New Research Offers Strongest Proof Yet of Roundup and GMO Toxicity

Many rats fed with corn that was genetically modified to resist the weed killer known as Roundup developed tumors within two years.

The latest scientific study linking the weed killer known as Roundup to cancer and other negative health impacts has put the French government on high alert, according to a report published yesterday.

The study, published by a team of French scientists led by Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen in Normandy, found that many rats fed with corn genetically modified to resist Roundup — or exposed directly to the world’s most common weedkiller — developed cancerous tumors. This time, according to the scientists, the results examined the full lifecycle effects of Roundup rather than short-term impacts.

“For the first time ever, a (genetically modified) organism and an herbicide (Roundup) have been evaluated for their long-term impact on health, and more thoroughly than by governments or the industry,” Seralini said. “The results are alarming.”

The study (Seralini_et_al_final_paper (1)) was shown to “clearly demonstrate” that exposure to Roundup at levels well below published safety levels “induce sever hormone-dependent mammary, hepatic and kidney disturbances.” The French government immediately ordered its leading health organization to probe the study — and may ultimately ban importation of genetically modified corn from the United States.

“Based on the conclusion…, the government will ask the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health, measures that could go as far as an emergency suspension of imports of (genetically modified) maize in the European Union,” the French health, environment and farm ministries said in a joint statement.

Michael Antoniou, a molecular biologist at King’s College London, told the news agency Reuters, “I feel this data is strong enough to withdraw the marketing approval for this variety of GMO maize temporarily, until this study is followed up and repeated with larger number of animals to get the full statistical power that we want.”

While accounting for an estimated 80 percent of all the corn grown in the United States, genetically modified crops have not gained favor in Europe where most nations do not allow it to be grown. Voters in the state of California will consider Proposition 37 this fall, a law that would legally require genetically modified foods to be labeled.

Perhaps this new study will give proponents of the bill new impetus as they battle the tens of millions of dollars donated by America’s major food corporations.

Predictably, however, proponents of genetically modified food — including many connected to the U.S. government — denounced this new study as the news began circulating yesterday.

Henry I. Miller, founding director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology, called the Seralini study “rubbish,” according to a San Francisco newspaper.

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/09/new-research-offers-strongest-proof-yet-of-roundup-and-gmo-toxicity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-research-offers-strongest-proof-yet-of-roundup-and-gmo-toxicity

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CREATE A BUZZ: Tell the Government What You Think About the Bees and the Pesticides that Kill Them

Please take a moment to let the EPA know how you feel about the pesticides known to cause colony collapse disorder in bees.

As we reported late last month, the EPA declined to ban CLOTHIANIDIN, one of the compounds most responsible for the bee deaths that have plagued U.S. farmers and gardeners for the last six years. Now the EPA has opened up a public comment period for 60 days; this is the time to LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0334-0015

Here are a few talking points (from Beyond Pesticides, Panna.org and SafeLawns):

1) The EPA’s own scientists originally assessed clothianidin as “highly toxic to honey bees” back in 2003.

2) The legal petition filed in March to ban clothianidin is supported by more than one million citizen-petitions, collected from people across the country, demanding the ban of clothianidin in particular – because of its lethal impact on honey bees.

3) Honey bees are responsible for pollinating at least a third of the nation’s food supply.

4) Thousands of bee farmers have already been bankrupted by the death of their bees in the last six years.

5) A substantial body of scientific evidence has confirmed that the use of clothianidin, an environmentally persistent poison, presents substantial risks to honey bees and other insects.

6) One of the American government’s lead bee scientists has confirmed that synthetic nicotines, of which clothianidin is a member, are harmful to bees even at microscopic doses which were originally presumed to be safe for bees.

7) Clothianidin was registered illegally, with inadequate paperwork. Yet the EPA granted a “conditional,” or temporary, registration to clothianidin in 2003, without obtaining a legally required field study, to prove that the pesticide would have no “unreasonable adverse effects” on bees and pollinators. Conditional registration was only granted on the condition that such an acceptable field study would be submitted later; but this crucial requirement was never met.

