The Slippery Slope: If Facebook bans content that questions vaccine dogma, will it soon ban articles about toxic chemotherapy, fluoride and pesticides, too?


Image: The Slippery Slope: If Facebook bans content that questions vaccine dogma, will it soon ban articles about toxic chemotherapy, fluoride and pesticides, too?

In accordance with the company’s ongoing efforts to censor all truth while promoting only establishment fake news on its platform, social media giant Facebook has decided to launch full-scale war against online free speech about vaccines.

Pandering to the demands by California Democrat Adam Schiff, Mark Zuckerberg and his team recently announced that they are now “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem” of Facebook users discussing and sharing information about how vaccines are harming and killing children via social media.

According to an official statement released by Facebook, the Bay Area-based corporation is planning to implement some changes to the platform in the very near future that may include “reducing or removing this type of content from recommendations, including Groups You Should Join, and demoting it in search results, while also ensuring that higher quality and more authoritative information is available.”

In other words, the only acceptable form of online speech pertaining to vaccines that will be allowed on Facebook is speech that conforms to whatever the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is “accurate” and “scientific.” Anything else, even if it comes from scientific authorities with a differing viewpoint, will be classified as false by Facebook, and consequently demoted or removed.

Facebook’s censorship tactics are becoming more nefarious by the day. To keep up with the latest news, be sure to check out Censorship.news.

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Facebook is quickly becoming the American government’s ministry of propaganda

Facebook’s rationale, of course, is that it’s simply looking out for the best interests of users who might be “misled” by information shared in Facebook groups suggesting that the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella, as one example, isn’t nearly as safe as government health authorities claim.

And that’s just it: There are many things that the government is wrong about, but that have been officially sanctioned as “truth” by government propagandists. If Facebook bows down to these government hacks with regards to vaccines, there’s no telling what the company will try to ban from its platform in the future.

As we saw in the case of Cassandra C. from Connecticut, the government actually forced this young girl to undergo chemotherapy against her will, claiming that the “treatment” was absolutely necessary to “cure” her of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Not only did the government deny young Cassandra the right to make her own medical decisions, but it also overrode the will of her parents, who also opposed taking the chemotherapy route. In essence, the government forced Cassandra to undergo chemotherapy at gunpoint, and now it’s trying to do the exact same thing with Facebook.

If little Adam Schiff is successful at forcing Facebook to only allow information on its platform that conforms with the official government position on vaccines, the next step will be to outlaw the sharing of information on the platform about the dangers of chemotherapy, as well as the dangers of fluoride, pesticides, and other deadly chemicals that the government has deemed as “safe and effective.”

Soon there won’t be any free speech at all on Facebook, assuming the social media giant actually obeys this latest prompting by the government to steamroll people’s First Amendment rights online. And where will it end?

“The real national emergency is the fact that Democrats have power over our lives,” warns Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

“These radical Leftists are domestic terrorists and suicidal cultists … they are the Stasi, the SS, the KGB and the Maoists rolled all into one. They absolutely will not stop until America as founded is completely ripped to shreds and replaced with an authoritarian communist-leaning regime run by the very same tyrants who tried to carry out an illegal political coup against President Trump.”

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World’s most popular cereals contain ingredients that are registered with EPA as “biopesticides”


Image: World’s most popular cereals contain ingredients that are registered with EPA as “biopesticides”

Biopesticides are particular types of pesticides, derived from the bacteria in plants and animals, that kill insects. Scientists in laboratories insert the genes of these bacterial pesticides into the DNA sequences of seedlings (i.e. Mycogen seeds) of our most popular crops, like corn, soy, and canola, and then claim they’re all totally safe for human consumption, even though they dissolve the digestive tracts and destroy the reproductive capabilities of worms, beetles, frogs, bees, birds, and just about anything else that eats them.

Biopesticides are commonly found in conventional foods like canola oil, cereal, granola bars, and oatmeal. One gleaming example is a certain brand of Corn Flakes, which contains ingredients registered as pesticides under EPA codes 524.581 and 68467-7. Many organisms in the GMO BT corn used for this nightmarish Monsanto-manufactured product produce bug killing pesticide.

After the toxic corn grows in the field, but before harvest, it’s also dosed with toxic neonicotinoid pesticides (that are killing off our bee population in droves), and then, to top it all off, the corn is further coated with carcinogenic weed killer herbicide (Roundup’s glyphosate), which functions as a drying agent, before the corn is cut down and stored in silos for further processing. The same horrific poisoning process is used for most U.S. grains also, including wheat and oats.

Still, medical doctors can’t seem to figure out why cancer and dementia cases are debilitating every other American, including children. Should there be a pesticide aisle at the supermarkets instead of a cereal aisle? This is not food, it’s poison.

 

Biopesticides target crop pests, but do they also target humans?

Biopesticides registration action documents reveal that most conventional processed foods contain ingredients that are genetically modified and also registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as bug killers, also known as “target pests.” Corporations like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer, and Syngenta are in the business of using chemicals and bacteria to kill anything that eats corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets or alfalfa. If those same chemicals give animals cancer and dementia in the long run, so be it. It’s all about profits, with no regard for human health, farm animal health, environmental health, or sustainability.

Target pests include the European corn borer, the Southwestern corn borer, the Southern cornstalk borer, the corn earworm, the fall armyworm, the Sugarcane borer, the Western corn rootworm, the Mexican corn rootworm, and the list goes on. Monsanto likes to brag in magazines and online about their “insect protected, herbicide-tolerant corn with interspersed refuge.”

In laymen’s terms, this means the corn’s seeds are genetically mutated so the plant grows and produces pesticides, the stalk contains weed-killing genes, and the bug-killing bacteria kills the larvae that nest and travel in the roots.

Are you and your children eating bug-killer and weed-killer daily, at every meal even, and then wondering why you all have severe allergies, headaches, asthma, chronic inflammation, skin disorders, brain fog, ADD, ADHD, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, depression and anxiety? Stop “wondering” and stop eating poison. You are being targeted for health destruction, just like the bugs and worms. You are being targeted for elimination, just like the weeds.

