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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Resistance' Category


24
Mar

Study Finds Rapid Cross-Resistance to Bt incorporated GE Maize

(March 24, 2013 Beyond Pesticides) A study by an entomologist at Iowa State University in Ames Iowa found that western corn rootworm is now resistant to two varieties of Bt-incorporated genetically engineered (GE) maize and that resistant insects are likely to be cross-resistant. This study adds to the growing scientific literature that shows insect resistance to Bt crops is making certain GE technologies obsolete, which could lead to an increase in insecticide use. The study, Field-evolved resistance by western corn rootworm to multiple Bacillus thuringiensis toxins in transgenic maize, conducted by a team led by Aaron Gassmann, PhD, adds to the growing scientific literature that that finds western corn rootworm  is resistant to varieties of Bt-incorporated GE maize. In 2009, farmers in Iowa observed severe injury to Cry3Bb1 maize —one of the three varieties of Bt-incorporated GE maize- from larval western corn rootworm in the field. Subsequent laboratory assays reveal that this injury is associated with rootworm resistance to  Cry3Bb1. This study finds that injury to Cry3Bb1 maize because of rootworm resistance persisted beyond 2011 and expanded to include mCry3A maize, a second variety of Bt-incorporated GE maize. Laboratory analysis of western corn rootworm from these fields finds resistance to […]

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11
Mar

Scientists Determine 99.6% of Lice Resistant to Chemical Treatment

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2014)  Virtually all lice in the U.S. have developed resistance to over-the-counter and prescription shampoos containing the toxic chemical permethrin. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs  considers permethrin, part of the synthetic pyrethroid class of chemicals, “likely to be carcinogenic.” However, when used as a lice shampoo the chemical is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and allowed for use on infants over two months old. The latest study on lice resistance, published in the Journal of the Entomological Society of America, shows that harsh chemical treatments not only are not necessary given effective least-toxic alternatives, but also are not able to provide the lice control that manufacturers claim. “In the UK and Europe, they don’t even use pyrethroids anymore. Virtually everyone but the United States and Canada has given up using these over-the-counter products,” said Dr. John Clark, PhD, a professor of environmental toxicology and chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-author of the new study. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press,  Eric Ayers, MD of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan noted that lice that are not killed by the chemical treatment not only survive, but become […]

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17
Jan

Atrazine Ban Will Result in an Economic Benefit to Farmers

(Beyond Pesticides, January 17, 2014) A new economic study, Would banning atrazine benefit farmers?, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health demonstrates that eliminating the herbicide atrazine, widely used on U.S. corn crops, will economically benefit corn growers. The study examines the research produced by the Atrazine Benefits Team (ABT), a group assembled by atrazine manufacturer Syngenta, revealing that the industry-funded studies significantly overestimate the benefits of atrazine without considering the value of nonchemical weed management techniques. Research, led by Frank Ackerman, PhD., professor at Tufts University in the Global Development and Environment Institute, questions the economic viability of atrazine in Syngenta’s study. Researchers critically review five papers released by ABT in 2011, which claim that the withdrawal of atrazine would diminish corn yields by 4.4%, increasing corn prices by 8%. Using these assumptions, Dr. Ackerman and his team calculated that corn growers’ revenue would actually increase by 3.2%, providing a total of $1.7 billion to farmers and the U.S. economy with minimal price changes for consumers. In short, because of price elasticity, eliminating atrazine would improve farmer revenues. According to the study, “The result [of an atrazine ban] would be an increase in corn growers’ revenues, […]

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06
Jan

Environmentalists, Farmers Challenge USDA’s Call for the Deregulation of Crops with Genetically Engineered Tolerance to the Highly Toxic Herbicide 2,4-D