8) Beekeepers estimate the economic value of their operations at $50 billion, based on retail value of food and crops pollinated by bees. Bees pollinate many high-value crops, including: pumpkins, cherries, cranberries, almonds, apples, watermelons, and blueberries.

9) According to a recent United Nations report on the global decline of pollinator populations, “honeybees are the most economically important pollinators in the world.”

10) More than 4 million bee colonies have died in America since 2006 and the figure is close to 10 million bee colonies worldwide — overwhelmingly in countries where clothianidin and other neonicotinoid pesticides are widely used.

BACKGROUND: Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides in which the insecticide is most typically applied as a seed-coating at planting, but the substances are also used in sprays and granular lawn chemicals to kill grubs and other insects; the poison is taken up inside the growing plant, perfusing the entire structure of leaves, stem, flower and fruit; it is also expressed in the pollen and nectar. Bees are poisoned as they harvest the pollen and nectar to take back to the hive.

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/08/create-a-buzz-tell-the-government-what-you-think-about-the-bees-and-the-pesticide-that-kill-them/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=create-a-buzz-tell-the-government-what-you-think-about-the-bees-and-the-pesticide-that-kill-them

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Design Infused with Nature

Arlene Ellis bridges the gaps between science, art, and fashion with her in-depth study of natural patterns, many of which she details on her website, Organic Lyricism. Here, she relates how her first trip to The New York Botanical Garden informed her latest clothing designs.


I had never heard of textile design while growing up, despite aspiring to become a designer or an artist. In fact, I only became familiar with the word “textile” last fall, a bit weird considering I began drawing patterns at age 15. This was the year that I discovered the phenomenon of fractals in nature.

Fractals are geometric shapes that can be divided into smaller parts, each resembling the overall shape of the whole, regardless of scale. After learning about these fascinating designs, I began noticing them everywhere–in trees, ferns, snowflakes, and in natural formations. This preoccupation eventually sparked my interest in the ultimate fractal-like structure: the brain. In college, however, I soon proved to be more interested in drawing these patterns than I was in studying my neuroscience textbooks.

My interests were leaning heavily in one direction, but despite my constant drawing of patterns, textile design was still a foreign concept to me. It wasn’t until I began taking courses at New York’s School of Visual Arts that this changed. I learned that textile design would help me to unite my love for biological patterns with my love for art. I grew to understand that textile design plays a pivotal role in our daily lives; these patterns adorn our clothes, our bedding, our carpets and furniture. And I realized that I could use these visuals to communicate the beauty of nature to people on an intimate level. After visiting The New York Botanical Garden for the first time in June, that’s just what I set out to do.

I fell in love with so many flowers during my NYBG visit. Some were begging to be turned into textile designs.


Beyond their immediate beauty, I have something of an intellectual crush on patterns. There are at least a few reasons why.


Patterns have an interdisciplinary fan base
Designs are studied not only by artists, but also by scientists, engineers, mathematicians and by those of other disciplines.

Patterns make learning easier
Whether you’re studying the relationship between cells, tissues, and organs; or between lines, values, and colors; patterns help you solve problems.

Patterns reinforce our connection to nature
Tree branches resemble blood vessels. The grooved surfaces of certain corals resemble the brain. Nature is full of patterns that we can relate to one another.


It’s this holistic perspective on patterns that inspired me to choose The New York Botanical Garden as my source for textile design inspiration. The NYBG brings artists and scientists together through its impressive educational offerings, and it offers a stunning oasis to people from all walks of life to come and witness nature’s gorgeous collection of designs. Finally, the NYBG reminds people that we, too, are natural beings comprised of the same elements found in the plants around us.

Since visiting the NYBG for the first time in June, my floral pattern library continues to grow. I want to show people how patterns found in nature can enrich their lives. And maybe, along the way, I’ll inspire them to create designs of their own.

For more on my explorations of patterns and design, visit Organic Lyricism.


Looking to uncover your artistic knack? The Garden offers plenty of opportunities to pick up painting, illustration, or any number of other disciplines in botanical art. Visit the Adult Education page for a list of our current and upcoming courses. And if you’ve also been inspired by the Garden to create something, tell us your story! Simply email us at blog@nybg.org.

