Exposure to pharmaceutical contaminants via vegetables

09416-notw7-fruitnvegcxdWith freshwater resources dwindling worldwide, the practice of using treated wastewater to irrigate crops is growing. But that practice might have a downside: In a new study, people who ate vegetables grown using such reclaimed water had increased urine levels of carbamazepine, an antiepileptic drug commonly detected in wastewater.

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Probiotics for honeybees

HivesWarmColorsEarlier this year, while reporting a story about the bugs in the bees — that is, the microbiome in bees’ guts — I spoke to a USDA researcher named Jay Evans, who described some work in his lab testing whether feeding bees probiotics can help protect against pathogens that weaken hive health. Continue reading “Probiotics for honeybees”

Will McDonald’s ‘sustainable beef’ burgers really be any better?

McDonaldsIn the near future, you might not feel as guilty about ordering a Big Mac. McDonald’s claims that by 2016, some of its iconic burgers – along with other beef products – will be made with “verified sustainable beef”. The only problem: it’s unclear what exactly is so sustainable – or indeed verifiable – about the beef of the future. Continue reading “Will McDonald’s ‘sustainable beef’ burgers really be any better?”