Chemicals & Pesticides

Pesticides are substances that prevent, destroy, repel, or reduce the severity of pests. Pests are living things that occur where they are not wanted or that cause damage to humans, crops, or animals. Pests can be insects, rodents, unwanted plants, bacteria, viruses, or different types of fungus. Pesticides can vary in how toxic they are to humans and the environment. Some are persistent in the environment, animals, and birds, lasting for years; others break down soon after they are released. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants licenses, or registrations, to pesticides that it has found do not pose unreasonable risks to human health and the environment; it has registered at least 865 pesticides, which are used in thousands of pesticide products.

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Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Nov. 13, 2017

Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Nov. 13, 2017

USDA scraps overhaul of GMO and gene edited crop regulations that biotech advocates viewed as ‘unscientific’ | Paul McDivitt Gene therapy ...
NGO opposition to GMO, gene-edited crops not rooted in emotion and dogma, research suggests

NGO opposition to GMO, gene-edited crops not rooted in emotion and dogma, research suggests

In 2016, 107 Nobel Laureates signed an open letter calling on Greenpeace to desist from campaigning against agricultural biotechnology and ...
UK backs complete EU ban of neonicotinoid insecticides, citing harm to pollinators

UK backs complete EU ban of neonicotinoid insecticides, citing harm to pollinators

The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has ...
Stalemate continues: EU fails to agree on glyphosate herbicide renewal as deadline looms

Stalemate continues: EU fails to agree on glyphosate herbicide renewal as deadline looms

An EU vote has failed to resolve a controversy over the use of glyphosate, the world's biggest-selling weedkiller. ... The ...
IARC rejects US House science committee's request to testify on glyphosate cancer report scandals

IARC rejects US House science committee’s request to testify on glyphosate cancer report scandals

The International Agency for Research on Cancer will not comply with a House science committee's request related to the agency's conclusions on ...
'We are those farmers': Why you shouldn't villainize farmers who use GMOs—or the food they grow

‘We are those farmers’: Why you shouldn’t villainize farmers who use GMOs—or the food they grow

[Editor's note: Kate Lambert and her husband grow corn and soybeans in Brookfield, Mo.] We are those farmers they want you ...
Scientists warn EU policymakers that farm pesticides could be to blame for insect declines

Scientists warn EU policymakers that farm pesticides could be to blame for insect declines

A recent study showed a 75% decline in Germany’s insect population over a period of almost 30 years but the European Crop ...
Viewpoint: Taxpayer-funded Canadian news agency promotes 'fake news' about glyphosate herbicide's health risks

Viewpoint: Taxpayer-funded Canadian news agency promotes ‘fake news’ about glyphosate herbicide’s health risks

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interviewed anti-GMO activist scientist Theirry Vrain and published an article featuring several false and misleading claims ...
France rejects 5-year renewal for glyphosate herbicide; wants 3-year license instead

France rejects 5-year renewal for glyphosate herbicide; wants 3-year license instead

France will oppose a European Commission proposal to renew authorisation for controversial weedkiller glyphosate for five years instead of 10, ...
Large long-term farm study finds no statistically significant cancer link to glyphosate herbicide

Large long-term farm study finds no statistically significant cancer link to glyphosate herbicide

A large long-term study on the use of the big-selling weedkiller glyphosate by agricultural workers in the United States has ...
Bacteria-armed mosquitos approved for US release in fight against Zika, dengue and yellow fever

Bacteria-armed mosquitos approved for US release in fight against Zika, dengue and yellow fever

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of a common bacterium to kill wild mosquitoes that transmit ...
Viewpoint: After Christopher Wild departure, next IARC chief must fix 'beleaguered' agency

Viewpoint: After Christopher Wild departure, next IARC chief must fix ‘beleaguered’ agency

With the sudden departure of IARC head Christopher Wild, here's a wish list put together by David Zaruk, who offers ...
Organic industry's bitter divide over hydroponics is about philosophy—and market share

Organic industry’s bitter divide over hydroponics is about philosophy—and market share

Dave Chapman and dozens of other longtime organic farmers packed a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Jacksonville, ...
EU farmers union: Glyphosate herbicide renewal dispute 'undermines' Europe's scientific credibility