This entry was posted
on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at 11:00 am and is filed under Around the Garden, Learning Experiences, People.
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Article source: http://www.nybg.org/plant-talk/2012/07/people/design-infused-with-nature/

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Analyze This: Three Years & More than 1,000 SafeLawns Posts Later

With the rest of the world already caught on to the phenomenon known as “blogging,” I finally got around to it on June 18, 2009. Why June 18? I have no recollection, really, about why I picked that day to launch what soon became a personal obsession.

More than 1,000 SafeLawns posts later, most of them written by yours truly, I remain grateful that enough sponsoring partners and daily readers have conspired to make the SafeLawns Blog one of the go-to Internet sites for natural lawn care information. As much as I lecture, consult, teach and appear in public, I have always considered myself a writer first and foremost. The blog is a great place for unbridled, often (admittedly) unedited daily expression. Some of it, I hope, people find useful.

One of the tools I find most useful each day is our Google Analytics page that tells us who visited, what they read and how much time they hung around. And for all my ranting about lawn and garden pesticides, postings of this or that study about what is killing the bees, or generally trying to build public consensus, the one thing Google Analytics tells me day in and day out is that people want good old-fashioned how-to information.

Any idea what the No. 1 most-read blog post of the past three years has been? Hands down, it’s this post about the efficacy of corn gluten meal as a weed control product: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/04/corn-gluten-meal-as-weed-control-20-years-later-the-jury-is-still-out/. More than two years after its publication, the post still generates hundreds of “hits” daily.

In second place is another two-year-old article that I posted while on family vacation in Florida: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/05/looking-for-a-grass-alternative-try-a-peanut-lawn/. It’s about a lawn alternative plant. In fact, as a category, lawn alternatives ranks highest among the keywords or catch phrases that draw people in.

As for what really has fired up the masses, or fulfilled our mission statement of effecting change, two issues come to mind. The first was when TruGreen ChemLawn wanted to sponsor Earth Day. The reaction was fast and furious: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/03/chalk-one-up-for-social-networking-earth-day-drops-chemlawn/. And then early this year the Wildlife Federation came to its senses after hearing from numerous members of SafeLawns and other environmental watchdog groups: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/01/citing-guilty-plea-wildlife-federation-ends-agreement-with-scotts/. Turns out folks are pretty good at recognizing an injustice when they see one.

The truth is that none of this is easy. Companies and people in general spent far, far more money supporting the SafeLawns movement when we started in 2006 and 2007 than they have in all the years combined since. The SafeLawns movement is still making progress, taking market share year after year from the synthetic chemical lawn care industry and taking perverse pleasure when Scotts Miracle Gro’s stock drops by nearly 30 percent in a month due to bad sales projections and results. But did sales plummet due to the economy? The weather? Or because people are seeing the light and driven to buy safer, cleaner, better organic products. It’s certainly some of the latter, but probably more of the former.

That means there’s still work to be done. And that means more blogs to post.

So we’ll be here again when you sign on tomorrow. Thanks for reading along for three years and counting.

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/06/analyze-this-three-years-more-than-1000-safelawns-posts-later/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=analyze-this-three-years-more-than-1000-safelawns-posts-later

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Avoiding Second-Hand Pesticides: How to Talk to Your Neighbors About Their Lawn Chemicals

This sign lets your neighborhood know where you stand on the applications of pesticides.

Those other signs are ubiquitous these days. “Caution.” “Warning.” “Danger.” “Keep off the Grass.” Usually in yellow, but sometimes in green, gray, red or black, the flags are nearly as plentiful as lawns themselves.

They are actually legal documents designed to warn pedestrians and homeowners about the very real dangers posed by EPA-registered products known as pesticides — the weed and insect killers and fungicides that are engineered, mostly in laboratories, to keep our lawns lush and green according to the larger society’s aesthetic standards. Depending on where you live, the warning signs are suppose to remain in place until the product is “dry,” or 24, 48 or 72 hours after the application. It’s all determined by the arbitrary whims of local lawmakers.

This benign sign offers no warning, but rather a polite suggestion.

