Some of the world's most powerful figures tout the benefits of GMOs, writes Stacy Malkan, but what's the real story? Facts on the ground expose the PR spin, half truths and outright propaganda that has come to dominate a public conversation that is not so much about engineering genes, but engineering truth for the benefit of multinational corporations.
A new study shows that 99.6% of Germans are contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate, writes Nicole Sagener. The news comes as the EU puts off a crucial decision on whether to re-authorise the chemical, described by IARC as 'probably carcinogenic', until 2031.
The lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan is just the tip of a vast iceberg of lead contamination afflicting mainly urban black communities, writes Leif Fredrickson. A rigid 'race bar' on postwar suburban housing and mortgages left black families in inner cities, exposed to flaking lead paint in run down housing, leaded gasoline residues and lead pipework. Now is the time to correct this shocking historic injustice.
Africa's car battery recycling industry is anything but green, write Desirée García & Javier Marín on African Environment Day. Toxic emissions from the re-smelting of lead from old batteries is poisoning workers and nearby communities. And among the buyers of the lead are EU car companies, apparently indifferent to the death, disease and contamination they are financing.
Conventional agriculture has made an enemy of evolution as pests and diseases develop resistance to biocides and over-bred hybrids succumb to them, writes Salvatore Ceccarelli. But there is another way - for farmers to participate in breeding seed lines that are continuously adapting to their environment, with ever improving yields, flavour, pest-resistance, and other sought-after qualities.
Those who dare suggest that pesticides might be implicated in Brazil's microcephaly outbreak are being furiously attacked as irrational, nonsense-spouting 'conspiracy theorists', writes Claire Robinson. But the attackers have an uncanny ability to get their own facts in a twist. And among them are writers linked to industries with huge economic interests in the matter.
The European Commission is poised to renew the licence for glyphosate - the herbicide last year deemed ‘probably carcinogenic' by the WHO - for another 15 years. The decision follows from EFSA's contrary finding, based on secret, non peer-reviewed, industry-funded studies.
The chemical industry and the European Food Safety Authority are refusing to disclose key scientific evidence about glyphosate's risks, citing 'trade secrets' protection, writes Corporate Europe Observatory. They must be compelled to publish the 'mysterious three' scientific studies EFSA used to assess glyphosate as 'unlikely' to cause cancer to humans - contradicting the IARC's view.
The European Commission was guilty of maladministration and acted unlawfully in approving pesticides for which there was insufficient safety data, the EU Ombudsman has ruled. It must now reform its practices, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, or face legal action.
India's farmers are the targets of structural violence aimed at uprooting indigenous agriculture and replacing it with an intensive corporate model based on GMOs and agrochemicals, writes Colin Todhunter. But as Monsanto's GM cotton succumbs to insect infestations despite repeated pesticide applications, agroecological farming is an increasingly attractive option for cultivators.
High levels of toxins mercury and cadmium have been found in all organs of the whales recently beached on Scotland's North Sea coast, including the brain. The research shows that rising mercury levels in the oceans leads to toxic stress in the long-lived marine mammals.
Our thirst for the latest gadgets has created a vast empire of electronic waste, writes Ian Williams. The EU alone produces some 9 million tonnes of it a year, of which some 70% is still working when disposed of, and over a third is disposed of illegally. With increasingly affordable electronic devices available to ever more people, it's high time for effective global regulation.
With the proposed connection between the Zika virus and Brazil's outbreak of microcephaly in new born babies looking increasingly tenuous, Latin American doctors are proposing another possible cause: Pyriproxyfen, a pesticide used in Brazil since 2014 to arrest the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water tanks. Might the 'cure' in fact be the poison?
Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals.
To save a small amount of money residents of Flint, Michigan, have been forced to consume hazardous levels of lead in their drinking water, writes Farron Cousins. Just the moment for the Republican House Speaker to attack the Clean Water Act.
No matter how concerned we are about the quality of food we and our families eat, we can be sure governments are putting corporate profit first, writes Sally Beare. But we - Mums in particular - still have our power as consumers to push supermarkets and other retailers into going GM-free and keeping toxic agrochemicals out of the food chain. Let's use it!
Easy to miss in the New Year Honours list: a little-known civil servant for 'services to pesticides regulation'. But none the less shocking for that, writes Georgina Downs. Paul Hamey MBE is the very man who has been responsible for ensuring that rural residents receive no proper protection from repeated exposure to toxic mixtures of pesticides on nearby farms. Go figure.
Each year the US Department of Agriculture manages to test for over 400 pesticides in food, writes Carey Gillam. But glyphosate, the world's biggest-selling herbicide, is not among them, even as evidence of its dangers mounts. It's time for USDA and EPA to stop their buck-passing - and give consumers their right to know.
Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'.
The 'plasticiser' DEHP is known to leach out of plastics and cause fertility problems in male foetuses, writes Tess Crean. That's why it is banned under EU law. But now the Commission looks likely to grant a wide-ranging exemption for PVC recycling which would make the ban redundant. They must be stopped.
Orcas from Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia are under threat,in large part due to toxic organic compounds in the marine food chain, writes Sierra Rayne. To give them a fighting chance, the nearby community of Victoria, British Columbia must install advanced sewage treatment - rather than just dump its wastewater largely untreated into the orcas' ocean home.
The apparent conspiracy by the UK government and its agencies to conceal the real cause of death of 7-year old Zane Gbangbola may go right up to Prime Minister David Cameron, writes Paul Mobbs. He was chair of the COBRA emergency committee at the time when it appears to have held back the truth that he was killed by cyanide from the toxic landfill site his home was built over.
Monsanto was accused of 'crimes against humanity and the environment' at COP21 in Paris this week, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. And now the evidence against it is being gathered for presentation at a 'Monsanto Tribunal' taking place next October in The Hague.
Almost all our food is grown in soil, writes Peter Melchett. Yet we are treating it like dirt: spraying it with toxic chemicals, depleting vital nutrients, and releasing its carbon to add to climate change. With World Soils Day coming up tomorrow, let's change our ways - and renew our commitment to organic food and farming.