• Biologist Rod Cumberland sent this letter to all members of the NB Legislative Assembly

    Dear NBMLA:

    I have just reviewed the 323 page Health Canada re-assessment of glyphosate. It was due in 2014 but was completed April 13, 2015.

    Rather than simply take whatever comes out of this process at face value, I believe you need to be informed of the pitfalls of this present review.

    It is VERY evident that there are huge problems with this process and I would like to make you aware of them before we blindly assume that this review is unbiased and "scientific". Please allow me to elaborate on my two main shortfalls of this review:

    First - There is an obvious lack of relevant research; and
    (Without recent and relevant research that CLEARLY reveals numerous health and wildlife hazards associated with glyphosate, the assumptions that it is safe are erroneous).

    Second - the inclusion of the economic and social benefits of glyphosate.
    This document presumes to use “a science-based approach”, therefore this is no place for economic and social benefits that have little relevance when considering the science behind the impacts and safety of a compound to human health.
    The shortcomings of this review are as follows:

    1. The Health Canada review of glyphosate has not considered the actual product sprayed and used across Canada with the adjuvants and emulsifiers that make it the effective product it is – If glyphosate was used by itself for the benefits purported in both agriculture and forest based applications, then a review considering the impacts of glyphosate alone may be appropriate. However, the effectiveness of this compound is only possible in formulation. It is therefore the FORMULATION that must be considered in the review of glyphosate because indeed, this is what is sprayed across the country, not glyphosate alone.

    2. This review has not included volumes of recent worldwide literature that reveals huge issues with glyphosate in formulation. In any scientific review, literature review or published paper, the strength of the paper is only as relevant as the research upon which it is based. In other words, using outdated and short-term studies on a compound that has been continually modified and that has long term consequences is either knowingly biasing the process and results, or worse, pleading ignorance to the advancement of science and emerging research. Neither is appropriate in this re-evaluation and this process relies on outdated, short-term research when long term and relevant research is readily available that shows markedly different results than they report.

    For example, 78% of all industry-supplied research is between 10 and 40 years outdated. Further, the majority of these (a full 80%) are more than 15 years removed from currently published material. I forwarded (and have appended here) over 30 papers published within the past 10 years on glyphosate and glyphosate formulations that suggest markedly different results and reveal glyphosate and its formulations are the cause of many modern human diseases, are carcinogenic and are the cause of cell malformations in numerous types of human and animal cells, but most problematic are its problems associated with gastrointestinal systems and reproductive cells specifically. And the review doesn’t even begin to address all the relevant research on GMO’s and their problems.

    Discouragingly, but likely explanatory to the present proposed conclusion is that a mere 9% of the papers used in the review are recent publications. I do not understand on such a controversial topic as glyphosate use and it’s proven health concerns why more effort was not expended to find current research from around the globe to give a much better review of this chemical. It would definitely impact this assessment. This very biased approach is clearly covered in Antoniou et.al 2012.

    I would also like to comment on several specific concerns within the document:

    a) On page 3 it states that “pesticides are registered for use in Canada only if the level of exposure does not cause any harmful effects”. Therefore, if there is current research that DOES show harmful effects, particularly of a chemical in the state it is sprayed in throughout the country, by their own admission it MUST NOT recommend it for use. I contend that the attached research is clear evidence that the decision must be reversed.

    b) Glyphosate formulations pose negligible risk to freshwater fish and amphibians. This conclusion has been proven incorrect by modern research (Annett et.al 2014, Vera et.al 2010). It shows harmful effects and would invoke a nation-wide ban on the use of glyphosate.

    c) Under 3.1 it is stated that studies were available to satisfy data requirements, yet it is not specified what these requirements are, nor what studies are applicable, when they were done, etc. to justify these statement. This is poor science and format for a review document with the intent of public review, unless of course the intent is to limit the amount of intelligent and scientific comment.

    d) Cardiovascular malformations are mentioned on page 14 as serious side effects in one study (again, no specifics) but regardless, how can it be concluded that glyphosate is safe? Once again, these results disagree with the suggestion that glyphosate “does not cause harmful effects” and would rather corroborate modern research linking glyphosate and its formulations to a huge list of environmental, human and wildlife ill effects (research attached).