Monsanto found GUILTY of failing to warn consumers their corn, soy, and canola pesticides cause blood cancer

In a landmark case that’s sure to set the precedent for thousands more, a California jury found the most evil company on Earth, Monsanto (now owned and operated by Bayer), guilty and responsible for nearly $300 million in damages to the health of just one man, Dewayne Johnson. Talk about “weeding out” the truth. Johnson was a groundskeeper for a local school system and was diagnosed with blood cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) after spraying the same poison we find in cereal, grains, and oats, on school grounds for several years. Obviously, some got on his skin and in his lungs.

What’s worse is that Monsanto has known this atrocity for decades, but they cover up the truth with their own falsified research and follow-up propaganda based on that “scientific” fraud.

That means that most conventional cereals not only contain GMOs that are essentially pesticides that cause cancer and dementia, but they’re also coated with the same blood-cancer-causing weed killer that debilitated Dewayne Johnson. How many millions of Americans could sue Monsanto for the same and win millions of dollars? Johnson’s body is now 80 percent covered in lesions and he’s expected to pass away some day in the next couple of years.

Do you use Roundup on your yard? Roundup contains 50 percent glyphosate. It runs into your garden and your pets soak it up through the pads in their paws. Never use Roundup. Switch to 100 percent organic food right now, because the price to pay for eating conventionally is an early death by cancer or dementia, or both.

 

Sources for this article include:

TheTruthAboutCancer.com

Facebook.com

EWG.org

EPA.gov

TheGuardian.com

NaturalNews.com

Pesticides.news

BeyondPesticides.org

Is Monsanto going down like Big Tobacco? FAKE SCIENCE about to be exposed on a global scale


Image: Is Monsanto going down like Big Tobacco? FAKE SCIENCE about to be exposed on a global scale

Monsanto is showing some clear signs that they’re getting nervous as their dishonest practices come significantly closer to being brought to light on a grand scale.

Last week, the peer-reviewed manuscripts of the pilot phase of a study known as the Global Glyphosate Study were revealed at a European Parliament press conference, and it’s all bad news for the maker of the world’s most popular glyphosate herbicide, Roundup.

In the short-term pilot study, glyphosate-based herbicides were shown to change some very important biological parameters in rats at exposure to the level set by the Environmental Protection agency as “safe” of 1.75 mg/kg per day. Some of the parameters that were altered relate to sexual development, the intestinal microbiome and genotoxicity. The papers will be published in the Environmental Health journal later this month.

One author of the report, Daniele Mandrioli, said that they found glyphosate in the gut bacteria of rats born to mothers who weren’t affected by it, something he believes is remarkable. He pointed out that gut microbiome disruptions have been linked to problems like diabetes, obesity, and immunological problems.

Another researcher, Professor Philip J. Landrigan, said that these findings should be investigated further in comprehensive long-term studies given their potential to impact a significant number of people around the world.

Monsanto goes on the attack

Monsanto reacted exactly how you’d expect them to react, by attacking the scientists and institutions involved in the study. The firm’s global strategy vice president, Scott Partridge, told The Guardian that The Ramazzini Institute is an “activist organization with an agenda that they have not disclosed.”

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It’s an unsubstantiated claim in any event, and it’s also worth noting that the Global Glyphosate Study was carried out by many other bodies in addition to The Ramazzini Institute, such as the Italian National Institute of Health, George Washington University, the Icahn School of Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai, the University of Bologna, and the Genoa Hospital San Martino. Of course, they won’t be able to attack all of those institutes, so they decided to single one out.

In fact, The Ramazzini Institute is a well-respected institution manned by expert scientists for more than four decades. Their goal is to protect public health, and their activities relate to finding carcinogens and evaluating the safety and efficacy of drugs and ingredients. Their long-term studies have a lot of clout, with past research on benzene, vinyl chloride, and formaldehyde leading to changes in global regulations.

One thing that makes the Ramazzini studies so respected is the fact their design mirrors humans very closely. For example, they tend to follow rodents from prenatal life and observe them until their natural death; most labs “sacrifice” rats about two thirds of the way through their lifespan, which equates to around age 60 in humans. Many people develop cancers later in life, so other researchers miss those cancers that tend to show up in old age.

Glyphosate is everywhere

As the most common herbicide in the world, 18.9 billion pounds of glyphosate have been spread across the planet since 1974. Its use has risen 15-fold since the introduction of genetically modified crops, even though they were initially marketed as being able to reduce the need for herbicide. In the last two decades, the levels of glyphosate found in the human bloodstream have risen by more than 1,000 percent.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015; Monsanto is now trying to campaign against them and stop the American government from funding them. Now, it looks like the respected institutions involved in the latest study to expose the dangers of their products will also be targeted by their smear campaigns.

Read StopEatingPoison.com to stay informed.

Sources for this article include:

SustainablePulse.com

GlyphosateStudy.org

TheGuardian.com

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Brain-damaging vaccines, pesticides and medicines generate nearly $800 billion a year in medical revenues.


‘The current estimated annual cost for nine of the most common neurological disorders in the U.S. was a hefty $789 billion, a recent paper revealed. According to the paper, these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, traumatic brain injury and Parkinson’s disease, as well as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury.

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Researchers also projected that health care costs associated with brain damage will continue to increase as the number of elderly patients were expected to double between 2011 and 2050. Data showed that medical costs related to dementia and stroke alone were estimated to be more than $600 billion by 2030.

“The findings of this report are a wake-up call for the nation, as we are facing an already incredible financial burden that is going to rapidly worsen in the coming years. Although society continues to reap the benefits of the dramatic research investments in heart disease and cancer over the last few decades, similar levels of investment are required to fund neuroscience research focused on curing devastating neurological diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer’s, both to help our patients and also to avoid costs so large they could destabilize the entire health care system and the national economy,” said lead author Dr. Clifton Gooch, ScienceDaily.com reports.’

