Roundup and Glyphosate Toxicity Have Been Grossly Underestimated


The true toxicity of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—is becoming increasingly clear as study after study is published demonstrating its devastating effects. In June, groundbreaking research was published detailing a newfound mechanism of harm for Roundup.

This was immediately followed by tests showing that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies,1 while yet another study revealed that the chemical has estrogenic properties and drives breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.2

This finding might help explain why rats fed Monsanto’s maize developed massive breast tumors in the first-ever lifetime feeding study published last year. Other recently published studies demonstrate glyphosate’s toxicity to cell lines, aquatic life, food animals, and humans.

Glyphosate

Story at-a-glance

  • Research shows glyphosate is toxic to water fleas at extraordinarily low levels, well within the levels expected to be found in the environment. These findings throw serious doubt on glyphosate’s safety
  • Previous research has shown that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications
  • “Inactive” ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, and surfactants contribute to toxicity in a synergistic manner, and ethoxylated adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides have been found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity”
  • Cell damage and even cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated food crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control
  • Liver, embryonic and placental cell lines are adversely affected by glyphosate at doses as low as 1 ppm. GM corn can contain as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate, and Americans eat an average of 193 lbs of GM foods annually

Glyphosate Toxicity Underestimated, Study Concludes

One such study, published in the journal Ecotoxicology,3 found that glyphosate is toxic to water fleas (Daphnia magna) at minuscule levels that are well within the levels expected to be found in the environment.

According to regulators, glyphosate is thought to be practically nontoxic to aquatic invertebrates. The water flea is a widely accepted model for environmental toxicity, so this study throws serious doubt on glyphosate’s classification as environmentally safe. According to the study:

“To test the acute effects of both glyphosate and a commercial formulation of Roundup (hereafter Roundup), we conducted a series of exposure experiments with different clones and age-classes of D. magna…. Roundup showed slightly lower acute toxicity than glyphosate IPA alone… However, in chronic toxicity tests spanning the whole life-cycle, Roundup was more toxic.

…Significant reduction of juvenile size was observed even in the lowest test concentrations of 0.05 mg a.i./l, for both glyphosate and Roundup. At 0.45 mg a.i./l, growth, fecundity and abortion rate was affected, but only in animals exposed to Roundup.

At 1.35 and 4.05 mg a.i./l of both glyphosate and Roundup, significant negative effects were seen on most tested parameters, including mortality. D. magna was adversely affected by a near 100% abortion rate of eggs and embryonic stages at 1.35 mg a.i./l of Roundup.

The results indicate that aquatic invertebrate ecology can be adversely affected by relevant ambient concentrations of this major herbicide. We conclude that glyphosate and Roundup toxicity to aquatic invertebrates have been underestimated and that current European Commission and US EPA toxicity classification of these chemicals need to be revised.”

Herbicide Formulations Far More Toxic Than Glyphosate Alone

An article published on Greenmedinfo.com4 last year reviewed several interesting studies relating to the profound toxicity of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup:

“Back in Feb. of 2012, the journal Archives of Toxicology5 published a shocking study showing that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.

This effect could not have been anticipated from the known toxicological effects of glyphosate alone. The likely explanation is that the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine within Roundup dramatically enhances the absorption of glyphosate into exposed human cells and tissue,” Sayer Ji writes.

“If this is true, it speaks to a fundamental problem associated with toxicological risk assessments of agrichemicals (and novel manmade chemicals in general), namely, these assessments do not take into account the reality of synergistic toxicologies, i.e. the amplification of harm associated with multiple chemical exposures occurring simultaneously.”

‘Inert’ Ingredients Does NOT Mean They Are Inactive…

Similarly, another study published that year in the journal Toxicology6, 7 revealed that inert ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other added substances are anything but “inactive.” They in fact contribute to toxicity in a synergistic manner, and ethoxylated adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides were found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity.”

(On a side note, an “ethoxylated” compound is a chemical that has been produced using the carcinogen ethylene oxide.8 The ethoxylation process also produces the carcinogenic byproduct 1,4-dioxane. It’s also worth noting here that the term “inert ingredient” does NOT actually mean that it is biologically or toxicologically harmless! When you see “inert” or “inactive ingredients” listed on the label of a pesticide or herbicide, it only means that those ingredients will not harm pests or weeds. This is how federal law classifies “inert” pesticide ingredients.)9

The study found that liver, embryonic and placental cell lines exposed to various herbicide formulations for 24 hours at doses as low as 1 part per million (ppm), had adverse effects.10 According to the authors:11

“Here we demonstrate that all formulations are more toxic than glyphosate, and we separated experimentally three groups of formulations differentially toxic according to their concentrations in ethoxylated adjuvants. Among them, POE-15 clearly appears to be the most toxic principle against human cells, even if others are not excluded. It begins to be active with negative dose-dependent effects on cellular respiration and membrane integrity between 1 and 3ppm, at environmental/occupational doses. We demonstrate in addition that POE-15 induces necrosis when its first micellization process occurs, by contrast to glyphosate which is known to promote endocrine disrupting effects after entering cells.

Altogether, these results challenge the establishment of guidance values such as the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate, when these are mostly based on a long term in vivo test of glyphosate alone. Since pesticides are always used with adjuvants that could change their toxicity, the necessity to assess their whole formulations as mixtures becomes obvious. This challenges the concept of active principle of pesticides for non-target species.” [Emphasis mine]

Perhaps most disturbing of all, the researchers claim that cell damage and even cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control. They also suspect that:12

“Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.”

Birth Malformation Skyrocketing in Agricultural Centers of Argentina

Indeed, miscarriages, fertility problems and abnormal fetal development are all problems that are skyrocketing in Argentina, where many are exposed to massive spraying of herbicides. More than 18 million hectares in Argentina are covered by genetically engineered soy, on which more than 300 million liters of pesticides are sprayed. In the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by soy plantations, the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average, courtesy of glyphosate.

According to Dr. Medardo Vasquez, a neonatal specialist at the Children’s Hospital in Cordoba, featured in the documentary film People and Power — Argentina: The Bad Seeds:

“I see new-born infants, many of whom are malformed. I have to tell parents that their children are dying because of these agricultural methods. In some areas in Argentina the primary cause of death for children less than one year old is malformations.”

But even if you don’t live in an agricultural area where you might be exposed to Roundup directly, you’re still getting it through your diet if you’re eating non-organic foods. A report given to MomsAcrossAmerica13 by an employee of De Dell Seed Company (Canada’s only non-GM corn seed company) shows that GM corn contains as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GM corn.

