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California clears hurdle for cancer warning label on Roundup

Scott Smith, ASSOCIATED PRESS
California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed-killer Roundup as a possible cancer threat despite an insistence from the chemical giant that it poses no risk to people, a judge tentatively ruled Friday.
California would be the first state to order such labeling if it carries out the proposal.Monsanto had sued the nation’s leading agricultural state, saying California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on an international health organization based in France.
Monsanto attorney Trenton Norris argued in court Friday that the labels would have immediate financial consequences for the company. He said many consumers would see the labels and stop buying Roundup.
“It will absolutely be used in ways that will harm Monsanto,” he said.
After the hearing, the firm said in a statement that it will challenge the tentative ruling.
Read more at: California clears hurdle for cancer warning label on Roundup | The Press Democrat

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Sonoma County parents, farmers lobby state over pesticide 

Bill Swindell, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Lobbying groups have been making last-minute pitches to an obscure state agency on an issue that has ramifications throughout the state and particularly in Sonoma County: To what length should farmers go to protect schoolchildren from sprayed pesticides?
The state Department of Pesticide Regulation has proposed a rule that would ban pesticide applications within a quarter-mile of schools and day care centers on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Comments are due Friday and the department has received about 500 from various groups, said spokeswoman Charlotte Fadipe.
DPR Director Brian Leahy has said the proposal “builds in additional layers of protection for students and school staff that are located in agricultural areas” as well as ensures better communication.
Parents and anti-pesticide advocates tend to believe the proposal should crack down harder on spraying. Ag groups that include grape growers fear the regulation is overreach, not supported by science.
A study by the state Department of Public Health found 36 percent of 2,511 California schools surveyed in agricultural zones in 2010 had 144 “pesticides of public health concern” sprayed within a quarter mile. It did not determine whether children were actually exposed to such pesticides. The National Pesticide Information Center contends that infants and children are more sensitive to the toxic effects of pesticides than adults, and that parents should take steps to minimize their child’s exposure to them.
Spraying by aircraft, sprinklers, air-blast and all fumigant applications would be covered under the proposed rule. It also would prohibit most dust and powder pesticide applications including sulfur, which is a popular product used generously on Sonoma County farms to combat diseases such as powdery mildew on grapevines. A natural product, sulfur is allowable in organic farming.In 2014, out of the 2.2 million pounds of pesticides used in Sonoma County, 1.4 million pounds were sulfur, according to the department’s database.
The other main pesticides used in Sonoma County include those that come from petroleum (154,542 pounds), mineral oil (115,625 pounds) and various glyphosphates (94,152 pounds), an herbicide category that includes the weed killer known as Roundup, deemed safe by the EPA if used according to directions but criticized by some health groups.
Read more at: Sonoma County parents, farmers lobby state over pesticide | Sonoma Index-Tribune | Sonoma, CA

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Sonoma County bans GMO crops

Center for Food Safety, ECOWATCH
The Center for Food Safety celebrated a huge victory in Sonoma County, California, on Wednesday when voters approved a measure that will prohibit genetically engineered crops from being planted in the county.
The passage of the Sonoma County Transgenic Contamination Ordinance, better known as Measure M, will protect local and organic growers and producers who choose not to plant GMO seed.
“Enacting change in the food movement, or any movement, starts at the local level and the passage of Measure M is an incredible victory for Sonoma farmers and gardeners,” Rebecca Spector, West Coast director of the Center for Food Safety, said. “Farmers deserve the right to grow food that is not contaminated by genetic engineering, just as the public deserves the right to purchase organic or GMO-free foods that are free from GMO contamination.”
Measure M passed by a large margin—55.9 percent to 44.9 percent—and Sonoma County now joins several neighboring counties including Marin, Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Santa Cruz that have passed similar ballot initiatives to protect farmers and crop integrity.
The Center for Food Safety is especially proud to see the democratic process work on behalf of our food, farmers and environment in this case for local food rights. The legal staff assisted in the drafting of the Sonoma ballot initiative and provided legal and scientific counsel throughout the last year, as with past county bans in California and in other states.
Source: Sonoma County Bans GMO Crops

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Op-Ed: Farming into the future in Sonoma County

Vesta Copestakes, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
As we head toward making a decision on whether to allow GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) into our agricultural landscape, we are impacting the future of agriculture AND  our economy. Opening or closing the door to GMO food crops, in a way that will impact all crops grown in Sonoma County, will define what can and cannot be grown here since genetically modified plants spread seed and pollen far beyond the fence that contains them.
We’re also considering laws on a related substance that is intricately connected to GMOs – Roundup® – also known as glyphosate. Why the connection? Because many genetically modified seeds and plants are what is called Roundup-Ready…they are resistant to the chemical that kills weeds. That connection between killing plants and the impacts on people is getting a lot of attention.
Our Board of Supervisors has a choice of voting a GMO ban into law or letting it go to the November ballot. On Tuesday, May 24th – after we went to press – supervisors declined to vote on the ordinance as it stands, and passed it to voters in the November election.
In March 2015, glyphosate was declared to be a “probable human carcinogen.” It’s the primary ingredient in Roundup and is used heavily on GMO crops because they have been engineered to be resistant to it. You can spray an entire field to kill weeds but not harm the plant you want to keep alive…convenient for farmers for reducing competition for water.
Read more at: Farming into the Future in Sonoma County

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Op-Ed: Making this area a GMO Free Zone

Pamela Gentry, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Please visit our website, GMOFreeSonomaCounty.com, where you can volunteer, donate and endorse with ease. You will find many different volunteer opportunities listed.

There is a grass-roots movement afoot in Sonoma County to join our neighbors to the north and south in creating a coastal GMO free zone. Volunteers for the group Citizens for Healthy Farms and Families can be spotted all over the county collecting signatures to qualify the Sonoma County Transgenic Contamination Prevention Ordinance for the ballot in November.
This ordinance would prohibit the “propagation, cultivation, raising or growing of genetically engineered organisms in Sonoma County.”
Roundup-ready, genetically engineered crops (corn) and grasses (alfalfa, blue grass and fescue) are already moving into Sonoma County. New crops are awaiting approval. This ban on genetically engineered crops is needed in order to protect Sonoma County organic and conventional agriculture from contamination by genetically engineered plant pollen. Without this protection, our families, water and wildlife will continue to suffer from negative health and environmental effects associated with increased Roundup herbicide spraying.
While the overwhelming response to our signature drive has been positive, I have been perplexed over the past several months on the signature-gathering trail by some of the negative viewpoints expressed.
Read more: Close to Home: Making this area a GMO Free Zone | The Press Democrat

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January 28 – Forum on Roundup

Watertrough Children’s Alliance and Sierra Club Sonoma Group 
present a Special Event

ROUNDUP: Updates on recent WHO findings and the California EPA’s stance on glyphosate

 
In 2015, the World Health Organization determined that glyphosate (the active ingredient of Roundup), the most-used herbicide in the world and in Sonoma County, is a probable human carcinogen. What has happened since this finding and how is the California EPA responding? Learn about recent actions on glyphosate and also help to support legal action to limit the environmental impacts of vineyards in Sonoma County.
January 28, 2016 @6:00pm,  Sebastopol Grange, 6000 Sebastopol Ave. (on Hwy 12)
Moderator: Sarah Glade Gurney, mayor of Sebastopol
Speaker: Jonathan Evan, attorney, Center for Biological Diversity
Speaker: Ella Teevan, organizer, Food & Water Watch
$20 per person, includes dinner catered by Seed and presentation.
Registration: http://wcaroundupevent.brownpapertickets.com/
For further information, email info@wcachildren.org or download the poster below.
Poster-small

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags , , Leave a comment on Op-Ed: Time for California to corral the use of Roundup

