Saturday, March 30, 2019

The European Union will soon ban a suspected carcinogenic fungicide which remains in use in Canada today. Ottawa remains silent.

by Larry Powell
The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), a branch of the European Union, has declared that chlorothalonil "may cause cancer in humans." Several of the agency's findings were based on tests with lab rats. But it obviously believes their metabolisms are sufficiently similar to ours, to place chlorothalonil in "carcinogenicity category 1B - may cause cancer in humans." 
Chlorothalonil is the active ingredient in 
several agricultural fungicides used to treat mildew, blight and mold in many crops.    

According to the newspaper, The Guardian, it is the most widely-used pesticide in all of the UK and the the most popular fungicide in the U.S. It's been used, worldwide, since the '60s.

A project based at Simon Fraser University, BC,  CAREX, reports that 581 tonnes of 
chlorothalonil were sold in that province alone in 2010 - 1,121 tonnes in Ontario in 2008. No figures are given for usage in other provinces. CAREX (short for CARcinogen Exposure) is made up of experts dedicated to informing Canadians about dangers they face from cancerous substances.

But the group also sounds alarms similar to those now raised in Europe. "Chlorothalonil is associated with cancer of the kidney and stomach." 

While Statistics Canada does not give a breakdown of active ingredients, the federal agency says almost one in four (23%) of all crop farms in this country applied fungicides of one kind or another in 2011. And it adds, farmers in Manitoba used fungicides "more frequently than those in any other province."

Here's what the European study finds: 

·      Chlorothalonil binds to red blood cells, delaying its removal from the body. 
·      It is very toxic if inhaled and can cause serious damage to the eyes and skin. 
·      It mainly attacks the kidneys and forstomach, producing both benign and malignant tumours. 
·      The treated lab animals were slow to mature sexually and gave birth to underweight young.
·      It produces acute risks to amphibians and long-lasting damage to fish.                                          
.      It could pose a hazard to groundwater, especially when it exceeds allowable standards.
·      But there was too little information to determine whether it harms wild mammals, aquatic species other than fish, or bees. (Earlier research, however, has linked it to diminishing numbers of bumblebees, as well.)
The study was peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

The Agency's conclusion was strikingly similar to one by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015. That's when the WHO ruled that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world's most popular weedkiller, Roundup, "probably causes cancer in humans." 

Canadian regulators take a dramatically different approach.

Less than a year ago, Canada's Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, PMRA - a division of Health Canada - released results of its "re-evaluation" of chlorothalonil. 

The agency did impose some restrictions, including its use on cut flowers grown in greenhouses. But its main finding was: "Most current standards for protection of human health or the environment. It’s continued registration is acceptable." 

In Canada, the fungicide is sold under brand names such as "Daconil" and "Bravo."

It's offered as a treatment for a host of diseases in crops, including corn and soybeans. It's made and sold by such chemical giants as Syngenta. 

At this writing, it has now been well over three weeks since I emailed the PMRA for a response. I have not heard back.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

The destruction of the Earth is a crime. It should be prosecuted. Opinion.

George Monbiot  - The Guardian.

Ashcroft Reserve wildfire - Look Lake, BC, 2017. Photo by Shawn Cahill
Businesses should be liable for the harm they do. Polly Higgins is pushing to make that happen. Story here.

"People are Dying." A must-see video about the importance of addressing the climate crisis.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Professor at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) is calling for the killing of Canada's entire population of wild pigs - by Larry Powell

Dr. Ryan Brook, Associate Professor in the College Agriculture
and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Ryan Brook says such a drastic and aggressive move would be justified because the animals can carry deadly disease such as African Swine Fever. ASF entered China, the world's largest hog producer, some time ago, forcing major culls of domestic animals there. It is feared the disease could spread to North America and that wild pigs could prove to be carriers and infect commercial swine herds in the US and Canada. It is believed such an eventuality would devastate the pork industry on this continent.

Dr. Brook suggests the wild animals could be captured in nets dropped from helicopters, then killed with bolt guns. He claims big ground traps and human ground crews could effectively catch and kill entire groups.
Wild pigs in winter. A Pexels photo.
He adds, while he respects sports hunters, their methods are not effective at controlling wild hog numbers. That's because they tend to fragment populations and make them harder than ever to capture. He says a plan to eradicate Canada's wild pig population is urgently needed and requires co-operation on a national and international scale.