Source:www.davidicke.com

United Nations Calls for Worldwide Treaty to Phase Out Pesticides and Transition to Sustainable Farming


Story at-a-glance
  • Research has linked long-term pesticide exposure to infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption and obesity, reduced IQ, neurological diseases, cancer and many other health and environmental problems
  • Two United Nations experts are now calling for a comprehensive global treaty to regulate and phase out toxic pesticides in farming, and to move food production across the world toward more sustainable agricultural practices
  • Another recently released report, “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” by the European Parliament, details the many benefits of organics

In a 2013 survey, 71 percent of Americans expressed a concern over the number of chemicals and pesticides in their food supply.1 And no wonder — research has linked long-term pesticide exposure to infertility,2 birth defects,3,4 endocrine disruption5 and obesity, reduced IQ,6 neurological diseases7 and cancer.8

It is only a common-sense conclusion that reducing your pesticide exposure would result in improved health.

The amount of pesticides used both commercially and in residential areas has grown immensely since 1945. More than 1 billion pounds are used each year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing.9

According to a 2012 analysis,10 each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use. Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory when you consider the health and environmental ramifications associated with pesticide use and exposure.

As just one example, studies done by the Chinese government show that 20 percent of arable land in China is now unusable due to pesticide contamination!11 Every now and then, though, a ray of hope descends.

Earlier this month, two United Nations (UN) experts called for a comprehensive global treaty to not only regulate but actually phase out toxic pesticides in farming, and to move food production across the world toward more sustainable agricultural practices.

This is a significant change in stance that can — and hopefully will — have far-reaching consequences.

UN Calls for Global Treaty to Promote Sustainable Farming Without Toxic Pesticides

The two experts, Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food and Baskut Tuncak, the special rapporteur on toxics, shared research with the Human Rights Council in Geneva showing pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year.

Chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility. As reported by Sustainable Pulse:12

“The experts particularly emphasized the obligation of States to protect the rights of children from hazardous pesticides … The experts warn that certain pesticides can persist in the environment for decades and pose a threat to the entire ecological system on which food production depends …

The experts say the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is particularly worrying because they are accused of being responsible for a systematic collapse in the number of bees around the world. Such a collapse, they say, threatens the very basis of agriculture as 71 percent of crop species are bee-pollinated.

While acknowledging that certain international treaties currently offer protection from the use of a few pesticides, they stressed that a global treaty to regulate the vast majority of them throughout their life cycle does not yet exist, leaving a critical gap in the human rights protection framework.”

The special rapporteurs challenged the pesticide industry’s “systematic denial of harms” and “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics,” noting the industry is spending massive amounts of money to influence policymakers and contest scientific evidence showing their products do in fact cause great harm to human and environmental health.

Toxic Pesticides Are Not an Irreplaceable Farming Necessity

Even more importantly, their report firmly denies the idea that pesticides are essential to ensure sufficient amounts of food for a growing world population, calling the notion “a myth.”13

Not only have decades of heavy pesticide use failed to eliminate global hunger, they said, the same chemicals have now become a troubling food contaminant — contaminants made all the worse by the fact that they cannot be washed off like many older generation pesticides could. According to Elver and Tuncak:14

“The assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security is not only inaccurate, but dangerously misleading.

In principle, there is adequate food to feed the world; inequitable production and distribution systems present major blockages that prevent those in need from accessing it …”

Moreover, the report highlighted developments in sustainable and regenerative farming, where biology can completely replace chemicals, delivering high yields of nutritious food without detriment to the environment.

“It is time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production,” they said.

Which Foods Are the Most Contaminated?

According to the 2017 Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” reports,15,16,17 which rank foods based on highest and lowest pesticide contamination, strawberries still top the list of foods most likely to contain the highest amounts of residues, containing a minimum of 20 pesticides — twice the amount of the second-most contaminated crop — while non-GMO sweet corn has the lowest amounts.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen — Foods containing the highest amounts of pesticide residues and therefore best to purchase organic include:

1. Strawberries 2. Spinach 3. Nectarines
4. Apples 5. Peaches 6. Pears
7. Cherries 8. Grapes 9. Celery
10. Tomatoes 11. Sweet bell peppers 12. Potatoes

EWG’s Clean 15 — Foods containing the lowest amounts of residues, and therefore safer to buy conventional if you cannot afford organic varieties include:

1. Non-GMO sweet corn 2. Avocados 3. Pineapple
4. Cabbage 5. Onions 6. Frozen sweet peas
7. Non-GMO papaya 8. Asparagus 9. Mangos
10. Eggplant 11. Honeydew melon 12. Kiwi
13. Cantaloupe 14. Cauliflower 15. Grapefruit

European Parliament Report Highlights Benefits of Organic Foods

Another favorable piece of news is the recently released report,18 “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” by the European Parliament, detailing the many benefits of organics. The report is unusually comprehensive in that it reviews a wide range of effects of organics, from nutritional content and the benefits of fewer pesticides to environmental impacts and sustainability.

Its conclusions are based on hundreds of epidemiological and laboratory studies and food analyses. The clearest benefits of organics on human health were found to be related to lowered pesticide, antibiotic and cadmium exposure. As noted by Civil Eats:19

“Most striking in its findings is the evidence suggesting organic food can help protect children from the brain-altering effects of some pesticides. And while there is evidence of greater nutrient content in some organic food — particularly milk and meat — as health benefits, these differences appear to be less significant than organic food’s lack of hazardous chemicals …

The report was prepared for a European audience, but its findings clearly apply to the U.S. ‘They did a really comprehensive job of a global literature search, so I don’t think anything in the report wouldn’t be applicable,’ said Boise State University assistant professor of community and environmental health Cynthia Curl, who researches links between diet and pesticide exposure …

‘As a consequence of reduced pesticide exposure, organic food consequently contributes to the avoidance of health effects and associated costs to society,’ write the authors, noting that research suggests these costs are currently ‘greatly underestimated.’”

Consumer Rights Group Sues EPA Over FOIA Violations

Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — as a probable human carcinogen in 2015,20 the product has not been pulled from the market. Citing this finding and other research, more than 60 cancer patients are coordinating lawsuits against Monsanto.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contradicted the IARC’s findings when it, in September, 2016, declared glyphosate “not likely to be carcinogenic” to humans21 — a determination that has been met with severe criticism and accusations of violating EPA guidelines22 and protecting Monsanto’s interests23 at the expense of public health.

