Roundup without Glyphosate? They have it, just not in the U.S.

Roundup and Monsanto have been taking some pretty hard hits from environmentalists, farmers, scientists and others because of the highly toxic main ingredient glyphosate. Even though the EPA, now being strong-armed by our current administration, never finalized its findings about the chemical’s toxicity, there’s plenty of evidence around the world that this is a seriously bad thing for the environment.

But there may be a small ray of hope out there.

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A great way to understand the issues surrounding glyphosate

Glyphosate graphic

Glyphosate is all over the news. The World Health Organization declared it a likely carcinogen yet the U.S. EPA continues to drag its feet adding it to the list of chemicals banned for use.

For those who don’t know or aren’t sure, glyphosate is the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. It’s also found in 750 or more other products in the U.S. Tests have shown that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies. Another study revealed that the chemical has estrogenic properties and drives breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range. And in February 2012, a shocking study published by the journal Archives of Toxicology showed that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.

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Toxic pesticide turning up everywhere we don’t want it

Consumers should be concerned that the toxic chemical glyphosate, shown here being sprayed on crops, is being found in places we really don't want it to be

Consumers should be concerned that the toxic chemical glyphosate, shown here being sprayed on crops, is being found in places we really don’t want it to be

The push to get glyphosate – – a key ingredient in Monsanto’s cash cow RoundUp – banned by the U.S. EPA as a highly toxic pesticide continues. Even more of a concern to consumers is the fact that traces of glyphosate are showing up in a lot of things Americans use every day.

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World Health Organization says air pollution causes cancer

Air pollution in China

Air pollution in China

Even as the amount of carbon dioxide in the air has gone down, the outdoor air pollution continues to be an issue, particularly in developing countries and, most notably, in China. It’s long been known that pollution contributes to heart disease and respiratory illness, but the IInternational Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization’s specialized cancer agency, has now classified outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans.

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Graffiti helps break down air pollution in Manilla

Street artists have created giant murals along Manila’s most congested highway that help deal with air pollution

Graffiti and pollution. Who would think one could be beneficial to help with the other?

The Filipino city of Manila is rated by the United Nations as one of the five most polluted cities in the world. Now street artists are creating massive-sized street murals that are literally helping clear the air.

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Cellphones shown to be “possibly carcenogenic”

An article in today’s Washington Post reports that an international panel of experts organized by the World Health Organization says the radiation from cellphones is “possibly carcinogenic.”

After an extensive review of scientific evidence during an eight-day meeting in Lyon, France, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – which included 31 scientists from fourteen countries – reached its conclusion.

A rating of “possibly carcinogenic” is the IARC’s third-highest rating, falling below “carcinogenic” and “probably carcinogenic.”

The IARC’s assessment now goes before the entire WHO and other national health agencies to determine possible guidelines for cellphone use.

There is evidence that heavy cellphone use is linked to several types of brain cancer

After their week-long meeting, the panel said there was some evidence that cellphone use was linked to two types of brain tumors but cautioned that there was inadequate evidence to draw conclusions for other types of cancer.

Although a controversial study in 2010 showed no clear link between cell phones and cancer, some advocacy groups contend it did raise concerns of a possible connection between heavy cellphone use and a rare but deadly form of brain cancer called glioma. As many cancerous tumors take decades to develop, experts say it’s impossible to conclude cellphones have no long-term health risks.

Earlier this year, a U.S. National Institutes of Health study found that cellphone use can speed up brain activity, but it’s unknown if that can cause any dangerous health effects.

This isn’t a new conversation. We reported a story in late 2009 on the findings of the Environmental Working Group outlining radiation risks posed by a wide range of cellphones. It will be interesting to see what action, if any, the WHO or other agencies decide to take on this issue.

Will the WHO create guidelines to help minimize radiation espoxure from cellphones?

Information on how radiation is transmitted via cellphones has been available for sometime.

To officially state that cellphone use – even if heavy amounts – could be a direct cause of cancer is a statement sure to cause deep fear and panic within the multi-billion dollar global industry. One wonders too what impact the lobbying efforts and pressure from the large telecommunication giants will have on those decisions. We can only sit back and watch what happens.

Help for the hearing impaired for internet phone calls

The United Nations’ World Health Organization estimates there are approximately 278 million people worldwide suffering from moderate to profound hearing loss. Telephone communications and internet-based phone calls are particularly problematic.

Developers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Oldenburg, Germany are working on a digital solution.

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