Vernon Morning Star
Weed fight cropping up
By Richard Rolke
A committee proposing a ban on cosmetic use of pesticides in Vernon is
running into opposition.
Several yard care businesses have suggested that the city’s
environmental advisory committee hasn’t done enough investigation into
restricting chemical controls for weeds, and that their interests were
“It is apparent that the environmental committee has a biased,
prejudiced and pre-determined agenda that flies in the face of prudent
scientific evidence, logic and morality,” said Dave Weatherill,
president of Briteland, in a letter to council.
“It is apparent that the environmental committee are following the
lead of other communities who have chosen divisive, big stick, big
brother community culture rather than cohesive, educational and
encouragingly progressive community culture.”
Other companies point out that they are licensed and comply with
regulations, and they should have been consulted by the committee.
“Cosmetic pesticide use has never been a problem in this community and
I am not aware of any other problems elsewhere,” said Scotty Moffat,
owner of Art Knapp Plantland, in a letter to council.
However, the committee chairman disagrees with the portrayal of her
“There was no pre-conceived outcome nor was this matter initiated by
the committee,” said Coun. Buffy Baumbrough.
“The committee was asked by council to look at this issue.”
Baumbrough added that there was considerable division among committee
members and discussion was lengthy.
“We reached consensus and every committee member felt it was a
What was recommended to council Monday was a ban on the cosmetic use
of pesticides on public lands in 2010 and on private lands in 2012.
However, council decided to hold off on a decision until a meeting can
be held with those in the yard care industry.
“Some reasoned voices have asked to speak to us directly,” said Coun.
Some councillors also question the definition of cosmetic pesticides
and how that would impact safety concerns about weeds on sports fields
and public walkways.
“Weeds growing up through cracks in sidewalks isn’t cosmetic. You can
trip on those,” said Coun. Shawn Lee.
Mar 25, 2009
Green thumb… green planet
A free talk on PESTICIDE-FREE GARDENING by renowned author Carole
Rubin is coming to your town…
Fernie: Monday, April 27, 7pm, Traynor Hall at Fernie Secondary
Cranbrook: Tuesday, April 28, 7pm, Lecture Theatre, College of the
Invermere: Thursday, April 30, 7pm, David Thompson Secondary School
Golden: Friday, May 1, 7pm, at Golden Seniors Centre
Nelson: Tuesday, May 5, 7pm, Nelson United Church
Wildsight and the Pesticide-Free Columbia Valley Coalition will
present Carole Rubin, author of the Canadian best-seller, How to Get
Your Lawn and Garden Off Drugs, in a series of free talks lined up for
Rubin’s book is a classic in the field of organic gardening without
harmful pesticides. “In her talk, Green Thumb, Green Planet, Carole
will share the ‘how-tos’ of going pesticide-free,” said Heather
Leschied, from Wildsight. “She’s helped lots of people make the
transition to healthier lawns and gardens.”
The author will give talks in five places around the region. The first
is on April 27 and the last is on May 4, just in time for the spring
gardening season. See below for more of what you will learn at
Carole’s Green Thumb, Green Planet presentation.
Invermere goes cosmetic pesticide-free
Pesticides — “lawn and garden drugs” — are getting a bad rap across
the country, with towns, cities and even provinces (Quebec) banning
their use for cosmetic purposes. Recently, the District of Invermere
became the first place in the East Kootenay to join this movement. On
February 24, it passed a bylaw banning pesticides from cosmetic use in
About Carole Rubin
Carole Rubin is the author of How to Get Your Lawn & Garden Off Drugs,
the book that helped start the pesticide-free revolution that is
sweeping across Canada. Carol is also the author of How to Get Your
Lawn Off Grass and has written for Harrowsmith, Canadian Living
Magazine, and Lawn Care for Dummies. She has spent the past 25 years
spreading the word on safe alternatives to pesticides to protect
water, fish, wildlife and humans from toxic chemicals.
