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Banana plantation in Cienaga, Magdalena, Colombia. Photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Disease may wipe out the world's bananas - unless we adopt agroecological solutions

Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Cardiff University

7th February 2016

Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals. more...
Cyclist wearing face mask to protect against polluted air. Photo: Hamish Irvine via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Time to crack down on car pollution - the silent killer with powerful friends

Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor

3rd February 2016

Air pollution from vehicles is killing tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone, write Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor, an outrage set into stark focus by VW's 'test cheating'. The EU's response? To relax tests and allow cars to be more polluting - with the full support of the UK government. more...
Aedes Aegypti mosquito feeding on human blood. Photo: James Gathany via jentavery on Flickr (CC BY).

Pandora's box: how GM mosquitos could have caused Brazil's microcephaly disaster

Oliver Tickell

1st February 2016

In Brazil's microcephaly epidemic, one vital question remains unanswered: how did the Zika virus suddenly learn how to disrupt the development of human embryos? The answer may lie in a sequence of 'jumping DNA' used to engineer the virus's mosquito vector - and released into the wild four years ago in the precise area of Brazil where the microcephaly crisis is most acute. more...
Glyphosate, the 'probable carcinogen' in your shed. But wil the EU re-licence it based on EFSA's deeply flawed, pro-industry scientific assessment? Photo: Kit Reynolds via Flickr (CC BY).

EU must not re-approve glyphosate based on flawed EFSA study

Michèle Rivasi & 65 other MEPs

1st February 2016

The European Commission must not re-approve the 'probably carcinogenic' weedkiller glyphosate so long as its assessment is based on secret industry studies, actual products are not investigated, and in the absence of scientific criteria for endocrine disruption, write 66 MEPs in this Open Letter to Commissioner Andriukaitis, in charge of health and food safety. more...
Photo: Quincas Moreira via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Flint drinks lead-laden water; Republicans attack Clean Water Act

Farron Cousins / DesmogBlog.com

22nd January 2016

To save a small amount of money residents of Flint, Michigan, have been forced to consume hazardous levels of lead in their drinking water, writes Farron Cousins. Just the moment for the Republican House Speaker to attack the Clean Water Act. more...
Cell phone user in downtown Deland, Florida. Photo: austinhumphreys via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Radiating corruption? The frightening science and politics of cell phone safety

8th February 2016

Gary Null

A growing body of scientific evidence show that cell phone users suffer a range of negative health impacts from infertility and brain tumors to hyperactivity and memory loss, writes Gary Null. Yet the Center for Disease Control has taken a weak and ambiguous stance on the issue, reflecting industry interests at the expense of citizens. We deserve - and must demand - better. more...
Photo: Weiderinder.de.vu via Wikimedia (Public domain).

Disgraceful 'Honour' for failing to protect people from poisons

Georgina Downs

18th January 2016

Easy to miss in the New Year Honours list: a little-known civil servant for 'services to pesticides regulation'. But none the less shocking for that, writes Georgina Downs. Paul Hamey MBE is the very man who has been responsible for ensuring that rural residents receive no proper protection from repeated exposure to toxic mixtures of pesticides on nearby farms. Go figure. more...
The Aliso Canyon methane cloud seen in infra-red as a dark, menacing plume erupting from the breached gas well. Photo: from video (see embed) by Pete Dronkers / Environmental Defense Fund.

Aliso Canyon methane catastrophe is telling us: go renewable, now!

Pete Dronkers

14th January 2016

The massive methane leak at Aliso Canyon in California tell sus everything that's wrong with fossil fuels, writes Pete Dronkers: toxic, under-regulated, unsafe, and climate destroying. But the catastrophe also brings us a timely message: this is the time for the California, the US, and the world, to begin a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and into our clean, green, renewable future. more...
Under TTIP, this landscape of small farms interspersed with trees and woodland in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, might be unable to survive. Photo: Renate Dodell via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

TTIP: the downfall of European agriculture?

