Seneff: “In my opinion they are missing the boat here. The real problem with these race horses is glyphosate contamination in their feed. Over time, glyphosate is destroying their joints. It's destroying our joints as well, which is why we have so many issues with joint pain - back pain, shoulder pain, hip replacement surgery, knee injury, foot problems, etc., etc. Glyphosate contamination in the collagen is messing up its tensile strength, flexibility and ability to hold water, would be my best guess. Probably also related to the opioid drug abuse epidemic.”

Another horse fatality at Santa Anita; 23 thoroughbreds have died since Dec. 26

Costco stops selling controversial Roundup weedkiller

Now, Costco has reportedly decided to begin to stop selling the popular weedkiller, which contains glyphosate — an herbicide which the World Health Organization described in 2015 as a probable carcinogen. Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt, whose petition calling for Costco to stop selling Roundup has more than 150,000 signatures on, wrote on her website:

"I called the headquarters, and after two days of messages and calls, I did finally confirm with three people that Costco was not ordering Roundup or any glyphosate-based herbicides for the incoming spring shipments."

Costco has yet to issue an official statement on the petition. However, in conversations with the administrative staff at various stores, Big Think has learned that the product was pulled off the floor this week per corporate orders — meaning, Costco's removal of Roundup applies to "all locations."

Meanwhile, Moms Across America has another petition on calling on Home Depot and Lowe's to pull the product from their shelves:

"We call on Home Depot and Lowe's today to step up as Costco has to protect us, your customers, and stop selling Roundup (and all glyphosate herbicides) now, due to its carcinogenic effects and lack of labeling," the petition reads. "Everyone deserves to know! These products should not be sold to the public!"

Insurance companies - Glyphosate - No coverage...

Harrell's discontinues sale of products containing glyphosate

That said, during our annual insurance renewal last month, we were surprised to learn that our insurance company was no longer willing to provide coverage for claims related to glyphosate due to the recent high-profile lawsuit and the many thousands of lawsuits since. We sought coverage from other companies but could not buy adequate coverage for the risk we would be incurring. So we had no choice other than to notify our Harrell's Team and customers that we would no longer offer products containing glyphosate as of March 1, 2019.

Brockovich: “When will it end...From causing cancer in the applicators... to being detected in everything from our Cheerios and bread to our beer and wine... to links to the rapidly increasing toxic algae blooms...It's past time to stop... NOW IT"S TIME FOR ACTION!”

Popular weed killer's alleged link to cancer stirs widespread concern

Two juries have implicated Roundup as the cause of cancer in frequent users, but major public health agencies disagree over whether it is a carcinogen.

Right. Over 750 glyphosate-containing products are sold in the United States, either in solid or liquid form. In addition to Roundup, common ones include Ortho GroundClear, DowDuPont’s Rodeo, Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer, RM43 Total Vegetation Control and Ranger Pro Herbicide, also made by Monsanto. If you don’t know whether a weed killer contains glyphosate, read the label. It would be listed under active ingredients.

Canada: Minister approves first commercial GM fish factory

The company AquaBounty has announced that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has approved the production of genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) Atlantic salmon at a site in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I). This will be the first factory in Canada to produce GM salmon, which is the world’s first GM food animal.

“Canada and P.E.I. will now be associated with the controversial and risky production of the world’s first GM fish,” said Sharon Labchuk of Earth Action P.E.I., “But Canadians were never consulted and the product is not even labelled in our grocery stores.”

US court ruling on Roundup weedkiller sends shockwaves in Kenya

Mr Stephen Mutoro, Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) executive officer, asked farmers who have been using the product to stop immediately and go for medical check-ups.

Mr Mutoro said they are considering legal action against Roundup manufacturer’s Bayer-Monsanto, if similar cases are found in Kenya.

“Should the local users of Roundup be found affected by the chemical, we will not hesitate to go to court for compensation,” Mr Mutoro said.

The lobby groups also asked the government to crack down on other products that contain glyphosate.

New study...

Herbicide 2,4-D disrupts microbiome at occupationally relevant dose

A new study in mice shows that 2,4-D, a herbicide used on GM crops engineered to tolerate it (notably corn and soybean), disrupts the gut microbiome at doses below regulatory permitted levels. See the abstract below.

The balance of the microbiome is now known to be crucial to health. It affects a large number of disease conditions, from obesity to anxiety to cancer.

The new study shows that regulators need to add effects on the gut microbiome to the portfolio of tests required to assess chemical toxicity. This is currently NOT done.

Studies in rodents are accepted as relevant to human health risks.

In a previous study, Roundup, the main herbicide used with GM crops, and its active ingredient glyphosate were shown to impact the gut microbiome of rats when administered at very low, supposedly safe doses. Another study showed that glyphosate disrupted the gut microbiome of honeybees and increased the mortality of bees exposed to a pathogen.

The study…

Subchronic low-dose 2,4-D exposure changed plasma acylcarnitine levels and induced gut microbiome perturbations in mice

Abstract: The gut microbiota critically confers various health benefits, whereas environmental chemicals can affect its constitution and functionality thereby increasing disease risk. In the present study, we aim to evaluate the toxic effects of a widely-used herbicide 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) on the gut microbiome and host using an occupationally relevant dose. A mouse model was used combined with metagenomic sequencing and metabolomic profiling to examine the alterations induced by subchronic low-dose 2,4-D exposure in fecal and plasma samples. The metagenomics results revealed a distinct gut microbial community with profound changes in diverse microbial pathways including urea degradation, amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism in 2,4-D-treated mice. Moreover, the metabolomics results revealed that the metabolic profiles in treatment group were differentiated from control group in both fecal and plasma samples. Toxic effects on the host of 2,4-D at an occupationally relevant dose were observed indicated by decreased acylcarnitine levels in plasma. These findings indicated that 2,4-D can cause toxicity and substantially impact the gut microbiome in mice at occupationally relevant doses, inferring that the relationship between environmental contaminants and microbiota is largely underestimated calling for more comprehensive consideration of the toxicity of occupational exposures.

Moms Across America

Won’t you please join us in getting corporations and our government to stop poisoning our families? We have dad and friend members too.

Protect Seed Sovereignty in New Mexico - Petition

This clause would prevent cities and counties from enacting ordinances that protect native seeds from GMO seeds, and would take away our city, county, and local power to create GE (genetically engineered) Free Zones in New Mexico.

Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro has introduced the "Keep Food Safe From Glyphosate Act."

DeLauro Introduces Keep Food Safe from Glyphosate Act

WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) introduced the Keep Food Safe from Glyphosate Act, new legislation that would overturn the Trump Administration’s decision to ignore glyphosate residues in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual pesticide residue monitoring survey. Exposure to glyphosate—the weed killer made popular by Monsanto—was recently found to increase the risk of cancer by 41%.

“American families deserve to know that the food they are eating and feeding to their children is safe,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “But that is not the case because the Trump Administration refuses to test our food for dangerous chemicals like glyphosate—an herbicide linked to increased risk of cancer. That is unconscionable. Congress needs to pass the Keep Food Safe from Glyphosate Act to ensure corporations are not profiting at the expense of Americans’ health.”

The Misinformation Campaign of Gene-Edited Foods Has Begun

Yet, as more advanced genetic engineering tools are being used to create food products, companies are eager to distance themselves from the PR disaster that the last generation of GMOs, such as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn, left behind.

These new companies and their technologies — gene editing, gene silencing and synthetic biology — are desperate to shed the GMO moniker or association. They want to be perceived as different, safer and more precise, so as not to raise the same level of fear among consumers.

This attempt to influence the American mindset was on full display last week in an Associated Press story when Calyxt, a Minnesota-based company, talked about how its gene-edited soybean oil is now being used in restaurants in the Midwest. According to Calyxt, it is the first commercial use of a gene-edited food in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, the company is refusing to disclose which restaurants are using this gene-edited soybean oil, leaving diners completely in the dark. And in the USDA’s recently published National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, restaurants are exempt from GMO-labeling rules, and it was not clearly specified whether gene-edited foods would need to be labeled. Therefore, it is very possible that for the foreseeable future, anyone consuming Calyxt’s gene-edited oil will do so unknowingly.

Yet, what may be the most alarming or noteworthy part of this AP story was that “Calyxt says its oil does not qualify as a GMO” and “startups including Calyxt say their crops do not qualify as GMOs because what they’re doing could theoretically be achieved with traditional crossbreeding.”

Consumer watchdog groups have a serious issue with this assertion.

Despite the fact that the company has apparently acknowledged to the FDA that it has conducted genetic modification, somehow it believes that its gene-edited soybean is not a GMO. How?

By claiming that unlike traditional GMOs, which insert DNA from plant pests, it is simply editing existing genes within crops to speed up a process that otherwise could have happened in nature.

“Consumers think that any genetic material that has been manipulated in a lab and then inserted into a plant would be a GMO, regardless of whether the trait could be achieved via traditional breeding. Additionally, both the USDA and FDA consider this soybean to be engineered. Not only did the USDA refer to it as a ‘GE soybean,’ but the soybean went through the FDA’s voluntary safety consultation, which indicated that the crop met the FDA’s definition of bioengineering/genetic engineering/modern biotechnology. This argument that a genetically-engineered crop is not a GMO because the process could have happened in nature is completely flawed,” said Michael Hansen.

The American consumer should not be fooled and buy into the propaganda that these gene-edited crops are not GMOs. They are.

Greenfield city council votes unanimously to stop Roundup use

Latham: “{this article is not new but it is so tremendously important to understand the flaws of chemical risk assessment that I am sharing it again. I took it to a scientific toxicology meeting recently and one of the attendees took the trouble to approach me to say that every word was true.]”

Unsafe at any Dose? Diagnosing Chemical Safety Failures, from DDT to BPA by Jonathan Latham, Ph.D.

But the true scandal of BPA is that such sagas have been repeated many times. Time and again, synthetic chemicals have been banned or withdrawn only to be replaced by others that are equally harmful, and sometimes are worse. Neonicotinoids, which the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) credits with creating a global ecological catastrophe (1), are modern replacements for long-targeted organophosphate pesticides. Organophosphates had previously supplanted DDT and the other organochlorine pesticides from whose effects many bird species are only now recovering.

The first task of chemical campaigning is to strip away the mythologies which currently surround the science of toxicology and the practice of chemical risk assessment. When we do this we find that chemical regulations don’t work. The chief reason, which is easy to demonstrate, is that the elementary experiments performed by toxicologists are incapable of generating predictions of safety that can usefully be applied to other species, or even to the same species when it exists in other environments or if it eats other diets. Numerous scientific experiments have shown this deficiency, and consequently that the most basic element of chemical risk assessment is scientifically invalid. For this reason, and many others too, the protection chemical risk assessments claim to offer is a pretense. As I will show, risk assessment is not a reality, it is a complex illusion.

The chemical most frequently used to make BPA-free products is called BPS. As its name implies, BPS is very similar in chemical structure to BPA (see Fig. 1). However, BPS appears to be absorbed by the human body significantly more readily than BPA and is already detectable in 81% of Americans (Liao et al., 2012).

Thus, when the EU banned the herbicide atrazine, Syngenta replaced it with terbuthylazine. Terbuthylazine is chemically very similar and, according to University of California researcher Tyrone Hayes, it appears to have similar ecological and health effects.

The Bt pesticides produced inside GMO crops are considered (by farmers and agribusiness) to be safer substitutes for organochlorine, carbamate, and organophosphate insecticides. These chemicals replaced DDT, which was banned in agriculture following Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. DDT was itself the replacement for lead-arsenate. Many other examples of what are sometimes called regrettable substitutions can be found.

Chemical bans (or often manufacturer withdrawals) that precede such substitutions are nevertheless normally celebrated as campaigning victories. But the chemical manufacturers know that substitution is an ordinary part of business. Because weeds and pests become resistant and patents run out, they are usually looking for substitutes irrespective of any environmental campaigning.

In the same article, Sanjour also proposed that since corporate capture renders them useless, the public would be better off with no regulatory agencies. In a similar vein, former EPA pesticide scientist Evaggelos Vallianatos called his former employer, at book length, the “polluter’s protection agency.” Another EPA whistleblower, David Lewis, this time at EPA’s Office of Water, has shown in court-obtained documents that EPA scientists buried evidence and even covered up deaths so as to formulate regulations that would permit land application of sewage sludge. This sludge was routinely contaminated with pathogens, heavy metals, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, and other known hazardous substances. The corruption around sewage sludge regulations extended well beyond the EPA. It encompassed other federal agencies, several universities, the National Academy of Science, and municipalities. David Lewis eventually obtained a legal judgement that the City of Augusta, Ga, had “fudged” the toxicity testing of its own sewage sludge in order to meet EPA guidelines. The city had done so at the request of EPA.

In another recent case, DeSmogBlog obtained, through a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA), internal documents showing how EPA offered access to its fracking study plans:

“[Y]ou guys are part of the team here,” one EPA representative wrote to Chesapeake Energy as they together edited study planning documents in October 2013, “please write things in as you see fit.”

The book Pandora’s Poison elaborates on the some of the ambitious ideas for eradicating pollution that Greenpeace tried but never in the end adequately road tested. It is time to learn the lessons of the past and move chemical safety campaigning outside of the comfort zone of the chemical industry, which is where it belongs.

Rigging the Science of GMO Ecotoxicity - Latham

The resulting crops are usually called Bt crops. Cry toxins kill insects that eat the GMO crop because the toxin punches a hole in the membranes of the insect gut when it is ingested, causing the insect to immediately stop feeding and eventually die of septicaemia.

Cry toxins are controversial. Although the biotech industry claims they have narrow specificity, and are therefore safe for all organisms except so-called ‘target’ organisms, plenty of researchers disagree. They suspect that Cry toxins may affect many non-target species, even including mammals and humans….

Portland’s ban on synthetic pesticides goes into effect

Private property owners can use only organic treatments for gardens and lawns.

U.S. finally admits Agent Orange residue poisoned its own soldiers - 2016

The admission follows an Institute of Medicine study that concluded that “some C-123 reservists stationed in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts had been exposed to Agent Orange residues in the planes and suffered higher risks of health problems as a result,” according to a report from ABC.

“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” said VA Secretary Bob McDonald in a statement.

The toxicity of Agent Orange
According to the non-partisan Aspen Institute in Washington D.C., Agent Orange was a herbicide used by the military to defoliate the Vietnamese jungle and expose Vietnam Cong and North Vietnamese troops using the jungle as a cover to move men and material to South Vietnam. Even though its use ended decades ago, the toxic contaminant of Agent Orange, dioxin, did not degrade as readily and is still causing health problems in Vietnam.

“The Red Cross estimates that three million Vietnamese have been affected by dioxin, including at least 150,000 children born with serious birth defects,” said the Institute. “Millions of Americans and Vietnamese are still affected, directly and indirectly, by the wartime U.S. spraying of Agent Orange and other herbicides over southern and central Vietnam.”

Who is paying for Monsanto's crimes? We are by Carey Gillam

Amid the uproar of the courtroom scuffles, a larger issue looms: Monsanto’s push to make use of glyphosate herbicides so pervasive that traces are commonly found in our food and even our bodily fluids, is just one example of how several corporate giants are creating lasting human health and environmental woes around the world. Monsanto and its brethren have targeted farmers in particular as a critical market for their herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, and now many farmers around the world believe they cannot farm without them.

Studies show that along with promoting illness and disease in people, these pesticides pushed by Bayer and Monsanto, DowDuPont and other corporate players, are endangering wildlife, soil health, water quality and the long-term sustainability of food production. Yet regulators have allowed these corporations to combine forces, making them ever more powerful and more able to direct public policies that favor their interests.

The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren this week called for taking back some of that power. She announced on Wednesday a plan to break up big agribusinesses and work against the type of corporate capture of Washington we have seen in recent years.

It’s a solid step in the right direction. But it cannot undo the suffering of cancer victims, nor easily transform a deeply contaminated landscape to create a healthier future and unleash us from the chains of a pesticide-dependent agricultural system.

