Nel's New Day

July 20, 2019

DDT: Week 130 – Ethical Moves Backward from Space Race

Tweets from Republicans show how they think, and this one from Diamond and Silk, Fox Nation hosts and vloggers, have a doozey:

“Nancy Pelosi said the WORDS that the President used were racist. But those same words are in the Dictionary. Does that mean that the Dictionary is now racist? Should all Dictionaries be banned since Democrats are offended by words?”

When the sisters, strongly supported by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), saw Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) eating chicken to mock AG Bill Barr’s cowardice in not testifying before the House, they called him “racially insensitive.” Ladies, the word “chicken” is in the Dictionary (sic), and one white man was ridiculing another white man. In another foray into stupidity, D&S lambasted Beto O’Rourke for opposing a wall on the southern border because he lives in a house with walls

Dumbness predominates in about 16 million people in the U.S. who don’t believe that two U.S. men walked on the moon 50 years ago. Some of them go farther in a belief that the earth is a flat disc with the Arctic in the center and a 150-foot-tall wall of ice in the Antarctica surrounding the rim. NASA employees guard the wall to keep people from falling off. And gravity is an illusion.

While DDT diverted people with his racism:

The EPA will not ban a pesticide associated with developmental disabilities and other health problems in children, a pesticide banned before DDT was inaugurated. Now permitted for agricultural food use, chlorpyrifos was banned from residential use in 2000 because of causing memory problems, lower IQs, reduced breathing capacity, and increased risks of children born with autism as shown by a study of children living in California. The negative effects are permanent. Last year, a federal court said there was “no justification” for such a decision.

DDT rolled back programs to detect weapons of mass destruction by canceling training exercises and driving out scientists and policy experts. U.S. citizens now face greater risks from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks since DDT appointed James McDonnell as director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office before he was promoted to lead the new Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. Over 100 people who raised concerns about lack of readiness were taken out of their areas of expertise. Disbanded programs helped law enforcement officials detect potential threats and worked to detect foreign states trying to provide radiological or nuclear material to terrorists.

Not satisfied with getting rid of 80 percent of scientists in two USDA agencies by moving them to Kansas City, DDT has exiled one-fifth of the Interior Department, most of the Bureau of Land Management’s D.C. workforce further from Washington, D.C.—to west of the Rockies where they will be more susceptible to pressure from the fossil fuel industry. DDT is also trying to get rid of the government’s human resources agency, the Office of Personnel Management, planning to “furlough” up to 150 employees if Congress refuses to follow his orders.

The Pentagon tripled its presence on the southern border by sending 1,100 active-duty troops and 1,000 Texas National Guard soldiers to join 2,500 active-duty and 2,000 National Guard troops already there.

AG Bill Barr gave $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately before his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general. Before that, Barr had only occasionally donated to the GOP.

The Agriculture Department blocked the release of a multiyear plan on how to respond to climate change finalized in the early days of the Trump administration. It showed ways for farmers to understand, adapt to, and minimize the effects of climate change.

A defense contractor employee with access to sensitive information threatened to kill Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) because she supported a bill to vaccinate school children. 

The Washington Post has a report on its investigation into how acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is working to create a fiefdom in his goal of deregulating the government. His primary goals are immigration and health care in his work to force out chiefs of staff in these departments. One senior official said that only economic advisor Larry Kudlow and national security adviser John Bolton are not under Mulvaney’s control. He is behind permission for health-care providers, insurers, and employers to refuse coverage for medical services with the excuse of religious and/or moral beliefs, including banning taxpayer-funded clinics from making referrals for abortions.

DDT’s immigration expands its cruelty. When Border Patrol separated parents in a Honduran family, sending one to Mexico and leaving the other in the United States, three-year-old Sofia, who has a heart condition even after surgery, was asked to pick which parent she wanted. The family had already been sent back twice to Mexico. The girl’s mother had seen her mother killed; her sister-in-law, also a witness, was later kidnapped, tortured, and murdered to keep her from testifying.  

U.S. citizen children—at least those appearing to be Latinx—can’t go anywhere without a danger of being kidnapped by the U.S. government.

Thirteen-year-old Heydi has died after hanging herself because her father was turned away from asylum three times. Her father was finally reunited with her daughter after she lay brain-dead in the hospital. 

This is in what some people call the greatest nation in the world. 

GOP quandaries:

DDT has claimed that the U.S. military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, but Iran claims that all its drones returned to their home bases. Iran suggests that the U.S. might have shot down one of its own drones. Considering DDT’s history of lying, people might be more likely to believe Iran. The question might be whether DDT is ginning up a war after his week of criticism on his racist attacks.

