The move comes as the company currently faces around 30,000 legal claims from customers who believe use of these products — including the flagship Roundup — caused them to develop cancer, as AgWeb reported.
“Bayer’s decision to end U.S. residential sale of Roundup is a historic victory for public health and the environment,” Center for Food Safety executive director Andrew Kimbrell said in a statement. “As agricultural, large-scale use of this toxic pesticide continues, our farmworkers remain at risk. It’s time for EPA to act and ban glyphosate for all uses.”
Glyphosate is a controversial ingredient because it has been linked to the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as Cure noted. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that it was “probably carcinogenic to humans,” in 2015. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Donald Trump ruled that the chemical did not pose any risk to human health, the Biden Administration later admitted that the review was flawed and needed to be redone, as Common Dreams reported. Still, it refused to take it off the market in the meantime.
Bayer’s decision comes in response to the many lawsuits related to glyphosate that it inherited when it acquired Monsanto in 2018. Juries sided with the plaintiffs in three highly-watched trials before Bayer settled around 95,000 cases in 2020 to the tune of $10 billion. That settlement, which was one of the largest in U.S. history, allowed Bayer to continue to sell Roundup without any warnings. However, the company still faces further litigation, and said it decided to pull the product from residential use in order to prevent more. More than 90 percent of recent claims come from the residential home and garden market, AgWeb reported.
“This move is being made exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns,” the company said when it announced its decision.
The products will be replaced with different active ingredients beginning in 2023, following reviews by the EPA and state regulatory bodies. January 2023 was the earliest the change could reasonably be implemented, Bayer Crop Science Division president Liam Condon told AgWeb.
“This is from a regulatory and logistical point of view (of what’s) possible,” Condon said during a conference call with investors, as AgWeb reported.
The Japanese government is planning to release more than one million tons of contaminated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, angering fishermen, local media have reported.
Japan has debated what to do with the rapidly increasing store of radioactive wastewater for years, and now the decision to release it into the ocean could be confirmed by the end of the month.
Currently, Japan houses the water in more than 1,000 tanks, but with 170 additional tons of the radioactive by-product being produced every day, storage space is quickly running out.
It is estimated that all tanks will have reached maximum capacity by the summer of 2022 and Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Friday that the decision was one they could “not keep delaying,” Kyodo News reported.
The water is used to cool the Fukushima nuclear reactor core, which went into meltdown after the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck the plant.
The government previously considered building more tanks to house the additional water, or attempting to evaporate the water into the atmosphere, but an advisory panel recommended releasing it into the ocean as the most efficient solution. However, the release process is not expected to begin until 2022 and is likely to take 30 years to complete.
The prospect of an ocean release has reignited concerns among local fishermen who fear it could destroy their industry.
“We are terrified that if even one fish is found to have exceeded the [radiation] safety standards after the treated water is released, people’s trust in us will plummet,” Kyodo News quoted a local fisherman as saying.
Hiroshi Kishi, who heads a confederation of Japanese fishing cooperatives told officials last week that the release could have a “catastrophic impact” on the industry.
Fishing was completely halted following the 2011 disaster, and despite a recent recovery, fishermen in the region continue to face international trade restrictions. South Korea, which still bans all fish imports from the region, has described the proposal as a “grave threat.”
The initial meltdown in 2011 forced the evacuation of 150,000 people from within 20km of the plant as well as from outside areas that experienced high levels of fallout. The clean-up process is expected to take many more years to complete.
Unfortunately, we are living in a world where facts don’t matter much anymore. For instance, the wildfires that have swept across the western United States over the past few weeks are being almost universally blamed on climate change, even though the facts tell otherwise.
The fires in California and Oregon are not due to climate change. They are due to arson and sheer stupidity on the part of many, including those who are responsible for the environmental stewardship that is supposed to prevent them in the first place.
According to the Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit, “the El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party.” Chalk this one up to stupidity, not climate change.
Likewise, the Almeda Fire in Oregon, which has burned more than 600 homes, cannot be tied to climate change whatsoever because it was caused by arsonists. As Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said, “We have good reason to believe that there was a human element to it. We’re going to pursue it as a criminal investigation until we have reason to believe that it was otherwise.”
There are several more reports of arsonists instigating the blazes that are currently destroying hundreds of thousands of acres in the West.
Despite these facts, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), recently said, “Mother Earth is angry. She’s telling us, whether, she’s telling us with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, fires in the West, whatever it is, that climate crisis is real and has an impact.”
Of course, Pelosi didn’t offer one iota of evidence to support her contention that climate change is somehow responsible for all this. And since when did Mother Earth begin speaking to the Speaker of the House?
Not to be outdone, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also laid blame for his state’s out-of-control wildfires on climate change. “I say this lovingly — not as an ideologue, but as someone who prides himself on being open to argument, interested in evidence — but I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers,” Newsom said. “It’s completely inconsistent, that point of view, with the reality on the ground, the facts as we are experiencing. You may not believe it intellectually, but your own eyes, your own experiences tell a different story.”
Conveniently, Newsom failed to mention that California has one of the poorest records of implementing commonsense environmental stewardship protocols, which no doubt has played a significant factor in the Golden State’s proclivity for wildfires over the past several years.
According to California’s state oversight agency, “During its review, the Commission found that California’s forests suffer from neglect and mismanagement, resulting in overcrowding that leaves them susceptible to disease, insects and wildfire.”
In other words, under decades of Democratic leadership, California has woefully underinvested in forest management efforts, which have left forests grossly overgrown and prone to wildfire.
Making matters worse, California’s insistence on becoming the renewable energy utopia of the United States has led the state’s primary energy utility, PG&E, to disregard properly maintaining existing energy infrastructure.
As the San Diego Union Tribune reports, “every dollar spent on additional costs of renewable energy results in a dollar not available to spend on culling vegetation, insulating power lines, placing lines underground and other measures.”
As if that were not enough, the article also notes, “a report prepared by the independent consulting firm Beacon Economics for the San Francisco-based think tank Next 10 estimated California wildfires last year produced about nine times more emissions than were reduced across the entire state’s economy between 2016 and 2017 — and wildfires contributed more than the commercial, residential or agriculture sectors did in 2017.”
Ironically, Newsom’s naïve attempt (and his predecessors) to make the Golden State the renewable energy mecca has actually led to more carbon emissions because the state’s abundant forests have been turned into a giant tinderbox.
Adding insult to injury, Newsom has pledged to double-down on his efforts to make California more reliant on renewable energy, regardless of the uptick in wildfires and rolling blackouts.
And the claim that wildfires are increasing is 100 percent false. According to the Congressional Research Service, the prevalence of wildfires has decreased over the past three decades. As the report notes, “Over the past 10 years, there were an average of 64,100 wildfires annually and an average of 6.8 million acres burned annually. In 2019, 50,477 wildfires burned 4.7 million acres nationwide, below the annual average for both statistics.”
John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things. They cannot be altered by our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions.”
Fact-shunners like Gov. Newsom and Rep. Pelosi ought to put their wishes and passions aside and deal with the reality that their state is being decimated by wildfires due to their incompetence and ignorance, not because of so-called climate change.
Editor’s Note: At first I was not interested in watching yet another Michael Moore film, but after getting half-way through the film I realized the importance of the message. Renewable and green energy such as solar and wind, as beautiful a notion that is, still requires a massive industrial infrastructure to manufacture and deploy. That infrastructure is still dependent upon fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and nuclear. So the lofty idea of a Green New Deal somehow independent of the existing fossil fuels/industrial infrastructure may very well be a pipe dream. For a counterpoint opinion do read “A Bomb in the Center of the Climate Change Movement”.
By Jeff Gibbs
Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late.
Plastic waste—most of it from single-use processed food and drink packaging—contaminates our drinking water, soil, air and waterways, including the deepest parts of the ocean.
The Break Free From Plastic Act of 2020 aims to curb plastics pollution by shifting the responsibility from consumers to the companies that produce plastic.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), would hold major plastic polluters, such as Nestlé, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, accountable for their pollution by requiring them to finance waste and recycling programs.
The Break Free From Plastic Act would also place an all-out ban on certain single-use plastics that are non-recyclable, and prohibit plastic waste from being shipped overseas to developing countries.
Plastic pollution is so rampant in our oceans that scientists predict the sea will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050. It also pollutes soil and freshwater.
Tiny bits of plastic or microplastic are contaminating humans, too. The average person eats at least 50,000 particles of microplastic each year—and we inhale a similar amount—studies show.
Consumers should shop responsibly, sure. But it’s time we held the biggest plastic polluters responsible for the damage they cause to the environment and human health.
Every human on Earth is ingesting nearly 2,000 particles of plastic a week. These tiny pieces enter our unwitting bodies from tap water, food, and even the air, according to an alarming academic study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, dosing us with five grams of plastics, many cut with chemicals linked to cancers, hormone disruption, and developmental delays. Since the paper’s publication last year, Sen. Tom Udall, a plain-spoken New Mexico Democrat with a fondness for white cowboy hats and turquoise bolo ties, has been trumpeting the risk: “We are consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week,” Udall says. At events with constituents, he will brandish a Visa from his wallet and declare, “You’re eating this, folks!”
With new legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, Udall is attempting to marshal Washington into a confrontation with the plastics industry, and to force companies that profit from plastics to take accountability for the waste they create. Unveiled in February, the bill would ban many single-use plastics and force corporations to finance “end of life” programs to keep plastic out of the environment. “We’re going back to that principle,” the senator tells Rolling Stone. “The polluter pays.”
The battle pits Udall and his allies in Congress against some of the most powerful corporate interests on the planet, including the oil majors and chemical giants that produce the building blocks for our modern plastic world — think Exxon, Dow, and Shell — and consumer giants like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Unilever that package their products in the stuff. Big Plastic isn’t a single entity. It’s more like a corporate supergroup: Big Oilmeets Big Soda — with a puff of Big Tobacco, responsible for trillions of plastic cigarette butts in the environment every year. And it combines the lobbying and public-relations might of all three.
Americans have occasionally crusaded against “problem plastics” — scapegoating packing peanuts, grocery bags, or drinking straws for the sins of our unsustainable consumer economy. We’ve been slow to recognize that we’re actually in the midst of a plastic pandemic. Over the past 70 years, we’ve gotten hooked on disposable goods and packaging — as plastics became the lifeblood of an American culture of speed, convenience, and disposability that’s conquered the globe. Plastic contains our hot coffee and frozen dinners. It is the material of childhood, from Pampers to Playmobil to PlayStation 4. It cloaks our e-commerce purchases and is woven into our sneakers, fast fashion, and business fleece. Humans are now using a million plastic bottles a minute, and 500 billion plastic bags a year — including those we use to bag up our plastic-laden trash.
But the world’s plastic waste is not so easily contained. Massive quantities of this forever material are spilling into the oceans — the equivalent of a dump-truck load every minute. Plastic is also fouling our mountains, our farmland, and spiraling into an unmitigatable environmental disaster. John Hocevar is a marine biologist who leads the Oceans Campaign for Greenpeace, and spearheaded the group’s response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Increasingly, his work has centered on plastics. “This is a much bigger problem than ‘just’ an ocean issue, or even a pollution issue,” he says. “We’ve found plastic everywhere we’ve ever looked. It’s in the Arctic and the Antarctic and in the middle of the Pacific. It’s in the Pyrenees and in the Rockies. It’s settling out of the air. It’s raining down on us.”