Wednesday 19th of June 2024

trashcorp .....

trashcorp .....

From plastic bags to all kind of pollution, we create events and chemicals that combine to contribute to the extinction of animals and plants. Unfortunately it seems, we've made the decision to destroy the natural planet, while keeping a few zoos for entertainment value...  

The only educational value plummets to "what once used to be not a very long time ago". Tragic. 

If fact it appears our leaders have made that decision to destroy the planet, for us, even allowing genetically modified crops to be cultivated, with no other major benefit that stronger poisons can be used.  

The list of products that is harming the planet is long: From sheer poisons such as insecticides, herbicides to simple plastic bags, we are creating in environment that's becoming more and more difficult for other species to live in, both in industrial countries and developing countries alike.  

For example, in many restaurants in Indonesia, the traditional banana leaf used to present particular dishes has been replaced by a plastic look alike that is, like the traditional banana leave, discarded once used. Much of these discarded plastic look alike bits end up in the food chain as killer of marine wildlife.  

In Australia, plastic shopping bags need to become illegal forthwith. No point leaving the decision to the consumer "to be responsible". It does not work.

We need to eliminate the plastic out of our lives as well as minimise our use of soaps, detergents and solvents, including those used domestically that do not biodegrade in the sewers. We need to eliminate the use of strong domestic insecticides and of chemical insecticides for crops. We need to think better and to do better.

But will we do it?

money for dubious schemes

From the Independent

Scientists are planning this week to start a highly controversial experiment in changing the composition of the oceans, in apparent contravention of international law.

The experiment – to be conducted in the Southern Ocean – aims to create a bloom of plankton so big that it will be visible from outer space. But, at the last minute, the scheme has sailed into an international storm as environmentalists have called for it to be abandoned. The researchers – mainly from Germany and India, but including two Britons – plan to add some 20 tons of iron sulphate to a 186-square-mile patch of ocean about half way between Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, to demonstrate a way both of combating global warming and of saving the whale.

As the waters are short of iron, this is expected to lead to an explosive growth of plankton, which will take up carbon dioxide from the air. The scientists hope that, when the plankton die and their bodies sink deep into the ocean, they will take the carbon with them, keeping it out of the atmosphere for centuries. Applied on a large enough scale, they believe this could help stave off climate change, while increasing food for whales. Commercial firms have already announced plans to make money from such schemes.

But other scientists are deeply concerned that the practice could have devastating unintended effects on the oceans, including killing off large areas of sea, and releasing methane and nitrous oxide, which are even more potent causes of global warming. They also fear that the plankton could absorb sunlight, heating up surface waters and hastening climate change.

toxic market

Tonnes of toxic waste collected from British municipal dumps is being sent illegally to Africa in flagrant breach of this country’s obligation to ensure its rapidly growing mountain of defunct televisions, computers and gadgets are disposed of safely.

Hundreds of thousands of discarded items, which under British law must be dismantled or recycled by specialist contractors, are being packaged into cargo containers and shipped to countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, where they are stripped of their raw metals by young men and children working on poisoned waste dumps.

In a joint investigation by The Independent, Sky News, and Greenpeace, a television that had been broken beyond repair was tracked to an electronics market in Lagos, Nigeria, after being left at a civic amenity site in Basingstoke run by Hampshire Country Council. Under environmental protection laws It was classified as hazardous waste and should never have left the UK.


see toon at top

everyday poisons...

Which detergents should consumers avoid?

Make sure you don’t use detergents with phosphates or nonylphenol ethoxylate surfactants, but that information is rarely available on the labels.

I don’t know what you just said.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates are surfactants that break down into increasingly toxic substances and stay around for a long time in the environment.

Which products contain those chemicals?

We identify the safest products out there. We don’t track the ones that contain problematic chemicals.

If you won’t single out specific brands, would you at least identify the types of detergents that are harmful?

Some automatic dishwasher detergents contain phosphates.

“Some automatic dishwasher detergents,” eh? Moving along, your program’s Web site ( lists the various brands that have received the Design for the Environment seal, including Amway, Method Products and Greenworks from Clorox. But I was surprised that Seventh Generation wasn’t there.

The Seventh Generation company is certainly well intentioned, but they haven’t submitted formulations for evaluation. They have their own approach to differentiating their products in the marketplace.

It seems that only 22 makers of consumer cleaning products have earned the E.P.A.’s seal. Why so few?


For a few years now, this site has warned about detergents and solvents — and disinfectants — used in our "cleaning" frenzy. Let's say, that whatever we do, there is a price to pay... Most time, microbes and bacterias are neutral or beneficial, but we present them as "evil" in our places... Eventually, we reduce our natural resistance to stuff that is not threatening and increasing our "allergic" management.

But the environment also pay the price. Already under stress from other factors, the environment suffers a lot more from our over use of soaps, detergents and "cleaning" stuff.

see toon at top.


On a bright spring day, the chalky slopes of the Chilterns smell of warm thyme. Tiny purple violets bloom underfoot. For miles beyond, the Vale of Aylesbury unfolds in a tapestry of newly minted trees, yellow fields and the spires of village churches. This great vista of the English countryside seems gloriously immutable, unchanged since Victorian times, when Walter Rothschild would set out from Tring Park, his country house in the valley below, to throw his net at our summer butterflies and place them in his extraordinary zoological museum.

Not everything, however, would please the eye of Victorian lovers of nature. An easyJet plane casts a shadow across the downland. The air is filled with the complaint of two diggers, quarrying chalk from the bottom of the hill. But what would really make Rothschild weep is what is missing: the sky and the steep meadows dotted with the white flowers of wild strawberry are almost bereft of butterflies.


Not far to go for a total wipe out...

We use far too much insecticides to do our business at home and in the fields, so eventually bingo, we get what we want: less insects, less butterflies, less bird, less wildlife until there is no insects, no butterfly, no birds. It has taken me about 12 years to turn around a piece of suburbia — that had been loaded with fertilisers, snail pellets, insecticides, pesticides and herbicides — into a modest organic patch. The insects — including butterfly and big moths — have come back, the spiders and the lizards have a ball, the worms and the cricket-moles tunnel below, but the neighbors' cats still kill far too many birds... And the perma-cultured vegies don't do too badly either...

See toon at top. read more at The Guardian...

herbicide soup...

from unleashed

In 2004 the European Union withdrew its approval for Atrazine, a herbicide produced by Syngenta, a Switzerland-based agrochemicals multinational, because of its persistent groundwater contamination.

The chemical has long been under fire for potentially more sinister side effects: for example, its use has long been controversial because of its effects on non-target species like frogs and a lot of scientific studies have raised questions about whether Atrazine may cause a variety of cancers and harm human and animal reproductive and hormone systems.

The European Union generally takes the sensible approach of dealing with potential dangers using the precautionary principle, but the precautionary principle doesn't operate in the United States or in Australia where Atrazine continues to be used to control grass and weeds in crops like sorghum, maize, sugar cane, lupins, pine and eucalypt plantations and triazine-tolerant canola.

In July 2007 the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council announced a review of its guidelines on Atrazine in drinking water. It plans to report by the end of 2009. We wait with bated breath!


 see toon at top and read more at unleashed...

doomed to overpopulate for profit...

"Every time the UK gets the opportunity to vote on GM at European level, it votes in favour. We have no doubt that the Government is fully behind GM growing," said Clare Oxborrow, senior food campaigner at Friends of the Earth.

Pete Riley, of GM Freeze, said: "The Government has always been very pro-GM. They would like to see GM crops grown here. I suspect they will say we need GM crops on a case by case basis and will base it around science," he said, adding that there were political and economic arguments against GM.


We know that the world population is growing at an environmentally unsustainable rate, but the pundits in power will push for it whichever way they can. Glorious growth... We know the use of GM crops leads to the use of stronger, more potent patented poisons, sanctifies the patenting of food production and most likely promote unquantifiable human health risks — risks that are somewhat assessable now, but dismissed by the more-is-good industry... Say, more crap to gobble is not necessarily a good thing and will, of course, lead to more people on the planet, more people farting, more cattle belching, more damage to the natural environment, extinction of species, global warming acceleration despite our glorified miserable efforts to stop it. It will lead to unbalanced political spectrum aka the poor will remain underfoot while the richer nations will plunder resources in charitable coated jack-booted good will. The process is gross.

see toon at top.

boys will be boyish...

Chemicals in plastics alter the brains of baby boys making them "more feminine", say US researchers.

Males exposed to high doses in the womb went on to be less likely to play with boys' toys like cars or to join in rough and tumble games, they found.

The University of Rochester team's latest work adds to concerns about the safety of phthalates, found in vinyl flooring and PVC shower curtains.

The findings are reported in the International Journal of Andrology.

Plastic furniture

Phthalates have the ability to disrupt hormones, and have been banned in toys in the EU for some years.

However, they are still widely used in many different household items, including plastic furniture and packaging.

There are many different types and some mimic the female hormone oestrogen.


see toon at top and read articles below it to see what we're doing to planet earth...

the safety of poisons...

Bisphenol A

Reversing itself, FDA expresses concerns over health risks from BPA

By Lyndsey Layton
Saturday, January 16, 2010; A01


The Food and Drug Administration has reversed its position on the safety of Bisphenol A, a chemical found in plastic bottles, soda cans, food containers and thousands of consumer goods, saying it now has concerns about health risks.

Growing scientific evidence has linked the chemical to a host of problems, including cancer, sexual dysfunction and heart disease. Federal officials said they are particularly concerned about BPA's effect on the development of fetuses, infants and young children.

"We have some concern, which leads us to recommend reasonable steps the public can take to reduce exposure to BPA," said Joshua Sharfstein, FDA's deputy commissioner, in a conference call to reporters Friday.