The EPA standard for glyphosate in American water supplies is 0.7 ppm. In Europe, the maximum allowable level in water is 0.2 ppm. Organ damage in animals has occurred at levels as low as 0.1 ppm, and in the study on cell lines discussed above, liver, embryonic and placental cell lines were adversely affected at doses as low as 1 ppm. The fact that genetically modified corn can contain as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate has staggering implications for Americans who eat an average of 193 pounds of genetically engineered foods each year!14

Glyphosate Predisposes Cattle to Botulism

A German study15 published earlier this year looked at glyphosate’s role in the rise of toxic botulism in cattle. This used to be extremely rare, but the incidence has become increasingly common over the past 10-15 years. Normal intestinal microflora is essential for keeping Clostridium botulinum and other pathogens in check, and researchers are now finding that the beneficial gut bacteria in both animals and humans is very sensitive to residual glyphosate levels. This has been discussed previously by both Dr. Don Huber and Dr. Stephanie Seneff.

In this study, the researchers explain that certain intestinal bacteria produce bacteriocines that are specifically directed against C. botulinum, as well as other dangerous pathogens. According to the authors, lactic acid producing bacteria that help defend against Clostridium pathogens are destroyed by glyphosate, suggesting that the rise in C. botulinum associated diseases may be due to glyphosate-tainted animal feed.

The Overlooked Component of Toxicity in Humans

As for its effects on humans, the Samsel – Seneff study published in June suggests that glyphosate may actually be the most important factor in the development of a wide variety of chronic diseases, specifically because your gut bacteria are a key component of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm. Monsanto has steadfastly claimed that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals. However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria, and that’s the key to understanding how it causes such widespread systemic harm in both humans and animals.

The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!

Glyphosate causes extreme disruption of the microbe’s function and lifecycle. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow and take over. At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease…

The answer, of course, is to avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they’re virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, and center your diet around whole, organic foods as toxic pesticides are not permitted in organic farming. Supporting GMO labeling is also important if you value your health, and that of your family and friends, in order to be able to make informed shopping decisions.

How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UNFRIENDLY.


Two studies published in the past six months reveal a disturbing finding: glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® appear to suppress the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, leading to the overgrowth of extremely pathogenic bacteria.

Late last year, in an article titled Roundup Herbicide Linked to Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria, we reported on new research indicating that glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup® may be contributing to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, both in GM-produced food and our own bodies.  By suppressing the growth of beneficial bacteria and encouraging the growth of pathogenic ones, including deadly botulism-associated Clostridum botulinum, GM agriculture may be contributing to the alarming increase, wordwide, in infectious diseases that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which the CDC’s director recently termed a ‘nightmare bacteria.’

How GMO Farming and Food Is Making Our Gut Flora UNFRIENDLY

GMO Herbicides May Lead To The Overgrowth of Harmful Bacteria, Including Deadly Clostridum Botulinum

Now a new study published in the journal Anaerobe titled, “Glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of Enterococcus spp. On Clostridum botulinum,” confirms this herbicide’s ability to adversely affect gut bacteria populations (i.e. generate dysbios).[i]  In an attempt to explain why Clostridum botulinum associated diseases in cattle have increased during the last 10-15 years in German cattle, researchers theorized that since normal intestinal flora is a critical factor in preventing Clostridum botulinum colonization in conditions such as infantile botulism perhaps the ingestion of strong biocides such as glyphosate found in GM cattle feed could reduce their natural, lactic acid bacteria dependent immune defenses as pathogenic microbes.

They reported on the toxicity of glyphosate to Enteroccocus, the most prevalent lactic acid bacteria species in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle, and concluded “Ingestion of this herbicide could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in C. botulinum mediated diseases in cattle.”

Of course, the implications of this finding extend beyond the health of cattle or poultry. The majority of American consumers who don’t even have the legal right to know through truthful labeling if they are eating GMOs, are consuming non-organic, Roundup Ready soy, canola, cottonseed or soy on a daily basis, and therefore are being exposed to glyphosate residues year round; additionally, animals fed Roundup sprayed GMO plants will bioaccumulate glyphosate and/or glyphosate metabolites, adding to the consumer’s bodily burden of these gut flora-altering, highly toxic chemicals.

GMO Herbicides Kill More Than ‘Weeds,’ Are Broad-Spectrum Biocides

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum biocide. It does not discriminate by killing only the “weeds” that compete with the genetically modified plants resistant to it. In fact, it has been found to be toxic to human DNA at concentrations 450-fold lower than presently used in agricultural applications.[ii] When combined with adjuvants and other so-called ‘inactive’ ingredients, the glyphosate-formulations are far more toxic than their component ingredients taken in isolation.[iii] Nor are the toxic effects limited to plants. A 2012 study published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment found that Roundup herbicide has DNA-damaging effects to fish after short-term, environmentally low concentration exposures (6.67 μg/L, or, 6.67 micrograms per Liter).[iv]  For a comprehensive list of the toxic effects of Roundup and glyphosate visit our research page on the topic: Glyphosate formulations.

One of the most concerning adverse effects of glyphosate most relevant to the topic of this article is its destructive effects on the fertility of soil itself. In an earlier expose titled, Un-Earthed: Is Monsanto’s Glyphosate Destroying the Soil?, concerning findings published in the journal Current Microbiology were discussed showing that Roundup® herbicide is having a negative impact on the microbiodiversity of the soil, including microorganisms of food interest, and specifically those found in raw and fermented foods.[v]

One of the key implications of this finding is that since many of the beneficial bacteria that make up the 100 trillion bacteria in our gut necessary for health come from our food, and these bacteria-rich foods nourish and help maintain the flora in our gut, the removal of key beneficial microorganisms from the  soil will likely result in profoundly disrupting the bacteria-mediated infrastructure of our health.

We Must Reject GMO Farming Practices Or Face Dire Consequences

We must, of course, consider carefully the origin of our food. Conventionally produced produce and animal products are often grown or fed from farming practices that involve the use of factory-farmed manure and raw human sewage. Animal and human excreta today is exceedingly toxic, and contains a wide range of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hormones and antibiotic resistant bacteria and related pathogens that.  contaminate our food and our bodies if we choose to eat it. It also causes us to employ ‘food security’ technologies like nuclear waste-based food irradiation and bacteriophage sprays try to disinfect inherently toxic food, only generating different and sometimes far more dangerous compounds as a result.

Instead of succumbing to the intellectually unsophisticated concept that disease is primarily caused by germs ‘out there,’ rather than viewing our risk of infection as primarily determined by immune susceptibility ‘in here,’ we must shift our understanding radically if we are to survive the wholesale destruction of our biosphere, also entirely refraining from supporting, buying, consuming food produced through GM-based farming practices.  Our body is literally woven from the  molecular fabric of the body of the Earth. And so, when we poison or genetically modify our environment, and we poison and genetically modify ourselves.


Resources

Monsanto Pesticides To Blame For Birth Defects In Argentina.