About “Green Thumb, Green Planet”
Carole’s inspiring presentation will show how lawns and gardens can
flourish by replacing synthetic chemicals with balanced organic
alternatives including choosing the right grasses and plants,
fertilizing, aerating, composting and pruning. This presentation is
for all for all gardeners and homeowners who want to “tread lightly on
Please note - Carole has requested that participants wear no scents to
Green Thumb, Green Planet presentations. Thank your for your
Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT)
40th Parliament, 2nd Session
January 26, 2009 - Present
Study: Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Currently there are no available publications for this Study/Activity.
The publications for this Study/Activity will appear in this section
as they become available.
Study: Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Department of Homeland Security sued
A lawsuit accused the Department of Homeland Security of violating the
National Environmental Policy Act regarding the now-delayed U.S.
Border Patrol plans to conduct aerial spraying of an herbicide on
carrizo (kah-DEE'-zoh) cane near the Rio Grande.
Residents of two Laredo neighborhoods on Tuesday sued DHS in a lawsuit
which alleged the public wasn't sufficiently notified about the
spraying program, the Laredo Morning Times reported in a story for
The Border Patrol agreed to delay aerial spraying of the herbicide,
which was set to begin Wednesday, until more talks were held with
Mexican officials on the possible cross-border impact of such a
Israel Reyna, an attorney for the residents, said the decision to
delay spraying wouldn't prevent the group from going forward with the
lawsuit. "The day the court says, 'It's not going to happen,' that's
when it's not going to happen," he told the newspaper.
Roque Sarinana, a spokesman for the Border Patrol, said there was a 30-
day comment period. "This project and program has been planned through
governing laws and regulations," Sarinana said.
The newspaper reported that Homeland Security placed a public notice
about the plans to remove the carrizo in its paper and in the San
Antonio Express-News on July 1.
Officials from DHS and the bi-national agency that oversees the Rio
Grande met Tuesday to discuss the Border Patrol's plan to test the
herbicide imazaypr (i-MAZ'-uh-peer) on carrizo cane, a non-native
plant that clogs the river banks and obscures the view of the river.
"We saw the willingness of the U.S. authorities to suspend the use of
the herbicide for now," said Jose de Jesus Luevano Grano, a Mexico
representative on the International Boundary and Water Commission.
The commission, which includes representatives from both countries and
regulates the use of Rio Grande water, supports plans to uproot the
carrizo cane without the herbicide, Luevano said.
"Although this is not Agent Orange, we don't know what effect it may
have 10 years down the road," said Jim Earhart of the Rio Grande
International Study Center.
Roque Sariana, a Border Patrol spokesman, said the agency would
continue to negotiate for use of aerial spraying on a 1.1-mile test
portion in Laredo.
The towering carrizo cane plants suck up valuable river water and
obscure the riverbanks along much of the Rio Grande, making it
difficult for agents to see people crossing the river.
U.S. officials say imazaypr does not harm people or animals, but
Mexican officials are cautious and want to do their own review,
Wed March 25, 2009
Feds' plan to poison banks of Rio Grande stalled
By Eliott C. McLaughlin
(CNN) -- Federal officials postponed poisoning a mile-long stretch of
the Rio Grande's banks this week after residents complained that doing
so posed health and environmental risks on both sides of the U.S.-
A Border Patrol agent moves through dense cane on the banks of the Rio
Grande near Laredo, Texas, last year.
A Border Patrol agent moves through dense cane on the banks of the Rio
Grande near Laredo, Texas, last year.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it wants to eradicate the
invasive Carrizo cane infesting many portions of the Rio Grande's
banks between Texas and Mexico. The lanky cane provides cover for
immigrants crossing the border illegally and poses a danger to Border
Patrol agents trying to stop them, said Chuck Prichard, spokesman for
CBP's Laredo sector.
"Someone can be in the cane and be 3 feet away from them, and you
cannot see them," Prichard said during a Wednesday phone interview.
"[A Border Patrol agent] could literally be surrounded and have no
The controversy over the test project comes as Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton visits Mexico to discuss border security and other
issues concerning U.S.-Mexico relations.