Of the many questions we receive here at SafeLawns, perhaps the ones that bring the most inherent angst are those concerning how to talk to neighbors who stubbornly refuse to cease applications of these toxic products. These are the people we need to live next to, the folks whose living rooms our children visit and, often, the friends we entrust with having our backs in times of need.

And when these folks apply pesticides themselves, without hiring a licensed lawn care company, they don’t even need to post. They almost assuredly don’t watch the wind speed or pattern, or concern themselves about whether or not it will rain later that day. They just apply the stuff they just bought at Wal-Mart — unaware that the stuff is banned in Canada because it’s so dangerous.

How to hold that most awkward of conversations is a study in nuance. There is no one right way to proclaim to another human being that he or she is doing something that is, at the least, offensive and, at the worst, life threatening.

Here are a few ideas we have found that can help:

BE CALM — Begin by offering to share your knowledge about pesticides with neighbors in non-threatening, friendly terms. Angry approaches rarely work, but chatty banter can get people’s attention: “Say, Joan, did you hear about a report from Cornell University about those products we put on lawns?” Joan shrugs, but she’s not yet on the defensive. “Yeah, I just read a study by Dr. David Pimentel at Cornell University found that as little as one-tenth of one percent of the weed killers we apply ever reach their target weed. That means most of the product is winding up in the wrong destination, maybe inside your house, or on your skin or in your lungs. And it’s costing a lot of money, most of which is wasted.” Really? says Joan. Maybe she shrugs again, but at least you might have her thinking.

THE SCHOOLTEACHER APPROACH — Collect web sites and magazine articles that can be photocopied and disseminated among friends. Some of the best on-line sources are www.BeyondPesticides.org, www.panna.org, www.ehhi.org and (of course) www.safelawns.org.

This pesticide warning sign, outside a hospital, tells readers to keep off the grass for 72 hours — but you have to be on the grass to be close enough to read it.

THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN — Right before an election, those “VOTE-FOR-ME” signs pop up everywhere. Our SafeLawns “Safe to Play” signs, above, are a non-confrontational way to let everyone in our new neighborhood know exactly where we stand on the issue of weed killers — while avoiding the awkward conversation that my wife doesn’t want me to have with people she might need to help her someday when I’m out of town. Everyone on our cul-de-sac either walks or drives by daily and the sign helps explain why ours is the only lawn in the area with dandelions and clover growing freely.

A NIGHT OUT — Organize a local seminar and recruit an expert to speak (I’m asked to present at dozens of these events each year). Invite local garden clubs, watershed alliances, civic organizations and church groups to attend. Offer to buy your neighbor dinner on the way.

THE GIFT — Give your neighbor a book about the dangers of pesticides. One of the best new releases on the market is Dr. Sandra Steingraber’s Raising Elijah, about the challenges of developing a healthy child in an era of environmental crisis. We have begun to give our book, Tag, Toss Run: 40 Classic Lawn Games as gifts around our neighborhood; the book is 99 percent about games, but it includes a page about the SafeLawns campaign to reduce pesticides. When parents see their children out rolling around in the grass playing all the games, maybe they’ll think twice about coating that grass with poisons.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE — If you grow a beautiful lawn and landscape without using chemicals, your neighbor will willingly follow your example. When we moved into this home last year, the lawn out front was thin, bare and ugly. A year later, we still have a few of what most people would call weeds — and my 5-year-old daughter calls flowers — but we also have one of the most green lawns in the neighborhood thanks to an organic approach that has focused on the soil health.

FIND COMMON GROUND — If your neighbor has children, then you can focus your conversation on the risks associated with pesticides around children. If your neighbor has a dog or a cat, show them studies that associate the health risks of pets around pesticides. Pesticides also affect fishermen, hunters, bird watchers, or the water supply.

The bottom line is that — if you get to know your neighbor — you can usually find a way to bring the conversation back to pesticides. It may not be easy to get them to change, just like it wasn’t easy to get rid of second-hand smoke in restaurants and other public places. But second-hand pesticides are just as bad; we can stop that, too, if we try.

