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posted by chromas on Wednesday September 26 2018, @11:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Study: Roundup Weed Killer Could Be Linked To Widespread Bee Deaths

The controversial herbicide Roundup has been accused of causing cancer in humans and now scientists in Texas argue that the world's most popular weed killer could be partly responsible for killing off bee populations around the world.

A new study [open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1803880115] [DX] by scientists at the University of Texas at Austin posit that glyphosate — the active ingredient in the herbicide — destroys specialized gut bacteria in bees, leaving them more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

Researchers Nancy Moran, Erick Motta and Kasie Raymann suggest their findings are evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that has been wreaking havoc on honey bees and native bees for more than a decade.

Also at Science Magazine.

Related:


Original Submission

Related Stories

Landmark Study: Honeybee Queens Severely Affected by Neonicotinoid Pesticides 18 comments

AlterNet reports

A research team from the Institute of Bee Health at the University of Bern, from Agroscope at the Swiss Confederation, and from the Department of Biology at Canada's Acadia University [published the results of their study] in an article in the open-access journal Scientific Reports from the Nature Publishing Group [which concludes] that honey bee queens are "extremely vulnerable" to the neonicotinoids thiamethoxam and clothianidin.
[Reprinted in the journal Nature."]

The study shows profound effects on queen physiology, anatomy, and overall reproductive success.

[...] Previous research suggests that exposure to these chemicals [causes] both lethal and sub-lethal effects on honey bee workers, but nothing has been known about how they may affect queens.

The observation that honey bee queens are highly vulnerable to these common neonicotinoid pesticides is "worrisome, but not surprising", says senior author Laurent Gauthier from the Swiss Confederation's Agroscope.

[...] Since there is only a single queen in each colony, queen health is crucial to colony survival.

[...] In 2013, governments in Europe took a precautionary approach by partially restricting the application of the neonicotinoid pesticides thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid, with the mandate to perform further environmental risk assessments.

A new inter-governmental review will take place in the coming months.

Previous: Can Obama Save the Bees?
EPA Finds Little Benefit to Pesticide Linked to Bee Declines


Original Submission

Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate 9 comments

[The WHO] and the Food and Agriculture Organization have come out with a statement that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk in humans". And this only a year after another UN agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, stated what looks like the exact opposite, that it could "probably" be a cause of cancer in humans. Later on last year, the European Food Safety Authority said that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard".

[...] the difference is that the IARC is looking at the question from a "Is there any possible way, under any conditions at all, that glyphosate could be a carcinogen?", while the FAO and WHO are giving an answer to the questions "Is glyphosate actually causing cancer in people?"

[...] "Risk", technically speaking, refers to your chances of being harmed under real-world conditions, while "hazard" refers to the potential for harm.

Under real-world conditions, eating a normal amount of bacon raise your risk of colorectal cancer by an amount too small to consider. But it does appear to be raising it by a reproducible, measurable amount, and therefore bacon (and other processed meats) are in the IARC's category 1.
[...] It's important to note that some hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, gives anyone cancer every single time they touch it would also be in category 1, the same as a hypothetical substance that reproducibly, in human studies, raises a person's risk of cancer by one millionth of a per cent. Same category. These categories are not arranged by relative risk – they're arranged by how good the evidence is. Glyphosate is in category 2A, which means that there is evidence from animal studies, but limited/insufficient evidence from humans as of yet.
[...] So yes, by the standards of the available evidence, glyphosate is in the same cancer hazard category as working the night shift, or working as a hairdresser.

TFA is interesting and worth a read, especially for its use of a shark analogy explaining the difference between risk and hazard.

Link: Glyphosate And Cancer By Derek Lowe
Additional Wired link: Does Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Cause Cancer or Not? The Controversy, Explained


Original Submission

Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage 32 comments

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/01/study-linking-herbicide-disease-fuels-debate-170116140401709.html

UK scientists say they have conducted an unprecedented, long-term study showing a link between Roundup - one of the most widely used herbicides in the world - and severe liver damage in test rats.

The research sparked further debate in the international scientific community over the potential health hazards to people caused by exposure to the well-known weed killer.

Scientists from King's College London, whose findings were published in the journal, Nature , earlier this month, said their tests used cutting-edge technology to demonstrate that "extremely low doses" of the herbicide administered to rats through their drinking water had caused "non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)" over a two-year period.

NAFLD can lead to more serious liver disease such as cirrhosis, and increases the risk of other illnesses including diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

"The study is unique in that it is the first to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmental dose and a serious disease condition," the report said.

