Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ROUNDUP OF ACTIONS - MARCHES


Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are bad for people, the environment, and water supplies, at least. This is according to the protestors involved in the “March Against Monsanto.” Their protests cover 421 cities, 48 countries, and six continents, by ...
Hawaii groups plant coconut trees, protest against Monsanto

Reverend Billy marching in Chicago against Monsanto

WGN-TV - ‎May 22, 2015‎
CHICAGO - Rev. Billy joined WGN Morning News again to discuss his Chicago march against agrochemical company Monsanto and his mission for people to 'stop shopping.

CHICAGO - Rev. Billy joined WGN Morning News again to discuss his Chicago march against agrochemical company Monsanto and his mission for people to 'stop shopping.




































































































































































































Maui Now - ‎May 24, 2015‎




While communities around the world participated in “March Against Monsanto” events, GMO Free Maui and Simpmli Fresh Farms hosted a special “Outgrow Monsanto” community food planting event on Saturday, May 24, 2015 in West Maui.
Fox News - ‎May 23, 2015‎




The protesters complained about the impacts that companies like Monsanto have on the community when they spray fields with chemical pesticides.
U-T San Diego - ‎May 23, 2015‎




BALBOA PARK - More than 1,000 people gathered in Balboa Park Saturday to join the worldwide “March Against Monsanto,” the third annual protest against Monsanto, the multinational corporation whose products include seeds that are genetically modified ...
Central Florida Future - ‎17 hours ago‎




Protesters worldwide rallied in Downtown Orlando on Saturday against food-industry-giant Monsanto to raise awareness about the dangers and controversies surrounding the company.
Sacramento Bee - ‎May 21, 2015‎




Several dozen environmental advocates demonstrated outside the Monsanto plant in Woodland on Thursday to call attention to the company's business practices and its role in producing pesticides and genetically modified foods.
Seattle Sun Times - ‎12 hours ago‎




March Against Monsanto says the movement is a way to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding Monsanto's genetically modified seeds and cancer-linked herbicide Roundup.
Bay Area Indymedia - ‎18 hours ago‎




The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer announced just two months ago that glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto's pesticide RoundUp, is probably carcinogenic to humans. The time was ripe to demand a ban on ...
Center for Research on Globalization - ‎3 hours ago‎




Monsanto recently made a bid to take over European agrichemical giant Syngenta, the world's largest pesticide producer.
Yahoo News - ‎May 22, 2015‎




But Monsanto's ongoing efforts to try to take over Swiss agrochemicals firm Syngenta, a rival whose product portfolio offers an array of agricultural chemicals, could spark a sell-off or de-emphasis of a product line that last year brought in roughly ...
Markets Wired - ‎21 hours ago‎




Monsanto Co (NYSE:MON) (TREND ANALYSIS) shares were traded with thin volume. The stock closed last trading session at $120.29, up by 0.24%, with a volume of 2,663,124 shares against an average volume for the last 3 months of 3,210,720.
Wall Street Daily - ‎May 19, 2015‎




The company made a $45-billion unsolicited offer for its rival, Syngenta AG (SYT) - a Swiss chemical company. But on May 8, Syngenta rejected the offer, saying the price undervalued the company.
St. Louis Public Radio - ‎May 24, 2015‎




About 70 anti-Monsanto protesters lined the sidewalks outside the garden, some carrying 3-D monarch butterfly props. One protester brought along a dog in a bee costume.






Friday, May 22, 2015

NEW YORKERS - CALL TO PASS GMO FOOD LABELING BILL MAY 22-2015!




 
CALL YOUR ASSEMBLYMEMBER TODAY IN THEIR ALBANY OFFICE!!!  
Even if you've called in the past, CALL AGAIN TODAY! And get everyone you know to do the same. Armchair activism isn't enough -- you need to pick up the phone! I've spoken to far too many Assemblymembers who say they've barely heard from their constituents by phone (and they don't seem to care very much about all the "robo" emails they get when you sign onto letters written by others). So we need up make more calls.

I can't stress enough how good a job the biotech and big food lobbyists have been doing in Albany convincing our legislators to keep us in the dark. I hear their b.s. talking points coming out of the mouths of our elected officials over and over again! So we need to fight back NOW by drowning out their b.s.!

STEP 1. Find out who your Assemblymember is: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ and make note of their ALBANY office phone number.

STEP 2: See if they are already a cosponsor of bill A.617 (check the list below). If yes, go to Step 3. If no, go to Step 4.

STEP 3: If they ARE a cosponsor, call their ALBANY office, identify yourself as a constituent, and say something like: "Thank you for supporting GMO labeling by cosponsoring bill A.617. However, the bill has not moved since it was voted out of the Consumer Affairs committee over two months ago and session is almost over. I need to know if the food I'm buying is GMO -- it's unacceptable that we're all being kept in the dark about something as fundamental as the way our food is being produced because of corporate interests. Would you please talk to Speaker Heastie and ask him to bring the bill to a floor vote? Thank you!"

STEP 4: If they are NOT a cosponsor, call their ALBANY office, identify yourself as a constituent, and say something like, "I need to know if the food I'm buying is made with GMOs -- it's unacceptable that we're all being kept in the dark about something as fundamental as the way our food is being produced because of corporate interests. Please cosponsor bill A.617 this session and help bring it to a floor vote. Thank you!"

STEP 5: If you got an answer one way or the other, please post a comment below.

Bill A.617
Sponsor: Linda Rosenthal
Cosponsors: Abinanti, Arroyo, Barron, Benedetto, Bichotte, Blake, Braunstein, Brennan, Brindisi, Brook-Krasny, Ceretto, Clark, Colton, Cook, Crespo, Curran, Davila, Dinowitz, Englebright, Fahy, Farrell, Galef, Glick, Goldfeder, Gottfried, Hevesi, Jaffee, Jean-Pierre, Kaminsky, Katz, Kavanagh, Kearns, Kim, Lavine, Lentol, Lifton, Linares, Lopez, Magnarelli, Markey, Mayer, McDonald, Mosley, Moya, Murray, Nolan, Ortiz, Otis, Paulin, Peoples-Stokes, Perry, Persaud, Pichardo, Quart, Ramos, Rivera, Roberts, Robinson, Rodriguez, Rozic, Schimel, Seawright, Sepulveda, Simon, Simotas, Skartados, Steck, Thiele, Walker, Weinstein, Weprin

US CORPORATIONS ALREADY PRESSURING THE REST OF THE WORLD TO ACCEPT TOXIC DEALS

EU dropped pesticide laws due to US pressure over TTIP

EXCERPT: The series of events was described as “incredible” by the the Green MEP Bas Eickhout. “These documents offer convincing evidence that TTIP not only presents a danger for the future lowering of European standards, but that this is happening as we speak,” he told the Guardian.

EU dropped pesticide laws due to US pressure over TTIP, documents reveal

Arthur Neslen
The Guardian, 22 May 2015
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/22/eu-dropped-pesticide-laws-due-to-us-pressure-over-ttip-documents-reveal?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=dlvr.it

* US trade officials pushed EU to shelve action on endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to cancer and male infertility to facilitate TTIP free trade deal

EU moves to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals linked to cancer and male infertility were shelved following pressure from US trade officials over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal, newly released documents show.

Draft EU criteria could have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). But these were dumped amid fears of a trade backlash stoked by an aggressive US lobby push, access to information documents obtained by Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Europe show.

On the morning of 2 July 2013, a high-level delegation from the US Mission to Europe and the American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) visited EU trade officials to insist that the bloc drop its planned criteria for identifying EDCs in favour of a new impact study. By the end of the day, the EU had done so.

Minutes of the meeting show commission officials pleading that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards”.

The TTIP is a trade deal being agreed by the EU and US to remove barriers to commerce and promote free trade.

Responding to the EU officials, AmCham representatives “complained about the uselessness of creating categories and thus, lists” of prohibited substances, the minutes show.

The US trade representatives insisted that a risk-based approach be taken to regulation, and “emphasised the need for an impact assessment” instead.

Later that day, the secretary-general of the commission, Catherine Day, sent a letter to the environment department’s director Karl Falkenberg, telling him to stand down the draft criteria.

 “We suggest that as other DGs [directorate-generals] have done, you consider making a joint single impact assessment to cover all the proposals,” Day wrote. “We do not think it is necessary to prepare a commission recommendation on the criteria to identify endocrine disrupting substances.”

The result was that legislation planned for 2014 was kicked back until at least 2016, despite estimated health costs of €150bn per year in Europe from endocrine-related illnesses such as IQ loss, obesity and cryptorchidism – a condition affecting the genitals of baby boys.

A month before the meeting, AmCham had warned the EU of “wide-reaching implications” if the draft criteria were approved. The trade body wanted an EU impact study to set looser thresholds for acceptable exposure to endocrines, based on a substance’s potency.

“We are worried to see that this decision, which is the source of many scientific debates, might be taken on political grounds, without first assessing what its impacts will be on the European market,” the chair of AmCham’s environment committee wrote in a letter to the commission.

These could be “dramatic” the letter said.

In a high-level internal note sent to the health commissioner, Tonio Borg, shortly afterwards, his departmental director-general warned that the EU’s endocrines policy “will have substantial impacts for the economy, agriculture and trade”.

The heavily redacted letter, sent a week before the EU’s plans were scrapped continued: “The US, Canada, and Brazil [have] already voiced concerns on the criteria which might lead to important repercussions on trade.”

The series of events was described as “incredible” by the the Green MEP Bas Eickhout. “These documents offer convincing evidence that TTIP not only presents a danger for the future lowering of European standards, but that this is happening as we speak,” he told the Guardian.

Earlier this year, 64 MEP’s submitted questions to the commission about the delay to EDC classifications, following revelations by the Guardian about the scale of industry lobbying in the run up to their abandonment. Sweden, the European Parliament and European Council have brought court proceedings against the commission for the legislative logjam.

Just weeks before the regulations were dropped there had been a barrage of lobbying from big European firms such as Dupont, Bayer and BASF over EDCs. The chemical industry association Cefic warned that the endocrines issue “could become an issue that impairs the forthcoming EU-US trade negotiations”.

The German chemicals giant BASF also complained that bans on pesticide substances “will restrict the free trade with agricultural products on the global level”.

Around this time, the commission’s more industry-friendly agriculture department weighed into the internal EU debate after being “informed by representatives of the US chemical industry” about it.

A common theme in the lobby missives was the need to set thresholds for safe exposure to endocrines, even though a growing body of scientific results suggests that linear threshold models – in which higher doses create greater effects – do not apply to endocrine disruptors.

