Time to confront Arcata’s evil neighbor Sun Valley Floral Farms

The man with the power to stop this – Sun Valley CEO and President Lane DeVries

Don’t be fooled by the expanse of pretty irises growing between Foster Avenue and Bay School Road in the Arcata Bottom.

Earlier this year, Sun Valley Floral Farms sprayed that field with the carcinogen glyphosate (aka Roundup) without adequately informing neighbors, the three nearby schools, or anyone in the densely populated Greenview/Windsong neighborhood of Arcata, all of which were downwind of the spraying.

In 2015 the World Health Organization declared glyphosate a “probable carcinogen.” Later the state of California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals that cause cancer. Since then Monsanto and its parent company Bayer, which produces glyphosate, have suffered several high-profile court losses to victims of glyphosate who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. By now managers of any company that uses glyphosate should well know that in doing so they risk giving workers and neighbors cancer. (A new study shows when combined with other risk factors Glyphosate dramatically increases the risk of breast cancer)*TE

The Arcata Bottom tract is new to Sun Valley’s floral production. It was formerly used to feed cattle, with no chemicals needed. Yet over summer Sun Valley was at it again, spraying the same field with yet another carcinogen: chlorothalonil.

In this case, I watched it happen. My presence was coincidental, as spraying occurred with no public notice. On the afternoon of July 30 a Sun Valley operator sprayed chlorothalonil onto the company’s new field. It was chilling to watch the day’s predictable northwest breeze wafting the chemical across Bay School Road right into neighbors’ homes and yards, and presumably into Arcata.

The next day a large troupe of agricultural workers tarried in this very field, presumably absorbing the toxic impacts of a long-lasting chemical like chlorothalonil. (I learned that the chemical was chlorothalonil by contacting the Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner’s office.)

The state and federal governments list chlorothalonil as a probable human carcinogen and reproductive toxin. Chlorothalonil can contaminate the air traveling beyond the field and has been found in residential neighborhoods in many areas where it is applied. It is a potential groundwater contaminant, is persistent in soils, and is acutely toxic to fish, crabs, and frogs.

In 2016 (the last year for which statistics are available) Sun Valley used 1,152 pounds of chlorothalonil in Humboldt County. Now that the company is cultivating a new field its use of chlorothalonil has undoubtedly risen.

Also in 2016, Sun Valley applied 1,621 pounds of captan—a mutagen and carcinogen that can cause respiratory damage and is highly toxic to fish—and 171 pounds of thiophanate-methyl. Thiophanate-methyl is a possible human carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor.

(The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences defines endocrine disruptors as “chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.”) Other dangerous and toxic chemicals used by Sun Valley include diuron (birth defects, groundwater contamination, destruction of aquatic invertebrates) and the infamous 2,4-D (developmental and reproductive toxin, a possible human carcinogen, potential groundwater contaminant).

It’s bad enough that Sun Valley uses these poisons for non-food crops that could easily be produced without them. It’s infuriating that the company would waltz onto a brand new field, formerly free of toxics, and blithely contaminate it as well. Sun Valley might blandly state that “we adhere and comply with state and federal laws” in applying the chemicals, but this may not even be true.

The company has no legal right to contaminate the waters and wildlife of California, which are owned by the people, and Sun Valley certainly has no legal right to poison its workers and its neighbors. Without extensive and expensive monitoring there is no way to adequately ascertain the extent of such contamination.

Companies like Sun Valley count on this difficult process, and deferent county and state officials, to protect their “right” to do whatever they want, no matter the human and environmental costs.

The County of Humboldt and the City of Arcata, and its residents, need to step up and object to Sun Valley’s contamination. There is no reason these irises cannot be grown organically, except that it might cost a penny or two more on the dollar.

So instead, Sun Valley management, including company CEO and President Lane DeVries, has opted to impose these costs onto the lives of workers, neighbors, and the environment.

