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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...
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...

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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...
Breakfast at McDonalds in Maddur, Karnataka, India. Photo: Harsha K R via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

India: obesity, malnutrition and the globalisation of bad food

Colin Todhunter

4th April 2016

India's food system, essentially clean just a generation ago, has been comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country's neoliberal 'great leap forwards', writes Colin Todhunter. The result? a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, but no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption. more...
Returning hair samples to a Yanomami community after testing for lead content. Photo: © Marcos Wesley / ISA.

Amazon Indians at risk in mercury poisoning crisis

Sarina Kidd / Survival International

5th April 2016

Illegal gold mining in the Amazon has a devastating effect on indigenous peoples, writes Sarina Kidd. First the miners bring disease, deforestation and even murder. Then long after they have gone, communities are left to suffer deadly mercury poisoning. Now the UN has been called on to intervene. more...
If we ate more of this, the world would be a cleaner and healthier place! Fruit vendor in Devaraj Market, Mysore, India. Photo: Christopher Fynn via Flickr (CC BY).

Going veggie could save slash emissions and prevent 8 million deaths a year

Marco Springmann

31st March 2016

Oxford researchers have quantified the benefits of the world becoming vegetarian, writes Marco Springmann. Their study shows that simple changes - like moving to diets low in meat and high in fruit and vegetables - could lead to significant reduction in mortality and health care costs, while cutting food sector greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds. more...
The Chancellor has done it for sugary drinks. Now, will he go on to do the same for even bigger issues - like the air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of British citizens a year? Photo: Roy Schreffler via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Chancellor is right to act on sugar. Next, air pollution!

Simon Bullock

17th March 2016

The Chancellor's 'sport not sugar' move to tax sugary drinks was extremely welcome, writes Simon Bullock. But we need a similar Treasury approach to protect people from other threats too. So how about tackling the air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of Britons a year? more...
IAEA marine experts and Japanese scientists collect water samples in coastal waters near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Photo: Petr Pavlicek / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No matter what BBC says: Fukushima disaster is killing people

Chris Busby

14th March 2016

The BBC has been excelling itself in its deliberate understatement of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, writes Chris Busby. While calling in pseudo experts to say radiation is all but harmless, it's ignoring the science that shows that the real health impacts of nuclear fallout are around 1,000 times worse than claimed. more...
Building at Chernobyl, Ukraine, 15th November 2012. Photo: Stijn D'haese via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

It's not just cancer! Radiation, genomic instability and heritable genetic damage

Chris Busby

17th March 2016

Cancer is just one of of the outcomes of the genetic damage inflicted by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby, and perhaps one of the least important. Of far greater long term significance is the broad-scale mutation of the human genome, and those of other species, and the resulting genomic instability that causes cascades of heritable mutations through the generations. more...
IARC believes the glyphosate molecule itself is damaging to health, not just commercial herbicide mixtures complete with co-formulants. Image: Benjah-bmm27 via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

WHO / IARC: glyphosate itself is the cancer and genotoxicity problem

IARC

11th March 2016

With industry spinning that glyphosate is harmful to health, if at all, only with co-formulants like tallowamine, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency IARC has just released a Q&A document (below) stating that 'pure' glyphosate poses similar cancer and genotoxicity risks as its formulations. Banning particular co-formulants, as proposed by some EU countries, does not solve the problem. more...
Anti-nuclear demonstration in the wake of the Fukushima disaster at Meji Koen, Tokyo, 19th September 2011. Photo: jordi olaria jané via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The flight from Fukushima - and the grim return

Linda Pentz Gunter

11th March 2016

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began to unfold, the searing psychological effects are still being felt among the 160,000 refugees who fled the fallout, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But now there's growing pressure to return to contaminated areas declared 'safe' in efforts to whitewash the disaster's impacts. Why the rush? To clear the way for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, complete with events in Fukushima City. more...
Roundup, Monsanto's top selling herbicide, now up for relicencing for use in EU. With today's postponement of a vote, it could go either way. Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY).

EU postpones glyphosate decision: a good day for public health!

Aisha Dodwell

8th March 2016

It has been an epic battle, writes Aisha Dodwell. Monsanto and other corporations are desperate to get the world's number one herbicide, glyphosate, relicenced in the EU. But their network of power has been challenged by doctors, scientists and a global movement of people. With today's postponement of the EU's decision, we have just scored a major victory. more...

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