Now the consumer rights group, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), has filed a federal lawsuit against the EPA for violating Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provisions. As reported by USRTK:24

“The lawsuit … seeks documents related to EPA’s assessment of … glyphosate … [USRTK] requested the EPA records after the EPA posted an internal memorandum titled “GLYPHOSATE: Report of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee” to the agency’s website on April 29, 2016.

The internal EPA report, known as the CARC report, concluded that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The EPA then deleted the public posting on May 2, saying that the document was posted inadvertently.

But before it was deleted Monsanto officials copied the document, promoted it on the company website and on social media and made reference to it in a court hearing dealing with lawsuits filed by agricultural workers and others who allege Monsanto’s herbicide gave them cancer.

The May 12, 2016 FOIA request asked for certain records relating to the CARC report on glyphosate as well as records of communications between Monsanto and EPA officials that discussed glyphosate issues. Under FOIA, the EPA had 20 working days to respond to the request, but well over 190 working days have now passed and the EPA has yet to produce any records in response to the request …”

Glyphosate — A Most Troublesome Toxin

Glyphosate is most heavily applied on GE corn, soybeans and sugar beets, but it’s also commonly used to desiccate conventional (non-GMO but non-organic) wheat and protect other conventional crops from weeds. Disturbingly, glyphosate and Roundup may actually be even worse than DDT, having been linked to an ever-growing array of health effects, including but not limited to:25,26

Nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity — a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease
Increased antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics Increased cancer risk.27,28,29,30 Since the IARC’s determination, agricultural personnel have begun suing Monsanto over past glyphosate exposure, claiming it played a role in their bone cancer and leukemia31,32

The Many Drawbacks of Industrialized Agriculture

The UN’s special report on pesticides and call for a transition toward sustainable agriculture worldwide adds ammunition to an already well-stocked munitions store against conventional agriculture and genetic engineering. I’ve detailed a wide range of drawbacks of chemical-dependent industrial farming in previous articles, including the following:

Degrades and contaminates soil

Grains account for about 70 percent of our daily calories, and grains are grown on about 70 percent of acreage worldwide. The continuous replanting of grain crops each year leads to soil degradation, as land is tilled and sprayed each year, disrupting the balance of microbes in the soil.

Top soil is also lost each year, which means that, eventually, our current modes of operation simply will no longer work. Soil erosion and degradation rates suggest we have less than 60 remaining years of topsoil.33

Forty percent of the world’s agricultural soil is now classified as either degraded or seriously degraded; the latter means that 70 percent of the topsoil is gone. Soil degradation is projected to cause 30 percent loss in food production over the next 20 to 50 years. Meanwhile, our global food demands are expected to increase by 50 percent over this span of time.

As explained in Peter Byck’s short film, “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts,” farm animals form symbiotic relationships where one species helps keep parasites from overwhelming another. It is the separation of crops and animals into two distinctly different farming processes that has led to animal waste becoming a massive source of pollution rather than a valuable part of the ecological cycle.

Contaminates water and drains aquifers

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of our fresh water use. When the soil is unfit, water is wasted. It simply washes right through the soil and past the plant’s root system. We already have a global water shortage that’s projected to worsen over the coming two or three decades, so this is the last thing we need to compound it. On top of that, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a major water polluter, destroying what precious little water we do have.

The EPA has noted that U.S. states with high congregations of CAFOs report 20 to 30 serious water quality problems each year.34 According to a report35 by Environment America, corporate agribusiness is “one of the biggest threats to America’s waterways.” Tyson Foods Inc. is among the worst, releasing 104.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways between 2010 and 2014; second only to a steel manufacturing company.

Contributes to greenhouse gas emissions

While fertilizer production produces its share of greenhouse gases, most of the emissions occur upon application. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, 1 out of every 100 kilos of nitrogen fertilizer applied to farm land ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas (300 times more potent than CO2) known to deplete the ozone.36

In 2014, the amount of N2O created by nitrogen fertilizer spread on American farmland was equal to one-third of the N2O released by all cars and trucks in the U.S. More recent research suggests the real number is three to five times higher than that.

Reduces biodiversity

The efficiency model of large-scale industrialized agriculture demanded a reduction in diversity. Hence, we got monoculture: farmers growing all corn, or all soy, for example. Monoculture has significantly contributed to dietary changes that promote ill health. The primary crops grown on industrial farms today — corn, soy, wheat, canola and sugar beets — are the core ingredients in processed foods known to promote obesity, nutritional deficiencies and disease.

According to a report by the Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K., one-fifth of all plants worldwide are now threatened with extinction, primarily through the expansion of agriculture.37 Ethanol and corn sweetener subsidies have also led to farmers abandoning conservation measures designed to preserve fragile lands and protect biodiversity in the natural landscape.38

Worsens food safety and promotes pandemic disease

Agricultural overuse of drugs, especially antibiotics, has led to the development of drug-resistant disease,39 which has now become a severe health threat. Pandemic outbreaks are also becoming more prevalent in CAFOs, revealing the inherent flaws of industrialized animal farming.

In 2015, an avian flu outbreak spread across 14 states in five months. The year before that, a pig virus outbreak killed off 10 percent of the American pig population. As noted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:40 “The rapid spread of new disease strains … is one very visible reason why the expansion of factory-style animal production is viewed as unsustainable.”

Threatens food security by decimating important pollinators such as butterfly and bee populations.41

Promotes nutritional deficiencies and poor nutrition

Industrial farming is set up and subsidized to grow ingredients used in processed foods. This is the cheapest way to feed the masses. However, what people really need more of in order to thrive is fresh produce.

According to research42 presented at the 2016 American Heart Association’s Epidemiology meeting, reducing the price of fruits and vegetables by 30 percent could save nearly 200,000 lives over 15 years by lowering rates of heart disease and stroke.

If people added just one additional serving of fruits and vegetables a day, up to 3.5 million deaths from heart disease could be prevented in just two years. Testing also reveals nutrient content of foods has dramatically declined across the board since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925. For example:

  • To receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples; today you have to eat 36
  • Between 1950 and 1999, levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C levels in 43 different vegetables and fruits significantly declined43
  • Analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that, on average, calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels dropped 37 percent; vitamin A levels dropped 21 percent; vitamin C levels declined by 30 percent

Healthy soils contain a large diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant’s nutrient uptake,44,45 health and the stability of the entire ecosystem. The wide-scale adoption of industrial farming practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants.