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2014) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Friday released for public input its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which calls for the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans engineered to be tolerant to the toxic herbicide 2,4-D. These new varieties of GE corn and soybean, created partly due to proliferate weed resistance resulting from the widespread use of glyphosate (Roundup) on other GE crops, is set to usher in dramatic increases in 2,4-D use with associated health and environmental hazards, according to environmental scientists. The GE crops are being produced by Dow AgroSciences under the brand name “Enlist.” According to Nichelle Harriott, senior scientist at the national environmental group Beyond Pesticides, “The engineered varieties will not only spawn new weed resistant strains, but contaminate the environment and increase the public health risks to cancer and Parkinson’s disease, especially in farmworkers and farming communities exposed to 2,4-D.” The failure of GE-glyphosate (Roundup) tolerant crops to live up to their promises is a main contributing factor behind the development of stacked varieties such as “Enlist,” which combines resistance to 2,4-D and glyphosate. So widespread is glyphosate resistance that EPA has granted emergency use exemptions for pesticides […]

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03
Jan

Research on Corn Pest Finds No Economic Benefit to GE Corn in the Northeast

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2014) A recent study on the European corn borer (ECB), a major corn pest, finds no significant difference in yield between genetically engineered (GE)Bt (ECB-resistant) corn and non-GE corn in the Northeast, where pest pressure has decreased. Considering the high cost of GE corn, researchers determine that farmers will see no benefits in terms of profit. The study, published in the journal Pest Management Science, examines the damage that ECBs cause to crops, comparing corn genetically engineered to express the insecticidal toxin Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) with non-Bt crops at 29 sites around Pennsylvania over three years. The study concludes that although Bt corn hybrids reduced ECB damage in comparison to non-Bt crops, they found no difference in yields, explaining that because of higher seed costs they also “rarely improved profits.” Although researchers attribute the decline in ECB population to the adoption of Bt corn, the study does not address long-term insect resistance which can develop in fields after the introduction of GE crops and lead to an increased use in pesticides. “With less ECB damage around, non-Bt hybrids in our tests yielded just as well as Bt hybrids, so the decline in ECB populations provides an […]

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17
Dec

Beyond Pesticides’ Decade-Long Campaign Leads FDA to Bar Antibacterial Soaps

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2013) A new rule proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps, body washes, and other consumer goods to prove that their products are both safe for long-term use and more effective than regular bar soap in order to remain on the market. This announcement, though long-delayed, represents a positive step towards reining in the unnecessary use of antibacterial chemicals at a time when top-level government scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have asserted that we’ve reached “the end of antibiotics.”  With the publication of its article The Ubiquitous Triclosan: A common antibacterial agent exposed  in 2004, Beyond Pesticides began a campaign to ban triclosan because of it cross resistance with antibiotics, endocrine disrupting effects, and lack of benefits. “Numerous studies have shown that antibacterial soaps cause more harm than any of their perceived benefits,” said Nichelle Harriott, staff scientist  at Beyond Pesticides. “For the protection of human health and the environment, we urge the FDA to move quickly to get these products off of the market.” FDA’s new rule, announced Monday, will be open for public comment for 180 days and manufacturers will […]

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16
Dec

FDA Moves to Limit Some Antibiotic Uses in Livestock

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2013) A new rule published by the Food and Drug (FDA) will limit the ability for food producers to give livestock antibiotics for subtherapeutic purposes. These new regulations come after decades of pressure from environmental and public health groups to limit the nontherapeutic use of these drugs in animal production. Though these regulations are an important step in the right directions, some are critical that loopholes still exist which could make these new rules less effective than they need to be. FDA’s new rules on antibiotics ask drug manufactures to change the label of antibiotic drugs so that farmers will no longer be able to use them to promote the growth of livestock. Currently subtherapeutic doses of penicillin and tetracycline are typically added directly into animal feed and water. The new rule also requires that licensed veterinarians supervise the use of antibiotics, meaning farmers and ranchers would have to obtain prescriptions to use the drugs for their animals. Currently, farmers can go to feed stores and buy antibiotics over the counter with no regulatory oversight. These new FDA rules are an important step forward to better regulate the use of antibiotics, however loopholes within the rules […]

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25
Oct

Health Threat Continues from Antibiotic Use in Livestock Production, FDA Unresponsive

