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Pesticides in the Dock: Ecological Apocalypse But Business as Usual

Pesticides in the Dock: Ecological Apocalypse But Business as Usual

Photograph Source: United States Department of Agriculture – Public Domain

In a new paper published in King’s Law Journal –  ‘The Chemical Anthropocene: Glyphosate as a Case Study of Pesticide Exposures’ – the authors Alessandra Arcuri and Yogi Hale Hendlin state:

“As the science against glyphosate safety mounts and lawsuits threaten its chemical manufacture’s profits, the next generation of GMO crops are being keyed to the pesticide dicamba, sold commercially as XtendiMax® – and poised to be the next glyphosate. Regulatory agencies have historically been quick to approve products but slow to reconsider regulations after the decades of accumulated harms become apparent.”

They add that the entrenched asymmetries between public and ecological health and fast-to-market new chemicals is exacerbated by the seeming lack of institutionalised precautionary policies.

According to environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason, these ‘entrenched asymmetries’ result from the corporate capture of key policy-making bodies and their subversion by agri-food oligopolies.

In her new report, ‘Why Does Bayer Crop Science Control Chemicals in Brexit Britain’, she states that Bayer is having secret meetings with the British government to determine which agrochemicals are to be used after Brexit once Britain is ‘free’ of EU restrictions and becomes as deregulated as the US.

Such collusion comes as little surprise to Mason who says the government’s ‘strategy for UK life sciences’ is already dependent on funding from pharmaceutical corporations and the pesticides industry:

“Syngenta’s parent company is AstraZeneca. In 2010, Syngenta and AstraZeneca were represented on the UK Advisory Committee on Pesticides and the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Foods, Consumer Products and the Environment. The founder of Syngenta, Michael Pragnell CBE, was the Chairman of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) from 2011-2017. CRUK started by giving money (£450 million/year) to the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences and AstraZeneca provided 22 compounds to academic research to develop medicines. AstraZeneca manufactures six different anti-cancer drugs mainly aimed at breast and prostate cancer.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Bottled Water Safe to Drink, Everyday?

Is Bottled Water Safe to Drink, Everyday?

Photograph Source: Sascha Kohlmann – CC BY-SA 2.0

The next time you put your lips to a plastic bottle of “crystal-clear mountain spring water” think about Trump’s herculean efforts to dismantle federal agencies that protect health.

More to the point, Trump’s innate distrust of science is already starting to impact health risks, e.g., according to Consumer Reports (“CR”) excessive levels of arsenic are found in some bottled water that should have been spotted by federal regulators, and not by Consumer Reports.

As it happens: “The federal government’s safety inspections of water bottling facilities hit a 15-year low in 2017, according to documents CR obtained through a public records request.”

The referenced CR headline: “Arsenic in Some Bottled Water Brands at Unsafe Levels, Consumer Reports Says,” June 28, 2019. More on that travesty, later.

Meanwhile, because Trump is doing everything possible to take federal regulations back to the “Sixties,” then Rachel Carson’s inimitable The Silent Spring (1962) should be required reading for every household in America because she exposes the dangers of 60 years ago that are, once again, starting to be exposed today. To say that this is a remarkable event is, indeed, remarkable!

Rachel Carson has never been more relevant, in fact doubly more relevant, e.g., according to The Silent Spring, page 237: “Human exposures to cancer-producing chemicals (including pesticides) are uncontrolled and they are multiple. An individual may have many different exposures to the same chemical. Arsenic is an example… It is quite possible that no one of these exposures alone would be sufficient to precipitate malignancy— yet any single supposedly ‘safe dose’ may be enough to tip the scales that are already loaded with other ‘safe doses.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bayer Loses Second Roundup Glyphosate Trial; Ordered To Pay $80 Million

Bayer Loses Second Roundup Glyphosate Trial; Ordered To Pay $80 Million

Bayer AG has lost a second trial over claims that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer – and has been ordered by a San Fancisco jury to pay compensatory damages of $5.3 million and punitive damages of $75 million to a 70-year-old California man, Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed with cancer after spraying the herbicide on his property for decades. 

