The Huffington Post article alerts us on the finding of glyphosate in U.S. honey, read more at:
New superintendent at Allentown Municipal Golf Course balances ecology and playability
By Mark WogenrichOf The Morning Callcontact the reporter
Allentown Municipal Golf Course converts some land to help the honeybees
New superintendent at Allentown Municipal Golf Course balances ecology and playability
The quarter-acre of wildflowers, adjacent to the 15th green at Allentown Municipal Golf Course, used to be a pile of dirt. It was at least 10 feet high, covered in weeds, measuring more than 300,000 tons.
Once an eyesore, this plot of land now is part of an international program to restore the honeybee population. It's also part of a course-wide project to maintain both the ecological health and playability of the city's municipal golf course.
A sign denotes a field of plants and wildflowers dedicated to Operation Pollinator at Allentown Municipal Golf Course. The project is meant to restore native habitats and pollinators, such as honeybees, on farmland and golf courses across the globe. (THE MORNING CALL / MARK WOGENRICH)
"At the end of the day, we're part of the Allentown parks system," said Chris Reverie, Allentown Municipal's superintendent. "We want to maintain the integrity and beauty of the property. But Kyle [Krause, the course's greenskeeper] and I strongly believe that, since this is a public golf course, everybody deserves to play in good conditions."
Since taking over as Allentown Municipal's superintendent last year, Reverie has begun a long-term project to maintain, upgrade and beautify one of the Lehigh Valley's busiest golf courses. The job holds a personal element for Reverie, who is a descendant of Gen. Harry Trexler, the benefactor of Allentown's parks department.
After donating equipment to build Brookside Country Club in the late 1920s, Trexler thought so highly of the facility that he sought to build a public course in Allentown. His vision came true in 1952, when Allentown Municipal opened.
lRelated SALISBURYProposed beekeeping ordinance has Salisbury commissioners abuzzSEE ALL RELATED
Reverie, Trexler's great-grandnephew, said he's proud to work at a golf course that's part of his family lineage. As a result, he sees a responsibility to balance the course's busy tee sheet (Allentown booked about 44,500 rounds last year) with its maintenance and environmental needs.
In the past year, Reverie, Krause and their staff have removed about 50 trees and overgrown brush from the course, redefined the bunkers, overseeded the greens following winter damage, reconfigured the property's irrigation and added mounding to restore some of its original parkland design.
In addition, they also converted an overgrown mound of dirt — a blot left over from the 1999 redesign — into a small field of native grasses and wildflowers. This plot between the 15th green and seventh tee box is part of Operation Pollinator, a program that launched in Europe 10 years ago and has spread to the U.S.
More than 50 American golf courses participate in Operation Pollinator, for which they convert out-of-play areas to wildflower fields that attract honeybees and other pollinators. The project is designed to create more pollinating habitats for bees to help restore their dwindling numbers.
Jeff Wambold, Allentown Municipal's general manager, said he had planned to address that space for years. But his original ideas for restrooms or a snack stand changed when Reverie proposed the pollinator program. Allentown has planted wildflowers on other out-of-play pieces of land, expecting to convert about an acre in total.
There are several benefits. First, Krause said, he has seen a noticeable increase of bees and butterflies in the area. Second, the area requires less water and fertilizer and no mowing, lowering maintenance costs. Further, it adds and aesthetic component to the golf course.
"This property has so many beautiful attributes," said Reverie, who has worked at Indian Creek and Shepherd Hills. "We want to preserve and accentuate them."
Longtime players say the golf course's conditions are as good as they have been in years. Greens have recovered from winter ice damage sustained by many courses in the area. Reverie and his staff spent January and February shoveling ice and snow from the greens, then reseeded them several times during the spring.
On Monday, five truckloads carrying about 125,000 tons of sand arrived to replenish the course's 56 bunkers. That will be added to the 90,000 tons dispersed last year.
Tree and brush removal has improved the health of several greens, notably at holes 14 and 15. Most of Allentown's arbor vitae trees that served as yardage markers have been removed. While the tree removal continues, Reverie is planting smaller trees in other vacant areas to compensate.
Wambold admitted that Reverie's work is complicated by Allentown Municipal's operating schedule. The course finished the 2014 season with a deficit, according to city budget reports, despite its heavy play.
To help mitigate that, the course accepts players all year, weather permitting. That limits Reverie's ability to complete projects on an empty course.
This past spring, when private clubs closed damaged greens, Allentown's remained open. One Friday, Reverie examined several damaged greens and noticed some improvement. By Monday, after a busy weekend of play, the greens were trampled again.
"It's discouraging to some, but we got through it," Wambold said. "A private course can close six greens for a month and be OK. We can't do that. We can't lose the revenue."
Wambold also said that he has no plans to implement a mandatory cart policy on weekends, which would add revenue but also anger regulars who love to walk. As Reverie said, "This is the only course I've ever seen with pull-cart damage."
For the most part, the changes have been welcomed among Allentown's regular players, Wambold said. He added that there's more to come.
"What they've done for this place is unbelievable so far," Wambold said of Reverie and his staff. "They have the work ethic and organizational plan for what the golf course should be. The turf issues are resolved, and the condition of the course has never been this good."
