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Popular Pesticides Kill Frogs Outright

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 6:55pm
Glad someone else remembers when frogs were 'common' Rob. I remember too when they were just about everywhere. 

I have seen one in 10 years here. Sadly the day after it arrived at the pond I observed a large female grassy by the pond with a big bulge! 

It wouldn't have been a problem if we had a few more frogs left. I stayed in Germany for a few days a couple of years ago, short walk around the caravan site, common frogs everywhere, just like it use to be here a few years back. Then it again it was far away from arable farm land and it does make one wonder.
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2013 at 7:14am
we need the sort of media profile and investigative journalism on this which has highlighted the plight of the bumble bee/honey bee, I guess.  Also I suppose that we may have been guilty (I know I have) of looking for GCN ponds on our patches rather than looking for something as common as the common frog...  a proper controlled large scale study of rural ponds in the UK would be good, but with so many variables it would not be easy to interpret the results?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2013 at 10:22am
I guess the problem would be to 'prove' the decline. In many areas locally I have plenty of anecdotal evidence from residents that frogs were once common. Just as I remember it when I was younger. People say things like 'they just stopped coming to our pond' I guess sadly the adults were dying out in the fields. 

In many areas now I think they are practically absent, so to prove they were killed by chemicals in the past would be impossible to prove. We all remember seeing them a lot more often, but just how many were dispersed in the wider countryside is anyone's guess.

Just a note regarding arable fields. Many people only think of standing corn, like a dry desert. Though this is true in parts of the season, they are much like grasslands while the crop is growing. This is the time when they are treated with chemicals. We also locally have a much greater variety of crops grown than simply corn. I think it very likely that common frogs were widely dispersed in such fields throughout East Anglia in the past, if not now.

There needs to be some form of meaningful field study (that takes into account factors like the variation of conditions in arable fields throughout a season). It would appear to me though to be very much a case of damage already done in much of East Anglia, proving the extent of it would be extremely difficult, particularly considering almost no study was made in the past regarding numbers.

It leaves me thinking that if we have the evidence that direct contact with these chemicals is lethal for adult frogs (as shown by this study), then it is simply a case they should not be used. 

No amount of wriggling from the chemical companies explains why frogs are practically absent from vast areas of rural East Anglia, when in living memory they truly were 'common'.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2013 at 12:23pm
Agree absolutely Gemma; just seems a shame that the papers are not picking this up as they have done (belatedly) for bees.  OK, frogs may not have their economic importance, but they are iconic and also play a role in pest control and part of the food chain at the very least.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2013 at 2:21pm
I hope it is picked up by the press Will.

I don't know about others but I'm not so keen to eat food treated with chemicals that kill any higher animal outright on contact. I think also frogs are a lot more popular than most of our herps so the public may be onside if the media do pick-up on this.

Perhaps Froglife should take up the campaign or ARGUK?

We just have to be careful of the desk born explanations that state in someway arable fields are sub-optimal for amphibians. If they were not more like grasslands and full of slugs etc during the growing stage they would not need to be treated for pests in the first place. In fact they look rather attractive to a frog in my opinion throughout much of the year. Lets not forget the other common name for the 'common' frog was grass frog!

Locally if I took a 1 km square around my house 80%+ of the area is arable fields, 5% pasture, 2% hedgerows, 5% woodland and and approximately 3% houses and gardens. To think spraying 80% of that area with frog deadly chemicals would not wipe them out locally would be blinkered at best. It goes an awful long way to explain why I have seen 1 here in the past 10 years whilst the locals tell me that 30 years ago they remember them as still being abundant.


Edited by GemmaJF - 08 Feb 2013 at 2:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris Monk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2013 at 10:20pm
The media may have picked up belatedly on the insecticides and bee decline but the chemical industry backed up by Defra in this country is still claiming that there is no evidence that pesticides cause bee decline. On this morning's Today programme on the Radio they had about a 30 second summary of the international scientific evidence for neonicotinoids contributing to the catastrophic decline in bee numbers. They then gave Martin Taylor, chairman of Syngenta, about 3 minutes of gentle questioning to allow him to state that everything was OK and all the scientific evidence was wrong. It really pissed me off and I am sure the pesticide industry would say exactly the same about the effect of their poisons on amphibians. After all if they can argue that insecticides are having no effect on bees (insects) then it will be even easier to discount their effect on a separate order of animals (amphibians).


Chris

Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group

www.derbyshirearg.co.uk

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 7:20am
Originally posted by Chris Monk Chris Monk wrote:

The media may have picked up belatedly on the insecticides and bee decline but the chemical industry backed up by Defra in this country is still claiming that there is no evidence that pesticides cause bee decline. On this morning's Today programme on the Radio they had about a 30 second summary of the international scientific evidence for neonicotinoids contributing to the catastrophic decline in bee numbers. They then gave Martin Taylor, chairman of Syngenta, about 3 minutes of gentle questioning to allow him to state that everything was OK and all the scientific evidence was wrong. It really pissed me off and I am sure the pesticide industry would say exactly the same about the effect of their poisons on amphibians. After all if they can argue that insecticides are having no effect on bees (insects) then it will be even easier to discount their effect on a separate order of animals (amphibians).



The report points to demonstrable mortality of the common frog when in contact with low concentrations of these chemicals.

Though I would hate to think of any individual animal suffering, perhaps a death shown on television after administration of a branded chemical would make it hard for Defra/NE or any other government department to whitewash this one in the eyes of the public. 

It may be a case that the effect is less insidious and more easily demonstrated as harmful in frogs than in bees, in which case it would be hard for the chemical companies/government departments to talk their way out of it. 

At the same time it may add support for the bee campaign as the public would be quite aware that these chemicals kill and the companies/government departments are more than happy to try and cover up the scientific evidence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 1:23pm

Gemma,

if anyone is going to do that, they should be sure to maintain the utmost confidentiality, post using internet cafes etc with a full explanation as to why. These large organisations will be only too glad to instigate a prosecution for a death of a frog under W&CA to discredit the individual that is trying to raise public conscience regarding pesticides killing frogs in fields.

Just a thought...

R

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 2:29pm
I rather meant the scientists investigating it Rob should film a demonstration of the effects. 

Though in a way being seen as Dr. Death might backfire on them!

As far as I'm aware the Common Frog is afforded zero protection against killing in the WCA.

The issue would be an animal welfare one, the scientists working on this are I guess licensed to carry out experiments on live animals and would therefore be exempt from prosecution


Edited by GemmaJF - 09 Feb 2013 at 2:32pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2013 at 5:25pm

All, further to the above....

 
There are only a few herbicides which can "treat" J. Knotweed. Now whether you believe that Knotweed should be treated is not the point, Glyphosphate is the most common in use, having been 'sprayed' last autumn onto the Norfolk Broads.

This is a copy of some research into Glyphosphates. Censored

 
Evidence of teratogenicity (birth defects) and reproductive problems stretches back to the 1980s [5]. Observations made by Monsanto were acknowledged by the German government (and its agencies), acting as the “rapporteur” state on risk assessment to the European Commission.  The German bodies concluded that high doses (500 mg/kg) led to significant skeletal and/or visceral (internal organ) abnormalities in rats and rabbits including the development of an extra 13th rib, reduced viability, and increased spontaneous abortions. Low doses (20 mg/kg) were later shown to cause dilated hearts. The questionable analysis and interpretation of the data by Germany (including claims that dilated hearts had unknown consequences and sample sizes were too small and lacking dose-dependent results) meant that the findings were not considered relevant to human risk assessment. This argument has been comprehensively rebutted in a report by Open Earth Source (see [6]). Most importantly, the findings have been corroborated subsequently.

Independent studies confirmed birth defects in laboratory animals. Defects in frog development were first observed with lethal doses of Roundup® (10mg/L, roughly equivalent to 0.003% dilution of Roundup®) that were still below agricultural concentrations. Effects were 700 times more pronounced with Roundup® compared to another formulation lacking the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA), which is added to maximise glyphosate’s leaf penetration, and is thought to increase glyphosate penetration of animal cells as well [19]. POEA may also have independent toxic properties.

