Thursday, September 24, 2015


Austria and Italy celebrate bans on GM crops with EU opt-out

 Published: 24 September 2015
Austria and Italy join France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Lithuania, Greece, and Latvia in opting out of GMO cultivation
Hungary, Luxembourg, and Wales are also expected to formally announce their use of the GMO cultivation opt-out.

Austria and Italy celebrate bans on GM crops with EU opt-out

Austrian Health Minister Sabine Oberhauser and a number of Italian Ministries have confirmed that both countries are officially requesting an opt-out from growing the eight varieties of GM maize permitted or set to be permitted at the EU level, thus there will now be a full ban on GM crops in both countries under new EU regulations.
“Austria has made use of the newly created EU opt-out rules for the authorization of genetically modified crops,” Oberhauser stated on Wednesday. She further added that Austria’s geographical opt-out demand was delivered to the European Commission earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Maurizio Martina, alongside Environment Minister, Gian Luca Galletti and Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin announced that they are preparing 8 letters (one for each GM maize variety) that will be received by the EU before October 3with Italy’s demand for an opt-out from growing GM crops.
On Monday, Northern Ireland also joined the massive wave of EU countries that have decided to ban the cultivation of GM crops under new EU regulations that were passed earlier in 2015.
Northern Ireland and Lithuania have followed France, who announced their decision last week, and also Greece and Latvia in asking for an opt-out from growing GM crops. Germany and Scotland have also made it clear that they will follow the same path.
German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt informed German states in August of his intention to use a new EU law, passed in March, to ban the use of GM crops. This followed the Scottish Government’s announcement earlier in the same month that they will take similar action to protect Scotland’s clean, green status.
The German announcement also came as Professor Carlo Leifert, Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University, said that he strongly believes the Scottish Government ban on GM crops is right and that “there are likely to be significant commercial benefits from Scotland being clearly recognized as a GM-free region”.


Disclosed emails reveal the influence of huge amounts of industry money on the independence of academic agricultural science
EXCERPT: Since the beginnings of the assault on government funding for public institutions in the 1980s, public, independent, and research funding of agriculture science has stagnated or fallen. Meanwhile, private sector funding, previously a minority of research dollars, is now the majority.

