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Charles Benbrook

Charles Benbrook
Newcastle University and Benbrook Consulting Services (BCS) · Nafferton Ecological Farming Group

Ph.D.

About

110
Publications
52,838
Reads
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4,926
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 1991 - present
Benbrook Consulting Services
Position
  • CEO
Description
  • BCS offers consulting services in a wide range of topics and areas of science and policy, with focus on food safety and quality, and the environmental impact of agricultural systems and technology.
January 1984 - November 1990
National Academy of Sciences
Position
  • Managing Director
January 1981 - December 1984
U.S. House of Representatives
Position
  • Managing Director

Publications

Publications (110)
Article
Full-text available
Background A method is now available to quantify the number of pesticide residues and relative pesticide dietary risks in individual servings of food. The Dietary Risk Index (DRI) system combines the results of United States and United Kingdom pesticide residue testing programs with data on food serving sizes and each pesticide’s chronic Reference...
Article
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Background: 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is one of the most extensively used herbicides in the United States. In 2012, 2,4-D was the most widely used herbicide in non-agricultural settings and the fifth most heavily applied pesticide in the US agricultural sector. The objective of this study was to examine trends in 2,4-D urinary biomark...
Article
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To the Editor — Access to pesticide-use data is essential to accurately evaluate the adverse effects of pesticides on human and ecosystem health. In Europe, applicators are usually required to record the location and date of pesticide applications1. A subset of these data is periodically sampled to produce heavily aggregated estimates of pesticide...
Article
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Background Flaws in the science supporting pesticide risk assessment and regulation stand in the way of progress in mitigating the human health impacts of pesticides. Critical problems include the scope of regulatory testing protocols, the near-total focus on pure active ingredients rather than formulated products, lack of publicly accessible infor...
Article
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Organic agriculture is a production system that relies on prevention, ecological processes, biodiversity, mechanical processes, and natural cycles to control pests and maintain productivity. Pesticide use is generally limited or absent in organic agroecosystems, in contrast with non-organic (conventional) production systems that primarily rely on p...
Chapter
Changes in pesticide use patterns can be triggered by many factors, including crop rotation, tillage systems, plant genetics, relative treatment costs across registered pesticides, the presence of resistant target pests, regulatory actions, and the introduction of new pesticides. A set of 18 pesticide use metrics is described, some based on the are...
Article
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Background For years the United States Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program and the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency have published annual or quarterly data on pesticide residues in foods. Both programs report residues in conventionally grown, organic, and imported foods. The US program has tested about 288,000 food samples sinc...
Article
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Roundup, and other glyphosate-based herbicides, are the most heavily used pesticides in the history of the USA and globally. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen”. A portion of the 695,000 Americans then living in 2015 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) became aware...
Article
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Glyphosate is the active ingredient in glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs). Other chemicals in GBHs are presumed as inert by regulatory authorities and are largely ignored in pesticide safety evaluations. We identified the surfactants in a cross-section of GBH formulations and compared their acute toxic effects. The first generation of polyethoxylat...
Article
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Background The US EPA considers glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).” EPA asserts that there is no convincing evidence that “glyphosate induces mutations in vivo via the oral route.” IARC concludes the...
Article
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Article
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Purpose of review: The approval of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the late 1990s triggered dramatic changes in corn, soybean, and cotton pest management systems, as well as complex, novel regulatory challenges. Lessons learned are reviewed and solutions described. Recent findings: Government-imposed resistance management provisions can wor...
Article
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Consumer demand for milk and meat from grass-fed cattle is growing, driven mostly by perceived health benefits and concerns about animal welfare. In a U. S.-wide study of 1,163 milk samples collected over 3 years, we quantified the fatty acid profile in milk from cows fed a nearly 100% forage-based diet (grassmilk) and compared it to profiles from...
Article
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Some soil scientists or biologists (14, one preferring anonymity) answered the three following questions: 1. Why is organic food better (tastes better, is healthier, richer in nutrients, contains less pesticide, etc.) than food produced with hydroponic or intensive farming techniques? 2. In a humipedon, are soil functioning, biodiversity and carbon...
Chapter
