The Ecologist


pesticides: 1/25 of 152
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A total of 1,378 chemicals are banned for use in cosmetics in the EU, as opposed to a mere 11 in the US. Photo: Agnes via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Europe must resist chemical industry attacks on health and environment

Lora Verheecke & Laura Große

12th October 2016

Chemical and pesticide industry lobbyists are striving to abolish the European precautionary principle in favour of a so-called 'science-based' approach, write Lora Verheecke & Laura Große. If the EU succumbs to the spin, human health and the environment across Europe will be sacrificed to corporate profit. more...
Monsanto Graph' in Abode of Chaos by Thierry Ehrmann, Saint Romain en Mont d'Or, France. Photo: Urban Scraper via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Bayer-Monsanto merger - corporate madness or a moment of possibility?

Pat Thomas

19th September 2016

With the Wall Street Journal warning that the GMO crop boom may be over in the face of superweeds, higher seed prices, falling yields and farmer antipathy, writes Pat Thomas, the Monsanto-Bayer merger is a sign of weakness as both companies struggle to deliver growth and profits to match shareholder expectations. We had better be ready to press home our advantage! more...
'Resistance is Fertile - Compost Capitalism !' Banner at Occupy Oakland protest against GMOs, 10th December 2011. Photo: Lily Rhoads via Flickr (CC BY).

Monsanto and Bayer: food and agriculture just took a turn for the worse

Colin Todhunter

16th September 2016

Bayer's $66 billion takeover of Monsanto represents another big click on the ratchet of corporate power over farming and food, writes Colin Todhunter. With the 'big six' of global agribusiness now set to turn into the 'even bigger three', farmers and consumers are facing more GMOs and pesticides, less choice, and deeper price gouging. Agroecology has never looked more attractive. more...
Weeds in farmers' crops - like these poppies in an oilseed rape field near Thirsk - may reduce profit margins - but they are hardly a 'serious danger to plant health'. Photo: James West via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

EFSA creates 'plant health' loophole for banned weedkillers

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2016

The EU's food and farming safety regulator is trying to create a 'back door' system to licence the use of herbicides that have been banned for their toxic impacts on people and wildlife - under a clearly inapplicable 'plant health' exemption. more...
Jerusalem artichoke harvest at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

Good nutrition begins in healthy soils

Patrick Holden

7th September 2016

There's no such thing as 'healthy food' if it's not produced by sustainable farming systems on living soils, Patrick Holden told the recent 'Food: The Forgotten Medicine' conference. But after 70 years of industrial farming, there's a huge job to be done to restore our depleted soils and the impoverished genetic diversity of our seeds and crops. more...
Suffolk farmland at dusk. Photo: Jimmy - S via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Dark days ahead for British agriculture? Or green shoots of a brighter future?

Keith Tyrell / PAN UK

25th August 2016

With Brexit the UK will have to chose between two visions of our farming future, writes Keith Tyrell. Will it be heavily subsidised corporate agribusiness that ravages both nature and small, high quality farmers. Or will we seize the chance to build a sustainable food and farming system that supports wildlife, landscape, family farms, organic production and diverse rural economies? more...
Monsanto's supply of defoliant chemicals for the US's 'Operation Ranchand' in Vietnam is just the first of the alleged 'crimes' for which the company is facing trial in the peoples' tribunal. Photo: manhhai via Flickr (CC BY).

Holding Monsanto to account: the People's Tribunal

Heidi Chow

4th August 2016

This autumn the Monsanto Tribunal will assemble experts from around the world to set out the evidence against the global mega-corporation, which will stand accused of monstrous 'crimes' against people and the environment. The Tribunal's verdict will not be legally binding - this time. But on a future occasion, it may be. more...

Help to get toxic chemicals banned from our towns, cities, streets and parks

Nick Mole - Pesticides Action Network (PAN) UK

27th June 2016

Last week, as the UK voted itself out of the European Union, Greenpeace called for another exit strategy - a glyphosate exit plan. Nick Mole from PAN UK explains how we can all get involved in a campaign to ban all pesticides - not just glyphosate - in our towns and cities more...

Brexit - a nasty sting in the tail for Britain's bees?

Dave Timms

21st June, 2016

Britain's bees are under threat from Brexit and moves to allow farmers to use banned bee-harming 'neonictinoid' pesticides, warns Dave Timms, Bees Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. With 20 species extinct since 1900 and a further 35 under threat, how much more can our bees take? more...
Are we the real lab rats? If glyphosate herbicides can mess up rats uterine development, what's it doing to humans? Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Glyphosate disrupts rats' uterine development


21st June 2016

As the EU prepares to vote on whether to re-authorise glyphosate this week, a new study finds that commercial formulations of the herbicide alter the development of rats' uteruses, potentially causing cancer and affecting fertility. more...
Pesticides - what's actually in them? If this judgment from a US federal court stands, you will never find out any but the 'active' ingredients. Photo: Gail Langellotto via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Judge rules: no right to know hazardous pesticide ingredients

Oliver Tickell

14th June 2016

A federal judge has ruled that the US Environmental Protection Agency is under no obligation to force pesticide makers to disclose supposedly 'inert' ingredients in their products - even where those ingredients are seriously hazardous to health or environment. more...
Just about every one of the 11,000 organochlorine chemicals in industrial use is harmful - so maybe we should just ban the lot, rather than worry about a handful of 'bad actors'. Photo: Grey World via Flickr (CC BY).

The problem is not glyphosate, or DDT, or BPA - we must challenge the entire system!

Jonathan Latham, PhD

20th May 2016

Apparent 'victories' in the fight against toxic chemicals - like the EU's failure to re-approve glyphosate yesterday - are illusory, writes Jonathan Latham. The real problem is not one of specific 'bad actors', but the entire system that allows new, likely to be toxic compounds to pollute the environment in near-total ignorance of their impacts. It's time to take our campaigning to a whole new level. more...

pesticides: 1/25 of 152
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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...
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...
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...
The soil fungus Aspergillus nidulans on lactophenol cotton blue wet preparation. Photo: Iqbal Osman via Flickr (CC BY).

Monsanto's Roundup toxic to soil fungus at ultra-low doses

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

5th May 2016

A new study shows that the market-leading Roundup herbicide kills soil microbiota at concentrations 50 times lower than used in agriculture, writes Claire Robinson. The findings raise serious new concerns about the environmental impacts of glyphosate herbicides. more...
Bee on oilseed rape flower. Photo: ejausberg via Pixabay (Public Domain).

Defra stands up for bees: 'No' to NFU's neonic application

Oliver Tickell

13th May 2015

A damning expert critique of the National Farmers Union's application to use banned bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment on a third of England's oilseed rape crop this autumn has forced the UK government to refuse the NFU's demand. 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...
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...
Photo: Burger, Louisiana, USA by Ed Fisher aka gleam via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

We are being silently poisoned: the case against glyphosate

Colin Todhunter

14th April 2016

The 'cancer industry', including charities with close links to chemicals corporations, is always keen to blame cancer victims for their morally deficient lifestyles, writes Colin Todhunter. But the real fault lies with the commercial interests touting bad food, nutritionally unbalanced and laced with toxic agrochemicals - like the ubiquitous glyphosate - and their residues. 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...
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...
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


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...
Forager bee pollinating a passion flower. Photo: Max Westby via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Chlorpyrifos 'may threaten survival' of Forager bees

The Ecologist

11th March 2016

The insecticide chlorpyrifos is not just highly toxic to developing human foetuses. A new study finds that it also damages the memory and learning ability of Forager bees even at very low doses, threatening the survival of this important pollinator. more...


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