Dirty money, dirty science

by Doug Gurian-Sherman
Food Tank, 22 September 2015
[links to sources at URL above]
The biotech industry’s web of attempts to buy credibility, by laundering its messages through supposedly independent academic scientists, is unraveling and beginning to reveal the influence of huge amount of industry money on the independence of academic agricultural science. Some of this process was revealed recently in The New York Times. Many of these efforts to influence policy or public opinion start with industry staff emails, including suggested topics, points, and themes, which are then laundered through the credibility of academic scientists. It is a matter of academic scientists promoting positions and arguments of the industry, not merely a sharing of positions that each party already held and were acting on.
The emails from several academic scientists linked in the NYT article show numerous instances of industry personnel, such as Eric Sachs of Monsanto, in ongoing dialogue with academic scientists, including strategizing about how to influence policy and how academic scientists can carry out industry desires.
A deeper dive into the emails coming forward through this article and from U.S. Right to Know public disclosure efforts shows a broader and more troubling picture of influence peddling in the agricultural sciences.
The overriding issue is the huge amount of money from the biotech and industrial agriculture industries pouring into public universities, and the corrosive effect all that money is having on the independence of science. Evidence suggests that biotech industry influence is a pervasive problem, corrupting science and distorting public discussion. It extends much farther than the specific examples provided by the New York Times article. As with the climate change debate, where a powerful fossil fuel industry is slowing response to an environmental and social disaster, the biotech industry and industrial agriculture more broadly is delaying choices that would move us toward an urgently needed sustainable and just food and agriculture system.
The emails linked to the New York Times article also reveal some of the many other academic scientists, who have vocally supported biotech or panned biotech critics, were copied on industry emails. We should not implicate scientists in greenwashing or collusion with the biotech industry simply for being copied on emails, or even some communication with companies. It is not clear from these emails whether those other scientists have also engaged in collaboration with the industry, or accepted industry money. But the efforts of many of these scientists to vigorously defend biotechnology or even attack critics have been documented elsewhere.
There is no reason to think this money buys less influence in academia than the widely recognized corrupting influence that money has on politics. Unlike academic science though, no one has illusions that our political process is objective. The perceived objectivity of academic scientists presents a huge opportunity for the biotech industry to influence public opinion in ways it could not accomplish otherwise.
A Tangled Web
Since the NYT article was published, several of these scientists have doubled down, saying that they have been proud to serve a cause they believe in. And I have no reason to doubt their sincerity. These scientists are effective in their spokesperson roles in part because of their backgrounds in molecular biology, the deep interest in which preceded their involvement with the ag biotech industry.
But this misses the point, which is that the collaboration with industry, its public relations machines, such as Ketchum, and access to industry dollars, allows these scientists to amplify their voices with the journalists and the media, the public, and policymakers way beyond what could otherwise occur.
As one small example, Bruce Chassy, an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois, bemoans the challenges of flying economy class (all he can afford, he says) to participate as an invited speaker at a biotech conference in New Delhi. He strongly implies he would not endure such tribulations, and would skip the meeting without industry support. In an August 29, 2011 email to Eric Sachs of Monsanto, he suggests that the ag industry trade group CropLife, of which Monsanto and other biotech companies are members, pay his way (Chassy was listed as a speaker at the event). In a separate email, Monsanto’s Sachs also suggests to Chassy that he participate in an American Medical Association meeting to try to dissuade the AMA from supporting mandatory labeling of GE foods.
That academic scientists recognize the value of their perceived independence is suggested in an email from University of Florida Scientist Kevin Folta to Monsanto’s Keith Reding, Regulatory Policy Lead, on April 17, 2013: “keep me in mind if you ever need a good public interface with no corporate ties. That knows the subject inside out and can think on his feet [emphasis added].”
In another example from the NYT article, Dow reminds David Shaw, a Mississippi State University weed scientist, of its generosity. And an email to Shaw on Jan 17, 2012 from John Jachetta, Government affairs leader at Dow AgroSciences, urges Shaw to submit comments to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve Dow’s Enlist soybeans, and provides three pages of helpful suggestions about topics and arguments. The Enlist crops are resistant to glyphosate and 2,4-D herbicides, and are the industry’s response to the epidemic of glyphosate resistant weeds caused by the first generation of glyphosate resistant crops. This strategy has been criticized as futile and one that will lead to greatly increased herbicide use and more herbicide resistance.
In a February 20, 2012 email from Shaw back to Jachetta, Shaw supplies his draft comments and asks for feedback from Dow.
In several emails in the spring of 2013, John Sorteres of Monsanto coordinates activities with both Shaw and, apparently, Prof. Mike Owen, a weed scientist at Iowa State University, on how to counter public comments to APHIS that argue against approval of Monsanto’s dicamba resistant crops, including detailed arguments and analyses. Dicamba is an herbicide similar to 2,4-D.
An August 30, 2013 email from Mississippi State acknowledges unrestricted gifts from Monsanto to Dr. Shaw and four other faculty members.
I go to some length to describe these interactions because, in addition to their collaboration with the biotech industry, both Shaw and Owens were on the steering committee of the so-called second “weed summit”, held in the spring of 2012, and sponsored by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. The summit was called to address the crisis in weed control caused by glyphosate herbicide resistant weeds that arose from the use of genetically engineered herbicide resistant crops.
Dr. Shaw contacted the Union of Concerned Scientists, where I was formerly a senior scientist, for input into the meeting. One of our highest priority recommendations was that Penn State University weed scientist David Mortensen be included as a speaker and participant at the meeting.
Mortensen’s research focuses on ecologically-based weed control, and he has been a critic of the reliance on herbicide resistant crops that characterize current weed control in corn and soybeans in the US. He is also one of the best-versed scientists on ecological practices as alternatives to herbicide resistant crops and over-reliance on herbicides. Our request to include Mortensen was not accepted. As a consequence, the critique of the failing herbicide resistant crop strategy at the weed summit, and support for feasible non-herbicide, ecologically-based alternatives, was weakened to the point of ineffectiveness.
Since that time, the USDA has unconditionally approved these new GE crops, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) stewardship plan does not require any alternatives to the use of herbicides on these crops. Serious efforts to implement agroecological alternatives to GE herbicide resistant crops would be a threat to the industry’s bottom line, because these approaches require much lower use of herbicides and expensive herbicide resistant seeds.
While not proof of collusion between the industry and academics, it is part of a bigger pattern of exclusion and intimidation that has been linked to industry influence.
Greatly Increased Flow of “Big Ag” Money is Going to Universities
Even a quick internet search shows numerous “generous” donations from Monsanto to universities, such US$1 million from Monsanto to Iowa State University for the “Monsanto Student Services Wing,” in 2012, Monsanto Student Travel awards, or US$1 million for a community center at the University of Missouri in 2012, among many examples of industry funding of academia.
If these were isolated situations, their overall impact on academic independence and integrity might be negligible. But that is far from the case. The particular situations detailed in the NYT article are undoubtedly the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Since the beginnings of the assault on government funding for public institutions in the 1980s, public, independent, and research funding of agriculture science has stagnated or fallen. Meanwhile, private sector funding, previously a minority of research dollars, is now the majority. This was documented in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on agricultural preparedness and research, in late 2012. PCAST noted that 61 percent of research funding is from the private sector, with 11 percent of that, or about US$957 million, going to universities and other state institutions. And this does not include millions of dollars in gifts for non-research purposes, such as student centers.
It was also revealing, as I noted at the time, that the PCAST report seems to consider private sector funding only as a positive, calling it by the favorable and innocuous sounding term, “Public-Private Partnerships”, with virtually no caution about the possible cost to scientific independence that may accompany these funds. But when we examine the participants or advisors for this report, we find it replete with biotech industry representation.
Some of the many connections, and millions of dollars provided by the ag industry to academia, was also documented in the 2012 Food and Water Watch report, “Public Research Private Gain”. It would stretch credulity to suggest that the biotech industry would provide these funds without the expectation of quid pro quos. And the emails revealed by the NYT strongly suggest this.
The organic industry is also implicated by the New York Times article. And of course, influence from the private sector can come from any industry.
However, as the New York Times article notes, the research contributions of the organics industry is minuscule compared to those of the biotech and industrial ag industries. Unfortunately, the extensive highlighting of Charles Benbrook, who performs research on organics supported by the industry, gives the appearance of an equivalence between biotech and organic that isn’t credible. This comparison, in practical terms, is a distraction from the real world issue, which is the corruption of independent agricultural science by biotech, and more broadly, industrial agriculture industries.
​Part one of a two part series on the influence of money in agricultural research.