The plaintiff’s attorneys said he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after 26 years of regularly using Roundup to tackle weeds and poison oak, according to the Wall Street Journal. The active ingredient in Roundup and Ranger Pro is glyphosate, a herbicide.

Wednesday’s verdict follows a similar decision last August in which a former school groundskeeper was awarded $289 million after claiming that Roundup gave him non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

German Bayer AG acquired the Roundup brand of glyphosate weed killers in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto in June of last year. 

Responding to the verdict, Bayer said in a statement “We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic.”

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Bayer’s full statement on the jury’s verdict today in California glyphosate multi-district litigation trial to be posted shortly. Link to follow.

“You can’t keep trying case after case after case and keep losing and say, ‘We’re not going to settle,” said Thomas G. Rohback, a trial lawyer at Axinn in New York quoted by Bloomberg, who adds that if Bayer continues to lose at trial, it “has to put the possibility of a settlement of these cases into the mix.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Jersey is Making Companies Pay for Toxic Contamination–Shining a New Light on a Little-Known Offender

Illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept

NEW JERSEY IS MAKING COMPANIES PAY FOR TOXIC CONTAMINATION — SHINING A NEW LIGHT ON A LITTLE-KNOWN OFFENDER

NEW JERSEY LAID financial responsibility for dealing with PFAS contamination squarely at the feet of the chemical companies responsible for it. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection issued a directive on Monday ordering five companies to pay the costs of dealing with the toxic chemicals that have been associated with numerous health problems, including cancer. The companies include 3M, which created both PFOA and PFOS; DuPont, the chemical giant that used PFOA to make Teflon since the 1950s at the now massively contaminated plant Chambers Works; and DuPont’s spinoff, Chemours.

Monitoring, research, and cleanup of the chemicals, which the state has already begun, is likely to ultimately total “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to the order.

The hefty price tag reflects the state’s serious PFAS problem. New Jersey is thought to be one of the states most contaminated with these chemicals.

The hefty price tag reflects the state’s serious PFAS problem. New Jersey is thought to be one of the states most contaminated with these chemicals. Seventy percent of drinking water samples taken from 20 of New Jersey’s 21 counties contained at least one compound from the class of chemicals, according to research done in 2009 and 2010. And, last year, another state study showed that all surface water samples taken from 11 waterways and ecosystems around New Jersey contained PFAS. All the fish found there contained the chemicals as well. The state is also home to military bases that have been contaminated by firefighting foam, as well as several industrially polluted sites.

The order also announced the state’s intention to propose the lowest drinking water limits in the country for both PFOS and PFOA on April 1.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sacrificing Children: Pesticides in the Time of Oligarchy

Sacrificing Children: Pesticides in the Time of Oligarchy

Photo Source Andy Powell | CC BY 2.0

Oligarchy is bad for children’s health

All past civilizations protected children. It was self-evident that healthy children assured continuity, security and happiness.

However, machine-powered civilizations give the illusion corporations, oligarchies, and the government control everything. Children fade in this confused vision. The disproportional power of the few dehumanizes everything, including children.

Oligarchs control medicine, drugs, chemicals, farming and politics. If their products harm children, their lobbyists, scientists and politicians cover up the truth.

Delaney Clause 

In the United States, this oligarchic control has flooded the country with thousands of chemicals, most of them untested and potentially harmful to life. This fact angered Democratic Congressman James Delaney from New York. He found it intolerable that America in the 1950s was bathed in around 50,000 chemicals.

He convinced Congress to eliminate cancer-causing chemicals in food. He authored the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — the Delaney Clause.

Suddenly, agribusiness, chemical, and drug industries faced a law that challenged their monopolies to do whatever pleased them with food. They set up roadblocks to the enforcement of the law. They purchased scientists to denounce the controversial law.

The General Accountability Office, the least partisan organization in the federal government, took up the Delaney Clause. The December 11, 1981 GAO report put the controversy in this light:

“The heart of the issue centers on Delaney’s “zero-risk” concept that no substance, in any amount, may be intentionally added to food if it has been shown to cause cancer.”

Science lipstick

The Reagan administration of the 1980s did not enforce the law. And the Clinton administration of the 1990s killed it. But Bill Clinton marshalled the power of science to cover up his shameful policy. He paid the National Academy of Science to prepare the ground.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bayer Beware: Lawyers Claim To Have “Explosive” Monsanto Documents

Lawyers involved in a California lawsuit against Monsanto claim to have “explosive” documents concerning the Bayer-owned agrochemical giant’s activities in Europe, according to Euronews.

“What we have is the tip of the iceberg. And in fact we have documents now in our possession, several hundreds documents, that have not been declassified and some of those are explosive,” said US lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr, adding

“And many of them are pertinent to what Monsanto did here in Europe. And that’s just the beginning.”

Monsanto – bought by Germany’s Bayer AG in June for $66 billion, was ordered in August to pay a historic $289 million to a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, who said Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller gave him terminal cancer. Monsanto says it will appeal the verdict.

Environmental lawyers have been in Brussels in order to address a European Parliament special committee on the issue.

“They are fighting a fight for more democracy and for transparency and to get a better insight in how big corporation such as Monsanto act and try to manipulate the facts,” said Belgium MEP Bart Staes.

Last November EU approved the use of glyphosate – a key chemical in Roundup, following five years of heated debate over whether it causes cancer. While it was approved for just five years until 2022 vs. the usual 15 years, there are now rumors that they will withdraw Roundup’s license this year altogether.

Labeled a carcinogen by the EPA in 1985, the agency reversed its stance on glyphosate in 1991. The World Health Organization’s cancer research agency, however, classified the compound as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015. California, meanwhile, has the chemical listed in its Proposition 65 registry of chemicals known to cause cancer.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weed-Killing Carcinogen Glyphosate Found In Children’s Foods

Weed-Killing Carcinogen Glyphosate Found In Children’s Foods

The known carcinogen and infamous weed killing chemical glyphosate has just been found in breakfast foods marketed for children. A new study has discovered trace amounts of the most widely used herbicide in the country in oats, granolas, and snack bars.

Concern over glyphosate has continued to grow in the United States in recent years.  Although the chemical may be safe in some amounts to spray on weeds if certain safety precautions are taken, it is probably a lot more dangerous if it’s ingested by a child. Most disturbing, however, is the fact that thirty-one out of 45 tested products had levels of glyphosate that were higher than what many scientists consider safe for children.

The study, which was conducted by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that many of the breakfast foods marketed to children contain glyphosate.  “I was shocked,” said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, who heads the Council on Environmental Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although not much is known about the effects of the chemical on children, parents and doctors are concerned. “We don’t know a lot about the effects of glyphosate on children,” Lowry said. “And essentially we’re just throwing it at them.”

We’re very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know,” said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG, according to CBS News. Faber has been working to improve food safety standards for more than a decade. He said he and his team at EWG conducted the study which included a lab test involving “45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats.” The researchers found glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed-killer Roundup, in all but two of the products.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are You One Of The 170 Million Americans Drinking Radioactive Tap Water?

According to a new bombshell report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), tap water for more than 170 million Americans contains radioactive elements that may increase the risk of cancer. The group examined 50,000 public water systems throughout the United States and found from 2010 to 2015, more than 22,000 water utilities reported radium in treated water.

Radiation in tap water poses serious health threats, particularly for children, and women during pregnancy.

The most common radioactive element the EWG found was radium. Studies show that radium above the EPA legal limit may cause depression of the immune system, anemia, cataracts, fractured teeth, and of course cancer.

Radium is a naturally occurring radioactive element that resides on the earth’s crust. The EWG emphasizes that higher radium levels in tap water occur when uranium mining or oil and gas drilling exploration companies disturb the earth’s geology. The process triggers radiation called “ionizing because it can release electrons from atoms and molecules, and turn them into ions,” explained the EWG. The EPA warns that all ionizing radiation is carcinogenic, implying that radium above the EPA limit is all too prevalent in America and it could be causing lots of cancer.

In 158 public water systems serving some 276,000 Americans in 27 states, the EWG found that radium exceeded the federal legal ceiling for radium-226 and radium-228.

The EWG’s Tap Water Database covers six radioactive contaminants, including radium, radon, and uranium. The database shows radium-226 and radium-228 are the two most common forms of radiation in every state.

The EWG expresses frustration with the 41-year old federal drinking water standards that are not designed to protect human health. New public health goals were set in 2006 by the California Office of Environmental Hazard Assessment, but have been widely overlooked by the federal government.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Monsanto is Suing California for Telling People the Truth About Its Chemicals

(ANTIMEDIA) California — Monsanto is suing the State of California for its intent to include glyphosate — the main ingredient in its wildly popular herbicide, Roundup — on its Proposition 65 toxic chemicals list.

California’s decision came after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” in March 2015. Researchers discovered “limited evidence” of a link between the weedkiller and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans, as well as “convincing evidence” of its link to other forms of cancer in rodents. Thus, IARC decided unanimously that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.”

California announced in September it would include glyphosate among the noxious chemicals under Prop 65, which “mandates notification and labeling of all known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into drinking waters of the state,” Alternet summarized.

Monsanto has pushed back against the classification by the IARC from the beginning. Glyphosate-laden Roundup remains the most heavily used herbicide on the planet — despite an ever-widening list of nations implementing whole or partial bans on the substance.

Indeed, Center for Food Safety believes the addition of glyphosate to the Prop 65 list is so imperative, Alternet reports the organization filed a motion to intervene in the Monsanto lawsuit on Wednesday:

“CFS was one of the first public interest organizations to raise awareness about how the use of glyphosate in Roundup Ready crop systems fosters herbicide-resistant weeds and increases the use of the herbicide and the detrimental effects associated with it, and has repeatedly sought to prevent the planting and approval of glyphosate-resistant, genetically engineered crops through federal litigation.”

Echoing concerns of an increasingly knowledgeable public, CFS believes in transparency and the right to be informed of risks from being exposed to toxic substances.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s the New Study the Fracking Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

Using human bronchial epithelial cells, which are commonly used to measure the carcinogenesis of toxicants, researchers confirmed fracking flowback water from the Marcellus Shale caused the formation of malignancies.

After conducting further tests on live mammalian subjects, researchers found five of six mice “injected with cells transformed from well water treatments developed tumors as early as 3 months after injection,” including a tumor in one mouse that grew to over 1 cm in size in just five months. A control group did not develop any tumors for the six months of the study period.

According to the study, performed by scientists from the Department of Environmental Medicine, as well as Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmaceutical at New York University, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers, and esteemed partners from universities in China — results indicate fracking flowback water causes cancer.

Implications of the report’s findingswould be difficult to overstate considering how fracking wastewater is generated, stored, and treated, and how often spills, leaks — and even the wastewater injection process, itself — can lead to contamination of the potable supply. A concise but thorough explanation of the fracking process can be found in the introduction to the report, “Malignant human cell transformation of Marcellus Shale gas drilling flow back water,” which states:

“Natural gas is believed to possibly be a bridge to transitioning from coal dependence. Currently natural gas fuels nearly 40% of the U.S. electricity generation, and the Marcellus Shale formation in the Appalachian Basin is on the forefront of gas-shale drilling for natural gas production in the United States. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Monsanto and the Heirloom Seed

Seeds in baggies

MONSANTO AND THE HEIRLOOM SEED

World food control is almost in place thanks to the reduction of seed diversity with genetically modified seeds being distributed by only a few transnational corporations. Genetic engineering has made proprietary control through the use of intellectual property rights possible over the seeds on which the world’s food supply depends on. To cover these costs, food prices are raised.

Monsanto is a leading corporation in agribusiness has been gradually taking over smaller heirloom seeds suppliers in addition to trademarks acquisition of a number of heirloom seeds. This started several years ago and it’s continuing. There’s significant probability that when buying seeds from a local store, one may get a genetically modified product.