Dr. Brook was speaking on the radio program "Farmscape," sponsored by the hog industry in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Frack sand mine in Manitoba, Canada endangers climate and First Nation (Video)

Cyclone Idai shows the deadly reality of climate change in Africa

The Guardian - opinion.
Volunteers distribute donated goods to those in need.
Photo by Columbus Mayhunga/VOA
Vain promises and empty slogans have got us nowhere. Fossil-fuel extraction must end before more lives are lost. Details here.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Climate change affecting fish in Ontario lakes, study reveals

A lake in northwestern Ontario. Photo by PinP.
Warmer temperatures are having a ripple effect on food webs in Ontario lakes, according to a new University of Guelph study. Story here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When development and conservation clash in the Serengeti

University of Copenhagen - SCIENCE NEWS
A proposed new road could disrupt the migration of animals like this in the Serengeti.
Photo by eismcsquare.
New or upgraded roads in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem around Serengeti National Park will not reduce growing pressure on the ecosystem, a study shows. Story here.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Beat the Heat: Canada's French-fry potatoes in climate change trouble

Canadian Science Publishing
After PEI, Manitoba is Canada's largest potato-producing province. 
Over 1200 million pounds are processed here each year on about 80 thousand acres. 
A PinP photo.
Desiccating summer heat, brought on by climate change, could have adverse effects on Canada's potato industry. In a recent study, researchers examined the heat stress response of 55 potato varieties to estimate how they might fare under changing climate conditions. The news is not good.  Details here.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban

Church & State - By J.C. Weatherby 
I have said for years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the US - at least throughout the deep south.  Story here.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria widespread in Ontario waterways

Canadian Science Publishing

It turns out antibiotic-resistant bacteria are far more ubiquitous than previously thought. A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology tested the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in four aquatic environments in southern Ontario—and found them everywhere. Story here.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Enormous Painted Lady Migration in California

Daily Kos
A painted lady.
Things are shaping up for 2019 to be another massive migration year for Painted Lady butterflies.  Story here.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sharp rise in Arctic temperatures now inevitable – UN

The Guardian
Icebergs in the high Arctic. Photo by Brocken Inaglory.
Temperatures likely to rise by 3-5C above pre-industrial levels even if Paris goals met. Story here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Coal power stations disrupt rainfall, global study finds

A coal-fired power plant in Poland. Photo by Petr Stefek.
Modern coal-fired power stations produce more ultrafine dust particles than road traffic and can even modify and redistribute rainfall patterns, a new 15-year international study shows. Story here.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fatal horizon, driven by acidification, closes in on marine organisms in Southern Ocean

A tiny sea creature at the California Academy of Sciences.
Photo by Brian Skipworth

Marine microorganisms in the Southern Ocean may find themselves in a deadly vise grip by century's end as ocean acidification creates a shallower horizon for life, new University of Colorado Boulder research finds. More here.

The Roundup row: is the world’s most popular weedkiller carcinogenic?

The Guardian
Producer Monsanto is facing thousands of lawsuits from customers who now have cancer. But not all experts are convinced of a link…Story here.

But not all suspicions about Roundup are confined to its effects on humans. What about food crops and livestock? Watch my video, below and decide for yourself!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Green Party of Manitoba opposes "frack" sand operation

Green Party of Manitoba.
A Green Party of Manitoba Environment Advocate Dave Nickarz has sent a letter to Minister squire in opposition to the proposed Wanipigow Sand Extraction Project. For a copy of that letter, click here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Australia's marine heatwaves provide a glimpse of the new ecological order

The Guardian
An ocean under human siege.
A Pexels photo.
Receding kelp forests, jellyfish blooms and disruption to fisheries are just some of climate change’s impacts on the ocean. Story here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The last great tree: a majestic relic of Canada's vanishing rainforest

Spared by the loggers’ chainsaws, a Douglas fir perhaps 1,000 years old stands in splendid isolation on Vancouver Island. Story here.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Oceans that are warming due to climate change yield fewer fish

Science News
A Wikimedia photo.
Some areas have seen up to a 35 percent decline in how many fish can be harvested sustainably.  Story here.

Extinction Rebellion Rising Up In Canada

Humans are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Governments and world leaders are failing to protect us. The time for gradual, incremental and non-disruptive climate action has come and gone. To survive, it will take everything we’ve got. It will take rebellion. ~ Below2°C Editor. Story here.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Peace camp set up in Manitoba's Hollow Water First Nation to oppose sand mine project

APTN national news.
A proposed silica sand mine project on Lake Winnipeg has one First Nations community divided. Story here.

Related: Frack sand mining coming to Manitoba. And soon.

Insecticide Linked to Increased Breast Cancer Risk — 40 Years After Exposure

A Wikimedia photo.
“Environmental exposures that occur during important periods of breast development can play a role in later-life breast cancer risk,” states one cancer specialist. Story here.

The Arctic may be sea-ice-free in summer by the 2030s

  Nature Communications                                                 Photo by Patrick Kelley   The Arctic could be sea-ice-free during th...