Legal dossier backs position of civil society organisations
Today a legal dossier on the legal status of new methods for the production of genetically engineering plants was published. The dossier, drawn up by Professor Ludwig Kraemer, is being presented ahead of a decision due to be announced by the EU Commission within the next few weeks. Industry is demanding that new methods of changing genetic material in plants and animals should not be regulated in the same way as GM plants, and should be allowed onto the market without registration, risk assessment, or labelling. Contrary to industry, many civil society organisations are of the opinion that EU regulation must be applied to these plants and animals in same way as to other GM plants.
The position of the civil society organisations is now set to gain support from the new legal dossier drawn up by Professor Dr Ludwig Kraemer, who is widely regarded as an expert in environmental law and EU policy. He argues that the new technologies fulfill all criteria for EU regulation under EU Directive 2001/18. This is because they are based on technical processes that are new and different from those that were regarded as “conventional breeding” at the time when the Directive was adopted. The new methods make use of short sequences of synthetic DNA (oligonucleotides) and so-called nucleases that can be used to introduce specific changes in DNA. They are often summarised as “genome editing” or “synthetic genetic engineering”. The EU Commission is expected to publish its opinion at the end of the year.
Christoph Then commented for Testbiotech: “We are at a crossroads. The new methods known as genome editing have huge potential for radical changes of the genome. We do not have the experience to declare these products safe. If these new techniques are not regulated, there will be no transparency, no choice for farmers and consumers as well as no possibility of safeguarding human health or protecting the environment as required by EU regulation. So we are urging the Commission to make a clear position statement that these new technologies will not escape EU regulation.”
The dossier was commissioned by Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL), Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW), Gen-ethisches Netzwerk, Greenpeace, Interessengemeinschaft für gentechnikfreie Saatgutarbeit (IG Saatgut), Testbiotech, and Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft (ZSL).

Monday, September 21, 2015


New Report Shows Widespread Water Body Contamination from Neonicotinoid Insecticides
September 16th, 2015
Group alleges EPA violated pesticide law in allowing imminent threat to aquatic life
Center for Food Safety (CFS) today released a new report, “Water Hazard: Aquatic Contamination by Neonicotinoid Insecticides in the United States,” showing widespread water contamination with neonicotinoid insecticides and threatening a range of aquatic invertebrates including crabs and insects. In particular, the report draws attention to the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings, up to 95 percent of which ends up in the environment, not the crop. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticide known to have acute and chronic effects on honey bees and other pollinator species and are considered a major factor in overall bee population declines and poor health.
“This report shines light for the first time on the full scope of this unrecognized threat to our waters, with toxic effects that will harm entire food chains and ecosystems. It is clear that the problems with widespread use of neonicotinoids extend well beyond the impacts to pollinators.  The extensive water contamination and numerous high-level findings in this report raise the alarm that we are approaching an ecological crisis – a second Silent Spring,” said Larissa Walker, pollinator program director at Center for Food Safety.
The report examines representative case studies from Maryland, Iowa, and California, each of which is experiencing widespread neonicotinoid contamination exceeding recommended standards as determined by leading experts in aquatic species toxicology. The report also highlights contamination elsewhere, including New York, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. It describes the key roles of irrigation and field drainage and discusses the growing risks to aquifers, vulnerable wetlands and the valuable wildlife inhabiting those areas, such as migratory birds and sport fish.
“It is especially shocking that most of this contamination has come from pesticidal seeds that EPA actually exempted from registration and mandatory labeling requirements under our pesticide laws,” said Peter T. Jenkins, an attorney with the Center and report author. “Our review concludes EPA violated the law in carving out this massive exemption. Given that this is the most widespread use of any type of insecticides in the United States – ever – this unregulated situation must be stopped.”
The report makes numerous other policy recommendations to EPA to stem this approaching crisis, including:
  • Suspend neonicotinoid insecticide registrations due to their unreasonable adverse effects in aquatic ecosystems.
  • Adopt more rigorous national aquatic contamination thresholds to avoid lasting effects on aquatic invertebrates.
  • Stop classifying neonicotinoids as “reduced risk” pesticides and fast-tracking their registrations; also end Conditional Registrations for them.
  • Comply with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act in order to protect threatened and endangered aquatic-dependent species and their habitats.
  • Apply the Clean Water Act to initiate remedial actions.
  • Take action at the State and local levels to protect affected waters.
“EPA’s benchmarks for neonicotinoid toxicity are far too low and fail to consider the long-term chronic impacts that neonicotinoids have on these ecosystems, in addition to additive and synergistic effects. With strong and growing proof of such extensive contamination of waterways, EPA must take a much closer look at the cumulative and long-term impacts of these widely used chemicals,” said Walker.
Neonicotinoid products are applied on more than 150 million acres of crop land annually, with seed coatings being the most common form of application. The runoff from these products flows, both above and below ground, far beyond the agricultural fields, gardens, trees, lawns, and other areas where they are first applied. This leads to unintended effects on non-target species across a vast array of wetlands and water bodies. Neonicotinoids are slow to break down, causing them to build up in the environment, particularly water bodies, and endanger a wide range ofbeneficial speciesPeer-reviewed studies from Holland already show that neonicotinoid water contamination correlates significantly with bird population declines and numerous other species are thought be at risk. There is also new science suggesting that sub-lethal exposure in agricultural landscapes could be even more damaging to pollinating species, particularly wild bees, than acute exposure.
The cost-effectiveness of neonicotinoid seed coatings has been challenged in recent years, indicating that their frequent use pushed by chemical companies is unnecessary. The influential 2014 CFS report “Heavy Costs” revealed that neonicotinoid coatings typically offer little, if any, benefit to farmers as far as crop yields, and cause widespread environmental and economic damage. Other recent studies – including by EPA itself – have reinforced CFS’s report.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Monsanto’s sealed documents reveal truth behind Roundup’s toxicological dangers

Historical control data used to cancel out harmful effects of glyphosate
Below is an excerpt from an interesting article detailing the contents of a large cache of Monsanto toxicological studies on glyphosate. These studies have hitherto been kept secret, but researcher Anthony Samsel managed to get hold of them.

After examining the studies, Samsel concluded, “Monsanto misrepresented the data and deliberately covered up data to bring the product [glyphosate] to market.”

Monsanto’s sealed documents reveal the truth behind Roundup’s toxicological dangers

Richard Gale and Gary Null
PRN FM, 15 Sept 2015
[Excerpt only reprinted below]

... There is now an enormous cache of evidence on both scientific and legal grounds that Monsanto in fact conducted numerous studies in the 1970s and 1980s on glyphosate’s toxicity and health risks and intentionally sealed this research from independent and public review and scrutiny.  As with Big Tobacco’s proprietary claims that prevented the FDA from publicly warning Americans about the dangers of smoking, the EPA has sat on Monsanto’s own deleterious data for decades.

Anthony Samsel is an independent research scientist working internationally in the interest of public health and the environment. He is a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and a former scientist and consultant at Arthur D. Little, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms. Now retired, Samsel has devoted much of his independent research on Roundup’s toxicological characteristics and bioactivity. Unable to gain access to research reports and data Monsanto submitted to the EPA through FOIAs, he turned to his senator’s office, who assisted in the procurement of studies and reports he sought.  Months later he received a hoard of scientific documents, over 15,000 pages worth, covering Monsanto’s complete glyphosate research.

With his co-investigator Dr. Stephanie Seneff at MIT the two have been reviewing Monsanto’s data.  Their conclusion is Monsanto’s claims about glyphosate’s safety are patently false. The company has known for almost 4 decades that glyphosate is responsible for a large variety of cancers and organ failures. Clearly it was for this reason that Monsanto demanded the data and reports to be sealed and hidden from public scrutiny as proprietary trade secrets.

During an exclusive interview on the Progressive Radio Network on September 4, Samsel stated that Monsanto used an industry trick to dismiss evidence about glyphosate’s risks in its own research. “Monsanto misrepresented the data,” says Samsel, “and deliberately covered up data to bring the product [glyphosate] to market.”[13]

In order to minimize and cancel out its adverse findings, Samsel explained that Monsanto had relied upon earlier historical animal control data, toxicological research with lab animals afflicted with cancer and organ failures, and completely unrelated to glyphosate. In some cases the control animals displayed kidney, liver and pancreatic diseases. Many of Monsanto’s own studies required the inclusion of extraneous studies in order to cancel out damaging results.  This is not an uncommon industry habit, particularly in toxicological science. It enables corporations to mask undesirable outcomes and make claims that observable illnesses and disease are spontaneous occurrences without known causal factors. Frequently, Monsanto would have to rely on three external control studies to negate the adverse effects of a single one of its own. Samsel found other incidences in Monsanto’s data where 5, 7 and in one case 11 unrelated studies were necessary to diminish the severity of its own findings.  In effect, glyphosate received licensure based upon a platform of junk tobacco science.  By ignoring cause and effect relationships behind the onset of multiple cancers and other life-threatening diseases throughout many of its research trials, Monsanto engaged in a radical scientific denialism that has since raked in tens of billions of dollars.

But the cache of Monsanto documents, after Samsel’s and Seneff’s review, reveals much more that we should be worried about.

In addition, Monsanto’s studies included doses from low to high range. Samsel observed that low glyphosate doses were equally if not more toxic than higher doses.  The company later discontinued low dose trials, relying only on higher levels because it is customarily assumed to have greater toxicological risks. Samsel’s observation has recently been confirmed by a study published in the August issue of the Environmental Health Journal by scientists at Kings College London and the University of Caen in France. The two year study found that glyphosate administered at an ultra low dose of 0.1 ppb (the EU’s safety limit) in drinking water altered over 4000 gene clusters in the livers and kidneys of rats. These alterations, the study reports, “were consistent with fibrosis, necrosis, phospholipidosis, mitochondria membrane dysfunction and ischemia.”[14] Consequently low doses of Roundup are far more toxic than US EPA limits.

