Thursday, June 9, 2011

Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World's Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems

Industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide produced by U.S. company Monsanto, causes birth defects, according to a new report released Tuesday.
The report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?" found regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals.
But despite such warnings, and although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public.

It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

NIOSH Study Confirms Pesticide Drift Hazards Posed by Conventional Agriculture

It is time for people [and this one if for you Prof Gerhard Verdoorn!!]   in the industry to realize the effect of pesticide drift on human health, as proven in this study. (Symptoms aren't always the side effects of medicine and symptoms of drug abuse as claimed by the industry!)

Page 14 of "The Study " : "... data suggest that residents in agriculture-intensive regions have a 69 times higher risk of pesticide  poisoning from drift exposure compared to other regions".

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2011) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and state agency partners finds that pesticide drift from conventional, chemical-intensive farming has poisoned thousands of farmworkers and rural residents in recent years. According to the authors, agricultural workers and residents in agricultural regions were found to have the highest rate of pesticide poisoning from drift exposure, and soil fumigations were a major hazard causing large drift incidents. 

The study, “Acute Pesticide Illnesses Associated with Off-Target Pesticide Drift from Agricultural Applications — 11 States, 1998–2006,” was published June 6, 2011 in the online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Using data from NIOSH’s Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR) - Pesticides Program and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the study identifies 2,945 cases of pesticide poisoning associated with agricultural pesticide drift in 11 states. While the study focuses on top agriculture producing states, it provides only a snapshot of the poisoning of farmworkers and other rural residents nationally and around the world. Advocates also point out that pesticide poisoning is often underreported by farmworkers. According to the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, only one percent of California pesticide illness or injury is reported. 

Of the cases attributed to pesticide drift examined in this study, 47% had exposures at work and 14% were children (<15 years). Most experienced “low severity” illness. The overall incidence (in million person-years) is 114.3 for agricultural workers, 0.79 for other workers, 1.56 for non-occupational cases, and 42.2 for residents in five agriculture-intensive counties in California. Soil applications with fumigants are responsible for the largest proportion (45%) of cases. Aerial applications account for 24% of cases. Study findings show that the risk of illness resulting from drift exposure is largely borne by agricultural workers, and the incidence (114.3/million worker-years) was 145 times greater than that for all other workers.
While this study focuses only on acute poisoning due to pesticide drift, an increasing number of studies are linking low level agricultural pesticide exposure to chronic health impacts. Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database features dozens of studies linking common diseases, from asthma and autism to Parkinson’s disease and cancer, to pesticide drift and other agricultural exposures. 

Pesticide spray drift is typically the result of small spray droplets being carried off-site by air movement. The main weather factors that cause drift are wind, humidity and temperature changes. Aside from poisoning people and animals, drift can injure foliage, shoots, flowers and fruits resulting in reduced yields, economic loss and illegal residues on exposed crops.
Beyond Pesticides has long advocated that people support a healthy work environment for farmworkers by choosing organic food and supporting the work of farmworker advocacy organizations. For more information going organic for farmworkers and rural residents, as well as for the your family’s health and the environment, see Beyond Pesticides’ Organic Food: Eating with a Conscience web guide.