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2013) A report released by a Johns Hopkins University panel reached two disturbing conclusions this week: (1) the United States population is continuing to face unnecessary public health risks because of the use of antibiotics in livestock production, and (2) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies are not likely to take meaningful action to address this risk. The report, Industrial Food Animal Production in America: Examining the Impact of the Pew Commission’s Priority Recommendations, follows five years after the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP) released its previous investigative report and recommendation to, among other actions, phase out and then ban nontherapeutic (or subtherapeutic) uses of antibiotics in industrial food animal production. The consequences of not following through on this recommendation would place the public at risk of increased pools of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. These superbugs threaten at least 2 million people each year and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.  Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. Despite some congressional response  following the release of the 2008 Pew Commission report and a federal court order requiring […]

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10
Sep

Proctor and Gamble to Eliminate Triclosan from Its Products by 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2013) With mounting pressure from consumers and public advocacy organizations, multinational manufacturer Procter and Gamble (P&G) announced that it will eliminate the harmful antibacterial chemical triclosan from its products by 2014. P&G’s notice is the latest in a growing trend across the county, as both governments and private companies continue to move away from the use this dangerous and unnecessary substance.  In August 2012, the health care and cosmetics corporation Johnson and Johnson announced its own phase out of triclosan. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced in March of this year that all state-run agencies would stop purchasing products that contain triclosan. Colgate Palmolive announced in 2011 that it would reformulate many of its products to take out triclosan, but note that its mainstay Colgate Total brand toothpaste still contains the chemical. Triclosan is currently used in a wide variety of products, including hand soaps, clothing, kitchenware, deodorants, and cosmetics. P&G’s website does not list the specific products from which it  will be removing triclosan, instead explaining that the only remaining uses of triclosan are in the company’s antibacterial dish soap, professional hand soap, and some other personal care products (P&G is the maker of brands such […]

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03
Sep

Another Study Finds Rootworms Resistant to Genetically Engineered Corn

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2013) For the past several years, corn rootworms  have  been widely reported to exhibit resistance  to corn genetically engineered (GE) with the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin. A  new report by  University of Illinois researchers found the resistant corn rootworm  in two of the state’s counties significantly damaged by western corn rootworm. The increasing lack of efficacy of GE corn, developed with the claim that it  is specifically designed to protect corn from rootworm, calls into question the efforts of agrichemical companies to patent new forms of GE crops. The report by Joe Spencer, PhD, and Michael Gray, PhD,  identifies significant damage from western corn rootworms in farm field that were planted with GE corn that contain a Bt protein referred to as “Cry3Bb1,” which has been inserted into nearly one-third of the corn planted in the United States. This version of Bt corn was introduced by Monsanto in 2003, and was touted as a way to reduce insecticide use against rootworm pests. Evidence was gathered in two Illinois counties, Livingston and Kankakee, after fields that had severe root pruning and lodging were brought to the attention of Drs. Spencer and Gray. Dr. Gray was quoted in […]

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24
May

Insecticide Sales Rise with Failure of GE Corn

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2013) Insecticide sales have soared over the past year as target insects have developed resistance to crops genetically engineered (GE) to incorporate an insecticide. Contrary to industry claims that the technology would reduce pesticide use, crops like corn, engineered to protect against rootworm have been ineffective and farmers have begun applying additional insecticides. The GE corn seed, developed by Monsanto, was released in 2003 to target a gene allowing plants to express a pest-killing toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The  pesticide incorporated plant  (PIP)  was developed to kill western corn rootworm, a potentially devastating pest that does its greatest damage in chemical-intensive agriculture during its larval stage by feeding upon the plant’s roots. Severe feeding inhibits the plant’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients and opens a pathway for attack from soil-borne pathogens. In 2011, entomologists at Iowa State University published a study verifying the first field-evolved resistance of corn rootworm to a Bt toxin. The researchers documented resistance to the Bt toxin Cry3Bb1. Now, almost a decade after the seed was introduced, almost two thirds of U.S. grown corn contains the Bt toxin, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Although USDA data shows an […]