“The human endocrine system is regulated by hormones and the hormone receptors are sensitive to low doses,” said Hans Muilerman, PAN Europe’s chemicals coordinator. “In animal toxicity studies, effects are seen from low doses [of endocrines] that disappear with higher ones. But in the regulatory arena, lower doses are not tested for.”

A commission spokesperson insisted that health and environmental concerns would be fully addressed, despite pressure from industry or trade groups.

“The ongoing EU impact assessment procedure is not linked in any way to the TTIP negotiations,” the official said. “The EU will proceed to the adoption of definitive criteria to identify endocrine disruptors, independently from the further course of our TTIP negotiations with the US.”

An EU-TTIP position paper on chemicals published last May, cited endocrine disruptors as as one of the “new and emerging scientific issues” which the EU and the US could consider for “enhanced regulatory cooperations” in a future TTIP deal.

“However, given the fact that a possible future TTIP Agreement will most likely not enter into force before the adoption of definitive EU criteria to identify endocrine disruptors, it is clear that the EU’s ongoing impact assessment and adoption of definitive criteria will not be dealt with in the TTIP negotiations,” the spokesperson said.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NEWS FROM ORGANIC AND NON-GMO ROUNDUPS

Thanks to Mark Kastel and his team at The Cornucopia Institute who blogged and Tweeted from last week’s National Organic Standards Board meeting in California.

Mark said  this morning, taht the divisiveness between the organic non-profits and big corporates/OTA is as strong as ever – not something that anyone likes to hear.

Check out the daily recaps of the meeting on Cornucopia’s website. http://www.cornucopia.org/

IN OTHER NEWS

Chipotle claims that GMOs “don’t make the cut” anymore at its restaurant chain. I beg to differ.
http://bit.ly/1FL2mJ8

Judge upholds Vermont GMO labeling law while case continues. http://shrd.by/PPrBQp

Gary Hirshberg and Just Label It launch #concealorreveal campaign, target Quaker.
http://shrd.by/vVzSE6

Costco's organic food sales approach $3 billion.
http://shrd.by/Zxl4FB

Wendy's to start selling its first organic product – tea.
http://shrd.by/brTeOs

USDA to launch certified organic database.
http://shrd.by/slLr9b

Saturday, April 25, 2015

"STOP PRODUCING GLYPHOSATE" - WORLD'S LARGEST PRODUCER -CHINA- ASKED TO AWAIT TESTING RESULTS

Ten NGOs ask China to stop producing glyphosate to protect world health

Ten NGOs, including GMWatch, have written to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK asking China to suspend exports and imports of glyphosate herbicides while independent testing is carried out.

Open letter to the people of China

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
49 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL

Request for urgent letter to be forwarded to President Xi Jin-ping and Premier Li Ke-qiang

To the Chinese people,
To Xi Jin-ping, President of the People's Republic of China
To  Li Ke-qiang, Premier of the People's Republic of China

OPEN LETTER: The Impact of Glyphosate/Roundup on global health

April 2015

Dear Friends

We write to you as members of various non-governmental organizations in Europe, to draw your attention to one of the biggest health problems currently facing the planet – namely the ill health epidemic associated with the ongoing (and expanding) use of the chemical glyphosate and its main formulation called Roundup.  As you will know, the latter is a proprietary product marketed by the Monsanto Corporation and other companies worldwide, on the pretence that it is harmless to human beings but lethal to plants. In addition to being widely used as a weedkiller, it is also used increasingly with herbicide-tolerant GMO crops and as a desiccant prior to the harvesting of wheat and other crops.  In situations where "industrial agriculture" is practised, it is sprayed on a vast scale, affecting not just farm workers but also the inhabitants of neighbouring communities. It is therefore widely found nowadays in the food supplies of many countries, including the People's Republic of China, and is traceable in animal tissues, human urine and breast milk, and a wide variety of marketed food products. This is well documented in the science literature.

We have been investigating the claims that glyphosate and Roundup are "safe" products, and we respectfully ask you to bear in mind the following recent findings:

1. A working party of the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that glyphosate is now considered to be “a probable human carcinogen”. (1) Their full report  – as yet unpublished – will contain the full evidence underpinning the conclusion. The IARC Panel has given glyphosate a 2A categorisation for humans, as well as stating that genotoxic effects in other mammals are "sufficiently demonstrated”. As you may know, a 2A categorisation in the IARC is equivalent to category 1B in the European Union, which means that glyphosate cannot receive a new EU authorisation (the matter is currently under review).

2.  Recently the Argentinian Federation of Health Professionals (representing 30,000 members) stated: "Glyphosate not only causes cancer. It is also associated with increased spontaneous abortions, birth defects, skin diseases, and respiratory and neurological disease.” On the basis of accumulated experience over many years, the doctors have called for an immediate ban on glyphosate herbicides in their country (2).

3. Following various leads into the archives of the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we issued a short report (3) that shows that both Monsanto and the EPA knew of the link between glyphosate and cancer as long ago as 1980, since malignant tumours and other organ damage had been recorded in rat and mouse feeding studies which were, and still are, treated as trade secrets (4). Our revelations confirmed other findings published by Caroline Cox in 1995 and by the Institute of Science in Society in 2014 (5) . The myth relating to the "relative safety" of glyphosate herbicides was promoted by both Monsanto and the EPA in 1981, and has been kept alive ever since by American, EU and other regulators around the world for purely commercial reasons. We are also uncomfortable with the business practice of hiding away important scientific findings by classifying them as trade secrets, thus disallowing public scrutiny of such documents. From a European perspective, in our view EFSA and other EU agencies have also turned a blind eye to the accumulating evidence of harm since 2002.