During its years investigating glyphosate’s bioactivity, Monsanto conducted hundreds of trials on mice, rats, beagle dogs, rabbits and other life. Among the many cancers and diseases Monsanto’s own research found associated with glyphosate are:

* Adenoma cancer in the pituitary gland
* Glioma tumors in the brain
* Reticular cell sarcomas in the heart
* Malignant tumors in the lungs
* Salivary mandibular reticular cell carcinoma
* Metastatic sarcomas of the lymph gland
* Prostate carcinoma
* Cancer of the bladder
* Thyroid carcinoma
* Adrenal reticulum cell sarcomas
* Cortical adenomas
* Basal cell squamous skin tumors

In female mammals there were cancers of the lung, liver, thymus, stomach, bladder adrenal glands, ovaries, colon, uterus, parathyroid and mammary glands.

Samsel and Seneff also noticed that Monsanto had conducted many long-term studies, as much as two years, on mice and rats.  When Gilles-Eric Seralini and his French team reproduced and extended the length of Monsanto’s 3-month GMO maize rat-fed study for the life of the animals, they observed profuse cancer and tumor development started after the 4th month of the study. Monsanto continues to stand by its 3-month study as sufficient proof of GM maize’s safety. Yet the thoroughness and variety of Monsanto’s research operations should give strong reason to suspect that Monsanto has likewise conducted long term studies and knows all too well the deleterious effects of its pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified crops.

One of Monsanto’s claims is that glyphosate doesn’t bio-accumulate in tissues, rapidly bio-degrades and is excreted from the body readily.  Contrary to this claim, Monsanto carried out meticulous studies to determine levels of accumulation and the organs, tissues and cells glyphosate reaches. Glyphosate was radio labeled with carbon 14 and given in 10 mg doses to seven groups of animals, male and female. After only 24 hours, the toxic chemical was found in the lungs and all body fluids: lymph, blood, urine and cerebral spinal fluid.  Glyphosate also accumulated in the bone by 30 ppm and in the bone marrow by 4 ppm. Monsanto’s studies were comprehensive. It found an accumulation of the chemical in red cells, thyroid, uterus, colon, testes and ovaries, shoulder muscle, nasal mucosa, heart, lung, small intestine, abdominal muscle and the eyes.

Samsel and Seneff noted that the bioaccumuilation in the pancreas was not reported. Why would such meticulous efforts be made to measure radio labeled carbon 14 laced glyphosate levels in all the other organs, tissues and bodily fluids and then ignore the pancreas?  The scientists believe this was deliberate.

Samsel notes that glyphosate does a “particular number on the lungs.”  According to a 2014 report by the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer rates have been declining.  The decline is largely due to the national decrease in smoking. However, other lung cancers such as adenocarcinomas are on the rise. The NCI is unable to account for this anomaly.[15] Yet the Institute is not considering that Americans are increasingly being exposed to glyphosate in their food, water and environment?

During the PRN interview, Dr. Seneff stated that the pancreas may be driving glyphosate to gather in the lungs.  The pancreas is responsible for the release of the enzyme trypsin.  which in turn infiltrates the lungs.  A study published by Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in the medical journal Ciencia Ruralmeasured glyphosate’s reactivity with digestive enzymes including trypsin. Trypsin activity was found to increase in parallel to higher glyphosate concentrations.[16] Seneff suggests that this may be contributing to the increase of glyphosate in the lungs that is contributing to the dramatic rise in COPD and asthma conditions, as well as lung cancers.

The occurrence of cataracts is rising rapidly, particularly in Mid-Western states such as ND, SD, NB, IA, KS, and MO.  According to Prevent Blindness America’s statistics, 17% of adults over 40 years have cataract problems.  The NIH projects the rate will reach nearly 40% by 2030.[17]  Monsanto’s study showing glyphosate activity in the eye may be contributing to this epidemic. Dr. Seneff stated that the eye’s exposure to sunlight reacts with glyphosate residue thereby potentially making the chemical more toxic.  Farmers often apply glyphosate on crops when it is warm, moist and when there is plenty of sunlight in order for the chemical to activate more effectively.  These are similar conditions to our eyes during the day.

