Toxic Pesticides Found in Drinking Water

by Dr. Mercola, Guest, Waking Times

Modern agricultural practices have led to ever-increasing amounts of chemicals being used on our food, and whether we’re talking about pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, most have deleterious effects on health.

According to the latest report on pesticide residues in food by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a mere 15 percent of all the food samples tested in 2015 were free from pesticide residues. In 2014, over 41 percent of samples had no detectable pesticide residues on them.1

That just goes to show how quickly our food is being poisoned. At that trajectory, we may eventually find out none of the non-organic food sold in 2016 or 2017 was pesticide-free.

Recent news has highlighted a number of problems associated with this out-of-control use of agricultural chemicals, starting with atrazine.

Atrazine, the ‘Forgotten’ Toxin

Atrazine, the second most commonly used herbicide in the U.S. after glyphosate, has been linked to many disturbing health effects. Despite that, it has not received nearly the same public attention glyphosate has. A recent KCET story2 with focus on atrazine notes its effects are in many cases actually worse than glyphosate.

“If it wasn’t for Roundup, atrazine would probably be the most controversial herbicide on the planet,” Chris Clarke writes. “It’s the pesticide most commonly found as a runoff contaminant in rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands.

It can travel hundreds of miles on airborne dust from the farm fields where it’s applied in order to contaminate those wetlands, and can persist for decades once it gets there.

It’s been linked to reproductive abnormalities in frogs, hormonal changes in alligators, and serious harm to other wildlife populations. And it can even promote fungal diseases in the soil by killing off beneficial fungi while leaving the pathogens.”

Atrazine Is a Potent Health Hazard

Atrazine is the most common water contaminant in the U.S., where it was initially approved for use in 1958. It’s been banned in Europe since 2005, and groundwater contamination was in fact one of the determining factors behind this decision.

An estimated 70 million pounds of atrazine are applied to agricultural fields in the U.S. each year, the vast majority of it being used on corn.3

Independent research4 shows atrazine causes hermaphroditism in frogs (turning males into egg-laying females) by inducing an enzyme called aromatase, which causes overproduction of estrogen. For this reason, atrazine is also suspected of contributing to breast cancer. Research has also shown atrazine:

  • Blocks testosterone production
  • Is a potent endocrine disruptor
  • Chemically castrates wildlife and causes sexual reproductive problems in a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds, fish and amphibians
  • Induces miscarriage in laboratory rodents
  • Reduces immune function in animals

Studies looking at human cells and tissues suggest the chemical likely poses similar threats to human health. For example, one study linked atrazine exposure in utero to impaired sexual development in young boys, causing genital deformations, including microphallus (micropenis).

The evidence5,6 also suggests atrazine exposure may contribute to a number of different cancers, specifically breast cancer, ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia and thyroid cancer.

Elevated concentrations of atrazine in drinking water have also been associated with birth defects in the human population, including abdominal defects, gastroschisis (in which the baby’s intestines stick outside of the baby’s body) and others.

Bee Killing Pesticides Contaminate Drinking Water

Neonicotinoids, pesticides linked to bee die-offs around the world, are another water contaminant Americans have to contend with. Water testing by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2015 showed neonicotinoids are present in more than half of all streams tested.

Similar findings were recently made in Switzerland by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology.7 There, watercourses were found to be contaminated with 128 different agricultural chemicals: 61 herbicides, 45 fungicides and 22 insecticides.

All streams and brooks tested failed to meet Swiss water quality standards. Thresholds for acute toxicity to aquatic life were also exceeded.

Now, a team of investigators at the USGS and the University of Iowa report8 finding three different neonicotinoids — clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — in all samples of treated drinking water.9,10 Water treatment facilities simply are not equipped to filter out most pesticides.
The water samples were collected from taps in Iowa City and on the University’s campus. Measured in parts per trillion, neonicotinoids were found at concentrations ranging from 0.24 to 57.3 nanograms per liter.

While the concentrations were quite low, there’s really no telling what the health effects might be, especially when you consider all the other chemical contaminants found in most tap water. Research has shown that even non-toxic ingredients can have toxic effects when combined.

By acting on various pathways, organ systems, cells and tissues, the cumulative effects of non-carcinogenic chemicals can act in concert to synergistically produce carcinogenic activity. As noted by lead author Dr. William Goodson:11

“[W]hat we’re realizing … [is] that there’s reason to think that it doesn’t take one chemical to take it all the way from normal to cancer. One chemical can take it part way, another chemical will take it another portion of the way, and maybe a second, third or fourth chemical will take it all the way.”