Applying herbicides on a 1.1-mile stretch of the U.S. side of the
river was part of a test project, Prichard said, but the CBP decided
to postpone the $2.1 million experiment to address community concerns.
Residents of two Hispanic communities near Laredo, Texas -- Barrio de
Colores and Barrio El Cuatro -- filed a lawsuit late Tuesday asking a
federal court to intervene. Prichard said Wednesday morning he was
unaware of the lawsuit.
Among the complaints in the lawsuit, the communities allege the CBP
failed to assess the environmental impact adequately, failed to
consider reasonable alternatives and failed to notify the public
Live from the border
Anderson Cooper reports live from the U.S.-Mexico border on the drug
war. Find out how it threatens to spill over into the U.S. on
"Anderson Cooper 360°."
Though three herbicides were originally proposed, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers settled on imazapyr for the test project, Prichard said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said there is "reasonable
certainty of no harm from aggregate exposure to imazapyr residues."
"Imazapyr technical is relatively nontoxic via the oral route of
exposure, and only slightly toxic via the dermal and inhalation routes
of exposure," the agency has said.
Jay Johnson-Castro Sr., a vocal opponent of the project and executive
director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, said the
studies on the herbicide are insufficient.
"I've lived long enough to know what the government says is safe isn't
always safe," he said.
The 1.1-mile test stretch of the Rio Grande forms a sharp bend between
Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The river serves as a water source
Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas said he believes the federal officials have
good intentions and that some misinformation has been disseminated
regarding the proposal. He said he welcomes the delay so that the CBP
can address community concerns.
"I'm going to make sure we protect our police officers and Border
Patrol," said Salinas, a former FBI agent. "I just want to make sure
it will have zero impact on humans, the water, our environment."
The CBP seeks to use three methods of Carrizo eradication along the
stretch of the river: manually cutting the cane and topically applying
herbicide to the stalks; using shovels, pickaxes, excavators and
backhoes to dig the cane up by its roots; and using helicopters to
spray the bank aerially.
The latter is the most troubling, said Johnson-Castro, because
aerially spraying could affect more than just the Carrizo.
The CBP would evaluate the products of each method before proposing an
eradication program for a 16-mile stretch of the river, Prichard said,
adding that the CBP is considering other options as well.
One option could involve the import of tiny Arundo wasps, which feed
on the cane and lay eggs in it, stunting the cane's growth. Carrizo,
which can grow up to 30 feet high, is a Spanish transplant to Texas.
The wasp is a Mediterranean native.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is experimenting with the wasp on a
different section of the Rio Grande and is sharing its data with the
CBP, Prichard said. The USDA has concerns that Carrizo chokes off
native plants and has an insatiable thirst, capable of annually
sucking up 500 gallons of water per square yard.
Prichard said the CBP wants to re-evaluate its test proposal because
it doesn't want to eradicate the cane at "the expense of the
environment or anyone who lives in the area."
"I own a house in Laredo. I drink the water that comes out of the
tap," Prichard said. "We're trying to do the right thing for everybody
In addition to concerns from the U.S. side of the border, Prichard
said the city of Nuevo Laredo also expressed reservations -- namely
that the stretch hosting the experiment is near the intake point for
Nuevo Laredo's water supply.
Johnson-Castro of the Rio Grande International Study Center said the
concerns of Nuevo Laredo citizens are warranted because the effects of
such widespread use of imazapyr are unclear.
Not only are humans at risk, he said, but there are about 1,000
species residing in the area slated for testing, and the nesting
season for migrant birds is quickly approaching.
Opponents aren't against eradicating the Carrizo, Johnson-Castro said.
They're not even opposed to using herbicides. They just want to make
sure that herbicides are used responsibly and in a targeted manner and
that the CBP considers all options for mitigating the cane.
For instance, he said, donkeys and goats enjoy eating the cane. And
earlier this month, about 70 students from Texas A&M International
University manually were able to clear about an acre of cane in fewer
than three hours.
