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Health Canada stands by approval of ingredient in Roundup weed killer

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Health Canada scientists say there is no reason to believe the scientific evidence they used to approve the continued use of glyphosate in weed killers was tainted.

On Friday they rejected, again, arguments that the ingredient in herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup causes cancer if the substances are used as they’re supposed to be.

The department’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is required to reassess herbicides every 15 years and after such a reassessment in 2017 it approved glyphosate for continued use in Canada with some additional labelling requirements. The review looked at more than 1,300 studies and concluded glyphosate products pose no risk to people or the environment as long as they are properly used and labelled.

Glyphosate is one of the most common herbicides used in the world, is in more than 130 products sold in Canada and has widespread use by farmers to keep weeds out of their crops.

After the decision, eight objections were filed, many of which said the evidence used to approve the product was tainted because Monsanto had influenced the results.

Their accusations were largely based on documents filed in a U.S. lawsuit in which a former groundskeeper was awarded a multimillion-dollar settlement after jurors decided his cancer was linked to glyphosate.

Bottles of Roundup herbicide, a product of Monsanto, are displayed on a store shelf in St. Louis. The generic name is glysophate and it is one of the most widely used agricultural herbicides in the world. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

‘No stone unturned’

The groups, including Ecojustice, Environmental Defence and Canadian Physicians for the Environment, wanted Health Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor to order an independent review of the Health Canada decision.

Instead Health Canada assigned 20 scientists not part of the original review to look at the matter. Connie Moase, a director in the health-effects division of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, said Friday the scientists “left no stone unturned” in reviewing the decision.

“The objections raised did not create doubt or concern regarding the scientific basis for the 2017 re-evaluation decision for glyphosate,” said Moase.

She said the documents, known as the Monsanto Papers, were mainly reviews of studies, not studies themselves, and that Health Canada’s approval was based on the actual studies.

Moase added that no pest regulatory management agency in the world says glyphosate causes cancer at current levels of exposure.

Bayer Canada pleased 

Trish Jordan, the public-and-industry-affairs director for Bayer Canada’s crop-science division, said the company supported the additional review Health Canada launched and is also pleased with the result.

Monsanto has previously denied any attempt to influence scientific studies on glyphosate.

“We have an unwavering commitment to sound science, transparency and to producing valuable tools that will help farmers continue to feed a growing population in a sustainable manner,” Jordan said.

Elaine MacDonald, head of healthy communities for Ecojustice, said the decision is a big disappointment.

“How can we trust the science if we can’t be sure that it’s independent?” she said.

Muhannad Malas, the toxics program manager at Environmental Defence, said there is no reason to trust Health Canada if it assigns its own scientists to review the work of their peers.

“We maintain that the public cannot be confident about the validity of the government’s decision to re-authorize glyphosate unless the health minister strikes an independent panel of experts who are not affiliated with Health Canada or industry,” he said.

Thierry Belair, spokesman for Petipas Taylor, said the government is very aware Canadians have concerns about pesticides and this review was done with the utmost of care.

“A team of 20 of our best scientists reviewed the evidence before coming to this decision,” he said. “As always, we have asked them to continue to monitor for new information related to this pesticide, and to take action if needed.”

Recent testing by Environmental Defence uncovered traces of glyphosate in a number of popular food products including doughnuts, cookies and cereals. However the amounts were well below the levels Health Canada says would be unsafe for human consumption.

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Now 10 cases of measles diagnosed in B.C. outbreak, vaccinations way up

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VANCOUVER — Two new cases of measles have been diagnosed in the Vancouver area for a total of 10 illnesses as health officials say they’re concerned they can’t find the source of one of the infections.

Vancouver Coastal medical health officer Dr. Althea Hayden says nine of the cases are clearly associated with schools that were at the centre of the original outbreak this month, but they don’t know where the other person contracted the disease.

The health authority has also released a list of locations where one of the infected people travelled over three days from Feb. 15 to Feb. 18, including restaurants, on a Canada Line commuter train and Langara College.

Hayden says the health authority is doing its best to find the source of measles in the 10th person in an effort to prevent more people from being exposed.

Measles at first presents with flu-like symptoms, coughing, a runny nose and red eyes, but then a fever develops, followed by the distinctive rash.

Hayden says the response to a call for people to get vaccinated has been fantastic and the health authority has seen a large number of first-time vaccinations.

“It’s the best thing that people can do to protect themselves, it’s the best thing we all can do to protect our community.”

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Students with ADHD less likely to enrol in post-secondary education, study says

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Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 2:58PM EST

OTTAWA — Students with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are much less likely to go to college or university than those with no long-term health conditions, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

The gap suggests teachers need better training in how to work with students whose behaviour can come off as disruptive and who might seem uninterested in their studies, advocates say.

“They are going to have one to three kids with ADHD in every class they teach for the rest of their career, and this is just regular classrooms, yet we’re not training them,” said Heidi Bernhardt, the executive director of the Centre for ADHD Awareness.

Researchers found that young people with neither a mental-health nor a neurodevelopmental disorder, 77 per cent had enrolled in a post-secondary program.

Only 48 per cent of Canadians between 18 and 22 years old who had a diagnosed mental-health condition had enrolled in a post-secondary institution. That includes students diagnosed with emotional, psychological or nervous conditions, but nearly three-quarters of this group were diagnosed with ADHD, which is considered a mental illness.

The researchers found 60 per cent of youth diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders enrolled, including people with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities.

Among young adults with both a mental-health and a neurodevelopmental condition, 36 per cent had enrolled in higher education.

The report used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, as well as some data from income-tax returns.

Educators may misinterpret the symptoms of ADHD as bad behaviour, leaving students discouraged about learning and more prone to dropping out of high school, said Bernhardt. She said students with ADHD and no additional learning disabilities score eight to 10 per cent lower in math and reading.

Andrew King, director of communications at the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, said there is no data on the number of teachers across the country who are trained in supporting students with special needs.

Bernhardt also said supports for students with ADHD are inconsistent across provinces.

Ontario has a system for identifying “exceptionalities” for students that divides disorders into five different categories, including autism and intellectual disabilities. ADHD isn’t on that list.

Dr. Philippe Robaey, head of the ADHD team at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, said learning organizational skills is the biggest challenge facing students with the disorder, which can be difficult when they struggle with staying focused on one task.

“When I see kids with ADHD, what they often will say is that ‘I’m stupid.’ Of course they are not, this is the perception they may just develop about themselves, but they are not able to do things so they can develop very poor self-esteem and not believe in what they can do.”

Robaey said setting students with ADHD up for success starts with individualized learning plans and access to specialized classrooms and teachers who are equipped to encourage youth with special needs.

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New biological batteries use energy inspired by electric eels, could be used on next-gen robots, bio-implants

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(Natural News) Battery technology is constantly improving, despite there being only fair coverage about it on the news. Unless you’re specifically looking for what’s new in the world of rechargeable batteries, you aren’t likely to find a lot of information. But there are many experts around the world who are currently working on improving the…

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