Dario Sarmadi / EurActiv.de

14th January 2016

The TTIP 'trade agreement between the US and the EU would devastate EU farms as it opens them up to competition from larger, less regulated US operations, writes Dario Sarmadi. This is the conclusion of a new study to be published tomorrow, which also finds that small-scale farmers would be the first to go - with the big winners the large agri-food corporations. more...
RoundUp by Monsanto. Photo: Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

EU regulator attacks IARC scientists on weedkiller safety

Arthur Neslen / Guardian Environment

13th January 2015

A fierce dispute is raging over whether glyphosate, the world's biggest weedkiller, causes cancer, writes Arthur Neslen. The row has pitched EFSA, the EU's food regulator, against 96 of the world's top medical scientists - and comes shortly before the EU is to decide on renewing glyphosate's licence. more...
How much Roundup is in your breakfast cereal? We don't know, as USDA and EPA have created a bureaucratic logjam that means the 'probably carcinogenic' herbicide is not tested for. Photo: Trish via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

USDA and EPA must come clean over Roundup residues

Carey Gillam / USRTK

12th January 2016

Each year the US Department of Agriculture manages to test for over 400 pesticides in food, writes Carey Gillam. But glyphosate, the world's biggest-selling herbicide, is not among them, even as evidence of its dangers mounts. It's time for USDA and EPA to stop their buck-passing - and give consumers their right to know. more...
Why did the badger cross the road? Maybe to get away from an Environment Secretary on a personal mission of death and destruction to Britain's wildlife. Photo: Badger in the Quantock Hills of Somerset by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Truss's decision: badger culling will continue, with no evidence it works

Lesley Docksey

5th January 2015

Sneaked out shortly before MP's Christmas recess, the Government's decision to 'carry on culling' badgers with no evidence that the slaughter is reducing the incidence of bovine TB is a travesty of process, writes Lesley Docksey. But it does have one useful outcome - it has exposed Defra's claims that the cull is 'science-led' as arrant nonsense. Science never even got a look in. more...

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Female Agapostemon sp. sweat bee, Oregon, USA. Photo: Thomas Shahan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Farm expansion driving US native bee declines

Beyond Pesticides

28th December 2015

Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'. more...
Badger at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

So badger culls are working? Liz Truss, produce your evidence!

Oliver Tickell

18th December 2015

Environment Secretary Liz Truss told Parliament yesterday that England's badger cull is 'working', and needs to be extended into new areas, writes Oliver Tickell. Yet she and the NFU have refused to release the evidence to back up her claims. Now MPs and NGOs are joining the cry: 'publish or be damned!' more...
In 2012 this Disney Princess Lunchbox was found to contain 29,800 ppm of DEHP - over 29 times the limit set in the US for children's toys. Photo: CHEJ via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

EU must uphold ban on toxic plasticiser DEHP

Tess Crean / ClientEarth

21st December 2015

The 'plasticiser' DEHP is known to leach out of plastics and cause fertility problems in male foetuses, writes Tess Crean. That's why it is banned under EU law. But now the Commission looks likely to grant a wide-ranging exemption for PVC recycling which would make the ban redundant. They must be stopped. more...
'Hey Monsanto, if you're so proud, why won't you LABEL IT?' Cedar Circle Farm and the Vermont Right To Know Coalition march with hundreds of Vermonters at the March Against Monsanto, 25th May 2013. Photo: Cedar Circle Farm via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The pro-GMO DARK Bill is back - but it cannot survive the light of truth

Steven M. Druker

11th December 2015

Pro-GMO US senators have a dastardly plan to deny states the right to require GMO labeling, writes Steven M. Druker, by attaching their DARK Bill as a rider to the Appropriations Bill next week. Now is the the time to wake up senators to the Bill's true intent, and to the deceit, illegal behaviour and scientific falsification that has kept the dangers of GMO foods a well kept secret - so far. more...
Soil is where our food comes from - so why don't we look after it as well as organic farmers? Photo: Soil Association.

It's time to celebrate and protect the soils that feed us!

Peter Melchett

4th December 2015

Almost all our food is grown in soil, writes Peter Melchett. Yet we are treating it like dirt: spraying it with toxic chemicals, depleting vital nutrients, and releasing its carbon to add to climate change. With World Soils Day coming up tomorrow, let's change our ways - and renew our commitment to organic food and farming. more...
If glyphosate was no longer being chucked around into food and environment, would there be fewer cases of cancer? Walkers gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness, August 2013. Photo: Susan G. Komen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EFSA and EU member states vs. WHO on glyphosate as carcinogen: can science win?