Carbon Filters Can Significantly Reduce Pesticide Contaminants

In theory, water treatment will render your tap water safe to drink. But there are several limitations to the process that leave most tap water questionable at best.

Many chemicals simply cannot be filtered out. Pesticides, drugs, radioactive particles and fluoride are all common water contaminants that are very difficult to  effectively remove…

more…

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/04/22/toxic-pesticides-found-drinking-water/

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How Western Civilisation Could Collapse

apocolyp

by Soren Dreier
Author: Rachel Nuwer

The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.

Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilisation, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. Putting aside species-ending events like an asteroid strike, nuclear winter or deadly pandemic, history tells us that it’s usually a plethora of factors that contribute to collapse. What are they, and which, if any, have already begun to surface? It should come as no surprise that humanity is currently on an unsustainable and uncertain path – but just how close are we to reaching the point of no return?

While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, mathematics, science and history can provide hints about the prospects of Western societies for long-term continuation.

Safa Motesharrei, a systems scientist at the University of Maryland, uses computer models to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that can lead to local or global sustainability or collapse. According to findings that Motesharrei and his colleagues published in 2014, there are two factors that matter: ecological strain and economic stratification. The ecological category is the more widely understood and recognised path to potential doom, especially in terms of depletion of natural resources such as groundwater, soil, fisheries and forests – all of which could be worsened by climate change.

That economic stratification may lead to collapse on its own, on the other hand, came as more of a surprise to Motesharrei and his colleagues. Under this scenario, elites push society toward instability and eventual collapse by hoarding huge quantities of wealth and resources, and leaving little or none for commoners who vastly outnumber them yet support them with labour. Eventually, the working population crashes because the portion of wealth allocated to them is not enough, followed by collapse of the elites due to the absence of labour. The inequalities we see today both within and between countries already point to such disparities. For example, the top 10% of global income earners are responsible for almost as much total greenhouse gas emissions as the bottom 90% combined. Similarly, about half the world’s population lives on less than $3 per day.

For both scenarios, the models define a carrying capacity – a total population level that a given environment’s resources can sustain over the long term. If the carrying capacity is overshot by too much, collapse becomes inevitable. That fate is avoidable, however. “If we make rational choices to reduce factors such as inequality, explosive population growth, the rate at which we deplete natural resources and the rate of pollution – all perfectly doable things – then we can avoid collapse and stabilise onto a sustainable trajectory,” Motesharrei said. “But we cannot wait forever to make those decisions.”…

Read More…

http://sorendreier.com/how-western-civilisation-could-collapse/

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Watchers of the earth

Resultado de imagem para A Moken woman stares out to sea.Photo

Native knowledge. A Moken woman stares out to sea. Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket/Getty

Indigenous peoples around the world tell myths which contain warning signs for natural disasters. Scientists are now listening

Carrie Arnold is a freelance science writer, whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Scientific American and Slate, among others. Her latest book is Decoding Anorexia (2012). She lives in Virginia.

Shortly before 8am on 26 December 2004, the cicadas fell silent and the ground shook in dismay. The Moken, an isolated tribe on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, knew that the Laboon, the ‘wave that eats people’, had stirred from his ocean lair. The Moken also knew what was next: a towering wall of water washing over their island, cleansing it of all that was evil and impure. To heed the Laboon’s warning signs, elders told their children, run to high ground.

The tiny Andaman and Nicobar Islands were directly in the path of the tsunami generated by the magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Final totals put the islands’ death toll at 1,879, with another 5,600 people missing. When relief workers finally came ashore, however, they realised that the death toll was skewed. The islanders who had heard the stories about the Laboon or similar mythological figures survived the tsunami essentially unscathed. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern Nicobar Islands. Part of the reason was the area’s geography, which generated a higher wave. But also at the root was the lack of a legacy; many residents in the city of Port Blair were outsiders, leaving them with no indigenous tsunami warning system to guide them to higher ground.

Humanity has always courted disaster. We have lived, died and even thrived alongside vengeful volcanoes and merciless waves. Some disasters arrive without warning, leaving survival to luck. Often, however, there is a small window of time giving people a chance to escape. Learning how to crack open this window can be difficult when a given catastrophe strikes once every few generations. So humans passed down stories through the ages that helped cultures to cope when disaster inevitably struck. These stories were fodder for anthropologists and social scientists, but in the past decade, geologists have begun to pay more attention to how indigenous peoples understood, and prepared for, disaster. These stories, which couched myth in metaphor, could ultimately help scientists prepare for cataclysms to come.

