Friday, April 16, 2021

Fact Check

President Joe Biden’s American Relief Plan “has a lot of money in it for schools, but if you really look at it … it...

Kindergarten students at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021. (AP)Source link

"Kids in cages" in border facilities are "at 700% capacity."

Newly arrived migrant children inside a temporary federal facility for unaccompanied minors in Donna, Texas, on March 30, 2021. (APSource link

NO FUE REAL: Una mirada a lo que no sucedió esta semana

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO (AP) — Un resumen de las historias e imágenes más populares, pero completamente falsas de la semana. Ninguna de éstas es...

“There is racism physically built into some of our highways.”

The Overtown neighborhood in Miami, Fla. (Pietro, Creative Commons)Source link

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though...

Says Joe Biden is “withholding $150 million in aid from Ukraine” to “pressure Ukraine to drop all criminal investigations into him and his son,...

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, center, son Hunter Biden, left, and his sister Valerie Biden Owens, right, at a ceremony in Sojevo, Kosovo, Aug....

US Politics
Latest

McCarthy responds to MAGA caucus: GOP isn’t party of ‘nativist dog whistles’

An early draft of a prospective policy platform for the group, which was obtained by POLITICO and first reported by Punchbowl News, calls for...

Bowing to Trump? GOP brings leaders, donors to his backyard

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — There will be no reckoning at the Republican National Committee.Three months after former President Donald Trump helped incite a...

Big spending on personal security ignites post-Jan. 6 debate over members’ budgets

That spending — all revealed in recent campaign finance disclosures — spotlights a challenge many lawmakers are eager to tackle this month: how to...

Mayor pardoned by Trump wins another term in Illinois town

METTAWA, Ill. (AP) — Voters in a small Illinois town reelected a mayor who ran a write-in campaign after President Donald Trump pardoned him...

Democrats agonize over game theory on Biden’s $2T-plus spending plan

But as much as Republicans trust Coons is acting in good faith, his idea doesn’t address the divisive political question of how to pay...

LGBTQ

Former NFL player Ryan Russell takes strong stand for trans youth who want to play sports / LGBTQ Nation

Out NFL veteran and writer Ryan K. Russell has spoken out against the wave of anti-trans legislation that seeks to prevent trans youth from...

Congressman André Carson champions LGBTQ rights. This is why. / LGBTQ Nation

The latest episode of the LGBTQ Nation podcast has arrived and we’ve got an extra special show this week. Congress member André Carson (D-IN) joins host...

Colton Underwood’s coming out could finally give us a gay Bachelor season / LGBTQ Nation

Colton UnderwoodPhoto: ShutterstockNineteen years after season one of The Bachelor premiered, there may finally be a season starring a gay bachelor. On April 14, former...

Tech

New this Week: ‘Kung Fu,’ ‘Rebel’ and ‘Thunder Force’

New this Week: ‘Kung Fu,’ ‘Rebel’ and ‘Thunder Force’ Source link

Man pleads no contest to killing woman in Great Falls motel

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A man who pleaded no contest to deliberate homicide for killing a woman at a Great Falls motel in...

Birds versus bees: Here are the winners and losers in the great pesticide trade-off

Must read

President Joe Biden’s American Relief Plan “has a lot of money in it for schools, but if you really look at it … it...

Kindergarten students at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021. (AP)Source link

McCarthy responds to MAGA caucus: GOP isn’t party of ‘nativist dog whistles’

An early draft of a prospective policy platform for the group, which was obtained by POLITICO and first reported by Punchbowl News, calls for...

Former NFL player Ryan Russell takes strong stand for trans youth who want to play sports / LGBTQ Nation

Out NFL veteran and writer Ryan K. Russell has spoken out against the wave of anti-trans legislation that seeks to prevent trans youth from...

Bowing to Trump? GOP brings leaders, donors to his backyard

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — There will be no reckoning at the Republican National Committee.Three months after former President Donald Trump helped incite a...

Increasing use of neonicotinoid insecticides is harming pollinators, like this honey bee in a pumpkin flower.

Konrad Wothe/Minden Pictures

Farms are battlefields, pitting growers against rapacious pests and aggressive weeds in never-ending, costly campaigns that often involve chemical weapons. Those weapons, alas, also harm innocent bystanders such as bees, fish, and crustaceans. Now, a large study charts epic shifts that have occurred in recent decades as U.S. farmers have changed their arsenal of pesticides. Birds and mammals have fared much better, whereas pollinators and aquatic invertebrates are suffering. The toxic impact to land plants has also skyrocketed, likely because farmers are using increasing kinds of chemicals to fight weeds that have become resistant to common herbicides.