Argentina has become one of the worlds largest soybean producers, with the majority of its crops being majorly composed of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Agrochemical spraying in the country has mushroomed over the last several years, in 1990 roughly 9 million gallons of argochemical spraying was needed, compared to today’s requirement of roughly 84 million gallons. Included in that was the use of over 200 million liters of herbicides containing poisons such as glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup. The country’s entire soybean crop, along with nearly all of its cotton and corn crops, have become genetically modified over the last decade. Along with the increase in GMO crops and pesticide use, the country has seen a disturbing and alarming growth in the prevalence of birth defects, cancer rates, and other negative health ailments. This has lead many of its citizens, including medical professionals, to assert the notion that pesticides, GMOs, and biotech giants are the ones to blame.

argentina

Two year old Camila Veron [pictured above], was born with multiple organ problems and severely disabled, the doctors had told her family that the agrochemicals might have been to blame. And dozens of other similar cases have been witnessed in the area. It is firmly believed that the herbicide used on the genetically modified crops, may over an extended period of time after consumption, cause brain, intestinal, and heart defects in fetuses. In Ituzaingo, a district comprised of roughly 5,000 people [and surrounded by many soy fields] has seen over the past eight years, more than 300 documented cases of cancer associated with fumigations and pesticides have been experienced, they have reported cancer rates that are 41 times the national average.

Sergio H. Lence, "The Agricultural Sector in Argentina: Major Trends and Recent Developmebts," 2010Monsanto has [unsurprisingly] denied the claims that their GMOs have contributed in any way to the increased occurrence of experienced birth defects in the nation. Even though dozens of cases have been exposed which illustrate the misuse and illegality of pesticide application, pesticides are showing up in alarming rates in the soil and drinking water. Disturbingly, 80% of children surveyed in one area were found to have pesticides in their blood. Studies have demonstrated that low concentrations of pesticides [such as glyphosate] is understood to harm human cells and cause cancer.

Unfortunately for the Monsanto public relations department, the Associated Press has documented numerous cases within the country where poisons are being, and have been, applied in ways which are prohibited by existing law, or unanticipated by regulatory science. Medical professionals in the area have also been advising their clients that pesticide application within the country may be to blame. Not only is the rise of Roundup-saturated crops a potential health risk to residents of the area, but it’s a danger to the environment, and other animals that will eat these crops. In the ongoing battle against genetically modified foods and biotech [government-protected] corporate giants like Monsanto, it is crucial to remember that genetically engineered foods have never been proven safe for consumption over an extended period of time. One only hopes that corporations such as Monsanto, who destroy lives and communities, be held responsible for their carelessly negligible actions.

Roundup and Glyphosate Toxicity Have Been Grossly Underestimated..


Story at-a-glance

  • Research shows glyphosate is toxic to water fleas at extraordinarily low levels, well within the levels expected to be found in the environment. These findings throw serious doubt on glyphosate’s safety
  • Previous research has shown that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications
  • “Inactive” ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, and surfactants contribute to toxicity in a synergistic manner, and ethoxylated adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides have been found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity”
  • Cell damage and even cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated food crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control
  • Liver, embryonic and placental cell lines are adversely affected by glyphosate at doses as low as 1 ppm. GM corn can contain as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate, and Americans eat an average of 193 lbs of GM foods annually.
  • glyphosate

 

The true toxicity of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—is becoming increasingly clear as study after study is published demonstrating its devastating effects. In June, groundbreaking research was published detailing a newfound mechanism of harm for Roundup.

This was immediately followed by tests showing that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies,1 while yet another study revealed that the chemical has estrogenic properties and drives breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.2

This finding might help explain why rats fed Monsanto’s maize developed massive breast tumors in the first-ever lifetime feeding study published last year. Other recently published studies demonstrate glyphosate’s toxicity to cell lines, aquatic life, food animals, and humans.

Glyphosate Toxicity Underestimated, Study Concludes

One such study, published in the journal Ecotoxicology,3 found that glyphosate is toxic to water fleas (Daphnia magna) at minuscule levels that are well within the levels expected to be found in the environment.

According to regulators, glyphosate is thought to be practically nontoxic to aquatic invertebrates. The water flea is a widely accepted model for environmental toxicity, so this study throws serious doubt on glyphosate’s classification as environmentally safe. According to the study:

“To test the acute effects of both glyphosate and a commercial formulation of Roundup (hereafter Roundup), we conducted a series of exposure experiments with different clones and age-classes of D. magna…. Roundup showed slightly lower acute toxicity than glyphosate IPA alone… However, in chronic toxicity tests spanning the whole life-cycle, Roundup was more toxic.

…Significant reduction of juvenile size was observed even in the lowest test concentrations of 0.05 mg a.i./l, for both glyphosate and Roundup. At 0.45 mg a.i./l, growth, fecundity and abortion rate was affected, but only in animals exposed to Roundup.

At 1.35 and 4.05 mg a.i./l of both glyphosate and Roundup, significant negative effects were seen on most tested parameters, including mortality. D. magna was adversely affected by a near 100% abortion rate of eggs and embryonic stages at 1.35 mg a.i./l of Roundup.

The results indicate that aquatic invertebrate ecology can be adversely affected by relevant ambient concentrations of this major herbicide. We conclude that glyphosate and Roundup toxicity to aquatic invertebrates have been underestimated and that current European Commission and US EPA toxicity classification of these chemicals need to be revised.”

Herbicide Formulations Far More Toxic Than Glyphosate Alone

An article published on Greenmedinfo.com4 last year reviewed several interesting studies relating to the profound toxicity of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup:

“Back in Feb. of 2012, the journal Archives of Toxicology5 published a shocking study showing that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.

This effect could not have been anticipated from the known toxicological effects of glyphosate alone. The likely explanation is that the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine within Roundup dramatically enhances the absorption of glyphosate into exposed human cells and tissue,” Sayer Ji writes.

“If this is true, it speaks to a fundamental problem associated with toxicological risk assessments of agrichemicals (and novel manmade chemicals in general), namely, these assessments do not take into account the reality of synergistic toxicologies, i.e. the amplification of harm associated with multiple chemical exposures occurring simultaneously.”

‘Inert’ Ingredients Does NOT Mean They Are Inactive…

Similarly, another study published that year in the journal Toxicology6, 7 revealed that inert ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other added substances are anything but “inactive.” They in fact contribute to toxicity in a synergistic manner, and ethoxylated adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides were found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity.”