Anyone who has spent time around small children gets used to the question ‘why?’ Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? Why does thunder make such a loud noise? A friend’s mother told us that thunder was God going bowling in the sky. Nature need not be scary and unpredictable, even if it was controlled by forces we could neither see nor understand.

The human penchant for stories and meaning is nothing new. Myths and legends provide entertainment, but they also transmit knowledge of how to behave and how the world works. Breaking the code of these stories, however, takes skill. Tales of gods gone bowling during summer downpours seems nonsensical on the surface, but know a little about the sudden thunderclaps and the clatter of bowling pins as they’re struck by a ball, and the story makes sense.

In 1968, Dorothy Vitaliano, a geologist at Indiana University, pioneered the study of cultural myths that told of real geological events. Ancient Sanskrit tales told of entire cities that sunk beneath the waves with all the hallmarks of a tsunami. Plato’s story of the utopian Atlantis, destroyed by the gods in a wreckage of fire, might have referred to a volcano that partially destroyed the Greek island of Thera more than 3,500 years ago…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/indigenous-myths-carry-warning-signals-about-natural-disasters

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Trees Have Their Own Songs

trees
Posted by Soren Dreier
Author: Ed Yong

Just as birders can identify birds by their melodious calls, David George Haskell can distinguish trees by their sounds. The task is especially easy when it rains, as it so often does in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Depending on the shapes and sizes of their leaves, the different plants react to falling drops by producing “a splatter of metallic sparks” or “a low, clean, woody thump” or “a speed-typist’s clatter.” Every species has its own song. Train your ears (and abandon the distracting echoes of a plastic rain jacket) and you can carry out a botanical census through sound alone.

“I’ve taught ornithology to students for many years,” says Haskell, a natural history writer and professor of biology at Sewanee. “And I challenge my students: Okay, now that you’ve learned the songs of 100 birds, your task is to learn the sounds of 20 trees. Can you tell an oak from a maple by ear? I have them go out, pour their attention into their ears, and harvest sounds. It’s am almost meditative experience. And from that, you realize that trees sound different, and they have amazing sounds coming from them. Our unaided ears can hear how a maple tree changes its voice as a soft leaves of early spring change into the dying one of autumn.”

This acoustic world is open to everyone, but most of us never enter it. It just seems so counter-intuitive—not to mention a little hokey—to listen to trees. But Haskell does listen, and he describes his experiences with sensuous prose in his enchanting new book The Songs of Trees. A kind of naturalist-poet, Haskell makes a habit of returning to the same places and paying “repeated sensory attention” to them. “I like to sit down and listen, and turn off the apps that come pre-installed in my body,” he says. Humans may be a visual species, but “sounds reveals things that are hidden from our eyes because the vibratory energy of the world comes around barriers and through the ground. Through sound, we come to know the place.”

In his first book, The Forest Unseen, Haskell trekked to the same patch of Tennessee forest and described how a single square meter changed over a year. His keen observations and achingly beautiful narration earned him a spot on the Pulitzer finalist list in 2012. Now, he brings the same sensibility to his sophomore effort. In The Song of Trees, he visits a dozen specially chosen trees, including: a pear tree in the heart of Manhattan; an olive tree in Jerusalem; a sabal palm, roughing the salt and sun of a Georgian beach; a towering, rain-drenched ceibo in Ecuador; and a bonsai pine that survived the Hiroshima bombing and now lives in Washington, D.C. Each of these protagonists is a focal point for stories about the natural world.

But Haskell doesn’t treat the trees as individuals. He sees them as “nature’s great connectors,” living symbols of the book’s great theme—that life is about relationships.

Roots draw nutrients from symbiotic fungi and communicate with neighboring bacteria. Leaves sniff the air to detect the health of neighbors, while releasing alarm chemicals that summon caterpillar-destroying parasites. Seeds are dispersed by far-flying birds. Photosynthetic cells harness the power of sunlight using structures evolved from free-living microbes. And these kinds of relationships are ancient: A balsam fir that Haskell encounters in Ontario exemplifies this idea; it grows on rocks that contain the corpses of bacterial colonies that lived 1.9 to 2.3 billion years ago.

“The fundamental nature of life may be not atomistic but relational,” Haskell says. “Life is not just networked; it is network.”

Haskell sees life, as exemplified by trees, as less about the stories of individuals and more as “temporary aggregations of relationships.” And death, then, is the de-centering of those relationships, as the “self degenerates into the network. “There’s an ash log here in Tennessee, which is close to where I teach. I had been waiting for years in the forest to be there exactly when a big tree falls, and that particular log blew me away with how many cool creatures came in and used it. It even put out a few buds in the years after it fell. Compared to humans, the difference between life and death seems a lot less clear to me for a tree, and you could argue that its afterlife was more life-giving to the forest than its life.”…

more…

http://sorendreier.com/trees-have-their-own-songs/

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Europe is on the Brink of Completely Banning Bee-Killing Insecticides

by Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer, Waking Times

As the first North American bumble bee has been officially added to the list of endangered species in the U.S., the European government is making a move to prohibit the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are widely believed to be a major contributing factor to the rapid collapse of the world’s bee and pollinator insect populations.

The European commission (EC) has drafted regulations which would end the use of neonics, a family of agrichemicals which pose a ‘high acute risk to bees.’ As The Guardian reports:

“The EU imposed a temporary ban on the use of the three key neonicotinoids on some crops in 2013. However, the new proposals are for a complete ban on their use in fields, with the only exception being for plants entirely grown in greenhouses. The proposals could be voted on as soon as May and, if approved, would enter force within months.” [Source]

Other pesticides are also included in the ban, and for those who consider the loss of pollinator insects to be a most critical issue today, this is also good news.

“However, the European commission (EC) has decided to move towards implementing a complete ban now, based on risk assessments of the pesticides by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), published in 2016.

..the EC concluded that “high acute risks for bees” had been identified for “most crops” from imidacloprid and clothianidin, both made by Bayer. For thiamethoxam, made by Syngenta, the EC said the company’s evidence was “not sufficient to address the risks”.” [Source]

While agrichemical companies would like us to believe that more research is needed to disprove the presumption that these chemicals are of no harm to the environment and necessary to feeding the world, others insist we need to stop using them now.

“The science is catching up with the pesticide industry – the EU and UK government must call time on neonics. Going neonic-free puts farmers more in control of their land instead of having to defer to advice from pesticide companies.” ~Paul de Zylva, Friends of the Earth

Final Thoughts

One has to wonder when the reality will sink into American public and political consciousness that bees and pollinators are critical to our lives, our food supply and even our economy.

“As honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bee pollination; one crop, almonds, depends entirely on the honey bee for pollination at bloom time.

For many others, crop yield and quality would be greatly reduced without honey bee pollination. In fact, a 1999 Cornell University study documented that the contribution made by managed honey bees hired by U.S. crop growers to pollinate crops amounted to just over $14.6 billion.” ~American Beekeeping Federation

The new proposals could be voted on in coming months, and if passed implementation of this policy could begin as early as this year.

About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider ofstorable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article (Europe is on the Brink of Completely Banning Bee-Killing Insecticides) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.
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Insane, Genocidal Japan May Recycle Fukushima Radioactive Soil For Parks And Green Areas

Japan ponders recycling Fukushima soil for public parks & green areas

Workers move big black plastic bags containing radiated soil. Fukushima prefecture, near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. © Toru Hanai / Reuters

Japan ponders recycling Fukushima soil for public parks & green areas

Soil from the Fukushima prefecture may be used as landfill for the creation of “green areas” in Japan, a government panel has proposed, facing potential public backlash over fears of exposure to residual radiation from the decontaminated earth.

The advisory panel of the Environment Ministry on Monday proposed reusing soil that was contaminated during the Fukushima nuclear meltdown of 2011 as part of future landfills designated for public use, Kyodo news reported.

In its proposal, the environmental panel avoided openly using the word “park” and instead said “green space,” apparently to avoid a premature public outcry, Mainichi Shimbun reported.

Following an inquiry from the news outlet, the Ministry of the Environment clarified that “parks are included in the green space.”

In addition to decontaminating and recycling the tainted earth for new parks, the ministry also stressed the need to create a new organization that will be tasked with gaining public trust about the prospects of such modes of recycling.

To calm immediate public concerns, the panel said the decontaminated soil will be used away from residential areas and will be covered with a separate level of vegetation to meet government guidelines approved last year.

In June last year, the Ministry of the Environment decided to reuse contaminated soil with radioactive cesium concentration between 5,000 to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram for public works such as nationwide roads and tidal banks.

Under these guidelines, which can now be extended to be used for the parks, the tainted soil shall be covered with clean earth, concrete or other materials.

Such a landfill, the government said at the time, will not cause harm to nearby residents as they will suffer exposure less than 0.01 mSv a year after the construction is completed.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an earthquake and a killer tsunami that knocked out the facility, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes. Three of the plant’s six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

https://www.rt.com/news/382515-japan-recycling-fukushima-soil/

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