Arising out of the above, we are genuinely frightened by the harm currently being done to the health of your citizens and indeed the health of people across the planet.

We understand that China already is the largest producer and exporter of glyphosate in the world, including supplies exported to Monsanto for use in the manufacture of Roundup formulations worldwide. Accordingly, we ask that your Government accepts that it shoulders, together with Monsanto, some responsibility for the devastating harm to public health in those countries importing glyphosate/Roundup from China. We are also concerned that there may be massive claims for compensation in the near future.

China is also the largest importer of "Roundup Ready" (RR) soybeans and maize, thus contributing to the ongoing production of these varieties in the USA, Argentina and Brazil. It will be no easy thing to close down factories and to ban the use of the chemical in town and country; and if imports of RR soy and maize are stopped, they will have to be replaced with other products.

But we respectfully ask you to take a global lead in this matter.

First, will you please commission appropriate scientific institutions in China to carry out independent long-term carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, endocrine developmental disruption, and multiple-generation reproduction toxicity tests on glyphosate alone, and on Roundup formulations? These studies should be carried out by institutions with no commercial or academic interest links with the glyphosate and/or related products industries, and with no connections to the earlier safety evaluation of glyphosate and/or related products. We also believe that in China, as elsewhere, there should now be a nationwide programme of testing for glyphosate residues in surface water, underground water, animal and human urine, breast milk and blood. In parallel, we hope that you will see merit in a nationwide epidemiological investigation of the link between glyphosate/Roundup pollution (including traces contained in imported GM soybeans) and the increased incidence of malignant diseases during the past 20 years.

Second, before such studies are commissioned, we ask you as an essential precautionary measure immediately to suspend production/sales and exports of glyphosate, to suspend imports of Roundup formulations, and to suspend imports of all agriculture products (such as RR varieties) containing any glyphosate residues.

Finally, given the past frauds practised by IBT and Craven Labs in carrying out industry tests on pesticides, including glyphosate, we urge you to challenge Monsanto to place certain key reports (6) immediately into the public domain. If the corporation will not cooperate by releasing these documents without deletions or alterations, we will assume that there has been scientific malpractice and that the WHO findings of a glyphosate/cancer link are well founded. Glyphosate should have been banned globally 35 years ago, and Roundup should never have been placed on the market. After decades of health damage, it must be in the interests of the whole world for these lethal chemicals to be taken immediately out of use before any more harm is done.

While many scientists in Europe and the Unites States share the concerns expressed above, there are many political and commercial obstacles to change. If China could take a lead in the manner which we respectfully suggest, placing the safety and good health of future generations above the commercial aspirations of multinational corporations, that would be something of truly historical importance for our planet.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Dr Brian John, GM-Free Cymru, Wales, UK
Peter Melchett, The Soil Association, UK
Dr John Fagan, Earth Open Source, London, UK
Dr Mae-wan Ho, Institute of Science in Society, London, UK
Michael O'Callaghan, Global Vision Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland
Henry Rowlands, Global GMO Free Coalition, Bulgaria
Claire Robinson, GM Watch, UK
Pat Thomas, Beyond GM, London, UK
Sandra Smith, GM-Free Scotland, UK
Lawrence Woodward, GM Education - Citizens Concerned about GM, UK


NOTES

1.  Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate (2015)
Kathryn Z Guyton, Dana Loomis, Yann Grosse, Fatiha El Ghissassi, Lamia Benbrahim-Tallaa, Neela Guha, Chiara Scoccianti, Heidi Mattock, Kurt Straif,  on behalf of the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group, IARC, Lyon, France
Lancet Oncol 2015.  Published Online March 20, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S1470-2045(15)70134-8
International Agency for Research on Cancer 16 Volume 112: Some organophosphate insecticides and herbicides: tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon and glyphosate. IARC Working Group. Lyon; 3–10 March 2015. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risk Chem Hum (in press).

2.  Argentina: 30,000 doctors and health professionals demand ban on glyphosate
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2015-articles/16084-argentina-30-000-doctors-and-health-professionals-demand-ban-on-glyphosate

3.   http://www.gmfreecymru.org/documents/monsanto_knew_of_glyphosate.html

4.  It has been further revealed to us by our consultant, that Bio/dynamics used three studies to dilute the data found on kidney tumors, but went even further by fraudulently using five unrelated historical controls to dilute the tumor data found in the testes of male rats.   The study clearly showed that glyphosate caused testicular tumors in all three of the test groups. However, the experiment's own control animals showed zero incidence of tumors in the testes of male rats.