(On a side note, an “ethoxylated” compound is a chemical that has been produced using the carcinogen ethylene oxide.8 The ethoxylation process also produces the carcinogenic byproduct 1,4-dioxane. It’s also worth noting here that the term “inert ingredient” does NOT actually mean that it is biologically or toxicologically harmless! When you see “inert” or “inactive ingredients” listed on the label of a pesticide or herbicide, it only means that those ingredients will not harm pests or weeds. This is how federal law classifies “inert” pesticide ingredients.)9

The study found that liver, embryonic and placental cell lines exposed to various herbicide formulations for 24 hours at doses as low as 1 part per million (ppm), had adverse effects.10 According to the authors:11

“Here we demonstrate that all formulations are more toxic than glyphosate, and we separated experimentally three groups of formulations differentially toxic according to their concentrations in ethoxylated adjuvants. Among them, POE-15 clearly appears to be the most toxic principle against human cells, even if others are not excluded. It begins to be active with negative dose-dependent effects on cellular respiration and membrane integrity between 1 and 3ppm, at environmental/occupational doses. We demonstrate in addition that POE-15 induces necrosis when its first micellization process occurs, by contrast to glyphosate which is known to promote endocrine disrupting effects after entering cells.

Altogether, these results challenge the establishment of guidance values such as the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate, when these are mostly based on a long term in vivo test of glyphosate alone. Since pesticides are always used with adjuvants that could change their toxicity, the necessity to assess their whole formulations as mixtures becomes obvious. This challenges the concept of active principle of pesticides for non-target species.” [Emphasis mine]

Perhaps most disturbing of all, the researchers claim that cell damage and even cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control. They also suspect that:12

“Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.”

Birth Malformation Skyrocketing in Agricultural Centers of Argentina

Indeed, miscarriages, fertility problems and abnormal fetal development are all problems that are skyrocketing in Argentina, where many are exposed to massive spraying of herbicides. More than 18 million hectares in Argentina are covered by genetically engineered soy, on which more than 300 million liters of pesticides are sprayed. In the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by soy plantations, the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average, courtesy of glyphosate.

According to Dr. Medardo Vasquez, a neonatal specialist at the Children’s Hospital in Cordoba, featured in the documentary film People and Power — Argentina: The Bad Seeds:

“I see new-born infants, many of whom are malformed. I have to tell parents that their children are dying because of these agricultural methods. In some areas in Argentina the primary cause of death for children less than one year old is malformations.”

But even if you don’t live in an agricultural area where you might be exposed to Roundup directly, you’re still getting it through your diet if you’re eating non-organic foods. A report given to MomsAcrossAmerica13 by an employee of De Dell Seed Company (Canada’s only non-GM corn seed company) shows that GM corn contains as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GM corn.

The EPA standard for glyphosate in American water supplies is 0.7 ppm. In Europe, the maximum allowable level in water is 0.2 ppm. Organ damage in animals has occurred at levels as low as 0.1 ppm, and in the study on cell lines discussed above, liver, embryonic and placental cell lines were adversely affected at doses as low as 1 ppm. The fact that genetically modified corn can contain as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate has staggering implications for Americans who eat an average of 193 pounds of genetically engineered foods each year!14

Glyphosate Predisposes Cattle to Botulism

A German study15 published earlier this year looked at glyphosate’s role in the rise of toxic botulism in cattle. This used to be extremely rare, but the incidence has become increasingly common over the past 10-15 years. Normal intestinal microflora is essential for keeping Clostridium botulinum and other pathogens in check, and researchers are now finding that the beneficial gut bacteria in both animals and humans is very sensitive to residual glyphosate levels. This has been discussed previously by both Dr. Don Huber and Dr. Stephanie Seneff.

In this study, the researchers explain that certain intestinal bacteria produce bacteriocines that are specifically directed against C. botulinum, as well as other dangerous pathogens. According to the authors, lactic acid producing bacteria that help defend against Clostridium pathogens are destroyed by glyphosate, suggesting that the rise in C. botulinum associated diseases may be due to glyphosate-tainted animal feed.

The Overlooked Component of Toxicity in Humans

As for its effects on humans, the Samsel – Seneff study published in June suggests that glyphosate may actually be the most important factor in the development of a wide variety of chronic diseases, specifically because your gut bacteria are a key component of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm. Monsanto has steadfastly claimed that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals. However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria, and that’s the key to understanding how it causes such widespread systemic harm in both humans and animals.

The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!

Glyphosate causes extreme disruption of the microbe’s function and lifecycle. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affectsbeneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow and take over. At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease…

The answer, of course, is to avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they’re virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, and center your diet around whole, organic foods as toxic pesticides are not permitted in organic farming. Supporting GMO labeling is also important if you value your health, and that of your family and friends, in order to be able to make informed shopping decisions.

Source: mercola.com

How Monsanto Went From Selling Aspirin to Controlling Our Food Supply.


Monsanto controls our food, poisons our land, and influences all three branches of government.

 

Forty percent of the crops grown in the United States contain their genes. They produce the world’s top selling herbicide. Several of their factories are now toxic Superfund sites. They spend millions lobbying the government each year. It’s time we take a closer look at who’s controlling our food, poisoning our land, and influencing all three branches of government. To do that, the watchdog group Food and Water Watch recently published acorporate profile of Monsanto.

Patty Lovera, Food and Water Watch assistant director, says they decided to focus on Monsanto because they felt a need to “put together a piece where people can see all of the aspects of this company.”

“It really strikes us when we talk about how clear it is that this is a chemical company that wanted to expand its reach,” she says. “A chemical company that started buying up seed companies.” She feels it’s important “for food activists to understand all of the ties between the seeds and the chemicals.”

Monsanto the Chemical Company

Monsanto was founded as a chemical company in 1901, named for the maiden name of its founder’s wife. Its first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin. The company’s own telling of its history emphasizes its agricultural products, skipping forward from its founding to 1945, when it began manufacturing agrochemicals like the herbicide 2,4-D.

Prior to its entry into the agricultural market, Monsanto produced some harmless – even beneficial! – products like aspirin. It also made plastics, synthetic rubber, caffeine, and vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavoring. On the not-so-harmless side, it began producing toxic PCBs in the 1930s.

According to the new report, a whopping 99 percent of all PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, used in the U.S. were produced at a single Monsanto plant in Sauget, IL. The plant churned out toxic PCBs from the 1930s until they were banned in 1976. Used as coolants and lubricants in electronics, PCBs are carcinogenic and harmful to the liver, endocrine system, immune system, reproductive system, developmental system, skin, eye, and brain.

Even after the initial 1982 cleanup of this plant, Sauget is still home to two Superfund sites. (A Superfund site is defined by the EPA as “an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people.”) This is just one of several Monsanto facilities that became Superfund sites.

Monsanto’s Shift to Agriculture

Despite its modern-day emphasis on agriculture, Monsanto did not even create an agricultural division within the company until 1960. It soon began churning out new pesticides, each colorfully named under a rugged Western theme: Lasso, Roundup, Warrant, Lariat, Bullet, Harness, etc.