Regulators stopped short of banning the compound or even requiring manufacturers to label products containing BPA, saying that current data are not clear enough to support a legal crackdown. FDA officials also said they were hamstrung from dealing quickly with BPA by an outdated regulatory framework.

Sharfstein said the agency is conducting "targeted" studies of BPA, part of a two-year, $30 million effort by the administration to answer key questions about the chemical that will help determine what action, if any, is necessary to protect public health. The Obama administration pledged to take a "fresh look" at the chemical.

BPA, used to harden plastics, is so prevalent that more than 90 percent of the U.S. population has traces of it in its urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have found that BPA leaches from containers into food and beverages, even at cold temperatures.

The FDA's announcement came after extensive talks between federal agencies and the White House about the best approach to an issue that has become a significant concern for consumers and the chemical industry.

One administration official privy to the talks said the FDA is in a quandary. "They have new evidence that makes them worried, but they don't have enough proof to justify pulling the stuff, so what do you do?" said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "You want to warn people, but you don't want to create panic."

The FDA had long maintained that BPA is safe, relying largely on two studies funded by the chemical industry. The agency was faulted by its own panel of independent science advisers in 2008, which said its position on BPA was scientifically flawed because it ignored more than 100 published studies by government scientists and university laboratories that raised health concerns about BPA. Recent data found health effects even at low doses of BPA -- lower than the levels considered safe by the FDA.

The chemical industry, which produces more than 6 billion tons of BPA annually and has been fighting restrictions on its use, said Friday's announcement was good news because the agency did not tell people to stop using products containing the chemical.

trash of trashcorps...

From the BBC

Scientists have discovered an area of the North Atlantic Ocean where plastic debris accumulates.

The region is said to compare with the well-documented "great Pacific garbage patch".

Karen Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association told the BBC that the issue of plastics had been "largely ignored" in the Atlantic.

She announced the findings of a two-decade-long study at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, US.

The work is the conclusion of the longest and most extensive record of plastic marine debris in any ocean basin.

Scientists and students from the SEA collected plastic and marine debris in fine mesh nets that were towed behind a research vessel.


see toon at top

trash the poisons...

Case for banning insecticide 'overwhelming'

By Bronwyn Herbert

Australia's chemical regulator says its reviewing studies on the insecticide Endosulfan, which has now been banned in the United States because it poses an unacceptable risk to farm workers and wildlife.

Endosulfans are banned in more than 60 countries, but in Australia they are still used on some vegetable, fruit and nut crops.

In the northern New South Wales town of Lismore, one of Australia's biggest macadamia growing regions, Bert Ballairs sells agricultural chemicals including Endosulfans.

"We sell quite a deal during the fruit season, into the macadamias and also in avocadoes and there is a small amount used in soya beans industry as well," he said.

Mr Ballairs says farmers know the risks and use the chemical sparingly.

There has been growing international pressure for countries to ban the chemical. As of today, the United States is phasing it out.

Nick Heath from the World Wildlife Fund says Australia should also ban the chemical.

"There has been mounting evidence for many years, over 60 countries around the world have banned this chemical, and yet the Australian regulator believes it is safe," he said.

"We just feel now with America coming on board ... the case for banning Endosulfan is overwhelming; we've just got to get rid of it."


see toon at top...

So why should I care?...

A group of 60 scientists backed by environmental, health and women's organisations from around the world have called for action to reduce exposure to a chemical in plastics found in everyday products.

In a letter to a European food watchdog which is currently reviewing the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), the group says that "many scientific studies are now calling into question the safety of BPA" and that only a minority of controversial academic papers have backed its safety.

BPA is a mass-produced chemical used to make plastic harder. It is found in baby bottles, most food and drink cans – including tins of infant formula milk – plastic food containers, and the casings of mobile phones, and other electronic goods.

The Independent disclosed in April that retailers such as Mothercare were continuing to stock polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA even after most manufacturers had phased it out.

While there is no consensus among scientists about its impact on human health, dozens of independent scientists around the world are convinced that there is a strong case for limiting human exposure.

In January the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reversed years of opposition to action, saying that it had "some concern"on the basis of results from studies using novel approaches about BPA's effects on the brain, behaviour, and prostate gland in unborn children, infants, and young children...


Gus: as far as I know, a lot of the Earth's human induced problems are statistical events that won't affect me anymore or much... I'll be dead long before the temperature of global warming reach past 2 degrees above average...  I should have died long ago from suspect HGH injections, from fierce childhood diseases caught by swimming in the sewers, from asbestos inhalation or from been burned to a crisp by UV rays while "going to the beach" on low ozone level days... Or by playing in sticky tar pits... What about my exposure to radio-activity while I was a lowly-paid worker in a factory where the canteen made geiger-counter go bezerk from having been used to store "tons" of pure thorium? What about having used tonnes of industrial deadly acid with no protection... What about the lead poisoning from fumes when my dad was making fishing weights from recycled lead on the kitchen stove? Or even sucking on tin-lead soldiers?... So why should I care?... In the compression of timelines, one million years might appear as a couple of hours on a summer's day. Time flies at a speed that is only relatively relevant to individuals experiencing cognition and to "enlightened" groups of animals (humans) writing their "immemorial" history in the sand... So why should I care? Especially when more than half of the up-and-coming generations of geezers appears to be brain dead, including politicians like Tony Whatizname... while the other half is hooked on electronic illusions — like we were hooked on meaningless religious experiences... Sometimes I wonder why I care... or should care... Is it due to my inflated ego, eager to let everyone know that I think I know a bit more about life than most... Unless I resent the merchants of death who smile as they collect the moneys I never made, from being too ethical in my own mind and decidedly eager to promote a more naturally tuned aspect of our life... Or that I've seen far too much degradation of our environment in the last few years and have nightmares about a 99.99 per cent germ-free antiseptic earth... Yuck... Who knows...

lead in the brain...


UK firm Octel bribed Iraqis to keep buying toxic fuel additive


The former chief executive of a British chemical company faces the prospect of extradition to the US after the firm admitted million-dollar bribes to officials to sell toxic fuel additives to Iraq.

Paul Jennings, until last year chief executive of the Octel chemical works near Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, and his predecessor, Dennis Kerrison, exported tonnes of tetra ethyl lead (TEL), to Iraq. TEL is banned from cars in western countries because of links with brain damage to children. Iraq is believed to be the only country that still adds lead to petrol.

The company recently admitted that, in a deliberate policy to maximise profits, executives from Octel – which since changed its name to Innospec – bribed officials in Iraq and Indonesia with millions of dollars to carry on using TEL, despite its health hazards.

The firm's Lebanese agent, Osama Naaman, was extradited and agreed this week to plead guilty and co-operate with US prosecutors. Although the US department of justice has run much of the case, the Serious Fraud Office is keen to claim jurisdiction.


read article above this one and see toon at top...

a happier shrimp till...

Antidepressants taking toll on marine life

Updated 1 hour 10 minutes ago

Scientists in Britain have found antidepressant drugs are affecting the behaviour of marine animals, such as shrimps.

The drugs enter the sea in human waste through the sewage system.

The researchers say crustaceans exposed to the drug fluoxetine are more likely to swim towards light rather than away from it, making them vulnerable to attack by fish and birds.

see toon at top...

fake biodegradables...

Two plastic bag suppliers facing ACCC wrath

The consumer watchdog has accused two companies of falsely claiming plastic bags they made and sold were biodegradable.

Goody Environment and NuPak Australia allegedly said the bags could legally be supplied to South Australian businesses, where sale of non-biodegradable plastic bags is banned.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will allege in the Federal Court next week that the bags failed to satisfy Australian standards.

John Dee from Planet Ark's ban the bag campaign is pleased that action is being taken.

"The question that does need to be asked is why has the EPA [Environment Protection Authority] allowed this bag to be sold in the marketplace for over a year?

"Why wasn't action taken earlier? Because a lot of South Australians have spent money on this bag thinking that they're doing the right thing when in fact they haven't been."

chinese rubbish...

Layers of trash floating in the Yangtze river are threatening to jam China's massive Three Gorges hydro-electric dam.

Chinese state media reports the garbage is so thick in parts of the river that people can walk on the surface.

China Daily says nearly three tonnes of refuse are collected from the dam every day, but operators are struggling with inadequate manpower and equipment as rubbish accumulates more quickly due to rain-triggered floods.

"The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the mitre gate of the Three Gorges Dam," China Three Gorges corporation official Chen Lei said in the newspaper.

More than 150 million people live upstream from the dam.

In several nearby cities, household garbage is dumped directly into the river - China's longest - because municipalities are not equipped for trash disposal.

Mr Lei said 160,000 cubic metres of trash was collected from the dam last year.

The newspaper says the China Three Gorges corporation spends about 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) per year to clear floating waste.

According to state newspaper Hubei Daily, a 60-centimetre thick layer of garbage covering an area of more than 50,000 square metres began to form in front of the dam when the rainy season started in early July.

China considers the $22 billion Three Gorges Dam a modern wonder.

cleaning dishes....

Cleaner for the Environment, Not for the Dishes

Some longtime users were furious.

“My dishes were dirtier than before they were washed,” one wrote last week in the review section of the Web site for the Cascade line of dishwasher detergents. “It was horrible, and I won’t buy it again.”

“This is the worst product ever made for use as a dishwashing detergent!” another consumer wrote.

Like every other major detergent for automatic dishwashers, Procter & Gamble’s Cascade line recently underwent a makeover. Responding to laws that went into effect in 17 states in July, the nation’s detergent makers reformulated their products to reduce what had been the crucial ingredient, phosphates, to just a trace.

While phosphates help prevent dishes from spotting in the wash cycle, they have long ended up in lakes and reservoirs, stimulating algae growth that deprives other plants and fish of oxygen.

