Category Archives: Pesticides

What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food

The Guardian – Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé  – Feb 15, 2019

A study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to buy organic food: does it really make a difference?

A study shows that eating organic can dramatically decrease the pesticides you’re exposed to. Photograph: Dave Martin/AP

When Andreina Febres, a mother of two living in Oakland, California, signed up for a study evaluating whether an organic diet could make a difference in the amount of pesticides found in her body, she didn’t know what researchers would find. But her family, and the three others across the country that participated, would discover that they all had detectable levels of the pesticides being tracked. They would also discover that after only six days on an organic diet, every single person would see significant drops in those pesticides, including several linked to increased risk of autism, cancer, Parkinson’s, infertility, and other significant impacts on health.

“It’s good to see that just after a week there was a dramatic drop,” Febres said after seeing the results. “I would love to get those pesticides out of my body and my family’s bodies.”

This just-published peer-reviewed study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to reach for the conventional or organic option at the store: does organic really make a difference? The results say yes, a big difference. Choosing organic can protect you from exposure to toxic pesticides.

This study, led by researchers at University of California, Berkeley and Friends of the Earth, and co-authored by one of us, tracked pesticide levels in four families from across the country for two weeks. The first week, the families ate their typical diets of non-organic food; the following week, they ate completely organic. Urine samples taken over the course of the study were tested for pesticides and the chemicals pesticides break down into, called metabolites.

The results? Of the 14 chemicals tested, every single member of every family had detectable levels. After switching to an organic diet, these levels dropped dramatically. Levels across all pesticides dropped by more than half on average. Detectable levels for the pesticide malathion, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization, decreased a dramatic 95% .

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New Analysis: Curbing Pesticides Key to Reversing Insect Apocalypse

Global Research Feb 1, 2019 – By Center For Biological Diversity 

More Than 40 Percent of World’s Insect Species on Fast-track to Extinction

Authors of a major new scientific review of the catastrophic decline of insects say a “serious reduction in pesticide usage” is key to preventing the extinction of up to 41 percent of the world’s insects within the “next few” decades.

The review, published online this week in Biological Conservation, highlights that reversing the insect declines will require an “urgent” push to replace the ever-escalating use of harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers with more ecologically based, sustainable farming practices.

“This analysis is an alarming wake-up call that we need to dramatically reduce pesticide use,” said Tara Cornelisse, an entomologist and senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Dumping more and more insecticides on our food crops is like fixing a noise under the hood by yanking out the car’s engine. Insects are the foundation of every healthy ecosystem, so we need to quit poisoning landscapes with millions of pounds of toxic pesticides every year.”

Among the authors’ most sweeping conclusions is that

“A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide.”

The meta-analysis of 73 studies assessing insect declines over a period of at least 10 years found that industrial farming practices driving habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers is associated with 47 percent of reported declines.

The authors found clear evidence for decline in all insect groups reviewed, but especially for butterflies and moths, native bees, beetles, and aquatic insects like dragonflies. It is estimated that half of butterflies, moths and beetles are declining at about 2 percent per year, and one in six bee species has disappeared in many regions.

A growing body of research indicates that insects are declining about twice as fast as vertebrates.

Earlier studies of insect loss showed declines of insect specialists — those that need specific habitat for nesting, or pollinate only one type of flower. But more and more studies are now documenting large-scale insect loss that includes generalist species, like the endangered rusty patched bumble bee, that were once common throughout their range.

The decline of widely ranging generalist insect species shows that habitat loss, alone, is not enough to explain insect declines. Mounting evidence now demonstrates that a significant driver is the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers.

“We know neonicotinoid pesticides are a major cause of bee decline and are working to ban them, but this review highlights the urgent need for sweeping pesticide reform,” Cornelisse said. “That reform must start with the EPA replacing its long, troubling embrace of pesticide makers with a truly independent review process for assessing these dangerous poisons.”

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Mushroom-Based Pesticide Could Make Chemical Pesticides Obsolete

Return to Now – June 4, 2018

This non-toxic fungus-based insecticide kills over 200,000 pesky insects without harming bees.

Cordyceps fungus takes over brain of an ant, then kills it, Peru

A all-natural mushroom-based insecticide could make bee-harming neonicotinoids and most other chemical pesticides obsolete.

It’s not toxic to humans, pollinators, fish, birds or any other non-targeted animal.

This is great news in light of 700 species of American bees recently joining the endangered species list, the entire Gulf coast becoming a dead zone for sea life, and the bird population of Europe freefalling to a third of what it was a few decades ago.

There’s only one catch, it has to be approved by the EPA.

Mycologist Paul Stamets has developed the “most disruptive technology the pesticide industry has ever witnessed” simply by “training” mushrooms to sporulate later, after they’ve been eaten by pesky insects.

He patented two insecticides in 2006 — one for carpenter ants, fire ants and termites, and another for 200,000 other types of insects — using special mushrooms he developed.

Normally mushroom spores repel insects, but Stamets’ mushrooms attract the insects to eat them before they sporulate, and then sporulate and sprout inside of them, right through the insects’ bodies.

According to Stamets, after insects eat the fungi, they “become mummified” and a “mushroom pops out of their head.”

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New Lawsuits Filed Against US Gov’t Regarding Cancer-Linked Pesticides

Anti Media – June 3, 2018

The Trump Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are facing three new lawsuits regarding recently amended practices regarding the use of certain pesticides which have been linked to cancer.

A coalition of conservation and public health groups have filed suit against the Trump Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accusing the federal government of foregoing an assessment of a pesticide known to have harmful health effects, as well as suspending training for pesticide handlers. The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health and Californians for Pesticide Reform filed suit against the EPA head, Scott Pruitt, accusing him of failing to protect endangered wildlife and the environment by abandoning a safety assessment of the pesticide malathion.

The lawsuit claims the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have failed to complete their legal mandate to assess and limit the dangers of malathion. According to the World Health Organization, malathion is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

“Its deplorable that the Trump administration is putting human health and endangered wildlife at risk to please Dow,” said Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump and Pruitt aren’t above the law and they have to take reasonable steps to limit the harms of this dangerous pesticide.”

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EU votes for a permanent ban on bee-harming pesticides

The European Union has voted for a permanent ban on pesticides that are harmful to bees.

Campaigners call it a ‘tremendous victory’ for the environment, while pesticide company Bayer calls it a sad day for Europe and its farmers.

Fruit and vegetable crops are pollinated by bees and other insects, but modern farming techniques have been blamed for a steady decline in their numbers.

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TOXIC FOOD is killing humanity: One-fifth of global deaths now linked to processed junk food and toxic ingredients

A new study conducted at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (HealthData.org) and published in The Lancet medical journal finds that a shocking 20 percent of global deaths are caused by toxic foods, junk foods, processed foods and harmful food ingredients. In essence, the study reveals that the toxic food industry is now about as dangerous as Big Tobacco.

As covered in The Guardian:

The study, based at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, compiles data from every country in the world and makes informed estimates where there are gaps… Diet is the second highest risk factor for early death after smoking. The problem is often seen as the spread of western diets, taking over from traditional foods in the developing world.

In other words, all the toxic food ingredients, processed foods, junk foods and fast foods that we’ve been warning you about for years are now being recognized by the science establishment to be one of the leading killers of human beings across our planet. Many of these foods are saturated with glyphosate and pesticides, and an increasing number are also genetically engineered.

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