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14
May

Environmental Impact Statement Delays New Monsanto and Dow 2,4-D Resistant Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2013) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that environmental impact statements (EIS) are required for Dow and Monsanto’s   new genetically engineered (GE),  2,4-D resistant crops.  According to Reuters, Dow had anticipated that their new crop would be on market by year’s end. Monsanto released a statement calling the move “unexpected.” USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is requiring the reviews in response to overwhelming concern expressed by farmers, consumers, and public health officials during the comment period for these new herbicide-resistant crops. Dow’s new GE corn, dubbed “Enlist,” tolerates repeated applications of both glyphosate and the powerful herbicide 2,4-D, while Monsanto’s GE cotton and soybean (produced in partnership with their “competitor,” agrichemical giant BASF)  is resistant to the herbicide dicamba. Both companies champion their crops as solutions to the widespread occurrence of weeds resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, even though the ultimate cause for this resistance can be traced to overuse of the chemical on “Roundup-Ready” crops. A 2011 study in the journal Weed Science found at least 21 different species of weeds to be resistant to applications of Monsanto’s Roundup. Even without the presence of […]

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02
Apr

Biotech Rider Undermines U.S. Food Security

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2013) On March 26, President Obama signed into law House Resolution 933, a stop-gap Continuing Resolution(CR) that allowed the U.S. to avoid a government shutdown for six months. The resolution contains the “biotech rider,” or amendment that takes away the authority of federal courts to halt the sale or production of genetically engineered (GE) crops, undermining the courts’ ability to protect farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous GE crops- a major violation of the separation of powers, an essential element of U.S. constitutional governance and law.  It would also compel the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately grant any requests for permits to allow continued planting and commercialization of unlawfully approved GE crops. The rider, section 735 of the resolution, also dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” for the GE corporate  giant, was never voted on and was written by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), who worked with Monsanto to craft its language. This new rule will be viewed as a challenge for environmental organizations as courts have played an important role in slowing the growth of GE industry due to noncompliance with environmental law. In early March, Beyond Pesticides reported that a coalition of over […]

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26
Feb

Mosquitoes Show Resistance to Highly Toxic DEET Repellent

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2013) The world’s most commonly used synthetic insect repellent is not  as effective as it once was, according to scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. While researchers found DEET to be an effective repellent after an initial application, subsequent rounds of testing mere hours later showed mosquitoes to be unaffected by its presence. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, underlines the need to develop safe, natural, effective alternative preventions to this hazardous chemical. To perform their experiment, researchers took the mosquito species Aedes aegypti, a carrier for dengue and yellow fever, and exposed it to a human arm covered in DEET. A few hours later they repeated the experiment, but this time the mosquitoes largely ignored the presence of the chemical. To find out what caused this to occur, researchers placed electrodes on the antennas of the insects. “We were able to record the response of the receptors on the antenna to DEET, and what we found was the mosquitoes were no longer as sensitive to the chemical, so they weren’t picking it up as well,”   co-author James Logan, PhD told the BBC.  “There is something about being exposed […]

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30
Jan

EU Report: Precautionary Approach Beneficial to Avoid Environmental Disasters

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2013) A new report, “Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation,” from the European Environment Agency (EEA) concludes that concerns raised by the scientific community on bee death, genetically engineered (GE) food, and nanotechnology support the need for a precautionary approach to public policy. Significantly, the report concludes that the “precautionary principle,” whereby industry and policy makers are advised to take seriously  early warnings about potential environmental impacts is “nearly always beneficial.” The report cites some industry efforts to undermine precautionary decision making. The report features case studies on environmental impacts, such as mercury poisoning, effects on fertility caused by pesticides, and the impact of pharmaceuticals on some ecosystems, and raises questions about the potential wider impacts of GE crops, nanotechnology, nuclear power, and the effect of pesticides on bee populations. The report lays the blame for numerous environmental crises squarely at the feet of corporations and policy makers who ignore early warnings about environmental impacts. “The historical case studies show that warnings were ignored or sidelined until damage to health and the environment was inevitable,” the EEA said. “In some instances, companies put short-term profits ahead of public safety, either hiding or ignoring the […]

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25
Jan

Corn Rootworm Resistance to Toxins in GE Crops, Says EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has  concluded that corn rootworm is now resistant to genetically engineered corn infused with a toxin derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, in certain parts of the Corn Belt, casting doubt on the future viability of GE corn. The conclusion of the Insect Resistance Management (IRM) Team is based on several years of data indicating that the Cry3Bb1 protein strain of Bt is ineffective at controlling corn rootworm. The press release on January 17 states: “The EPA IRM Team has concluded that corn rootworm may not be completely controlled by Cry3Bb1 in certain parts of the Corn Belt. While ”˜confirmed resistance’ as defined in registration documents has not been met, given the nature of the data, the manufacturer, Monsanto, has agreed to several actions and changes related to the registration of Cry3Bb1 products to address these matters.” Originally marketed by Monsanto in 2003, the protein Cry3Bb1 is designed to destroy the gut of the western corn rootworm. The rootworm has historically devastated corn fields, causing greatest damage in chemical-intensive agriculture during its larval stage by feeding upon the plant’s roots, inhibiting the plant’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients […]

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03
Dec

FDA Allows Lindane Use to Continue Despite Health Risks and Calls for a Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2012) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied a 2010 petition filed by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN) to ban the insecticide lindane, which is harmful to human health and ineffective in controlling lice and scabies. Pressure had been mounting on FDA to halt the pharmaceutical use of lindane as, in addition to this petition, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, asked FDA to stop the pharmaceutical use of lindane this past summer. Because of FDA’s decision, lindane is still an active ingredient in pharmaceutical insecticide products such as lice shampoos and lotions. Lindane was formerly used in agricultural insecticides until it was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on crops in 2006. FDA regulates pharmaceuticals that contain insecticides and pesticides, such as triclosan, that are in cosmetics. Over 160 countries including the United States have signed on to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in 2001 which aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic polluntants. Lindane along with nine other chemcials was added to this list on May 9th […]

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06
Nov

Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Take Flight in Brazil

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2012) In efforts to stamp out the deadly disease Dengue fever, officials in Brazil are in the process of releasing millions of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes into the environment. However, some in the environmental community are concerned about the possible non-target effects of this experiment, and urge additional research in the lab before releasing the insects into the natural world. According to the Los Angeles Times, the experiment is taking place in the small town of Itaberaba, in Brazil’s Bahia state. The company overseeing the release, London-based Oxitec, also developed the GE insects. GE mosquitoes are raised in the laboratory, where the eggs of female mosquitoes are injected with a gene that produces sterile male mosquitoes. The modified male mosquitoes are then released into the environment en masse where they crowd out native males and mate with available females. The offspring from these mosquitoes are supposed to die before they hatch. In the town of Itaberaba, 84% of mosquito larvae now carry the modified gene, and the state government has approved an expansion of the program into five additional neighborhoods. GE mosquitoes have previously been released into uninhabited areas of India and Malaysia, and future plans […]

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05
Nov

Growing “Super Rat” Population Is Resistant to Rodenticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2012) An ongoing study in the United Kingdom has found that in areas of southern England up to 75% of the rat population is potentially resistant to the common rodenticides warfarin, bromadiolone, and difenacoum. Pesticide resistance was documented in rats as early as the 1950’s. Common rodenticides used in homes already pose a high risk to human and animal health, but as more rodents become resistant to these pesticides individuals face the greater danger of pest control companies using higher doses of more lethal chemicals to deal with “super rats.” The rodenticides being tested in this study are anticoagulant pesticides that work by blocking vitamin K-dependent synthesis of the blood clotting substance prothrombin. These chemicals cause the animal to bleed to death internally. Not only are these chemicals toxic to mammals, but they are often used in dangerous loose bait and pellet traps. These traps put children at particular risk for exposure because the products are typically placed on floors, and young children sometimes put bait pellets in their mouths. The American Association of Poison Control Centers annually receives between 12,000 and 15,000 reports of children under the age of six being exposed to these types […]

