PN 87 March 2010 E-mail

Quarterly/September 2010

Editorial


UK public consultation on EU pesticide legislation
The UK Government has just launched a public consultation on how
European Union pesticides legislation should be being implemented.
This legislation could result in significant changes to the way
pesticides are used in the UK and lead to better protection for the
public and the environment from the negative effects of pesticides.
Nick Mole reports.
Plus Atrazine review reopens in US


Provision of health care for Bhopal survivors

The provision of proper health care for the survivors of the Bhopal
gas disaster has been constrained by inappropriate and sub-standard
treatment in government hospitals. These problems are characteristic
of the poverty-health scenario in India. Homi Katrak shows that the
burden of health-care faced by the Bhopal survivors has been greater
than that incurred by other low-income persons in India. This burden
is exacerbated by a health legacy that means many forgo essentials
which further lowers their standard of living


Resistant weeds cast a shadow over glyphosate-resistant crops
Genetically modified herbicide tolerant (GMHT) crops were sold to
farmers on the basis that they would save money by reducing
herbicide use and make weed control simpler. However, this promise
has rapidly faded as weeds resistant to Roundup, the main herbicide
used with GM crops, have developed. Pete Riley, Campaign Director
for GM Freeze reports.


Do pesticides make people suicidal? – findings from China

Many deaths from pesticide poisoning are a result of suicide. Is this
because those suffering depression are more likely to commit suicide
if suitable means are available? Dr Robert Stewart believes the link is
more insidious and that exposure to neurotoxic pesticides may cause
the suicidal thoughts in the first place. He reports on a recent study in
China

Developing pesticide free rodent control for southern Africa
Rodent populations cause devastating damage within African
communities devastating growing and stored crops, carrying disease
and damaging personal possessions. Steven Belmain reports on the
ECORAT project, in which a consortium of largely African
researchers, worked with communities in Tanzania, Namibia and
Swaziland to develop sustainable and ecological strategies to manage
and reduce and rat populations.


Genetically engineered crops increase pesticide use in United States

Agribusiness’ claims that genetically engineered (GE) crops reduce
pesticide use have been repeatedly challenged by their critics. A new
report from Chuck Benbrook addresses this debate exploring the
impact of GE corn, soybean, and cotton on pesticide use in the United
States (US). Drawing principally on data from the US Department of
Agriculture (USDA), Benbrook finds that GE crops have been
responsible for an increase of 173,700 tonnes of herbicide use in the
US over the first 13 years of commercial use (1996-2008). This
dramatic increase swamps the decrease in insecticide use attributable
to GE corn and cotton, making the overall chemical footprint of
today’s GE crops decidedly negative. The report identifies the primary
cause of the increase - the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Plus Hundreds of apple farm workers poisoned in Chile

EU finally bans methyl bromide, but promoters aim for re-registration
Despite long-term work to reduce methyl bromide use under the
Montreal Protocol and the recent ban of its use within Europe,
promoters are pressing for its re-registration. Rachel Sutton reports.

Toxic groundwater –Bhopal’s second disaster
The 1984 explosion of the Union Carbide chemical factory in Bhopal,
India, was the world’s worst industrial accident. Eight to ten thousand
people died in the immediate aftermath and many thousands more
died in the following years. Twenty five years have now passed and
the factory site, right in the heart of Old Bhopal, has never been
cleaned up. It continues to release toxic chemicals into Bhopal’s soil
and groundwater. Colin Toogood describes ‘Bhopal’s second disaster’.


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