5.  Cox C. Glyphosate, Part 1: Toxicology. J Pesticide Reform, 1995, 15, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Eugene, OR.
http://www.1hope.org/glyphos8.htm
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Glyphosate_and_Cancer.php
ISIS Report 26/03/14
Glyphosate and Cancer: New research shows that the low levels of glyphosate found in human urine can promote the growth of human breast cancer cells, confirming the carcinogenic potential of the herbicide known since the 1980s
Dr Mae Wan Ho

6. "A Three-Generation Reproduction Study in Rats with Glyphosate" (Final Report; Bio/dynamics Project No. 77-2063; March 31, 1981)  -- submitted by Monsanto to EPA
"Addendum to Pathology Report for a Three-Generation Reproduction Study in Rats with Glyphosate.  R.D. #374; Special Report MSL-1724; July 6, 1982" EPA Registration No 524-308, Action Code 401. Accession No 247793.  CASWELL#661A" -- submitted by Monsanto to EPA
"A Lifetime Feeding Study of Glyphosate (Roundup Technical)  in Rats"  (Report by GR Lankas and GK Hogan from Bio/dynamics for Monsanto.  Project #77-2062, 1981:  MRID 00093879) -- submitted by Monsanto to EPA. Including the study's 4-volume Quality Control evaluation of the Bio/dynamic assessment performed by Experimental Pathology Laboratories, Inc. (2,914 pp).
Also Addendum Report  #77-2063
Knezevich, AL and Hogan, GK (1983) "A Chronic Feeding study of Glyphosate (Roundup Technical) in Mice".  Project No 77-2061. Bio/dynamics Inc for Monsanto.  Accession No #251007-251014  -- document not available but cited in EPA 1986 Memo.
Follow-up study:  McConnel, R. "A chronic feeding study of glyphosate (Roundup technical) in mice: pathology report on additional kidney sections". Unpublished project no. 77-2061A, 1985, submitted to EPA by Bio/dynamics, Inc.
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Friday, April 17, 2015

DOCTOR CALLS FOR BAN ON GLYPHOSATE


mg_opinion_3727.jpgThe Case for Banning Monsanto's Roundup 

There's strong evidence that the herbicide causes birth defects and probably causes cancer. There's also reason to believe it causes or exacerbates numerous chronic illnesses.

By 
click to enlarge
Dr. Jeff Ritterman is vice president of the board of directors of the SF Bay Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is the retired chief of cardiology at Kaiser Richmond and a former Richmond city councilmember. Follow him on Twitter @JeffRitterman. 
On March 20, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified glyphosate as a chemical that probably causes cancer. The IARC is a branch of the World Health Organization that focuses on cancer, and it combines the knowledge and expertise of epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, and biostatisticians. The IARC has been engaged in cancer research for more than five decades, and its vast experience in cancer research has led the agency to conclude that "most cancers are, directly or indirectly, linked to environmental factors and thus are preventable."
The IARC had previously designated glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic. Monsanto, a leading producer of glyphosate under the trade name Roundup, immediately issued a press releasechallenging the new IARC designation and contending that Roundup is safe. But Monsanto has a tremendous amount at stake. Half of the corporation's revenues come from sales of Roundup and Roundup Ready seeds, which can tolerate the herbicide. Monsanto advocates that farmers spray their fields heavily and repeatedly with Roundup in order to kill unwanted weeds, and Monsanto's corporate strategy is based on the assumption that Roundup is safe. If Roundup is found to be toxic, the entire house of cards comes tumbling down, and with it, Monsanto and biotech agriculture. The banning of glyphosate could mean bankruptcy for Monsanto.
But the scientific case for banning glyphosate is convincing. Research shows that in addition to concerns about cancer, there is strong evidence that Roundup causes birth defects in vertebrates, including in humans. The research also reveals that glyphosate may be the cause of or trigger for a number of chronic illnesses that are now plaguing people around the globe.

Originally patented by the Stauffer Chemical Company in 1964, glyphosate is a powerful chelating agent — meaning that it avidly binds to metals. It's this chelating property that led to glyphosate's first use as a descaling agent to clean mineral deposits from pipes in boilers and other hot water systems. The ability to bind to metals also allows glyphosate-metal complexes to persist in soil for decades. The chelating property also underlies the hypothesis that glyphosate-metal complexes are the cause of a fatal chronic kidney disease epidemic that has been ravaging Central America, Sri Lanka, and parts of India.
In the 1970s, John Franz, a Monsanto scientist, discovered glyphosate's usefulness as an herbicide. Monsanto patented glyphosate and has marketed the chemical as "Roundup" since 1974. Glyphosate is now the world's most widely used herbicide.
But contrary to Monsanto's claims that Roundup is safe, a virtual avalanche of scientific studies, including some funded by Monsanto itself, show alarming incidences of fetal deaths and birth defects in animals exposed to glyphosate. Birth defects include missing kidneys and lungs, enlarged hearts, extra ribs, and missing and abnormally formed bones of the limbs, ribs, sternum, spine, and skull.
These startling revelations can be found in the 2011 report "Roundup and Birth Defects: Is the Public Being Kept in the Dark?" It was written by eight experts from the fields of molecular genetics, agro-ecology, toxico-pathology, scientific ethics, ecological agriculture, plant genetics, public health, and cell biology. The report, written primarily for a European readership, is highly critical of the biotech industry and of the European Union's failure to evaluate glyphosate based on science rather than on political concerns. It calls for an immediate withdrawal of Roundup and glyphosate from the European Union until a thorough scientific evaluation can be completed on the herbicide.
"The public has been kept in the dark by industry and regulators about the ability of glyphosate and Roundup to cause malformations," the report states. "In addition, the work of independent scientists who have drawn attention to the herbicide's teratogenic effects has been ignored, denigrated or dismissed. These actions on the part of industry and regulators have endangered public health."
A teratogen is any agent that can disturb the development of an embryo or a fetus. The term stems from the Greek teras, meaning monster.