See more at: http://www.mcall.com/sports/golf/mc-allentown-municipal-golf-course-condition-20150721-story.html
While insecticides are a known deadly threat, two studies find that bees exposed to fungicides are smaller, sickly and declining in ‘chemical cocktail’ farmlands
Until now researchers have ignored the more subtle but enduring health and reproduction effects of chemicals that harm bees. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPABrandon Keim in New York
Thursday 18 June 2015 18.49 BSTLast modified on Friday 19 June 2015 21.54 BST
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While the relationship between insecticides and bees has made headlines – and controversy – for years, two recent studies have shown that another class of agricultural chemicals, little-appreciated but used in ever-increasing amounts, may also pose a threat to pollinators.
Why are bees important? You asked Google – here’s the answerAlison Benjamin
The new studies have raised concerns about fungicides: in one, foraging on fungicide-dosed flowers harmed bumblebees. Colonies were smaller, their workers tinier, their queens seemed sickly, it found. In the other, exposures were linked to declines in wild bees living in agriculture-intensive areas. They are only two studies, and far from conclusive, but the findings fit with a growing body of research on fungicides once thought innocuous.
“It’s a group of pesticides that hasn’t been looked at too closely,” said entomologist Hannah Gaines-Day of the University of Wisconsin, whose bumblebee study appeared in the June issue of Insects. “Insecticides are meant to kill insects, so people have been really interested in how insecticides kill beneficial insects. But fungicides are not meant to kill insects, so they’ve been passed over.”
Gaines-Day and her colleagues conducted their study after being asked by local farmers whether it was safe to spray fungicides on crops while they bloomed, and while bees forage on the flowers. For insecticides, usually neonicotinoids, that’s obviously bad news: bees would feed on insect poison. But blossom-spraying is still customary with fungicides, said Gaines-Day, and early safety studies suggested the chemicals were safe. Yet those studies were limited.
They involved only honeybees, ignoring the many species of wild bees that also provide pollination, both to crops and to landscapes at large. They also focused on obvious, flagrant harm, such as bees dropping dead within a day or two, and generally ignored subtle but important effects evident over longer periods of time: whether fungicides affected bee behavior or immune systems, for example, and thus long-term health and reproduction.
Those methods came under criticism even as fungicides became steadily more popular around the world, with sales rising from $8bn in 2005 to a predicted $21bn in 2017. Fungicide pollution has been detected across the US; exposures are routine in bees, and some researchers have started to wonder whether they might contribute to declines in both honeybees and in wild, native bees.
Gaines-Day cautioned that her team’s study, which involved five bumblebee colonies kept in field enclosures where flowers were sprayed with field-realistic doses of chlorothalonil, a common fungicide, was small. The resulting diminishing in bumblebee colony size and health can’t be translated immediately to real-world colonies.
The findings also raise obvious methodological questions. Bees within the tents couldn’t feed anywhere else, but free-ranging bees can feed on non-treated flowers. That’s an important caveat, noted Gaines-Day. It also fits with patterns observed in another new study, published in the June Proceedings of the Royal Society B by researchers led by Mia Park, a pollinator ecologist at the University of North Dakota.
Park’s team found bees in New York orchards to be healthier on farms located within nature-rich areas rather than agriculture-intensive habitats. In the latter there were fewer bees, and fewer different species. Fungicides made “a significant contribution” to pesticide effects, wrote Park and colleagues, suggesting “deleterious properties of a class of pesticides that was, until recently, considered benign to bees”.
Wild bees were affected much more than honeybees and avoiding sprays during blooms didn’t seem to help. “Our findings suggest that heavy use of conventional pesticides, even some traditionally viewed as benign, can render our crops net sinks for bee populations,” wrote the researchers. In layman’s terms, crops can kill more bees than they sustain.
Bees are worth billions to farmers across the globe, study suggests
David Goulson, a bee biologist at the University of Sussex, said the new studies “suggest that the fungicides may be having more profound effects on bees than would have been expected from the standard lab toxicity studies”. The Park study in particular, said Goulson, “demonstrates very clearly how the cocktail of chemicals used in modern farming makes farmland an inhospitable place for bees”.
Neither of the research groups investigated precisely how fungicides could harm bees, but one possible mechanism is described in a 2013 study by US department of agriculture researchers, who found that fungicides rendered honeybees more vulnerable to parasites. Their immune systems seemed to be weakened.
Also concerning is fungicide interaction with other chemicals. Fungicides like those used in Gaines-Day’s experiment can short-circuit bees’ natural ability to detoxify some pesticides. “A quick look at a fungicide bottle might show minimal risks,” said Aimee Code, pesticide program coordinator at Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, “but if mixed with some insecticides, the synergistic effects can be staggering.”
Gaines-Day and colleagues think fungicides might compromise bee microbiomes: the communities of beneficial microbes, including fungi, that are so important to the health of all animals. “Fungal diseases are a huge problem and can destroy a farmer’s crop,” said Gaines-Day, “but we don’t think, ‘What about the good microbes that can be helping a beneficial insect?’”