Greg King Mad River Union Oct 2, 2019

California tells the truth about Glyphosate

Monsanto is bad. In an age where facts and truth are ambiguous, a clearer thought has never crossed my mind. Monsanto might even be one of the most depraved organizations in American history; at least top ten. But Monsanto keeps winning because corrupt government officials keep working with the company to hide just how toxic one of its top-selling products is (among other things). Yeah, we’re talking about Roundup.

Given that Monsanto has its biologically engineered hands in practically everything to do with American agriculture, it’s rare to see any institution — let alone an entire state — take on the giant. But California just did it. On Wednesday, the state’s Environmental Health Hazard Assessment listed Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as cancer causing.

Glyphosate probably causes cancer. And Monsanto knows it. The official who lead the EPA’s investigation into whether Roundup caused cancer literally bragged that he “should get a medal” for killing the administration’s inquiry during a call with the company. Right now at least 800 people are suing Monsanto after allegedly contracting non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from the pesticide, according to CNN.

California’s decision to list glyphosate as cancer-causing comes from an independent analysis published by the International Agency for Cancer Research. Its findings said that the pesticide is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Despite Monsanto’s best effort to fight California’s labeling, the state’s Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by the company to halt glyphosate’s classification. As of July 7, the chemical will be categorized as “known to the state to cause cancer.”

Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Co’s popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday.

Monsanto vowed to continue its legal fight against the designation, required under a state law known as Proposition 65, and called the decision “unwarranted on the basis of science and the law.” The listing is the latest legal setback for the seeds and chemicals company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is “probably carcinogenic” in a controversial ruling in 2015.

Dicamba, a weed killer designed for use with Monsanto’s next generation of biotech crops, is under scrutiny in Arkansas after the state’s plant board voted last week to ban the chemical.

OEHHA said the designation of glyphosate under Proposition 65 will proceed following an unsuccessful attempt by Monsanto to block the listing in trial court and after requests for stay were denied by a state appellate court and the California’s Supreme Court.

Monsanto’s appeal of the trial court’s ruling is pending.

“This is not the final step in the process, and it has no bearing on the merits of the case. We will continue to aggressively challenge this improper decision,” Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, said.

Listing glyphosate as a known carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 would require companies selling the chemical in the state to add warning labels to packaging. Warnings would also be required if glyphosate is being sprayed at levels deemed unsafe by regulators.

Users of the chemical include landscapers, golf courses, orchards, vineyards and farms.

Monsanto and other glyphosate producers would have roughly a year from the listing date to re-label products or remove them from store shelves if further legal challenges are lost.

Monsanto has not calculated the cost of any re-labeling effort and does not break out glyphosate sales data by state, Partridge said.

Environmental groups cheered OEHHA’s move to list the chemical.

“California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

America the sick; Huge increase in 22 chronic diseases

spaying

Correlation is not causation; but Damn, if it walks like a duck…….

Glyphosate AKA “Round-Up” and the deterioration of America’s health

Is rising glyphosate use responsible for increases in modern diseases? Claire Robinson of GMwatch looks at the latest study to raise the question

Is the rise in glyphosate (Round-Up) use since the advent of Genetically Modified (GM) crops responsible for the rapid deterioration of health in the US in the last 20 years?

A new study by former US Navy scientist Dr Nancy Swanson and co-authors asks this question. The study charts the huge increase in 22 chronic diseases in the US over the last 20 years and plots it against the rise in the use of glyphosate and the percentage of GM corn and soy plantings.

The correlations, portrayed graphically in super-clear charts, are striking. There’s a highly significant correlation between glyphosate use and the incidence of many of the diseases, including hypertension, stroke, diabetes, obesity, thyroid and liver cancer, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s. There’s also a highly significant correlation between the percentage of GM corn and soy planted in the US and a similar list of diseases. And the increases in these diseases are not due to people living longer, which the authors adjusted for in most cases.

Does this mean that glyphosate causes these diseases? No – not necessarily. As the authors themselves note, correlation is not causation. The authors do, however, argue that given the known biological effects of glyphosate herbicides, “it would be imprudent not to consider causation as a plausible explanation”.

And while there are thousands of toxic substances and pathogens that could have contributed to the exponential rise in these diseases, the authors state, “No toxic substance has increased in ubiquity in the last 20 years as glyphosate has.”