In late 2012, when Danish pig farmer Ibn Bjorn Pedersen began feeding his pigs genetically modified soy that was contaminated with glyphosate, the rate of birth defects soared. In early 2013, piglets were born without an ear, with only one large eye, with a large hole in the skull, and with a monstrously large "elephant tongue." A female piglet was born with testes, and still others had malformed limbs, spines, skulls, and gastrointestinal tracts. The deformed piglets all tested positive for glyphosate in their tissues.
These birth defects in test animals and in farmer Pedersen's pigs were similar to those reported by humans living in Argentina, where glyphosate is sprayed heavily from airplanes as part of the production of genetically modified soy. In the Córdoba region of Argentina, the Gatica family resides in the barrio of Ituzaingó, only 50 meters away from fields of GMO soy. Airplanes would regularly fly overhead, spraying glyphosate on the crops. In the mid-1990s, Sofia Gatica's oldest son became extremely ill. "When he was four years old, he came down with the illness that left him temporarily paralyzed," she recalled,according to a 2013 report published by the German news organization Deutsche Welle. "He was admitted to the hospital. They told me that they didn't know what was wrong with him."
In 1999, Gatica gave birth to a baby girl. The infant died of kidney failure on her third day of life. This tragedy prompted the grieving mother to take action. Gatica went door-to-door, collecting information on the health of her community. Her survey uncovered an unusually high rate of birth defects and cancer. "Children were being born with deformities, little babies were being born with six fingers, without a jawbone, missing a skull bone, with kidney deformities, without an anus — and a lot of mothers and fathers were developing cancer," she said, according to the Deutsche Welle report.
Gatica shared her findings with her friends and neighbors. Soon a group formed, calling itself the Mothers of Ituzaingó. In 2012, Gatica was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work protecting her community from glyphosate toxicity.
A group of Argentine doctors, alarmed by the increases in birth defects and cancer, joined the Mothers of Ituzaingó. These concerned physicians formed Doctors of Fumigated Towns, which held its first national conference in August 2010 in Córdoba, Argentina, a farming area where agribusinesses heavily and repeatedly spray glyphosate. The Department of Medical Sciences of the National University at Córdoba sponsored the conference. Some 160 doctors from throughout the country attended. At the conference, Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez, a pediatrician and environmental health expert, explained his concerns: "The change in how agriculture is produced has brought, frankly, a change in the profile of diseases. We've gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects, and illnesses seldom seen before. There are more than 12 million people affected by fumigation (pesticide spraying) in the country. In these areas, the rate of birth defects is four times higher than in the cities."
Chaco is Argentina's poorest province and a region of intensive glyphosate spraying. Records from the neonatal service at Chaco's Perrando Hospital show that birth defects increased fourfold, from 19.1 to 85.3 per 10,000 people, in the decade after intensive herbicide use began.
The experimental animal studies, the observations in farm animals, and the epidemiological studies in humans all bolster the conclusion that glyphosate causes birth defects.
And the research directly contradicts claims by Monsanto, which states on its website that Roundup is safe "because it binds tightly to most types of soil so it is not available for uptake by roots of nearby plants. It works by disrupting a plant enzyme involved in the production of amino acids that are essential to plant growth. The enzyme, EPSP synthase, is not present in humans or animals, contributing to the low risk to human health from the use of glyphosate according to label directions."
So how can Roundup cause birth defects if it only affects an enzyme (EPSP Synthase) that animals do not possess? Andrés Carrasco, an embryologist and the former director of the molecular embryology laboratory at the University of Buenos Aires, found the link.
Carrasco suspected that glyphosate caused an abnormal hyperactivity in the Vitamin A pathway. The Vitamin A signaling pathway is present in all vertebrates from the very earliest stages of embryonic development. The pathway turns on certain genes and turns off others. It acts like a conductor, orchestrating the symphony of embryological development. And there is no room for error. Genes must be turned on and off at precisely the right instant in exact sequence. Any disturbance of the Vitamin A pathway can result in birth defects. It is because of the enhanced risk of birth defects that pregnant women are advised not to take any Vitamin A (retinoic acid) containing medications.
When Carrasco added a chemical inhibitor to his experiments, he was able to block the glyphosate-induced hyperactivity in the Vitamin A pathway. The birth defects no longer appeared. Mystery solved! Glyphosate had caused birth defects by over-stimulating the Vitamin A pathway. Since this pathway is present in all vertebrates, glyphosate has the capacity to cause birth defects in fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
But Roundup doesn't just cause birth defects.