Yet now, with the content reduced, many consumers are finding the new formulas as appealing as low-flow showers, underscoring the tradeoffs that people often face today in a more environmentally conscious marketplace. From hybrid cars to solar panels, environmentally friendly alternatives can cost more. They can be less convenient, like toting cloth sacks or canteens rather than plastic bags or bottled water. And they can prove less effective, like some of the new cleaning products.


Gus: I have found that Auto Dishwash Powder from ecoSTORE is working as well as the most expensive heavily advertised product. But Auto Dishwash Powder from ecoSTORE (made in New Zealand) does not contain any phosphate and is garden friendly...


insecticide ban...

An independent fish expert has criticised the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for taking so long to ban the toxic chemical endosulfan.

The authority has cancelled the registration of the insecticide after new information suggested that it was likely to lead to environmental damage.

The insecticide's residue has been detected right throughout the environment, including in the blood of polar bears.

Environmentalists argue the insecticide has already been deregistered in more than 60 countries and they accuse the regulator of moving now only to save Australia the embarrassment of being one of the last countries in the world to shut down use of the chemical.

Aquaculture veterinarian Dr Matt Landos was a member of the Queensland Government task force set up to investigate possible links between pesticide use and fish deformities at a Sunshine Coast fish hatchery.

see toon at top....

toxic plastics...

Choice calls for ban on plastics chemical

Consumer group Choice is calling on Australia's food safety regulator to follow Canada's lead and declare a chemical found in plastics toxic.

Yesterday, Canada ruled bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in hard plastics like baby bottles and the lining of food cans, poses a danger to human health and the environment.

Some scientific studies have raised concerns BPA may interfere with the body's natural hormones.

In July this year, a number of retailers in Australia started a voluntary phase out of baby bottles containing BPA in response to concerns.

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn says Canada's decision should prompt changes to safe exposure limits in Australia.

"It's a real line in the sand in terms of the debate over BPA," he said.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has been unavailable for comment.


AUSTRALIAN supermarkets are selling laundry powders and dishwasher tablets containing phosphates that are being phased out overseas because of their disastrous effects on waterways.

Popular brands such as Surf, Omo and Finish sold in Australia all contain phosphates. Dishwasher tablets are particularly high in phosphates, some containing more than 30 per cent.

The NSW Australian of the Year Jon Dee will this week launch a nationwide campaign through his environment group Do Something!, challenging Coles and Woolworths to give manufacturers such as Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser two years to clean up their act.

The US introduced voluntary codes in July to rid supermarkets of dishwasher products containing phosphates, and took action to remove phosphates from household laundry powder several years ago. Last week, the European Commission announced a ban on phosphates in laundry detergents, starting from 2013.

Phosphates are used in laundry and dishwashing products because they help soften hard water and break down dirt, but once released into the environment in waste water they can cause algal blooms that starve aquatic life of oxygen.

"Some 310 million Americans are only able to buy phosphate-free powder so why can't 22 million Australians be allowed to do the same?" Mr Dee asked.

The shadow environment minister, Catherine Cusack, said NSW taxpayers were picking up the bill to have phosphates removed from the environment.

see toon at top and cleaning dishes above...

de-bisphenoling babies...

The European Commission has announced a ban on the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles.

The commission cited fears that the compound could affect development and immune response in young children.

The EU ban will come into effect during 2011.

There has been concern over the use of BPA for some time, with six US manufacturers removing it in 2009 from bottles they sold in the US, although not other markets.

The chemical is widely used in making hard, clear plastic and is commonly found in food and drink containers.

A European Commission spokesman said the proposal had been approved after being presented to a committee of national government experts on Thursday - months earlier than scheduled - and approved.

The European parliament had called for the ban in June.

Areas of uncertainty

John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, said the ban was good news for European parents.


see toon at top...

I will sue...

Please note that I will sue (virtually) anyone using Raid Outdoors near my place. This product should be banned.

I love the bugs — they are natural and beneficial (for pollinating and other purposes) —  and I do not want any ill wind carrying this crappy insecticide my way. Raid should be sued as well.

Raid should be disallowed by government for encouraging the usage of indiscrimatory insecticide in the unrestricted inhabited outdoors. They are setting a new low standard for Trashcorp...

Pass this message along.

See toon at top...

trashcorp and climate change...


Nearly 200,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past decade...


The death toll is extrapolated from the Indian authorities' figures. But the journalist Palagummi Sainath is certain the scale of the epidemic of rural suicides is underestimated and that it is getting worse. "Wave upon wave," he says, from his investigative trips in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. "One farmer every 30 minutes in India now, and sometimes three in one family." Because standards of record-keeping vary across the nation, many suicides go unnoticed. In some Indian states, the significant numbers of women who kill themselves are not listed as "farmers", even if that is how they make their living.

Mr Sainath is an award-winning expert on rural poverty in India, a famous figure across India through his writing for The Hindu newspaper. I spoke to him at a screening of Nero's Guests, a documentary film about the suicide epidemic and some of the more eye-popping inequalities of modern India.

"Poverty has assaulted rural India," he said. "Farmers who used to be able to send their children to college now can't send them to school. For all that India has more dollar billionaires than the UK, we have 600 million poor. The wealth has not trickled down." Almost all the bereaved families report that debts and land loss because of unsuccessful crops were among their biggest problems.

The causes of that poverty are complex. Mr Sainath points to the long-term collapse of markets for farmers' produce. About half of all the suicides occur in the four states of India's cotton belt; the price of cotton in real terms, he says, is a twelfth of what it was 30 years ago. Vandana Shiva, a scientist-turned-campaigner, also links failures of cotton farming with the farmer suicides: she says the phenomenon was born in 1997 when the Indian government removed subsidies from cotton farming. This was also when genetically modified seed was widely introduced.

"Every suicide can be linked to Monsanto," says Ms Shiva, claiming that the biotech firm's modified Bt Cotton caused crop failure and poverty because it needed to be used with pesticide and fertilisers. The Prince of Wales has made the same accusation. Monsanto denies that its activities are to blame, saying that Indian rural poverty has many causes.

Beyond any argument – though no less politically charged – is the role of the weather in this story. India's climate, always complicated by the Himalayas on one side and turbulent oceans on the two others, has been particularly unreliable in recent years. In Rajasthan, in the north-west, a 10-year drought ended only this summer, while across much of India the annual monsoons have failed three times in the past decade.

see toon at top...

Meanwhile the futurists see the future:

We did see the first human-engineered synthetic organism, with custom DNA created by human designers. This opens another door, towards a world where many micro-organisms, plants and animals have been designed from the ground up to fit a particular ecosystem, or service a particular need. We'll soon see algae that synthesise fuel oil, bacteria that manufacture expensive pharmaceuticals, and plants wholly resistant to blights. The world of Blade Runner, set in 2019 - where every animal bears the signature of its human maker - is right on schedule.

Worry, my friend, worry... When the whole of nature becomes infected with human artificial crap, we'll be in big trouble. Our links to the original evolution would have be completely severed...

It is our ethical duty to protect natural biodiversity... even in the "year of chemistry"

anti-perchlorate is too slow...


Today's announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that EPA will move toward regulating perchlorate, reversing a decision by the George W. Bush Administration, is bittersweet. It’s great that EPA has recognized the need to regulate, but the agency has adopted such a leisurely timeline that the entire effort could end up being undercut.

The agency said: "EPA intends to publish the proposed regulation and analyses for public review and comment within 24 months. EPA will consider the public comments and expects to promulgate a final regulation within 18 months of the proposal."

The Bush Administration had shut down EPA efforts to deal with this hazard, despite ample evidence of the danger. So it's obviously welcome news that the Obama EPA has made confronting the problem its official policy. But today's announcement is quite limited. EPA is actually saying that a regulation wouldn't be finalized until after 2012, and that gives scant comfort.

I can find no excuse for the long trajectory of behind-the-scenes consultations and hand-wringing that sets the stage for such long delay on this crucial issue.


Perchlorate adversely affects human health by interfering with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. In adults, the thyroid gland helps regulate the metabolism by releasing hormones, while in children, the thyroid helps in proper development. Perchlorate is becoming a serious threat to human health and water resources.[19]

The NAS found that perchlorate only affects the thyroid gland. It is not stored in the body, it is not metabolized, and any effects of perchlorate on the thyroid gland are fully reversible once exposure stops.[20] There has been some concern on perchlorate's effects on fetuses, newborns and children, but several peer-reviewed studies on children and newborns also provide reason to believe that low levels of perchlorate do not pose a threat to these populations.[citation needed] On October 1, 2004, the American Thyroid Association (ATA) reported that perchlorate may not be as harmful to newborns, pregnant women and other adults as previously thought.[21]

A study involving healthy adult volunteers determined that at levels above 0.007 milligrams per kilogram per day (mg/(kg·d)), perchlorate can temporarily inhibit the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine from the bloodstream ("iodide uptake inhibition", thus perchlorate is a known goitrogen).[22]reference dose of 0.0007 mg/(kg·d) by dividing this level by the standard intraspecies uncertainty factor of 10. The agency then calculated a "drinking water equivalent level" of 24.5 ppb by assuming a person weighs 70 kilograms (154 pounds) and consumes 2 liters (68 ounces) of drinking water per day over a lifetime.[2

colorful trashcorp...

F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings


WASHINGTON — After staunchly defending the safety of artificial food colorings, the federal government is for the first time publicly reassessing whether foods like Jell-O, Lucky Charms cereal and Minute Maid Lemonade should carry warnings that the bright artificial colorings in them worsen behavior problems like hyperactivity in some children.

