Currently Browsing: Pesticides

Battling the bugs—and the temptation to use chemical WMDs

I'm at war with the common stalk borer. As much as I believe in sustainability and chemical-free agriculture in theory, I've never been more tempted to use insecticides as I am right now. For years, the signature for my email has been a quote from the agtivist-scientist Vandana Shiva, "Sustainability begins...

Why we need to arm the EPA against toxic chemicals

Silent scream: "In America, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty," writes Bejamin Ross in this fascinating summary of the FDA and the larger history of U.S. regulation of toxic substances in food and our everyday environments. While this rule of thumb has been in place for over a century, it's not how...

Just say YIMBY: Weed expert Nancy Gift talks about lawns for dinner

By Holly Hickman vs. Recently, a man I know sprayed his front and back lawns with a brand of weed killer he'd bought from the store and administered himself. He had lived for years in Long Island, the capital of "green carpets," and now insists that the only acceptable lawn is a uselessly beautiful,...

Do I dare to eat a peach? Not a conventional one, says Tribune study

Another day, another facet to the debate over whether organic produce is worth the extra moolah. Unless you've been living on a remote mountaintop with no wireless, you've probably witnessed the recent frenzy over a UK study [pdf] claiming that organic food has no nutritional benefits over conventional. The...

Pesticides in well water increase risk of Parkinson’s disease

Well water isn't always healthy: Pesticide-contaminated well water has been hypothesized as a cause of Parkinson's disease, with several epidemiologic studies providing support. A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives bolsters the hypothesis: rural residents in a part of California's farm country...

A roundup of pesticide drift coverage: Who should pay for unruly spray?

Chemical standoff: Farm country residents mostly "grin and bear it" when pesticides from neighboring farms drift onto their property, but some are speaking out. In Illinois, a vineyard owner tires of watching clouds of 2,4-D engulf (and kill) his grapes when a nearby farm sprays. A retired minister gives up...

So-called “inert” ingredients in Roundup weed killer can kill human cells

Rounding up the damning evidence: Monsanto's top-selling weed killer Roundup is widely used not just in grain crops, but yards and parks. French researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. The new findings...

“Biopesticides” are hot stuff

Sounds good — what's the catch?: Scientists are working on natural compounds and organisms called biopesticides that control agricultural pests and don’t have adverse health effects on people. Researchers at Michigan State University recently identified two new genes and two new enzymes in tomato plants...

Neonatal DDT exposure linked to obesity

Silent, fat spring: Part of the mounting evidence of the chemical-obesity link, researchers find that babies exposed to DDT in the womb were more likely than their counterparts to be overweight....

Digest – Blogs, features and snacks: Pesticide perversions, subsidy love, the anti-Pollan

Small-town physician sees effects of Big Ag: an Indiana neonatologist finds that birth defects, including spina bifida, cleft pallet and lip, down syndrome, urogenital abnormalities, and club foot (among others) are more likely to occur in pregnancies that begin between April and July — the time period when...

Digest – News: Perilous pork, the First Lettuce, food safety plateaus

Free-range throwdown: A New York Times op-ed turns the food-fear spotlight on pastured pork, covering a study that finds that "free-range pork can be more likely than caged pork to carry dangerous bacteria and parasites" including potentially-deadly Trichinosis. The author gets in a few more digs with the...

Digest: Pass the potatoes, hold the pesticides, and Bittman takes a bite (of sardines)

Salmon dieu!: On Wednesday, the National Organic Standards Board will rule on whether any fish can be labeled organic. Under the guidelines as proposed, wild salmon will not make the grade but farm-raised salmon could, even if they eat fish meal, which is feed spiked with ground-up wild fish. (Chicago...

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