EU farmers union: Glyphosate herbicide renewal dispute ‘undermines’ Europe’s scientific credibility

EU farmers’ union Copa-Cogeca has rejected the Commission’s revised proposal for a five year re-authorisation of glyphosate, claiming that such ...
Ecological Armageddon? Scientists criticize media coverage of insect study that raised questions about farm pesticide use

Ecological Armageddon? Scientists criticize media coverage of insect study that raised questions about farm pesticide use

Results of a study of insects in protected areas across Germany earned dramatic headlines warning of "ecological Armageddon". ... [T]he ...
Will herbicide drift damage push non-GMO farmers to buy dicamba-resistant seeds?

Will herbicide drift damage push non-GMO farmers to buy dicamba-resistant seeds?

About 4 percent of all soybean crops planted in the United States have been damaged by a weed killer this ...
Natural insecticide created with spider venom and genetically modified yeast

Natural insecticide created with spider venom and genetically modified yeast

Scientists have noticed the powerful punch some spider venoms pack, and have started looking to them for inspiration for all kinds ...
Viewpoint: Challenges to glyphosate, neonic safety shows science under attack from 'viral misinformation'

Viewpoint: Challenges to glyphosate, neonic safety shows science under attack from ‘viral misinformation’

The news of scientific prejudice [in the decision by IARC stating that glyphosate was a likely carcinogen, on top of ...
Closing gap between rich and poor farmers: CRISPR gene editing targets disease, pests and climate

Closing gap between rich and poor farmers: CRISPR gene editing targets disease, pests and climate

Gene editing technology could revolutionize the way scientists breed high-yielding drought, disease and pest resistant, quality plant seeds, greatly reducing ...
EU glyphosate herbicide ban would make weed control harder for French winegrowers

EU glyphosate herbicide ban would make weed control harder for French winegrowers

Bad weather this year has already prompted a steep drop in French wine output, contributing to a 50-year low in global ...
Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Nov. 6, 2017

Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Nov. 6, 2017

Viewpoint: Why GMO crops are planet’s best ecological choice | Eshna Gogia When genetic engineering came of age: World’s first GMO—GE ...
Viewpoint: Confirmation bias, conflicts of interest plague 'science' behind glyphosate cancer claims

Viewpoint: Confirmation bias, conflicts of interest plague ‘science’ behind glyphosate cancer claims

Anti-biotech activists hate the herbicide glyphosate, sold by Monsanto under the brand name Roundup. Those activists won a victory in ...
USDA allows 'organic' label for soil-less farming, upsetting movement's founders

USDA allows ‘organic’ label for soil-less farming, upsetting movement’s founders

The pioneers of the sustainable farming movement are mourning what they call the downfall of the organic program, following a Wednesday ...
Dicamba herbicide drift damaged 3.6 million acres of soybean crops in 25 states

Dicamba herbicide drift damaged 3.6 million acres of soybean crops in 25 states

A weed killer called dicamba has damaged more than 3.6 million acres of soybean crops, or about 4 percent of ...
No signs of resistance to GMO Bt corn in Europe after 16 years of use

No signs of resistance to GMO Bt corn in Europe after 16 years of use

The majority of Bt maize production in the European Union (EU) is concentrated in northeast Spain, which is Europe’s only hotspot where ...
Bangladesh releases high-yielding disease-resistant wheat variety to farmers

Bangladesh releases high-yielding disease-resistant wheat variety to farmers

As wheat farmers in Bangladesh struggle to recover from a 2016 outbreak of a mysterious disease called “wheat blast,” the country’s National ...
Australia imports over 60 GMO food crops—but farmers can only grow one

Australia imports over 60 GMO food crops—but farmers can only grow one

Food derived from 60 genetically modified crops can be imported into Australia, but local growers can only grow one GM ...
Viewpoint: Anti-GMO activist Doug Gurian-Sherman's Food Evolution review misrepresents Uganda banana research

Viewpoint: Anti-GMO activist Doug Gurian-Sherman’s Food Evolution review misrepresents Uganda banana research

[Editor's note: Patricia Nanteza is a science communicator at Uganda's National Banana Research Program. The following is excerpted from her letter to ...