tagged w/ Herbicides
A new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—sheds light on its effects within the human body. The paper describes how all of these effects could work together, and with other variables, trigger health problems in humans, including debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Glyphosate impairs the cytochrome P450 (CYP) gene pathway, which creates enzymes that help to form and also break down molecules in cells. There are myriad important CYP enzymes, including aromatase (the enzyme that converts androgen into estrogen) and 21-Hydroxylase, which creates cortisol (stress hormone) and aldosterone (regulates blood pressure). One function of these CYP enzymes is also to detoxify xenobiotics, which are foreign chemicals like drugs, carcinogens or pesticides. Glyphosate inhibits these CYP enzymes, which has rippling effects throughout our body.
Because the CYP pathway is essential for normal functioning of various systems in our bodies, any small change in its expression can lead to disruptions. For example, humans exposed to glyphosate have decreased levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which is necessary for active signaling of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Suppressed serotonin levels have been associated with weight gain, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
This paper does not claim to yield new scientific discoveries. Instead, it looks at older studies in a new light. Critics will say the links between glyphosate and health problems made in this paper are purely correlational, but this work is important because it brings all of the possible health effects of glyphosate together and discusses what could happen: something the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have failed to do.
Link To Abstract
Another study regarding toxicity of BT toxin (endotoxins) in non target species.
"According to a new study, the ‘Cry’ toxins that Monsanto’s GMO crops have been genetically modified to produce are a lot more toxic to mammals than previously thought, primarily to the blood."
This is very important due to the prevalence of BT in the majority of our food crops and the fact that people are ingesting much more than this study even covered, specifically animals as well through their feed.
I have been saying for years that I suspect that chemicals and pesticides can be correlated to the increase in these diseases as well as diabetes and obesity and that Glyphosate specifically should be banned. They couldn't kill us all with Agent Orange but they keep trying don't they? I hope we do see more unbiased independent testing on this now because I also believe if they are allowed to continue we will see causation.
More at the linkA new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major... more
In the face of yet more scientific evidence of the adverse health effects of genetically modified foods, country after country is working to ban, limit or restrict the cultivation and testing of GM crops. But as the biotech giants gear up the PR war against their opponents, the question of what people can do to avoid GMO foods is becoming more important than ever. Find out more about this topic in this week's GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.In the face of yet more scientific evidence of the adverse health effects of... more
Americans are eating their weight and more in genetically engineered food every year, a new Environmental Working Group analysis shows. On average, people eat an estimated 193 pounds of genetically engineered food in a 12-month period. The typical American adult weighs 179 pounds.
These figures raise a question: If you were planning on eating your body weight of anything in a year, wouldn’t you want tomake sure it was safe to eat?
Shockingly, virtually no long-term health studies have been done on consumption of genetically engineered food.
And there aren’t likely to be any such studies anytime soon. The government isn’t doing this kind of research and is not requiring it of the food industry. It isn’t even making it possible for independent scientists to do it, since under the law, those who hold patents on genetically engineered food get to decide in most cases what testing can – and cannot – be conducted.
As a result, the jury is still out – in fact, it hasn’t even heard the evidence – on whether genetically engineered food might cause health problems. And the answer to this question will likely remain unclear for years.
So what can consumers do in the meantime? Not much – unless they demand that genetically engineered food be labeled. At least then consumers would know whether the food they buy contains genetically engineered ingredients, and could decide for themselves if this is what they want for themselves and their families.
This basic right-to-know issue is only going to become more important in the future, because consumption of genetically engineered food is expected to grow substantially.
193 pounds of genetically engineered food is an underestimate
To calculate how much genetically engineered food people eat each year, EWG researchers started with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2011 data on per capita consumption of four foods commonly derived from genetically engineered crops: sugar, corn-based sweeteners, salad oil and “corn products.”
We estimated how much of each of these foods were likely to be genetically modified. We compared the consumption figures with the latest USDA data showing that 95 percent of the sugar beets, 93 percent of the soybeans and 88 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered. We also applied federal data showing that 79 percent of the salad oil consumed in the U.S. is soybean oil, and 55 percent of the sugar comes from sugar beets.
From these figures, EWG calculated that the average American annually consumes genetically engineered foods in these quantities: 68 pounds of beet sugar, 58 pounds of corn syrup, 38 pounds of soybean oil and 29 pounds of corn-based products, for a total of 193 pounds.
That’s a lot, but it’s likely to be an underestimate, since it does not account for all the genetically engineered foods that people eat. Other foods that commonly come in genetically engineered versions – but are not included in EWG’s calculations – are canola oil, cottonseed oil, papaya, yellow squash and soy products other than soybean oil. (EWG also excluded genetically engineered animal feed that people may consume indirectly by eating meat raised on genetically engineered crops.)
As more genetically engineered crops are approved and grown commercially, the average amount of genetically engineered food consumed would be expected to spike far above 193 pounds a year. EWG considered only three genetically engineered crops, but more than 30 others are currently being tested in field trials, including apples, barley, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, chili peppers, coffee, cranberries, cucumber, flax, grapefruit, kiwi, lentils, lettuce, melons, mustard, oats, olives, onions, peanuts, pears, peas, persimmons, pineapple,popcorn, radishes, strawberries, sugar cane, sunflower, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, walnuts and watercress.
While it is unclear how long it may take for these new genetically engineered crops to reach the market, this long list makes it likely that people could be eating two or three times their weight in GE food annually within the next decade.
Children, Hispanics likely eating more genetically engineered food
Some people are likely already eating more than their share of genetically engineered food. Hispanic Americans, for example, who typically eat between 2-to-3 times more corn flour than people of other ethnicities, would be expected to get an extra dose of genetically engineered food in their diet.
Similarly, data show that children eat more corn flour and sweeteners per pound of body weight than adults. Given how much of these ingredients tend to be derived from genetically engineered sources, kids are likely ingesting more genetically engineered food.
Taking a stand for their right to know should be reason enough for people to vote for labeling of genetically engineered foods. Here’s another good reason: Americans are eating their body weight in genetically engineered food every year – and have little idea where it’s coming from. That’s certainly something to chew on.
More at the linkAmericans are eating their weight and more in genetically engineered food every year,... more
For years, proponents of genetically modified crops have hailed them as a critical tool for weaning farmers from reliance on toxic pesticides. On its website, the GMO-seed-and-agrichemical giant Monsanto makes the green case for its Roundup Ready crops, engineered to withstand the company's own blockbuster herbicide, Roundup:
Roundup agricultural herbicides and other products are used to sustainably an [sic] effectively control weeds on the farm. Their use on Roundup Ready crops has allowed farmers to conserve fuel, reduce tillage and decrease the overall use of herbicides. [Emphasis added.]For years, proponents of genetically modified crops have hailed them as a critical... more
Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann and Board Chair Orin Langelle were in St. Louis over September 16 and 17 for the GMO-Free Midwest Conference and the Occupy Monsanto day of action. The events were organized by the Organic Consumers Association and the Gateway Greens Alliance.
Petermann spoke on the first day of the GMO Free Midwest conference on the dangers of genetically engineered trees at C.A.M.P. (Community Arts and Movement Project) near downtown St. Louis. Langelle spoke against the Green Economy during day two of the GMO Free Midwest conference. Day two of the conference was held simultaneous to the “12th International Symposium of Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms” at the Millennium Hotel, adjacent to the St. Louis arch.
The second day of the conference and the Occupy Monsanto actions which followed were held in celebration of the one-year Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.
The photo essay below is from the day of activities against Monsanto, both the conference at the Millennium hotel and the three actions that followed. The actions included a rally outside of the Millennium Hotel, an action at Whole Foods directed at their policy of allowing GMO foods to be sold in their stores, and an protest outside the world headquarters of Monsanto in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
–The GJEP Team
More at the linkGlobal Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann and Board Chair Orin... more
The weekend of September 16 will bring national protest and awareness to the environmental crimes of Monsanto. I will be participating somewhere with my son who wants to be part of this as well. We must all become involved in preserving nature and this planet. This is about our very existence and the biodiversity of our planet.
Much more to come!
More at the linkThe weekend of September 16 will bring national protest and awareness to the... more
Stop Dow's Agent Orange Soy!
Stop GMO Apples!
Stop Monsanto's Dicamba Tolerant Soybean!
Earlier this summer, the USDA posted twelve new GE crops for public comment with a September 11 deadline, and nine are under the new fast-tracked process. That's twelve new GMOs to review and issue comments on in two months!
Here's the lowdown. Three of the new crops are under the old petition process. Under the old process there is only one 60-day public comment period. Here are the three crops under the old process:
--- Dow 2,4-D and Glufosinate Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0019)
Since the introduction of GM crops, the US has seen herbicide use increase by over 300 million pounds. Big Biotech originally claimed that weeds would not develop resistance to glyphosate (RoundUp), but they have and these new "superweeds" have become the driving force behind new crops engineered for stacked, or multiple, herbicide tolerances. Adoption of these new crops will lead to dramatic increases in the use of higher risk herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba, perpetuating the herbicide treadmill that is already in place.
2,4-D is already the third-most-used US herbicide, after glyphosate and atrazine, and as a leading source of dioxin pollution, it's one of the most deadly. As of yet, however, it's hardly used on soy at all. Just 3 percent of total US soybean acres were treated with 2,4-D in 2006. Not only will this percentage skyrocket once Agent Orange Soy hits the market, the amount used per acre may triple, according to the USDA.
---Bayer Glyphosate and Isoxaflutole Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0029)
---Syngenta Corn Rootworm Resistant Corn (APHIS-2012-0024)
Under the new process, USDA has also opened nine additional new crops for public comment. This initial comment period applies to the petitions for nonregulated status which include information submitted by the petitioning company. Once USDA has the completed their environmental analyses they will open a final 30-day comment period for the decision-making documents.
Here are the 9 crops under the new process with the same September 11 deadline:
---Okanagan Non-Browning Apple (APHIS-2012-0025)
Okanagan's "Arctic" apple would be the first genetically engineered version of a food that people directly bite into. According to the latest study by the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown apples are the most pesticide contaminated fruit or vegetable on the market. Conventional apples are dangerous, and GMO apples are just a dumb idea - one not even supported by many in the apple industry itself!
---Dow 2,4-D, Glyphosate and Glufosinate tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0032)
---Monsanto Dicamba Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0047)
According to the Institute for Science in Society (ISIS), "dicamba is actually an old herbicide that served alongside "agent orange" in Vietnam, and has been resurrected as an environmentally friendly chemical through the magic of public relations."
---BASF Imidazolinone Tolerant Soybean (APHIS-2012-0028)
---Monsanto High Yield Soybean (APHIS-2012-0020)
---Monsanto Glyphosate Tolerant Canola (APHIS-2012-0035)
---Pioneer Glyphosate Tolerant Canola (APHIS-2012-0031)
---Monsanto Hybrid Corn (APHIS-2012-0027)
---Genective Glyphosate Tolerant Corn (APHIS-2012-0046)
USDA Fast-Tracks GMO Crop Approval Process
Despite massive public opposition, last year the USDA announced plans to streamline its genetically engineered petition process under the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Earlier this year these controversial changes were implemented, speeding up the approval process for new genetically engineered seeds and crops. The new process will cut in half the time it takes for new GE seeds and crops to enter the market.
USDA claims that the new fast-track process allows for earlier input from the public to improve the quality of its environmental analyses. But according to a USDA press release, the new process is a part of efforts by the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to "transform USDA into a high-performing organization that focuses on its customers." The customers that USDA is so keen on assisting are none other than Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, BASF, Syngenta, and the rest of the Biotech bullies!
More at the linkTake Action!
Stop Dow's Agent Orange Soy!
Stop GMO Apples!
Monsanto Fails at Improving Agriculture
UCS'S New Ad Campaign
Set the Record Straight on Monsanto
We don't have Monsanto's advertising budget - that's where you come in!
Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture
Monsanto Improves its Bottom Line…But Not Agriculture
Karen Stillerman, senior analyst, Food and Environment
Union of Concerned Scientists (blog), July 3 2012
The Monsanto Company is raking it in—last week they reported third quarter profits of $937 million. Yes, you read that right: Monsanto's profit for the three-month period ending May 31 amounted to nearly a billion dollars, up a whopping 35% from the same quarter last year. That raging river of cash flowing in must make it easy for the company to finance a flurry of advertising and lobbying extolling the virtues its products. According to Monsanto’s PR, the company is feeding a growing population, protecting natural resources, and promoting biodiversity.
But the truth is decidedly less impressive, and now UCS is setting the record straight with an ad campaign of our own.
More Herbicide + Fewer Butterflies = Better Seeds?
With a series of three new ads you can see on our website, we're taking on Monsanto's claims directly.
One of the company's ads (coincidentally, the one that appeared across the street from UCS's Washington, DC, office earlier in this year) says their "better seeds can help meet the needs of our rapidly growing population, while protecting the earth’s natural resources." In response, our ad points out that the company's Roundup Ready crops have increased herbicide use by an estimated 383 million pounds and have been associated with an estimated 81 percent fewer monarch butterfly eggs in the Midwest—critical ground along the spectacular annual migration route of these butterflies to and from Mexico.
We're also using our campaign to take issue with Monsanto's suggestions that its genetic engineering technology is improving U.S. crop yields (nope, not much) and conserving water (not at all). Instead, as our ads and our analysis behind them show, the company's products are spawning an epidemic of "superweeds" and crowding out more sustainable alternatives.
Fighting Fire with Facts
We have no illusions that Monsanto's spin machine will let up anytime soon. After all, as Mother Jones' Tom Philpott lays out, the company’s combination of glossy ads, high-powered lobbying, and big-time political contributions is paying off with favorable results (at least from Monsanto’s perspective) in Congress. But we expect policy-makers here in Washington to take note of our ads—which will be up all this month on city buses and in transit stations near the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s headquarters, the U.S. EPA, and Capitol Hill. And we hope those decision-makers—who are accountable to farmers and the public to really improve agriculture—will look more skeptically at Monsanto's claims in the future and give sustainable alternatives a fair shot.
UCS still believes that the truth can be powerful, and you can help us tell it far and wide.Monsanto Fails at Improving Agriculture
UCS'S New Ad Campaign... more
DuPont, which introduced a herbicide last year that was later linked to the deaths of thousands of trees, has begun processing claims for compensation that are running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, company officials said.
A month after Janet DaPrato of Columbus, Ohio, used Imprelis on her lawn, trees started to die.
Some 30,000 homeowners, golf courses, municipalities and landscapers across the country have submitted claims, said Rik Miller, DuPont’s president for crop protection. The formal deadline for submission was Feb. 1, but a few are still trickling in and are being accepted, he added.
DuPont has declined to estimate how many trees have died from exposure to the herbicide, marketed under the name Imprelis, but tree experts say it is probably at least in the hundreds of thousands.
“We’re making really good progress,” said Mr. Miller, who is in charge of the claims resolution process. Officials expect to have offers out to half of the claimants by the end of July and hope to complete the process by the fall, he added.
Weeks after homeowners and lawn care professionals began applying the new product on lawns, golf courses and cemeteries around the country in the spring last year, many trees on those properties, primarily conifers, started turning brown and dying. By August, DuPont had pulled the chemical from the market, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency banned it shortly afterward.
http://www2.dupont.com/corp/en-us/sites/default/files/Lee_Thomas_hirez.jpgDuPont, which introduced a herbicide last year that was later linked to the deaths of... more
Bill Maher talking about GMO Labelling. Thank you... at last! Oh and BTW, this guy Gillespie is ignorant beyond belief on this. Bill Maher, time to have Jeffrey Smith on your show to educate about this. Independent tests have shown kidney and liver failure in mammals. Third generation infertility. That these organisms are not breaking down in the gut bacteria of animals.
