FDA Finds Weed Killer in Most Corn, Soy at 'Non-Violative Levels'
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released on Monday the final results of a "special assignment" that examined the residue levels of glyphosate and a competing herbicide glufosinate in corn, soy, eggs and milk during the fiscal year 2016.
Their labs detected glyphosate in 63 percent of the corn samples and 67 percent of the soybean samples at "non-violative levels," or in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) pesticide tolerances. Glufosinate was found in 1.4 percent of the corn samples and 1.1 percent of soybean samples, also within legal limits. No residues of either pesticide were found in the milk and egg samples.
The special assignment was part of the FDA's yearly monitoring report that reviewed 7,413 samples, including 6,946 human foods and 467 animal foods, for residues of 711 pesticides and industrial chemicals. This is the first year the agency tested glyphosate and glufosinate.
FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb was pleased with the report's results.
"Like other recent reports, the results show that overall levels of pesticide chemical residues are below the Environmental Protection Agency's tolerances, and therefore don't pose a risk to consumers," Gottlieb said in a press release.
The results are from our 2016 Pesticide Monitoring Program report which show that in more than 7,000 samples, the o… https://t.co/jLi8zpEd6i— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@Scott Gottlieb, M.D.)1538444226.0
Glyphosate is the star ingredient in Monsanto's widely used and controversial herbicide, Roundup, that's sprayed on crops that are genetically modified to resist applications of the weedkiller. In addition to killing weeds, it can also serve as a drying agent for crops before harvest.
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2016, but Monsanto and the EPA consider it safe. The chemical has come under increased scrutiny after a California jury ruled in favor of a former groundskeeper who claimed that constant use of Roundup caused his cancer.
As EcoWatch mentioned previously, even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the FDA routinely test thousands of food samples for residues of commonly used pesticides, the regulators have refused for decades to test for glyphosate because the government considers it safe.
I am calling on the FDA to speed up and make public their final report on the prevalence of the weed-killing chemic… https://t.co/lzNUf9wVh2— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer)1534726724.0
In 2014, the Government Accountability Office criticized both agencies for the failure to test regularly for glyphosate.
As the public's concerns of the pesticide continued to mount, the FDA began in 2016 its own limited testing program—the so-called "special assignment"—for glyphosate residues that only looked for traces in corn, soy, eggs and milk.
The EPA has established tolerances for glyphosate on a wide range of crops, including corn, soybean, oil seeds, grains and some fruits and vegetables, ranging from 0.1 to 310 parts per million.
In April, The Guardian reported that the FDA's own scientists found traces of the ubiquitous chemical in granola, crackers and other everyday foods.
"I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal, and corn meal from home and there's a fair amount in all of them," FDA chemist Richard Thompson emailed to colleagues in January 2017, per The Guardian.
An FDA spokesperson told the publication those tests were not considered part of the official glyphosate residue special assignment.
Roundup Revealed: Glyphosate in Our Food System https://t.co/ksUoUg5lIS— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@Robert F. Kennedy Jr)1496880729.0
By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Bill McKibben
To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.
By Oliver Milman
The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.
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America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.
Aerial view of the Tongass National Forest. Alan Wu / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
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By Ruby Russell and Ajit Niranjan
Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.
Pandemic Stalls Protests<p>Last November, the head of the UN Environment Program was among the public and scientific figures to warn that 2020 offered a last chance to cut emissions. Then, few could have suspected this deadline would coincide with an unprecedented public health emergency.</p><p>The pandemic has <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/tough-times-ahead-for-climate-protesters-during-corona-pandemic/a-52978469" target="_blank">dealt climate activism a blow</a>. Niedeggen says that as a movement demanding that the world act on scientific advice, the school strikers took lockdown restrictions extremely seriously, halted public protests immediately and took their activism online.</p><p>On April 24, Fridays for Future organized a "digital strike," with Niedeggen hosting a that racked up close to a quarter of a million views. "We were not physically standing together, but we were all fighting together," she says.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-strikers-get-inventive-during-the-covid-19-crisis-fridays-for-future/a-53229262" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Activists also gathered thousands of placards</a> from across Germany to lay out in front of the German Bundestag around the central slogan: "Fight every crisis."</p>
Opportunity for a New Normal<p>Last September's Global Climate Strike drew young and old protestors around the world, with organizers estimating a global turnout of 7.6 million, including an estimated 270,000 people in Berlin. Activists have adjusted this year's event to account for social distancing and different levels of coronavirus restrictions in cities taking part.</p><p>They say COVID-19 also presents opportunities.</p><p>"The pandemic shows that we can change our normal daily life, and we are very able to adjust to a situation of crisis," she says. The key question is how economies get back on their feet: "We have the possibility to build a new normal, to build a renewable world order, and an environmentally just, climate-just normal for everybody."</p><p>In July, Jeng was among 20 female Fridays for Future activists from the Global South to sign an open letter to G20 finance ministers warning that their decisions in "exclusive backrooms" over stimulus packages and corporate bailouts would "lock in development pathways for decades."</p><p>"The system is not broken, it was built to be unjust. We don't need recovery, we need a reboot," the letter reads, stressing that "black people, indigenous peoples and people of color," have been disproportionately hit by the economic, climate and coronavirus crises. </p>
Policy 'Not Quite There Yet'<p>Figures on stimulus spending do not suggest their words had much impact. The ministers were criticized for failing to relieve the debt of poorer countries, and according to <a href="https://www.energypolicytracker.org/region/g20/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Policy Tracker</a>, G20 countries by August had pledged $169 billion (142 billion euros) to fossil fuels since the beginning of the pandemic.</p><p>Katrin Uba, associate professor of political science at Uppsala University in Sweden, is researching Fridays for Future. She says that despite the movement raising awareness and gaining access to policymakers, real policy change "is not there yet."</p><p>Still, she stresses that social movements go through waves of mobilization as public attention on their core issues ebbs and flows. And perhaps one of Fridays for Future's biggest achievements is birthing a politically active generation that will keep the fight up long after corona becomes a memory. </p><p>"We know clearly from our research that many of the people who came to the streets hadn't done any protesting before in their lives," she told DW. "And we also know that if you do one protest, you are likely to do more."</p>
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