Monsanto’s research was not limited solely to the Roundup compound. It also performed extensive research on glyphosate’s individual metabolites, the intermediate molecules that result after Roundup’s breakdown through metabolic reactions. Many of these metabolites are every bit as toxic as glyphosate. All the glyphosate metabolites in solutions fed to rats were measured before and after feeding.  One of Samsel’s more disturbing discoveries was that levels of the metabolite N-Nitrosoglyphosate (NNG) were found in higher concentrations in the rats’ feces and urine excretions than the original amount in the feeding solutions. NNG is a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. Samsel postulates that our own body’s natural nitrous acid reacts immediately with glyphosate, without requiring a catalyst, to produce NNG.  Both the EPA and the World Health Organization acknowledge that NNG is present in glyphosate during the manufacturing process. The agencies therefore have established safety limits for NNG. However, for any endocrine disruptor, there is no realistic safety limit because such chemical disruptors destroy cells on a molecule to molecule basis.

Nitrous acid naturally occurs in the colon, urinary tract and skin tissue.  According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, and affects more men than women. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that “each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.”[18,19] Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common forms, both which have been identified by Monsanto with glyphosate exposure, particularly in males. When glyphosate reacts in the skin along with nitrous acid the metabolites NNG contributes to skin melanomas.  Other chemicals are added to Monsanto’s Roundup to increase its effectiveness such as the surfactant POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine), which also increases its toxicity.

We don’t pay enough attention to these other ingredients, Samsel states, because the EPA permits Monsanto to add anything it wants to enhance Roundup’s potency while identifying these substances  innocuously as “inert.”  When Monsanto convinces the public that glyphosate breaks down quickly, we are not told that the compound’s metabolic byproducts are equally toxic.

Therefore Anthony Samsel’s unprecedented discovery and review of Monsanto’s actual scientific and toxicological data of Roundup has provided us with information that warrants a thoughtful pause.  Samsel and Seneff cover the subject in more detail in a new peer-reviewed paper titled “Glyphosate Pathways to Modern Diseases IV: Cancer and Related Pathologies.”  The paper has been approved for publication in October.

During recent years dozens of states are submitting bills to label GMO foods.  These food crops are heavily laced with glyphosate residue.  Not only GM crops, but even non-GM produce are sprayed with Roundup. According to the Organic Consumers Association, non-organic and non-GM foods such as wheat, barley, oats, flax, peas, lentils, beans and sugar cane are also being sold to farmers “as a dessicant, to dry out all their crops so they could harvest them faster.”[20] Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Grocery Manufacturers of America and other agro-chemical companies are aggressively combating labeling efforts. The Big Ag lobby is today pushing for a national bill to prevent GMO labeling that would supersede individual state’s rights. We can only wonder what the voting outcome in California, Colorado, Washington and Oregon may have been had Monsanto’s own research been made available to the media and public. Is it therefore not time for full Congressional hearings to learn the truth once for all  and make the disclosure of Monsanto’s Roundup research public for all?

Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries. Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Seeds of Death about GMOs and Poverty Inc. More at the Progressive Radio Network


[13] Interview with Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff.  Gary Null Show, Progressive Radio Network. Broadcast on September 4, 2015.

[14] Mesnage R, Arno M, Costanzo M, Seralini G-E, Antoniou M., “Transcriptome profile analysis reflects rat liver and kidney damage following chronic ultra-low dose Roundup exposure”    Environmental Health 2015, 14:70  doi:10.1186/s12940-015-0056-1

[15] “Lung Cancer Fact Sheet.”  American Lung Association.

[16] Salbero I, Pretto A, Machado da Silva V, Loro V, Lazzari R, Baldisserotto B. “Glyposate on digestive enzymes activity in piava (Leporinus obtusidens). Cencia Rural Vol. 44 no. 9. September 2014.

[17] “Vision Problems in the US,”  Prevent Blindness America.

[18] Skin Cancer Foundation. “Skin Cancer Facts.”

[19] “Skin Cancer Statistics,” Centers for Disease Control.

[20] Alexis Baden-Mayer, op cit.