Op-Ed: Time for California to corral the use of Roundup

Devra Davis, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
What do Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Brazil and India have in common?
They have banned the use of Roundup — a glyphosate containing pesticide that continues to be applied in San Francisco, Sonoma County and throughout California.
Last month the International Agency for Research on Cancer — a group of experts advising the World Health Organization — unanimously determined that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a probable human carcinogen.
Thanks to decades of major marketing efforts, American agriculture heavily depends on seeds for wheat, corn, soy and other major U.S. commercial crops that have been genetically engineered to resist Roundup’s otherwise toxic effects. One consequence of this massive deployment of the chemical is that about 60 million acres of farmland are infested with Roundup resistant weeds that can grow more than six feet high and damage farm equipment.
Roundup has been tied not just to cancer and killer-weeds but to other serious health problems. Physicians report that rates of serious birth defects in one of Argentina’s poorest regions, Chaco, quadrupled the decade after glyphosate was introduced, while that of chronic kidney disease is soaring in young men and women in Central America, India and other heavily sprayed regions.
Meanwhile, Monsanto recently asked the EPA to double the residues allowed on American foods and crops that are developing resistance to the pesticide.
Read more via: Close to Home: Time for California to corral | The Press Democrat
Devra Davis is a scientist and writer who is president of Environmental Health Trust, a non-profit research and educational institute focused on studying and reducing environmental health hazards.

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Widely used herbicide linked to cancer

Daniel Cressey, NATURE
The cancer-research arm of the World Health Organization last week announced that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans. But the assessment, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, has been followed by an immediate backlash from industry groups.
On March 23, Robb Fraley, chief technology officer at the agrochemical company Monsanto in St Louis, Missouri, which sells much of the world’s glyphosate, accused the IARC of “cherry picking” data. “We are outraged with this assessment,” he said in a statement. Nature explains the controversy.
What does the IARC report say?
The IARC regularly reviews the carcinogenicity of industrial chemicals, foodstuffs and even jobs. On March 20, a panel of international experts convened by the agency reported the findings of a review of five agricultural chemicals in a class known as organophosphates. A summary of the study was published in The Lancet Oncology.
Two of the pesticides — tetrachlorvinphos and parathion — were rated as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, or category 2B. Three — malathion, diazinon and glyphosate — were rated as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, labelled category 2A.
Why should I care about glyphosate?
Glyphosate is the world’s most widely produced herbicide, by volume. It is used extensively in agriculture and is also found in garden products in many countries. The chemical is an ingredient in Monsanto’s weedkiller product Roundup, and glyphosate has become more popular with the increasing market share of crops that are genetically engineered to be tolerant to the herbicide.

Read more at: Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer – Scientific American

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Roundup study prompts online debate about herbicide’s safety

Eloísa Ruano González, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Partial Roundup use in Sonoma County in 2012
Wine grapes: 62,000 pounds
Landscape maintenance: 6,500 pounds
Oats: 350 pounds
Olives: 110 pounds
Apples: 27 pounds
Source: California Department of Pesticide Regulation

A report from an arm of the World Health Organization has set off a wave of alarm over the safety of Roundup, a weed killer widely used on lawns, fields and vineyards in Sonoma County.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer released the report last week, labeling glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and linking it to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in farmworkers. That’s created a stir on social media over the use of the chemical, the active ingredient in arguably the most popular herbicide on the planet.
Some residents want the herbicide banned. Petitions are circulating online, calling to ban the use of Roundup not only in vineyards and fields but on lawns and gardens.
Windsor Town Councilwoman Deb Fudge on Thursday posted on Facebook a link to an online petition to ban Roundup nationwide. As a breast cancer survivor and former hazardous materials manager, she said the report hit close to home. She also has several friends and relatives dealing with brain tumors and cancer.
“Humanity is taking too many chances with these chemicals,” she said in a phone interview on Friday.“
There are so many unknowns in chemicals deemed safe,” Fudge said, adding the issue has gained traction online because it’s a commonly used product. More than 87,000 pounds of the chemical were used in Sonoma County in 2012, the latest figures available from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Read more via Roundup study prompts online debate about herbicide’s safety | The Press Democrat.