If we do not change, we will eventually reach a point of no return, where soils will be too depleted and microbially “dead” to grow food. Conventional may be more efficient, and may provide somewhat greater yields in some cases, but in the long term it’s unsustainable.

Necessitates the use of toxins, poisons and harmful mechanical farming methods:

Industrialization led to the separation of crops and livestock farming into two different specialties. That change alone has done tremendous harm, as livestock are actually a core component of regenerative agriculture. As a result, a whole host of land maintenance services that animals serve for free have had to be replaced with chemical and mechanical means — all of which have detrimental effects on human health and the environment.

Is less profitable than organic farming and cannot affordably and sustainably increase production

Research has even shown that conventional farming cannot significantly compete with organic in terms of profitability. At least 1,000 studies have compared organic and conventional farming in terms of productivity, environmental impact, economic viability and social wellbeing.

One such study46,47 found that organic farms are more profitable,48,49 earning farmers anywhere from 22 to 35 percent more than their conventional counterparts. They also produce equally or more nutritious foods with fewer or no pesticide residues. Organic farms also use far less energy, were found to be at a distinct advantage during droughts, and provide unique benefits to the ecosystem, along with social benefits that are hard to put a price tag on. According to one of the authors:

“If I had to put it in one sentence, organic agriculture has been able to provide jobs, be profitable, benefit the soil and environment and support social interactions between farmers and consumers. In some ways, there are practices in organic agriculture that really are ideal blueprints for us to look at feeding the world in the future. Organic may even be our best bet to help feed the world in an increasingly volatile climate.”

Assures decimation of food production should feared climate changes turn into reality

Recent research50,51 indeed confirms that conventional farming methods cannot protect us from a repeat of the devastating conditions experienced during the 1930s “dust bowl,” a time when consecutive droughts decimated food production in the U.S. According to simulations, if the U.S. were to experience the same kind of drought as in 1936, we’d lose 40 percent of our corn and soy, and 30 percent of our wheat.

These losses are very similar to those back in 1936. But when including current climate change trends into their calculations, crop losses increase by 25 percent for each 1-degree increase in temperature. A 4-degree increase in average temperature would reduce crop yields by a staggering 80 percent over the course of a season. As noted by bioethicist George Divorsky:52

“Given recent predictions53 that parts of the U.S. could soon experience “megadroughts” lasting for as long as 35 years (yes, you read that correctly), these results should serve as a serious wakeup call.”

Directly promotes ill health and chronic disease

Health statistics suggest the average toxic burden has become too great for children and adults alike. More than half of all Americans are chronically ill, and toxins in our food appear to play a primary role. According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,54founding president of Bastyr University, toxins in the modern food supply are now “a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.”

A recent report55,56 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.57 which represents OB-GYNs in 125 countries, warns that chemical exposures, including pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction. Pesticides are also included in a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals by the Endocrine Society task force.58,59

This task force warns that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals is such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them — especially those seeking to get pregnant, pregnant women, and young children. Even extremely low-level pesticide exposure has been found to considerably increase the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Family Against Pesticides?

In order to reduce your exposure to toxic pesticides, you’d be wise to make some changes in your lifestyle choices. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get started.

  • Eat organic foods. Look for organic produce and grassfed meats and dairy products. Investigate the farmers markets in your area and consider planting your own garden to supply produce through the summer months. Although buying organic foods may be slightly more expensive today, they help to reduce your overall health costs in your future.
  • Go green in your lawn and garden care. You don’t have to give up a green lawn if you want to remove pesticides from your garden. However, it may take a season or two in order to get the growth you’re looking for.
  • Talk with your school board about lawn care at your children’s school. Pesticides sprayed on the school lawn and play areas can increase your child’s exposure. You may be able to change how they care for the lawn when you educate the administration about the risks involved to the children.
  • Play in a healthy environment. Before joining a golf club or playing frequently, talk with the course superintendent about the pesticides they use to control weeds and insects. Bring members together to request cleaner and safer lawn care. Talk to your city administrators about the care given to the lawn in your local parks. Educate them about the risks to adults, children and pets from pesticides.

Watch the video. URL:

Source: mercola.com

What did Brazilian public health researchers really say about Zika, pesticides, and birth defects?


Mosquito Fumigation

Claire Robinson looks at a Brazilian public health organization’s reported denial of a link between pesticides and microcephaly

Recently all hell broke loose after I published articles on GMWatch and in The Ecologist which flagged up the possible role of pesticides in the apparent surge in Brazilian babies born with abnormally small heads (microcephaly).

The articles were based primarily on a report by a group of Argentine doctors, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, but it also took in a report by Abrasco – a group of Brazilian public health researchers who had condemned the strategy of chemical control of Zika-carrying mosquitoes. The researchers said this was contaminating the environment as well as people. And both reports seemed to point to a possible link between a mosquito insecticide (pyriproxifen) and the birth defects being attributed to the Zika virus.

The editor of The Ecologist received a torrent of invective after he turned down a demand that my article be retracted. The grounds for complaint was an apparent denial by Abrasco of a link between pesticides and microcephaly. According to the Wall Street Journal, Abrasco had “denounced the assertion of any link” and cautioned against “spreading untruths”.

A Brazilian press article quoted Abrasco’s coordinator Marcelo Firpo as stating: “We did not say that the larvicide [pyriproxifen] is associated with microcephaly.” He added that any suggestion that Abrasco had ever asserted such a link was a “misunderstanding”.

In contrast, the coordinator of the Argentine physicians’ group, Dr Medardo Avila Vazquez, stood by his group’s doubts about pyriproxifen’s safety. In fact, in his statement to the Wall Street Journal, he went further than anything in the group’s original report, saying, “We think it is likely that Pyriproxyfen is the problem.”

What does Abrasco’s report really say?