Soil health is driven by a fluid and dynamic set of factors, many of which arise from above- and below-ground biodiversity and population dynamics. Unless soil depth, nutrients, water, or warmth/sunlight are dramatically limiting, plant health arises from interactions occurring at the root-soil-microorganism interface. In most cases, healthy soils...
Article
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Use of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) increased ∼100-fold from 1974 to 2014. Additional increases are expected due to widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds, increased application of GBHs, and preharvest uses of GBHs as desiccants. Current safety assessments rely heavily on studies conducted over 30 years ago. We have considered inf...
Article
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Genetically engineered (GE) crops, multi-ingredient foods derived from one or more GE ingredients, and GE agricultural inputs are regulated in the United States under a “Coordinated Framework” that was literally cobbled together in the early 1990s. Via this Framework, responsibility is spread across three federal agencies for the assessment and man...
Article
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The broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate (common trade name "Roundup") was first sold to farmers in 1974. Since the late 1970s, the volume of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied has increased approximately 100-fold. Further increases in the volume applied are likely due to more and higher rates of application in response to the widespread eme...
Article
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Demand for organic meat is partially driven by consumer perceptions that organic foods are more nutritious than non-organic foods. However, there have been no systematic reviews comparing specifically the nutrient content of organic and conventionally produced meat. In this study, we report results of a meta-analysis based on sixty-seven published...
Article
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Demand for organic milk is partially driven by consumer perceptions that it is more nutritious. However, there is still considerable uncertainty over whether the use of organic production standards affects milk quality. Here we report results of meta-analyses based on 170 published studies comparing the nutrient content of organic and conventional...
Article
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Background: Accurate pesticide use data are essential when studying the environmental and public health impacts of pesticide use. Since the mid-1990s, significant changes have occurred in when and how glyphosate herbicides are applied, and there has been a dramatic increase in the total volume applied. Methods: Data on glyphosate applications we...
Article
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The landscape for genetically modified organisms is changing, thanks to sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops and the classification of two of the most commonly used herbicides as probably or possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Article
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Demand for organic foods is partially driven by consumers' perceptions that they are more nutritious. However, scientific opinion is divided on whether there are significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic foods, and two recent reviews have concluded that there are no differences. In the present study, we carried out meta-an...
Article
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Previous studies have shown that organically produced food has lower risks of pesticide contamination than food that is not organically produced. However, organically produced food is not entirely free of pesticide residues. A large, high-quality U.S. Department of Agriculture database reports pesticide residues in several dozen organic and convent...
Article
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Over the last century, intakes of omega-6 (ω-6) fatty acids in Western diets have dramatically increased, while omega-3 (ω-3) intakes have fallen. Resulting ω-6/ω-3 intake ratios have risen to nutritionally undesirable levels, generally 10 to 15, compared to a possible optimal ratio near 2.3. We report results of the first large-scale, nationwide s...
Article
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Background Genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant crops have been remarkable commercial successes in the United States. Few independent studies have calculated their impacts on pesticide use per hectare or overall pesticide use, or taken into account the impact of rapidly spreading glyphosate-resistant weeds. A model was d...
Article
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Most people accept that world food production must grow at a steady pace in order to meet the twin challenges of population growth and economic development. Nearly all productive land is already growing food and water resources accessible to agriculture are, if anything, shrinking. Intensification of production emerges as the most promising option....
Article
Science and discovery have intrinsic value and both inspire and challenge those lucky enough to work on the front lines. But for society, the return on investment in science is driven by the degree to which society acts on new knowledge and technology in improving the human condition. Today, the linkage between new science and insight—and action in...
Article
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A majority of well-designed studies comparing nutrient density (milligrams of a given nutrient per kilogram of food) in organically and conventionally produced fruits and vegetables show modest to moderately higher concentrations of nutrients in organic produce. Likewise, organic produce is either as flavorful, or more flavorful than conventional p...
Article