"Let's get down to reasonableness, logic and fairness here. It's an
issue of morality on one side and of science on the other side,"
Johnson-Castro said. "We don't think citizens of either country should
be Guinea pigs."
Pesticides being sold as local meth
By Linda Williams/TWN Staff Writer
North county methamphetamine users are being sickened by "Black Flag
meth," a dried form of Black Flag pesticide, according to the
Mendocino County Sheriff's Department.
Innovative area cooks primarily have been selling the substance to
methamphetamine smokers in Willits, Covelo and Laytonville, the
department reports. Users report getting an initial high by smoking
the pesticide before getting sick from its poison.
Concentrated pesticides can cause liver failure and other toxic side
Anyone with information about the source of the toxic methamphetamine
should contact the sheriff's department tip line at 467-9159.
March 25, 2009
Death by Multiple Poisoning, Glyphosate and Roundup
by Barbara Peterson
Scientists pinpoint how very low concentrations of the herbicide and
other chemicals in Roundup formulations kill human cells,
strengthening the case for phasing them out, and banning all further
releases of Roundup-tolerant GM crops.
This article was submitted to the USDA on behalf of ISIS
Four different Roundup formulations of the herbicide glyphosate
manufactured by Monsanto are highly toxic to human cells, and at
concentrations far below the recommended agricultural use levels.
Researchers at the Institute of Biology in Caen, France published
their latest results in the current issue of Chemical Research in
Roundup formulations are lethal cocktails
The four Roundup formulations are mixtures of glyphosate with various
adjuvants. (An adjuvant is ‘helper' substance added to aid the effect
of the active ingredient.) The Roundup formulations are currently the
top non-selective herbicides worldwide and increasing, as more than 75
percent of genetically modified (GM) crops are Roundup tolerant.
Glyphosate and its major metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA)
are main contaminants in rivers. The adjuvants, not often measured in
the environment, are usually considered ‘inert' and protected as trade
secret in manufacturing. Among them, the predominant one is
polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA). POEA is used as a surfactant in
Roundup formulations to improve solubility and penetration into
Three human cell lines were tested: primary cell line HUVEC from
umbilical cord vein epithelium, embryonic cell line 293 derived from
kidney, and placenta cell line JEG3. All cells died within 24 hours of
exposure to the Roundup formulations.
The Roundup formulations (Rs) contain different amounts of the active
ingredient glyphosate: Roundup Express, 7.2 g/L (R7.2); Roundup
Bioforce, 360 g/L (R360); Roundup Grand Travaux, 400 g/L (R400); and
Roundup Grand Travaux Plus, 450 g/L (R450). They were compared with
glyphosate (G), AMPA, and POEA. All Roundup formulations in the study,
along with individual chemical ingredients, were tested at
concentrations from10 ppm (parts per million) to 2 percent (the
recommended agricultural usage level), which means that the Roundup
formulations were diluted up to 100 000 times or more.
The researchers found that the presence of the other chemical
ingredients in Roundup formulations, such as POEA, actually amplified
glyphosate's toxic effects. The toxicities of the Roundup formulations
were not proportional to the amount of glyphosate they contained, and
are most likely due to POEA and other as yet undisclosed ingredient(s)
present in all the formulations. POEA by itself is much more toxic
than the Roundup formulations, while AMPA is more toxic than
Multiple targets in toxicity
The researchers tested Rs, G, AMPA, and POEA for effects on three
targets that could kill the cell: damage to the cell membrane,
poisoning of the mitochondria (site of energy metabolism), and
programmed cell death that results in fragmentation of the DNA in the
cell nucleus. They measured specific enzyme markers at different
concentrations for each damage at 24 h of exposure, and also obtained
images of the cell cultures under the microscope.