    e) Dietary exposure can be mitigated by changes in use patterns. This begs two questions – if there are no harmful effects, why suggest mitigation? Next, mitigation is suggested, this implies harmful effects. More Problems are that this document does not suggest how these mitigative steps will be enforced to ensure compliance. Therefore, it is a hollow recommendation that affords NO protection of health.

    f) On page 29 “major incidents of human exposure” are reported, however, no qualification is provided for the word “major”. Further, these exposures to “Highly toxic ingredients” or the adjuvants and emulsifiers I suggest MUST be considered. This again highlights that some of their research, along with most modern research, that glyphosate in formulation is HIGHLY TOXIC. Back to point 1 – how can such a review conclude glyphosate does not cause harmful effects unless on the grounds of semantics by separating glyphosate from its formulations, a formulation that is rarely used commercially??

    g) On page 30 they reference common incidents in wild animals where these formulations cause death in wildlife. Once again, totally contradicting statements and research that suggests this assessment is incorrect and will jeopardize human, wildlife and environmental health and safety. How could a toxic substance causing death NOT warrant changes in labels at the least, or more responsibly a ban on the product?

    h) The statement “Glyphosate is rarely detected in drinking water” proves the weakness and ignorance of the process and data. I include papers that show glyphosate, even at residual levels, shows up in soil, water, human urine, cattle tissue, other cells, etc. Therefore, based on modern research the present suggested evaluation must be reconsidered in light of science.

    i) You assume “risk to mammals is low”. Again, research from Montana, Australia, Denmark, Germany and Egypt directly linked malformations in ungulates to the mineral chelating effect that glyphosate has and the resulting mineral deficiencies in their food and systems from the use of glyphosate; More erroneous data, more erroneous conclusions.

    j) This review states there is no reproductive risk to glyphosate. Current research again proves this point outdated and erroneous (see attached research).

    k) This review states glyphosate has no effect on fish. The appended research proves that herbicides are endocrine disruptors (which glyphosate is) and federal research scientists have proven they cause many problems in fish including high at-sea mortality.

    l) Quite disturbing is the assertion on page 42 that one of the benefits of glyphosate is its ability to be more effective when combined with other chemicals. It is hypocritical to in one breath dismiss the impacts of glyphosate in formation because only the compound glyphosate is being reviewed, yet when it’s convenient, this very argument is used to weigh the scales in favour of the compound.

    m) The wordsmithing in the section referencing OECD countries not prohibiting ALL uses of glyphosate is correct only grammatically. For the record, there are municipalities within Canada, Provinces within Canada and many countries that have prohibited the use of glyphosate (Columbia and Holland in the past few weeks) due to the health hazards and risks you purport are not present. Interesting play on words, but in no way reflects reality and concerns around this compound. Statements like these drip with bias, and ignorance – whether purposeful or not – to current research.

    n) Maximum levels in foods – this raises another point that MUST be considered by Health Canada. In light of emerging research and glyphosates link to modern disease, it is Health Canada’s responsibility to request labels on all foods that have been sprayed at one point or another in the growth process by glyphosate so the public can protect themselves from ingestion of this substance. If the use of this toxic chemical is not revoked, at the very least there must be a means by which the public can make informed decisions on the purchase of these contaminated foods.

    o) If the only change from Health Canada’s former review of glyphosate is several labeling changes, how does Health Canada ensure these label instructions are followed? What are the penalties for failure to heed them? Once again, this is a broken system and in NO WAY protects the health and welfare of humans, wildlife or the environment. These are serious deficiencies in this review and therefore, we cannot be expected to take this re-evaluation seriously.

    In closing, I was very disappointed with this re-assessment. This appears another bureaucratic process that only provides lip service and opportunity for input just to say it was done. I would hope and expect that the elected politicians of New Brunswick would take these comments seriously and ensure such a biased and ill-informed review in light of applicable and relevant literature of glyphosate’s great risk to public health, wildlife health and the environment would step up and demand a more rigorous approach.

    If NB companies, or the BNBDNR, NBAFA or other NB departments stand behind this biased and flawed review, you will be knowingly allowing the poisoning of New Brunswickers.

    In all sincerity,
    Rod E. Cumberland, CWB

  • "We've made a list and we're checking it twice"


    This campaign is to encourage people all across this province to e-mail and/or phone several MLAs and ask them to speak up publicly for Dr. Eilish Cleary to be reinstated.   People and groups are also encouraged to meet with their local MLA and ask them to speak up publicly to reinstate Dr. Cleary.  You can post on Facebookand Twitter (#BringBackCleary) the response from your MLA, whether positive or negative.    

