Great article in The Atlantic on a trouble some topic. Human drugs are polluting the water – everywhere.
“Waterways can contain traces of many drugs—among them antifungals, antimicrobials, and antibacterials, as well as ones for pain, fertility, mood, sleeplessness, and neurodegenerative diseases. If current trends persist, scientists estimate, the volume of pharmaceuticals diffusing into fresh water could increase by two-thirds by 2050. Recent modeling shows that a platypus living in a contaminated stream in Melbourne is already likely to ingest more than half a recommended adult dose of antidepressants every day.”
“And Atlantic salmon smolts exposed to benzodiazepines—medications, such as Valium and Xanax, that are frequently used to treat anxiety—migrate nearly twice as quickly as their unmedicated counterparts. Recklessly so, for the juvenile fish are likely to arrive at the sea in an underdeveloped state and before seasonal conditions are favorable.”
These drugs are in our drinking water, too. Let’s do ourselves and the salmon a favor and dispose of pharmaceuticals responsibly. Bring them to a police station drug takeback near you.
Today, April 26th, is National Drug Take Back Day. The DEA sponsors this program to help prevent diversion of prescription drugs. This is a great time to get rid of any unneeded or expired medicine in a safe, responsible way.
Protecting drinking water is an important component of the program, and collected drugs are burned in high temperature incinerators with scrubbers.
So smart, in so many ways. And after today use their data base to find a police department near you that takes back drugs on a daily basis. There is also a direct link on the front of our web site.
One of our favorite restaurants La Cremaillere, sent out Dandelion Food Facts:
“-Dandelions are not weeds, but are from the same family as sunflowers.
-A dandelion seed can travel up to five miles before it lands.
-Every part of the dandelion is edible.
-1 cup of dandelion greens = 535% of your Vitamin K and 112% of your Vitamin A requirement.
-Up until the 1800’s dandelions were seen as extremely beneficial and people would remove grass to plant dandelions.”
Here are some great spring dandelion recipes, but only good if you are not putting chemicals on your yard!
In a study published yesterday in the journal Environmental Health, researchers from the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, George Washington University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY, and the University of Copenhagen, found rats exposed to “safe” levels of glyphosate had their sexual development disrupted in both male and female rats.
Among the problems seen in young rats were decreased testosterone and lower sperm counts in males and delayed maturation in females. In adult rats the pituitary hormones were thrown off kilter, and sperm counts were lowered.
There are good alternatives that don’t have these toxicities to using this weedkiller. Horticultural vinegar, citrus oil, solarization (covering with plastic), and weed torches are better alternatives.
Today’s NYT has a fabulous opinion piece on Garden Club of America’s Partnes4Plants program and Weed Wrangle.
This partnership of Weed Wrangle and P4P was started by Cacye McAlister of the Garden Club of Nashville with funding from the Garden Club of America’s Partners4Plants program and other local partners. The idea is to remove invasive plants and replace them with native plants nationwide.
I also learned about the Uprooter in the article! A tool built to make yanking out invasive plants, even small trees, easy. when you can remove plants by pulling them out you don’t need pesticides, and the soil is healthier when you put your new native plants in. The native plants are necessary for our insects, amphibians, and birds, and they are part of our horticultural heritage.
I am looking forward to speaking to Friends of Fremont Pond, the Village of Sleepy Hollow, Pleasantville Garden Club, Garden Club of Irvington on Hudson, Pollinator Pathway Project in Irvington on March 16th! So pleased to be supporting the really great work these groups are doing.
Dealing with whiteflies can be very challenging, especially in greenhouses or in warmer climates like Florida. Here are some tips on how to get rid of them, without synthetic chemicals.
In New York State or similar temperate areas whiteflies are not usually a severe problem outdoors because they are kept in check by natural predators and cold winters. Occasionally, however, they get out of hand, often in a vegetable garden that was started in an infected greenhouse.
In Florida where the rugose spiraling whitefly used to be a problem, the fig whitefly is now destroying plants.
In this situation choosing plants that are not hosts, and eradicating weeds that are, is a great strategy, but not always possible. How do you know which weeds are hosts? See where the whiteflies are hanging out.
Over fertilization fuels whitefly growth. Don’t fertilize unless you have to.
Keep the plants healthy, good soil, the right amount of water, and preventing heat stress make the plants stronger and less susceptible.
Beyond that, a certified organic horticultural soap or certified organic oil such as neem oil can help. Because there are so many eggs on the bottom of plants, it is difficult to treat them all and repeated treatments are often necessary. Here are some references.
In greenhouses here is what you need to know.
Whiteflies don’t survive without plant material (including weeds). They don’t survive in soil. So getting rid of all of the plants and cleaning floors and benches will help.
Nip them in the bud! Get rid of them before there are too many. Yellow sticky cards will let you know early on that they are there.
Don’t over fertilize, keep your soil healthy, water correctly, and avoid heat stress.
In a greenhouse beneficials are effective.There are 2 tiny wasps that parasitize whitefly nymphs – Encarsia formosa (greenhouse whitefly) and Eretmocerus eremicus (sweetpotato whitefly). You either need to identify which whitefly you have (see article from KY) or get a mix of the wasps.
Certified organic horticultural soap and certified organic oil such as neem can be used, but again, difficult to get the whole plant and have to keep repeating. And of course, these kill the beneficials, too.
And here is a reference for greenhouses.
Many thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Lamb for this incredibly helpful information.
A new meta analysis done by researchers at Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, show a 41 percent increase in risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in people with significant exposure to glyphosate.
Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is the 7th most common cancer in the United States. It is one of the more common cancers in children and young adults, but the risk increases with age. 74,000 will be diagnosed in 2019 and 20,000 of these will die. One in 42 men and one in 54 women will get this disease.
Cancers have many causes, and exposure to chemicals is not the only cause of this disease, but this study shows it increases the risk above the aforementioned baseline numbers by 41 percent.
Since glyphosate is present in most people’s blood, think of how we could potentially decrease even the baseline by eliminating or drastically reducing our exposure in our water, food, and directly in our gardens.
According to the Xerces Society homeowners use neonicotinoid pesticides in concentrations as much as 120 times what farmers can legally use. In January the journal Environmental Health published a study showing that these chemicals are found in our food and water. In fact we have known since 2015 that they are present in at least 63 percent of streams in a nationwide study. But a study published this January in Environmental Science and Technology shows that chlorination and alkaline hydrolysis during water treatment chlorinates the pesticide and its metabolites. This forms chemicals such as desnitro-imacloprid, which is much more toxic to people that the original neonicotinoid pesticide.
In a review published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, chronic exposure to neonicotinoids was associated with autism, tremors, and developmental disorders.
So not using neonicotinoids in your garden and not buying plants that have been treating with these pesticides which stay in the plant and continue to be toxic, not only protects the bees and other pollinators, but our families, too.