All Rs, as well as G, caused cells to die; the results are the same
for all human cell types, but at different concentrations. Thus, R400,
the most toxic formulation, killed all cells at 20 ppm, which is
equivalent to 8ppm in G. However, 4-10 ppm G alone is non-toxic, its
toxicity begins around 1 percent (10 000 ppm), and is not connected
with the cell membrane. The R formulations damage the cell membrane,
and also poison the mitochondria. In contrast, G poisons the
mitochondria without damaging the cell membrane
Unexpectedly, R400 is more toxic than R450, the latter in turn more
harmful than R360, R7.2 and G. However, the toxicities are not
proportional to the concentration of G present. The cell killing power
of R7.2 was almost the same as that of R360, and these results are
consistent across all cell lines. This suggests other unknown
substances are involved in the toxic effects.
Thus AMPA and POEA also kill cells by poisoning the mitochondria and
damaging the cell membrane. POEA is so potent that it begins to damage
the cell membrane in HUVEC and poison the mitochondria in 2 93 and
JEG3 at 1 ppm. Roundup formulations are more toxic than either G or
AMPA. AMPA itself destroys the cell membrane, however, which G does
not do, though it is 3-8 times more toxic for the mitochondria than
AMPA. But as cell membrane damage is more serious for the cell, AMPA
is more toxic than G, while POEA is the most toxic of all.
What happens when these ingredients are combined? The researchers
found that for HUVEC and 293 cells, combinations of G and POEA, G and
AMPA, AMPA and POEA were all more toxic than the same concentration of
the single ingredients.
For programmed cell death, the action is quicker. The marker enzymes
are activated from 6 h of exposure, with a maximum at 12 h in all
cases. HUVEC was 60-160 times more sensitive than the other cell
lines; G and R360 were effective at exactly the same concentration,
from 50 ppm. The adjuvants do not seem necessary. G alone is 30
percent more potent here than Rs; it acted rapidly at concentrations
500 –1 000 times lower than agricultural use.
Ban Roundup tolerant GM crops These latest studies confirm a
wealth of evidence on the toxicities of glyphosate and Roundup
formulations  (Glyphosate Toxic & Roundup Worse , SiS 26), and
pinpoint the different sites of action, all of which result in cell
death. Epidemiological studies have previously linked glyphosate to
spontaneous abortions, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
Laboratory studies showed that glyphosate inhibits transcription in
sea urchin eggs and delays development. Brief exposures to glyphosate
in rats caused liver damage, and adding the surfactant in Roundup had
a synergistic effect, causing greater liver damage. Roundup was also
found to be much more lethal to frogs than to weeds, and could have
contributed to the global demise of amphibians within the past decades
 (Roundup Kills Frogs, SiS 26). We have called for a new
regulatory review on glyphosate and Roundup in 2005 . There is a
now a strong case for restricting, if not phasing out glyphosate and
Roundup; in the first instance, by banning the release of Roundup
tolerant GM crops worldwide. For the same reason, no further Roundup
tolerant GM crops should be approved for commercial release.
References Benachour N and Séralini G-E.. Glyphosate formulations
Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and
Placental Cells Chem. Res. Toxicol. , 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105 Ho MW
and Cummins J. Glyphosate toxic and Roundup worse Science in Society
26, 12, 2005. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/GTARW.
frogs Science in Society 26. 13, 2005.
Barbara H. Peterson is retired from the California Department of
Corrections, where she worked as a Correctional Officer at Folsom
Prison. She was one of the first females to work at the facility in
this classification. After retirement, she went to college online to
obtain a Bachelor's degree in Business, and graduated with honors. The
most valuable thing she received from her time with UOP was a
realization that her life's passion is writing. Now her business
degree sits in her desk drawer, and she counts herself in the category
of Writer/Activist. Someday she will make money writing, but that is
not why she does it. "I do it because I must. A driving force compels
me to reach out to others with what I learn about the condition we the
people are in, and that is what I devote my time to. After all, time
is the most precious thing we have, and the older I get the more I
want to use it wisely." Barbara lives on a small ranch in Oregon with
her husband, where they raise geese, chickens, Navajo Churro sheep,
Oggie Dog, a variety of cats, and an opinionated Macaw named Rita. She
believes that self-sufficiency and localization of food sources will
be necessary to survive the coming depression. To this end, she has
put up a website to share information at: http://
Her philosophy is this: You are on this earth for a reason - to fight
for the light. Your words are swords that penetrate the darkness with
truth and light. You have a purpose.