It’s difficult to argue with this interpretation. And as a scientist unconnected with Dr Swanson and her co-authors told GM Watch, if the issue of GM crops and their associated pesticides were not such a political and economic ‘hot potato’, such a rapid escalation in disease in a population would be investigated as an emergency priority. That may be especially true if the disease in question were caused by bacteria or viruses, where there is massive corporate interest in developing vaccines and anti-bacterial products. In the case of non-infectious diseases, however, where possible culprits may include widely used and consumed GMOs and pesticides, US regulators turn their backs and pretend nothing is happening.

What is required scientifically in order to establish causation? The answer: long-term controlled animal feeding studies performed with the complete glyphosate herbicide formulations as sold to farmers and the public, using realistic doses that you and I could be exposed to and that are currently claimed to be safe. As far as I know, only one study that meets all these criteria has been carried out: Seralini’s study on NK603 maize and the Roundup herbicide it’s engineered to tolerate. The results were clear: doses of Roundup at only half the level allowed in EU tap water were found to cause severe liver and kidney damage and hormonal disturbances.

Arguments against such studies on animal welfare grounds do not hold water. If it is cruel to subject a few hundred or thousand lab rats to environmentally realistic doses of Roundup, it is far more cruel to subject millions of people and animals to these same doses in an uncontrolled experiment where no one is looking at the results and no regulatory action will be taken.

Should we sit back and do nothing until the necessary animal feeding studies can be funded and carried out, and then wait some more time for the regulators to take action? No. It makes sense to minimize our exposure to Roundup and other agrochemicals right now. That means eating organic, filtering our water, avoiding the use of pesticides in our gardens and fields, pressuring local authorities to restrict their use in school grounds and parks and on our roads and pavements, and lobbying for school and hospital meals programs to serve organic and non-GMO food. And if you’re living somewhere other than North and South America, it means doing everything you can to keep herbicide-tolerant GM crops out of your country.

Meanwhile, Dr Swanson’s study provides excellent ammunition against the GMO promoters’ argument that “trillions of GM meals” have been eaten in the US and that Americans are fine. Clearly, they are nothing of the sort.

http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf

 

Ken Miller cuts through the BS about “P”

 

spray plane

“Let me be as frank as possible: GMO agriculture is based on poison usage.” Ken Miller

 

What you need to know about Measure P
…and should share with any friends who are not yet convinced to vote YES on P:
From Ken Miller
Measure P is an economic issue, born out of concern for our community.  Nearly a year and a half ago, Humboldt County citizens began a series of open meetings at the Bayside Grange in order to discuss local concerns about GMOs and to chart a course of action.  People came from all parts of the county and from all walks of life to participate; they raised a multitude of intelligent, informed concerns.  This group was not of a single mind but eventually coalesced around three shared core principles:  fairness, prosperity, and protection.

As an all-volunteer, grassroots group, we’re very proud of our efforts to bring this issue to the voters. We truly believe that this is what democracy looks like.

GMOs are produced by manipulating DNA in a laboratory to overcome natural reproductive barriers.  Almost all GMOs on the market today have been developed by large agrochemical companies from Conventional seed. That seed is then engineered to either produce a pesticide or resist an herbicide.

Once engineered and patented, these seeds and the genetic information they contain are considered the private property of the patent holder and cannot be shared or re-planted.

Farmers may not want to grow GMOs for a variety of reasons, but regardless of the reason, a farmer who has chosen not to grow GMOs is always at risk of crop contamination when anyone else in the vicinity is growing a related GMO crop.  And, in a case of turning common sense on its head, those growing GMOs are not required to take any steps to minimize contamination nor are they or the patent holders legally liable for damages caused by contamination.

Let me be as frank as possible: GMO agriculture is based on poison usage.

The crops that have been developed over the last 30 plus years do not do things like resist drought or increase nutritional value for the consumer.  In fact, they don’t do much of anything for the consumer. GMO crops are almost exclusively about weed and insect control.  As target organisms adapt (and it’s a law of nature that they will), this method of farming requires more and stronger biocides.

It’s a GREAT business model for the agrochemical giants, which provide both the seed and the poison, but not such a good model for those of us concerned about Toxicants.  By voting yes on Measure P, Humboldt County has the opportunity to step off this never-ending toxic treadmill and keep Humboldt County on a more sustainable path.
Measure P is designed to support the local economy. Organic and non-GMO products comprise the fastest growing sectors of the food industry, and Humboldt County farmers are already creating a name for themselves in these expanding markets.  Adding Humboldt County to a GMO production-free zone, which already includes our immediate neighbors, Mendocino and Trinity, would be a sound economic decision.

The opposition is now attempting to sow doubt about Measure P.  It’s a tried and true technique often employed to deflect scrutiny.  Big Tobacco used it with smoking and cancer.  Big Oil uses it with fossil fuel and climate change.  Big Ag uses it with things food related. The fact is Measure P is not breaking new ground. It is largely based on a similar ordinance in Mendocino which has stood the test of time for 10 years.

While Mendocino has the distinction of being the first county in the US to become a GMO production-free zone, Trinity, Marin and Santa Cruz soon followed. Recently, the Oregon counties of Jackson and Josephine joined in.  Perhaps we are witnessing the birth of a Pacific Northwest GMO production-free zone.
At its heart, Measure P is about local control versus corporate control of our local food system.  It’s about supporting our hardworking farmers who have been developing a sustainable agricultural system here on the North Coast for over 100 years.  Measure P is about protecting our soil, our water and our air from the toxic herbicides and insecticides that are the mainstay of corporate agriculture. Measure P is about maintaining the quality of life we have enjoyed for generations and maintaining it for the future generations I see in the arms of proud parents at Farmers Markets every week.  If you share our vision, please join us in voting Yes on Measure P.

More info and to take action (please, you dollars and volunteer time is needed):  <yesonp2014.org>/

To read on the opponents to these measures:
<oregonrighttoknow.ngpvanhost.com/form/9110508658356455168?ms=E.EN-O-NO.NATIONAL.MAIN_SIGNUP>

Has Hillary been seduced by the “DARK*” side?

*DARK  (Deny Americans the Right to Know) a bill introduced in congress.

In her June 25 keynote address to the BIO International Convention in San Diego, Calif., Hillary Clinton I love gmo'svoiced strong support for genetic engineering and genetically engineered crops. She earned a standing ovation that day by stating that the biotech industry suffers from a public perception problem and that it just needs “a better vocabulary” in order to persuade GMO skeptics who don’t understand “the facts” about genetic engineering.

And then Hillary proceeded to get the facts wrong.

Why does it matter what Hillary, who holds no public office and has not (yet) declared her candidacy for president, says or believes about genetic engineering and genetically modified crops and foods?

It doesn’t—unless she throws her hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination. And then it matters not just what her position is on GMOs, not just how deep her financial ties to the biotech industry run, not just how much she distorts the facts about the “promise” of biotech crops.

It matters, deeply, to more than 90 percent of Americans, what her position is on laws requiring mandatory labeling of GMOs in food and food products.

If elected, will Hillary support consumers’ right to know? Or will she support the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, a bill introduced in Congress earlier this year, which if passed, will preempt state GMO labeling laws?

Hillary has been coy about announcing her candidacy. But when it comes to clarifying her position on GMO labeling laws, she’s been dead silent.

As she soon heads to Iowa—the testing ground for presidential candidates—Hillary’s presidential aspirations will no doubt become more clear. If she runs, as the pundits predict, it will be up to the GMO labeling movement to demand that she take a stand on GMO labeling laws.

Meanwhile, here’s why Hillary’s speech to the BIO convention was just plain wrong.

Wrong on the science of genetic engineering

Hillary brought the BIO convention-goers to their feet with her call for “a better vocabulary” to win over consumers.

No wonder. After all, that’s the line Monsanto has been feeding the public ever since the public became wise to the lies and false promises of an industry known for its reckless disregard for public health. It’s part of an aggressive, widespread public relations campaign to sugar-coat the facts about genetically engineered foods and the toxic chemicals required to produce them.