It is important to note that regulatory approval does not require assessment of the risk of commercial formulations, and instead relies on testing glyphosate alone. Sub-lethal doses also led to a 15-20 % increase in gonad size and reduced egg viability in Leopard frogs and catfish respectively [16, 17].

A definitive study conducted by Andrés Carrasco and his colleagues in Argentina found neural and craniofacial defects in frogs exposed to sub-lethal doses (1/5,000 dilutions) of glyphosate and Roundup® [18] (see [19] Lab Study Establishes Glyphosate Link to Birth Defects, SiS 48). These effects correlated with over-active retinoic acid (RA), a well-known regulator of the posterior-anterior axis during development (Figure 2). RA is an oxidised form of vitamin A and women are already advised against taking excess vitamin A during pregnancy. It also regulates the expression of genes essential for the development of the nervous system during embryogenesis (shh, slug, otx2), which were inhibited following glyphosate exposure.  Inhibition of RA signalling prevented the teratogenic effects of glyphosate, further confirming its involvement in the observed abnormalities.

The craniofacial defects in frogs are similar to human birth defects linked to retinoic acid signalling such as anencephaly (neural tube defect), microcephaly (small head), facial defects, myelomeningocele (a form of spina bifida), cleft palate, synotia (union or approximation of the ears in front of the neck, often accompanied by the absence or defective development of the lower jaw), polydactily (extra digit), and syndactily  (fusion of digits) ; these diseases are on the rise in pesticide-treated areas such as Paraguay [20].

Figure 2 Effect of glyphosate injection; left to right: control embryo not injected with glyphosate; embryo injected in one cells only; and embryo injected in both cells. Note the reduction of the eye, adapted from [18]

Findings in mammals are consistent with those in amphibians. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the administration of high doses of glyphosate (3 500 mg/kg per day) to pregnant rats resulted in an increased incidence of soft stools, diarrhoea, breathing rattles, red nasal discharge, reduced activity, increased maternal mortality (24% during the treatment period), growth retardation, increased incidence of early resorptions, decrease of total number of implantation and viable foetuses, and increased number of foetuses with reduced ossification of sternebra [21].  Rats orally treated with sub-lethal doses of Roundup® also showed dose-dependent reductions in craniofacial ossification (bone development), caudal vertebrae loss, and increased mortality [22], consistent with amphibian data and RA signalling defects. Prepubescent exposure led to disruption in the onset of puberty in a dose-dependent manner, reduced testosterone production, and abnormal testicular morphology [23]. Reproductive effects were transgenerational, with male offspring of exposed pregnant rats suffering from abnormal sexual behaviour, increased sperm count, early puberty as well as endocrine disruption (see below) [24].

In a feeding trial, senior scientist of the Russian Academy of Sciences Irina Ermakova found that female rats fed rat chow plus Roundup Ready soybean gave birth to an excess of stunted pups: 55.6 % compared with 6.8% in litters from control rats fed rat chow only and 9.1 % of litters from control rats fed rat chow supplemented with non-GM soybean. The stunted rats were dead by three weeks, but the surviving rats in the exposed litters were sterile [25, 26] GM Soya Fed Rats: Stunted, Dead, or Sterile (SiS 33). The experiment was repeated with very similar results. Unfortunately, Irmakova did not succeed in her attempt to get the Roundup Ready soybean analysed for herbicide and herbicide residues, so the effects could be due to a mixture of the GM soya and herbicide/herbicide residues. The second experiment included a group of females fed rat chow plus GM soya protein did not do as badly as those exposed to GM soybean; the mortality rate of pups at three weeks was 15.1 % compared with 8.1 % for controls fed rat chow only, 10 % for controls fed rat chow plus non-GM soybean, and 51.6 % for litters of females fed rat chow plus Roundup Ready soybean. This suggests that extra deaths and stunting were due to the GM soybean; as consistent with the new findings by Séralini and colleagues [1].

Irmakova too, was fiercely attacked, and attempts to discredit her continued for years afterwards, orchestrated by the journal Nature Biotechnology

RobV
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