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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The modern global textile and fashion industries rely on many chemical dyes to create patterns and colors, but these often produce toxic wastewater. Engin Akyurt / Pixabay

Fast fashion has been called the second dirtiest industry in the world, next to big oil, and how we color our clothes is a large part of the problem. Now, Colorifix, a UK biotech company founded by Cambridge University scientists, has developed a new way to dye clothes that doesn't harm the planet.

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Madeleine_Steinbach / iStock / Getty Images

Krill oil has gained a lot of popularity recently as a superior alternative to fish oil. Basically, the claim goes, anything fish oil can do, krill oil does better. Read on to learn what makes krill oil supplements better than fish oil supplements, why you should consider these vitamin supplements, and which brands we recommend.

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The new report points to various studies documenting insect loss, including 2018 research finding 41% of insect species are in decline and that one-third of all insect species are threatened by extinction. Wikimedia Commons

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday draws attention to the worldwide decline in insects and calls for global policies to boost the conservation of both agriculture and the six-footed creatures.

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Biologist releases GMO mosquitoes in Piracicaba, Brazil on Feb. 11, 2016. Victor Moriyama / Getty Images

By Natalie Kofler, Françoise Baylis, Graham Dellaire, Landon J Getz

Every year, around one million people die of mosquito-borne diseases according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This is why mosquitoes are considered one of the deadliest living creatures on the planet — not because they are lethal themselves, but because many of the viruses and parasites they transmit are.

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The USDA announced it would leave oversight on GMOs to the companies producing the organisms. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

Food safety advocacy groups objected to the Trump administration's latest assault on the country's agricultural regulatory framework as the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Thursday it would leave oversight on GMOs to the companies producing the organisms.

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A shop owner shows a customer a live chicken for sale in the Wanchai markets of Hong Kong on December 30, 2016. ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP / Getty Images

By Reynard Loki

The exact origin of the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which started the COVID-19 pandemic, is still unclear. Early reports suggested that the virus jumped from an animal to a human at Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a "wet market" that sells live animals. On March 30, the international team of scientists assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report of their recent visit to Wuhan to investigate the source of the virus and confirmed the "zoonotic source of SARS-CoV-2."

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A widely circulated video makes unsubstantiated medical claims about the coronavirus. m-gucci / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo are among the companies scrambling to remove a coronavirus conspiracy video called 'Plandemic,' as The Washington Post reported.

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The EPA announced that soybean farmers in 25 states are allowed to spray Alite 27, a cancer-causing weedkiller known to drift 1,000 feet. fotokostic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

In the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that soybean farmers in 25 states are allowed to spray Alite 27, a cancer-causing weedkiller known to drift 1,000 feet from where it was sprayed, according to The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

To approve new use for the herbicide, which has the chemical name isoxaflutole and is manufactured by German-chemical giant BASF, the EPA had to skirt around the usual public comment period for the decision. The registration for isoxaflutole was opened for public comment, but it was never listed in the federal register. Agencies almost always provide notice that they are considering a new rule in the federal register, according to to The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

"The press release caught everyone off guard, we were just waiting for the EPA to open the comment period, and we never saw it," said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, referring to an EPA press release, as the AP reported.

The spray, which is already used on corn in 33 states, can be sprayed on crops that have been genetically engineered to resist the herbicide. Commodity farmers praised the decision and touted the weedkiller as an indispensable tool in their arsenal of supplies to push back against new "super weeds" that have grown resistant to several types of herbicides, including glyphosate, or RoundUp, the most commonly used herbicide in the U.S., as to The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting reported.

"One of the biggest challenges growers face is resistant weeds, and the soybean market needed a new residual active ingredient to help fight against them," said Darren Unland, Technical Marketing Manager, BASF Agricultural Solutions, in a company press release. "Alite 27 herbicide will provide growers with another pre-emergent herbicide option to layer into their herbicide program for effective, season-long control."

Comments like Unland's were the only ones that appeared in the public register. In fact, there were 54 comments in the public register and all of them were in praise of Alite 27, neglecting that it is a known carcinogen and that the drift of the herbicide is potentially harmful to nearby farms and farmers.


"Clearly no one from the public health community knew about this because no one commented," Donley said, as The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting noted. "Yet there was all these industry comments, all these positive comments. Someone was tipped off that this docket had been opened. One side was able to comment, the other wasn't."

While BASF and the EPA insist that they followed protocol and there was a month-long protocol for issuing public comment, the one-sided comments certainly raise eyebrows. The EPA, however, did put limits on the use of the potent herbicide, only allowing it in certain counties in 25 states and not in Indiana or Illinois, the two largest soybean-producing states.

"This is basically an herbicide that shouldn't be approved at all for any use. It's that bad really on both the human health and environmental fronts," said Bill Freese, science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, a national nonprofit public interest and environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment, according to The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Freese insisted he was ready with an arsenal of facts for the public comment period, but he never saw it. Amongst the facts that Freese wanted to present was the EPA's own statement that isoxaflutole is a likely carcinogen that damages human liver enzymes, it contaminates ground water, it travels long distances from where it was sprayed, and its label is extremely complicated. It requires farmers to know their soil type and the height of their water table.

"It's outrageous," Freese said to The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. "They knew this is a bad news chemical, and it was very likely done because they didn't want to give environmental groups the opportunity to comment on this, so they can avoid scrutiny."

Air pollution from sources such as car exhaust is linked to macular degeneration, or AMD. ssuaphoto / Getty Images

Air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of progressive and irreversible vision loss, a large, long-term study found.

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Guido Cavallini / Cultura / Getty Images

By Stacy Malkan

If you like to give friends and family the gift of knowledge about our food, we're here with recommendations for 2019 books and movies that illuminate the issues close to our hearts. At U.S. Right to Know, we believe that transparency – in the marketplace and in politics – is crucial to building a healthier food system for our children, our families and our world. Kudos to the journalists and filmmakers who are exposing how powerful food and chemical industry interests impact our health and the environment.

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By Simon Coghlan and Kobi Leins

A remarkable combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and biology has produced the world's first "living robots."

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A giant Galápagos tortoise inspired biologist Linda Cayot's career conserving the Galápagos Islands. Arturo de Frias Marques / Wikipedia / CC by 3.0

By Jane Braxton Little

Linda J. Cayot's scientific focus for the day was a male giant tortoise, part of her dissertation research on the ecology of these iconic Galápagos reptiles. When her study animal lumbered into a swirling torrent of muddy El Niño waters, the intrepid scientist jumped in, too. Together they banged against rocks, his carapace and her daypack catching on tree branches as they thumped in tandem down the river to the lowlands of Santa Cruz Island.

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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The modern global textile and fashion industries rely on many chemical dyes to create patterns and colors, but these often produce toxic wastewater. Engin Akyurt / Pixabay

Fast fashion has been called the second dirtiest industry in the world, next to big oil, and how we color our clothes is a large part of the problem. Now, Colorifix, a UK biotech company founded by Cambridge University scientists, has developed a new way to dye clothes that doesn't harm the planet.

Read More Show Less
Madeleine_Steinbach / iStock / Getty Images

Krill oil has gained a lot of popularity recently as a superior alternative to fish oil. Basically, the claim goes, anything fish oil can do, krill oil does better. Read on to learn what makes krill oil supplements better than fish oil supplements, why you should consider these vitamin supplements, and which brands we recommend.

Read More Show Less
The new report points to various studies documenting insect loss, including 2018 research finding 41% of insect species are in decline and that one-third of all insect species are threatened by extinction. Wikimedia Commons

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday draws attention to the worldwide decline in insects and calls for global policies to boost the conservation of both agriculture and the six-footed creatures.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Biologist releases GMO mosquitoes in Piracicaba, Brazil on Feb. 11, 2016. Victor Moriyama / Getty Images

By Natalie Kofler, Françoise Baylis, Graham Dellaire, Landon J Getz

Every year, around one million people die of mosquito-borne diseases according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This is why mosquitoes are considered one of the deadliest living creatures on the planet — not because they are lethal themselves, but because many of the viruses and parasites they transmit are.

Read More Show Less
The USDA announced it would leave oversight on GMOs to the companies producing the organisms. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

Food safety advocacy groups objected to the Trump administration's latest assault on the country's agricultural regulatory framework as the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Thursday it would leave oversight on GMOs to the companies producing the organisms.

Read More Show Less