“These trends show remarkable shifts over time in toxicity,” says John Tooker, an entomologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, who was not involved in the new research. “Just the scale of what they did is really, really impressive,” adds ecotoxicologist Helen Poynton of the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

In recent decades, the amount of insecticides used in the United States has gone down by about 40%. But at the same time, active ingredients have become more powerful. For example, pyrethroids, fast-acting insecticides that affect the nervous system, are very toxic at extremely low concentrations. Some require as little as 6 grams per hectare, compared with several kilograms of the older organophosphate and carbamate pesticides. This made Ralf Schulz, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Koblenz and Landau, wonder whether overall toxicity in the ecosystem had changed. A few studies had looked at certain compounds and organisms, but nothing had been done on a national scale.

Schulz and colleagues started with U.S. Geological Survey data on self-reported pesticide use by U.S. farmers from 1992 to 2016. They also gathered acute toxicity data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on those same compounds—381 in all. Next, they compared EPA’s regulatory threshold levels—the point at which a substance might harm vegetation or wildlife—with the amount of each pesticide applied to farm fields and determined a “total applied toxicity.”

The good news is that total toxicity plummeted more than 95% for birds and mammals from 1992 to 2016, the team reports today in Science, largely because of the phaseout of older pesticides. Toxicity for fish declined by less—about one-third—because they are more sensitive to pyrethroids. The bad news: Pyrethroids have caused toxicity to double for aquatic invertebrates, such as plankton and insect larvae that are a key part of food webs. And another popular class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, has doubled the risk to pollinators like honey bees and bumble bees. This overall trade-off—vertebrates impacted less and invertebrates hit harder—has also been seen in a smaller study.

For some pesticides and species, however, estimating the real-world impact is tricky. That’s because many factors affect whether a chemical will harm plants or animals, such as the weather or the time of year. To see how directly pesticides affected aquatic crustaceans and insects, the researchers looked at peer-reviewed toxic exposure data from 231 lakes and streams across the United States. When they compared the data with the amount of pesticides applied nearby, they found a “relatively strong” correlation.

Plants have also been impacted. Since 2004, the total applied toxicity from weed killers has doubled in land plants. One of the major herbicides contributing to the rise is glyphosate, which has simplified farming, improved soil conservation, and allowed farmers to switch away from more toxic herbicides after the advent of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate in the 1990s. But since then, some weeds have evolved resistance to glyphosate, and farmers are spraying additional types of herbicides. That threatens flowering plants that grow in field margins, providing food and habitat for other species.

Even one crop species genetically engineered to reduce pesticide use—corn containing an insect-killing chemical called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)—has seen its toxic exposure rising fast. Total applied toxicity in Bt corn has been increasing just as quickly—8% per year over the past decade—as in non–genetically modified corn. “It was a bit astonishing,” Schulz says. “I didn’t expect that, I must admit.” The reason, Schulz suspects, is that pests are evolving resistance to chemicals that are overused in both types of corn, requiring more frequent applications. “That is really one of the major problems agriculture is suffering from.”

Schulz hopes the results will help policymakers and others think more broadly about the complexity of pest and weed control, and the trade-offs for wild species, in order to reduce unintentional harm. Tooker notes that the rising toxicity in plants and aquatic invertebrates could lead to less diverse habitat and food resources that eventually ripple through animal populations, potentially causing losses. “The patterns in the U.S. pesticide use and toxicity data should be a cautionary tale for the rest of the world, much of which seems to be leaning more heavily on pesticide use rather than ecological interactions for pest control.”

Ultimately such decisions come down to how society values various groups of species, says Edward Perry, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University, Manhattan. For example, regulators could restrict the use of neonicotinoids, as has happened in the European Union, to benefit pollinators. But farmers would likely switch to other insecticides that could pose different hazards to species—or face lower yields and higher food prices.

Source link

- Advertisement -

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article

President Joe Biden’s American Relief Plan “has a lot of money in it for schools, but if you really look at it … it...

Kindergarten students at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021. (AP)Source link

McCarthy responds to MAGA caucus: GOP isn’t party of ‘nativist dog whistles’

An early draft of a prospective policy platform for the group, which was obtained by POLITICO and first reported by Punchbowl News, calls for...

Former NFL player Ryan Russell takes strong stand for trans youth who want to play sports / LGBTQ Nation

Out NFL veteran and writer Ryan K. Russell has spoken out against the wave of anti-trans legislation that seeks to prevent trans youth from...

Bowing to Trump? GOP brings leaders, donors to his backyard

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — There will be no reckoning at the Republican National Committee.Three months after former President Donald Trump helped incite a...

"Kids in cages" in border facilities are "at 700% capacity."

Newly arrived migrant children inside a temporary federal facility for unaccompanied minors in Donna, Texas, on March 30, 2021. (APSource link