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Honeybee Hit
June 2014

Scientists Nab Fungicide as Bee Killer

bee-on-flowerColony collapse disorder, the mysterious mass die-off of honeybees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the U.S., has been well documented, with toxic insecticides identified as the primary culprits. Now, scientists at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have expanded the identification of components of the toxic brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen and decimating the bee colonies that collect it to feed their hives.

A study of eight agricultural chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by parasites found that bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected. Widely used fungicides had previously been accepted as harmless for bees because they are designed to kill fungus, not insects.

Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, states, “There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own, highlighting a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals.” Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity, but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.


Source: qz.com

 
Healthy Homemade Infant Food Reduces Kids’ Allergies
May 2014

Start Children on a Diet Rich in Fruits and Veggies Early On

baby-eating-foodA study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that infants that were fed more homemade foods comprising a higher percentage of fruits and vegetables were less likely to develop food allergies. In assessing youngsters of the same age, researchers from the University of Southampton Medical College, in the UK, followed 41 children that had developed food allergies by the age of 2, alongside 82 non-allergic infants. After tracking the toddlers’ diets with food diaries and conducting allergy testing, the researchers found that infants fed more of the healthier homemade diet had a significantly lower incidence of food allergies as toddlers.

 
Dangerous Additive
May 2014

FDA Finally Regulates Triclosan

toothpaste-and-toothbrushThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration, under a new court agreement with the Natural Resources Defense Council, has agreed to issue a new rule governing the use of Triclosan, a controversial antimicrobial agent used widely in consumer products, by 2016. The action was first proposed in 1978.

Triclosan, a possible endocrine-disrupting chemical, has been found in three-quarters of people from whom blood, urine or tissue has been analyzed as part of bio-monitoring studies; it is also found in the environment after having passed through sewage treatment plants.


Source: TheDailyGreen.com

 
Solar Surge
May 2014

Global Rise in Sun-Generated Power

sunLast year, the U.S. joined Germany, Italy, China and Japan in producing more than 10 gigawatts of solar production nationwide. Now, other countries have awakened to the opportunity and are on their way to catching up. The popular Scandinavian retailer IKEA has sold $10,000 solar panels in 17 British outlets.

Peru recently started a National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program to connect 2 million of its poorest residents with solar power. In the first phase, 1,601 solar panels were installed to power 126 impoverished communities. The plan is to install about 12,500 photovoltaic systems for 500,000 households at an overall cost of $200 million.

Earth Hour India is helping citizens to switch to solar energy in villages that previously had no electricity. Woodlands stores, in partnership with World Wildlife Foundation-India, has launched a collection drive across the country, inspiring individuals to donate to help light up more than 100 households in three villages in Madhya Pradesh with solar power. The residents had traditionally depended on forest resources for their energy needs.

 
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