Tag Archives | Chemicals

EPA Collusion in Monsanto Coverup

EPAAlexis Baden-Mayer writes on the Organic Consumers Association:

2,4-D and the dioxin pollution it creates are too dangerous to allow, period, but in the hands of bad actors like Monsanto and Dow Chemical the dangers increase exponentially. What’s the Environmental Protection Agency doing? Helping coverup the chemical companies’ crimes!

In February, Monsanto agreed to pay up to $93 million in a class-action lawsuit brought by the residents of Nitro, West Virginia, for dioxin exposure from accidents and pollution at an herbicide plant that operated in their town from 1929 to 2004.

That may seem like justice, but it is actually the result of Monsanto’s extraordinary efforts to hide the truth, evade criminal prosecution and avoid legal responsibility. A brief criminal fraud investigation conducted (and quickly aborted) by the EPA revealed that Monsanto used a disaster at their Nitro, WV, plant to manufacture “evidence” that dioxin exposure produced a skin condition called chloracne, but was not responsible for neurological health effects or cancers such as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

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Monsanto’s Roundup Can Cause Amphibians to Change Shape

RoundupThese people have to be stopped. Via ScienceDaily:

The world’s most popular weed killer, Roundup®, can cause amphibians to change shape, according to research recently published in Ecological Applications.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 herbicide can induce morphological changes in a vertebrate animal.

Relyea set up large outdoor water tanks that contained many of the components of natural wetlands. Some tanks contained caged predators, which emit chemicals that naturally induce changes in tadpole morphology (such as larger tails to better escape predators). After adding tadpoles to each tank, he exposed them to a range of Roundup® concentrations. After 3 weeks, the tadpoles were removed from the tanks.

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Dow and Monsanto Join Forces to Bring Agent Orange Component to America’s Heartland

Ear Of CornRichard Schiffman writes on OpEdNews:

In a match that some would say was made in hell, the nation’s two leading producers of agro-chemicals have joined forces in a partnership to reintroduce the use of the herbicide 2, 4-D, one half of the infamous defoliant Agent Orange, which was used by American forces to clear jungle during the Vietnam War. These two biotech giants have developed a weed management program that, if successful, would go a long way toward a predicted doubling of harmful herbicide use in America’s corn belt during the next decade.

The problem for corn farmers is that “superweeds” have been developing resistance to America’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, which is being sprayed on millions of acres in the Midwest and elsewhere. Dow Agrosciences has developed a strain of corn that it says will solve the problem. The new genetically modified variety can tolerate 2, 4-D, which will kill off the Roundup resistant weeds, but leave the corn standing.

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Here Comes the Toxic Fukushima Debris!

HedorahWill Godzilla save the U.S. West Coast from Hedorah? Via ScienceDaily:

The first anniversary is approaching of the March, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated Fukushima, Japan, and later this year debris from that event should begin to wash up on U.S. shores — and one question many have asked is whether that will pose a radiation risk.

The simple answer is, no. Nuclear radiation health experts from Oregon State University who have researched this issue following the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant say the minor amounts of deposition on the debris field scattered in the ocean will have long since dissipated, decayed or been washed away by months of pounding in ocean waves.

However, that’s not to say that all of the debris that reaches Pacific Coast shores in the United States and Canada will be harmless. “The tsunami impacted several industrial areas and no doubt swept out to sea many things like bottled chemicals or other compounds that could be toxic,” said Kathryn Higley, professor and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at OSU …

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Is There Herbicide in Your Urine?

GlyphosateVia GMWatch:

According to an article in German in the Ithaka Journal, a German university study has found significant concentrations of glyphosate in the urine samples of city dwellers. The analysis of the urine samples apparently found that all had concentrations of glyphosate at 5 to 20-fold the limit for drinking water. As well as being used increasingly widely in food production, glyphosate-based weedkillers often also get sprayed onto railway lines, urban pavements and roadsides (www.ithaka-journal.net).

