Monday, April 9, 2012

E.P.A. denies ban

E.P.A. denies an environmental group’s request to ban a widely used weed killer
By Andrew Pollack
New York Times
April 9, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said that the widely used herbicide 2,4-D would remain on the market, denying a petition from an environmental group that sought to revoke the chemical’s approval.

The E.P.A. said that the environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, had not adequately shown that 2,4-D would be harmful under the conditions in which it is used.

“At best, N.R.D.C. is asking E.P.A. to take a revised look at the toxicity of 2,4-D,” the E.P.A. said in its decision, which was posted on its Web site.

“Yet the ground for tolerance revocation is a lack of safety.”

[Read More…]

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weedkiller causes deformities

Popular weedkiller causes deformities in amphibians
By Bob Berwyn
Summit County Citizens Voice, USA
April 3, 2012

SUMMIT COUNTY - Exposure to sub-lethal doses of a widely used weed killer caused tadpoles to grow abnormally large tails, according to University of Pittsburgh biologist Rick Relyea, who has been studying ecotoxicology and ecology for two decades.

Relyea has conducted extensive research on the toxicity of Roundup® to amphibians. Monsanto has challenged some of the studies and Relyea has responded to the criticism.

In his latest study, Relyea set up large outdoor water tanks that contained many of the components of natural wetlands. Some tanks contained caged predators, which emit chemicals that naturally induce changes in tadpole morphology (such as larger tails to better escape predators).

After adding tadpoles to each tank, he exposed them to a range of Roundup® concentrations. After 3 weeks, the tadpoles were removed from the tanks. “It was not surprising to see that the smell of predators in the water induced larger tadpole tails,” Relyea said. “That is a normal, adaptive response. What shocked us was that the Roundup® induced the same changes.

[Read More…]

Friday, March 16, 2012

Butterfly losses

Study ties GMO corn, soybeans to butterfly losses
By Josephine Marcotty
Star Tribune
March 16, 2012

Herbicide-resistant crops can withstand Roundup, which kills monarchs’ preferred nesting plant

Genetically engineered corn and soybeans make it easy for farmers to eradicate weeds, including the long-lived and unruly milkweed.

But they might be putting the monarch butterfly in peril.

The rapid spread of herbicide-resistant crops has coincided with — and may explain — the dramatic decline in monarch numbers that has troubled some naturalists over the past decade, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University.

Between 1999 and 2010, the same period in which so-called GMO crops became the norm for farmers, the number of monarch eggs declined by an estimated 81 percent across the Midwest, the researchers say. That’s because milkweed — the host plant for the eggs and caterpillars produced by one of one of the most gaudy and widely recognized of all North American butterflies — has nearly disappeared from farm fields, they found.

[Read More…]

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Roundup threatens food supply

Monsanto’s Roundup threatens stability of global food supply
By Anthony Gucciardi
NationofChange
March 13, 2012

Monsanto’s reckless disregard for public health and the agricultural stability of the planet may be even more significant than previously thought. A shocking new report reveals how Monsanto’s Roundup is actually threatening the crop-yielding potential of the entire biosphere. The report reveals that glyphosate, which was developed by Monsanto in the early 1970s and is the active ingredient in its patented herbicide Roundup, may be irreversibly devastating the microbiodiversity of the soil - compromising the health of the entire planet, as a result.

New research published in the journal Current Microbiology highlights the extent to which glyphosate is altering, and in some cases destroying, the very microorganisms upon which the health of the soil, and - amazingly - the benefits of raw and fermented foods as a whole, depend. Concerningly, certain beneficial strains of bacteria used as food-starters in cultures for raw yogurt, such as Lactobacillus cremoris, have entirely disappeared from certain geographic regions where traditionally they were found in plenty. The study reports that the death and growth inhibition of selected food microorganisms was observed in concentrations of Roundup that are lower than are recommended in agricultural practice.

This means that farmers who are increasingly using larger and larger concentrations of Roundup and similar glyphosate-based herbicide formulations to countermand the increasingly resistant super weeds GM agriculture has spawned, are not only damaging the immediate health of the soil, but subsequent yields of indispensable food-starter microorganisms, as well as the microbes that ensure the overall fertility of the soil for producing crops well into the future.

[Read More…]

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bt toxin and ladybird larvae

Swiss researchers confirm lethal effects of genetically modified Bt toxin on young ladybird larvae
European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)
Press Release
February 27, 2012

Counter-research based on flawed methodology

Zürich/Braunschweig - Swiss researchers of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich confirm earlier findings that the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry1Ab produced for pesticidal purposes by genetically modified (GM) Bt maize increases mortality in the young ladybird larvae (Adalia bipunctata L., two-spotted ladybird) in laboratory tests. These ladybird larvae are typical ‘non-target’ environmental goods which are not supposed to be harmed by the GM maize. On February 15, the research team headed by Dr. Angelika Hilbeck published the results of additional tests after their first publication in 2009 was strongly criticized by proponents of GM crops in a coordinated attack in the scientific journal “Transgenic Research”. Following the well known pattern described by the U.S. science journalist Waltz , the counter-articles tried to discredit the 2009 research as “pseudo-science”, and presented their own research aimed at disproving the original work. Trigger for this concerted attack was the policy response by the German government which issued a ban in spring 2009 on the commercial planting of a GM maize that expresses the tested Bt toxin, based - among many others - on the results of the earlier 2009 study with A. bipunctata.

[Read More…]

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