A Weekly News Update on Pesticides, Health and Alternatives
See PANUPS updates service, for complete information.
September 7, 2006
Household pesticides in children: With the phase-out of organophosphate pesticides for use in the home, pyrethroid pesticides are being used for more residential applications. New research documents that children's household exposure to pyrethroid pesticides is greater than their exposure from food. According to the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, “Depending on the compound and the dose, pyrethroids may affect neurological development, disrupt hormones, induce cancer, and suppress the immune system.” Researchers at Emory University and U.S. Centers for Disease Control studied children during the summer of 2003 to determine the source of the pyrethroid contamination, while feeding them an organic diet. Read more.
Organic farming degree from U. of Florida: Joining Colorado State and Washington State Universities, the University of Florida has announced that it, too, would offer a degree in organic farming. With organic food sales growing at the average rate of 20% per year, the new degrees reflect the need for farmers to keep up with growing demand. The Miami Herald reports that organic farming is one sector where small farmers can earn a premium on their investment. The Herald interviewed Ryan Zinn, from the Organic Consumers Organization, who said that consumer choices for buying organic from a “really a localized food system, is not a flash in the pan.'' Read the story here.
Rice contaminated with GE variety: According to the Washington Post, “Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced late yesterday that U.S. commercial supplies of long-grain rice had become inadvertently contaminated with a genetically engineered variety not approved for human consumption. Johanns said the company that made the experimental rice, Bayer CropScience of Monheim, Germany, had provided information to the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration indicating that the rice poses no threats to human health or the environment… The variety, known as LLRICE 601, is endowed with bacterial DNA that makes rice plants resistant to a weedkiller made by the agricultural giant Aventis.” The story recalls the discovery of StarLink genetically engineered corn in the U.S. food supply in 2000, originally found by Friends of the Earth and the Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition (of which PANNA was a member), in taco shells manufactured by Kraft Foods. StarLink, a type of corn engineered by Aventis to produce an insecticidal protein and grown for animal feed, was not approved for human consumption by EPA because the corn exhibited allergenic characteristics. In 2002, StarLink showed up in corn in Bolivia, provided by US AID. Read more in PANUPs.
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