Democrats took the House partly because they supported health care for people. After spending almost a decade trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act, Judge Richard Leon of D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ACA doesn’t have to provide for pre-existing conditions. Watch for the Democrats’ campaign ads—and the GOP candidates lying about their positions as Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) in her last campaign when she told people that she voted for pre-existing conditions. Democrats will likely appeal Leon’s decision. Wonder what Republicans will do.

After the House passed a bill by 402 to 12 that made permanent a compensation program for 9/11 responders who contracted diseases linked to exposure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has tried to block presenting the bill with 75 co-sponsors in the Senate and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) demanded that all cost should be offset by cuts in spending. Paul called the bill’s supporter Jon Stewart, formerly of the The Daily Show, a “guttersnipe” and the legislation a “completely irresponsible” measure with support only because senators are “overwhelmed” by the comedian’s celebrity. The senator said, “If Jon Stewart could read, maybe he’d read the bill and say, ‘Oh my God, who would vote for a bill that doesn’t have a dollar amount in it?’ ” Bad press may have led McConnell to declare that a vote will take place next week. 

The Senate may need to deal with another bill passed by the House that raises the minimum wage to $15 over the next six years and takes between 27 million and 33 million people out of poverty. Accounting for inflation, the wage peaked at $11.79 per hour in 1968

Things for Republicans to deal with:

Texas may gain three to four congressional seats after the census, but only with an accurate count. The state is refusing to fund the census; just a one-percent undercount could cost Texas $300 million in federal funding a year. California, with a population of 40 percent more than Texas, is spending $154 million. Texas can lose billions of dollars with its short sightedness. 

A few positive things:

The House voted to block the sale of billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate. DDT had tried to use emergency powers to sidestep Congress for 22 deals worth more than $8 billion.

The 10th Circuit Court has upheld a lower court’s decision that San Juan County (Utah) had violated constitutional rights of residents with racially gerrymandered districts and affirmed the new court-imposed districts. Anglos were upset with new districts that gave the ability of Navajos to be elected after whites had put most of the Navajo residents, 52 percent of the county’s population, into one of the three districts. One of the whites plans to appeal to the entire circuit court.

DDT is at his Bedminster resort with no keepers. Tomorrow may be more tweet-filled. 

August 21, 2014

GMO Labeling, Women’s Issue

Filed under: Environment,Women's issues — trp2011 @ 8:55 PM
Tags: ,

A blog on Nels New Day this summer discussing GMO food-labeling legislation apparently hit a sore spot. The blog described how members of the House subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, including Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), “agreed that people who oppose GMOs or want them labeled are alarmists who thrive on fear and ignorance.” The committee’s position was that they should pass legislation to protect the population from being afraid. According to Schrader, “It’s obvious that while the science in the EU in incontrovertible about the health and safety benefits of genetically modified hybrid crops, that because of politics, people are afraid to lead, and inform consumers.”

The Central Oregon Coast chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women) typically re-posts Nels New Day blogs on the COC NOW. Schrader’s chief of staff posted the following on the COC NOW Facebook page:  “I wonder if any of NOW’s donors are concerned that their resources are being used on such things as GMO labeling initiatives and not focusing on protecting women’s reproductive rights?”  Later he described GMOs as “perfectly safe” and cited an editorial from the Boston Globe “that is a little more objective than your original post.”

Posting blogs doesn’t use any resources except for a person’s time. In addition, NOW addresses far more issues than reproductive rights: a woman is more than a uterus. Women’s health is one of those issues, and food is important to health.

The question of GMOs being “perfectly safe” has not been proved. The studies in the United States are largely funded by companies such as Monsanto that sell GMOs, and research is done only on animals on a short-term basis. The Boston Globe editorial used  information from the Genetic Literacy Project, a slick website well-funded by Monsanto, among others companies and operated by a former journalist/author who understands net manipulation. With his skills, he has saturated the web with this project and its message. Unfortunately, the loss of funding for journalism has allowed big businesses and special interest groups to provide their version of “news” to the people of the United States because many journalists no longer have time to do their own research.

Over a year ago, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced H.R. 1699, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. About the millions of dollars to block his bill, he wrote, “It’s very telling that corporate food manufacturers are pouring millions of dollars into defeating GMO labeling efforts, including my bill that would create a national labeling standard. This spending spree is a desperate attempt to derail solid legislation that is supported by an overwhelming number of Americans who just want to know what’s in the food they eat.”