Corporate Europe Observatory

2nd December 2015

The health of Europe's citizens is on trial as the EU's food safety regulator challenges the World Health Organisation over glyphosate and cancer, writes Corporate Europe Observatory. On the WHO side, published, peer reviewed science, real world epidemiology and open processes. While the EFSA conclusion is based on secret industry studies and opaque procedures. Will science or realpolitik win the day? more...
Forsmark Horizontal silo, Sweden's final repository for radioactive operational waste, located at the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden. Photo: Fred Dawson LRPS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear radiation, Kierkegaard, and the philosophy of denial

Chris Busby

8th January 2016

As the evidence of the extreme harm to health inflicted by nuclear radiation mounts, the denialists are resorting to ever greater extremes, writes Chris Busby. On the one hand, advancing the absurd claim that ionising radition is not merely harmless, but health-enhancing. On the other, closing down the experiment that would have provided the strongest evidence yet. more...
Doing your toxicology in a computer has three big advantages (for the chemical industry): it's quick, cheap, and can be manipulated to systematically understate the real health hazards. Photo: Alejandro Juárez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Triumph of digital toxicology: why the US won't regulate deadly chemicals

Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman

27th November 2015

A six-month investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated toxicology research carried out entirely on computers - and this 'in silico' science often trumps both biology and epidemiology when it comes to regulatory action, or lack of it. The result? Toxic substances remain in everyday products. more...
Dr. Mark VanGessel brandishing a Palmer's amaranth on a Delaware farm - one of the glyphosate-resistant superweeds that's pushing biotech companies to develop 'stacked' herbicide resistant traits in soybeans and other crops. Photo: Delaware Agriculture vi

Regulators and retailers must stop ‘next generation' GMO imports

Helen Wallace

20th November

A new wave of ‘next generation' GM crops resistant to multiple herbicides, may be approved for import into the European Union, writes Helen Wallace, even though the health impact of the herbicide combinations is unknown. Regulators and retailers must refuse to authorise these GMOs or allow their use in any part of the food chain. more...
The EFSA, open for business ... provided you're a global pesticide corporation. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EFSA decides: no cancer risk from glyphosate

The Ecologist

13th November 2015

Europe's top food safety regulator has ruled that the world's top selling herbicide, glyphosate, does not cause cancer - in defiance of the WHO and overwhelming scientific evidence. The decision opens the way for a 10-year EU re-approval next year, before its Chemicals Agency has released its own findings. more...
Chafer Multidrive FC applying glyphosate and podstick to oilseed rape as a pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Glyphosate - EFSA must make a full and open scientific assessment

Jorgo Riss, K. Jensen & F. Veillerette

6th November 2015

The European Food Safety Authority is about to decide on a re-authorisation of glyphosate, a 'probable carcinogen', based on unpublished industry studies. In this Open Letter to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, campaigners call on him to ensure an open, scientifically robust process - and to immediately restrict the herbicide. more...
Don't let pesky nano-particles in candy spoil your children's Halloween. Photo: Cozy Coffin Motel by Kevin Dooley via Flickr (CC BY).

Ban the tiny horrors in our Halloween candy!

Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield / Center for Food Safety

31st October 2015

The European Parliament voted this week to regulate nano-materials in the pending EU law on novel foods, write Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield. But no such moves are taking place in the US. Let's make this the last time our children are exposed to these hazardous substances in their Halloween candy! more...
Tigyit coal mine. Photo: Carole Oudot / Matthieu Baudey.

Burma goes for coal - but at what cost in pollution, disease and land grabs?

Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey

29th October 2015

The president of Burma has decided that coal is the way to future wealth and prosperity, write Carole Oudot & Matthieu Baudey. But if the experiences of farmers and village people near Tigyit, site of the country's biggest coal mine and coal-fired power plant is anything to go by, it will bring only poverty, pollution, ill-health and land grabs to rural communities across the country. more...

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