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Fighting Back: Lawsuit Challenges Pesticide Spraying near Schools, Homes, Organic Farms

The City of Berkeley, the Environmental Working Group and the Pesticide Action Network along with eight other activist groups, sued the California Department of Food and Agriculture over the agency’s approval of a statewide “pest management” plan that allows pesticide spraying on schools, organic farms and residential yards, including aerial spraying over homes in rural areas. Regulators approved the program despite receiving over 30,000 public comment letters calling for a less toxic approach that would protect the vitality and resilience of the state’s food system and the economic interests of organic farmers.

Pushing Earth's ‘Planetary Boundaries’

A new report published in Science gauges the breaking points in the natural world. Researchers contend that we have already crossed four of the nine “planetary boundaries”: the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean.

New Pesticide Rules for California Strawberries

California is the leading producer of strawberries in the U.S. In 2013, more than 2.3 billion pounds of strawberries were harvested annually. Of the 16.3 percent exported, Canada imports the majority of California’s fresh and frozen strawberry produce. So do California's new pesticide rulings make these treasured sweet berries safe to eat? Unfortunately not.

BPA Free Containers Not So Safe After All

Here we go again. Not so long ago governments worldwide banned the use of BPA in plastic containers. Studies showed the plastic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) was linked to some serious health problems including breast and prostate cancer, heart trouble, type II diabetes, autism, liver tumours, asthma, infertility and obesity. In response to the public's outcry, manufacturers removed the chemical from their products and replaced it with bisphenol S (BPS). Now it's been discovered that the replacement is as bad or worse than the original. This latest discovery, demonstrates yet again, the failure of a regulatory system that allows manufacturers to use chemicals that have never been properly tested to rule out potential health effects.

An Anti-consumer Christmas

During the holidays, 20% more waste is created at Christmas than at any other time during the year. Landfills receive more than one billion Christmas cards, 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper (that's over 50,000 trees) and over 38,000 miles of ribbon. That's enough to tie a bow around the Earth. There is a better way to celebrate the holidays.

Honeybee and Human Health Stress Factors

In 2002, in support of the ongoing effort to better understand the complexities that surround human health, an international consortium of scientists and universities decided to sequence the honeybee’s DNA. Honeybees captured scientific musing because they exist in a complex social community and their social behaviour is closely related to our own. Referenced as the Bee Genome Proect (BGP) the study pinned down some gene and cell functionality uniquely shared between honeybees and those of us who are vertebrates leading scientists to believe the evolutionary ties of honeybees and humans go much deeper than originally thought.

New Study Shows Roundup Damages Sperm

In the first study to measure the delayed effects of exposure to Roundup on sperm in mammals, the molecular biology department at the University of Caen, France, found that rats exposed to the glyphosate based pesticide Roundup altered testicular function after only 8 days of exposure at a concentration of only 0.5%. This concentration is similar to levels found in water after agricultural spraying.

Chalk One Up for the Good Guys

An important and controversial piece of independent research that provides new insights into the risks of genetically modified organisms in food has finally been republished. The original research paper was summarily retracted without just cause by The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT). The retraction basically removed the study's findings from the realm of accepted science. Independent scientists all over the world objected. Many believe the study was removed from the journal due to pressure by Monsanto, the owner of the plant and Roundup. Monsanto’s position was that the results of the Séralini study were inconclusive as was its own (90-day) research.

US Senate Rips Into Dr Oz

Busted. There is enough confusion about what to eat and what supplements we should be taking to counter some of our ills without a supposed voice of authority mudding up the waters. Oprah's favorite MD, Dr. Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz Show was hauled in front of a Senate panel last week and grilled about his endorsements of the dietary supplements that he features on his show. Of particular interest was Oz's endorsement of coffee beans that claimed incredible weight loss powers.

Food Choices Without Honeybees

To raise awareness about Colony Collapse Disorder, the mysterious disease that has reduced the honeybee population by half, Whole Foods brought the issue home by showing consumers what supermarket aisles would look like should honeybees and natural food disappear.