As scientists release studies, each one more alarming than the next, revealing the devastating health and environmental hazards of the herbicides required to grow GMO crops—toxic chemicals such as glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, and Dow’s 2,4-D —consumers are connecting the dots between the rise of chronic illness and the unleashing of toxins into the environment (and onto our food).

No amount of “better vocabulary” will be able to counter the science behind the impact of toxic herbicides and pesticides on soil, on the environment, on human health.

But here’s where Hillary’s call for a “better vocabulary” really ran off the rails. Coverage of the convention included a video in which Hillary wrongly equated the age-old practice of seed hybridization with modern genetic engineering, in order to make the case that genetic engineering has been around since the beginning of farming.

Hillary would do well to go back to her science books. Here are the facts, as understood by every biologist. Seed hybridization occurs when the seeds of two compatible parent plants, within the same species, are crossed, either in a controlled environment or in nature. That process is in no way equivalent to genetic engineering, a process that requires human intervention, and consists of changing the genetic code of one organism by inserting into it the DNA from a completely different plant or animal.

Genetic engineering is an unnatural process that can take place only in a laboratory, aided by a human.

Wrong on genetic engineering and drought

In the same video from the June 25 conference, Hillary perpetuates industry claims that as global warming leads to more droughts, GMO crops will feed the world. She does this by focusing on GE drought-resistant seeds—as if engineering seeds for drought-resistance were a major focus on the biotech industry.

It’s not, of course. Drought-resistant seeds and crops make up a miniscule portion of the GMO crop market. Close to 98 percent of GE crops are corn, soy, alfalfa, canola and sugar beets, used to make biofuels, animal feed and processed food products, such as high fructose corn syrup. These crops are engineered to produce their own Bt toxins in every cell or else to withstand massive doses of herbicides, such as Monsanto’s Roundup, which are sold to farmers as companions to their GMO seeds. They have nothing to do with drought-resistance.

In fact, attempts to engineer seeds to thrive during droughts are still in the experimental stages and so far have largely failed. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Monsanto’s DroughtGard, the only drought-resistant crop approved so far by the USDA, produces “only modest results, and only under moderate drought conditions.”

Yet to hear Hillary tell it, genetic engineering is all about saving farmers by providing them with magic seeds that thrive without water.

Wrong on genetic engineering and global warming

Toward the end of her video interview, Hillary switched gears to talk about climate change. She endorsed the Obama climate plan and called out the media for giving too much attention to climate-change skeptics.

Hillary believes we must address global warming. Good news.

But there’s just one problem.

A growing chorus of scientists warn that we cannot successfully address global warming unless we acknowledge the huge role that industrial agriculture, with its GMO mono-crop culture and massive use of chemicals, plays in cooking the planet.

If we’re truly serious about averting a global warming disaster, reducing carbon emissions isn’t enough. We have to acknowledge, and harness, potential of organic, regenerative agriculture to reverse global warming by sequestering carbon.

According to groups like the Rodale Institute, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty, a transition to sustainable, regenerative agriculture—not genetic engineering—is not only the only way we will feed the world, but absolutely essential if we want to slow global warming.

Hillary is just plain wrong if she thinks we can solve global warming while simultaneously promoting GMO agriculture, here in the U.S. and abroad. That’s why the Organic Consumers Association has launched a petition asking her to rethink her support for biotech, and commit to supporting a transition to a sustainable, organic food and farming system.

As consumers grow more knowledgeable about the link between food produced using toxic chemicals and the declining health of the U.S. population, they are looking more closely at those politicians who side with, and take money from, the biotech industry. Clinton’s ties to the biotech industry date back to the 1970s, when she was a partner in the Rose Law Firm which represented Monsanto.

A recent ABC News poll revealed that 52 percent of Americans believe food containing GMOs are unsafe, while 13 percent are “unsure.”

On mandatory GMO labeling laws, Americans are clear: 93 percent want labels.

Hillary, where do you stand?
Essay by Paul and Cummins

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Ronnie Cummins is the international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate Via Organica.