OpEdNews Member for 84 week(s) and 1 day(s)
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of
the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
March 24, 2009
Vernon Morning Star
Industry deserves to be heard
The yard care industry’s opposition to a proposed ban on the cosmetic
use of pesticides was swift and completely understandable.
Did members of the City of Vernon’s environmental advisory committee
actually think it was acceptable to recommend a ban to council without
consulting with impacted businesses first?
How extensive was the committee’s research on the potential harm from
chemicals if it didn’t talk to the professionals who handle pesticides
and herbicides on a daily basis?
By not bringing the industry to the table, all the committee did was
feed the perception that it was biased and had already decided that a
prohibition on cosmetic uses was the end goal of its process.
And how does the committee actually define what is a cosmetic
pesticide? Is it simply to stop the spraying of dandelions so yards
take on a golf course-quality, or would it prevent applying chemicals
to weeds that threaten safety on sports fields or break apart
Unlike the environmental advisory committee, city council showed
leadership Monday when it deferred any decision on a ban until there
can be public consultation, and specifically with lawn care companies
and those who sell pesticides.
Ultimately, a ban on the cosmetic application of pesticides may be
what’s best for the community and the environment, but if such an
initiative is going to work, it must be a co-operative effort and not
dictated by a small group.
March 25, 2009
the week in lobbying
The Crop Protection Association is poised to hand out a major public
affairs brief six months after parting company with Lexington
Communications. The association, which represents makers of
pesticides, used Lexington on a retained basis before moving the work
in-house. It is now in talks with Bellenden Public Affairs.
Thu Mar 5, 2009
Senator urges Obama not to alter NAFTA farm terms
By Doug Palmer
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama should make clear that
he will not change agricultural provisions of the North American Free
Trade Agreement if he renegotiates the pact as promised, a top
Republican senator said on Thursday.
"I am concerned that if the trade agreement is reopened, Mexico will
seek to rebalance tariff concessions in a way that will adversely
affect agricultural exports from Iowa," Senator Charles Grassley of
Iowa said in a letter to Obama.
"I question how this agreement could be changed without having an
adverse effect on trade," Grassley said.
During last year's election campaign, Obama frequently criticized the
15-year-old trade pact. He promised to "fix" the agreement by putting
enforceable labor and environmental protections in the core text of
Obama also said he wanted to amend NAFTA investment provisions that
critics said gave businesses too much power to challenge domestic
regulations in the three countries.
Grassley, noting Obama threatened last year to withdraw from NAFTA if
Mexico and Canada did not agree to reopen it, pressed the president to
provide more details about the scope of a possible renegotiation.
"I also ask you to confirm that, if this trade agreement is reopened,
you will not agree to any increases in, or reinstatements of, tariffs
on U.S. agricultural products under this trade agreement," Grassley
A White House official said they were reviewing Grassley's letter.
Grassley will have an opportunity to question Obama's nominee to be
U.S. trade representative, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, about the
issue on Monday, when the Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on
During a trip to Ottawa last month, Obama repeated his desire to put
enforceable labor and environmental provisions in the text of NAFTA,
instead of leaving them in side agreements.
"My hope is ... there's a way of doing this that is not disruptive to
the extraordinarily important trade relationship that exists between
the United States and Canada," Obama said.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office, in its annual trade agenda
report released on Monday, said it would "work with Canada and Mexico
to identify ways in which NAFTA could be improved without having an
adverse effect on trade."
Grassley said NAFTA leveled the playing field for U.S. farmers and
other exporters by reducing Mexican tariffs and creating significant
new market openings.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer and Caren Bohan)
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