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What the European Parliament wanted to ban: glyphosate being applied to oilseed rape as a pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Glyphosate in the EU: product promoters masquerading as regulators in a 'cesspool of corruption'?

Colin Todhunter

17th May 2016

With EU ministers due to decide tomorrow on the future of the glyphosate in the EU, Colin Todhunter finds evidence of collusion between regulators and the corporations whose sales of the 'probably carcinogenic' herbicide add up to many billions of dollars a year - evidence that underlies a legal action alleging fraud by the European Food Safety Authority against the EU's 508 million citizens. more...
Crop spraying in the British countryside close to a rural resident's home. Spraying of pesticides, including glyphosate, regularly takes place in the locality of homes and gardens with no protection for those living there. Photo: courtesy of UK Pesticides

No, the UN has not given glyphosate a 'clean bill of health'

Georgina Downs

17th May 2016

News headlines today suggest that a UN report on glyphosate residues has given the controversial herbicide a clean bill of health, writes Georgina Downs. But that's seriously misleading: the panel concludes that exposure to the chemical in food is unlikely to cause cancer. But that does not apply to those exposed to it occupationally or who live near sprayed fields. more...
Sunset at Papeete, French Polynesia. Photo: Pilottage via Flickr (CC BY).

ALERT: Critically Endangered Species: Homo sapiens

Willemijn Heideman

11th May 2016

The IUCN has mysteriously placed Homo sapiens outside its systems of thinking when defining the criteria for Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable Species, writes Willemijn Heideman: our collective inability to tackle our existential crises makes our survival on this planet a highly uncertain prospect. more...
Staff at a Bristol primary school, a member of the Pesticide Safe Bristol Alliance, campaigning to keep glyphosate out of their school and other places where children play. Photo: via Harriet Williams.

Pesticide-free cities are possible! But there's more to it than vinegar

Harriet Williams

9th May 2016

Bristol's decision to trial vinegar as a weedkiller in place of glyphosate certainly grabbed headline-writers' imaginations, writes Harriet Williams. But with a wide choice of proven chemical-free weed control strategies available, might this experiment be 'set up to fail'? more...
Explosion cloud from the UK's Operation Hurricane atomic bomb test on Australia's Montebello Islands, 3rd October 1952. Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).

Chernobyl, genetic damage, and the UK nuclear bomb tests - justice at last?

Chris Busby

6th May 2016

Britain's nuclear bomb test veterans suffered severe genetic damage from radiation, writes Chris Busby, and their case for compensation is being heard in the High Court today. Key to their case is evidence of similar damage inflicted on in utero babies exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster, and how the dreadful health impacts of radiation cascade down to future generations. more...
Cabbage white butterflies eating the leaves, flowers and pods of a plant similar to Camelina, together with a deformed butterfly that been fed a diet rich in long chain n-3 fatty acids. Compound image by GMWatch & edited by The Ecologist.

GMO lobby's false claims to defend GM oilseed against deformed butterfly findings

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

9th May 2016

A recent scientific study found the same long-chain omega-3 oils that are engineered into a new GM Camelina oilseed variety make butterflies grow up with deformed wings, writes Claire Robinson. Attempts by the 'pro-science' non-scientist Mark Lynas to discredit the study are a mixture of ignorance, research failures, 'straw man' arguments and outright errors. more...
Commercial almond orchards in the US receive some 2.1 million pounds of glyphosate a year - hence the strips of bare earth beneath these trees near Vernalis, along 132 west of Modesto, CA. Photo: Tom Hilton via Flickr (CC BY).

Withdrawn: the EPA's memo on the increasing use of glyphosate on food crops

Carey Gillam / USRTK

10th May 2016

The EPA's release of an internal memorandum last month showing the increasing use of the cancer-linked weedkiller glyphosate looked like a welcome opening up of information to the public, writes Carey Gillam. But then it was suddenly withdrawn, along with other related documents - though not before she grabbed her copy and reviewed the scale and scope of glyphosate usage. more...
Overheating? 2015 was actually the hottest year on record, and since then the heat has continued to rise. Image: Met Office (CC BY-NC-SA).

Scientists must challenge poor media reporting on climate change

John Krebs, University of Oxford

5th May 2016

The deliberate misrepresentation of climate science in our media deserves an urgent corrective, writes John Krebs. Recent misreporting by The Times - passing off partisan, unscientific, non-peer reviewed, ill-informed climate change-sceptic opinion as 'science' - deserves particular opprobrium. more...
When UK farmers spray their fields with pesticides close to rural homes, residents get no protection, and bizarre court rulings have effectively denied them their legal rights. Photo: Aqua Mechanical via Flickr (CC BY).

From Hillsborough to pesticides: establishment cover-ups, lies and corruption

Georgina Downs

4th May 2016

The British establishment does nothing quite so well as lies, cover-ups and high-level corruption, writes Georgina Downs - whether it's the Hillsborough disaster or permitting polluters to poison us. Georgina won her own High Court legal victory protecting rural residents from pesticide exposure as long ago as 2008 - only to have it snatched away as Court of Appeal judges closed ranks. more...
Female Aedes aegypti mosquito filled up on human blood. Photo: Stephen Ausmus / USDA via Flickr (CC BY).

Analysts slate GM mosquito firm, shares plummet

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

28th April 2016

Investment analysts say Oxitec's GM mosquito technology 'won't work, is way too expensive, and is many years from generating even minuscule revenue', writes Claire Robinson. As shares in its owner, Intrexon, slump, three law firms have announced they are investigating. more...
White storks on road near Chernobyl, Ukraine. Many parts of the Chernobyl region have low radioactivity levels and serve as refuges for plants and animals. But other areas are acutely radiotoxic. Birds tend to be especially susceptible to radiation impact

At Chernobyl and Fukushima, radioactivity has seriously harmed wildlife

Timothy A. Mousseau, University of South Carolina

27th April 2016

Field studies show that the intense radioactivity released by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters is seriously and unequivocally damaging to wildlife, writes Timothy A. Mousseau - in stark contrast to theoretical studies that show little or no impact on plant and animal health and populations. more...
How CRISPR works: what could possibly go wrong? In fact, an awful lot, as it turns out. Image: James atmos via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

CRISPR and the three myths of precise genome editing

Jonathan Latham, PhD / Independent Science News

25th April 2016

The very term 'genetic engineering' implies high precision in the alterations made to genes and deep understanding of their consequences, writes Jonathan Latham. In fact, we have never had either. And even with the arrival of CRISPR and other 'gene editing' systems, that remains the case: technologists are thrashing about in a perilous sea of unfathomable complexities and unknowable outcomes. more...

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Radioactivity warning sign on the hill at the east end of Chernobyl's Red Forest, so called due to the characteristic hue of the pine trees killed by high levels of radiation after the disaster. Photo: Timm Suess via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Linda Pentz Gunter

25th April 2016

Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the 'official' perception of Chernobyl's silent forests as a thriving nature reserve. more...
Image of CRISPR / Cas9. Image: NHGRI. via ja.wikimedia.org (Public Domain).

New GMOs are 'not GM' - EU folds under US pressure

Oliver Tickell

21st April 2016

The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new 'gene editing' techniques as non-GM - in violation of the EU's own laws. The move could make the 'new GMOs' exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing. more...
Kate Kelland's article implies that the IARC considers almost everything it meets to be carcinogenic, with bacon the prime example. Photo: cyclonebill via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Industry fingerprints all over Reuters' attack on IARC over glyphosate and cancer

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

21st April 2016

The Reuters news organisation has just sullied its reputation with a disgraceful attack on the WHO's specialist body on cancer, the IARC, writes Claire Robinson. Resorting to smear, innuendo and anonymous critics, it relies heavily on discredited industry sources including tobacco defenders in its attempt to undermine IARC's view that glyphosate probably causes cancer. more...
Cyclists stage Die-In at Mansion House in June 2015, following death at Bank junction. Photo: Stop Killing Cyclists.

This deadly pollution must stop! London cyclists rally for health and climate

Donnachadh McCarthy

20th April 2016

Stop Killing Cyclists are staging a protest in London on 27th April to demand an end to the UK's intolerable air pollution, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. With an estimated 40,000 people dying every year from filthy air, much of it caused by diesel cars, all are welcome to join in, denounce the government's 'polluters' friend' policies, and insist on swift action to stop the needless deaths. more...
Cabbage white butterfly with deformed wings (pinned to an insect board) that was fed an experimental diet enriched with long chain omega-3 fatty acids, 48 hours after emergence. Photo: PLOS One.