The Food and Drug Administration concluded long ago that there was no definitive link between the colorings and behavior or health problems, and the agency is unlikely to change its mind any time soon. But on Wednesday and Thursday, the F.D.A. will ask a panel of experts to review the evidence and advise on possible policy changes, which could include warning labels on food.

The hearings signal that the growing list of studies suggesting a link between artificial colorings and behavioral changes in children has at least gotten regulators’ attention — and, for consumer advocates, that in itself is a victory.

In a concluding report, staff scientists from the F.D.A. wrote that while typical children might be unaffected by the dyes, those with behavioral disorders might have their conditions “exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.”

Renee Shutters, a mother of two from Jamestown, N.Y., said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that two years ago, her son Trenton, then 5, was having serious behavioral problems at school until she eliminated artificial food colorings from his diet. “I know for sure I found the root cause of this one because you can turn it on and off like a switch,” Ms. Shutters said.

But Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif., said evidence that diet plays a significant role in most childhood behavioral disorders was minimal to nonexistent. “These are urban legends that won’t die,” Dr. Diller said.

There is no debate about the safety of natural food colorings, and manufacturers have long defended the safety of artificial ones as well. In a statement, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said, “All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial food colors and hyperactivity among children.”

In a 2008 petition filed with federal food regulators, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, argued that some parents of susceptible children do not know that their children are at risk and so “the appropriate public health approach is to remove those dangerous and unnecessary substances from the food supply.”

The federal government has been cracking down on artificial food dyes for more than a century in part because some early ones were not only toxic but were also sometimes used to mask filth or rot. In 1950, many children became ill after eating Halloween candy containing Orange No. 1 dye, and the F.D.A. banned it after more rigorous testing suggested that it was toxic. In 1976, the agency banned Red No. 2 because it was suspected to be carcinogenic. It was then replaced by Red No. 40.

Many of the artificial colorings used today were approved by the F.D.A. in 1931, including Blue No. 1, Yellow No. 5 and Red No. 3. Artificial dyes were developed — just as aspirin was — from coal tar, but are now made from petroleum products.

In the 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a pediatric allergist from California, had success treating the symptoms of hyperactivity in some children by prescribing a diet that, among other things, eliminated artificial colorings. And some studies, including one published in The Lancet medical journal in 2007, have found that artificial colorings might lead to behavioral changes even in typical children.

The consumer science group asked the government to ban the dyes, or at least require manufacturers to include prominent warnings that “artificial colorings in this food cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children.”

Citizen petitions are routinely dismissed by the F.D.A. without much comment. Not this time. Still, the agency is not asking the experts to consider a ban during their two-day meeting, and agency scientists in lengthy analyses expressed skepticism about the scientific merits of the Lancet study and others suggesting any definitive link between dyes and behavioral issues. Importantly, the research offers almost no clue about the relative risks of individual dyes, making specific regulatory actions against, say, Green No. 3 or Yellow No. 6 almost impossible.

runoff from agri-trashcorp...

Nitrogen pollution from farms, vehicles, industry and waste treatment is costing the EU up to £280bn (320bn euros) a year, a report says.

The study by 200 European experts says reactive nitrogen contributes to air pollution, fuels climate change and is estimated to shorten the life of the average resident by six months.

Livestock farming is one of the biggest causes of nitrogen pollution, it adds.

It calls for changes in farming and more controls on vehicles and industry.

The problem would be greatly helped if less meat was consumed, the report says.

Nitrogen is the most common element in the atmosphere and is harmless.

It is the reactive form - mainly produced by human activity - that causes a web of related problems.

The 600-page report relies on experts from 21 countries and 89 organisations. It estimates the annual cost of damage caused by nitrogen across Europe as being £55-£280bn.

Reactive nitrogen emissions from agriculture are the most intractable as they come from many diffuse sources.

The report says Europe needs nitrogen fertilisers for its own food security but blames many farmers for applying fertiliser carelessly to crops, so that excess nitrogen runs off to pollute water supplies.

Run-off from animal manure also fouls watercourses, and the release of nitrous oxides from uncovered dung heaps pollutes the air.

see toon at top...

trade secret...

House Democrats say in report that carcinogens injected into wells from 2005-2009

By Associated Press, Saturday, April 16, 8:27 PM

WASHINGTON — Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009, a report by three House Democrats said Saturday.

The report said 29 of the chemicals injected were known-or-suspected human carcinogens. They either were regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act as risks to human health or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Methanol was the most widely used chemical. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The report was issued by Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado.

The chemicals are injected during hydraulic fracturing, a process used in combination with horizontal drilling to allow access to natural gas reserves previously considered uneconomical.

The growing use of hydraulic fracturing has allowed natural gas production in the United States to reach levels not achieved since the early 1970s.

However, the process requires large quantities of water and fluids, injected underground at high volumes and pressure. The composition of these fluids ranges from a simple mixture of water and sand to more complex mixtures with chemical additives.

The report said that from 2005-2009, the following states had at least 100,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids containing a carcinogen: Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and Utah.

States with 100,000 gallons or more of fluids containing a regulated chemical under the Safe Drinking Water Act were: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Mississippi and North Dakota.

The report said many chemical components were listed as “proprietary” or “trade secret.”

steer clear from styrene...

U.S. Warns Styrene and Formaldehyde May Cause Cancer By

WASHINGTON — The government added styrene and seven other chemicals to its list of possible human carcinogens in a report delayed for years because of fierce lobbying from manufacturers. Styrene is found in foam coffee cups, food containers and building materials.

The report also strengthened the warning on formaldehyde, saying it was known to cause some kinds of leukemia. Formaldehyde is found in plywood, pressboard and even some hair treatments. Much of the research underlying these warnings comes from industrial settings, where workers are exposed to large amounts of these chemicals. The amount of styrene found in a coffee cup, by contrast, is very small.

But Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said that he would advise people — particularly pregnant women and small children — to avoid using polystyrene containers and other products that use styrene.

“I think it’s prudent and sensible, especially in light of this new report, to minimize your exposure,” Dr. Landrigan said.

The warnings are part of the Report on Carcinogens put together by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health. It is the 12th such report. The reports were originally envisioned to be put out annually, but the 11th report was published in 2005, and controversy surrounding the newest report delayed its release for years.

Spokespeople for manufacturers said they would appeal the designations.

crock crop...

The CSIRO has been given permission to conduct Australia's first trial in which humans will eat genetically modified wheat.

The wheat's genes have been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value.

For the first time, it is being grown in outdoor trials in the ACT.

The CSIRO's Matthew Morell say animal feeding trials of up the three months have been done.

"Subject to that being successful we would move onto humans," he said.

Dr Morell believes its a first for GM wheat. No genetically modified wheat strain has ever been approved for cropping in Australia.

"In Australia, that would be the case," he said. "Internationally, I'm not aware of any others."

But Laura Kelly from Greenpeace says there should be animal feeding trials for at least two years.


And Gus from says the whole thing is a crock crop... Organic grain farmers need to be aware their crops can be spoilt by the new strain's pollen.... Organic food chain needs to become stronger to fight the millions of moneys sunk into these silly GM projects that are mostly designed to create patented seeds...

more on bpa...

A US study has raised concerns about the use of the chemical BPA in food packaging for pregnant mothers.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a plasticiser commonly used in tinned foods and other food packaging such as glass jars, baby bottles and water bottles.

It is an endocrine disruptor and although the science on the health effects of BPA in foods is not conclusive, some studies have linked it to a range of illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and infertility.

Concerns have also long been held about exposing babies to BPA through baby food jars and baby bottles, but US researchers say exposure in utero, via the mother's diet, may be even worse.

The study suggests BPA exposure to unborn babies may affect testosterone production.

The study's author, Associate Professor Cheryl Rosenfeld at the University of Missouri, says it is further evidence BPA should be phased out in all food products, not just baby foods.

friendly fire...

New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths


A recently approved herbicide called Imprelis, widely used by landscapers because it was thought to be environmentally friendly, has emerged as the leading suspect in the deaths of thousands of Norway spruces, eastern white pines and other trees on lawns and golf courses across the country.

Manufactured by DuPont and conditionally approved for sale last October by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Imprelis is used for killing broadleaf weeds like dandelion and clover and is sold to lawn care professionals only. Reports of dying trees started surfacing around Memorial Day, prompting an inquiry by DuPont scientists.

“We are investigating the reports of these unfavorable tree symptoms,” said Kate Childress, a spokeswoman for DuPont. “Until this investigation is complete, it’s difficult to say what variables contributed to the symptoms.”

DuPont continues to sell the product, which is registered for use in all states except California and New York. The company said that there were many places where the product had been used without damaging trees.

The E.P.A. has begun gathering information on the deaths from state officials and DuPont as well as through its own investigators. “E.P.A. is taking this very seriously,” the agency said in a statement.

In a June 17 letter to its landscape customers, Michael McDermott, a DuPont products official, seemed to put the onus for the tree deaths on workers applying Imprelis. He wrote that customers with affected trees might not have mixed the herbicide properly or might have combined it with other herbicides. DuPont officials have also suggested that the trees may come back, and have asked landscapers to leave them in the ground.

Mr. McDermott instructed customers in the letter not to apply the herbicide near Norway spruce or white pine, or places where the product might drift toward such trees or run off toward their roots.


I have a better idea: DO NOT USE HERBICIDE...

explosive anger...

hex chromium

Hundreds of Newcastle residents have vented their anger at mining explosives company Orica over a chemical leak in the city last week.

About 300 people turned up to face off against the company at a public meeting last night, with tensions boiling over at times.

The toxic chemical hexavelent chromium was detected leaking from Orica's Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate plant on Monday, August 8, but residents were not officially notified until 54 hours later.

Orica's general manager of mining services, James Bonnor, used the meeting to repeatedly apologise.

"We are all hurting at Orica. We really want to do the right thing with the Stockton community, moving forward," Mr Bonnor said.