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PREFACE Th is report explores the impact of the adoption of genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybean, and cotton on pesticide use in the United States, drawing principally on data from the United States Department of Agriculture. Th e most striking fi nding is that GE crops have been responsible for an increase of 383 million pounds of herbicide u...
Conference Paper
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Crops that are bred and managed primarily for high yields often contain lower concentrations of nutrients. Studies have documented, for example, declining protein levels in industrialized commodity crops such as commercial corn hybrids and genetically engineered glyphosate tolerant soybeans. As adoption of organic agriculture has increased, a rapid...
Article
Good progress has been made in reducing the risks associated with insecticide and fungicide use over the last decade. The registration of the nicotinyls, spinosad, indoxacarb, strobilurins, and several Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) have provided farmers new options to move away from higher risk chemistry often plagued by resistance and/or regulat...
Article
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The American diet is varied, rich, and tragically flawed. This is why the government has recently called for dramatic changes in eating patterns. It is why consumers are spending billions annually on nutritional supplements, diet plans and pills, and seeking out organic and natural whole foods. It is why health problems with roots in diet and food...
Article
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The purpose of this article is to provide nutrition educators with an introduction to a range of considerations and forces that are driving the application of modern biotechnology in the food and fiber sector based on a food systems perspective. In doing so, the following issues are critically assessed: (1) the global debate on how to regulate gene...
Article
Charles Benbrook of Benbrook Consulting Services, Charles Mellinger and Galen Frantz of Glades Crop Care, and Deana Sexson, Walt Stevenson and Jeffrey Wyman of the University of Wisconsin.
Article
Full-text available
one sits at the table. In the North, abundance and choice are taken for granted. Food is affordable for most people, despite the fact the average American spends more per calorie consumed than well over 95 percent of humanity. The average share of per capita income spent on food in the United States is the lowest in the world because America is suc...
Article
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All US government pesticide residue datasets show that persistent organochlorine (OC) insecticide residues are surprisingly common in certain foods despite being off the market for over 20 years. Residues of dieldrin, in particular, pose substantial risks in certain root crops. About 60% of the samples of organic vegetables found to contain pestici...
Article
Full-text available
An analysis of pesticide residue data was performed to describe and quantify differences between organically grown and non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Data on residues in foods from three different market categories (conventionally grown, integrated pest management (IPM)-grown/no detectable residues (NDR), and organically grown) were compa...
Article
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A methodology is presented for the development of a pesticide risk assessment tool that was used to monitor progress in reducing use of high-risk pesticides in Wisconsin potato production. Multi-attribute toxicity factors are calculated that reflect each pesticide’s acute and chronic toxicity to mammals, birds, fish and small aquatic organisms, and...
Article
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Charles Benbrook of the Northwest Science and Environmental Policy Center at Sandpoint (Idaho, USA) gives his views on the contention than GM crops have led to a reduction in pesticide use in the USA.
Article
In their letter (25 Feb., p. [1399][1]), J. P. R. Martinez-Soriano and D. S. Leal-Klevezas say that there “should be no need for concern” that the introduction of transgenic maize varieties in Mexico may pose a risk to landraces or wild relatives of maize in its ancestral home. However, it
Article
Complex policy issues and tradeoffs will arise in crafting the 1990 or 1991 Farm Bill. Efforts to advance progress toward sustainable agriculture production systems could arise in the farm bill's commodity, conservation, and research titles. Key definitional issues are highlighted here, as well as water quality issues and the impact of ongoing GATT...
Article
The economics of weed control is not the only herbicide-related concern in farm country. Mounting evidence indicates that herbicides can cause serious public-health problems and environmental damage. In the last few years, toxicological studies have shown that many herbicides can cause cancer and other chronic diseases. This paper examines how the...
Article
The potential of the 1985 Farm bill to solve soil erosion problems is examined and grave misgivings on the aspects which effect soil conservation are expressed. The high costs of the program for taking poor land out of commission makes little sense and some alternative methods for better soil management are presented.-R.H.Johnson
Article
Efforts to develop new soil conservation policies are discussed, including the Resource Conservation Act process and a recent national soil conservation policies conference. A number of program alternatives involving integration of conservation provisions with commodity price support programs are described. One proposal, the "Conservation Incentive...
Article
Described here is the Conservation Incentives Program (CIP), a farm policy proposal to integrate commodity support and soil conservation efforts. The basic purpose of the CIP is to advance conservation efforts by changing the primary compliance provision of commodity support programs. -from Author