A US jury has found that chemical giant Monsanto knew its Roundup weedkillers were dangerous. A man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer is to receive $289m (£226m) in damages from the company, although it has vowed to appeal. It's the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer - but what is known about the chemical? Jurors in San Francisco found that the company's weedkillers contributed "substantially" to the terminal illness of groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson. Mr Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014.
WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration on Wednesday denied a petition by environmental groups that sought to ban a common pesticide used on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops, reversing a push by the Obama administration to revoke all uses of the pesticide on food after a government review concluded it could harm children's brains. In announcing the decision, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said that by not banning chlorpyrifos he is providing "regulatory certainty" to thousands of American farms that rely on the pesticide. "By reversing the previous Administration's steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making -- rather than predetermined results," Pruitt said. Environmental groups pointed to recent studies showing even minuscule amounts of chlorpyrifos, sold by Dow AgroSciences, can interfere with brain development of fetuses, infants and children. They accused Pruitt of putting the interests of big business over people.
Hawaii residents plan to push for more regulations over pesticide use. HONOLULU -- Hawaii residents concerned about pesticide use by major agriculture companies on the islands are planning a push to strengthen regulation over chemicals they fear harm their health. The divisive issue has drawn thousands to the Legislature in recent years following incidents where schoolchildren and agriculture workers fell ill and some suspected their sickness was connected to pesticides sprayed by seed testing companies. Several major agriculture companies test genetically engineered crops on the islands, taking advantage of Hawaii's year-round warm weather to develop new types of corn and soybeans and testing more generations of crops than they could in other states. A recent study found there wasn't enough evidence to show the pesticides used by Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and BASF Plant Science on Kauai caused adverse health or environmental effects on the community.
Every few weeks or months the last few years, there is a scientific paper warning us that bees are disappearing or dying in large numbers, usually as a result of some human action or another. And giving credence to the usual short-term studies, a new study that used 18 years of data linked the use of insecticides to the decline in bee populations in the long-term as well. Because they are important, and not just from a pure biodiversity point of view. According to the paper, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications: "Insect pollinators are estimated to support 9.5% of world food production and wild bees have an important role in the delivery of this ecosystem service." The paper, titled "Impacts of neonicotinoid use on long-term population changes in wild bees in England," uses data collected in the United Kingdom and as its name suggests, looks at the use of neonicotinoid -- a type of insecticide -- in oilseed rape crops and its effect on different kinds of bees, including honeybees and bumble bees.
Miners carried canaries into coal mines; if the canary died it was an early warning of the presence of toxic gases that could also asphyxiate humans or explode. The Trump administration has decided to use children and farmworkers as 21st century canaries, continuing their exposure to a pesticide named chlorpyrifos that has been linked to serious health concerns. The toxicity of this commonly used pesticide was demonstrated in early May when chlorpyrifos sprayed on a Bakersfield orchard drifted into a neighboring cabbage field, sickening a dozen farmworkers. This is the same chemical that Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, refused to ban in March, despite the advice of EPA scientists. In November 2016, EPA scientists reported that residues of chlorpyrifos on food crops exceed the federal safety standards for pesticides.