But that did not placate many, including a woman who only gave her first name, Nicole.

She told the meeting her children have been sick for days, with one suffering repeated nose bleeds.

"He's only four and he's been to hospital twice," she said.

It was not just Stockton residents with concerns.

god and mercury...

You might not expect evangelical Christians to get involved in a political fight over mercury regulations. But when the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in March to tighten limits on industrial mercury emissions, the move caught the attention of an influential group of religious environmentalists who are now butting heads with pro-business Republicans seeking to weaken the regulations in the House on Friday afternoon.

The EPA says its rule would reduce mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants by more than 90%, and also sharply restrict acid gas and sulfur dioxide emissions. The plan delighted leaders of the growing evangelical environmentalist movement, which argues that humans have a Biblical mandate to protect nature. Of particular significance to pro-life evangelicals is the impact the rule could have on unborn children. Medical experts have long warned that high mercury levels in fish like tuna and swordfish can cause pre-natal brain damage and neurological disorders.

Not all Republicans in Congress have met the EPA’s rules with open arms, however. The House will vote today on the TRAIN Act, a bill that creates a committee to determine whether the cost of proposed EPA regulations, including its latest mercury standards, is worth the benefit. Republicans argue that a weak economy is not the time for potentially costly changes. Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, proposed in July to wrap mercury regulations into this yearlong review. “What I have proposed is that we go forward with regulations that are reasonable and workable but which allow a little more time for compliance, so as to temper the job loss impact as well as the increased costs on electricity consumers,” he explained to TIME. Michigan Rep. Fred Upton and Joe Barton of Texas have supported the delay on similar grounds. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski also sent a letter to the EPA on Sept. 8 asking them to hold off on their regulations, citing energy price increases if non-compliant power plants are forced to close. Since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has yet to verify the EPA’s findings, her energy spokesman said, delay is imperative.

Yet this delay faces strong opposition from the rule’s supporters, including evangelicals who argue that mercury pollution is an immediate crisis for the unborn. At the forefront is the Evangelical Environmental Network, a coalition of religious leaders that calls its work “grounded in the Bible’s teaching of the responsibility of God’s people to ‘tend the garden’” of Earth. The group’s leader, Rev. Mitch Hescox, is a registered Republican who worked in the utility and coal industries for 14 years before becoming a pastor.

Read more:

blowing up newcastle...

A ship carrying 3000 tonnes of explosive material used in mining blasts is floating off the Newcastle coast because the embattled chemical-maker Orica has no place to store it on land.

Maritime Union officials who boarded the vessel yesterday described conditions on the Filipino-crewed MCP Kopenhagen as the worst they had seen in years and criticised a decision by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to grant the ship permission to take on such a potentially destructive cargo.

The assistant national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Warren Smith, said: ''This is an incredibly bad ship with a highly dangerous cargo that could potentially put the people of Newcastle at risk.

Read more:

Much safer to store it at sea than on land...


on the edge of silence...



The UK was not alone. For years, reports in the US indicated that numbers of birds, including America's national bird, the bald eagle, were dropping alarmingly. Ornithologists also noted eggs were often not being laid while many that were laid did not hatch. Something was happening to the birds of the western world.

Several causes were proposed – poisons, viruses or other disease agents – but no one had a definitive answer or seemed sure of the cause – with one exception: the biologist Rachel Carson. For most of 1961, she had locked herself in her cottage in Colesville, Maryland, to complete her book, Silent Spring. It would provide an unequivocal identification of the bird killers. Powerful synthetic insecticides such as DDT were poisoning food chains, from insects upwards.

"Sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests and homes – non-selective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the 'good' and the 'bad', to still the song of the birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film and to linger on in the soil – all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects," she wrote. One or two authors had previously suggested modern pesticides posed dangers. None wrote with the eloquence of Carson.


See toon at top...


fertiliser (ammonium nitrate) explosion?


Officials from the Chinese city of Tianjin, where two huge blasts killed 50 people, have revealed they discussed tightening safety standards with companies at the port just one week ago.

The explosions tore through an industrial area containing toxic chemicals and gas, ripping apart buildings, blowing out windows kilometres away, and injuring at least 700 people, officials and state media said.

The People's Daily newspaper said four fires were still burning 24 hours later.

The Tianjin Administration of Work Safety posted a notice about a meeting with companies handling dangerous chemicals at the port on its website on August 6.

It did not give a specific date of when the meeting took place.

The Xinhua news agency said the explosions, the first equivalent to three tonnes of TNT and the second to 21 tonnes of TNT, ripped through a warehouse owned by Tianjin Dongjiang Port Ruihai International Logistics.

The company's website said it was a government-approved firm specialising in handling "dangerous goods".

read more:


Here one can only ask what can produce such explosions.  There are few chemicals that can do this on such a scale: fertiliser — Ammonium nitrate — is likely to be the culprit


indian farmers reject reform terms...

Farmers' unions have rejected an Indian government offer to put controversial reforms on hold for 18 months.

The unions said the three new farm laws must be fully repealed, a move the government has ruled out.

Farmers have been camped on Delhi's outskirts since 26 November to protest against the laws, which will further open up agriculture to the free market.

The government had proposed setting up a joint committee to find an amicable solution to end the deadlock.

This followed several rounds of failed talks between the sides. 

Talking to the media after the meeting, farmer group leaders said the government was ready to form a special panel to review demands for a minimum support price (MSP), and the laws. 

But later on Thursday the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of unions leading the protests, ruled out any deal.

"In a full general body meeting the proposal put forth by the government yesterday was rejected," a statement said.

"We will not go back without the repealing of these farm laws."

The government has said the reforms will not hurt farmers. But farm groups say the laws threaten decades-old concessions and subsidies they receive, thwart their bargaining power and expose them to the vagaries of the market and big corporate companies.

Earlier India's Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the laws "until further notice", and appointed an independent committee to broker a deal between the farmers and the government.

The farmers, however, have not accepted the committee, saying that all of its panel members are pro-government. 

What exactly do the laws propose?

Taken together, the laws loosen rules around sale, pricing and storage of farm produce - rules that have protected India's farmers from the free market for decades.

One of the biggest changes is that farmers will be allowed to sell their produce at a market price directly to private players - agricultural businesses, supermarket chains and online grocers. Most Indian farmers currently sell the majority of their produce at government-controlled wholesale markets or mandis at assured floor prices.

The reforms give farmers the option of selling outside of this so-called "mandi system".

But it's unclear how this will play out in reality.

Farmers are mainly concerned that this will eventually lead to the end of wholesale markets and guaranteed prices, leaving them with no back-up option. If they are not satisfied with the price offered by a private buyer, they cannot return to the mandi or use it as a bargaining chip during negotiations.

Are these reforms necessary?

Most economists and experts agree that Indian agriculture desperately needs reform.

More than half of Indians work on farms, but the sector accounts for barely a sixth of the country's GDP. Declining productivity and a lack of modernisation have shrunk incomes and hobbled agriculture in India for decades.


Read more:




Gus to Indian farmers: hold your grounds. Don't give in to the monomegagriculture giants. They are vermins. Look after yourself.



Read from top.

resigned from the companies, not from his mind-set...

Environment and health groups have fiercely criticised proposals to relax the regulation of chemicals and pesticides in Australia, saying they are “totally at odds” with public health and safety expectations.

“first principles” review by a panel of experts has recommended to the agriculture minister, David Littleproud, that many household chemicals and pesticides should be exempt from scrutiny by authorities, and that approvals for agricultural chemicals should be fast-tracked if they have been licensed by similar authorities overseas.


The National Toxics Network and Public Health Association Australia said the draft report was a recipe for further deregulation that puts consumers at risk and undermines trust.

The NTN said the panel’s mandate prioritised costs to industry over the environment, and raised questions over the industry links of its chair, Ken Matthews.

Matthews was until very recently the chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia, whose members include the biggest producers, importers and users of pesticides, including CropLife Australia, AusBiotech and the National Farmers’ Federation.

Matthews said he had resigned as chairman of Abca, a position he held since 2015, and the agriculture department had concluded there was no conflict.

He acknowledged environmental groups were “cranky” about his draft report, but said the industry was not pleased either.

Protecting health, safety and the environment

NTN coordinator Jo Immig wrote to Littleproud last month about her group’s concerns.

“Overall, the tenor of the recommendations is totally at odds with the public’s growing expectation that a regulator should act to protect our health, safety and the environment from the impacts of Agvet chemicals,” she said.

“The recommendations seek to place rapid access to Agvet chemicals above the protection of health and safety. The inquiry panel has largely relied on industry stakeholder opinions to form its recommendations rather than referring to the scientific evidence to inform the best response to systemic problems and improve the regulator.”

The NTN said Australia already had a very lax system of control of agricultural chemicals, and this would put it further out of step with the EU, the US and Canada.

For example most common neonicotinoids have been banned in the EU because of their impact on bee populations. They have recently been restricted in the US and Canada but are still permitted in Australia. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has said there is no scientific evidence of declining bee populations in Australia but initiated a review in 2019. Paraquat, a herbicide used for weed control since 1961, has been banned in 30 countries and is on a restricted list in the US. In Australia it has been under review for 20 years by the authority and is still sold for commercial use. 

One of the panel’s most controversial suggestions is to exempt consumer products from the new regulatory regime on the grounds that most are well tested around the world in agricultural settings before reaching supermarket shelves. Other chemicals such as pool chemicals would also be removed from regulation.

The environmental health committee of the Australian health protection committee, representing health departments around the country, said it strongly disagreed with this proposal and there was significant risk of harm should misapplication of consumer chemicals occur.

“Health agencies around the world have experienced ongoing public demand for increased regulation of the pesticide industry and of pesticides used in and around the home and in public areas,” it said in its submission.