Epidemiologic studies from the areas in Latin America where agribusinesses heavily spray glyphosate have consistently shown spikes in cancer incidence. Other epidemiological research has implicated glyphosate in brain cancer in children and in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In addition, laboratory studies of many kinds, as well as animal feeding studies, have repeatedly linked glyphosate to cancer.
Cancer is a complex process. One of the initial steps is damage to our DNA. Each of our cells gets its operating instructions from DNA, and if DNA is damaged and not repaired, it can program cells to divide rapidly and chaotically. When that happens, cells transform into cancers.
Cells are also vulnerable to becoming cancers during cell division. Each cell receives from its parent cell an identical copy of DNA. If a mistake occurs during this process, cells receive faulty DNA copies, and the cells can then turn cancerous.
Since both DNA damage and errors during cell division can lead to cancer, scientists have studied whether glyphosate can cause these abnormalities. And the results have been conclusive. For example, fruit fly larvae exposed to glyphosate have developed lethal DNA damage. And mice injected with glyphosate and with Roundup showed an increased frequency of DNA damage in the bone marrow, liver, and kidneys. Roundup damaged the DNA in blood cells of the European eel at environmentally realistic concentrations. And when researchers exposed cow lymphocytes to glyphosate, the herbicide caused DNA damage.
In a 2004 study, researchers from the National Scientific Research Center and the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in France exposed sea urchin embryos to glyphosate, and found that the herbicide caused significant errors in cell division. The scientists commented that these abnormalities are hallmarks of cancer and delivered a particularly chilling warning. "The concentration of glyphosate needed to cause these errors was 500 to 4,000 times lower than the dose to which humans may be exposed by aerial spraying or handling of the herbicide."
Fernando Manas, a biologist at the National University of Rio Cuarto in Argentina, has been investigating the effects of pesticides for years. He believes that glyphosate spraying is causing cancer by inducing DNA damage, and his research has documented genetic damage in those exposed. When Manas studied people who spray pesticide while working in the soy industry in Córdoba, Argentina, he found significantly more DNA damage in their lymphocytes than those in an unexposed group. Glyphosate was one of the most commonly used pesticides by the workers.
Genetics researchers from the Pontifical Catholic University in Quito, Ecuador evaluated Ecuadorians living in the Sucumbíos district in northern Ecuador for evidence of DNA damage. The Colombian government had heavily sprayed the Sucumbíos district with glyphosate to eradicate illegal coca crops. People exposed to the herbicide developed a number of acute symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, numbness, insomnia, depression, shortness of breath, blurred vision, burning of eyes, blisters and rash. When compared to a control group, they also showed significantly more DNA damage.
In addition to the DNA and cell division research, scientists have explored glyphosate's association with cancer in tissue culture studies. In these experiments, researchers grow cells in a small dish with nutrients and add various chemicals to test their effects.
In 2010, researchers in India exposed mouse skin cells grown in tissue culture to glyphosate. When the herbicide was added, the cells became cancerous.
Scientists in Thailand studied the impact of glyphosate on human estrogen-responsive breast cancer cells in tissue culture. Hormone-responsive breast cancer cells are known to grow when exposed to estrogen. And according to their published results in 2013, glyphosate also stimulated these cells to grow. The herbicide was able to bind to the cancer's estrogen receptors, thus mimicking the effects of estrogen and accelerating tumor growth. Scientists refer to this as "endocrine disruption." An endocrine disruptor is a chemical that can mimic or block a hormone. Because hormones work as chemical messengers at very low doses, even a minute dose of an endocrine disruptor can lead to serious illness.
Glyphosate's links to cancer have also been assessed in studies with a variety of test animals for more than three decades. One of the earliest studies was conducted from 1979 to 1981, under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Program, the International Labor Organization, and the World Health Organization. Rats exposed to low levels of the herbicide developedtesticular cancer. A larger dose did not produce the cancer. Unfortunately, at the time of the experiment, it was not understood that certain substances have more potent effects at lower doses than at higher doses, and so the evaluators erroneously dismissed the results.
In a study from the Institute of Biology at the University of Caen in France, researchers studied glyphosate's effects on rats, and found that glyphosate doubles the incidence of mammary gland tumors. These cancers also developed much faster in rats exposed to glyphosate than in controls. There was also an increase in cancers of the pituitary gland. Originally published in 2012, the report was retracted after the biotech agriculture industry complained. But after extensive review failed to show any fraud or problem with the data, the report was re-published in 2014.
Human epidemiologic studies also have shown a link between glyphosate and cancer.
Argentine physicians working in areas in which glyphosate is heavily sprayed have reported significant increases in cancer incidence. In Sante Fe province, which is an area of intensive herbicide spraying, a house-to-house epidemiological study of 65,000 people found cancer rates two to four times higher than the national average.
Two villages in Chaco province also raised concerns about glyphosate's association with cancer. Researchers compared residents of the heavily sprayed farming village of Avia Terai to people in the non-sprayed ranching village of Charadai. In the farming village, 31 percent of residents had a family member with cancer while only 3 percent of residents in the ranching village had one.
Dr. Avila Vasquez, a doctor working in the heavily sprayed region of Barrio Ituzaingo, noted that cancer was responsible for 33 percent of the deaths in the region, while the cancer death rate in the big cities was only 19 percent.
In addition, scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who have analyzed studies spanning almost three decades, have found a positive association between organo-phosphorus herbicides, like glyphosate, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. IARC researchers found that the B cell lymphoma sub-type is strongly associated with glyphosate exposure. As mentioned earlier, the IARC published a monograph last month classifying glyphosate as probably carcinogenic.
The most recent research raising concerns about glyphosate's connection to cancer is the linkage to lymphoma. Scientists from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services, who specialize in illnesses caused by toxic substances, published results of the US Atlantic Coast Childhood Brain Cancer Study in 2009. That study compared children with brain cancer in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to age-matched controls. The researchers found that if either parent had been exposed to glyphosate during the two years before the child's birth, the chances of the child developing brain cancer doubled.

