Purple hydrocoral with orange sea star and fish | Photo: Gabriel Lu, Ocean Safari

Neonics: Toxic Until Fully Tested

Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of The Xerces Society, talks about the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on the environment.

"We believe because they're so toxic, they're so long-lived, they're found inside plants, but readily move into water, that we could really see big ecosystem changes because of these chemicals," he says.

Neonicotinoids, which are now found in stream and well samples across the United States, are not only affecting pollinators like bees and butterflies, but killing insects -- the underpinning of the food chain. That in turn affects birds, fish, and other wildlife.

"The chemical companies are really running the show here," Black says. He questions whether a chemical closely related to nicotine — a known carcinogen — should be so widely used on food crops before further safety studies are conducted. "It's not just about the environment. It's that we are not taking care of humans."

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Airdates

Unsafe: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals

There are tens of thousands of chemicals in our air, water, and in the everyday products we use. They are largely unregulated and few are adequately tested for safety. They contribute to disease and are linked to conditions such as asthma, autism, ADHD, diabetes, cancers, infertility, cognitive disorders, obesity, reproductive disorders and birth defects. "Earth Focus" looks at endocrine disruptors, ubiquitous chemicals that affect development, metabolism, fertility and intelligence at extremely low doses and at what measures could be taken to better ensure public safety.

Fracking Goes Global

(Earth Focus: Episode 52) U.S. domestic gas production is on the rise because of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock by pumping millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals underground at high pressure. Environmentalists say this gas boon threatens water supplies and pollutes air. Now, as fracking expands around the world, so does growing resistance. "Earth Focus" looks at three countries on the new fracking frontline: South Africa, Poland, and the UK.

Climate Science In Action

Whether they are researching the pace of Alaskan glacier melt or measuring the impact of Arctic sea ice changes on our our weather, climate scientists go to some of the most remote areas on Earth to help us understand our environment. The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) brings scientists and students together annually to study glaciers. Jeff Barbee reports on the 2013 JIRP expedition. Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center looks at the impact changes in Arctic sea ice may have on weather patterns.

Asian Elephants In Peril

Asian elephants, already endangered in Indonesia and Thailand,are threatened further by human encroachment and illegal trade. In Indonesia, just 2,500 Sumatran elephants remain. As their last great forest habitat is being logged to make way for palm oil plantations, elephants are pushed into conflict with local people. In Thailand and Myanmar, an illegal and brutal trade in wild baby elephants is contributing to declining elephant populations.

Food Heroes

"Ground Operations," a new film by Dulanie Ellis and Raymond Singer, shows how farming provides both employment and therapeutic recovery for America's combat veterans. Then, meet organic pioneers from Minnesota and Maryland. Also in this episode, a segment showing how California's Pie Ranch develops an innovative way to bring healthy food to a high tech giant while saving a small family business in the process.

  • 2017-07-22T05:00:00-07:00
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