Nutritionally-enhanced GM crops? Too bad about the deformed butterflies

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

18th April 2016

It looked like such a good idea: take the pressure off wild fish stocks by growing GM oilseeds that produce health-enhancing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, writes Claire Robinson. But as a new study has established, those fish oils, novel in terrestrial ecosystems, cause wing deformities in cabbage white butterflies. Yet a third open field trial of these GM crops could soon be under way. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

The beginning of the end for glyphosate?

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

15th April 2016

The European Parliament just voted to re-authorise glyphosate, writes Peter Melchett - but with significant restrictions on its use. So what does the vote mean for the world's biggest selling herbicide? And how come the UK's National Farmers' Union welcomed the decision as an unqualified victory? more...
Abandoned children's toys at Chernobyl - Pripyat, 17th May 2008. Photo: Fi Dot via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

It's not over yet! 40,000 more cancer deaths predicted in Chernobyl aftermath

Dr Ian Fairlie

26th April 2016

Thirty years since the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl the impacts are still being felt, writes Ian Fairlie, and they will persist long into the future. Some 40,000 cancer deaths can be expected across Europe over the next 50 years, and 5 million people still living in areas highly contaminated with radiation. Yet the nuclear madness continues, with even Belarus building new nuclear reactors. more...
Monsanto's 'probably carcinogenic' Roundup on open retails sale. Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY).

European Parliament votes to ban most uses of glyphosate

Oliver Tickell

13th April 2016

The EU Parliament has responded to the health concerns of millions by calling on the Commission to severely restrict permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, including an effective ban on pre-harvest dessication of crops. more...
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA)

Two minute hate? Trump, the enemy at the gates of US corporate power

John McMurtry

11th April 2016

There are many good reasons to criticise Donald Trump, writes John McMurtry. But none of these matter to the US media, political and corporate powers determined to keep him out of the White House. With his radical talk of halving military spending, controlling Big Pharma and exiting 'free trade' agreements, Trump is a direct threat to the parasite capitalism that's destroying America. more...
He's got the whole world in his hands! Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant at the Fortune Global Forum, Tuesday 3rd November 2015. Photo: Fortune Global Forum via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

While we all fixate on glyphosate, Monsanto prepares its next GM trick: RNA pesticides

JP Sottile

11th April 2016

The global pesticide and bioscience giant Monsanto is a byword for evil for millions of campaigners and concerned citizens, writes JP Sottile. But that has never stopped it getting its way with the people that matter - politicians and regulators. And now the company is on the verge of biggest victory ever - winning clearance to spray biologically active RNA sequences on US crops. more...
Mikhail Gorbachev's party member's card issued in 1986, the year of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Mikhail Gorbachev: 30 years after Chernobyl, time to phase out nuclear power

Linda Pentz Gunter

26th April 2016

Thirty years after Chernobyl former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev remains haunted by the world's greatest ever industrial catastrophe, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. Now 85 and a committed environmentalist, he's still campaigning to bring the failed nuclear experiment to an end before further disasters follow, and encouraging a clean, efficient and renewable global energy economy. more...
The dead have no voice: doll at Pripyat, near Chernobyl. Photo: Ben Fairless via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Radiation harm deniers? Pro-nuclear environmentalists and the Chernobyl death toll

Dr Jim Green

7th April 2016

Just as climate change deniers leap from scientific uncertainty over the precise impacts of greenhouse gas emissions to certainty of little or no impact at all, so 'pro-nuclear environmentalists' conflate uncertainty of the mortality arising from Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters to certainty of few if any deaths, writes Jim Green. Their position is equally indefensible. more...
A farmer stands amidst a rice farm in Burundi, Africa. Photo: IRRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Philanthropic colonialism: embedding agribusiness and GMOs into African agriculture

Colin Todhunter

8th April 2016

Perhaps all the 'do gooders' busy forcing industrial models of agriculture onto poor but independent African farmers really do think they are helping them, writes Colin Todhunter. But if so they are deeply deluded. All they will achieve is the takeover of export-oriented agribusiness and GMOs, the destruction of agroecological farming systems, and a future of debt and landlessness. more...

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