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By John R. Platt

It starts with the whiff of death.

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Children's health is most at risk from exposure to chlorpyrifos. Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

Corteva, formerly part of the chemical manufacturing giant Dow Chemical, announced today that it would stop making chlorpyrifos — a toxic, brain-harming pesticide commonly sprayed on various U.S. food crops, including apples, oranges, and berries — by the end of the year.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Worker spraying toxic pesticides or insecticides on corn plantation. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images

Poor people in developing countries are far more likely to suffer from exposure to pesticides classified as having high hazard to human health or the environment, according to new data that Unearthed analyzed.

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Hanging on a gate is a sign reading: "Potatoes — healthy and delicious." The slogan, to which the word "rare" could justifiably be added, is in line with Cornel Lindemann-Berk's philosophy of quality over quantity. "We don't have enough rain in the summer," he tells DW. "And since we don't want to water them, we've turned this weakness into a strength."

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A firefly perched on a blade of grass, its abdomen lit in bright yellow light. James Jordan Photography / Moment / Getty Images

Human activity threatens to make summer nights a little less magical.

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By Eoin Higgins

President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday wrapped up a regulatory review of the safety of the weedkiller glyphosate and found the chemical poses no risk to human health — a decision that was immediately decried by advocates as another indication of the closeness between the administration and private sector interests.

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Spraying chemicals on rice crop in Japan. Stockbyte / Getty Images

Scientists announced today that pesticide use on rice fields led to the collapse of a nearby fishery in Lake Shinji, Japan, according to a new study published in the journal Science.

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Farm workers spray pesticides on newly planted strawberries on a farm along the Pacific Coast. GomezDavid / E+ / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

Last month the Food & Drug Administration published its latest annual analysis of the levels of pesticide residues that contaminate the fruits and veggies and other foods we Americans routinely put on our dinner plates. The fresh data adds to growing consumer concern and scientific debate over how pesticide residues in food may contribute – or not – to illness, disease and reproductive problems.

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A statue of José Martí appears to point toward the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on Nov. 10, 2018. Robot Brainz / Flickr

A mysterious sudden onset of extreme symptoms that overtook American and Canadian diplomats stationed in Cuba may be linked to an overexposure to pesticides, according to new research.

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Chlorpyrifos is commonly used by farmers on many popular crops such as grapes. lovro77 / E+ / Getty Images

A popular agricultural pesticide that has been linked to brain damage in children will no longer be sold in California starting in February, state officials announced on Wednesday, as the AP reported.

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Insects play a vital role in ecosystems and humans are particularly dependent on them for food. Dmitry Grigoriev / Unsplash

By Ajit Niranjan

Seven 'no-regret' actions could rescue insects on the road to extinction, a new roadmap for conservation says, helping ecosystems even where a lack of research means scientists cannot prove benefits to individual species.

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Mrs. Beatrice Sebyala stands within her crop of maize at her farm in Nakasongola, Uganda. Beatrice uses her farm as a demo and example for other farmers. Uganda is home to the most organic producers in Africa. In Pictures Ltd. / Corbis / Getty Images

Organic farmers in Africa face an arduous journey getting cropland certified, limiting exports and frustrating farmers who say ecological practices could increase food security while protecting the land.

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Locusts swarm from ground vegetation as people approach at Lerata village, near Archers Post in Samburu county, approximately 186 miles north of Nairobi, Kenya on Jan. 22. "Ravenous swarms" of desert locusts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia threaten to ravage the entire East Africa subregion, the UN warned on Jan. 20. TONY KARUMBA / AFP / Getty Images
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

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A man spreads pesticides on a plantation of vegetables in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Ze Martinusso / Moment Open / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Pointing to the deaths of more than half a billion bees in Brazil over a period of just four months, beekeepers, experts and activists are raising concerns about the soaring number of new pesticides greenlighted for use by the Brazilian government since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January — and the threat that it poses to pollinators, people and the planet.

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A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

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Workers spray toxic pesticides on a corn plantation. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images
When it comes to banning harmful pesticides, the U.S. lags behind the European Union (E.U.), China and Brazil, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Health. Eighty-five pesticides currently in use across the country have been banned or are in the process of being phased out in the three nations, in large part due to their harmful impact on human health or the environment.
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Insects like bees, butterflies and even certain species of beetle and ant incidentally pollinate our crops when they collect protein-rich pollen and sugary nectar. Rolf Dietrich Brecher / CC BY 2.0

By Kerstin Palme

Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.

But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.

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A child plays under the heavy smoke of factories in Dilovasi, Turkey on Nov. 7, 2006. BULENT KILIC / AFP / Getty Images

A Turkish food engineer, columnist and human rights advocate was sentenced to 15 months in prison last week for publishing an environmental paper that linked pollution to a high incidence of cancer in Western Turkey, according to Science Magazine.

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American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn and strawberries. Stephanie Chapman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.

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