That in science the precautionary principle should be used in a case like this because there is absolutely no evidence to state that GMOs are safe down the line. Which was why the FDA's own scientists had a 400 page report on the effects that was ignored to push this out on us. Scientists have also found health effects from Round Up which is sprayed on the BT crops including brain damage and abnormalities in fish and even androgynous effects.
So hell yes, we need a label on this crap. But Monsanto and now DOW, Bayer, Dupont etc. all know that this so called myth of "substantial equivalency" would be null and void if the "food" was labelled which would negate their entire scam and their profit motive. All I can say is, please, if you live in California, come November make it a point to vote yes on the ballot to label GMOs.Bill Maher talking about GMO Labelling. Thank you... at last! Oh and BTW, this guy... more
Well well, President Obama is rubbing elbows with Hugh Grant CEO of Monsanto today at this symposium as well as other chemical polluters like Syngenta. If you read the list of sponsors it reads like a who's who of biotech/pesticide pushers (including Dupont, Syngenta and Walmart.) And of course, sponsored by the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation as well, which like their counterparts are salivating to push these poison seeds onto the people of Africa against their will for profit. Now, what distracting bit of news is the media concentrating on today to hide this? This administration is in bed fully with these corporations intent on a contaminated monoculture world where nature itself is patented and farmers are indebted to them for LIFE. I can only hope resistance to this gets even stronger.Well well, President Obama is rubbing elbows with Hugh Grant CEO of Monsanto today at... more
1 year ago
Truth be told, there were tears in my eyes as I sat there, translating and tweeting amongst the bustling crowd of media and hundreds of people, most of them farmers. After an intensive public trial covering a range of human rights violations, on December 6, the jurors issued a scathing verdict to the six largest pesticide and biotechnology corporations, urging governments to take action to prevent further harm. The crowd erupted in a roar of applause, and later, congratulations were shared in at least seven languages.
The verdict was handed down to the six largest pesticide corporations — Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and Dupont — collectively known as the “Big 6,” for their human rights violations, including internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health. The agrichemical industry is valued at over $42 billion and operates with impunity while over 355,000 people die from pesticide poisoning every year, and hundreds of thousands more are made ill. In addition, pesticide corporations have put livelihoods and jobs in jeopardy, including those of farmers, beekeepers and indigenous peoples.
The preliminary findings, to be elaborated and finalized by the jury over the next two weeks, include these recommendations for governments:
Prosecute corporations for criminal liability, rather than civil liability only;
Fully commit to and legislate for the precautionary principle; and
Prevent corporations from directly or indirectly harassing and intimidating scientists, farmers and human rights and environmental defenders, in any form.
The tribunal was only made possible through the incredible collaboration of many people — and the support of 400 organizations and more than 7,000 individual people, worldwide. The Center for Food Safety, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, and Farmworker Association of Florida were key contributors in United States.
As for my part, I'm elated and exhausted, both. But that's just tonight. Tomorrow, it's time for the planning meeting for what comes next, and I'm energized and honored to take part, and for PAN to be part of the growing momentum around the world that seeks an end to corporate abuse, putting fairness and dignity in its place.
Nearly 30 years after the the original "Dirty Dozen" campaign that launched PAN International, I feel another global groundswell coming on.
more at the linkTruth be told, there were tears in my eyes as I sat there, translating and tweeting... more
On 28 September 2011, the scientist at the centre of the global row over glyphosate/Roundup herbicide and birth defects met with representatives of the German government to present his scientific findings that Roundup herbicide and the chemical on which it is based, glyphosate, cause birth defects in laboratory animals.
Prof Andres Carrasco, MD, is head of the Molecular Embryology Laboratory at University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and chief scientist at the National Council for Science and Technology (CONICET), Argentina. Carrasco’s findings gave scientific credibility to reports of people in Argentina who claimed escalating rates of birth defects and cancers after the introduction of genetically modified soy, which is engineered to tolerate being sprayed with huge amounts of glyphosate.
Accompanying Dr Carrasco at the meeting were representatives of the sustainability nonprofit organisation Earth Open Source. The delegation met with representatives from BMELV, BVL, UBA, and BfR. The current approval of glyphosate dates from 2002.