Glyphosate's ability to produce birth defects and its association with cancer show that the herbicide actively impacts a number of important biological processes. Scientists have uncovered some of these impacts, and this work may have far-reaching implications for human health.
As noted above, Dr. Carrasco showed that glyphosate causes birth defects in vertebrates by interfering with the Vitamin A signaling pathway. And this pathway is part of a much larger enzyme system known as the "Cytochrome P450" system. This enzyme system is present in most tissues of our bodies. It is an extremely important and complex, responsible for inactivating toxic compounds and metabolizing medications. The Cytochrome P450 system is also important in the metabolism of sex hormones, cholesterol, and Vitamin D. And glyphosate interferes with several of the enzymes in this vital system.
One of the enzymes it inhibits is aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen. The testosterone-estrogen balance is fundamental to normal functioning. Glyphosate can mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors, as we saw in the case of glyphosate's ability to accelerate breast cancer cell growth in tissue culture. The herbicide can also prevent the chemical conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Glyphosate's interference with aromatase may explain its association with impaired fertility. Clearly, these endocrine disrupting effects are cause for concern.
Glyphosate is also toxic to many gut bacteria that are important for human health. These bacteria live symbiotically with humans: The human digestive tract provides a friendly environment, full of nutrients for the bacteria, and in exchange, the bacteria perform a number of essential functions, including the synthesis of vitamins and the detoxification of foreign substances. The bacteria also aid immunity and help digestion and the maintenance of the normal permeability of the gastrointestinal tract.
And when glyphosate kills off helpful gut bacteria, other harmful bacteria can proliferate. Studies analyzing the gut bacteria of cows, horses, and poultry have shown that many highly pathogenic bacteria are glyphosate resistant. The loss of helpful bacteria may also make us vulnerable to leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal maladies.
Research has suggested that the overgrowth of harmful bacteria can also cause a deficiency in essential amino acids and in necessary metals, like zinc and sulfur. The change in bacterial flora may also lead to the overproduction of ammonia.
Because the presence of glyphosate is not tested in our food supply nor by healthcare providers caring for the sick, implicating glyphosate in the etiology of diseases has been difficult. There is concern, however, that a large number of chronic diseases, including neurological illnesses, may be triggered or exacerbated by changes in amino acid, ammonia, and metal concentrations.
The depletion of amino acids, for example, can result in abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Its depletion may lead to depression, insomnia, and disorders of the appetite, such as obesity and anorexia. Dopamine depletion in a key brain area is also the hallmark of Parkinson's disease.
Researchers have also found elevated ammonia levels in children with autism. Sulfur deficiency also has been associated with autism and Parkinson's disease, and with Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Zinc deficiency, too, has been associated with autism and Alzheimer's disease, and also with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.
An interesting finding from a study at the University of Leipzig showed an unexpected association between chronic illness and glyphosate exposure. The researchers tested urine from humans. They found that chronically ill humans have significantly higher glyphosate residues in their urine when compared to healthy people.
Another chronic illness may have a direct link to glyphosate. Peasant farmers exposed to pesticides in Central America, India, and Sri Lanka have developed a new and fatal kidney ailment. The cause has been difficult to pin down. The illness has become known as "Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology [CKDu]."
CKDu is now the second-leading cause of death among men in El Salvador. This small Central American nation has the highest kidney disease mortality rate in the world. Neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua also have extremely high rates of death from kidney disease. More men in El Salvador and Nicaragua are dying from CKDu than from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and leukemia combined. In one area of rural Nicaragua, so many men have died that the community is called "the Island of the Widows."
India and Sri Lanka have also been hit hard by the epidemic. More than20,000 people have died from CKDu in the past two decades in Sri Lanka. In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, more than 1,500 have been treated for the ailment since 2007.
While the exact cause of the kidney ailment remains under investigation, a leading hypothesis is that glyphosate-metal complexes are to blame. It appears that glyphosate's chelating properties give the chemical the ability to form complexes with heavy metals that can be readily absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or ingested. Scientists are concerned that these glyphosate-metal complexes can travel through the bloodstream to the kidney and destroy the kidney tubule, leading to renal failure and death.
In response, both the governments of El Salvador and Sri Lanka have instituted bans on glyphosate.

Glyphosate and its degradation product amino-methyl-phosphonic acid have been found in air, rain, groundwater, surface water, seawater, and soil. These studies show that glyphosate persists in soil and water for long periods of time. In addition, the amount of glyphosate detected in samples is increasing over time. The chemical is accumulating in our environment. It also accumulates in animal tissue. A study conducted last year at the University of Leipzig showed that cows were excreting glyphosate in their urine. These cows also had comparable levels of the herbicide in their organs (kidney, liver, lung, spleen, muscle, intestine), proving that meat and dairy are a source of glyphosate for humans.
And glyphosate is an essential ingredient in biotech farming. Its residues can be found in a wide variety of food products. Almost all processed food that contains corn (including high fructose corn syrup) or soy has glyphosate contamination. The same is now true for wheat products, because glyphosate has been added to the wheat harvest production method. Meat products derived from animals exposed to glyphosate in their feed will also be glyphosate contaminated.
But because the FDA does not test for glyphosate, we have no way to monitor the damage that the herbicide is wreaking on human health. We know from leaked US State Department cables that support for biotech agriculture is official US policy despite the health risks. It appears that our best chance of protecting our health and that of our children is a grassroots movement to ban glyphosate use.
The data now shows that glyphosate causes birth defects and cancer. There is also good reason to believe that this herbicide causes or exacerbates a large number of chronic illnesses.
There is really no sensible alternative to banning this poison. Two of the world's visionaries have shared their thoughts on this issue.
"Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads," wrote world famous primatologist Jane Goodall in Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. "How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?"
The great Indian environmental leader Vandana Shiva added: "We will continue to create the other world that we are sowing, seed-by-seed, inch-by-inch of soil, person-by-person, community-by-community, until all of this planet is embraced in one circle of a resurgent life and a resurgent love."



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