    Campaign organizing groups (see sidebar) will be watching for MLAs who speak in public or release press statements that ask to reinstate Dr. Cleary.  The MLA Checklist (download below) will keep track of these MLAs and be regularly updated on this website.

    "Oh Cleary tree, oh Cleary tree."
    Cleary wreath2

    The campaign is calling for people across this province to decorate trees, wreaths, and other visible objects in your house and your community with the message "Bring Dr. Cleary Back for the Holidays". Have fun with it and use your imagination!
    • Use small recipe cards with the message written on it and affixed with a red or green ribbon
    • Tag your favourite natural wonder (e.g. forest, stream, river, wetland, bay) with objects that include the message "Bring Dr. Cleary Back for the Holidays"
    • Use aluminum foil to fashion small stethoscopes for decorations

    Then take a picture and post on Facebook and Twitter (#BringBackCleary) which will encourage others to do it in their community or favourite natural wonder. 


    Use the "Cleary cards" (download from below and print). 
    • Fill these out with your location, tie them up with a piece of green or red ribbon on a tree, wreath, community location, or favourite habitat and take a picture of it to post on Facebookor Twitter (#BringBackCleary)
    • Fill one out for your favourite animal, fish, bird, or tree that is threatened by our widespread clearcutting and spraying programs.  For example, "Doe Ramey" from "Durham, New Brunswick." 
    Have fun with it!

    FACEBOOK PAGE:  Reinstate Dr. Eilish Cleary
    HASHTAG:  #BringBackCleary

    Downloadable MLA check list and Cleary cards

  • NBASGA supports Dr. Eilish Cleary and calls for her reinstatement
    Public Health needs autonomy and New Brunswicker’s need a voice they can trust

    MONCTON, NB (3 December 2013) - The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance is greatly disturbed with recent news reports speculating that Dr. Eilish Cleary’s leave of absence may be related to her work.

    Yesterday, social media erupted with support and indignation when the story became public, and people immediately rushed to her defense, calling for her reinstatement.

    Dr. Cleary has won tremendous respect of the people of New Brunswick, who hold her in high standing for her honesty, forthrightness and integrity. And rightfully so.

    She has clearly proven herself as a dedicated doctor fulfilling the role of a true health officer, regardless of political influences.

    Dr. Cleary’s award-winning 2012 report on the health impacts of shale gas development was balanced and unbiased, her conclusions based on careful research and science. As a result of this, and her subsequent actions, she is held in high esteem among the citizenry, who appreciate her outspokenness in contrast to the undemocratic actions of the previous government, which attempted to hold back the report’s release.

    The enthusiastic response from her colleagues, the requests to have her speak on the subject - nationally and internationally - are evidence of the esteem she garnered in her field.

    She was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for her services to the people of Canada and earlier this summer honoured with the Dr. Donald Morgan Service Award from the New Brunswick Medical Society. The award recognizes and celebrates the contribution made in education, research, health promotion or humanitarian service.

    The esteem with which she is recognized by her colleagues is articulated in this video with Dr. Cristin Muecke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiU29UvWds4

    And just weeks before her forced leave of absence, she was further recognized with a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Clubs of Fredericton for her positive impact.

    Dr. Cleary’s selfless and courageous travel to Africa during the Ebola crisis cast a warm light on all of New Brunswick; we were touched by her compassion and proud that ‘our’ CMHO was on the front lines helping others.

    Dr. Cleary’s demonstrated professionalism has elevated the entire office of the CHMO, and the hard work that is accomplished under her leadership has earned wide-spread respect. When public health is impacted, this is a department that needs autonomy and a strong voice that people trust.

    We were relieved that public health impacts were mentioned in the premier’s five conditions for lifting the moratorium and that she provided input during the recent interviews conducted by the Hydraulic Fracturing Commission.

    That people now fear her forced leave of absence is a pre-emptive strike - one that serves multiple interests - is clear evidence of the deep and growing distrust citizens have in the political processes of successive governments that have favoured industry needs above those of the populace. When public health and environmental protection are given precedence, it impacts industry’s bottom line.

    This rush of support, perhaps, is the subtext of the story: The way to win the hearts and loyalty of the people of New Brunswick is with consistently demonstrated acts of courage, openness, honesty, integrity and high ethical and moral standards.

