Millions at risk as deadly fungal infections acquire drug resistance

Scientists have warned that potentially deadly fungal infections are acquiring resistance to many of the medicines currently used to combat them. More than a million people die of fungal infections every year, including about 7,000 in the UK, and deaths are likely to increase as resistance continues to rise. Researchers say the widespread use of fungicides on crops is one of the main causes of the rise in fungal resistance, which mirrors the rise of resistance to antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections in humans. Fungi are everywhere. We breathe in more than 100 spores of aspergillus every day. Normally our immune systems mop them up but, when our disease defences are compromised – for example, during cancer treatments or after traumatic injuries – they lose the ability to fight back.

— source theguardian.com | 2016/aug/27

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64% of global agricultural land at risk of pesticide pollution

The study, published in Nature Geoscience, produced a global model mapping pollution risk caused by 92 chemicals commonly used in agricultural pesticides in 168 countries. The study examined risk to soil, the atmosphere, and surface and ground water.

The map also revealed Asia houses the largest land areas at high risk of pollution, with China, Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines at highest risk. Some of these areas are considered “food bowl” nations, feeding a large portion of the world’s population.

64 percent of the world’s arable land is at risk of pesticide pollution. Pesticides can be transported to surface waters and groundwater through runoff and infiltration, polluting water bodies, thereby reducing the usability of water resources.

— source University of Sydney | Mar 30, 2021

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Test finds glyphosate in California wines

A toxic pesticide linked to cancer and autism, glyphosate, is pervasive in agriculture and a new study reveals it has even made its way into California wines. The testing, reported by national coalition for GMO awareness Moms Across America, found traces of glyphosate in 100 percent of wines evaluated, including organic and biodynamically produced wines that are made from grapes grown without direct pesticide applications. Ten different wines from Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties were all found to contain glyphosate, suggesting the chemical drifts from conventional farms and lands just about everywhere.

— source inhabitat.com | 2016

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Global Ban on Glyphosate

President of the Portuguese Medical Association, José Manuel Silva, is calling for a worldwide ban on Big Ag’s most used herbicide, glyphosate. With so many health concerns surrounding the chemical, its days are surely numbered. The announcement follows the World Health Organization’s Cancer research arm, the IARC, called glyphosate ‘probably carcinogenic,’ followed by the State of California’s move to force Monsanto to label Round Up bottles with a carcinogen warning. In the last decade, glyphosate use has increased about 50%, with 1400 tons applied in 2010 alone. In total, more than 130 million tons a year are used around the world. Because of this glyphosate is routinely detected in food, air, rainwater and rivers, urine, blood and even breast milk.

— Read more naturalsociety.com

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6,600 Farmers Die of Pesticide Poisoning Every Year in India

In a comprehensive study published on Monday, December 8, scientists estimated that about 385 million people, particularly among farmers and agriculture workers, are poisoned by pesticides every year including 11,000 deaths per year. Among the fatalities, nearly 60% or 6,600 deaths per year occur in India. This means 44% of the worldwide farming population (total 860 million) are poisoned by pesticides every year. On March 23, the cental government introduced Pesticides Management Bill 2020 in Rajya Sabha to replace the Insecticides Act, 1968.

— source bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com, newsclick.in | 09 Dec 2020

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Three Maharashtra Farmers Sue Syngenta in Switzerland

On September 17, three farmers from Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district filed a lawsuit in a civil court in Basel, Switzerland, seeking monetary compensation from agrochemical giant Syngenta firm. Two of the applicants are women farmers who claim they have lost their husbands to poisoning due to spraying Syngenta’s Polo pesticide on their cotton fields in 2017. The third applicant himself is a farmer who survived the alleged poisoning. In 2017, over 700 cotton farmers and agricultural workers were hospitalised complaining of pesticide poisoning in the state’s Vidarbha region and at least 23 farmers died in Yavatmal alone. Majority of the victims belonged to Tribal communities.

— source newsclick.in | 19 Sep 2020

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Decline in US bird biodiversity related to neonicotinoids

Bird biodiversity is rapidly declining in the U.S. The overall bird population decreased by 29% since 1970, while grassland birds declined by an alarming 53%. Birds hold a key place in ecosystems worldwide. When bird numbers and varieties dwindle, pest populations increase and much-needed pollination decreases. Those examples alone negatively impact food production and human health. Likely reasons for the far-reaching and devastating declines include intensified agricultural production, use of pesticides, conversion of grassland to agricultural land, and climate change. A new study from University of Illinois points to increased use of neonicotinoid insecticides as a major factor in the decline.

— source University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences | Aug 14, 2020

Bayer Reaches $10 Billion Settlement Over Roundup Cancer Lawsuits

Agribusiness giant Bayer announced Wednesday that it reached a more than $10 billion deal to settle thousands of lawsuits that claimed exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup caused cancer. A statement from Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018—and thus inherited lawsuits targeting the widely used weedkiller—said the settlement affects “75% of the current Roundup litigation involving approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims overall.” Terms of the settlement include Bayer paying $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current lawsuits—”including an allowance expected to cover unresolved claims.” The deal also includes $1.25 billion to cover potential future settlements, the company said.

— source commondreams.org, reuters.com | Jun 24, 2020

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Hawaiian Island Approves Anti-Pesticide Protections

Legislators on one Hawaiian island recently passed their own bill restricting pesticide use by companies developing genetically modified plants. Because of its location, Kauai has become a hot spot for new genetically modified crops, particularly corn, which is grown by companies including DuPont, Syngenta and Dow. But residents say pesticides from the fields are making them sick. Last week the Kauai County Council passed a measure that requires the companies to disclose which pesticides they use and establishes buffer zones around medical facilities, schools and homes.
2013

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