Government rejects scientist's claim it tried to cover up hi

Government rejects scientist's claim it tried to cover up hi

Postby Oscar » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:01 am

Government rejects scientist's claim it tried to cover up his pesticide research

[ http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... nvironment ]

Nonprofit released confidential decision in complex case involving monarch butterflies, scientific freedom and the safety of the nation’s food supply

Maria L La Ganga in San Francisco @marialaganga Monday 29 February 2016 22.16 GMT Last modified on Tuesday 1 March 2016 01.30 GMT

Federal officials have rejected a complaint by an entomologist who charged that the government has tried to suppress negative research findings about a widely used pesticide, in a complex case involving monarch butterflies, scientific freedom and the safety of the nation’s food supply.

The confidential decision by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was disclosed Monday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), a nonprofit group that offers aid and advice to whistleblowers and scientists.

Jonathan Lundgren, a senior research entomologist for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, has been studying the effect of neonicotinoids, which he described as among the most widely used pesticides in the world today.

“We were starting to see it in places where it doesn’t belong,” Lundgren told the Guardian. “We’re starting to find it in plants that aren’t being treated. It prompted us to ask, ‘Is it hurting bees? Is it hurting monarch butterflies?’ We know their populations are decreasing. They’re at about 10% of their historic population.”

Peer executive director Jeff Ruch said the pesticide’s harm to monarch butterflies could not be understated because monarchs pollinate flowering plants, like almond trees.

“The fate of pollinators on the planet and in this country are an issue,” Ruch told the Guardian. “The absence of pollinators would have a devastating impact on our food security. Pollinators are important to a huge portion of our food supply ... anything that flowers.”

One reason for the decrease is a drop in the amount of milkweed, which monarch larvae eat, Lundgren said. But research by Lundgren and his team also found that 60% of the milkweed in their South Dakota study area was contaminated by the pesticide, which even at low levels causes monarch larvae to grow much more slowly and reach much smaller size.

The USDA “gave me approval to submit it, and it was accepted for publication”, Lundgren said of his research. “It garnered press interest. [The USDA] came back and said that it was not approved for submission and then they punished me for that. They used that as partial basis for a two-week suspension.”

- - - SNIP - - -

“This is really about suppression and manipulation of science for a political and economic agenda,” Ruch told the Guardian. “In essence, the USDA’s position is ‘we’ll allow science to be published as long as it doesn’t interfere with our agenda’.”
Oscar
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7910
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:23 pm

Return to Pesticides

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron