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Posts Tagged ‘pesticides’

70% of Brazilian Food Contaminated by Agrochemicals

Posted by feww on June 18, 2016

Sent by a reader

Brazilians consume 7.5 liters of pesticides per year— highest per capita consumption rate in the world

“Around 70 percent of food consumed by Brazilians is contaminated by agrochemicals,” said researcher Karen Friederich of the Brazilian Association of Collective Health.

Friederich delivered the findings of her research during a lecture at the Health Movement Forum, revealing that Brazilians consume nearly 7.5 liters of pesticides per year—the highest per capita consumption rate in the world.

At least one-third of agrochemicals used in the Brazil are banned in the European Union and the United States because of their impacts on human health and the environment, she stated.

“The cases of contamination are not well documented, but they affect a large portion of the population, generating reproductive changes, birth defects and effects on the immune system,” Friederich said.

The number of reported cases of human intoxication by pesticides more than doubled, from 2,178 in 2007 to 4,537 in 2013, Brazil’s Health Ministry reported.

“In 2014, Brazilian health agency ANVISA, which is in charge of evaluating pesticide residues in food, found that of 1,665 samples collected, ranging from rice to apples to peppers, 29 percent showed residues that either exceeded allowed levels or contained unapproved chemicals,” the report said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported last year that glyphosate, a key ingredient used in many herbicides and pesticides, “probably causes cancer.”

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Monsanto’s Pesticides Causing Cancer, Birth Defects in Argentina

Posted by feww on October 24, 2013

Pesticides sold by Monsanto poisoning Argentina: AP

The Associated Press (AP) has documented dozens of cases around Argentina where widespread misuse of Monsanto’s products are causing major health problems.

Toxic pesticides were sprayed close to populated areas and close to the water supply; farmers mix and apply poisons without protective clothing; villagers store water in pesticide containers.

In Santa Fe Province [population: 3.2 million, 3rd most populated province,] Argentina’s number one producer of cereals, toxic chemicals were used about 30 meters from homes, instead of the mandatory 500 meters, according to the AP report.

Unsurprisingly, cancer rates in the province are up to four times higher than the national average. In the neighboring Chaco province [population 1.2 million,]  birth defects quadrupled since the mid 1990s when Monsanto convinced the Argentines that  its patented seeds and agrochemicals would sharply increase crop yields and lower pesticide use, thus dramatically transforming farming in Argentina.

Health authorities are now warning that growing health problems among nearly a third of the country’s 41 million population may be due to uncontrolled use of pesticides.

Today, all of Argentina’s soy crop and most of its corn and cotton are genetically modified.

“The change in how agriculture is produced has brought, frankly, a change in the profile of diseases,” says Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez, a pediatrician and neonatologist who co-founded Doctors of Fumigated Towns, part of a growing movement demanding enforcement of agricultural safety rules. “We’ve gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects, and illnesses seldom seen before.”

Farmers in Argentina use about 320 million liters of agrochemicals last year, applying about 5 kg of pesticide per hectare (4.3lbs. per acres), or more than twice the amount used in the U.S., to boost production, as pests become ever more resistant to the poisons.

“As we’ve also learned in the United States, herbicide-resistant GE crops lead to dramatically increased pesticide use. And as weeds develop resistance to these chemicals, industry rolls out even more hazardous chemicals to battle the superweeds. Farmers get trapped on the pesticide treadmill.” Pesticide Action Network International told AP.


  1. Total agricultural land in Argentina is 1,333,500km², or 48.0 % of the area.
  2. Argentina’s soy planting area is a projected at 20.65 million hectares for the current 2013/14 season, with corn at 5.7 million hectares, and wheat 3.4 million hectares.

Posted in disaster diary, disaster watch, disaster zone, disasters, environment, Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, health, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mystery killer disease sweeping across Central America

Posted by feww on December 13, 2011

Mysterious epidemic killing more men in Nicaragua than HIV and diabetes combined

The disease which is causing kidney failure has killed so many men in western Nicaragua’s sugarcane-growing community of La Isla [The Island] the locals call their village La Isla de las Viudas—”The Island of the Widows.”

Disaster Calendar 2011 – December 13

[December 13, 2011]  Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,555 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History

  • Central America. A mysterious killer epidemic is sweeping across Central America, killing more men in Nicaragua than HIV and diabetes combined. In El Salvador, the disease is the 2nd biggest cause of death among the male population, said a report.
    • The epidemic is now prevalent across six countries, along the Pacific coast of Central America.
    • The following figures show the percentage increase in male deaths caused by kidney disease in Central America between 2005 and 2009:
      • Guatemala: 27%
      • El Salvador: 26%
      • Nicaragua: 41%
      • Costa Rica: 16%
    • “It is important that the chronic kidney disease (CKD) afflicting thousands of rural workers in Central America be recognized as what it is – a major epidemic with a tremendous population impact,” said Victor Penchaszadeh, a clinical epidemiologist at Columbia University, and a consultant to the Pan-American Health Organization on chronic diseases in Latin America.
    • El Salvador’s health minister has asked the international community for help. The epidemic is  “wasting away our populations,” she said.
    • The worst aspect of the disease is the suddenness by which it claims its victims. The disease victims show no sign of high blood pressure or diabetes, which are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the “developed world.”
    • “Most of the men we studied have CKD from unknown causes,” said Dr. Carlos Orantes, who recently discovered that a quarter of the men in the farming region of Bajo Lempa in El Salvador are afflicted with CKD.
    • Dr. Orantes believes that exposure to toxic chemicals—pesticides and herbicides—is a major cause of the CKD in his area.

Global Disaster Links

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Bountiful Bees Committed to Extinction

Posted by feww on March 11, 2011

Bees Baffled by Human Insanity

Mass death of bee colonies worldwide threaten biodiversity and food security: UNEP

Speaking of fouling your own doorstep. Human activity is committing nature’s insect pollinators to extinction.

A clear pattern of species extinction is forming: Plants, bees, birds, fish … How much longer do you think humans can clutch on to the disappearing straws?

Bee pollinating a flower. Photo credit: PD Photo. Click image to enlarge.


Bee colonies worldwide are under threat, with serious implications for biodiversity and food security, UNEP says.

Global Honey Bee Colony Disorders and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators, a new study published by UNEP, finds that multiple factors are responsible for declines in bee populations, including

  • Habitat deterioration (destruction)
  • Air pollution
  • Crop spraying (pesticides)
  • Widespread use of insecticides
  • Climate Change
  • Parasites
  • Invasive species

Tens of thousands of plant species may disappear unless conservation measures are employed, the report says.

The decline of bee populations has serious consequences for food security. Pollination is critical for flower and seed production and vital to the health of ecosystems. As many crops depend solely on pollinators for survival, the well-being of pollinating insects such as bees is critical for ensuring the availability of food for a growing global population.

Posted in Habitat deterioration, Species Extinction, Varroa mite | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Dementia Dozen: Foods to Avoid

Posted by feww on December 21, 2009

Should You Worry About Pesticides in Your Food?

That depends on whether you think dementia adds to your 50-something charm!

Exposure to pesticides could permanently affect the nervous system, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life, researchers say.

New findings support a probable link between toxic chemicals and Alzheimer’s disease.

Two sliced brain diagrams shown for comparison. Left: normal brain. Right: brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. Source: The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). Click Image to enlarge.

“While no cause for Alzheimer’s disease has been found, [non-inherited] cases are likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors,” said Kathleen M Hayden, PhD, Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Hayden’s research shows that pesticides could affect the rate of flow of acetylcholine, a chemical that’s important for memory.

PET brain Scans. Left: Normal Brain. Right: Alzheimer’s Disease Brain. Source: The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). Click Image to enlarge.

More than 18,000 pesticides are licensed in the U.S., and about 1 million tons (2 billion pounds) are applied to fruit and crops each year, Hayden said.

“There are 5.3 million Americans [1.7 percent of the US population] living with Alzheimer’s disease, which disrupts memory, learning, and other mental functions. By 2010, there will be nearly half a million new cases each year and by 2050, there will be nearly a million new cases annually, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.” WebMed reported.

“The World Alzheimer’s Report 2009 estimates that 35 million people will have dementia worldwide by 2010. That is less than one half of one percent (0.5%)  of the world population.” ANZ Blog reported.

In a new study that involved 4,000 participants, researchers found that the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease increased by 53% among people who worked with pesticides, having adjusted for other factors including age, gender, education and a gene known to raise Alzheimer’s risk.

Neurofibrillary Tangles.  Image shows how microtubules desintegrate with Alzheimer’s disease.  Source: The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). Click Image to enlarge.

ANZ Blog said:

Pesticide Exposure Linked to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s Disease

Two new studies provide additional evidence “pointing to a link between pesticide exposure and the risk for neurological disorders.” Medscape reported.

“One study linked high levels of an organochlorine pesticide called beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH) to an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD), while another showed an association between agricultural pesticide exposure and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

Persistent organochlorine pesticides

“[P]ersistent organochlorine pesticides (including DDT, dieldrin) were used widely in New Zealand. The main areas of use were agriculture, horticulture, timber treatment and public health (Table 1). Smaller amounts were also used for amenity purposes and in households.” New Zealand Government says.

“Organochlorine contamination: Some of the 60,000 or so synthetic organochlorines that have been formulated since about 1940 are highly persistent or long-lived (e.g. DDT, DDE, PCBs, PCP, HCBs, dioxins, chlordane, lindane, aldrin, dieldrin).” —Truth about New Zealand

Why Do Some Countries Score Much Higher on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s Cases?

In short, two reasons:  First, previous applications of now banned persistent organochlorine pesticides (including DDT, dieldrin); Second, the volume of pesticides applied.

ANZ believes there’s a direct relationship between the volumes of pesticides applied in a given country and numbers of dementia cases nationwide.

Pesticide manufacture

“New Zealand has ‘about a dozen’ pesticide manufacturing sites. No information is publicly available about the scale and extent of land contamination associated with these sites with the exception of ‘a disused site in the small coastal town of Mapua , on the Waimea inlet near Nelson. Various pesticides and agricultural chemicals were manufactured and formulated there from 1945 to 1988 by the Fruitgrowers Chemical Company.’”

“DDT was mixed with fertiliser and applied to pasture in a bid to control grass grubs and porina caterpillars. It was also used on lawns and market gardens, parks and sports fields. Its use …was finally banned in 1989. DDT has a half-life of 10 years in dry soils, but its main residue, DDE, is far more persistent, showing little change in soil levels over 20 years.”—Truth about New Zealand

The US study, “1 of the largest of its kind to date and perhaps the first to link a particular pesticide with PD, found that 9 of the 16 pesticides tested were present in study subjects. The pesticide found most often was p.pDDE. It was detected in 100% of the AD patients, 72% of the PD patients, and 86% of the controls.” Medscape report said.

How does that translate into your family’s food safety?

Safe Food Campaign List of  “The Dirty Dozen” food is reproduced below:

Safe Food Campaign research

Safe Food Campaign researcher Alison White has listed the top 12 foods in New Zealand that are most likely to contain pesticide residues.

White’s list of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ food is based on data complied by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and includes Bread, dairy products and fruit, both fresh and canned.

They have ranked the food according to the most pesticide residues,  number of pesticides detected in total samples and the percentage contaminated with pesticides.

What about other food that are not on the list, but are contaminated nonetheless?

The ‘dirty dozen’ crops and farm produce that are listed on the table were closely followed by cucumber, nectarines, lettuce, tomatoes, wine and pears, according to safe food Campaign research.

How could that affect your kids’ health?

In Birth to Alzheimer’s in 12 products, quoting Food Safety researcher Alison White, ANZ says:

According to  a 2006 study, “children who were exposed prenatally to the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos, as measured in the umbilical cord, were significantly more likely to have poorer mental and motor development by three years of age and increased risk for behaviour problems.” New Zealand uses  Chlorpyrifos on almost all grain, fruit and vegetables.  Apples, apricots, celery, grapes,  mandarins, oranges, pears, peaches, raisins, sultanas, tomatoes, as well as bread and wine, among others, were recently found to contain the toxic chemical.

“We do not know enough about the effects of these chemicals in our food. However, there are various serious long term effects associated with particular pesticides that are found in our food, including endocrine or hormonal disruption, cancer, immune system suppression, nervous system damage, genetic damage and birth defects. We also know that various pesticides used to grow food have damaging effects on wildlife and the ecosystem.”

The highly toxic chlorothalonil, a fungicide, believed to be a human carcinogen, is found in Celery. The deadly chemical “in laboratory studies has caused DNA damage and embryo loss.”  The EPA in the US intends to study Chlorothalonil as a potential endocrine disruptor. “This pesticide has also been found in groundwater, sea water and air and is toxic to many species, including earthworms.”

Celery also contain mancozeb, yet another fungicide, which breaks down to  ethylene thiourea and causes cancer, endocrine disruption, goitre and birth defects, the report said.

[Moderator’s Note: The parties involved seem to have intentionally left out any mention of the kiwifruit, possibly the most toxic of all NZ produce.]

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Posted in acetylcholine, Alzheimer’s risk, chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, Parkinson’s | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pesticides may damage human brain

Posted by feww on October 25, 2008

Pesticides may damage brain growth in fetuses, infants and children

Many pesticides including organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, ethylenebisdithiocarbamates, and chlorophenoxy herbicides may cause neurodevelopmental toxicity: European study

An Excerpt from:

Neurotoxicity of pesticides: a brief review

By Costa LG, Giordano G, Guizzetti M, Vitalone A.
Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.

  • Pesticides are substances widely used to to protect crops against unwanted pests such as insects, weeds, fungi and rodents.
  • Pesticides are not highly selective, and are also toxic to nontarget species, including humans.
  • Many pesticides cause neurotoxicity.
  • Insecticides, which kill insects by targeting their nervous system, have neurotoxic effect in mammals as well. This family of chemicals comprises the
    • organophosphates,
    • carbamates,
    • pyrethroids,
    • organochlorines
    • other compounds.
  • Insecticides interfere with chemical neurotransmission or ion channels, and usually cause reversible neurotoxic effects, that could be lethal.
  • Some herbicides and fungicides have also been shown to possess neurotoxic properties.
  • The effects of pesticides on the nervous system may involve, or may contribute to
    • acute toxicity, as in case of most insecticides,
    • chronic neurodegenerative disorders, most notably Parkinson’s disease.

This brief review highlights some of the main neurotoxic pesticides, their effects, and mechanisms of action. [Modified for ease of reading: FEWW]

Section of neural tissue, showing three Lewy Bodies; protein inclusions characteristic of Parkinson’s Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. (Source)

Potential developmental neurotoxicity of pesticides used in Europe [and elsewhere in the world].

A report by: Bjorling-Poulsen M, Raun Andersen H, Grandjean P.

Current requirements for safety testing do not include developmental neurotoxicity. The authors therefore undertook a systematic evaluation of published evidence on neurotoxicity of pesticides in current use, with specific emphasis on risks during early development. This report is based on a review of about 200 scientific reports worldwide about the pesticides and brain.

  • Many pesticides that target the nervous system of insect pests may also be neurotoxic to humans because of the similarity in brain biochemistry.
  • Developing brain may be particularly vulnerable to adverse effects of neurotoxic pesticides.
  • Laboratory experimental studies using model compounds suggest that many pesticides currently used in Europe can cause neurodevelopmental toxicity. These include
    • organophosphates,
    • carbamates,
    • pyrethroids,
    • ethylenebisdithiocarbamates, and
    • chlorophenoxy herbicides.
  • Adverse effects on brain development can be severe and irreversible, therefore, prevention should therefore be a public health priority.
  • The occurrence of residues in food and other types of human exposures should be prevented with regard to the pesticide groups that are known to be neurotoxic.
  • For other substances, given their widespread use and the unique vulnerability of the developing brain, the general lack of data on developmental neurotoxicity calls for investment in targeted research.
  • While awaiting more definite evidence, existing uncertainties should be evaluated in regard to the need for precautionary action to protect brain development. [Abstract modified for ease of reading: FEWW]

Related Links:

Posted in acute toxicity, developing brain, ion channels, organochlorines, Parkinson's disease | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

‘Safe’ Pesticides: Worst in Poisonings

Posted by feww on October 21, 2008

Safe’ pesticides kill faster!

Pyrethrins and pyrethroids, the main ingredients of thousands “safe” pesticides, were responsible for at least  26 percent of all fatal, “major,” and “moderate” episodes filed with the EPA in 2007, a new report by the Center for Public Integrity said.

Key Findings:

  • The number of reported human health problems, including severe reactions, attributed to pyrethrins and pyrethroids rose by about 300 percent since 2000, according to previously unreleased EPA data.
  • Pyrethrins and pyrethroids based pesticides cause more human harm than all other classes of pesticides.

Credit: The Center for Public Integrity. Image may be subject to copyright.

“Two-and-a-half-year-old Amber Nickol McKeown had head lice. Her mother, Eileen, put the child in a warm bath and massaged Osco Lice Treatment Shampoo into her scalp. Problem solved.”

Soon amber’s chest turned red and bathing her in cool water didn’t help. Little Amber’s condition deteriorated rapidly as she struggled to breathe. “Her eyes rolled back in her head, and her skin peeled off in clumps, according to a lawsuit filed by the family.”

Amber was dead within 72 hours of her bath. Click here for full report.

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Posted in Amber Nickol McKeown, EPA, Osco Lice Treatment Shampoo, Pesticide Poisonings, Pesticide Regulation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are You Allowed to Live Free of Toxic Pollution?

Posted by feww on July 25, 2008

The Right to Live Free of Toxic Pollution Must Be Made A Fundamental Human Right!

