AmericanFarm.com

You do the math ... (Editorial)

(July 18, 2017) Two items appeared on our newswires recently that deserve mention. Both are indicative of how our world is changing. Is it for the better? As they say, “you do the math.”
In an action with national and global implications, a state officially listed glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, as a chemical listed effective this July as  “know- to cause cancer under state law.” The state, as you might have guessed, is California.
An organization which goes primarily by its initials, EWG — Environmental Working Group — applauded the action, but urged the state to go further and set much lower exposure limits “to protect the health of children and fetuses.”
Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, must now carry a label warning California consumers that it can cause cancer in people.
This marks the first time a governmental authority anywhere in the world has issued a regulation based on Roundup’s alleged carcinogenicity.
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment still must set a limit for acceptable daily exposure to the herbicide. Scientists at the agency have proposed a limit of 1.1 milligrams a day — 127 times fewer than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s legal allowance for the average-sized adult.
“With this action today listing glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical, California continues to lead the nation in implementing laws to protect human health and the environment,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “This is a significant blow to Monsanto, but a victory on behalf of the public, which could set the stage for similar actions in other states across the nation.”
Then there was this:
The Northeast Organic Farming Association’s New York chapter has denounced the USDA’s permit for the world’s first open-air trials of the genetically engineered Diamondback moth to be released in Geneva, N.Y.
The Diamondback moth is a worldwide pest to brassica plants such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables.
The purpose of this new genetically engineered insect would be to halt its reproduction and thus reduce pest populations of the Diamondback moths.
This would be accomplished by engineering a new female lethality trait into male GE moths. Thousands of these males mate with wild females who produce eggs that are laid on the brassica, then the females die. The GE males would continue the cycle and continue to lethally destroy the females.
The EPA’s environmental assessment of the process found no significant impact for the field release of the GE Diamondback moths.
NOFA-NY charged that the assessment lacked “comprehensive health and environmental details.”
The EPA’s study, a NOFA-NY spokesman said, “neglects to adequately assess the potential impacts of the trials themselves on farms and residences near the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., and across the state.”
The Diamondback moth is believed to have come here from Europe and is now found virtually nationwide, most populous in areas that do not have cold winters. Studies to control the moths genetically got under way in the mid-1980s when the Diamondbacks emerged as resistant to herbicides.
The process of controlling the populations of the pest by giving the job to the amorously driven males seems rather ingenious.
It is may be worth a try.