See original article at:
Jun 16, 2015
The human race is really starting to feel the consequences of their actions.
One area we are waking up to is the massive amount of pesticides we spray (especially in North America) on our food that has not only been linked to human disease, but a massive die off in the global bee population within the past few years.
A new study out of Harvard University, published in the June edition of the Bulletin of Insectology puts the nail in the coffin, neonicotinoids are killing bees at an exponential rate, they are the direct cause of the phenomenon labeled as colony collapse disorder (CCD).
Neonicotinoid’s are the world’s most widely used insecticides. (1)
“The results from this study not only replicate findings from the previous study, but also reinforce the conclusion that the sublethal exposure to neonicotinoids is likely the main culprit for the occurrence of CCD.” (1)
For this study, researchers examined 18 bee colonies at three different apiaries in central Massachusetts over the course of a year. Four colonies at each apiary were regularly treated with realistic doses of neonicotinoid pesticides, while a total of six hives were left untreated. Of the 12 hives treated with the pesticides, six were completely wiped out.
Neonicotinoids insecticides, persist in “extremely high levels” in planter exhaust material produced during the planting of crops treated with these insecticides. This runs contrary to industry claims that the chemicals biodegrade and are not a threat.
These pesticide components are found in soil, they are also found in fields where the chemicals are not even sprayed. Bees also actively transfer contaminated pollen from primarily pesticide treated corn crops and bring it back to their hives.
Furthermore, bees transfer these pesticides to other plants and crops that are not treated with the chemicals, which goes to show just how persistent these chemicals truly are in the environment.
There has been an enormous amount of research which shows that our current regulations which protect the creatures that pollinate much of our food is extremely inadequate. It’s been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals showing how widely used pesticides have a very damaging effect on bees.
A paper published in the journal Nature discusses how bees are twice as likely to die when exposed to pesticides; two-thirds of the bees are lost when exposed compared to a third when not exposed. The exposed bees are also half as successful in gathering food. (2)
Scientists from the US Department of Agriculture as well as the University of Maryland published a study that linked chemicals, including fungicides, to the large scale die-off of bees that has recently plagued the planet, you can read that study here.
In the United Stats alone, the honey bee population declined by approximately 30 percent, with some beekeepers reporting losses up to 90 and 100 percent. More than 100 US crops rely on honey bees to pollinate them.
The study determined that fields ranging from Maine to Delaware contained nine different agricultural chemicals. These included fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. In some cases they even recorded samples of 21 different agricultural chemicals.
Europe also recently recorded the largest bee loss in their history.
Not only have these pesticides been linked to various health ailments, they are killing bees all over the world. It’s not just bees, the disappearance of Monarch Butterflies has also been linked to Monsanto’s roundup herbicide. It’s time we completely ban something that has absolutely no reason to exist, we can do better than this.
As we continue to take actions like this we continue to see that how we are currently doing things simply cannot be sustained. This type of issue does not just reflect how we treat nature but also reflects how we operate as a whole. If money wasn’t so important, we wouldn’t be finding unnatural ways to do everything on this planet.
If we weren’t so concerned with maintaining an economy, issues such as these wouldn’t affect us. This is all a perfect lesson for us to ask “what the heck are we doing to our planet?” We are at a point where our very survival is now threatened because we are fighting so hard to maintain a system we all don’t like anyway.
For more information on how pesticides are harming human health, click HERE
See original article at: http://csglobe.com/harvard-study-proves-why-the-bees-are-all-disappearing/
Tests show some pollinators can’t taste certain widely used pesticides that may cause them harm
7:01AM, MAY 19, 2015
Two new studies renew questions about the effects of popular pesticides on the honeybee (shown here, on a flower) and wild pollinators.
Bees flit from flower to flower dining on nectar. Sometimes that nectar may contain traces of widely used pesticides. Yet the bees are unlikely to know which nectar is tainted. Indeed, they can’t taste these pesticides, a new study finds. However, the pesticides are similar to nicotine. This can encourage the bees to come back for more. And especially troubing: A second new study suggests the pesticides can harm some wild bees.
The pesticides are known as neonicotinoids (Nee-oh-NICK-uh-tin-oydz). Farmers use them to protect their crops from certain insects. The two new bee studies add to the controversy surrounding the use of these chemicals on corn and other crops.
In the lab, scientists tested how nerves in the mouthparts of honeybees and bumblebees respond to three widely used neonicotinoids. And they found no reaction to any of them. What this means: “I don’t think they can taste it at all,” says Geraldine Wright. She works at Newcastle University in England. There, she studies nerve signaling in bees.
Researchers check frames from a honeybee hive to see whether the colony is growing.MAJ RUNDLÖF
Her team’s new findings suggest that bees in nature can’t taste or avoid nectar laced with the chemicals. They published their new data online April 22 in Nature.
Especially troubling: The chemistry of the pesticides may keep bees coming back for more, Wright says. Offered a choice in the lab, both honeybees and bumblebees preferred sugar water dosed with a neonicotinoid pesticide. The insects sipped more of it than plain sugar water. The bees might not have tasted a difference between the two feeders. Yet the bees might have felt a little different after trying the spiked water.
Neonic pesticides also may harm beesOther studies have suggested that low doses of neonicotinoids can keep colonies of bumblebees from growing well. Studies don’t all agree on whether the same is true for honeybees. The chemicals may take away some of the bees' brainy edge. And that could make it hard for these pollinators to find their way quickly to and from flowers.
In 2013, the European Union banned farmer’s use of the major neonicotinoids for two years. At the time, the EU also called for more research. And in 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it probably would not approve any new outdoor uses for neonicotinoids. The EPA, too, said it first wanted to see more data on the effect of these pesticides on bees.
One such outdoor study was just published, also on April 22 in Nature. Its authors paired 16 crop fields in Sweden. Half were planted with seeds coated with neonicotinoid pesticides. The other half was planted with untreated seeds. (All fields were sown before the 2013 neonicotinoid ban.)
Honeybee colonies that foraged on treated fields grew at about the same rate as those working the untreated fields, report Maj Rundlöf of Lund University in Sweden and her colleagues. It’s not clear why there was no obvious effect, Rundlöf notes. She wonders if honeybees might have the body chemistry to reduce any harmful effect from the pesticides. However, she notes, her team’s tests only could detect an effect on bee growth if it had been large. Any small effect would have been missed.
But bumblebees did show an effect. Their colonies foraging on the treated fields failed to grow, Rundlöf reports. Her team also looked at a wild species of bee that does not live in colonies. These bees nested on six of the eight untreated fields. None chose to nest on the fields treated with the pesticides.
Dave Goulson works of the University of Sussex in England. “At this point, it is no longer credible to argue that agricultural use of neonicotinoids does not harm wild bees,” says this bee expert who was not involved in the new study.
Power Words(for more about Power Words, click here)chemistry The field of science that deals with the composition, structure and properties of substances and how they interact with one another. Chemists use this knowledge to study unfamiliar substances, to reproduce large quantities of useful substances or to design and create new and useful substances. (about compounds) The term is used to refer to the recipe of a compound, the way it’s produced or some of its properties.
colony A group of organisms that live close together or share a home (such as a hive or other nest site).
Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) An agency of the federal government charged with helping create a cleaner, safer and healthier environment in the United States. Created on Dec. 2, 1970, it reviews data on the possible toxicity of new chemicals (other than food or drugs, which are regulated by other agencies) before they are approved for sale and use. Where such chemicals may be toxic, it sets rules on how much may be used and where it may be used. It also sets limits on the release of pollution into the air, water or soil.
European Union The confederation of 28 European countries that have agreed to work peacefully together. Residents of EU can move freely between its member countries and sell goods to them. Most members have also adopted the same currency, known as the Euro.
honeybee A stinging, winged insect that collects nectar and pollen, and produces wax and honey. Honeybees live in large groups called colonies. Each colony consists of a queen, who lays all eggs, and her offspring. These consist of male drones, but mostly large cadres of female “worker” bees that attend to the hive and its inhabitants and forage for food.
navigate To find one’s way between two points.
nectar A sugary fluid secreted by plants, especially within flowers. It encourages pollination by insects and other animals. It is collected by bees to make into honey.
neonicotinoids A class of insecticides usually applied to target pests such as aphids, whiteflies and some beetles. At high doses these insecticides, called neonics for short, can also poison bees.
nicotine A colorless, oily chemical produced in tobacco and certain other plants. It creates the ‘buzz’ effect associated with smoking. It also is highly addictive, making it hard for smokers to give us their use of cigarettes. The chemical is also a poison, sometimes used as a pesticide to kill insects and even some invasive snakes or frogs.
pesticide A chemical or mix of compounds used to kill insects, rodents or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants, pet or livestock, or that infest homes, offices, farm buildings and other protected structures.
pollen Powdery grains released by the male parts of flowers that can fertilize the female tissue in other flowers. Pollinating insects, such as bees, often pick up pollen that will later be eaten.
pollinate To transport male reproductive cells — pollen — to female parts of a flower. This allows fertilization, the first step in plant reproduction.
pollinator An animal that transfers pollen from one flower to another, allowing the plant to grow fruit and seeds.
See more at: https://student.societyforscience.org/article/pesticides-offer-bees-risky-allure
May 30, 2015 by Arjun Walia. 46 comments.
The Netherlands has just become the latest country, following Russia, Mexico, and many others, to say no to Monsanto. The sale and use of glyphosate-based herbicides (the most commonly used herbicides in the world) has just been banned for non-commercial use in the country, effective later this year. This means that people will no longer be able to spray RoundUp on their lawns and gardens and will instead have to find another (hopefully more natural) means of pest control.
This is definitely a step in the right direction.
The move comes as no surprise, considering that the number of countries around the world who are choosing to ban this product is growing at an exponential rate. Bans and restrictions are being implemented due to the fact that glyphosate (the main ingredient in RoundUp) has been directly linked to several major health issues, including: birth defects, nervous system damage, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, various forms of cancer, and kidney failure. (Sri Lanka recently cited deadly kidney disease as their reason for banning his product. You can read more about that and access the research here.) Indeed, The World Health Organization recently acknowledged the fact that glyphosate can cause cancer, and you can read more about that here.
Not only that, there are multiple environmental concerns associated with the use of this chemical.
What’s even more disturbing is the fact that studies have shown that RoundUp herbicide is over one hundred times more toxic than regulators claim. For example, a new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International shows that Roundup herbicide is 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation. You can read more about that here. The eye opening abstract reads as follows:
“Pesticides are used throughout the world as mixtures called formulations. They contain adjuvants, which are often kept confidential and are called inerts by the manufacturing companies, plus a declared active principle, which is usually tested alone. We tested the toxicity of 9 pesticides, comparing active principles and their formulations, on three human cell lines. Glyphosate, isoproturon, fluroxypyr, pirimicarb, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole, and prochloraz constitute, respectively, the active principles of 3 major herbicides, 3 insecticides, and 3 fungicides. Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested. Most importantly, 8 formulations out of 9 were up to one thousand times more toxic than their active principles. Our results challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake for pesticides because this norm is calculated from the toxicity of the active principle alone. Chronic tests on pesticides may not reflect relevant environmental exposures if only one ingredient of these mixtures is tested alone.” (source)
Equally disturbing is the fact that RoundUp has been found in a very high percentage of air and rainfall test samples. You can read more about that here.
Significant concentrations of it have also been found in the urine of people across Europe, you can read more about that here.
One recent study published in the Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology has now proven that animals and humans who consume GMO foods – those that are loaded with glyphosate chemicals, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp – have extremely high levels of glyphosate in their urine.
It’s also noteworthy to mention that there are Wikileaks documents showing how the United States planned to “retaliate and cause pain” on countries who were refusing GMOs. You can read more about that story and view those documents here.
It’s troubling to think that so many children are within proximity of and playing on lawns that have been sprayed with this stuff. Cancer is not a mystery, it is not a stroke of bad luck, it’s time for the world to wake up and realize what research has been confirming for years.
See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/05/30/why-the-netherlands-just-banned-monsantos-glyphosate-based-herbicides/
Honey bee colony populations in the United States have dropped more than 40 percent in the 12-month period ending in April, according to a preliminary report. The continued decline suggests a need for more data around bees and pollinators.
By Jessica Mendoza, Staff Writer MAY 13, 2015
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The honey bees are disappearing.
In a 12-month period ending in April, populations of managed honey bee colonies in the United States dropped by more than 40 percent — up from about a 35 percent drop the previous year, and the second-highest annual loss recorded to date, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report released Wednesday.
The findings are consistent with concerns over a decline in bee colonies worldwide, even as researchers, government agencies, and agricultural companies look for ways to reverse the losses.
Recommended: Six 'urban agriculture' terms explained
“Such high colony losses in the summer and year-round remain very troubling,” Jeff Pettis, a senior entomologist at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service bee research lab in Beltsville, Ma., said in a statement. This is despite fewer signs in the last few years of colony collapse disorder (CCD), a syndrome in which workers in a honey bee colony disappear, he said.
“If beekeepers are going to meet the growing demand for pollination services, researchers need to find better answers to the host of stresses that lead to both winter and summer colony losses,” he added.
Honey bees are vital to both local ecosystems and the economy. Bee pollination accounts for more than $15 billion in increased crop value every year, according to the USDA, and is a crucial to growing plants that produce a quarter of the food consumed by Americans, Reuters reported.
If losses continue at the current rate — or worse, continue to rise — “it could threaten the economic viability of the bee pollination industry,” the USDA warned. “[T]he cost of honey bee pollination services would rise, and those increased costs would ultimately be passed on to consumers through higher food costs.”
Scientists have identified multiple causes for the declining bee population, including mite infestations and poor diets due to climate change, drought, and urban development.
The main debate, however, is centered on neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide chemically similar to nicotine and often applied to seeds. Three — clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — have been banned in the European Union because of concerns about the chemicals’ harmful effect on honey bees. In April, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not approve most applications for new uses of neonicotinoids pending results from pollinator risk studies.
As it stands, the data around neonicotinoids are mixed.
“Many studies that link the poor health of bee colonies to the pesticides have been criticized, for example for not using realistic doses,” science journal Nature reported. “Some defenders of the chemicals have argued that if neonicotinoids are harmful, bees will learn to avoid treated plants.”
In April, two teams published separate reports that sought to fill the gaps that critics have identified in previous research. “Taken together, the two studies point to a compound that, with repeated exposure, can be detrimental to bees who can't stop themselves from going back for more,” The Christian Science Monitor’s Pete Spotts wrote.
As the debate continues, efforts are underway to better understand and protect bees and safeguard the country’s agricultural industry. Last year, in the face of criticism from farm organizations and pesticide companies, the White House created a task force to develop a health strategy around bees and other pollinators.
Some initiatives have focused on alternatives to honey bees for pollination, in particular looking at the potential of other bee species.
Still others are turning to genetic modification for the answer. Using genetic technologies to actually manipulate the bee genome could lead to deeper insights into how bees fight infections or parasites like Varroa mites, as well as the genetic basis for bee behavior, wrote David O’Brochta, a professor in the University of Maryland, College Park's Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research and the Department of Entomology, wrote for Entomology Today.
“Just as the human genome enables human biology to be understood for the purposes of developing therapeutics and solutions to unwanted conditions,” he added, “these results represent the beginning of a similar phase of bee research.”
See more at:
Posted May. 13, 2015 / Posted by: Kate Colwell
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America and the United States Department of Agriculture, released its annual report on honey bee losses in the United States based on a national survey of beekeepers. Most significantly, beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of the total number of colonies managed over the last year (total annual loss, between April 2014 and April 2015). This represents the second highest annual loss recorded to date.
Preliminary results indicate that during the winter of 2014-2015 U.S. beekeepers lost 23.1 percent of their hives on average, which is lower than average losses in recent years, but considered too high to be sustainable. U.S. beekeepers lost an average of 27.4 percent of their hives in the summer of 2014 (April-October), which is higher than 2013 summer losses.
A large and growing body of science has attributed alarming bee declines in recent years to several key factors, including exposure to the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, neonicotinoids. In 2013, the European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids based on the weight of scientific evidence indicating that these pesticides can kill bees outright and make them more vulnerable to pests, pathogens and other stressors. However, these pesticides are still widely used in the U.S. despite massive bee losses that threaten vital food crops, from almonds in California to apples in Washington.
Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said “These dire honey bee numbers add to the consistent pattern of unsustainable bee losses in recent years that threatens our food system. The science is clear -- we must take action now to protect these essential pollinators from bee-toxic pesticides.”
More than 4 million Americans have signed petitions to the Obama administration demanding immediate restrictions on systemic neonicotinoid pesticides linked to bee declines. The White House Task Force on Pollinator Health is expected to release a plan for bee protection in the near future. This plan is required by a Presidential Memorandum, issued by President Obama in June 2014, which called for a federal strategy to protect pollinators and called on the EPA to assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bees and other pollinators within 180 days.
On April 2, the EPA announced a moratorium on new or expanded uses of neonicotinoids while it evaluates the risks posed to pollinators. In October, 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality issued guidance for federal facilities and federal lands which included acquiring seeds and plants from nurseries that do not treat these items with systemic insecticides.
In response to a campaign by Friends of the Earth and allies, more than twenty garden stores, nurseries, and landscaping companies, including Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD), the two largest home improvement retailers in the world, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM) have taken steps to restrict neonicotinoids in their stores.
Last April, Friends of the Earth released a report, “Follow the Honey: 7 ways pesticide companies are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits,” which documents the deceptive PR tactics used by agrochemical companies including Germany-based Bayer (DE: BAYN), Switzerland-based Syngenta (NYSE: SYT) and U.S.-based Monsanto (NYSE: MON), to deflect blame from their products’ contributions to bee declines and delay regulatory action on neonicotinoid pesticides.
“Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto make billions from bee-killing pesticide products while masquerading as champions of bee health,” Finck-Haynes said. “Are their profits more important than our food supply? Are they more important than the livelihoods of America’s farmers? The Obama administration must act now to restrict neonicotinoid pesticides that threaten America’s bees, farmers and food security.”
A recent study by Newcastle University recommends that reducing pesticide use “may be the only certain” way to halt bee and pollinator decline. A study by Oxford University researchers came to a similar conclusion, documenting that organic agriculture supports 50 percent more pollinator and bee species compared with conventional, pesticide heavy agriculture.
“The solution to the bee crisis is to shift to sustainable agriculture systems that are not dependent on monoculture crops saturated in pesticides. It’s time to reimagine the way we farm in the United States and incentivize organic agriculture practices that are better for bees and for all of us,” Finck-Haynes said.
Expert contact: Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0715, email@example.com
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0744, firstname.lastname@example.org
- See more at: http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2015-05-extreme-bee-losses-highlight-need-to-restrict-pesticides#sthash.Ltemj9Ri.dpuf
The world authority on cancer’s evidence-based assessment is pitched against the Monsanto-led corrupt approvals in US and Europe Dr Mae-Wan Ho and Dr Nancy Swanson
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World authority experts selected free from conflict of interestThe world authority on cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the herbicide glyphosate ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ in its latest expert assessment [1, 2]. A Working Group of 17 experts from 11 countries met at IARC headquarters 3-10 March 2015 in Lyon, France. The meeting followed almost a year of review and preparation, including a comprehensive review of the latest available scientific evidence. The experts were selected on the basis of their expertise and most importantly, the absence of real or apparent conflicts of interest. The Working Group considered “reports that have been published or accepted for publication in the openly available scientific literature” as well as “data from governmental reports that are publicly available”. They evaluated five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides including glyphosate. The results, announced 20 March were as follows. The herbicide glyphosate and the insecticides malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). The insecticides tetrachlorvinphos and parathion were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).
Significance of the assessmentTo understand the real significance of the new assessment, some background information is needed. Substances and exposures that can lead to cancer are called carcinogens.
The IARC is part of the WHO, its major goal is to identify causes of cancer, and its classification for carcinogens is the most widely used and accepted in the world . In the past 30 years, the IARC has evaluated the cancer-causing potential of more than 900 likely candidates, placing them into the following categories:
The Environmental Protection Agency uses a rating system similar to that of IARC :
As stated in the IARC press release : “Group 2A means that the agent is probably carcinogenic to humans. This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.”
It should also be noted that the two insecticides placed in the lower category (2B) in terms of cancer-causing potential are both in restricted use. Tetrachlorvinphos is banned in the European Union, but continues to be used in the US; while parathion has been severely restricted since the 1980s, and all authorized uses were cancelled in the European Union and USA by 2003.
Of the organophosphates in Group 2 A, diazinon has been used in agriculture and home and garden insect-control. It has been in low production especially after 2006 due to restrictions in the USA and the EU. Malathion is used in agriculture, public health and residential insect control, and continues to be produced in substantial volumes throughout the world. But it is minor league compared with glyphosate. As highlighted in the assessment [1, 2], glyphosate has the highest global production volume of all herbicides. The agricultural use of glyphosate has increased sharply since the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops tolerant to glyphosate. The largest use worldwide is in agriculture, but it is also deployed in forestry, urban, and home applications in more than 750 different commercial products. Consequently, glyphosate has been detected in the air during spraying, in water, and in food. The general population is exposed primarily through residence near sprayed areas, home use, and diet.
Evidence of glyphosate’s cancer-causing potential including that suppressed by EPAThe assessment cited the main evidence on which the classification of glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans is based  as follows:
“For the herbicide glyphosate, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in human for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The evidence in humans is from studies of exposures, mostly agricultural in the US, Canada, and Sweden published since 2001. In addition, there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals. On the basis of tumours in mice, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group C) in 1985 [equivalent to IARC group 2C]. After a re-evaluation of that mouse study, the US EPA changes its classification to evidence to non-carcinogenicity in humans (Group E) in 1991. The US EPA Scientific Advisory Panel noted that the re-evaluated glyphosate results were still significant using two statistical tests recommended in the IARC Preamble. The IARC Working Group that conducted the evaluation considered the significant findings from the US EPA report and several more recent positive results in concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, although it gave negative results in tests using bacteria. One study in community residents reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) after glyphosate formulations were sprayed nearby.”
Note the pointed reference to US EPA evidence that has been suppressed. This happened through a litany of outright fraud committed by testing companies working for the corporations, deception, and half-truths (see  Glyphosate and Cancer, SiS 62). It should be seen in the light of EPA’s decision in 2013 to raise the allowable limits of glyphosate contamination in farm-grown food and animal feed . The amount of allowable glyphosate in oilseed crops (except for canola and soy) went up from 20 ppm to 40 ppm, 100 000 times the amount needed to induce breast cancer cells.
Yet more evidence was cited for animal experiments with glyphosate . These included glyphosate induced positive trend in the incidence of a rare renal tubule carcinoma in male CD-1 mice, a positive trend for haemangiosarcoma in male mice, pancreatic islet-cell adenoma in male rats in two studies, and a promotion of skin tumours in an initiation-promotion study in mice .
Also pointed out in the assessment , glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating absorption into the body. Soil microbes are known to degrade glyphosate to aminomethylphosphoric acid (AMPA). Blood AMPA detection after poisonings therefore suggests intestinal microbial metabolism in humans.
Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro. One study reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) in residents of several communities after spraying of glyphosate formulations. Bacterial mutagenesis tests were negative, but glyphosate, glyphosate formulations, and AMPA induced oxidative stress in rodents and in vitro. Oxidative stress induces reactive oxygen species that can damage DNA .
Since our last review on glyphosate and cancer , new evidence has emerged. Leah Schinasi and Maria Leon at IARC, Lyon, France carried out a systematic review and a series of meta-analyses of nearly three decades worth of epidemiologic research on the relationship between non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and occupational exposure to agricultural pesticide active ingredients and chemical groups. Estimates of associations of NHL with 21 pesticides and 80 active ingredients were extracted from 44 papers, all reporting studies conducted in high-income countries (12 countries, majority in Europe or N. America) . Random effects meta-analyses (allowing heterogeneity between studies to contribute to the variance) showed that phenoxyherbicides, carbamate insectices, organophosphorus insecticide and the active ingredient lindane, an organochlorine insecticide, were positively associated with NHL. In addition, in a handful of papers, associations between pesticides and NHL subtypes were reported: B cell lymphoma was positively associated with phenoxy herbicides and glyphosate. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was positively associated with phenoxy herbicide exposure.
New evidence has also come from Argentina, where a team of researchers at Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto used a recently established method for monitoring genetic damage resulting from chemical exposure by determining the frequency of micronuclei in the cells lining the inside of the mouth . They found that children living within 500 m of spraying areas have over 66 % more cells with micronuclei than those living more than 3 000 m away. In addition, 40 % of the exposed children suffer from persistent conditions that may be associated with chronic pesticide exposure including respiratory symptoms, with and without additional symptoms such skin itching or stains, nose itching or bleeding, lacrimation, eye and ear burning or itching.
