From Sum of Us:
Zombie bee photo via sum of us website
“Bayer has just sued the European Commission to overturn a ban on the pesticides that are killing millions of bees around the world. A huge public push won this landmark ban only months ago — and we can’t sit back and let Big Pesticide overturn it while the bees vanish.
Bayer and Syngenta, two of the world’s largest chemical corporations, claim that the ban is “unjustified” and “disproportionate.” But clear scientific evidence shows their products are behind the massive bee die-off that puts our entire food chain in peril. Continue reading
From Credo Action:
“Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year.1 While that’s terrible, the problem is far greater than just the destruction of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.
Scientists have been scrambling to understand the crisis — termed Colony Collapse Disorder — but have yet to find a single, definitive cause. There are likely multiple interacting causes, and mounting evidence suggests that one widely used class of pesticides may be a critical factor.
One such chemical, called clothianidin, is produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, and works by expressing itself in the plants’ pollen and nectar. Not coincidentally, these are some of honey bees’ favorite sources of food. Continue reading
From Anthony Gucciardi on the Activist Post:
“In a major victory for public health, and what will hopefully lead to other nations taking action, a French court decided today that GMO crops monster Monsanto is guilty of chemically poisoning a French farmer.
The grain grower, Paul Francois, says he developed neurological problems such as memory loss and headaches after being exposed to Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller back in 2004.
The monumental case paves the way for legal action against Monsanto’s Roundup and other harmful herbicides and pesticides made by other manufacturers. Continue reading
From Josephine Marcotty, in the Star Tribune:
“Oluf Johnson’s 1,500-acre farm in Stearns County is an organic island in a sea of chemically treated corn and soybeans.
Improperly applied pesticides repeatedly drift over from neighboring farms, often with dire consequences for Johnson. But now, thanks to a new court ruling, he and other farmers can sue to recover their losses.
Letting damaging chemicals cross property lines is trespassing, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Monday. Moreover, since those pesticides made his crop unsalable in the organic market, Johnson is entitled to damages from the company that applied it, the Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Co., the court said. Continue reading
From Fiona Harvey at The Guardian, a UK newspaper:
Entombed' pollen is identified as having sunken, wax-covered cells amid 'normal', uncapped cells. Photograph: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, via The Guardian UK
“Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.
Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon –bees “entombing” or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees. Continue reading
From Ariel Schwartz at Fast Company — new knowledge about why so many bees have been dying:
Photo of beekeepers via Fast Company website.
“The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined–electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists. Continue reading
A farmer sprays potatoes in PEI. Shaun Best/Reuters photo
Ok this is not raw milk, but it is about agriculture and health. Seems the Cancer Society has finally awakened to the realization that agricultural use of pesticides could somehow be implicated in rising rates of cancer among farmers and farm workers, to say nothing of those of us who eat the food. What took them so long? Needless to say, even broaching the subject opens a big nasty can of worms with the agribusiness establishment. Martin Mittelstaedt reports on the story in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail. And now, as of 8:00 am Thursday, there are already 128 comments. Clearly this topic touches a nerve. Here’s a sampling:
“For years, the Canadian Cancer Society has argued in favour of bans on the cosmetic use of pesticides around homes and gardens. But it has remained silent on the country’s biggest use of bug and weed killers: on farms.
Now, the society is considering weighing in on whether these sprays pose a cancer risk to farmers, other rural residents near them, and to the wider public from eating foods carrying pesticide residues. Continue reading