Monsanto was formed in 1901, that’s more than a century ago, in the year. Throughout the ages, Monsanto has emerged and secured its reputation as a face of corporate evil. Demonstrations have been held globally by environmental activists and when Monsanto introduced Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds. Monsanto modifies a plant or crop artificially, making it immune to a specific, all-purpose poison through genetic engineering. It’s expected that the modified crop stays safe with the use of pesticides while everything else is killed.

SAMSUNG CSC

THE MONSANTO CONTROVERSY

The controversy that lies with Monsanto is not recent; the company used to be a chemical company which produced Agent Orange and its main poison, Dioxin. The company was also involved in selling DDT, dairy cow hormone rBGH, the carcinogenic Aspartame sweetener, and PCBs in the past.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Monsanto’s Roundup Kills and Damages More than Weeds

Monsanto’s Roundup Kills and Damages More than Weeds

shutterstock_109675235 (1)

Protests against Monsanto’s Roundup, with its poisonous, weed-killing glyphosate, have spread around the globe. An arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a probable cause of cancer in 2015. California’s Environmental Protection Agency (CA EPA) recently decided to label it as such.

Environmental groups and activists in Northern California, a region known for its wines, advocate a moratorium on this herbicide as health concerns mount. Roundup is the world’s most widely used pesticide.

Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, was the focus of a January 28 informational event. It was initiated by the Watertrough Childrens Alliance as a fundraiser for a lawsuit against winemaker Paul Hobbs for converting an apple orchard into a vineyard adjacent to schools, thus putting the health of around 500 children at risk by spraying Roundup. The Sierra Club, Sonoma Group, co-sponsored the evening.

Sebastopol Mayor Sarah Glade Gurney welcomed a panel of three experts and around 60 people from Sonoma and Napa counties attended and moderated an active discussion. Attorney Jonathan Evans of the Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, organizer Ella Teevan of the Washington, D.C.-based Food and Water Watch (FWW), and former Petaluma Vice-Mayor and City Council member Tiffany Renee spoke.

Monsanto also makes Roundup Ready, which are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). “93% of soy beans and 80% of corn in the U.S. are grown with Monsanto GMO seeds,” reported Teevan. “Food and Water Watch wants a moratorium on more GMOs and their labeling.”

“Our food system and how we interact with our environment is broken. Instead of serving people, profit is served. We need to fix our food system,” Teevan added.

“Glyphosate has become a pervasive presence in the environment. 65% of water in some countries has traces of it,” said Evans. “Exposure can create a number of problems, including liver and kidney damage. It can even change ones DNA. Our goal is to protect health and keep these products out of the market.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EPA’s New Fracking Study: A Close Look at the Numbers Buried in the Fine Print

EPA’s New Fracking Study: A Close Look at the Numbers Buried in the Fine Print

When EPA’s long-awaited draft assessment on fracking and drinking water supplies was released, the oil and gas industry triumphantly focused on a headline-making sentence: “We did not find evidence of widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

But for fracking’s backers, a sense of victory may prove to be fleeting.

EPA’s draft assessment made one thing clear: fracking has repeatedly contaminated drinking water supplies (a fact that the industry has long aggressively denied).

Indeed, the federal government’s recognition that fracking can contaminate drinking water supplies may prove to have opened the floodgates, especially since EPA called attention to major gaps in the official record, due in part to gag orders for landowners who settle contamination claims and in part because there simply hasn’t been enough testing to know how widespread problems have become.

And although it’s been less than a month since EPA’s draft assessment was released, the evidence on fracking’s impacts has continued to roll in.

study in Texas’ Barnett shale found high levels of pollutants – volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and known carcinogens – in many people’s drinking water, based on testing from over 500 water wells. The contaminants found were associated with the shale drilling industry, but the researchers cautioned it was too soon to say whether the industry actually caused the contamination.

But the association was strong, the researchers said. “In the counties where there is more unconventional oil and gas development, the chemicals are worse,” lead researcher Zachariah Hildenbrand told Inside Climate News. “They’re in water in higher concentrations and more prevalent among the wells. As you get away from the drilling, water quality gets better. There’s no doubt about it.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

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