The current approval (in common with all approvals of pesticide and genetically modified crops) is based on studies performed by the very same pesticide companies that stand to profit from an approval of the substance.
Originally glyphosate was due to be reviewed in 2012 but the Commission delayed the review until 2015. Germany has a special responsibility in the Roundup controversy because it is the rapporteur member state for glyphosate, responsible for liaising between the pesticide industry, the EU Commission and the EU member states on the EU approval of glyphosate. Germany will remain as the rapporteur member state for the 2015 review of the substance.
In June 2011, Earth Open Source published a report by a group of international scientists, Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? which examined the original approval documents for glyphosate and found that industry’s own studies from as long ago as the 1980s-1990s (including some commissioned by Monsanto) showed that glyphosate causes birth defects in laboratory animals, specifically rabbits and rats.
Birth defects were found in these industry studies not only at high, maternally toxic doses, but also at lower doses. As the industry studies were supposed to be on pure glyphosate, they show that it is not only the toxic added ingredients in Roundup (called adjuvants or co-formulants) that cause problems, but also glyphosate itself. Earth Open Source disagrees with Germany’s interpretation of these industry studies as laid out in its report to the EU Commission in 1998.
In this report, which formed the basis of the EU Commission’s current approval of glyphosate, Germany incorrectly classified malformations as "rather a developmental variation than a malformation" and dismissed findings of malformations at lower doses.
Earth Open Source believes that as a result of such data being ignored, a potentially unsafe "acceptable daily intake" limit for glyphosate was set by Germany and accepted by the Commission in its 2002 approval. Earth Open Source says that the industry study findings are confirmed by Carrasco’s research, which found birth defects from both Roundup and pure glyphosate.
Carrasco commented that the malformations found in the industry studies were consistent with those found in his own study, as both types of malformations depend on a mechanism called the retinoic acid pathway. Carrasco's findings were not welcomed by some sectors of society in Argentina.
The Argentine government is heavily dependent on the soy economy because it has levied taxes of 35% on soy exports. Earth Open Source believes that the Argentine situation is highly relevant to Europe. Much the soy grown in Argentina is imported into Europe to feed our livestock and it is unclear that these glyphosate-sprayed soy imports are tested for residues.
In addition, there are several applications in the EU approvals pipeline for the cultivation of GM herbicide-tolerant crops, which, if cultivated in Europe, will result in an escalation of glyphosate exposure. Claire Robinson, spokesperson for Earth Open Source, said, "We requested this meeting to bring attention to the inadequacies of the current approvals process for pesticides and other risky substances.
"We asked the German government to conduct a rigorous and transparent review of glyphosate for the 2015 review – taking into account the full range of independent scientific findings as well as the industry studies.
"On the EU level, we are asking the Commission to cease allowing industry to conduct its own studies on risky substances like pesticides, chemicals, genetically modified foods, and food additives. "Instead, industry should pay money into a central fund administered by the EU government and the government should commission independent scientists to do the studies.
The scientists doing the testing could be blinded to the identity of the substance and its manufacturer to ensure impartiality.
"We thank the German government representatives for their willingness to listen to our concerns and hope that together we can move the approvals process in the direction of stronger science and better protection of human health and the environment."
Notes 1. Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., Lopez, S.L., Carrasco, A.E. 2010. Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signalling. Chem. Res. Toxicol., August 9.http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx1001749
2. Antoniou et al. Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source. June 2011.http://www.earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/17-roundup-and-birth-defects-is-the-public-being-kept-in-the-darkOn 28 September 2011, the scientist at the centre of the global row over... more
The culprit turns out to be Imprelis, a DuPont weed-killer widely applied to lawns, golf courses, and — ironically — cemeteries.
Rather than just poisoning dandelions and other weeds, the herbicide also seems to be causing spruces, pines, willows, poplars, and other unintended victims to croak.
"It's been devastating," says a Michigan landscaper who applied Imprelis to about a thousand properties this spring and has already had more than a third of them suffer outbreaks of tree deaths. "It looks like someone took a flamethrower to them," he says.