Big business has poured millions into the effort to keep people from knowing what is in their food. In just the first quarter of this year, the food industry spent $9 million lobbying Congress to oppose laws requiring labeling for genetically modified products. That’s almost the same amount as for all of 2013. The biotech and food industries have spent over $80 million since 2012 to defeat GMO labeling.

Polls show that as many as 93 percent of the people in the United States want GMO labeling. Safeway’s shareholders have called on the company to label GMOs, and other companies, including Whole Foods, Chipotle and Ben & Jerry’s, have adopted policies to voluntarily disclose the presence of GMOs in products. General Mills has dropped GMOs from Cheerios.

Almost all GMOs are engineered to tolerate higher levels of herbicides. A major problem with GMOs is that they have built-in pesticides that develop superweeds and superbugs resistant to the existing GMO technology. That requires more and more pesticides which have increased by 400 million pounds in the last 15 years because of GMO agriculture. The glysophate (Roundup) herbicide commonly used in GMO agriculture is highly toxic to not only air, rain, and rivers but also bees and humans. Brazil farmers report that GMO insect-repellent corn has become less resistant to destructive caterpillars. Necessary additional coats of insecticides are damaging the country environmentally and economically.

Over six months ago Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged President Obama to require GMO labeling in a directive to the FDA. She argued that the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act (FD&C) prohibits the misbranding of food, including “misleading” labels. Any label that fails to reveal material facts about the product is misleading, according to the statute.

Showing the dangers of GMOs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will ban neonic pesticides and phase out GE feed for wildlife in the next 18 months. There is evidence that GMO foods are linked to a 400 percent increase in food allergies in children over the past 20 years since GMOs were first introduced into the commercial food market. GMO pesticide toxins are now showing up in the blood of both pregnant mothers who eat GMO corn products and their unborn babies.

As Martin Donohoe and Ray Seidler pointed out, the European Union mandated GMO labeling in 1997. U.S. food companies kept selling their products in Europe, and they didn’t raise prices. In fact, Monsanto, the company paying to stop labeling in the U.S., praised the labels for providing people with important information. The company’s advertising stated, “Monsanto fully supports UK food manufacturers and retailers in their introduction of these labels. We believe you should be aware of all the facts before making a purchase.” Sixty-four countries, almost one-third of the world’s population, mandate labeling for GMOs.

China has started to reject a variety of GM corn, costing U.S. farmers at least $3 billion. In less than a year, China has turned away over 1.45 million metric tons, corn that had to find other buyers, probably at a discount which takes money from U.S. farmers. This spring, the Chinese Army banned all GMO grains and oil from its military supply stations “because of public concern over health risks and high-level discomfort with China becoming overly reliant on GMO strains developed by foreign companies.”  Russia also refuses GMO products, and the U.S. is having trouble trading with Europe.

The New Yorker is the latest in  the anti-labeling crowd, using the excuses that almost all food is genetically engineered and that modification through breeding is the same as using radiation or chemicals to mutate food. The author, Michael Specter, points out that “officials at the F.D.A. have no desire to put labels on products unless there is a clear scientific reason to do so, as there is with tobacco.” Yet big tobacco industries successfully fought labeling for over a half century after some scientists knew that smoking was dangerous. The businesses promoted and funded biased research, lobbied politicians to oppose public regulation, and influenced voters through expensive public relations campaigns.  Monsanto and other biotech companies are doing the same thing. As they know, whoever controls the seed, controls the world.

AcresPesticide-264x300Specter’s claims that GMO crops use less water and demand less from the environment are flat-out wrong.  “Drought-resistant” GMOs have less yield with less water. The environment is damaged through the excessive use of pesticides (as the following chart shows). Worst of all, farmers are hurt economically. GMOs make farmers dependent on purchasing patented or hybrid seeds, a fact that caused at least 300,000  suicides in India because of farmers went bankruptcy after shifting to GMO seeds. In the United States, GMO corn can cost $150 more per bag than conventional corn, crops cost more from higher pesticide needs costs, and the seeds cost more because they cannot be reused for another crop. GMO companies make money from spreading half-truths and misinformation about GMOs.

Revenue-GE-Seeds DeFazio’s bill is in keeping with the priorities for the Oregon Democratic Party. Under Legislative Action Items, #12 is “Require labeling of genetically engineered foods.” Schrader’s position opposes his party’s platform.

If GMOs are “perfectly safe,” why are companies opposed to labeling? The entire question of the proposed bill that Schrader supports is not whether to get rid of GMOs but whether states can pass laws mandating labeling. As Harley Pasternak wrote in U.S. News and World Report, “So who are many of our elected officials serving? Could it be that that Monsanto, other chemical companies and big food companies regularly fill the coffers of our elected officials to fund their reelection campaigns? Just wondering.”

The argument from the committee, including Kurt Schrader, is that the legislature should decide what information people have. It’s the same patriarchal attitude that men held over women for centuries, and that also makes this bill about stopping GMO labeling a woman’s issues.

May 25, 2013

Genetically Modified Democracy*

“Take Action” was the theme of last Saturday’s blog; since then people have been doing just that, including those who were willing to be arrested in Washington, D.C. during their protest against unfair home disclosures.

Today, a global movement against the giant chemical and seed corporation Monsanto, was started by Tami Canal of Utah, who was fed up with having to spend “a small fortune” in order to feed her family things she says “aren’t poisonous.” Canal’s call for a “food fight” on Facebook has led to 436 demonstrations in 52 countries and 250 cities around the world with over 2 million participants.

A short-term goal of March against Monsanto was creating awareness about the serious consequences of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). I was telling my partner about my plans for the blog, and even she—coming from a family of farmers–questioned what was wrong with having genetically engineered seeds.

San DiegoAnother goal was to encourage people to boycott Monsanto-owned companies that market their unsafe products. Companies need a mandate to label GMOs, laws that Monsanto pays millions of dollars to oppose. Canal wrote about dangerous products for children: “Froot Loops is 100-percent genetically engineered, and that’s a children’s cereal. That’s irresponsible and unacceptable on so many levels.”

People also need to demand further scientific research on the health effects of GMOs. Studies already show that genetically modified foods lead to pre-cancerous cell growth, infertility, and severe damage to the kidneys, liver and large intestines. Chemical herbicides sprayed onto GMO crops cause hormone disruption, cancer, neurological disorders and birth defects.

The ultimate goal is a total ban on Monsanto in the United States in the same way that at least 60 other countries worldwide have done.

Monsanto’s industrial agriculture approach is lethal:

The profiteering poisonous chemical company poses as agribusiness. Monsanto made its fortune killing and maiming people through Agent Orange in the Vietnam War and carcinogenic toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s). These accumulate in plants and animals that make up our food supply. Chemicals linked to Monsanto’s Roundup pesticides are linked to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and cancer. The company’s genetically engineered seeds contain massive amounts of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides. Earlier this year, a French court declared Monsanto responsibility for the chemical poisoning of French grain grower, Paul Francois, who suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

In Hawaii, Monsanto was joined by Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and BASF to test their toxic chemicals, inundating the islands with over 5,000 tests and destroying the land and the health of the state’s natives. In addition to the use of deadly chemicals, Monsanto uses monocropping, repeatedly planting only one crop in the same spot. The system strips nutrients out of the soil and drives farmers to use the herbicide, Roundup. A side effect of the pesticides and fertilizers are climate change and reef damage, decreasing the biodiversity of Hawaii.

Now Monsanto is moving into the health food market. They have made a deal with DSM Nutritional Products to sell a new type of genetically engineered (GE) soybean: one with supposed nutritional benefits. This new soybean, filled with the typical Monsanto herbicides and other chemicals, is called the SDA Omega-3 soybean.

state departmentTaxpayers fund the State Department to support Monsanto. The biotechnology page of its Office of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Textile Trade Affairs reads: “Agricultural biotechnology helps farmers increase yields, enabling them to produce more food per acre while reducing the need for chemicals, pesticides, water, and tilling. This provides benefits to the environment as well as to the health and livelihood of farmers.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increased the limits of Roundup residue allowed on grains and vegetables to even more dangerous levels. At the same time, Monsanto, Dow, and the biotech industry have applied for approval of a new and highly controversial generation of super toxic herbicide-resistant GE crops, including “Agent Orange” (2,4-D and dicamba-resistant) corn, soybeans, and cotton.

Monopoly puts farmers out of work. Farmers are forced to pay Monsanto a fee every year that they use their seed originally created by the company. In a recent Supreme Court Case, 75-year-old soybean farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, was ordered to pay Monsanto over $85,000 in damages for using second-generation seeds genetically modified with Monsanto’s pesticide resistant “Roundup Ready,” treatment. He had planted seeds purchased from the local grain elevator, which is usually used for feed crop. Monsanto even sues farmers whose fields have become contaminated with Monsanto’s seeds.

Once Monsanto created a monopoly, it increased the price of the Roundup herbicide and squeezed out conventional farmers using non-transgenic seeds so that they could not compete in the market. The company also uses its power to coerce seed dealers out of stocking many of its competitor products. An anti-trust suit against Monsanto was quietly closed last year. Over 30 years ago, Monsanto began buying out such seed companies as Asgrow (soybeans), Delta and Pine Land (cotton), DeKalb (corn), Seminis (vegetables), and Holden’s Foundation Seeds.

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture has stated that “more than 1,000 small farmers kill themselves each month, most of them because of their massive GM-generated debts.”

Controlling the food leads to privatizing the water. Private corporations already own 5 percent of the world’s fresh water, and billionaires and companies, including Monsanto, are purchasing the rights to groundwater and aquifers. Monsanto is accused of dumping its toxic chemicals, including PCBs, dioxin, and glyophosate (Roundup) into the water supply of nations worldwide before it privatized the water sources, filtering the water and selling it back to the public.

bluntMonsanto runs the FDA and writes its own protection laws for politicians that it has purchased. Ex-Monsanto executives run the FDA that fails to research long-term effects of GMO products. This last spring, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)  put the “Monsanto Protection Act” into the Agricultural Appropriations provisions of the HR 933 Continuing Resolution spending bill, which stopped a federal government shutdown. [photo] The Act bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and keeps anyone from suing Monsanto regarding unsafe crops. Even if a court review determines that a GMO crop harms humans, the seeds can to be planted if the USDA approves them. Blunt said he “worked with” Monsanto to write it.

Environmental nightmares continue. Monsanto and other biotech conglomerates are connected to the decline of bee colonies in the US and abroad. When bees disappear, the food supply disappears. Butterflies and birds are also vanishing. The company has also concealed its pollution with toxic PCBs. Monsanto does not contribute to “sustainable agriculture” the way that it claims. Instead, it blocks adequate global food production. And more.

Monsanto’s policies and products promote pesticide resistance. Its increase of herbicide use perpetuates gene contamination because engineered genes tend to show up in non-GE crops.

State by state, legislators are introducing laws written by ALEC, the corporation-owned organization, to stop anyone from preventing Monsanto’s damage and allowing them to continue without judicial oversight. [photo]

Thanks to Tami Canal for increasing awareness of the mastermind behind the destructive pesticides and genetically engineered seeds that pervade the farm fields of the world.

Another person fighting Monsanto is Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who introduced an amendment to the upcoming Senate Farm Bill which would repeal the “Monsanto Protection Act.” This act will expire at the end of September when the temporary spending measure does unless it is rolled into the next one.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (V-I) proposed an amendment to the farm bill allowing Vermont and other states to require labeling on foods with GMO ingredients. Early in May, the Vermont House voted 99-42 calling for this legislation. Sixty-four countries around the world already require the labeling of genetically modified foods, including all of the European Union, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand. The American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association have passed resolutions that support labeling foods with genetically engineered ingredients.

Sanders’s amendments was voted down 71-27, and Merkley’s amendment was blocked in committee. Both said, however, they wouldn’t quit and agree that people have the right to know what’s in the food that they eat. Some people believe that states have a constitutional right to label food, if the federal government isn’t required to do this, thanks to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. This right has been ruled constitutional in federal court.

On the House side,  Rep. Steve King (R-IA) introduced a bill that “prohibits states from enacting laws that place conditions on the means of production for agricultural goods that are sold within its own borders, but are produced in other states”–meaning no GMO labeling. King’s amendment passed.

A new app, called Buycott, may help people avoid companies that sell GMOs. Although only on iPhone at this time, creators are working to develop one that can handle the enormous amount of traffic this this has generated.  Basically, you scan an item, and Buycott will show the corporate tree. If you join user-created boycott campaigns, you can see if it is made by one of the companies that paid to fight mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.

*Thanks to Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association for the title of the blog.

July 26, 2012

The Case of the Disappearing Bees

Bees are in danger, and Gretchen LeBush, a San Francisco researcher, wants to know how many of the native bee population exists. Three years ago, she started a program that asked volunteers to spend 15 minutes on one specific day to count native bees, like bumblebees. This year it’s August 11. Actually, volunteers can do this a few days before or after the target date because the counting has to be done on a sunny day. With the disappearance of the honey bees, LeBush is hoping that a healthy native bee population could help solve the problem of dying bees.

Bees are vital to pollinate our plants, but many people don’t know how important. Thirty percent of all crops and 90 percent of all wild plants depend on bee pollination to reproduce. Bees are vital to pollinate such crops as apples, squash, tomatoes, strawberries, almonds, and even chocolate.

Researchers know that during the past few years, honey bees have suffered from colony collapse syndrome. Starting in the early 1990s, 17-20 percent of the bee hives were lost every year until 2007 when a massive loss decreased the number of hives in some areas over 50 percent. The number of bee hives went from 4.5 million in 1980 to 2.44 in 2008. In determining the cause, people have guessed at a number of reasons: stress, urbanization, cell and cordless phones, mites, etc. One major reason is genetically engineered plants, new herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides; each new untested generation of chemicals worsens the problem.

Although real scientists have investigated the problem, chemical manufacturers employ their own scientists to refute factual information. These companies also purchase other businesses that could prevent this decline. Monsanto Co. , which develops genetically modified seeds, bought  Beeologics, biological research company that addresses the long-term well being of bees. Bayer CropScience, Sygenta, Dow Chemcial, Dupont, and others also lobby for the use of more chemicals to be used and for more genetically modified plants.

Neonicotinoids appeared at the same time as the honey bee decline. These nicotine-based pesticides, including the common imidachloprid, was supposed to be less toxic, but France and Italy have discovered differently and banned crop spraying with these pesticides. Germany has banned clothianidin because beekeepers found that it killed 50 to 60 percent of their bees. Even Slovenia has banned neonicotinoids. But the United States continues to approve its use.

It’s not as if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not known about the problems with these pesticides. Almost two years ago two EPA scientists, ecologist Joseph DeCant and chemist Michael Barrett, wrote an internal memo to the EPA’s insecticide risk management department expressing strong concerns that the pesticide is “highly toxic” to honeybees and warned their colleagues of “the potential for long term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects.”

Seven years earlier, the EPA gave Bayer only conditional approval of clothianidin for sale in 2003. That continued use started an ecological crisis that threatens the American agricultural system and the country’s food supply. Products that contain imidacloprid include Merit, Admire, Confidor, Connect, Evidence, Leverage, Muralla, Provado, Trimax, Premise and Winne. Imidacloprid was first patented in 1988, but it became much more popular in 2004 after the banning of diazinon, said beekeeper David Hackenberg. Bayer, which manufactures imidacloprid, claims that their product does direct kill the bees. Technically they may be correct, but, according to beekeepers observing the bees, the pesticide disorients the bees and causes them to disband.

Jerry Hayes of the Florida Department of Agriculture, found that imidachloprid causes bees to leave the colony and not return. He said that it “is highly unusual for a social insect to leave a queen and its brood or young behind.” The pesticide is designed to work that way. A method that imidachloprid uses to kill termites is that those feeding on the pesticide leave and can’t remember how to get home. Their immune systems also collapse.

A recent study published in the American Chemical Society’s journal of Environmental Science and Technology shows a strong link to the relationship between insecticides and mass die offs of honey bees. “Assessment of the Environmental Exposure of Honeybees to Particulate Matter Containing Neonicotinoid Insecticides Coming from Corn Coated Seeds” examined the technology used to plant the seeds and the use of neonicotinoid insecticides coated on corn seeds. Scientists determined the mass die offs may be caused by particles of the insecticide that reach the air when the drilling machines that are used for planting suck the seeds in and expel air, which contains the toxins. Researchers used different seeding methods and insecticide coatings, but all were found to kill bees that flew through the area.

Last March, Science magazine reported two studies about the devastation of bees. One explained that low levels of chemicals fog honeybee brains, making it harder for them to find their way home. Another study in that issue described how pesticides keep bumblebees from supplying their hives with enough food to produce new queens.

This past spring, 25 entomological, environmental and beekeeping groups filed a petition with the EPA contending the pesticide is an “imminent hazard” linked to honeybee colony collapse disorder. Yet, one week ago, with the information from studies showing the danger of the pesticide, the EPA denied this petition requesting emergency suspension of clothianidin, a neonicotinoid pesticide.

What happens with a sharp reduction in the number of bees? Reduced crop yields not only brings down the economy but also stops the exporting of food, resulting in famine. Shortage also moves high costs from rare metals to food to keep the precious substance for only the wealthy. A short term solution might be food rationing, but shortage of food causes hoarding and violence to obtain supplies which can result in death from starvation and killings. All this sounds dramatic, but the planet cannot afford to support 7 billion people without planning and care.


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