Monsanto, the Glyphosate Task Force, and the Joint Glyphosate Task Force protest against classification Monsanto, whose $15.9 billion of annual sales are closely tied to glyphosate , protested that the scientific data did not support the conclusions and called on WHO to hold an urgent meeting to explain the findings . “We don’t know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe,” Philip Miller, Monsanto’s vice-president of global regulatory affairs, told the press. Apart from the EPA’s 2013 hike of allowable glyphosate contamination levels , the German government completed a four year evaluation of glyphosate for the EU, concluding that it was “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans” .
The Glyphosate Task Force (GTF) is a consortium of chemical companies, including Monsanto, formed to promote glyphosate in Europe. The Joint Glyphosate Task Force (JGTF) is the US counterpart. On the same day that the Lancet article  was published, both the GTF and the JGTF published announcements decrying the WHO classification . They accuse the IARC of only taking into account “a narrow selection of studies and was therefore made without the benefit of analyzing the extensive and relevant database on glyphosate relied upon by the world's regulatory authorities...” They then lauded the German glyphosate re-assessment report (RAR) saying, “As recently as January, the German government completed a four-year study of glyphosate on behalf of the European Union and concluded that glyphosate was unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans. It is baffling that IARC arrived at such a different conclusion than all these other scientific reviews.”
Of course they would refer to the RAR. They wrote it. The GTF prepared the dossier on glyphosate renewal for the German member state and submitted it to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Germany. The BfR rubber-stamped it and sent it on to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), adding only a few comments here and there.
Finally, the GTF accuses the IARC of not taking into account all of the data available, particularly the industry-sponsored studies . “Most peer reviewed literature and other publicly available information such as the evaluations, opinions and conclusions of regulatory competent authorities were also dismissed by IARC.”
Corrupt assessment in the European UnionIt is supreme irony for GTF to accuse IARC of not taking into account all of the data available, as the GTF’s assessment on behalf of the German government was most narrowly based on industry studies and others that concurred with the findings from industry.
In the carcinogenicity section of toxicology portion of the RAR, 13 industry-sponsored studies were evaluated. All were deemed “acceptable” and all found no significant carcinogenetic effects. Two published studies on rodents were considered. One found no significant results and the other was “considered by the authors to indicate a tumor promoting potential of glyphosate. However, the formulation Roundup was used in the study and not the active substance glyphosate.” All studies that used an actual product were disqualified because they claim that only the active ingredient, glyphosate, needs to be evaluated .
Twelve peer-reviewed studies, most of which were based on data from a single study (the Agricultural Health Study), found no evidence of carcinogenicity. These studies were all deemed reliable and used in the evaluation.
Only six studies finding a link between glyphosate and cancer were included in the RAR but were disqualified and deemed unreliable, mostly because exact exposures to glyphosate could not be identified in the epidemiological studies. The one lab study (Seralini) was disqualified because they didn't follow OECD guidelines. And this was only the cancer section. For more details see  Scandal of Glyphosate Re-assessment in Europe, SiS 63 and .
Glyphosate bans already under consideration Fortunately, there are non-corrupt regulatory agencies in the world that look at the whole range of evidence on glyphosate toxicity, of which being a probable human carcinogen is just one aspect (see  A Roundup of Roundup® Reveals Converging Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic to Laboratory Studies, SiS 65). Glyphosate and in particular the Monsanto formulations Roundup is a wide-spectrum weed killer with wide-spectrum toxicities on organisms and cells. A number of countries have already imposed bans on the herbicide.
Sri Lanka had originally imposed a total ban based on evidence of glyphosate link to a deadly kidney disease, with prevalence estimated at 15 % affecting a total of 400 000 patients with an estimated death toll of around 20 000. Under pressure from industry, it has now a partial ban in certain districts .
El Salvador, stricken with the same lethal kidney disease epidemic, has voted to ban glyphosate along with 52 other chemicals since 2013 , though it has yet to be written into law, again under great pressure from industry.
Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecutor has requested the Justice Department to ban glyphosate along with 8 other chemicals . Finally, the Dutch Parliament voted for a ban on non-agricultural uses .
To concludeIndividuals, farmers, gardeners, restaurants, shops, local communities should now stop using glyphosate herbicides in defiance of the corrupt approvals given, in order to safeguard the health of people and planet.
Read more at: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Glyphosate_Probably_Carcinogenic_to_Humans.php
01 December 2014
Today is the first anniversary of the two-year EU-wide restrictions on certain neonicotinoid pesticides.
The restrictions were an important first step, but further action is urgently needed to protect UK pollinators.
One year on, we, as part of the Bee Coalition, are calling for a blanket ban on all neonicotinoid pesticides.
Common myths about neonicotinoidsThe pesticides industry continues to perpetuate certain myths about bees about neonicotinoids. Read the myths and truths here:
What you can doYou can take action and help us Keep Britain Buzzing. We are campaigning to tackle this problem and to work with all farmers to help save our precious wildlife. Find out here what you can do here…
See more at: http://www.soilassociation.org/news/newsstory/articleid/7554/10-common-myths-about-neonicotinoids-and-bees