The panel also proposed significant changes to how agricultural chemicals should be regulated. As well as speeding up approvals of chemicals licensed overseas, the panel proposed a form of co-regulation, where data and responsibility would be shared between the regulator and the industry.

Matt Landos, a veterinarian and adjunct professor at the University of Sydney, whose specialty is aquatic species, said the panel was prepared to use overseas approvals to gain registration but was not proposing to use foreign bans on pesticides to withdraw them in Australia.

The panel argued that far too many resources were devoted to registering chemicals and not enough to monitoring residues in the environment or in food.

Matthews said the approach devoted resources to the areas of greatest risk.

“We think Australia has an internationally respected registration system but we don’t think the monitoring and compliance system is up to scratch,” he said.

But there is immense scepticism the resources would be forthcoming for proper surveillance of pesticide residues. Landos said his work with fisheries in the Great Barrier Reef had revealed this was a major problem, yet the panel was recommending only $600,000 a year be dedicated to monitoring.

Matthews denied the proposals were primarily aimed at cutting costs for the industry, although the report estimated it could save at least $160m over 10 years.

The other major change proposed is to remove “use regulation” from the states and make it the responsibility of the commonwealth.

The NTN said this type of regulation was better handled on a local level rather than from Armidale, where the authority was relocated by the former minister, Barnaby Joyce. This led to a loss of senior scientific staff.

Complaints about Ken Matthews’ role as chair

Immig and other environmental groups have complained to Littleproud about Matthews’ role.

“Matthew’s position as chair of ABCA was not declared to participants in this review,” Immig said in her letter to Littleproud. “It is also not included in his biographical details in the information provided with reference to this inquiry panel on the government’s website.” 

Matthews is a former secretary of the agriculture department and a former chair of the National Water Commission.

The ACBA describes itself as “the national coordinating organisation for the Australian agricultural biotechnology sector”. Matthews said it was not a lobby group – he said its purpose was to promote agricultural biotechnology, which includes breeding techniques that can enhance crop yields – but acknowledged that the field is not unrelated to pesticide use.

CropLife, one of ACBA’s key members, represents 19 companies that sell 85% of crop protection chemicals and and 95% of crop biotechnology products used by Australian farmers. They include most of the biggest pesticide producers and importers, including Nufarm, Bayer, Syngenta, Nutrien, and Sumitomo Chemicals.

CropLife is sceptical about the panel’s proposals, saying the government failed to implement other changes suggested to address the problems caused by APVMA’s move to Armidale.

“On first reading there appear to be many good recommendations and suggested initiatives, however others look to be nothing more than increased layers of bureaucracy that will not go anywhere to addressing the core inefficiencies of the framework,” it said.

CropLife does not support the proposal to remove home and garden and non-urban land management pesticides from the scope of the APVMA, saying it was “unlikely to improve or maintain the trust of the wider community in this matter”.

But it does agree that regulatory effort should be focused on “products of higher regulatory concern”.

A final report is due in May and will need to be discussed by state and federal governments.



Read more:







DDT discovery...


More than 27,000 barrels, many suspected to be full of the banned insecticide DDT, have been found on the ocean floor off the coast of Los Angeles.

Key points:
  • Researchers say there are likely hundreds of thousands more barrels
  • The area was used as a dumping ground by petrochemical companies in the mid to late 20th century
  • High concentrations of DDT have been found in sediment and marine life

Many of the barrels have been noticeably leaking — and scientists say there could be anywhere up to a few hundred thousand barrels in total.

The barrels were discovered during a mapping exercise conducted in March, in which researchers used high-resolution imaging to scan 15,000 hectares of ocean floor in water depths of up to 900 metres.

The exercise was conducted between the Los Angeles coast and Santa Catalina — an island about 35 kilometres to the south.

That body of water was used as a dumping ground for numerous petrochemical companies throughout the 20th century, until the US introduced the Ocean Dumping Act in 1972.

But while the area was a known dumping ground, project leader Eric Terrill — a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography — said they were still shocked by what they saw.

"We were a bit incredulous when the survey data began to unfold for us," Dr Terrill said.

"As the days of the survey continued, and as the results kept pouring in, it gave us pause to consider the potential impacts of the findings."

High DDT concentration found in sediment


In two previous studies in 2011 and 2013, researcher David Valentine, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, visually confirmed the presence of about 60 barrels.

"The practice of dumping in this area had been written about previously, albeit lost to the dusty archives," Professor Valentine, who wasn't involved with the discovery, said.

"We were the first people to lay eyes on what was going on at the seafloor, 3,000 feet [900m] down."

What's DDT?
  • Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane was originally hailed as a miracle insecticide
  • It was widely used during and after World War II to wipe out mosquitoes and keep malaria and other insect-borne diseases at bay
  • However, its persistence in the environment and suspected association with animal and human health risks led to the chemical being banned in the US in 1972
  • It was banned in Australia in 1987

The latest sonar images showing the location of the barrels indicate they're concentrated along straight lines, as if dumped from a moving ship or barge.

Although they haven't sampled the contents of the barrels, analysis of sediment taken from the area and published in a 2019 paper by Professor Valentine and colleagues, revealed very high concentrations of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT).

Previous research also found that dolphins in the Southern California Bighthad high concentrations of DDT in their blubber and that sea lions with high concentrations of DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) had a significantly higher instance of cancer.

Shipping logs from a company working for a DDT manufacturer in California revealed up to 2,000 barrels of "DDT-laced sludge" were dumped every month between 1947 and 1961, according to an investigation by the LA Times.


Read more:


Read from top.



chlorpyrifos ban...


AFTER 14 YEARS of legal battles, a federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to take actions that will likely force the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos off the market. The federal agency has for years been considering mounting evidence that links the pesticide to brain damage in children — including loss of IQ, learning difficulties, ADHD, and autism — but, as the court acknowledged, has repeatedly delayed taking action.

“Rather than ban the pesticide or reduce the tolerances to levels that the EPA could find were reasonably certain to cause no harm, the EPA sought to evade through delay tactics its plain statutory duty,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in his decision, which was released today by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. “During that time, the EPA’s egregious delay exposed a generation of American children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos,” he wrote, and ordered the EPA to issue a final regulation within 60 days.

While Rakoff stopped short of requiring the EPA to immediately ban the pesticide, he gave the agency little choice in how to respond. “The EPA’s obligation is clear: it must modify or revoke chlorpyrifos tolerances and modify or cancel chlorpyrifos registrations,” Rakoff wrote in his ruling in the case, which was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Pesticide Action Network, United Farm Workers, and other groups.


The decision marks the culmination of a prolonged and bitter legal battle over one of the most widely used and dangerous pesticides in U.S. agriculture. More than 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos were applied to crops in 2017, according to the most recent data. Exposure to the pesticide through residue on food and drift near fields where it was applied has wreaked devastation on developing children. According to a team of researchers led by Leonardo Trasande, organophosphate pesticides, of which chlorpyrifos is the most widely used, accounted for an estimated $594 billion in societal costs, including added health care and education, between 2001 and 2016.

The EPA was poised to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016, but the Trump EPA changed course the next year without providing any scientific justification for its decision. The reversal, made under EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, has been tied to a $1 million contribution to President Donald Trump’s inaugural fund from Dow Chemical Company, now known as Corteva, which was the primary producer of chlorpyrifos.

But the EPA had come close to, and retreated from, banning chlorpyrifos well before the Trump administration. After concerns began to mount in the late 1980s about the harms chlorpyrifos posed to children, environmental groups pushed to get chlorpyrifos banned. Dow and agricultural groups fought back aggressively against the EPA’s regulatory scrutiny, arguing that its removal would lead to shortages of fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, instead of forcing the pesticide off the market, the agency struck a deal in 2000 in which Dow voluntarily withdrew a product containing chlorpyrifos that was used to kill cockroaches and other insects in the home, while the company’s agricultural product, Lorsban, remained on the market.


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Read from top


Free Julian Assange Now.


newly published analysis in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science argues that a toxic soup of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides is causing havoc beneath fields covered in corn, soybeans, wheat and other monoculture crops. The research is the most comprehensive review ever conducted on how pesticides affect soil health.

The study is discussed by two of the report’s authors, Nathan Donley and Tari Gunstone, in a recent article appearing on the Scientific American website. 

The authors state that the findings should bring about immediate changes in how regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess the risks posed by the nearly 850 pesticide ingredients approved for use in the USA.

Conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and the University of Maryland, the research looked at almost 400 published studies that together had carried out more than 2800 experiments on how pesticides affect soil organisms. The review encompassed 275 unique species or types of soil organisms and 284 different pesticides or pesticide mixtures.

Pesticides were found to harm organisms that are critical to maintaining healthy soils in over 70 per cent of cases. But Donley and Gunstone say this type of harm is not considered in the EPA’s safety reviews, which ignore pesticide harm to earthworms, springtails, beetles and thousands of other subterranean species.

The EPA uses a single test species to estimate risk to all soil organisms, the European honeybee, which spends its entire life above ground in artificial boxes. But 50-100 per cent of all pesticides end up in soil.

The researchers conclude that the ongoing escalation of pesticide-intensive agriculture and pollution are major driving factors in the decline of soil organisms. By carrying out wholly inadequate reviews, the regulatory system serves to protect the pesticide industry.

The study comes in the wake of other recent findings that indicate high levels of the weedkiller chemical glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA have been found in topsoil samples from no-till fields in Brazil.

Writing on the GMWatch website, Claire Robinson and Jonathan Matthews note that, despite this, the agrochemical companies seeking the renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate by the European Union in 2022 are saying that one of the greatest benefits of glyphosate is its ability to foster healthier soils by reducing the need for tillage (or ploughing).