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of studies alleging links between herbicides - used to help grow genetically modified crops - to a wide range of health issues including birth defects, reproductive and neurological problems, cancer, and even DNA damage. Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, has repeatedly denied the accusations , insisting the product is safe for humans. A number of scientists and researchers say there has been insufficient evidence to prove herbicides cause health problems for people.

Related articles:


Original Submission

Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees 17 comments

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40382086

The most extensive study to date on neonicotinoid pesticides concludes that they harm both honeybees and wild bees. Researchers said that exposure to the chemicals left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens.

The study spanned 2,000 hectares across the UK, Germany and Hungary and was set up to establish the "real-world" impacts of the pesticides. The results are published in Science [open, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1190] [DX]. Neonicotinoids were placed under a temporary ban in Europe in 2013 after concerns about their impact on bees. The European Commission told the BBC that it intends to put forward a new proposal to further restrict the use of the chemicals.


Original Submission

Lithium Chloride May Help in Fixing Bee Colony Collapse Disorder 20 comments

As some one who is very interested in the subject of honey bees, and several decades ago had a bee hive, I've been very concerned about colony collapse disorder. Today I came across this article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-19137-5

Excerpt from the Nature abstract:
"Recent reports of the weakening and periodical high losses of managed honey bee colonies have alarmed beekeeper, farmers and scientists. Infestations with the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in combination with its associated viruses have been identified as a crucial driver of these health problems. Although yearly treatments are required to prevent collapses of honey bee colonies, the number of effective acaricides is small and no new active compounds have been registered in the past 25 years. RNAi-based methods were proposed recently as a promising new tool. However, the application of these methods according to published protocols has led to a surprising discovery. Here, we show that the lithium chloride that was used to precipitate RNA and other lithium compounds is highly effective at killing Varroa mites when fed to host bees at low millimolar concentrations."

I am in no way, shape or form a biologist, but as I read through the article there was mention of gene targeting and so started to get way out of my knowledge area..which is electronics...and quickly lost me.

Is there any truth to this path or is it another way for insecticide makers to push their wares?


Original Submission

European Regulator Finds That Neonicotinoid Pesticides Threaten Bees 18 comments

European agency concludes controversial 'neonic' pesticides threaten bees

Controversial insecticides known as neonicotinoids pose a danger to wild bees and managed honey bees, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, said in a report released today. Bayer, a maker of so-called neonics, disputed EFSA's findings. But the report is likely to give a boost to those pushing for tighter European regulation of the chemicals.

"This report certainly strengthens the case for further restrictions on neonicotinoid use," entomologist Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K., said in a statement. The European Commission last year proposed—but has not yet adopted—extending a partial ban on neonics to all field crops.

Related: Landmark Study: Honeybee Queens Severely Affected by Neonicotinoid Pesticides
Neonicotinoid Can Cause Brain Damage in Bats; Bumblebee Species Added to Endangered List
Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees
Lithium Chloride May Help in Fixing Bee Colony Collapse Disorder


Original Submission

Monsanto Faces First US Trial Over Roundup Cancer Link 38 comments

In the first trial of its kind, a Californian dying of cancer is suing US agrochemical giant Monsanto, claiming its popular herbicide Roundup caused his disease—a case that could have sweeping ramifications.

The stakes are high for Monsanto, which could face massive losses should it have to pay out damages over the product, whose main ingredient is glyphosate, a substance which some say is dangerously carcinogenic.

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old father of two, says he is sick because of contact with Roundup, which he used for two years from 2012 as a groundskeeper for the Benicia school district near San Francisco, his lawyer Timothy Litzenburg told AFP.

Thousands of lawsuits targeting Monsanto are currently proceeding through the US court system, according to American media.

Litzenburg says he represents hundreds of people who also say they are victims of glyphosate.

Whether the substance causes cancer has been the source of endless debate among government regulators, health experts and lawyers.

"A major part of that job was spraying Roundup or Ranger Pro (a similar Monsanto product)... He sprayed it 20 to 40 times per year, sometimes hundreds of gallons at a time on the school properties," Litzenburg said.

In 2014, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that affects white blood cells. Two years later, and no longer able to work, he filed suit against Monsanto, which he accuses of hiding its product's dangers.

"His case has been expedited because he currently has only a few months to live," his lawyer said.

Wikipedia entry on glyphosate.


Original Submission

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Glyphosate Cancer Trial 49 comments

Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in California Roundup cancer trial

A California jury on Friday found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company's glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, caused him cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.

The case of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit alleging glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. Monsanto, a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

The jury at San Francisco's Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers.

It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/10/monsanto-ordered-to-pay-289m-in-california-roundup-cancer-trial.html

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million to Man Who Claimed Glyphosate Caused His Cancer

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages in Roundup cancer trial

Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.

In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers. It's the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.

Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. "The jury got it wrong," vice-president Scott Partridge said outside the courthouse in San Francisco.

The claimant in the case, groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, is among more than 5,000 similar plaintiffs across the US.

Monsanto? Never heard of it. Did you mean Bayer AG?

Previously: Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate
Monsanto Faces First US Trial Over Roundup Cancer Link
Monsanto Cancer Trial Begins in San Francisco

Related: Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Wednesday September 26 2018, @11:11PM (10 children)

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 26 2018, @11:11PM (#740501) Homepage Journal

    Keep bees yourself.

    From time to time a new queen will be born then will leave the hive in search of an unused one. Wild bees are good for farmers too.

    To keep bees is quite cool. My father was a beekeeper as was his mother. I plan to keep bees myself but am not doing so yet because I must dig myself out from under the many commitments I made and so far have delayed acting on.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday September 26 2018, @11:34PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 26 2018, @11:34PM (#740522) Homepage Journal

      I did. I kept bees in my car one spring. It worked alright for a little while. But, they never built a beehive. Then, I returned to my car one hot day, and found their dried up husks on the rear deck, all scrunched up against the window. That was the end of that.

      --
      Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by bzipitidoo on Thursday September 27 2018, @12:25AM (2 children)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday September 27 2018, @12:25AM (#740546) Journal

      There's no way I could keep bees. Got family members who are mortally afraid scared of being stung and suffering a fatal allergic reaction. Even without that, I suspect the neighbors in this suburban "paradise" would do all they could to kill the bees and harass me for trying to keep them. I'd probably be reported to the city and told I must destroy the hives or face thousands in fines for violating dozens of city ordinances. At least I don't have to deal with a home owners association, but if there was one, I suspect they'd take a real dim view of anyone who tried to keep bees.

      Maybe someday I'll be able to set up and use a clothesline.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Thursday September 27 2018, @02:28AM

        by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Thursday September 27 2018, @02:28AM (#740594) Homepage Journal

        But that doesn't mean they don't forbid them anyway, rather it means the plaintiff can be confident they'll prevail when they sue their HOA.

        My friend the paralegal is completely convinced that it's legal to drive in Oregon without a driver's license. He speaks of this frequently.

        "That may be so, but it won't prevent your getting arrested. Rather it means that you'll win on appeal."

        It happens that in the city of portland, public parks are required to be equipped with an iron ring:

        To tie your horse to.

        --
        Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
      • (Score: 2) by dwilson on Thursday September 27 2018, @03:41PM

        by dwilson (2599) on Thursday September 27 2018, @03:41PM (#740826)

        Get some leafcutter bees, then. Or mason bees.

        No queen, no hive. Independent insects, but still 'bees'. They sting, but it's not much worse than a mosquito bite. They bite too, and that's worse than their sting. But they don't sting or bite unless -seriously- provoked. Like, it happened to fly near your torso while your arm was in the air, and you lowered your arm, trapping it against your body with no way out.

        Anything short of that, they are live and let live. I've stood in the middle of a swarm so thick I could hardly see daylight, and they didn't even care.

        Then I started switching out the full nesting blocks for empty ones, and one was under my hand as it came down. He cared quite a bit. His buddies didn't, though. Cute lil' buggers really.

        --
        - D
    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Thursday September 27 2018, @05:01AM (1 child)

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 27 2018, @05:01AM (#740664) Homepage Journal

      Do you keep bees? I've been debating starting but I already have enough hobbies. I'm now thinking that perhaps I should build a beehive as a winter woodworking project, and see if wild bees colonize it. My house is next to a suburban riparian area so I could encroach the hive on public land.

    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:35AM (3 children)

      by Bot (3902) on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:35AM (#740684) Journal

      Keep bees?
      Why no keep As instead. I am disappoint.

      After beeing left alone for years, recently bees went twice to relocate in my garden. The arrival is epic because the place is relatively small and the sky gets filled with bees and after 5 minutes all is quiet and a blob of bees is on the wall. Here they are protected and a beekeeper went to collect them that same night.
      Second time they went for the bamboo plants stayed there a bit then went away.

      When we were visited by hornets, that was scary.

      --
      Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday September 27 2018, @08:04AM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday September 27 2018, @08:04AM (#740703) Journal
        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @10:56AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @10:56AM (#740736)

        > When we were visited by hornets ...

        Here in the 'burbs we have what are locally called "ground bees", but these are yellow/black striped wasps. They nest in the ground, behind small rock walls around garden beds. If they are close to the house, this is a problem--I know someone that almost died from massive stings when they stepped on a nest. I hate to use poison, so I vacuum them out. Turns out I'm not the only one, there are several videos on YouTube. In my case I have an old smaller shop vac, set the end of the wand near the opening to the nest and leave it on during the warm part of the day when the wasps are active. Might take a few days before the hive is below critical size and dies.

        Cost is low, electricity here is USD $0.12/kwh and the vac uses about 500 watts-- 6 cents/hour. Much cheaper than insecticide packaged for home use.

      • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Thursday September 27 2018, @08:06PM

        by linkdude64 (5482) on Thursday September 27 2018, @08:06PM (#741007)

        "all is quiet and a blob of bees is on the wall."

        I quite like how this was written.

  • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26 2018, @11:43PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26 2018, @11:43PM (#740531)

    The reality is that CCD came into being around the same time that millennial bees reached breeding age. It seems likely that the explosion of bee genders that followed is what led to CCD, as queen bees became uncertain as to whether they were actually king bees trapped in queen bee bodies, and other bees began to believe that they fit on a spectrum of genders from drone to worker.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @01:30AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @01:30AM (#740575)

      Fuck you, fucker...you trolling asshole. You should go take a leap into the boiling waters off the Puna District on the big Island in Hawaii.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @01:58AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @01:58AM (#740582)

        You're a poser. Just give up the tough guy talk. You don't even scare the day care children. Keep yapping like a little annoying dog, and we'll carry your ass up the mountain, and throw you into the volcano.

      • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:39AM

        by Bot (3902) on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:39AM (#740685) Journal

        Well look at this, are you sure it is YOUR SIDE that is oppressed?

        --
        Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:18AM (1 child)

      by Reziac (2489) on Thursday September 27 2018, @06:18AM (#740682) Homepage

      This is the first time I've ever seen a post marked: -1, Funny

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @10:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @10:31AM (#740728)

        > a post marked: -1, Funny

        Enjoy it while you can, some other mod will probably change it shortly.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Some call me Tim on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:18AM (5 children)

    by Some call me Tim (5819) on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:18AM (#740643)

    Why are related links considered spoilers? Care to comment on this please takyon?
    I can't be the only one wondering... (for transparency's sake.. infrequent poster and mostly drunk right now).

    --
    Questioning science is how you do science!
  • (Score: 2) by CZB on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:30AM (4 children)

    by CZB (6457) on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:30AM (#740650)

    I read parts of the research paper, especially the methods they used. Seems credible, not one of the bogus studies. Seems like the bottom line with this ones is: glyphosate does effect bee gut biome, making them more susceptible to disease.
    But here's the song, as a farmer who uses a lot of it, there's no good alternative at the moment. I've been studying ways to reduce and eliminate my herbicide usage, and there are some things I'll be trying, but really, robots are the only hope for eliminating herbicides.
    Over the next 20 years we'll be reducing herbicide usage and changing a lot of weed control methods because so many weeds are growing resistant to them. But no amount of worry or actual research will create a glyphosate ban. Its way too essential to the current global food system. Farmers with their herbicides are at the same point as gas powered cars, it would be really nice to stop using internal combustion engines, but we just can't do that yet.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:39AM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:39AM (#740654) Journal

      What we need is a robot that can pick weeds and shoot down bugs with a laser. Adapt to that!

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1) by kiffer on Thursday September 27 2018, @11:44AM (1 child)

        by kiffer (3153) on Thursday September 27 2018, @11:44AM (#740745)

        You would only want to shoot down insects that are harmful to crops, so you would obviously tune the system to ignore ladybirds/ladybugs.
        This will place a pressure on the pest insects to look more and more like non-pest insects.
        if you set the system to kill all insects, then smaller insects will still get through the system, and you won't have any ladybirds to eat all the aphids.

        • (Score: 2) by CZB on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:53PM

          by CZB (6457) on Thursday September 27 2018, @04:53PM (#740861)

          And all the wasps are good! (Except maybe in some orchard fruit crops.)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @10:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @10:41AM (#740731)

      > there's no good alternative at the moment.

      Not a farmer, so this is really just out of curiosity--have you compared the cost of herbicide (product + application costs) to the loss of crop if the herbicide isn't used? Seems like the yield would change all over depending on local conditions and farming technique so testing on different fields would be necessary. For example if you are able to crop rotate that might reduce weeds? Or, if you certify organic (yes, this takes several years), your (possibly smaller yield) will sell for a higher price.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @03:54PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27 2018, @03:54PM (#740833)

    is that Monsanto has patented a new toxin to to put in the U.S. food supply?

    Roundup is out of patent. So I guess now it's cool to recognize what all the bee keepers have known for a decade on now. Because doing so, means that there won't be a competing public domain chemical composition to whatever new horror is introduced into the food supply.

    As you can tell I am all sunshine and roses today.

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