Left out of Monsanto’s version of its historical highlights is an herbicide called Agent Orange. The defoliant, a mix of herbicides 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, was used extensively during the war in Vietnam. The nearly 19 million gallons sprayed in that country between 1962 and 1971 were contaminated with dioxin, a carcinogen so potent that it is measured and regulated at concentrations of parts per trillion. Dioxin was created as a byproduct of Agent Orange’s manufacturing process, and both American veterans and Vietnamese people suffered health problems from the herbicide’s use.

Monsanto’s fortunes changed forever in 1982, when it genetically engineered a plant cell. The team responsible, led by Ernest Jaworski, consisted of Robb Fraley, Stephen Rogers, and Robert Horsch. Today, Fraley is Monsanto’s executive vice president and chief technology officer. Horsch also rose to the level of vice president at Monsanto, but he left after 25 years to join the Gates Foundation. There, he works on increasing crop yields in Sub-Saharan Africa. Together, the team received the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1998.

The company did not shift its focus from chemicals to genetically engineered seeds overnight. In fact, it was another 12 years before it commercialized the first genetically engineered product, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH), a controversial hormone used to make dairy cows produce more milk. And it was not until 1996 that it first brought genetically engineered seeds, Roundup Ready soybeans, onto the market.

By 2000, the company had undergone such a sea change from its founding a century before that it claims it is almost a different company. In Monsanto’s telling of its own history, it emphasizes a split between the “original” Monsanto Company and the Monsanto Company of today. In 2000, the Monsanto Company entered a merger and changed its name to Pharmacia. The newly formed Pharmacia then spun off its agricultural division as an independent company named Monsanto Company.

Do the mergers and spinoffs excuse Monsanto for the sins of the past committed by the company bearing the same name? Lovera does not think so. “I’m sure there’s some liability issues they have to deal with – their various production plants that are now superfund sites,” she responds. “So I’m sure there was legal thinking about which balance sheet you put those liabilities on” when the company split. She adds that the notion that today’s Monsanto is not the same as the historical Monsanto that made PCBs is “a nice PR bullet for them.”

But, she adds, “even taking that at face value, that they are an agriculture company now, they are still producing seeds that are made to be used with chemicals they produce.” For example, Roundup herbicide alone made up more than a quarter of their sales in 2011. The proportion of their business devoted to chemicals is by no means insignificant.

Monsanto’s pesticide product line includes a number of chemicals named as Bad Actors by Pesticide Action Network. They include Alachlor (a carcinogen, water contaminant, developmental/reproductive toxin, and a suspected endocrine disruptor), Acetochlor (a carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor), Atrazine (a carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor), Clopyralid (high acute toxicity), Dicamba (developmental/reproductive toxin), and Thiodicarb (a carcinogen and cholinesterase inhibitor).

Roundup: The Benign Herbicide?

Defenders of Monsanto might reply to the charge that Roundup is no Agent Orange. In fact, the herbicide is viewed as so benign and yet effective that its inventor, John E. Franzwon the National Medal of Technology. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, kills everything green and growing, but according to Monsanto, it only affects a metabolic pathway in plants, so it does not harm animals. It’s also said to break down quickly in the soil, leaving few traces on the environment after its done its job.

Asked about the harmlessness of Roundup, Lovera replies, “That’s the PR behind Roundup – how benign it was and you can drink it and there’s nothing to worry about here. There are people who dispute that.” For example there is an accusation that Roundup causes birth defects. “We don’t buy the benign theory,” continues Lovera, “But what’s really interesting is that we aren’t going to be having this conversation pretty soon because Roundup isn’t working anymore.”

Lovera is referring to “ Roundup-resistant weeds,” weeds that have evolved in the past decade and a half to survive being sprayed by Roundup. Nearly all soybeans grown in the United States is Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready variety, as are 80 percent of cotton and 73 percent of corn. Farmers spray entire fields with Roundup, killing only the weeds while the Roundup Ready crops survive. With such heavy use of Roundup on America’s farmfields, any weed – maybe one in a million – with an ability to survive in that environment would survive and pass on its genes in its seeds.

By 1998, just two years after the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans, scientists documented the first Roundup-resistant weed. A second was found in 2000, and three more popped up in 2004. To date, there are 24 different weeds that have evolved resistance to Roundup worldwide. And once they invade a farmer’s field, it doesn’t matter if his crops are Roundup-resistant, because Roundup won’t work anymore. Either the weeds get to stay, or the farmer needs to find a new chemical, pull the weeds by hand, or find some other way to deal with the problem.

“We’ve wasted Roundup by overusing it,” says Lovera. She and other food activists worry about the harsher chemicals that farmers are switching to, and the genetically engineered crops companies like Monsanto are developing to use with them.

Currently, there are genetically engineered crops waiting for government approval that are made to tolerate the herbicides 2,4-D, Dicamba and Isoxaflutole. (These are not all from Monsanto – some are from their competitors.) None of these chemicals are as “benign” as Roundup. Isoxaflutole is, in fact, a carcinogen. Let’s spray that on our food!

Corporate Control of Seeds

No discussion of Monsanto is complete without a mention of the immense amount of control it exerts on the seed industry.

“What it boils down to is between them buying seed companies outright, their incredible aggressive legal maneuvering, their patenting of everything, and their enforcement of those patents, they really have locked up a huge part of the seed supply,” notes Lovera. “So they just exercise an unprecedented control over the entire seed sector. Monsanto products constitute 40 percent of all crop acres in the country.”

Monsanto began buying seed companies as far back as 1982. (One can see an infographic of seed industry consolidation here.) Some of Monsanto’s most significant purchases were Asgrow (soybeans), Delta and Pine Land (cotton), DeKalb (corn), and Seminis (vegetables). One that deserves special mention is their purchase of Holden’s Foundation Seeds in 1997.

George Naylor, an Iowa farmer who grows corn and soybeans, calls Holden’s “The independent source of germplasm for corn.” Small seed companies could buy inbred lines from Holden’s to cross them and produce their own hybrids. Large seed companies like Pioneer did their own breeding, but small operations relied on Holden’s or Iowa State University. But Iowa State got out of the game and Monsanto bought Holden’s.

Monsanto’s tactics for squashing its competition are perhaps unrivaled. They use their power to get seed dealers to not to stock many of their competitors products, for example. When licensing their patented genetically engineered traits to seed companies, they restrict the seed companies’ ability to combine Monsanto’s traits with those of their competitors. And, famously, farmers who plant Monsanto’s patented seeds sign contracts prohibiting them from saving and replanting their seeds. Yet, to date, U.S. antitrust laws have not clamped down on these practices.

With the concentrated control of the seed industry, farmers already complain of lack of options. For example, Naylor says he’s had a hard time finding non-genetically engineered soybean seeds. Most corn seeds are now pre-treated with pesticides, so farmers wishing to find untreated seeds will have a tough time finding any. Once a company or a handful of companies control an entire market, then they can choose what to sell and at what price to sell it.

Furthermore, if our crops are too genetically homogenous, then they are vulnerable to a single disease or pest that can wipe them out. When farmers grow genetically diverse crops, then there is a greater chance that one variety or another will have resistance to new diseases. In that way, growing genetically diverse crops is like having insurance, or like diversifying your risk within your stock portfolio.

Food and Water Watch Recommendations

At the end of its report, Food and Water Watch lists several recommendations. “There are a lot of ways that government policy could address the Monsanto hold on the food supply,” explains Lovera. “The most important thing is that it’s time to stop approval of genetically engineered crops to stop this arms race of the next crop and the next chemical.”

She also calls Monsanto “the poster child for the need for antitrust enforcement” – something that the Justice Department has yet to successfully deliver up. In fact, last November the government ended a three-year antitrust investigation of Monsanto.

A third recommendation Lovera hopes becomes a reality is mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. “If we had that label and we put that information in consumers’ hands, they could do more to avoid this company in their day-to-day lives,” she says.

In the meantime, all consumers can do to avoid genetically engineered foods is to buy organic for the handful of crops that are genetically engineered: corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, papaya, sugar beets, and alfalfa.

Jill Richardson is the founder of the blog La Vida Locavore and a member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board. She is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It..

Source: http://www.alternet.org

 

A Hard Look at 3 Myths about Genetically Modified Crops.


gm

Superweeds? Suicides? Stealthy genes? The true, the false and the still unknown about transgenic crops

In the pitched debate over genetically modified (GM) foods and crops, it can be hard to see where scientific evidence ends and dogma and speculation begin. In the nearly 20 years since they were first commercialized, GM crop technologies have seen dramatic uptake. Advocates say that they have increased agricultural production by more than US$98 billion and saved an estimated 473 million kilograms of pesticides from being sprayed. But critics question their environmental, social and economic impacts.

Researchers, farmers, activists and GM seed companies all stridently promote their views, but the scientific data are often inconclusive or contradictory. Complicated truths have long been obscured by the fierce rhetoric. “I find it frustrating that the debate has not moved on,” says Dominic Glover, an agricultural socioeconomist at Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands. “The two sides speak different languages and have different opinions on what evidence and issues matter,” he says.

Here, Nature takes a look at three pressing questions: are GM crops fuelling the rise of herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’? Are they driving farmers in India to suicide? And are the foreign transgenes in GM crops spreading into other plants? These controversial case studies show how blame shifts, myths are spread and cultural insensitivities can inflame debate.

GM crops have bred superweeds: True
Jay Holder, a farming consultant in Ashburn, Georgia, first noticed Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in a client’s transgenic cotton fields about five years ago. Palmer amaranth is a particular pain for farmers in the southeastern United States, where it outcompetes cotton for moisture, light and soil nutrients and can quickly take over fields.

Since the late 1990s, US farmers had widely adopted GM cotton engineered to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, which is marketed as Roundup by Monsanto in St Louis, Missouri. The herbicide–crop combination worked spectacularly well — until it didn’t. In 2004, herbicide-resistant amaranth was found in one county in Georgia; by 2011, it had spread to 76. “It got to the point where some farmers were losing half their cotton fields to the weed,” says Holder.

Some scientists and anti-GM groups warned that GM crops, by encouraging liberal use of glyphosate, were spurring the evolution of herbicide resistance in many weeds. Twenty-four glyphosate-resistant weed species have been identified since Roundup-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996. But herbicide resistance is a problem for farmers regardless of whether they plant GM crops. Some 64 weed species are resistant to the herbicide atrazine, for example, and no crops have been genetically modified to withstand it (see ‘The rise of superweeds’).

Still, glyphosate-tolerant plants could be considered victims of their own success. Farmers had historically used multiple herbicides, which slowed the development of resistance. They also controlled weeds through ploughing and tilling — practices that deplete topsoil and release carbon dioxide, but do not encourage resistance. The GM crops allowed growers to rely almost entirely on glyphosate, which is less toxic than many other chemicals and kills a broad range of weeds without ploughing. Farmers planted them year after year without rotating crop types or varying chemicals to deter resistance.

This strategy was supported by claims from Monsanto that glyphosate resistance was unlikely to develop naturally in weeds when the herbicide was used properly. As late as 2004, the company was publicizing a multi-year study suggesting that rotating crops and chemicals does not help to avert resistance. When applied at Monsanto’s recommended doses, glyphosate killed weeds effectively, and “we know that dead weeds will not become resistant”, said Rick Cole, now Monsanto’s technical lead of weed management, in a trade-journal advertisement at the time. The study, published in 2007, was criticized by scientists for using plots so small that the chances of resistance developing were very low, no matter what the practice.

Glyphosate-resistant weeds have now been found in 18 countries worldwide, with significant impacts in Brazil, Australia, Argentina and Paraguay, says Ian Heap, director of the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, based in Corvallis, Oregon. And Monsanto has changed its stance on glyphosate use, now recommending that farmers use a mix of chemical products and ploughing. But the company stops short of acknowledging a role in creating the problem. “Over-confidence in the system combined with economic drivers led to reduced diversity in herbicide use,” Cole tellsNature.

On balance, herbicide-resistant GM crops are less damaging to the environment than conventional crops grown at industrial scale. A study by PG Economics, a consulting firm in Dorchester, UK, found that the introduction of herbicide-tolerant cotton saved 15.5 million kilograms of herbicide between 1996 and 2011, a 6.1% reduction from what would have been used on conventional cotton. And GM crop technology delivered an 8.9% improvement to the environmental impact quotient — a measure that considers factors such as pesticide toxicity to wildlife — says Graham Brookes, co-director of PG Economics and a co-author of the industry-funded study, which many scientists consider to be among the field’s most extensive and authoritative assessments of environmental impacts.

The question is how much longer those benefits will last. So far, farmers have dealt with the proliferation of resistant weeds by using more glyphosate, supplementing it with other herbicides and ploughing. A study by David Mortensen, a plant ecologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, predicts that total herbicide use in the United States will rise from around 1.5 kilograms per hectare in 2013 to more than 3.5 kilograms per hectare in 2025 as a direct result of GM crop use.

To offer farmers new weed-control strategies, Monsanto and other biotechnology companies, such as Dow AgroSciences, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, are developing new herbicide-resistant crops that work with different chemicals, which they expect to commercialize within a few years.

Mortensen says that the new technologies will lose their effectiveness as well. But abandoning chemical herbicides completely is not a viable solution, says Jonathan Gressel, a weed scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Using chemicals to control weeds is still more efficient than ploughing and tilling the soil, and is less environmentally damaging. “When farmers start to use more sustainable farming practices together with mixtures of herbicides they will have fewer problems,” he says.

GM cotton has driven farmers to suicide: False
During an interview in March, Vandana Shiva, an environmental and feminist activist from India, repeated an alarming statistic: “270,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since Monsanto entered the Indian seed market,” she said. “It’s a genocide.”

The claim, based on an increase in total suicide rates across the country in the late 1990s, has become an oft-repeated story of corporate exploitation since Monsanto began selling GM seed in India in 2002.

Bt cotton, which contains a gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis to ward off certain insects, had a rough start. Seeds initially cost five times more than local hybrid varieties, spurring local traders to sell packets containing a mix ofBt and conventional cotton at lower prices. The sham seeds and misinformation about how to use the product resulted in crop and financial losses. This no doubt added strain to rural farmers, who had long been under the pressures of a tight credit system that forced them to borrow from local lenders.

But, says Glover, “it is nonsense to attribute farmer suicides solely to Bt cotton”. Although financial hardship is a driving factor in suicide among Indian farmers, there has been essentially no change in the suicide rate for farmers since the introduction ofBt cotton.

That was shown by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, who scoured government data, academic articles and media reports about Bt cotton and suicide in India. Their findings, published in 2008 and updated in 2011, show that the total number of suicides per year in the Indian population rose from just under 100,000 in 1997 to more than 120,000 in 2007. But the number of suicides among farmers hovered at around 20,000 per year over the same period.

And since its rocky beginnings, Bt cotton has benefited farmers, says Matin Qaim, an agricultural economist at Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany, who has been studying the social and financial impacts of Bt cotton in India for the past 10 years. In a study of 533 cotton-farming households in central and southern India, Qaim found that yields grew by 24% per acre between 2002 and 2008, owing to reduced losses from pest attacks. Farmers’ profits rose by an average of 50% over the same period, owing mainly to yield gains (see ‘A steady rate of tragedy’). Given the profits, Qaim says, it is not surprising that more than 90% of the cotton now grown in India is transgenic.

Glenn Stone, an environmental anthropologist at Washington University in St Louis, says that the empirical evidence for yield increases with Bt cotton is lacking. He has conducted original field studies and analyzed the research literature on Bt cotton yields in India, and says that most peer-reviewed studies reporting yield increases with Bt cotton have focused on short time periods, often in the early years after the technology came online. This, he says, introduced biases: farmers who adopted the technology first tended to be wealthier and more educated, and their farms were already producing higher-than-average yields of conventional cotton. They achieved high yields of Bt cotton partly because they lavished the expensive GM seeds with care and attention. The problem now is that there are hardly any conventional cotton farms left in India to compare GM yields and profits against, says Stone. Qaim agrees that many studies showing financial gains focus on short-term impacts, but his study, published in 2012, controlled for these biases and still found continued benefits.

Bt cotton did not cause suicide rates to spike, says Glover, but neither is it the sole reason for the yield improvements. “Blanket conclusions that the technology is a success or failure lack the right level of nuance,” he says. “It’s an evolving story in India, and we have not yet reached a definitive conclusion.”

Transgenes spread to wild crops in Mexico: Unknown
In 2000, some rural farmers in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, wanted to gain organic certification for the maize (corn) they grew and sold in the hope of generating extra income. David Quist, then a microbial ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley, agreed to help in exchange for access to their lands for a research project. But Quist’s genetic analyses uncovered a surprise: the locally produced maize contained a segment of the DNA used to spur expression of transgenes in Monsanto’s glyphosate-tolerant and insect-resistant maize.

GM crops are not approved for commercial production in Mexico. So the transgenes probably came from GM crops imported from the United States for consumption and planted by local farmers who probably didn’t know that the seeds were transgenic. Quist speculated at the time that the local maize probably cross-bred with these GM varieties, thereby picking up the transgenic DNA.

When the discovery was published in Nature, a media and political circus descended on Oaxaca. Many vilified Monsanto for contaminating maize at its historic origin — a place where the crop was considered sacred. And Quist’s study came under fire for technical deficiencies, including problems with the methods used to detect the transgenes and the authors’ conclusion that transgenes can fragment and scatter throughout the genome. Nature eventually withdrew support for the paper but stopped short of retracting it. “The evidence available is not sufficient to justify the publication of the original paper,” read an editorial footnote to a critique of the research published in 2002.

Since then, few rigorous studies of transgene flow into Mexican maize have been published, owing mainly to a dearth of research funding, and they show mixed results. In 2003–04, Allison Snow, a plant ecologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, sampled 870 plants taken from 125 fields in Oaxaca and found no transgenic sequences in maize seeds.

But in 2009, a study led by Elena Alvarez-Buylla, a molecular ecologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, and Alma Piñeyro-Nelson, a plant molecular geneticist now at the University of California, Berkeley, found the same transgenes as Quist in three samples taken from 23 sites in Oaxaca in 2001, and in two samples taken from those sites in 2004. In another study, Alvarez-Buylla and her co-authors found evidence of transgenes in a small percentage of seeds from 1,765 households across Mexico. Other studies conducted within local communities have found transgenes more consistently, but few have been published.

Snow and Alvarez-Buylla agree that differences in sampling methods can lead to discrepancies in transgene detection. “We sampled different fields,” says Snow. “They found them but we didn’t.”

The scientific community remains split on whether transgenes have infiltrated maize populations in Mexico, even as the country grapples with whether to approve commercialization of Bt maize.

“It seems inevitable that there will be a movement of transgenes into local maize crops,” says Snow. “There is some proof that it is happening, but it is very difficult to say how common it is or what are the consequences.” Alvarez-Buylla argues that the spread of transgenes will harm the health of Mexican maize and change characteristics, such as a variety’s look and taste, that are important to rural farmers. Once the transgenes are present, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of them, she says. Critics speculate that GM traits that accumulate in the genomes of local maize populations over time could eventually affect plant fitness by using up energy and resources or by disrupting metabolic processes, for example.

Snow says that there is no evidence so far for negative effects. And she expects that if the transgenes now in use drift to other plants, they will have neutral or beneficial effects on plant growth. In 2003, Snow and her colleagues showed that when Btsunflowers (Helianthus annuus) were bred with their wild counterparts, transgenic offspring still required the same kind of close care as its cultivated parent but were less vulnerable to insects and produced more seeds than non-transgenic plants. Few similar studies have been conducted, says Snow, because the companies that own the rights to the technology are generally unwilling to let academic researchers perform the experiments.

In Mexico, the story goes beyond potential environmental impacts. Kevin Pixley, a crop scientist and the director of the genetic resources program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batan, Mexico, says that scientists arguing on behalf of GM technologies in the country have missed a crucial point. “Most of the scientific community doesn’t understand the depth of the emotional and cultural affiliation maize has for the Mexican population,” he says.

Tidy stories, in favor of or against GM crops, will always miss the bigger picture, which is nuanced, equivocal and undeniably messy. Transgenic crops will not solve all the agricultural challenges facing the developing or developed world, says Qaim: “It is not a silver bullet.” But vilification is not appropriate either. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/Nature

What exactly are GMOs and why should they be labeled?


GMOs (genetically modified organisms) were brought into the world by a chemical company, not an agriculture or food group. Monsanto created DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, marketed aspartame, and created bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to infect milking cows that put pus into commercial milk.

GMOs are created within the seeds of chosen parent crops in laboratories by “splicing” genes from completely unrelated species into those seeds. Normal plant hybrids are cultivated in soil over time by cross pollinating closely related plants.

So far, GMOs have invaded soy, corn, beets (for beet sugar), cotton, and alfalfa agriculture. Many GMO edibles are contained surreptitiously in a wide variety of processed foods, while GMO corn and soy are used by unnatural factory farm feed lots.

If you’ve been following NaturalNews for some time, you may recall several articles describing GMOs’ inherent human and animal health hazards as well as crop and environmental dangers. If not, you’ll find most of them here. (http://www.naturalnews.com/GMO.html)

GMOs damage crops, the environment, and the food chain

GMOs are often genetically created artificially to tolerate herbicides, made by Monsanto and others, that kill weeds. The herbicides contain glyphosates. Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer is meant for Roundup Ready GMO crop seeds. It’s an extremely toxic glyphosate agent.

Glyphosates greatly harm grazing animals and pollute the wells and groundwater of farm areas where they’re used. (http://naturalsociety.com)

They create sterility and birth defects among animals and humans. Most of the honey bee die-off, or colony collapse, is attributed to glyphosates. If enough pollinating bees disappear, our food chain is endangered further.

Glophosate’s chelating capabilities remove minerals from the soil where they’re sprayed. So crops get increasingly worse while increasingly abundant Roundup resistant weeds, or super weeds, force farmers to add more toxic materials to Roundup.

It’s a vicious cycle for farmers who, conned by greater production promises, unwittingly signed on to Monsanto Roundup Ready GMO binding seed contracts. Monsanto uses patent laws to litigate against farmers whose non-GMO fields are contaminated by GMO fields, forcing smaller farms out of business.

Most farmers fold because they cannot afford the litigation. American farmers are attempting to organize against mostly Monsanto’s GMOs. European farmers have managed to resist thus far.

Why you should be concerned

Maybe the reasons summarized above are too abstract. So let’s get personal. Contrary to mainstream media’s (MSM) outlook, the jury is not out on GMOs. GMOs do destroy human and animal health while endangering non-GMO crops with contamination. That’s been discovered by several scientists acting independently.

They jeopardize their careers and even their lives by communicating what they find while the MSM ignores them. Anti-GMO activist and author Jeffrey Smith lists the casualties and summarizes Monsanto’s harassment here: (http://www.sott.net)

Agro-ecologist Don Lotter, Ph.D. released an inside scoop when he stated:

The promoter gene used … [the] cauliflower mosaic virus, … [was assumed to be] denatured in our digestive system, but it’s not. It has been shown to promote the transfer of transgenes from GM foods to the bacteria within our digestive system, which are responsible for 80 percent of our immune system function.

Read Lotter’s interview here: (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_19468.cfm)

This from Wessex Natural Law research papers: The cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV 35S) used for plant genetic engineering is cited as a source of viral recombination as well as a gene silencer and DNA disruptor.

Forget petitioning the government. It’s so corrupted that one of Monsanto’s most ruthless executives, Michael Taylor, now serves in the Obama administration as FDA chief adviser, or “Food Czar.”

That’s why our only chance is to help California succeed with Proposition 37. GMO labeling may spill over from California making it easier to boycott GMOs. (http://www.kcet.org)

Sources:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lni6OAJz3sk&feature=player_profilepage

http://www.naturalnews.com/031825_GMOs_threat.html

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_19468.cfm

http://rense.com/general33/fd.htm

http://www.gene.ch/info4action/2000/Feb/msg00028.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/033804_Scientists_Under_Attack_GMOs.html

Glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup Found in All Urine Samples Tested.


recent study conducted by a German university found very high concentrations of Glyphosate, a carcinogenic chemical found in herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup, in all urine samples tested. The amount of glyphosate found in the urine was staggering, with each sample containing concentrations at 5 to 20-fold the limit established for drinking water. This is just one more piece of evidence that herbicides are, at the very least, being sprayed out of control.

Glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup Impacting Global Health

This news comes only one month after it was found that glyphosate, contained in Monsanto’s Roundup, is contaminating the groundwater in the areas in which it is used. What does this mean? It means that toxic glyphosate is now polluting the world’s drinking water through the widespread contamination of aquifers, wells and springs. The recent reports of glyphosate showing up in all urine samples only enhances these past findings.

Monsanto continues to make the claim that their Roundup products are completely safe for both animals and humans. However many environmentalists, scientists , activists, and even doctors say otherwise. Glyphosate radically affects the metabolism of plants in a negative way. It is a systemic poison preventing the formation of essential amino acids, leading to weakened plants which ultimately die from it.

A formula seems to have been made to not only ruin the agricultural system, but also compromise the health of millions of people worldwide. With the invent of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready cropsresistant superweeds are taking over farmland and public health is being attacked. As it turns out, glyphosate is also leaving behind its residue on Roundup Ready crops, causing further potential concern for public health. Glyphosate is even contributing to escalating rates of mental illness and obesity through the depletion of beneficial gut flora that directly regulates these functions. But it certainly doesn’t stop there.

Researchers tested roundup on mature male rats at a concentration range between 1 and 10,000 parts per million (ppm), and found that within 1 to 48 hours of exposure, testicular cells of the mature rats were either damaged or killed. Even at a concentration of 1 ppm, the Roundup was able to affect the test subjects by decreasing their testosterone concentrations by as much as 35%.

.

 

Explore More:

  1. Monsanto’s Roundup is Causing DNA Damage
  2. Monsanto’s Carcinogenic Roundup Herbicide Contaminating Water Supply
  3. Monsanto’s Roundup Shown to be Ravaging Butterfly Population
  4. Causes of Water Pollution – GMO Farming, Glyphosate Big Contributors
  5. Monsanto’s Best-Selling Herbicide Roundup Linked to Infertility
  6. Monsanto’s Roundup Continuously Shown to Cause Birth Defects

 

Source: http://naturalsociety.com