Whatever Marcelo Firpo may have told the press, Abrasco’s original report is a shocking and damning indictment, not just of pyriproxyfen, but of pesticidal approaches to mosquito-borne diseases like Zika.

Abrasco’s report says that the emergence in 2014 of the microcephaly increase occurred within certain “contexts and contingencies”, and that these must be assessed in any attempt to understand the phenomenon. It goes on to list them. Chief among them are the environmental degradation and poor sanitation that are the main focus of the Abrasco report.

The next is “The continued use of larvicidal chemicals in the drinking water of families for more than 40 years” – a strategy which the report says has failed, in that it has not resulted in a decrease in mosquito-borne diseases.

The report continues, “In 2014 a new larvicide, pyriproxyfen, was introduced into the drinking water”. Abrasco notes that the government’s own technical guidance document states that pyriproxyfen is “a juvenile hormone analogue or juvenoid, with the mechanism of action of inhibiting the development of insect adult characteristics (e.g., wings, maturation of the reproductive organs and external genitalia), maintaining an ‘immature’ form (nymph or larva), that acts as an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic, inhibiting the formation of the adult insect.”

Of course, this does not prove that pyriproxyfen is an endocrine disruptor in humans. The Science Media Centre’s ‘expert’ brought in to discredit the larvicide hypothesis, Dr Ian Musgrave, is keen to suggest that it is not. But are things really that clear cut? That’s a subject I’ll return to in a subsequent article.

Abrasco goes on to demand “the suspension of the use of chemicals” (not just pyriproxyfen) and “the adoption of mechanical cleaning methods and environmental sanitation” to drive down mosquito populations.

Pyriproxyfen the tip of the iceberg

Abrasco’s report makes clear that in the regions where microcephaly is a problem, pyriproxyfen is just the tip of the iceberg. The people, particularly the poor, are being poisoned via multiple sources, with multiple chemical agents.

The report says that the widespread application of toxic insecticides and larvicides – sometimes in drinking water – has compromised people’s immune system by increasing their toxic load.

For example, Abrasco points out that an organophosphate insecticide, temephos (commercially known as ABATE®) was introduced in Brazil in 1968 as a larvicide in drinking water, especially in North and Northeast Brazil. Impacts on people’s health have not been studied, according to Abrasco. The authorities continued to use it in spite of the fact that the mosquitoes have developed resistance.

Abrasco warns: “The damage to human health arising from the use of chemicals in mosquito control has not been properly studied in vulnerable populations, including public health workers. Its harmful effects are totally disregarded, such as the increased virulence of viruses, and the emergence of other diseases such as allergies, immunotoxicity, cancer, hormonal disorders, and neurotoxicity, among others.”

Abrasco denounces the use of mosquito “fogging” with known toxic chemicals such as Malathion. It calls this practice “a veritable health nonsense”, since “This product is an organophosphate pesticide considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as potentially carcinogenic for humans”.

Abrasco dismisses as “absurd” the official assurances that, “The doses of larvicides are so low and of such low toxicity that we can put them in the drinking water without danger”. It also says that official advice on the amount of larvicide to be applied to drinking water is misleadingly based on the size of the container, regardless of how little water it contains, leading to potential dangers from unsafe concentrations being ingested.

Abrasco criticises the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for supporting programmes of applications of pesticides “produced by a very lucrative business cartel”, even though “A simple consultation of the chemical safety data sheets of these products delivered by companies to public health authorities shows that these products, such as Malathion, are neurotoxic to the central and peripheral nervous system, and cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and symptoms of muscle weakness – including at the concentrations used in vector control.”

Anyone feeling reassured about the safety of pesticides yet?

As for biotechnological fixes like Oxitec’s sterile GM mosquitoes, Abrasco condemns them as inaccurate, unreliable and dangerous to ecosystems, as they focus “only on the mosquito, without taking into account the effects on non-target organisms”.

So any would-be pesticide defenders who take comfort from what Abrasco’s coordinator told the Wall Street Journal need to ‘man up’ and read Abrasco’s actual report – all of it. It doesn’t make for easy reading. But then the poisoning of people isn’t an easy topic.

Finally, one of the world’s leading virologists recently told The Guardian that there was “a strong possibility pesticides could be involved [in the microcephaly cases in Brazil] and this needed to be studied”. And Dr David Morens of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health called the pesticide hypothesis “plausible”, though he added, quite rightly, “We haven’t heard enough scientific information to weigh in on whether it’s real”.

What’s urgently needed is more science and more data – not a bar on legitimate study, imposed by those determined to prevent investigation of pesticides.

Zika, microcephaly, and pesticides: Half-truths, hysteria, and vested interests


People who think pesticides might have something to do with the microcephaly outbreak in Brazil are being attacked as irrational conspiracy theorists. Claire Robinson takes a closer look at who’s peddling the myths.

Adult mosquito emerging_from pupa

I recently published an article on reports by the Argentine doctors’ group, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, and the Brazilian public health researchers’ group Abrasco, which raised the issue of the potential role of the larvicide pyriproxyfen in the apparent surge in babies born with birth defects involving abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Pyriproxyfen is added to drinking water stored in open containers to interfere with the development of disease-carrying mosquitoes, thus killing or disabling them.

The Ecologist published a version of my article which, together with the original publication on GMWatch, quickly went viral, triggering a lot more media coverage. This in turn met with a furious backlash involving what has seemed at times like a “shouting brigade” condemning anyone who thinks the Argentine report worth taking seriously.

Yet at times this chorus of condemnation has been extraordinarily hypocritical, condemning the Argentine doctors as enemies of fact and accuracy while getting the most basic of facts wrong about what the doctors are actually suggesting.

Pesticide defenders invent “pesticide causes Zika” conspiracy theory

Take, for instance, the Washington Post food columnist, Tamar Haspel. Haspel tweeted: “No, GMOs and pesticides aren’t the Zika culprits. Could we evaluate groups by how often they spread fact-free theories? A cred rating.”

Tamar Haspel Zika Tweet

Andrew Noymer, a social epidemiologist at the University of California, Irvine, replied: “Pesticide is not Zika culprit but it hasn’t been definitively ruled out as birth defect culprit. Got it? Good.”