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/05/avoiding-second-hand-pesticides-how-to-talk-to-your-neighbors-about-their-lawn-chemicals/

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Scientists Call for Global Ban on Bee-Killing Pesticides

CHANGE.ORG SEEKING 50,000 SIGNATURES ON PETITION

Despite continued support from the United States government for the manufacturers, scientists across the globe are calling for an international ban on the synthetic pesticides responsible for colony collapse disorder in bees.

The author of the latest study out of Harvard University bluntly stated that the time is now.

“The data, both ours and others, right now merits a global ban,” said Chensheng Li, lead scientist in the Harvard University study that confirmed neonicotinoid pesticides as a primary cause of CCD. “Our study clearly demonstrated that imidacloprid is responsible for causing CCD, and the survival of the control hives that we set up side-by-side to the pesticide-treated hives augments this conclusion.”

Ever since 2006, when SafeLawns first reported the connection between the pesticides used to kill grubs on lawns, as well as numerous other insects, the manufacturer, Bayer, has denied the connection. Since then numerous scientific studies have built to a unanimous conclusion that the substances — imadacloprid, clothianidin and others — are the cause of the disorder that has claimed more than a third of American beehives each year for the past six.

The pesticides make it impossible for the bees to navigate their way back to hives; the disoriented insects also forget to eat and, ultimately, perish.

In March, commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations filed a petition asking federal regulators to ban the clothianidin, the fastest acting of the many synthetic nicotines on the market. Prior to that a government document was revealed that proved that substance was approved based on false data.

More than 1.25 million people also submitted comments in partnership with the organizations, calling on the EPA to take action — yet nothing has been done.

In one positive move, that also amounts to an admission of guilt by Bayer, the company removed almonds from the pesticide label for imidacloprid in California, thereby eliminating the use of the product in that state’s numerous almond orchards. Some estimates claim that up to a third of the nation’s commercial beehives are sent to California each year to pollinate almonds.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035652_pesticides_honey_bees_ban.html#ixzz1ssbggZ9l

To sign a petition:
http://www.change.org/petitions/help-bees-ban-imidacloprid-and-other-neonicotinoid-pesticides

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/04/scientists-call-for-global-ban-on-bee-killing-pesticides/

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Study Suggests Toxic Exposure Impacts Our Progeny

Here is a new study that suggests the environmental toxins we inhale, touch or ingest have the potential to harm not only our children, but also our grandkids, great great great grandkids: http://esciencenews.com/articles/2012/03/02/effects.environmental.toxicants.reach.down.through.generations

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/03/study-suggests-toxic-exposure-impacts-our-progeny/

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Salsa: Listen and Learn

Exploring the Conservatory during Caribbean Garden weekends becomes a study in the music of the islands. While you walk along the paths beneath the palm fronds, see if you can spot the “living instruments” that create the rhythms of salsa, a Caribbean tradition that springs from the very plants growing around you!

Drums, or congas, are traditionally made from the wood of the versatile mahogany tree (Swietenia macrophylla). Be on the look-out for a perfect specimen of this warm climate hardwood as you enter our Tropical Rainforest Gallery on a tour of the exhibition.

While you’re there, perhaps you can also find the gourd-bearing trees known as calabash (Crescentia cujete), the fruit of which was once dried and used to create food and water vessels. But cultivators also use it for other purposes, many of them far more creative.

The hollowed fruit of the calabash can be filled with dried seeds and fitted with a handle to be shaken as a rattle or maraca, a familiar sound to fans of classic island dance numbers. And further proving its usefulness, dried calabash is often formed into güiros–percussion instruments that are notched and scraped to produce a unique rasp. Folklorists use comb-like implements or even modern-day plastic chopsticks to get just the right sound!

Another instrument that is commonly used in salsa is the cuatro, a violin-shaped guitar. The top portion can be made from yagrumo, or pumpwood (Cecropia peltata). The body is then traditionally formed from a tree known as guaraguao (Guarea grandifolia). Its trademark sound has been a part of Puerto Rican music for what experts believe is a stretch of at least 400 years!

Take a vacation and join us each Saturday in February for Salsa: Listen and Learn with educator Jose Obando, the nation’s only museologist dedicated to teaching and preserving the history of salsa. Along with his extensive knowledge, he brings a collection of musical memorabilia and traditional instruments to help tell the history of this beloved Caribbean tradition. Before its over, you’ll also warm up and learn a few dance steps for yourself!


There are only two more chances to catch our salsa workshops before the Caribbean Garden disappears for another year. Be sure to pick up a ticket to the exhibition and join us on Saturday to take part! Classes meet at 2 p.m. on Saturdays in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Green School.

This entry was posted
on Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 11:00 am and is filed under Around the Garden, Exhibitions, Learning Experiences.
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Article source: http://www.nybg.org/plant-talk/2012/02/exhibit-news/salsa-listen-and-learn/

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Why Ban Lawn Pesticides? The List of Reasons Keeps Growing

With several states and additional Canadian municipalities considering bans on synthetic pesticides used to maintain landscapes, we’re often asked to summarize all the reasons why we advocate for legislation that makes certain products illegal.

Here’s the primer:

LAWNS AND SAFETY

The industry that manufactures and applies synthetic chemical pesticides (weed-killers, insecticides and fungicides) hides behind EPA blessing of its products, suggesting that such approval by the Environmental Protection Agency is proof that their pesticides are safe when used as directed. The reality is that EPA approval is NOT a finding of safety, but rather it is a risk-benefit analysis of health and environmental risks weighed against economic benefits. In most cases, those risks and benefits are borne by differing members of society. In other words, the chemical companies and applicators get the money and the homeowners, ponds, lakes, rivers, oceans etc. bear the risks. The EPA approves some incredibly dangerous products, most of which have never been fully tested for safety — and only real testing is done by the manufacturers themselves. The EPA needs to receive loads of complaints about a product before it engages in its own testing.

LAWNS AND HEALTH

Seventeen of 32 (53 percent) of the most commonly registered and utilized lawn pesticide products in the United States include ingredients that are likely carcinogens, as defined by the EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Thirteen of 32 (41 percent) of the approved lawn pesticide products include ingredients that are banned or restricted in other countries due to their health and environmental impacts.

According to the Material Safety Data Sheets of the most commonly used lawn pesticides, the products can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; burning, stinging, itches, rashes, and blistering of the skin; nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; and coughing, wheezing, headache, and general malaise. Because these symptoms are similar or identical to those caused by other illnesses, acute pesticide poisoning is often misdiagnosed.

Pesticide exposure occurs through numerous pathways, including the skin, eyes, ears, nose and mouth — all areas where children are particularly sensitive.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that one in 7 adults suffers acute symptoms of pesticide poisoning (such as those symptoms listed above) — most of which are not diagnosed.

Exposure to pesticides is also linked with chronic illness, such as cancer, behavioral impairment, reproductive dysfunction, endocrine disruption, developmental disabilities, ADHD, Autism, Parkinson’s Syndrome, learning disabilities, skin conditions, and respiratory diseases such as asthma.

A National Cancer Institute study states that, “although research is underway to characterize the risks of childhood cancer associated with pesticides and identify the specific pesticides responsible, it is prudent to reduce or, where possible, eliminate pesticide exposure to children, given their increased vulnerability and susceptibility. In particular, efforts should be focused to reduce exposure to pesticides used in homes and gardens and on lawns and public lands, which are major sources of exposure for most children.

A number of studies have linked lawn pesticides to childhood illnesses:

a) A University of Southern California study showed that children whose parents used garden pesticides were 6.5 times more likely to develop leukemia.

b) According to EPA’s Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment, children receive 50 percent of their lifetime cancer risks in the first two years of life.

c) Children with brain cancer are more likely to have been exposed to insecticides in the home.

d) Children in families that use professional pest control services are at higher risk of developing leukemia than children in families that don’t use pesticides.

e) A 1990 study by the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment concluded that “in general, [human health] research demonstrates that pesticide poisoning can lead to poor performance on tests including intellectual functioning, academic skills, abstraction, flexibility of thought, and motor skills; memory disturbances and inability to focus attention; deficits in intelligence, reaction time, and manual dexterity; and reduced perceptual speed. Increased anxiety and emotional problems have also been reported.”

A US EPA study found that residues from outdoor pesticides are tracked in by pets and people’s shoes, and can increase the pesticide loads in carpet dust as much as 400-fold. These pesticides, intended for outdoor use, will persist for years indoors because they are sheltered from sun, rain and other forces that can degrade them.

Another study, published in November 2003 by the Silent Spring Institute, which was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, showed that residents may be continuously exposed to dangerous levels of pesticides in their home decades after application.

Recently, an “inert” ingredient in the most common lawn pesticide product known as Roundup was found to kill human cells. The French government sued the manufacturer of Roundup for making improper safety claims about Roundup.

LAWN TRENDS

Canada has announced it will ban weed ’n feed nationwide by the end of 2012. This ban was seen as a compromise between Health Canada and the pesticide industry, which agreed that weed ’n feed products put excess amounts of pesticides in the environment.

More than 80 percent of the Canadian population has banned “cosmetic” herbicides used to kill dandelions, clover etc. on lawns. Most major Canadian retailers including Home Depot have stopped selling herbicides and have committed to selling alternatives.

The states of New York and Connecticut banned the applications of lawn pesticides around schools and daycare centers.

More than 35 municipalities in New Jersey have enacted bans of synthetic lawn pesticides on public property.

In its 9-0 landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada invoked “The Precautionary Principle” with regard to pesticides. The Precautionary Principles means that, even in situations where there is not absolute proof of harm in all cases, precaution should be taken to protect the environment and human health.

The National Gardening Association data shows that 10 percent of consumers are currently utilizing exclusively organic products; that total is expected to grow to 50 percent of the marketplace by 2014.

ORGANIC ALTERNATIVES
The efficacy and understanding of organic products has increased dramatically in the past five years; several new organic products have entered the market in just the past three years, including a natural “selective” herbicide that can replace the most toxic chemicals.

Canadian landscapes that have been grown without pesticides for years are still beautiful. Mayors and town managers have reported a reduction in costs for mowing, watering, fertilizing and pesticide applications.

LAWNS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

All 32 of the most common lawn pesticide products include ingredients that pose threats to the environment, including: threats to water supplies, birds, fish, other aquatic organisms, and non-targeted insects.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that homeowners utilize 10 times the amount of fertilizer and pesticides per acre of lawn and landscape than do farmers.

In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency completed a nationwide survey of pesticides in wells that provide drinking water. It showed that more than half of the 94,000 community water system wells and rural wells tested contained nitrates from fertilizer. Nearly 15 percent of residential wells contained lawn pesticides.

A Cornell University study led by Dr. David Pimentel concluded that 99.5 percent of pesticides do not hit the target pest when applied. The bulk of the pesticide hits or drifts to non-targeted plants, animals, water and soil.

The chemical mostly commonly used for grub control in lawns, known as imidacloprid, has been blamed for Colony Collapse Disorder in bees in France, Germany, Israel and many other nations. Many scientists and beekeepers in the U.S. have now reached the same conclusion.

COST

For years, the biggest limiting factor in lawn care was price; organics was typically 20 to 100 percent more expensive on action. These days, with the rising price of synthetic products tied to the fuel index, as well as the lowering cost of many organic products, the playing field has tipped in favor of organics — especially over time.

NOTEWORTHY

The New York Board of Pesticide Control estimates that 8 of 10 homeowners do NOT fully read the label on pesticide containers.

Dozens of health care organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Ontario College of Family Physicans and the Canadian Association of Physcians for the Environment, all endorse the Canadian bans on lawn pesticides.

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/02/why-ban-lawn-pesticides-the-list-of-reasons-keeps-growing/

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Researchers Link Roundup to Male Infertility

A four-person team led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, recently revealed yet another study that links the weed killer known as Roundup to infertility — this time in males.

The report, titled Toxicol in Vitro, revealed that exposures of as low as one part per million of Roundup had the effect of reducing testosterone levels in male rats by more than a third. That exposure rate is well below the level a farmer or gardener would experience in a typical weed-killing session with a spray bottle or backpack sprayer.

Séralini, who has focused his research on Roundup for nearly two decades, has previously proven that Roundup kills placental cells and is also responsible for spontaneous abortion.

Article source: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/01/researchers-link-roundup-to-male-infertility/

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