Of nearly 90,000 chemical compounds in use, the majority of which have never been tested for health effects, only a fraction are registered and of those only a handful have been banned by EPA in the last thirty years. Meanwhile, about 2,000 new chemicals are introduced each year.

See Main Entry: The Right to Live Free of Toxic Pollution

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Posted in air pollution, BMW, environment, food, germany, health, Munich, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Penguins DDT Contamination Levels Still High

Posted by feww on May 10, 2008

Just when you thought penguins fared better than polar bears!

Just when you thought the Antarctic marine life had only a few minor problems like the climate change and ozone hole to worry about, but were otherwise safe from other harms like ingesting plastic trash, or growing a “skin” rash from pesticide contamination, it has been revealed that the deadly pesticide DDT, banned in most countries more than 35 years ago, stills show up in penguins in Antarctica.

A researcher has blamed the DDT contamination on the chemical’s accumulation of the poison in melting glaciers.

“DDT, along with a lot of other of these organic contaminants, actually travel through the atmosphere … toward the polar regions by a process of evaporation and then condensation in cooler climates,” according to Heidi Geisz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

The DDT contamination in the Adelie penguins was first discovered in 1964. The contamination level rose in the 1970s and has stayed stable since then, Geisz said.

Mating Adelie penguins at Cape Adare in Ross Sea, Antarctica January of 2001. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license versions 2.5, 2.0, and 1.0 (Credit: Mila Zinkova)

In 1962, Silent Spring by American biologist Rachel Carson was published. The book cataloged the environmental impacts of the indiscriminate spraying of DDT in the US and questioned the logic of releasing large amounts of chemicals into the environment without fully understanding their effects on ecology or human health. The book suggested that DDT and other pesticides may cause cancer and that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds. Its publication was one of the signature events in the birth of the environmental movement. Silent Spring resulted in a large public outcry that eventually led to most uses of DDT being banned in the US in 1972. DDT was subsequently banned for agricultural use worldwide, but its limited use in disease vector control continues to this day in certain parts of the world and remains controversial. (source)

Is it possible that New Zealand is still using DDT in large quantities?

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Posted in Climate Change, environment, health, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Eight Steps that Help Kill More of Our Fish

Posted by feww on May 7, 2008

How Your Car’s Exhaust Emissions Helps Create Dead Zones and Kill Our Fish

Step One: You fill up the tank (gasoline is a processed fossil fuel product).

REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (Image may be subject to copyright!)

Step Two: As you drive around, your car burns the fossil fuel and produces greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants, which are spewed out through the exhaust pipe.

Houston Evacuation – Hurricane Rita

Step three: Sunlight interacts with greenhouse gases emitted from your car, producing ground-level ozone.

Only about 12.6 percent of the gas your car consumes is used for driving!

Step Four: High ozone levels damage crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, reducing growth rates and crop yields, as well as making the crops less resistant to insects and pests. (In 1995, ground-level ozone caused $2.7 billion in crop damage nationwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.) Current estimates for the crop damages caused by ground-level ozone stand at about $3 billion each year in the US alone.

(L) Ozone-damaged plant; (R) normal plant. Photo courtesy of Gene Daniels/U.S. EPA.

Step Five: To increase growth rates, boost crop yields and fight pests, farmer use increasingly larger amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Applying Chemical Fertilizers. Photo AVRCD. (Image may be subject to copyright!)

Step Six: Nutrient-rich chemical runoffs (pollution) from agricultural fields are washed by rain into streams, storm sewers and rivers and end up into our oceans, seas and other water bodies.

Summer rains wash nutrients, dissolved organic matter and sediment out of the mouths of rivers, into the sea, sparking large phytoplankton blooms. South America presents two excellent examples of river outlets where phytoplankton tends to thrive. Along the northern part of the continent the mouth of the Orinoco River opens into the Caribbean. Along the Eastern side of South America, the mighty Amazon exits its thousand mile journey. (Text NASA)

Step Seven: Dead Zones that cover tens of thousands of square kilometers of waterways are created by pollution-fed algae, which deprive fish and other marine life of oxygen.

Gulf of Mexico: sediment filled water meets the ocean.

Step Eight: Deprived of oxygen, fish and other marine life die.

Dead fish are seen on a basket of a fish farm off a coast of Menidi village in the Amvrakikos Gulf, some 350Km northeast of Athens February 28, 2008. Local marine biologist Vangelis Dimitriou said that up to 800 tonnes of fish including sea bass and sea bream died from a lack of oxygen [hypoxia], after swimming through a large pocket of water where the temperatures suddenly dropped at a drastic rate. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis (GREECE). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

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Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, health, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »