Tag Archives: Pesticide

Pesticide Study Sparks Backlash

By Kai Kupferschmidt

Science – When Ralf Reski read the latest paper from controversial French biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini, he quickly decided he wanted nothing to do with it. Séralini’s report in BioMed Research International describes how pesticides kill cultured human cells, with the hair-raising conclusion that pesticides may be vastly more toxic than assumed by regulatory authorities. Some scientists are criticizing the findings as neither surprising nor significant—but they have touched off a firestorm, with environmental groups calling for changes in how pesticides are regulated. That was too much for Reski. Within hours of reading the paper last week, the plant scientist at the University of Freiburg in Germany resigned as an editor of the journal and asked for his name to be removed from its website. “I do not want to be connected to a journal that provides [Séralini] a forum for such kind of agitation,” he wrote in his resignation e-mail to the publisher, Hindawi Publishing Corporation.

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How to Get Bedbugs to ‘Leaf’ You Alone

8By Traci Watson
Science – Those suffering from bedbugs may try freezing, burning, or poisoning the pests, often to no avail. Now, researchers have provided evidence that a Balkan folk remedy is effective—and inflicts a deliciously nasty end on the itch-inducing bloodsuckers. For centuries, people in the Balkans protected themselves against bedbugs—among them the common species Cimex lectularius seen on the left—by scattering bean plant leaves next to their beds, then burning the leaves in the morning. Continue reading

Pesticide makers, facing EU ban, propose plan to help bees

11MSN News – Syngenta and Bayer, top producers of the pesticides blamed for a sharp fall in bee populations around the world, have proposed a plan to support bee health to try to forestall a European Union ban on the products.

EU governments failed this month to agree a ban on three widely used pesticides linked to the decline of honeybees, but the European Commission is threatening to force one through unless member states agree a compromise. Continue reading

War on weeds loses ground

By Helen Thompson
Nature – With its jumble of leaves and pointy, green, flower spikes, the plant known as pigweed or palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) isn’t much to look at. But to farmers in the southeastern United States, it is a formidable foe. Having evolved the ability to withstand glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup, it now flourishes unchecked alongside crops such as cotton and soya bean that are genetically modified to be glyphosate tolerant……. >>Read More<<

Source and Photo: May 22nd, 2012
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A new deal to rid Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia of obsolete pesticides

Twelve countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia will start working with the European Union (EU) and FAO to manage their vast stocks of obsolete pesticides in a partnership that was launched at FAO’s headquarters in Rome.

It is estimated that around 200 000 tons of obsolete pesticides, nearly half the world’s stockpiles, can be found in twelve former Soviet Union republics. Kept in tens of thousands of unprotected sites, they pose a serious threat to the health of the people around them and to the environment.

For the next four years, the EU and FAO will invest €7 million to assist these countries — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan — in managing obsolete pesticides and reducing the risks of current stocks. At the same time, the project will build capacity to reduce risks from pesticides used in agriculture and avoid build-up of additional stockpiles in future.

“In the past decades, we were able to increase food production significantly, but at a huge toll on the environment,” said José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO. “One of the consequences of this chemical-input, intensive agriculture we adopted are the barrels of obsolete pesticides lying abandoned around the world.

“Pesticides may be an important input for farming, but they need to be used responsibly while protecting human health and the environment from their adverse effects. In our quest for sustainability and to meet the challenge of feeding a growing population while preserving our environment, we also need to take a good look at the different options we have to protect crops and improve productivity. This includes using natural means to protect and improve crop yields through sustainable crop intensification, or ’save and grow’ techniques as we call it at FAO,” Graziano da Silva added.

Catalyst

“The EU has an established policy dialogue and co-operation on environment related issues with its eastern neighbours and Central Asian partners,” said the EU Ambassador Laurence Argimon-Pistre.

“In its new Neighbourhood Policy, the EU will continue to pursue a higher level of environment protection with its eastern partners and be committed to combat environmental degradation,” she added. “This includes obsolete pesticides and other hazardous chemicals, whose environmental and health risks are not only at stake for the region but also for the EU”.

The EU is contributing €6 million to the initiative, and FAO, which is to act as implementing agency, has allocated €1 million in funding. This initiative aims to act as a catalyst for the development of obsolete pesticide and hazardous waste management in the region, by helping provide the resources needed for technical and policy support to enable countries to help themselves.

Work together

Although activities will include the actual disposal of stockpiles, the priority lies in building capacities, for example in the areas of legislative reform, pesticide registration processes, the promotion of alternatives to the most hazardous chemicals in use and the development of communication strategies to raise awareness among farmers and the public.

Another important goal is to establish a regional forum geared to the mobilisation of the additional resources needed for full-scale clean-up and the constitution of a region-wide system capable of dealing with future challenges posed by pesticides. Other cross-cutting activities include a survey of regional waste management capacity and the creation of a regional training centre.

Key to achieving the overall aim of removing toxic materials from the region is the development of linkages between initiatives already active to ensure that all partners are working together.

In this initiative, FAO and the EU are working together with partners such as WHO, UNEP, the Secretariats of the Convention of Rotterdam, Stockholm and Basel, international NGOs, including the Green Cross and the International HCH and Pesticide Association and the private sector, among others.

Source: FAO
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New Study Is First to Show That Pesticides Can Induce Morphological Changes in Vertebrate Animals

Science Newsline – Rick Relyea, University of Pittsburgh professor of biological sciences in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of Pitt’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, demonstrated that sublethal and environmentally relevant concentrations of Roundup caused two species of amphibians to alter their morphology. According to Relyea, this is the first study to show that a pesticide can induce morphological changes in a vertebrate animal.

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