Trump’s EPA Greenlights a Nasty Chemical. A Month Later, It Poisons a Bunch of Farmworkers.

GR:  Trump’s head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a corporate shill who’s been placed in charge of limiting corporate excesses. Of course, people, wildlife, and natural ecosystems will suffer.

Pgian/iStock

“On May 5, more than 50 farmworkers outside of Bakersfield, California, were exposed to a highly toxic pesticide that apparently drifted from a nearby field—at a high enough level that “twelve people reported symptoms of vomiting [and] nausea and one person fainted,” reports the television news station Kern Golden Empire. “An additional twelve workers did not show signs of any symptoms,” the station reported. “However more than half of the farm workers left before medical aide arrived.”

“Public health authorities took the poisoning quite seriously. “Anybody that was exposed, that was here today, we encourage them to seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait. Particularly if you’re suffering from any symptoms. Whether it’s nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately,” Michelle Corson, public relations officer at Kern County Public Health, said in an announcement to the TV station.

“According to the news report, the poisoning was caused by a chemical called chlorpyrifos. A spokeswoman for the Kern County Department of Public Health said the department assumes chlorpyrifos was the active ingredient in the pesticide in question, but the matter is still under investigation by the Kern County Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards. A spokesman for that office said test results pinpointing the chemical are pending but would not be done for at least a week. Dow AgroSciences, one of the main makers of the chemical, did not respond to phone calls and emails.

“Many public health experts, scientists, and environmentalists have for years been pushing for a ban on chlorpyrifos, and last year it was looking like the Environmental Protection Agency intended to instate one. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, exposure to the chemical through inhalation can cause initial symptoms like “tearing of the eyes, runny nose, increased saliva and sweat production, nausea, dizziness and headache,” followed by possible “muscle twitching, weakness or tremors, lack of coordination, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and pupil constriction with blurred or darkened vision.” Chlorpyrifos is an endocrine disrupter, and major studies (here, here, and here) have found strong evidence to suggest that even at very low doses, the chemical triggers effects among children ranging from lower IQ to higher rates of autism. More here.

“But in March, the EPA abruptly changed its stance on chlorpyrifos, greenlighting it instead of banning it. The decision, among the first major ones made by Scott Pruitt in his tenure as EPA chief, caused outrage in public health circles. Dow AgroSciences applauded the decision. “Dow AgroSciences remains confident that authorized uses of chlorpyrifos products offer wide margins of protection for human health and safety,” the company declared in a press release.” –Tom Philpott (More: Trump’s EPA Greenlights a Nasty Chemical. A Month Later, It Poisons a Bunch of Farmworkers. | Mother Jones.)

Wildlife Service kills

GR:  This interactive map shows counts of bears, bobcats, mountain lions, and wolves killed by the U. S. government’s Wildlife Service.  The legend is on the “Layers” drop-down menu.  Since more than a third of all U. S. mammals have disappeared over the past 50 years, and since more than half of the 400 mammal species in the U.S. are at risk of eventual extinction, it would seem that our wildlife management agency should choose nonlethal techniques.  They can’t however, because a mostly uninformed public does not want to pay the extra cost.  This same ignorance keeps us driving our polluting automobiles and powering our homes with coal and oil; it keeps Monsanto’s poisonous pesticides falling on our food and the food of our wildlife, and it keeps American-made bombs falling in other parts of the world.  Of course, the ignorance would quickly fade were it not for the greed-motivated deceptions of our “leaders.”

Source: Wildlife Service kills

Environment: Study finds neonicotinoid pesticides widespread in streams across the U.S.

Will fish and water bugs be decimated by systemic pesticides?

FRISCO — Neonicotinoid pesticides are spreading throughout the environment with as-yet unknown effects on human health, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The agency found the systemic pesticides in more than half the streams sampled across the country and in Puerto Rico during a survey between 2011 and 2014. This study is the first to take a nationwide look at the prevalence of neonicotinoid insecticides in agricultural and urban settings.

The research spanned 24 states and Puerto Rico and was completed as part of ongoing USGS investigations of pesticide and other contaminant levels in streams.  Sourced through Scoop.it from: summitcountyvoice.com.

GR:  The levels are low, but here’s the thing:  They are not alone.  Several other classes of chemical wastes are in the water.  We know that insects such as dragonflies are responding to something in the water, so it would be prudent to asses the combined impact of neonicotinoids and other chemicals on wildlife.

Progress toward the perfect pea

A group at the John Innes Centre has developed peas that will help animals absorb more protein from their diet. The study is published in PLOS ONE today.

Pea and other legume seeds contain several proteins that stop nutrients being absorbed fully in the intestines. One such class of molecule is the protease inhibitors. These slow down the rate at which humans, poultry or livestock digest proteins by incapacitating the enzymes that break them down. Previous nutritional studies with broiler chickens have shown that peas with proteins which disrupt digestion can reduce protein availability by up to 10%.  Sourced through Scoop.it from: phys.org

GR:  The purpose of the genetic manipulation described here is improving nutrition.  This is far better than changing a. appearance, b. shelf-life, c. transport tolerance, or D. RESISTANCE TO PESTICIDES.  GMOs with improved nutrition are welcome.  GMOs with improved nutrition and a., b, and c. changes are okay.  GMOs with D. changes are never welcome and should be totally banned.  Pesticides must be totally banned.