Disturbingly, the Ithaka Journal reports (in our translation), “The address of the university labs, which did the research, the data and the evaluation of the research method is known to the editors. Because of significant pressure by agrochemical representatives and the fear that the work of the lab could be influenced, the complete analytical data will only be published in the course of this year.” (www.ithaka-journal.net)

News of this study comes not long after the publication of a study confirming glyphosate was contaminating groundwater.

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The Mother Of All Herbicide Marketing Plans

Roundup_herbicide_logoDow Agrosciences plans to double the trouble caused by Monsanto’s Roundup with a compelling marketing pitch to farmers. Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones:

During the late December media lull, the USDA didn’t satisfy itself with green-lighting Monsanto’s useless, PR-centric “drought-tolerant” corn. It also prepped the way for approving a product from Monsanto’s rival Dow Agrosciences—one that industrial-scale corn farmers will likely find all too useful.

Dow has engineered a corn strain that withstands lashings of its herbicide, 2,4-D. The company’s pitch to farmers is simple: Your fields are becoming choked with weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. As soon as the USDA okays our product, all your problems will be solved.

At risk of sounding overly dramatic, the product seems to me to bring mainstream US agriculture to a crossroads. If Dow’s new corn makes it past the USDA and into farm fields, it will mark the beginning of at least another decade of ramped-up chemical-intensive farming of a few chosen crops (corn, soy, cotton), beholden to a handful of large agrichemical firms working in cahoots to sell ever larger quantities of poisons, environment be damned.

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Exposure to BPA Before Birth Linked to Behavioral, Emotional Difficulties in Girls

RecyclablesVia ScienceDaily:

Exposure in the womb to bisphenol A (BPA) — a chemical used to make plastic containers and other consumer goods — is associated with behavior and emotional problems in young girls, according to a study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.

BPA is found in many consumer products, including canned food linings, polycarbonate plastics, dental sealants, and some receipts made from thermal paper. Most people living in industrialized nations are exposed to BPA. BPA has been shown to interfere with normal development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in people. In a 2009 study, HSPH researchers showed that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary BPA.

In this study, published Oct. 24, 2011, in an advance online edition of Pediatrics, lead author Joe Braun, research fellow in environmental health at HSPH, and his colleagues found that gestational BPA exposure was associated with more behavioral problems at age 3, especially in girls.

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Pollutants Linked to 450% Increase in Risk of Birth Defects in Rural China

China PollutionForget climate change deniers, there are more urgent reasons to eliminate pollution. Via ScienceDaily:

Pesticides and pollutants are related to a 450 percent increase in the risk of spina bifida and anencephaly in rural China, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Peking University.Two of the pesticides found in high concentrations in the placentas of affected newborns and stillborn fetuses were endosulfan and lindane. Endosulfan is only now being phased out in the United States for treatment of cotton, potatoes, tomatoes and apples. Lindane was only recently banned in the United States for treatment of barley, corn, oats, rye, sorghum and wheat seeds.

Strong associations were also found between spina bifida and anencephaly and high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are byproducts of burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal. Spina bifida is a defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth.

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Monsanto Corn Falls to Illinois Bugs

Tom Philpott writes in Mother Jones:

As the summer growing season draws to a close, 2011 is emerging as the year of the super-insect — the year pests officially developed resistance to Monsanto’s genetically engineered (ostensibly) bug-killing corn.

While the revelation has given rise to alarming headlines, neither Monsanto nor the EPA, which regulates pesticides and pesticide-infused crops, can credibly claim surprise. Scientists have been warning that the EPA’s rules for planting the crop were too lax to prevent resistance since before the agency approved the crop in 2003. And in 2008, research funded by Monsanto itself showed that resistance was an obvious danger.

And now those unheeded warnings are proving prescient. In late July, as I reported recently, scientists in Iowa documented the existence of corn rootworms (a ravenous pest that attacks the roots of corn plants) that can happily devour corn plants that were genetically tweaked specifically to kill them.

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