Common Herbicides Appear to Cause Antibiotic Resistance

Thia article from the Cornucopia Institute illustrates the damaging interactions between pesticides and the microbial world.

This interference with microbial balance leads some researchers with expertise in genetic engineering, bacterial genetics and biosafety, like Professor Heinemann of the University of Canterbury to say that “The sub-lethal effects of industrially manufactured chemical products should be considered by regulators when deciding whether the products are safe for their intended use,” he says. We know, for instance, that endocrine disrupting chemicals have stronger effects at lower concentrations – less can be dangerous too and longterm accumulative effects can be disastrous.

This biotic world has complex interconnections which some are now realising. The simplistic mechanistic ‘scientific’ approach which has been seriously compromised by corporate billions both in our universities and our government bodies cannot lead us out of our toxic wilderness.

The silver lining of EU’s glyphosate decision

Since the EU Commission corrupted the determination to phase out the use of glyphosate within 5 years to re-registering it for 5 years, it is great to focus on some positive outcomes.

And here is one from Pesticide Action Network, North America. We are looking to the countries which voted against the decision to reregister to inform a more scientific debate on this toxic challenge.

German vote swings EU decision on 5-year glyphosate renewal

This post is abridged from the euobserver

“EU member states agreed on Monday (27 November) on a five-year renewal period for the controversial herbicide glyphosate, used by Monsanto in its Roundup product. The decision was taken by EU member states’ experts, with 18 votes in favour, nine against and one abstention.

“Germany’s vote in favour of the proposal helped to reach a vote representing 65.71 percent of the EU population, just above the 65 percent threshold needed under the qualified majority rule.

The nine countries that opposed the five-year renewal were Belgium, Greece, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, and Austria.
Portugal was the state that abstained. In a previous vote on 9 November, four states had abstained.

“The European Commission has now the green light for a a formal renewal of the licence for glyphosate in the EU.

“Germany’s decision to support the renewal created waves in Berlin with the outgoing coalition government.

[Ms Merkel (Christian Democrat), who made clear on Saturday (25th) she would pursue a grand coalition, said an acting government under her leadership could do business until a new coalition was formed. (ABC News 27/11/2017) It was under the acting government that Germany joined the vote on glyphosate renewal.]

“The (German) environment minister, Social Democrat Barbara Hendricks, said she had called her agriculture colleague, the Christian Democrat Christian Schmidt, in the morning to tell him that she ‘still did not agree’ with the renewal. ‘You cannot behave like this when you try to build trust’ she said after the Brussels vote, referring to the talks that are due to start soon to form a new coalition between the CDU and Christian Social Union, with the SPD.

“This is not a clear signal for a phase-out of glyphosate. The fight needs to go on” said Luxembourgish health minister Carole Dieschbourg, whose country voted against. Several hours after the decision was taken, a handful of left-leaning MEPs expressed their anger at a meeting of the environmental and food safety committee. ‘We didn’t ask for renewal, we asked for a phase-out,’ said Czech centre-left MEP Pavel Poc.

“In a resolution adopted in the parliament’s plenary in October, the parliament asked for a phase-out over the next five years. Poc said seeing this resolution as an endorsement of a five-year renewal was a ‘misinterpretation’ of the EP resolution.

“The Commission and most governments have chosen ‘to ignore the warnings of independent scientists, the demands of the European Parliament and the petition’ calling for a glyphosate ban, Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg commented.

“The committee will vote on an objection to the decision on Tuesday (28 November).”

It is interesting to note that governing structures in the neoliberal world are set up to ensure corporate control of legal processes. Throughout this re-registration process, the European Commission has been working against both the European Parliament and the European Council to ensure that glyphosate would gain re-registration.

Six Middle Eastern Countries Ban Glyphosate Herbicides over ‘Probable Carcinogen’ Fears

“Oman’s Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that six Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman have banned the use of glyphosate herbicides since last year, after reviewing IARC’s classification of glyphosate as a ‘probable human carcinogen’.”

Map of Saudi Arabia.

Map of Saudi Arabia.

You can read the article in Sustainable Pulse (October 13th) here.

Glyphosate Damages Soil-Friendly Bacteria

Considerable research establishes that glyphosate adversely effects soil microbial species and communities, including nitrogen-fixing species and fungal populations. This new study by researchers at Cornell University looks at the response to glyphosate of soil bacteria (Pseudomonas spp) which produce a range of antibiotic compounds, iron-scavenging molecules (or siderophores), and plant growth promoters. Several species are effective biocontrol agents which protect plants against pathogens and promote plant health.

As this October 7th article in Sustainable Pulse points out “As farmers battle in their above-ground war on weeds using glyphosate-based herbicides, they may inadvertently create underground casualties – unintentionally attacking the beneficial bacteria that help crops guard against enemy fungus.”

You can read the full article here.

Monsanto banned from European parliament

“Monsanto lobbyists have been banned from entering the European parliament after the multinational refused to attend a parliamentary hearing into allegations of regulatory interference.” Reported in the Guardian on September 28th.

“It is the first time MEPs have used new rules to withdraw parliamentary access for firms that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or hearings.”

“Monsanto officials will now be unable to meet MEPs, attend committee meetings or use digital resources on parliament premises in Brussels or Strasbourg.”

The new rules for procedures of the EU Parliament were set in January 2017 and allow the Parliament to withdraw or deactivate temporary access where there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct for Registrants, where they have been guilty of a serious breach of the obligations, or have refused to comply with a formal summons to attend a hearing or committee meeting or to cooperate with a committee of inquiry, without offering a sufficient justification.

You can read the full article here.

US Court Rules EPA Must Release Details on Enlist Duo’s Harm to Endangered Species

“Responding to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, a federal judge has ruled Friday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to justify withholding more than 140 documents on the harm to protected wildlife, including Whooping Cranes, from the highly toxic pesticide Enlist Duo.

“The case involved the EPA’s controversial decision to approve use of Enlist Duo in 16 states even though the agency found the herbicide likely puts dozens of endangered and threatened species at risk.

“Thursday’s ruling indicated the EPA must be much more forthcoming in revealing the science that underpins its decisions on pesticides’ harms to endangered plants and animals.

“Calling the EPA’s reasons for withholding the documents on Enlist Duo “jumbled and disorganized,” the judge wrote that the agency inspired “little confidence” that it has “adequately kept track of each withheld document or fully considered, let alone explained, the basis for withholdings.”

“Enlist Duo’s maker, Dow Chemical, pushed the EPA to approve the pesticide to combat the superweed epidemic fueled by overuse of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

“During research on Enlist Duo, a Center scientist discovered that Dow’s patent applications regarding the pesticide’s two components — 2,4-D and glyphosate — showed synergy, or heightened toxicity, between the two ingredients in 99 out of 99 experimental conditions. Yet after reviewing four Enlist Duo studies provided by Dow to the EPA the agency concluded there is no synergy between glyphosate and 2,4-D.”

In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that both 2,4_D and glyphosate are probable carcinogens.

This article was released by Sustainable Pulse on 30th September. You can read the full article here.

France Set to Phase Out Glyphosate Herbicides over Next 5 Years

The French Government has said that France is open to phasing out the World’s most used weedkiller glyphosate over the next five to seven years. This has followed complaints from farmers worried about a potential imminent ban. However, a failure to renew the license by the end of the year would see such a ban kick in automatically on Jan. 1, 2018. French farmers welcomed the prime minister’s statement.

A government source also said France, the EU’s largest grain grower and exporter, was asking the Commission to present a plan for phasing out glyphosate, but denied any timeframe had been set.

Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science

Whitewash has been written by Carey Gillam an ex-Reuters journalist who covered agriculture in the US for nearly 20 years. She fell foul of Monsanto as she covered the whole picture and not just the bits they wanted exposed. They continually complained about her to Reuters. The editors changed and no longer supported her. She now works with US Right to Know.

Whitewash: Carey Gillam

“Whitewash reads like a mystery novel, as Gillam skillfully uncovers Monsanto’s secretive strategies to convince countries around the world that its Roundup products were safe. The book unravels a tapestry of pesticide industry tricks to manipulate the scientific truths about their products while placing profits above human health and the environment. As someone who has experienced similar actions by corporations firsthand in my work far too often, I am hopeful that Carey’s book will be a wake-up call for more transparency about the dangers surrounding many chemicals in the marketplace.”
Erin Brockovich Consumer advocate and environmental activist

The book is available from Carey Gillam’s website.

EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study

EU regulators collaborated with Monsanto for glyphosate approval renewal. This article was published in GM Watch on 15th September and outlines how Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and then the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) collaborated with Monsanto to hoodwink the EU assessment of glyphosate and to oppose and undermine the determination by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate (and 2,4-D) were probable carcinogens.

You can read the full article here.

New Dicamba Herbicide Wreaks Havoc Across the US – Monsanto again

Dicamba resistance in Monsanto’s GM products raises new concerns from Dr. Mercola:

“The rapid emergence of glyphosate-resistant superweeds has led to the development and use of even more toxic herbicides, including dicamba, which has been clearly linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma;

“Dicamba is an extremely potent and volatile toxin that is banned during growing season. Monsanto’s new weed killer, XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, designed for use with dicamba-resistant seeds, is supposed to be less prone to vaporization and drift;

“Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee are now investigating thousands of dicamba damage reports; an estimated 3.1 million acres have been damaged by dicamba drift this season”

You can read the full article here.

EPA Slowed Glyphosate Review in Coordination With Monsanto

Documents released under Freedom of Information in the court case in the USA covering claims that Monsanto’s glyphosate has caused cancer is uncovering deep and widespread corruption. Carey Gillam, writing in Ecowatch, says

“Newly released government email communications show a persistent effort by multiple officials within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slow a separate federal agency’s safety review of Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide. Notably, the records demonstrate that the EPA efforts came at the behest of Monsanto, and that EPA officials were helpful enough to keep the chemical giant updated on their progress.

“The communications, most of which were obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, show that it was early 2015 when the EPA and Monsanto began working in concert to stall a toxicology review that a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was conducting on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicide products. The details revealed in the documents come as Monsanto is defending itself against allegations that it has tried to cover up evidence of harm with its herbicides.”

You can read a blow-by-blow description here.

Secret Documents Show Monsanto Led Brutal Attack on International Cancer Agency

International Agency for Research on Cancer

“In secret internal Monsanto documents released on Tuesday by legal firms in the U.S. it was revealed how Monsanto led the attack on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), after the Agency announced that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

On Tuesday it was shown how Monsanto edited and wrote an ‘independent’ Expert Panel Manuscript to refute IARC’s findings. It was also revealed that Monsanto paid members of the ‘independent’ Expert Panel as consultants and also planned a press attack with a Forbes contributor on the IARC findings, even before they were published.

Amazingly the secret documents have shown that Monsanto went even further than just attacking IARC over their glyphosate decision. They decided to try and “invalidate relevance of IARC” so as to “prevent future bad IARC decisions on pesticides/GMOs” . Monsanto did this by using U.S. political influence to pressure the World Health Organization and others to try and control IARC.”

The article and the secret documents are available at Sustainable Pulse August 4 2017.

Studies Link Monsanto’s Glyphosate to Ocean Death

“Why is glyphosate’s run-off so deadly to our oceans? Glyphosate’s half-life, or the rate at which it breaks down, is dramatically longer in the ocean than in fresh water. This is because glyphosate is a salt and in the presence of ocean salts it acts as a preservative. Even worse, it gathers strength over time leading to massive plankton and aquatic die-off. Unfortunately, this news is not being reported.

“The studies say: “The half-life for glyphosate at 25°C in low-light was 47 days, extending to 267 days in the dark at 25°C and 315 days in the dark at 31°C, which is the longest persistence reported for this herbicide.”

“In soil, the chemical’s half-life is as quick as 5 days. In bog or fresh water, it’s 49 days. Since so many agricultural countries in the world use this dangerous herbicide, glyphosate is now being detected in a diversity of water bodies when samples are analyzed. However, most countries fail to include regular glyphosate-monitoring programs. Stand-alone analytical methods are often cost-prohibitive, resulting in a long-term deficiency in global datasets (Barceló and Hennion, 2003).

“Australia uses Roundup Ready at a rate of 30 million pounds each year. The U.S. uses a staggering 180-185+ million pounds each year. Now imagine all the millions of pounds other countries use as well. Most of this ends up finding its way to our oceans.”

The full Trinfinity article is here.

Transcript From Secret Meeting Illustrates EPA Collusion With the Chemical Industry

“The world of independent chemical testing has a shiny veneer. The public is reassured that chemicals they’re exposed to on a daily basis are certified by technicians in spotless white lab coats who carefully conduct scientific studies, including on animals in neat rows of cages.”

You can read the full Truthout article here.

The “Poison Papers” represent a vast trove of rediscovered chemical industry and regulatory agency documents and correspondence stretching back to the 1920s. Taken as a whole, the papers show that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public and the press. The Poison Papers website is here.

Unfortunately Australia is in the same situation.

A timely reminder of herbicide dioxins and their lack of regulation

Remember the 4 Corners program ‘Chemical Time Bomb’ shown on ABC on 22 July 2013. It showed the shocking legacy of herbicide dioxins in 2,4-D used in weed control in Western Australia and passed down from the workers to their children.

Four Corners reveals evidence that this potentially deadly chemical compound may still be present in weed control products and that authorities do not routinely test for it.

“The program also reveals that this hands-off approach to regulation is entirely in keeping with the way governments have dealt with the lethal chemical dioxin over four decades.”

This tragic story can be viewed again here

It is a reminder too that these weed control programs do untold, unrecorded, and unmonitored environmental damage. For fauna, this is not just through habitat loss but more directly through toxicity.

Over the counter sale of pesticides for private use banned in France from 2019

To protect young children, crucial pollinators, and the general public, France has banned the use of pesticides in public parks, gardens, and forests. At the moment they can still be used in private residential spaces but this will change in 2019 when over-the-counter sale to non-professionals will also be banned.

Paris park

The full article from Mother Nature Network can be read here.

New EU Glyphosate Safety Assessment is “Scientifically Flawed”

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and the European Chemical Agency (EChA) have completed their assessments of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. Once again it was concluded that the evidence does not support a classification of carcinogenic for glyphosate. However, members of the European Parliament requested the raw data on which this assessment was made (previously ‘commercial in confidence’). The limited data they received was again analysed by Dr Chrisopher Portier (Former Director US National center for Environmental Health, Former Director US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, amongst other positions). He found “Both EFSA and EChA failed to identify all statistically significant cancer findings in the chronic rodent carcinogenicity studies with glyphosate.”

His full letter to the European Commission, containing his analysis, is here.

Once again we see that regulators are corrupted at the highest levels.

More attempts by Monsanto to discredit the IARC

Recent news articles stemming originally from Reuters but even repeated in Mother Jones seek to discredit one of the International Agency’s scientific panel, Aaron Blair. In view of the pending court cases against Monsanto in the US courts re glyphosate causing cancer, Monsanto is getting desperate. The US Right to Know organisation unravels the lies here The original Reuter’s article was authored by reporter Kate Kelland, who has a history of cozy relations with the Science Media Centre partly funded by agrichemical company interests. Their aim is to connect certain ‘scientists’ with journalists to disparage news adverse to corporate profits. This group is very active in Australia.

Of Mice, Monsanto, and a mysterious tumour

The corruption of pesticide regulation in the US and Australia is clearly visible from their acceptance of Monsanto’s manipulations and their reliance on ‘research’ from the manufacturers.

Very interesting in the US that they have a process to (eventually) properly investigate through their laws. Thanks to the APVMA we seem to have no process in Australia which will ensure human and environmental health as long as people use these dangerous products according to the labels!

You can read the full report here

Belgium Bans Glyphosate Herbicide Use for Non-Professionals

Europe is waking up to the depth of corporate corruption in the regulation (lack of) pesticides. Unfortunately, Australian politicians and beaurocrats are completely captured by corporations – agro-chemical, pharmaceutical, mining.

“A wave of glyphosate bans are being introduced by member states in Europe while the issue of the chemical’s reauthorization at EU level drags on. Among the most dramatic developments has been the announcement by Belgium’s federal minister of agriculture, Willy Borsus, that he wants to ban the sale and use of herbicides by non-professionals. He voiced particular concern over glyphosate.

‘Considering the risk-benefit balance, there is no justification for the use of herbicides for individuals,’ Borsus said. He said there were safer alternatives, such as heat treatment, mechanical weeding, or bio-pesticides.

Borsus also called for a new investigation into alleged “Monsanto manoeuvres and attempts to influence experts” with the aim of keeping glyphosate on the market.”

Read the full article here.

Glyphosate Herbicides Cause Tragic Phosphorus Poisoning of Lake Erie

Glyphosate killing in more ways than one.

Originally released in July 2016, this study by scientists from Ohio Northern University in the U.S. has shown that glyphosate herbicides are a main cause of the tragic phosphorus poisoning of Lake Erie, which has been causing an increase of harmful algae blooms that foul drinking water and kill fish.

‘Find the full article here.

Fish kill on Lake Erie

International Monsanto Tribunal Calls for Human Rights Over Corporate Rights

On Tuesday, April 18, the five judges who presided over the International Monsanto Tribunal for the past six months, reviewing the testimony of 28 witnesses who testified during the two-day citizens’ tribunal held in The Hague last October, delivered their 53-page Advisory Opinion.

“The upshot of the judges’ opinion? Monsanto has engaged in practices that have violated the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, and the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research.

The judges also called on international lawmakers to hold corporations like Monsanto accountable, to place human rights above the rights of corporations, and to ‘clearly assert the protection of the environment and establish the crime of ecocide.’ ”

Of course Monsanto responded with their usual denegrations.

“In their Advisory Opinion, the judges didn’t directly address criticism of the Monsanto Tribunal specifically, nor did they address attempts to delegitimize citizens’ tribunals (which the judges referred to as “Opinion Tribunals”) in general. But the judges did outline what an Opinion Tribunal is — and is not — and why they are important:

“Their objective is twofold: alerting public opinion, stakeholders and policy-makers to acts considered as unacceptable and unjustifiable under legal standards; contributing to the advancement of national and international law. ”

You can read the full article here.

You can read more about Permanent Peoples’ Tribunals and previous cases here.