Organic TV

Green living expert, author, and TV personality, Sara Snow, explains the USDA organic seal and why "natural" is not organic.

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  • Three new studies confirm that exposures to common insecticides during pregnancy can cut a child’s IQ 4% to 7%  by age 9.
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Hot Science

Increasing natural areas in agricultural land helps conserve biodiversity

Oct 27, 2014

  As the human population continues to expand, biologists are looking for new ways to conserve biodiversity in an anthropogenic landscape. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology found that reducing pesticide and fertilizer applications and increasing semi-natural landscapes surrounding farms are important techniques for conserving biodiversity.  The authors quantitatively [...]

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Pesticide use associated with diabetes in farmers’ wives

Oct 24, 2014

  A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, shows that pesticide use is associated with the development of diabetes. The Agricultural Health Study is a study that follows more than 89,000 farmers and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina since 1993 in order [...]

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Organic farming leads to large increases in biodiversity

Oct 23, 2014

  A recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Applied Ecology compared biodiversity under organic and conventional farming methods by studying the findings from 94 studies. After confounding factors were accounted for, the results showed that organic farms had 30 percent more species than conventional farms, and this trend was seen consistently across literature published [...]

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Fungicide over-use leads to resistant fruit and vegetable pathogens.

Oct 22, 2014

  Antibiotic-resistant bacteria evolve with the overuse of antibiotics, ‘superweeds’have evolved resistance to commonly used herbicides, and now a recent review in the Journal of Chemical Biology shows that fungal pathogens are developing resistances to fungicides due to excessive application. For its case study, the paper specifically uses the grey mold fungus, a destructive pathogen [...]

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Contaminated Argentine wetland poses threat to humans and migrating birds

Oct 21, 2014

  A recent study published in Science of the Total Environment found high levels of toxic chemical contamination in Argentina’s Mar Chiquita wetland. Organochlorine pesticides (OP), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDE) are toxic pollutants originating from intensive agriculture and industry. While these substances are banned across most countries, they still persistent in [...]

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Flame retardants in household dust linked to childhood leukemia

Oct 20, 2014

  Household dust is one way in which people are exposed to flame retardants. Polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants commonly found in household items and which are persistent in the environment. While some PBDEs (octaBDE and decaBDE) were phased out to due to their toxicity to humans, they are still present in many [...]

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Bee population declines could lead to an increase in malnutrition

Oct 17, 2014

  A recent study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology has found that maintaining healthy pollinator populations may play an important role in staving off malnutrition in developing countries. Researchers collected data on plant nutrients, crop dependence on pollinators, and crop types and yields across the globe. They found that while pollinators are [...]

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Flame retardants transferred from household dust to laundry to waterways

Oct 16, 2014

  The common use of flame retardants to treat common household items including furniture, mattresses and plastics has resulted in their accumulation in bodies of water and even further into aquatic wildlife. However, the pathway by which these chemicals make their way out of household items and into the environment has not been well understood. [...]

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Pesticide exposure linked to depression in agricultural workers

Oct 15, 2014

  A new epidemiological study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives by researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has found that pesticide exposure is linked to depression in male pesticide applicators. A total of 21,208 private pesticide applicators were surveyed from 1993-1997, and again between 2005 and 2010. After confounding factors [...]

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Neonicotinoids contaminate Canadian wetlands

Oct 14, 2014

  A recent study published in the journal PLOS One found that neonicotinoid pesticides—the dominant insecticide used as a seed treatment on crops including canola and soybeans—are contaminating wetlands in Canada’s Prairie Pothole region. Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan used a combination of spatial distribution modeling and assessments of water and sediment concentrations in [...]

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