    It would seem evident that those in government can take a lesson from this and we hold out hope this government will rise to that challenge.

    But we ultimately call for this issue to be quickly concluded in-house without further delay, and Dr. Cleary be placed back in her office, again serving her patients – the people of New Brunswick.

    Respectfully,

    The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance Website: www.noshalegasnb.ca
    Email: shaleinfo.nb@gmail.com

    About NBASGA

    The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance represents the interests of New Brunswickers opposed to unconventional gas and oil exploration and development, while promoting a future in clean energy alternatives.
  • How far is it from your home to the nearest clearcut? And is that clearcut on the list to be sprayed this year? You can check out the online map and zero in on this piece of information if you want. But, let me warn you, you really don’t want to know. For me, the spray planes will be about 2 km away. And the runoff from the sprayed area will go downhill into the brook that runs right by me and hey, guess what else, water from the brook irrigates my vegetable garden. Hmmm…..yum. Not to mention any aerial drift that makes it my way.

    Blog spray MA aug 2016
    Never mind! The government’s new report on glyphosate didn’t look at New Brunswickers’ health data although they acknowledge that there are outstanding health questions. And, according to our 2014 forest strategy, we don’t seem to be worried about the health of all the other species who used to live in the once-upon-a-time-woods-but-now-a-clearcut.

    One of the more amazing things about this whole scenario is that we pay for the spray with our tax dollars. The Auditor-General, in her 2015 report, criticized the government for losing $53.67 million in the last 5 years on its forest operations due to silviculture costs, including spraying. She didn’t have anything good to say about clearcuts and recommended that we do less, not more. She noted that selective and partial cutting methods are recognized as the best management practices and they also protect water, wildlife habitat and preserve biodiversity.

    What is the connection between clearcuts and spray? Clearcuts are sprayed with herbicides and then they are planted in softwood trees. In NB, the natural forest includes both hardwood and softwood trees. After a cut, both types of trees will grow back on their own from the seeds and seedlings that are in the area naturally. Herbicides kill hardwoods, but not softwoods. Softwoods make better lumber so the goal of spraying is to kill the hardwoods - dead in their tracks.

    And what happens in other places? According to the government’s report, glyphosate use here is different from everywhere else. Worldwide, 90% of glyphosate is used in agriculture. In NB, 61% is used in forestry, 27% industrial (think NB Power and DTI), and 11% is agriculture. The report found that 40% of the forest land cut in NB in 2014 was sprayed with glyphosate. The Canadian average is 11%. And Quebec, which cut almost 3 times more woods than NB, did not spray at all!

    Blog2good MA spray aug 2016
    Imagine what might happen if we stopped paying the forest companies to dump this poison on our heads? Would that improve our province’s financial bottomline? Could those millions of dollars be better spent on health and education? I think so!
     

    More info

    Link to the GeoNB online spraying map (When you get into GeoNB, click the okay button on the bottom right. If you click on the hyperlink, you get a forest company perspective video. Once you are on the map, to see the planned spray areas you will need to zoom in and wait a bit.)

    Link to government report on glyphosate and responses from environmental organizations

    Link to November 2015 Statement from groups calling for a new Crown Lands and Forests Act

    Link to Stop Spraying NB

    Link to Conservation Council of NB
  • Village of Gagetown Adopts Declaration of Environmental Rights
    written by Voices for Sustainable Environments and Communities

    On Monday Jan 15th, about 20 citizens turned out on a snowy wintery evening for the Village of Gagetown Council meeting, held at the Village Rec Council. They were there to see the Village Council issue its Environmental Rights Declaration in support of the Blue Dot movement. Blue Dot is an initiative of the David Suzuki Foundation that works toward the right to a healthy environment for all Canadians.
  • VOICE OF THE PEOPLE TOUR: Red Dot Poll Results Summary for Fredericton South, April 30, 2014

    1) Moratorium on shale gas

    2) Public health

    3) New Brunswick needs diverse set of solutions for jobs / economy
    - clean energy
    - Local value aded products
    - local agriculture and forestry

    4) Sustainable jobs. Clean jobs.

    5) Forest management agreement with JD Irving must be stopped

    6) First Nations should be consulted before entering into resource agreements

    7) No 'gag' orders and non-disclosure agreements should be allowed in NB

    8) Radioactive waste water

    9) Solar power

    10) Clean energy
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB