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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

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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Neonicotinoid use leads to decline in bird populations

Oct 09, 2014

  Research has demonstrated that exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides is harmful to non-pest insects such as bees. Now, a new study published in the journal Nature demonstrates that the negative effects of these unintended exposures my reach much further up the food chain than scientists previously suspected. Researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands demonstrated [...]

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Neonicotinoids from treated seeds contaminate Midwestern streams

Oct 08, 2014

  A recent study published in Environmental Pollution found neonicotinoids in Midwestern streams where corn and soybean production is high. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey sampled surface water from streams within Iowa for neonicotinoid contamination. Streams were tested for imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. All streams tested positive for at least one of the neonicotinoid [...]

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Systematic neonicotinoid use decreases ecosystem services

Oct 07, 2014

  A recent review article published in Environmental Science Pollution Research seeks to understand how the widespread use of neonicotinoids affects ecosystems and the services that those ecosystems provide to human beings. Ecosystem services, defined as “the benefits that people obtain from natural systems,” can include services as pollination, pest regulation, water purification, and nutrient [...]

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Alternative pesticides also pose risk to the Great Barrier Reef

Oct 04, 2014

  The coral that makes up the Great Barrier Reef has been on the decline for decades due to a number of causes including sediment, fertilizer, and pesticide runoff. Commonly used herbicides, known as PSII herbicides, have been identified as particularly harmful to the reef. As a result, their use has been regulated in Australia [...]

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