And while Bayer may dole out a few billion dollars in damages, who is really being made to pay?

We all are.

Over a century of data reveal more than 80% decline in butterflies in the Netherlands

“We are quite sure that the real decline must be much larger,” said Chris van Swaay, of Dutch Butterfly Conservation and one of the co-authors of the study.

RFK, Jr.: “David Attenborough will attempt to show the world exactly what is happening on April 5, when Netflix launches Our Planet — a new, blockbuster eight-part documentary series that aims not just to present the majesty of the world around us but also raise awareness of what the changing climate is doing to it.”

David Attenborough Isn't Sure We Can Save the Natural World. But at 92, He's Not Giving Up Trying

Attenborough and his frequent collaborators, filmmakers Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, will attempt to show the world exactly what is happening on April 5, when Netflix launches Our Planet–a new, blockbuster eight-part documentary series that aims not just to present the majesty of the world around us but also raise awareness of what the changing climate is doing to it.

RFK, Jr.: “Brainwashing propaganda campaign by chemical industry to engineer compliance with contaminated food and farmers.”

Family farm documentary was part of pesticide lobby's campaign to change how you think.

The marketing proposal, dated May 2, 2018 and featuring the logo of Edelman, recommended a video series almost identical to Real Farm Lives as a way to "broaden public confidence and further increase public acceptance" of pesticides, the chemicals that most commercial farms in Canada use to kill unwanted plants.

The series would use "three Canadian farming families from across Canada" who are portrayed as “the right messengers" to deliver a message to “persuadable” people, the plan said.

The proposal was part of a larger presentation by CropLife Canada, an industry group representing corporations like Bayer, Syngenta, Nufarm, BASF — and Corteva, which tweeted about the Englots using herbicides, a type of pesticide.

The "objective" Edelman proposed was to increase the public's acceptance of "the use of CropLife Canada members’ products."

The proposal also discusses "earned media," a marketing term for the type of press coverage that the Englots and two other families in the video series, the Renwicks and the Ardiels, ended up receiving. For public relations strategists, earned media can be more valuable than advertising, since it delivers a message through the news that can be shared and spread for a client, without having to pay for it.

Fracking Fluid Used to Irrigate Organic Crops

We don’t know the full extent of the health implications of this use of oil and gas wastewater on crops because oil companies do not disclose all of the chemicals they use in their operations. EWG said that oil companies withheld the identity of 40% of the chemicals because they were “trade secrets.” For a third of the chemicals we do know are used by oil companies, acute toxicity information is unknown.

The chemicals we know are in oil wastewater and for which we do have toxicity information should be enough to ban the use of oil wastewater on crops. High levels of benzene have been found in this water, along with heavy metals like lead, petroleum chemicals, and radioactive elements like radium. The CDC lists a number of health effects from long-term exposure to benzene, including anemia, excessive bleeding, low birth weight, bone marrow damage, and cancer. Fracking wastewater contains thousands of times more radioactive radium than allowed in drinking water.

Nor will buying organic protect you. Organic regulations do not explicitly prohibit the use of irrigation water on organic crops. It is an alarming oversight, since oil and gas wastewater obviously contains chemicals that are otherwise forbidden for use on organic crops.

Consider that California grows an astounding percentage of America’s total produce: 99% of artichokes, 99% of walnuts, 97% of kiwis, 97% of plums, 95% of celery, 95% of garlic, 90% of broccoli, 89% of cauliflower, 71% of spinach, and 69% of carrots. Put another way, California produces nearly half of all US-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Harrell's discontinues sale of products containing glyphosate

That said, during our annual insurance renewal last month, we were surprised to learn that our insurance company was no longer willing to provide coverage for claims related to glyphosate due to the recent high-profile lawsuit and the many thousands of lawsuits since. We sought coverage from other companies but could not buy adequate coverage for the risk we would be incurring. So we had no choice other than to notify our Harrell's Team and customers that we would no longer offer products containing glyphosate as of March 1, 2019.
Arty turns 11 this summer.