In response to Noymer’s challenge, Haspel claimed that she was just using Zika as Twitter “shorthand” for microcephaly! Noymer retorted, “Well then you’re just misinformed.

Andrew Noymer Tamar Haspel Twitter

It wasn’t just Haspel who seemed to accuse the supposed “conspiracy theorists” of linking the pesticide to Zika. Grist food writer Nathanael Johnson also appeared to fall into the trap with a headline attacking a “bogus theory connecting Zika” to the pesticide industry. But the Argentine doctors only ever suggested the larvicide pyriproxyfen might be a culprit in microcephaly. Nobody ever claimed pesticides cause the Zika virus!

Another well-known GMO supporter, Julie Kelly, made a similar mistake when she damned the Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo for tweeting what she said was an “egregiously inaccurate” article that blamed “pesticides – not mosquitos – for transmitting the Zika virus”.

Just good friends

This is not to say that some of the initial coverage of the pesticide theory didn’t suffer from real inaccuracies. One red herring was set running by the Argentine doctors themselves when they wrongly identified the company that makes the larvicide as a subsidiary of Monsanto.

In fact, Sumitomo Chemical is a long-term strategic partner of Monsanto’s – they’ve been working together for nearly two decades, but Monsanto doesn’t own the company. Even so, it’s a perhaps understandable error given the closeness of the companies’ cooperation in Brazil and Argentina. In any case, it’s an error that I was careful to avoid in my Ecologist piece, which correctly identified the larvicide manufacturer as only a strategic partner.

Nevertheless, it’s an error that was seized upon by Nathanael Johnson, for instance, with his headline, “A bogus theory connecting Zika virus to Monsanto could give mosquitoes a boost”.

Nathanael Johnson Headline

Ironically, that headline, as we’ve noted, is more misleading than the error about the extent of the Monsanto connection.

“Pesticides could be involved” – leading virologist

What is also misleading about Johnson’s headline is the suggestion that the pesticide theory (in relation to microcephaly, of course, not Zika) can be batted off as “bogus”. The idea that this particular pesticide – and/or other pesticides – could be linked to the birth defect problem in Brazil is not something that can simply be dismissed out of hand.

Although it’s been claimed that Dr Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “spoke out against the ‘sketchy’ report” of the Argentine doctors, Collins actually described their theory not as bogus but as “interesting”.

And the biologist Dr Pete Myers, in an editorial comment posted on the online news service Environmental Health News, pointed out that the reason the pesticide hypothesis is, as Collins rightly says, “sketchy”, is the lack of adequate investigation of pesticides before they are released on to the market:

“[These are] dueling hypotheses [as to whether the Zika virus or the larvicide is responsible for the microcephaly increase] with great consequences for getting it right, or wrong. We would be in a better position to make the choice if pesticides were tested more rigorously before being used.”

In fact, one of the world’s leading virologists, Dr Leslie Lobel, recently told The Guardian that it is not clear that the microcephaly cases in Brazil are linked to the Zika virus and that there was “a strong possibility pesticides could be involved and this needed to be studied”.

The reason it needs to be studied is because, as Myers’ points out, there’s a relative lack of hard and independently generated data on pesticides like pyriproxyfen, thanks to an inadequate regulatory system. The Argentine doctors are not to blame for this regulatory failure and they should not be censured for flagging up questions about the chemical.

Axes to grind

Why are some people so keen to dismiss the doctors’ suggestion out of hand?

It’s been suggested that those flagging up the possibility of a connection between pyriproxyfen and microcephaly have a hidden agenda. For example, Professor Andrew Batholomaeus, one of the “experts” quoted by the Science Media Centre of Australia in defence of the larvicide’s safety, said: “Journalists covering this story would do well to research the background of those making and reporting the claims as the underlying story and potential public health consequences may be far more newsworthy than the current headlines.”

But it’s surely no surprise if Argentine physicians, who have had to deal at first hand with the suffering caused by the GMO soy revolution in Argentina with its accompanying pesticide onslaught, should be particularly alert to the role of pesticides in health and development issues in Latin America – and suspicious of the safety claims of chemical corporations.

The doctors say their local communities are facing an exploding health crisis, which includes children suffering unusual birth defects. And in neighbouring Brazil the country’s National Cancer Institute says the release of GM crops has helped make the country the largest consumer of agrochemicals in the world.

Industry-friendly attackers

Also, some of those leading the attacks on the pesticides hypothesis could also be accused of having an agenda. Julie Kelly, for instance, uses her National Review article to attack Mark Ruffalo not just for drawing attention to the larvicide theory but also over his campaigning on climate change and fracking, his support for sustainable energy, and his publicly confronting the CEO of Monsanto over the impact of his company’s products.

National Review article

Kelly, who is married to a lobbyist for the agricultural commodities giant ADM, is a self-declared member, along with Monsanto personnel, of the Kevin Folta “fan club” – Kevin Folta being the GMO-loving/Roundup-drinking scientist who denied having any links to Monsanto even though he’d received $25,000 from the company for his biotech communication programme and had other notable industry connections besides.

Interestingly, Tamar Haspel appears far from keen to explore the ties between companies like Monsanto and academics at public universities like Kevin Folta, and has herself been accused of collaborating closely with the agrochemical industry and of batting for Monsanto.

And perhaps the most virulent attack on the Argentine doctors, published predictably in Forbes, was contributed by another Folta fan. Kavin Senapathy also regularly co-authors pieces with Henry Miller, a climate skeptic and staunch defender of DDT and other controversial pesticides, not to mention the tobacco industry.

So where does this leave us?

Yes, the Argentine doctors and some of their supporters may be said to have an agenda, but as we have seen, that charge can just as easily be levelled against some of those keen to debunk their concerns.

The connection to Monsanto may have been overstated by the doctors, and even more by some news outlets, but it wasn’t invented – Sumitomo Chemical is Monsanto’s long-term strategic partner.

There has also been a misplaced attack on those of us who have drawn attention to the concerns of the Brazilian public health researchers about pyriproxyfen and other chemicals. I’ll be looking at that in a subsequent article.

