypes in adulthood. We used a systems biology approach to investigate in male rats the interaction of the ancestral modifications carried transgenerationally in the germ line and the proximate modifications involving chronic restraint stress during adolescence. We find that a single exposure to a common-use fungicide (vinclozolin) three generations removed alters the physiology, behavior, metabolic activity, and transcriptome in discrete brain nuclei in descendant males, causing them to respond differently to chronic restraint stress. This alteration of baseline brain development promotes a change in neural genomic activity that correlates with changes in physiology and behavior, revealing the interaction of genetics, environment, and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance in the shaping of the adult phenotype. This is an important demonstration in an animal that ancestral exposure to an environmental compound modifies how descendants of these progenitor individuals perceive and respond to a stress challenge experienced during their own life history. (more…)

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Safe and Healthy Children curriculum addresses environmental health in farmworker children

The children of migrant farmworkers are at risk for toxic chemical exposures and other environmental hazards. PSR has released a new train-the-trainer curriculum and education packet on preventing harm to this vulnerable population. Targeting staff and community health workers of the Head Start Seasonal and Migrant Farmworker program, the curriculum augments PSR’sPediatric Environmental Health Toolkit. It includes hands-on activities for parents, brief anecdotes about chemical exposures, information on chemical policy, and principles of participatory education. http://www.psr.org/resources/pediatric-toolkit.html


Funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, PSR worked with partner organizations Academy for Educational Development and Health Outreach Partners to provide training for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start workers on the unique vulnerability of children, exposures to environmental hazards, and prevention strategies.

View the Safe and Healthy Children curriculum (more…)

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Poisoned by Synthetic Pyrethroid Pesticides  by Pat Smith

During the summer of 2003 I began to have headaches. They got more intense and became almost constant. I thought I was tired and promised myself I would take a vacation that fall after my daughter’s wedding. Little did I know I was coming to the end of my career because I was being poisoned every day at my workplace and it would destroy my health. (more…)

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Teratogenic Effects of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides: Divergence of Regulatory Decisions from Scientific Evidence  Published in Environmental & Analytical Toxicology  by 

Antoniou et al., J Environ Anal Toxicol 2012, S:4 http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-0525.S4-006

Abstract: The publication of a study in 2010, showing that a glyphosate herbicide formulation and glyphosate alone caused malformations in the embryos of Xenopus laevis and chickens through disruption of the retinoic acid signalling pathway, caused scientific and regulatory controversy. Debate centred on the effects of the production and consumption of genetically modified Roundup Ready® soy, which is engineered to tolerate applications of glyphosate herbicide. The study, along with others indicating teratogenic and reproductive effects from glyphosate herbicide exposure, was rebutted by the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, BVL, as well as in industry-sponsored papers. These rebuttals relied partly on unpublished industry-sponsored studies commissioned for regulatory purposes, which, it was claimed, showed that glyphosate is not a teratogen or reproductive toxin.

However, examination of the German authorities’ draft assessment report on the industry studies, which underlies glyphosate’s EU authorisation, revealed further evidence of glyphosate’s teratogenicity. Many of the malformations found were of the type defined in the scientific literature as associated with retinoic acid teratogenesis. Nevertheless, the German and EU authorities minimized these findings in their assessment and set a potentially unsafe acceptable daily intake (ADI) level for glyphosate. This paper reviews the evidence on the teratogenicity and reproductive toxicity of glyphosate herbicides and concludes that a new and transparent risk assessment needs to be conducted. The new risk assessment must take into account all the data on the toxicity of glyphosate and its commercial formulations, including data generated by independent scientists and published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, as well as the industry-sponsored studies.

M Antoniou1, MEM Habib2, CV Howard3, RC Jennings4, C Leifert5, RO Nodari6, CJ Robinson7* and J Fagan8*

1Head, Gene Expression and Therapy Group, Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, King’s College London School of Medicine, UK 2Professor of entomology, former director, Institute of Biology, UNICAMP, and former provost of extension and community affairs, UNICAMP, São Paulo, Brazil 3Professor, Centre for Molecular Biosciences, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland,4Affiliated research scholar, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, UK 5Research development professor for ecological agriculture at the University of Newcastle, UK. Interests: director and trustee of the Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd (STC), UK 6Professor, Center for Agricultural Sciences (department of plant science), Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil 7Research director, Earth Open Source, London, UK. Interests: editor, GM Watch, UK 8Director, Earth Open Source. Interests: employed at a GMO testing and certification company 

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http://sri.ciifad.cornell.edu/aboutsri/CIP_UPWARD_SRICase.pdf  ( article follows)  Uphoff, N. 2003. Higher yields with fewer external inputs? The System of Rice Intensification and potential contributions to agricultural sustainability. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 1, 38-50.

 Article republished from http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/feb/16/india-rice-farmers-revolution by  in Bihar, India,The Observer, Saturday 16 February 2013 


Sumant Kumar was overjoyed when he harvested his rice last year. There had been good rains in his village of Darveshpura in north-eastIndia and he knew he could improve on the four or five tonnes per hectare that he usually managed. But every stalk he cut on his paddy field near the bank of the Sakri river seemed to weigh heavier than usual, every grain of rice was bigger and when his crop was weighed on the old village scales, even Kumar was shocked. SRI’s origins go back to the 1980s in Madagascar where Henri de Laulanie, a French Jesuit priest and agronomist, observed how villagers grew rice in the uplands. He developed the method but it was an American, professor Norman Uphoff, director of the International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development at Cornell University, who was largely responsible for spreading the word about De Laulanie’s work.


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Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? http://www.scribd.com/doc/87063060/Roundup and BirthDefectsv5 Earth Open Source June 2011

by Michael Antoniou,Mohamed Ezz El-Din Mostaa HabibC. Vyvyan HowardRichard C. JenningsCarlo LeiertRubens Onore NodariClaire RobinsonJohn Fagan© Earth Open Source, 2011

Corresponding author:  claire.robinson@earthopensource.org

Acknowledgements cited below. For more information on the contributing writers see below towards end of article posted

Concerns about the best-selling herbicideRoundup® are running at an all-time high. Scientific research published in 2010 showed that Roundup and the chemical on which it is based,glyphosate, cause birth defects in frog and chicken embryos at dilutions much lower than those used in agricultural and garden spraying. The EUCommission dismissed these findings, based on a rebuttal provided by the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, BVL. BVL cited unpublished industry studies to back its claim that glyphosate was safe.The Commission has previously ignored or dismissed many other findings from the independent scientific literature showing thatRoundup and glyphosate cause endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer,as well as birth defects. Many of these effects are found at very low doses, comparable to levels to pesticide residues found in blood and the  environment.

Recommendations to the public
Until the pesticide assessment process is fundamentally reformed, we recommend to thepublic that they do not rely on the messages of governments or industry about pesticide safety.Instead, they should take measures to protectthemselves against the harmful effects of Roundup/glyphosate and other pesticides. Tese include:
Avoiding using and exposing themselves topesticides, insofar as they have choice in thematter.
 Lobbying local authorities, farmers, andother pesticide users to disclose what they arespraying and when.
 Lobbying local authorities and other “cosmetic”users of Roundup/glyphosate and otherpesticides to switch to less toxic methods of weed and pest control.
 Writing to garden centres, supermarkets, andother stores asking them not to sell Roundup/glyphosate and other pesticides.
 Supporting citizen “truth-in-labelling” schemesto inform consumers about the true risks of pesticides through accurate product labelling. (more…)

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The Precautionary Principle means simply when credible evidence exists that a synthetic chemical is known to result in unintended harmful outcomes to human health, and the presence of such a chemical is found where it does not belong, such as in human bodies, our regulatory agencies must use the Precautionary Principle  as an approach to children health, which eliminates potential hazards rather than accepting a level of harm.

The Precautionary Principle means that chemical companies will be required to prove that their products will have no adverse effect on children health before the chemical is approved for use by the EPA. (more…)

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