This in itself is misleading because farmers are resorting to ploughing given increasing weed resistance to glyphosate and organic agriculture also incorporates no till methods. At the same time, proponents of glyphosate conveniently ignore or deny its toxicity to soils, water, humans and wildlife. 

With that in mind, it is noteworthy that GMWatch also refers to another recent study which says that glyphosate is responsible for a five per cent increase in infant mortality in Brazil.

The new study, ‘Pesticides in a case study on no-tillage farming systems and surrounding forest patches in Brazil’ in the journal Scientific Reports, leads the researchers to conclude that glyphosate-contaminated soil can adversely impact food quality and human health and ecological processes for ecosystem services maintenance. They argue that glyphosate and AMPA presence in soil may promote toxicity to key species for biodiversity conservation, which are fundamental for maintaining functioning ecological systems.

These studies reiterate the need to shift away from increasingly discredited ‘green revolution’ ideology and practices. This chemical-intensive model has helped the drive towards greater monocropping and has resulted in less diverse diets and less nutritious foods. Its long-term impact has led to soil degradation and mineral imbalances, which in turn have adversely affected human health.

If we turn to India, for instance, that country is losing 5334 million tonnes of soil every year due to soil erosion and degradation, much of which is attributed to the indiscreet and excessive use of synthetic agrochemicals. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research reports that soil is becoming deficient in nutrients and fertility.

India is not unique in this respect. Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization stated back in 2014 that if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. She noted that about a third of the world’s soil had already been degraded. There is general agreement that chemical-heavy farming techniques are a major cause.

It can take 500 years to generate an inch of soil yet just a few generations to destroy. When you drench soil with proprietary synthetic agrochemicals as part of a model of chemical-dependent farming, you harm essential micro-organisms and end up feeding soil a limited doughnut diet of toxic inputs.

Armed with their multi-billion-dollar money-spinning synthetic biocides, this is what the agrochemical companies have been doing for decades. In their arrogance, these companies claim to have knowledge that they do not possess and then attempt to get the public and co-opted agencies and politicians to bow before the altar of corporate ‘science’ and its bought-and-paid-for scientific priesthood.

The damaging impacts of their products on health and the environment have been widely reported for decades, starting with Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking 1962 book Silent Spring.

These latest studies underscore the need to shift towards organic farming and agroecology and invest in indigenous models of agriculture – as has been consistently advocated by various high-level international agencies, not least the United Nations, and numerous official reports.


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poisoning the planet...


A Message to the EU: Address the Real Public Health Crisis by Banning GlyphosateBy Colin Todhunter & Rosemary Mason


The herbicide glyphosate – the most widely used herbicide on the planet – is authorised for use in the EU until December 2022. The EU is currently assessing whether its licence should be renewed.

Environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter to the head of the Pesticides Unit at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Jose Tarazona.

Mason wrote to Tarazona because the Rapporteur Member States (France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden) tasked with risk assessing glyphosate and appointed by the European Commission in 2019, said on 21 June 2021 that there was no problem with glyphosate-based herbicides.

A tireless campaigner against glyphosate, Mason has produced dozens of lengthy reports over the last decade documenting how her former nature reserve in South Wales was destroyed by glyphosate used on adjoining areas and how that substance is a major contributory factor in spiralling rates of disease – a ‘silent’ public health crisis; silent only because the media and officials fail to acknowledge or report on it.

Indeed, to explain away the huge increases in various cancers and neurological disorders, officials cite ‘lifestyle behaviour’, poor diets or lack of exercise to divert attention from the elephant in the room and government collusion with the agrochemical sector.

Drawing on hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and official reports over the years, Mason has described in detail the devastating health and environmental impacts of glyphosate as well as the malfeasance and corruption that has led to this state of affairs.

Mason informs Tarazona that the European Commission has colluded with the US Environmental Protection Agency to allow Bayer to keep glyphosate on the market.

To support her claims, she enclosed a 5,900-word report with her letter informing Tarazona of the environmental devastation and severe public health crisis. Her report brings together recent research and analyses into the toxicity of glyphosate and industry dominance over regulatory processes.

What appears below is the first part of a two-part article based on Mason’s report. This first part briefly highlights aspects of the public health crisis resulting from the use of glyphosate-based herbicides. The second part will argue that glyphosate remains in use due to industry influence over regulatory processes.


Dr Stephanie Seneff, a US scientist who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has just published the book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate is Destroying Our Health and the Environment. She has written an article on her family background and why she wrote the book.

Seneff says:

This organic chemical compound, C3H8NO5P, is much more toxic to life forms than we have been led to believe. Glyphosate’s mechanism of toxicity is unique and diabolical. It is a slow killer, slowly robbing you of your good health over time, until you finally succumb to incapacitating or life-threatening disease.”

Dr Don Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathophysiology at Purdue University, who has been studying glyphosate for 40 years and genetically modified (GM) Roundup-ready crops for 25 years, said some years ago:

Future historians may well look back upon our time and write, not about how many pounds of pesticide we did or didn’t apply, but how willing we are to sacrifice our children and future generations for this massive genetic engineering experiment that is based on flawed science and failed promises just to benefit the bottom line of commercial enterprise.”

When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was elected in 2019, he stood outside Downing Street and committed himself to:

…liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules.”

Mason notes that the Department for Envionment & Rural Affairs authorises farmers to use all forms of Roundup (Monsanto’s – now Bayer – proprietary glyphosate-based herbicide) on crops in the UK. Many farmers in the UK claim they cannot do without it and are keen to start using GM Roundup-ready crops post-Brexit.

There is strong pressure on the European Commission from the Glyphosate Renewal Group, a group of manufacturers of glyphosate, who have asked for the licence for glyphosate to be renewed for 15 years from December 2022.

In June 2021, the Rapporteur Member States from France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden apparently gave the green light. They see no signs that glyphosate can cause cancer or any other issue. But evidence is emerging that they used flawed industry science (to be described in part two of this article).


In August 2018, samples of four oat-based UK cereals were sent to the Health Research Institute Laboratories in the US following a newspaper report about US children eating weedkiller in their oat-based cereals. The following are the results of the analysis on the four oat-based cereals sent to the laboratory.


Dr John Fagan, the director of the lab, said:

These results are consistently concerning. The levels consumed in a single daily helping of any one of these cereals, even the one with the lowest level of contamination, is sufficient to put the person’s glyphosate levels above the levels that cause fatty liver disease in rats (and likely in people).”

Washington State University (WSU) researchers have found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate. In the first study of its kind, the researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities.

Michael Skinner, a WSU professor of biological sciences, and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats to the herbicide between their eighth and 14th days of gestation. The dose – half the amount expected to show no adverse effect – produced no apparent ill effects on either the parents or the first generation of offspring.

But, writing in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers say they saw “dramatic increases” in several pathologies affecting the second and third generations. The second generation had ‘significant increases’ in testis, ovary and mammary gland diseases as well as obesity. In third-generation males, the researchers saw a 30% increase in prostate disease – three times that of a control population. The third generation of females had a 40% increase in kidney disease or four times that of the controls.

More than one-third of the second-generation mothers had unsuccessful pregnancies, with most of those affected dying. Two out of five males and females in the third generation were obese.

Skinner and his colleagues call this phenomenon generational toxicology and they have seen it over the years in fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, the plastics compound bisphenol A, the insect repellent DEET and the herbicide atrazine. At work are epigenetic changes that turn genes on and off, often because of environmental influences.


Although Mason mainly discusses the health impacts of glyphosate in her report to Tarazona, she did mention at least one disturbing environmental impact. In April 2021, the Journal of Applied Ecology published an article ‘Roundup causes high levels of mortality following contact exposure in bumble bees.’

The article’s abstract stated that pollinators underpin global food production but are suffering significant declines across the world.

It went on to say:

Pesticides are thought to be important drivers of these declines. Herbicides are the most widely applied type of pesticides and are broadly considered ‘bee safe’ by regulatory bodies who explicitly allow their application directly onto foraging bees. We aimed to test the mortality effects of spraying the world’s most popular herbicide brand (Roundup) directly onto bumblebees (Bombus terrestris audax).”

The authors argue that Roundup products pose a significant hazard to bees, in both agricultural and urban systems and exposure of bees to them should be limited. They added that surfactants, or other co‐formulants, in herbicides and other pesticides may contribute to global bee declines.

They called for pesticide companies to release the full list of ingredients for each pesticide formulation, as lack of access to this information hampers research to determine safe exposure levels for beneficial insects in agro‐ecosystems.


Mason asks Tarazona whether he has been following the trials against Monsanto in the US for concealing that its herbicide Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

She explains to him that three cases have been won against Monsanto/Bayer (Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018) and in 2021 there are thousands more awaiting to have their cases heard in court.

Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr said in 2018 that Bayer needs more than an aspirin to cure its Monsanto-sized headache.

Kennedy has been involved with some of these cases and has read enough of the scientific literature on glyphosate to conclude that there is cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney and inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts.

He added that strong science suggests glyphosate is the culprit in the exploding epidemics of celiac disease, colitis, gluten sensitivities, diabetes and non-alcoholic liver cancer which, for the first time, is attacking children as young as 10.

As if that is not worrying enough, Kennedy noted that researchers peg glyphosate as a potent endocrine disruptor, which interferes with sexual development in children. It is also a chelator that removes important minerals from the body and disrupts the microbiome, destroying beneficial bacteria in the human gut and triggering brain inflammation and other ill effects.

Although a Monsanto scientist claimed that glyphosate is excreted unchanged from the body, Mason cites a study by Ridley & Mirly (1988) which found bioaccumulation of glyphosate in bone, marrow, blood and glands (including thyroid, testes and ovaries) and major organs (heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen and stomach). The paper was commissioned by Monsanto but was not published.

In a 1990 study conducted by Monsanto between 1987 and 1989 (again unpublished), glyphosate was found to induce a statistically-significant cataractous formation in the eyes of rats. Over the course of the study, cataract lens changes were seen in the low-, mid- and high dose groups in both male and female rats. The pathologist concluded that there was a glyphosate-treated related response for lens changes to the eyes.

Mason notes that the Assessment by the Rapporteur Member States tasked with risk assessing glyphosate have concluded that, based on the available ecotoxicological information glyphosate the current classification “Toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects” should be retained and the current classification as “causes serious eye damage”(H318) should be retained.

She therefore asks: how can a chemical like glyphosate still be on the market?

Mason notes that, according to the UN’s Global Chemicals Outlook II, glyphosate was at the top of the top ten products used on major crops in the United States, by volume, in 2016. Clothianidin (also manufactured by Bayer) is number ten.

She notes:

No wonder Bayer doesn’t want to lose its licence for glyphosate or for clothianidin, a long-acting neonicotinoid insecticide that is very persistent in the soil. Both chemicals are on the market illegally thanks to the corrupt EU and US regulatory authorities.”

And that is an issue which Mason draws Tarazona’s attention to and will be touched on in the second part of this article.

Readers can access Rosemary Mason’s new report, with all relevant references, here. Recommended reading for Jose Tarazona and readers who want to dig deeper into the issues: all of Rosemary Mason’s previous reports can be accessed here.


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the laws were no good...

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Friday in an address to the nation that he will be repealing three controversial farm laws.

Farmers in the northern part of the country have been protesting against the laws for over a year. The announcement came on the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti, a celebration of the birthday of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.

"We have decided to repeal all three farm laws. We will start the constitutional process to repeal all the three laws in the parliament session that starts at the end of this month," Modi said in a tweet. He urged the protesting farmers to "now return to your home, to your loved ones, to your farms, and family."

Modi maintained that the farming laws were brought in with good intentions by the government, but they failed to convey this to the farmers. "Maybe something was lacking in our tapasya (penance), which is why we could not convince some farmers about the laws," he said.

How did farmers react to the news?

The speech was given right before Modi left for a three-day visit to Uttar Pradesh. The states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are set to hold assembly elections early next year.

Farmers and farmer unions, predominantly from the northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at the borders that they share with capital city Delhi for a year. 

Farmers' union leader Rakesh Tikait welcomed the decision on Twitter, thanked the farmers for their efforts and remembered those who lost their lives, saying their "hard work has paid off." 


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cocktail of chemical pollution...



The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, scientists have said.

Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals including pesticides, industrial compounds and antibiotics. Plastic pollution is now found from the summit of Mount Everestto the deepest oceans, and some toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, are long-lasting and widespread.


The study concludes that chemical pollution has crossed a “planetary boundary”, the point at which human-made changes to the Earth push it outside the stable environment of the last 10,000 years.

Chemical pollution threatens Earth’s systems by damaging the biological and physical processes that underpin all life. For example, pesticides wipe out many non-target insects, which are fundamental to all ecosystems and, therefore, to the provision of clean air, water and food.

“There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050,” said Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) who was part of the study team. “The pace that societies are producing and releasing new chemicals into the environment is not consistent with staying within a safe operating space for humanity.”

Dr Sarah Cornell, an associate professor and principal researcher at SRC, said: “For a long time, people have known that chemical pollution is a bad thing. But they haven’t been thinking about it at the global level. This work brings chemical pollution, especially plastics, into the story of how people are changing the planet.”

Some threats have been tackled to a larger extent, the scientists said, such as the CFC chemicals that destroy the ozone layer and its protection from damaging ultraviolet rays.

Determining whether chemical pollution has crossed a planetary boundary is complex because there is no pre-human baseline, unlike with the climate crisis and the pre-industrial level of CO2 in the atmosphere. There are also a huge number of chemical compounds registered for use – about 350,000 – and only a tiny fraction of these have been assessed for safety.

So the research used a combination of measurements to assess the situation. These included the rate of production of chemicals, which is rising rapidly, and their release into the environment, which is happening much faster than the ability of authorities to track or investigate the impacts.

The well-known negative effects of some chemicals, from the extraction of fossil fuels to produce them to their leaking into the environment, were also part of the assessment. The scientists acknowledged the data was limited in many areas, but said the weight of evidence pointed to a breach of the planetary boundary.

“There’s evidence that things are pointing in the wrong direction every step of the way,” said Prof Bethanie Carney Almroth at the University of Gothenburg who was part of the team. “For example, the total mass of plastics now exceeds the total mass of all living mammals. That to me is a pretty clear indication that we’ve crossed a boundary. We’re in trouble, but there are things we can do to reverse some of this.”

Villarrubia-Gómez said: “Shifting to a circular economy is really important. That means changing materials and products so they can be reused, not wasted.”

The researchers said stronger regulation was needed and in the future a fixed cap on chemical production and release, in the same way carbon targets aim to end greenhouse gas emissions. Their study was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology

There are growing calls for international action on chemicals and plastics, including the establishment of a global scientific body for chemical pollutionakin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Prof Sir Ian Boyd at the University of St Andrews, who was not part of the study, said: “The rise of the chemical burden in the environment is diffuse and insidious. Even if the toxic effects of individual chemicals can be hard to detect, this does not mean that the aggregate effect is likely to be insignificant.

“Regulation is not designed to detect or understand these effects. We are relatively blind to what is going on as a result. In this situation, where we have a low level of scientific certainty about effects, there is a need for a much more precautionary approach to new chemicals and to the amount being emitted to the environment.”

Boyd, a former UK government chief scientific adviser, warned in 2017 that assumption by regulators around the world that it was safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes was false.

The chemical pollution planetary boundary is the fifth of nine that scientists say have been crossed, with the others being global heating, the destruction of wild habitats, loss of biodiversity and excessive nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.







CIA assassination inc (NOTE the bug [and the spider] would not be seen in a "chemically" treated garden...)


what is life? (NOTE the butterfly would not be seen procreating in a "chemically" treated garden...)



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The cancer-causing chemical in almost every Aussie's bloodstream | A Current Affair


The disappearing words exposing 3M’s decades of deception over cancer link

The explosive document delivered a ‘holy shit’ moment to lawyers fighting the Wall Street giant, showing the company had known for decades about the dangers of its forever chemicals.

By Carrie Fellner


After 3M learnt that one of its best-selling chemicals had contaminated the blood of the general population, it was what the company’s internal documents didn’t say that was most incriminating.

It was April 1979 and the Wall Street giant’s top executives hopped in the company jet and flew from their headquarters in Minnesota to San Francisco for secretive talks with two world-leading scientists to gauge their opinion on a pressing issue.

How big a problem did the company have following the discovery its miracle waterproofing ingredient, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), had been turning up in the blood of the general public?

The answer was ominous. The substance caused symptoms in animals “similar to those observed with carcinogens”, the scientists warned.

If high levels were widespread in people’s blood for long enough, “we could have a serious problem”.

But when the final version of the meeting minutes was published, those comments had mysteriously disappeared.

But as detailed in a new documentary investigation from Stan, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, whoever removed them left a trail of breadcrumbs.

Fast-forward 40 years and an earlier draft still containing the damning comments had been left sitting in 3M’s files, waiting to be subpoenaed by class action lawyers who pounced on their smoking gun.

Last month, they reached a $US12.5 billion ($19 billion) settlement with the chemicals maker over the pollution of thousands of water supplies across America with the chemical.

“It was our ‘holy shit’ moment. Like, people do this?”
Gary Douglas, lawyer
“This world-renowned expert, his conclusion was completely deleted from the final draft,” lawyer Gary Douglas says in the documentary, How to Poison a Planet.

“It was our ‘holy shit’ moment. Like, people do this?” says Douglas, a partner at New York law firm Douglas and London and the lead trial counsel in the recent case against 3M.

The film lifts the lid on 3M’s alleged decades of deception after it discovered its chemical, PFOS, had contaminated the entire planet through its widespread use in food packaging, the best-selling fabric protector, Scotchgard, and firefighting foam sprayed at airports, fire stations and Defence bases.

Almost no Australian has escaped unscathed, with revelations 98 per cent of the population has been contaminated with forever chemicals.

By the early 2000s, when 3M pulled PFOS off the market, most Australians had levels in their blood well above what the company’s own scientists deemed safe.

n recent years, authorities in the United States and Europe have linked forever chemicals, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, to cancer, suppression of the immune system, high cholesterol and endocrine disruption.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has recently designated PFOS a hazardous substance. It says there is no safe level of exposure in drinking water.

Now a trove of correspondence unearthed by this masthead has raised fresh questions about whether 3M properly warned the Australian government of the risks of the foam containing PFOS.

It can be revealed that a 3M employee told Australian bureaucrats the foam’s waste could be allowed to “bleed” into the environment. The comments were made in a letter written in 1985, years after the company was warned about the chemical’s carcinogenic potential in the meeting with the vanishing minutes.

At the time, the Fortune 500 company also knew the PFOS in the foam killed monkeys in laboratory studies, would not break down in the environment and was “considerably” more toxic than anticipated, its own internal documents show.

The 1985 letter is likely to be a flashpoint if the Department of Defence follows through on its threat to sue 3M for firefighting foam contamination that has seeped off its bases and poisoned tens of thousands of Australian homes.

So far, Australian taxpayers have been saddled with a bill of more than $366 million to settle class actions launched against Defence by those home owners.

The trove of documents, obtained by this masthead from the National Archives of Australia, also show grave warnings were sounded from within the NSW government in the 1980s that the foam could contaminate drinking water if it was allowed to escape into waterways.