And as one of the world’s leading virologists has also flagged up the need to take seriously that notion that pesticides could be involved, I’m going to be looking more at this critical issue, including what scientists do and don’t know about pyriproxyfen.

Microcephaly: Pesticides once again in the crosshair


Microcephaly: Pesticides once again in the crosshairs

Doctors and researchers say the widespread use of the toxic chemicals heavily promoted by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry to combat mosquitoes is not preventing the spread of Zika virus, but is putting at risk the health of the general population

Below is an interesting article by the Argentine journalist Dario Aranda, who has reported for years on the problems caused by the spraying of pesticides on GM soy and other crops.

The article explains how concerns about the spread of dengue and theZika virus, and the microcephaly increase in Brazil, are being exploited by pesticide firms.

Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head.

Although evidence is now beginning to emerge that suggests that the Zika virus may have a role in some cases of microcephaly, Aranda reports the concerns of researchers that pesticides may also be a factor.

He also reveals the immense lobbying effort by pesticide companies, in collaboration with government officials, behind the organisation of vast spraying programmes to combat Zika-carrying mosquitoes, even though the mosquitoes are known to be resistant to many chemicals. The companies’ lobby group is even reportedly promising people that they can “save human lives and prevent malformations” by opening the doors and windows of their houses during the spraying, so that the pesticide can penetrate their homes.

The critical perspective presented in Aranda’s article has all but been stamped out in the English-speaking media. There is a determined effort to convince the world that there can only be one cause of the microcephaly increase and that is the Zika virus. But this hypothesis still lacks the kind of evidence that could prove causality.

Between the notion that all the microcephaly cases are solely caused by Zika, and the opposing notion that Zika is not responsible, there are many plausible intervening hypotheses. These include the possibility that Zika is a co-factor, together with other agents such as pesticides, or that Zika is responsible for some, but not all, of the cases of microcephaly and that pesticides may be responsible for other cases. All possible hypotheses should be explored and firm conclusions should only be drawn on the basis of evidence of causality.

A climate of fear is being generated around the Zika virus that is not as yet justified by the state of the evidence. The resulting panic is being exploited by corporate interests that are indifferent to the risks of exposing people to the mass spraying of inadequately tested pesticides, many of which are endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins, and/or linked to birth defects.

An 18-year study just revealed how bad pesticides are for bees


For years, there’s been suspicion that a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids are bad for bees. The chemicals, which farmers apply to their crops to keep away insects that munch through their harvests, are among the most used bug-killers out there.

But ecologists have worried the chemicals also affect the insects that help support harvests.

Bees have been mysteriously disappearing in what’s called colony collapse disorder, which some scientists believe neonicotinoids are contributing to.

That’s a problem because the pollination work bees do is hugely valuable. Commercially managed honeybees produce about $US15 billion in value for the US alone and wild American bees another $US9 billion.

There’s finally a study that tries to actually parse out the effects neonicotinoids have on bees in the wild. It looks at 62 different wild bee species in the UK.

That’s important because while only three species of bees and bumblebees are kept by beekeepers and used commercially, experts believe there are closer to 250 wild species in the UK and 4,000 in the US. And while we don’t manage them, we do benefit from their pollination.

The new study, which was published August 16 in the journal Nature Communications, also looks at an 18-year timespan that begins before neonicotinoids were introduced in 2002. That means the researchers could actually establish a baseline for how bees were doing before farmers began widely using the chemicals.

Neonicotinoids are used particularly on rapeseed, one variety of which is turned into canola oil. During the month or two they bloom, the flowers turn swaths of the British countryside a shocking yellow.

Some bees like the flowers; some don’t. So the scientists were able to divvy bees up by their taste for rapeseed, then look at how their populations changed over almost two decades of surveys.

For a few bees, the scientists estimate about a fifth of their population declines was due to neonicotinoids.

That’s not enough to kill off bees taken by itself. But pesticides aren’t the only challenge bees are facing. Climate change, differences in how we use the land and what plants they can feed on, and parasites and diseases that infect bees are also putting a dent in populations.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean we should stop using neonicotinoids cold turkey. “It needs to be taken in a very holistic perspective, you can’t just say as long as we can save the bees everything else can go to hell, that’s not where you want to be at,” lead scientist Ben Woodcock told the BBC.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides in the US, and the European equivalent are already in the process of re-evaluating their rules for neonicotinoids.

The study isn’t quite the gold standard of science, since the researchers were just watching what happened from changes already in place rather than carefully controlling circumstances so that pesticide exposure was the only difference between groups.

But that kind of study is really hard to do in ecology – and getting a long-term, large-scale look at a range of species is better information than we’ve had before.

Evidence piles up for popular pesticides’ link to pollinator problems


The link between pollinator problems and neonicotinoids, a group of agricultural pesticides commonly associated with declines in honeybees, continues to build with two new studies published this week.

Pyrgus scriptura butterfly

Butterflies of Northern California join the ranks ofhoneybees, bumblebees, moths and other organisms that may be feeling the effects of the infamous insecticides. Butterfly species in California’s Central Valley have dipped since the 1990s — around the same time that neonicotinoids were introduced. Matthew Forister of the University of Nevada and his colleagues report August 16 in Biology Letters that those two events may be linked.

Tracking 67 butterfly species at four locations for at least two decades, the researchers found that a decline in the number of species at each site corresponds most closely to increased neonicotinoid use in the area (as opposed to land development, warmer summers or other potential drivers). Individual butterfly species in areas with higher pesticide use experienced the steepest declines. The results line up with a 2015 study of European butterflies that tallied fewer species over a wider range.

Also reported this week, a team of British scientists similarly builds on earlier work in wild bees. Researchers at the University of York mapped population data for 62 wild bee species sprinkled across the United Kingdom along with neonicotinoid treatment in local oilseed rape (Brassica napus) fields over 18 years.

Within species, a population’s odds of going extinct increased with use of the pesticides, the team writes in the August 16 Nature Communications. That goes for both wild bees that forage on oilseed rape, and those that don’t — though populations of known foragers were three times as likely to disappear.

Taken together, the results add some long-term data to the idea that even though wild species aren’t pollinating neonicotinoid-doused crops, the effects of exposure may still appear at the regional and national level.