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09
Oct

Local Incidents Raise National Concerns Over Safety of Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2012) Sewage sludge is big business in Channahon, IL, but many residents who live near fields treated with the fertilizer believe they’re the ones paying the price. Farms in the area began applying the “biosolids” in 2010, and residents say that’s when their health issues began, according to Morris Daily Herald. Biosolids, otherwise known as sewage sludge, are composed of dried microbes previously used to process wastewater in treatment plants. The material is increasingly being used in conventional agriculture, but its application is explicitly forbidden in organic production. This is because the sludge can contain high concentrations of toxic contaminants, such as pesticides, detergents, estrogenic hormones, antibiotics, dioxins, PCBs, flame retardants, and heavy metals. Past research gives credence to Channahon residents’ claims of adverse health effects as a result of living near sludge coated fields. A 2002 study revealed the material to be associated with an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition known to cause skin rashes and respiratory problems, for people located in close proximity to biosolid application sites. “What they are doing is making a toxic dump of our area. It’s disgusting,” said Channahon resident Pat Budd in an interview with Kris […]

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03
Oct

Increased Pesticide Use and Resistant Weeds -The Troubling Legacy of GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, October 3, 2012) A study published this week by Washington State University’s research professor Charles Benbrook, PhD, finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops -cotton, soybeans and corn- has actually increased, contrary to industry claims that the technology would reduce pesticide applications. While Dr. Benbrook’s analysis is the first peer-reviewed, published estimate of the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-tolerant crops on pesticide use, scientists have been raising the alarm over the mounting numbers of herbicide resistant weeds. This herbicide resistance finding, which contradicts chemical industry claims, is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. In the study, “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first sixteen years,” which appears in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe, Dr. Benbrook writes that the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is strongly correlated with the upward trajectory in herbicide use. Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Approximately 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and over 85 percent of corn, are planted to […]

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27
Aug

Research Shows Weeds Growing Resistant to 2,4-D

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2012) A report published recently in the journal Weed Science has found that a population of the common weed waterhemp in Nebraska is resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D. The news comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers approving several new crops that have been genetically engineered (GE) for resistance to the herbicide. The report presents the latest in a long line of evidence that crops engineered for herbicide resistance are only pushing the problems of weed management further down the road. Researchers from the University of Nebraska found that half of the waterhemp samples they collected from a Nebraska field, after having been treated regularly for 10 years with 2,4-D,were no longer susceptible to applications of the herbicide. The experiments performed are described by Reuters: “After 10 years of treatment with 2,4-D, waterhemp was no longer effectively controlled in a Nebraska native-grass seed production field, the report said. The highest doses of 2,4-D that were used in an on-site field study were insufficient to control 50 percent of the waterhemp population. Researchers gathered waterhemp seeds from this field and performed greenhouse testing against a susceptible waterhemp variety. Twenty-eight days after treatment with the herbicide, […]

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18
Jul

Researchers Settle NanoSilver Antimicrobial Mechanism; Low Dose May Enhance Bacteria Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2012) Just as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened the federal docket for the registration review of nanosilver, Rice University researchers settled a long-standing controversy over the mechanism by which silver nanoparticles, the most widely used nanomaterial in the world, kill bacteria. The researchers found that the silver ions, rather than the silver particles, have antimicrobial effects on bacteria. However, their work comes with a warning; low doses of nanosilver can make bacteria stronger and more resistant. Silver nanoparticles are used just about everywhere, including in cosmetics, socks, food containers, detergents, sprays and a wide range of other products to stop the spread of germs. Researchers have debated the mechanisms by which nanosilver particles exert toxicity to bacteria and other organisms. They have long known that silver ions, which flow from nanoparticles when oxidized, are deadly to bacteria. In the study, “Negligible Particle-Specific Antibacterial Activity of Silver Nanoparticles,” published in NanoLetters, the researchers explain that the nanoparticles are practically benign in the presence of microbes. But when in soluble ionic form, that is, when activated via oxidation, nanosilver becomes toxic to bacteria. The research team decided to test nanoparticle toxicity in an anaerobic environment —with […]

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