At first, DuPont tried to dodge responsibility, claiming that landscape workers might be applying the herbicide improperly. The corporation even urged customers to be patient and leave the tree corpses on their lawns to see if they'd come back to life in a few years.
However, faith-based landscaping was a hard sell. Disgruntled homeowners began filing lawsuits. Then DuPont had its own "aha!" moment when trees on the grounds of the DuPont Country Club also developed the "unfavorable symptoms" of Imprelis poisoning.
So, with DuPont's cooperation, the EPA has finally banned sales of the tree-killing herbicide. But because of inadequate testing and a rush to profit, the poison will remain in the soil — and our water— for many moons. Trees will continue to die. Will we never learn?"
Read the full article at the link, for the perspective only Jim Hightower can lend. And here is a current thread on the topic, from July 21, 2011 posted by coolplanet:
DuPont is synonymous with dead IMHO Wondering if their stocks are heading for the morgue soon too."...
The culprit turns out to be Imprelis, a DuPont weed-killer widely... more
Is a weedkiller wiping out America's trees?
Imprelis, a new herbicide, is hyped as eco-friendly by marketers — but bitter gardeners nationwide tell a different story
posted on July 21, 2011, at 1:47 PM
A new weedkiller that was recently approved by the EPA is now suspected of killing more than weeds. Large shade trees, including willows, poplars, Norway spruce, and white pines, as well as smaller shrubs and ornamental plants, are turning brown and dying after the herbicide was sprayed near them. Homeowners, golf course managers, and plant-nursery employees are in an uproar, as thousands of plants wither. Here, a brief guide:
What is this new herbicide?
It's called Imprelis, and is marketed to landscape professionals. You probably won't find it on the shelves of your local hardware store. Imprelis is one of a group of herbicides that, ironically, was developed to be safer and more environmentally friendly than older herbicides. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the weedkiller conditional approval last year, while it continued to review its safety data. Some states, like California and New York, have not yet approved Imprelis for use.
Does it kill everything around it?
No, according to records from the EPA and DuPont, the manufacturer of Imprelis. They tested the herbicide hundreds of times on a range of plants, and found that it is safe and effective, especially on troublesome weeds like dandelions, clover, and ground ivy. Preliminary tests also showed that it caused no damage to other plants, but testimonies from homeowners and groundskeepers nationwide cast doubt on those studies.
What are users of the herbicide finding?
A Delaware couple claims that Imprelis is responsible for poisoning 10 large white pines on their property. "They look deformed," says homeowner Dwight Shamp, as quoted by DelawareOnline. "Some of them are completely brown and needles have fallen off. They look like last year's Christmas tree." Other users of the weedkiller, including condominium associations and the operators of cemeteries and athletic fields, have voiced similar complaints.
What's being done about these tree deaths?
While the EPA has fast-tracked a review of the weedkiller, a Pennsylvania homeowner and a Michigan golf course operator, who claim that Imprelis is responsible for $5 million in damage to their two properties alone, have initiated a class-action lawsuit against DuPont. The company is investigating claims of tree deaths nationwide, but it continues to insist that the herbicide is safe when used as directed. DuPont says in a statement: "We are evaluating our response to the complaint, but are confident that this purported class-action lawsuit is unfounded, and we will oppose it vigorously."
Sources: DelawareOnline, Detroit Free Press, New York Times, (2), TechnoratiIs a weedkiller wiping out America's trees?
Imprelis, a new herbicide, is hyped... more
The EOS report showed industry has known that glyphosate causes birth defects since the 1980s and EU regulators have known since the 1990s. But instead of informing the public, industry and regulators have repeatedly claimed that glyphosate and Roundup do not cause birth defects.
Earth Open Source's response to Monsanto is also below (item 1).
1. Earth Open Source response to Monsanto
June 14, 2011
Monsanto responded to our report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?" in a statement on its website.
Monsanto said, "Regulatory authorities and independent experts around the world agree that glyphosate does not cause adverse reproductive effects in adult animals or birth defects in offspring of these adults exposed to glyphosate, even at doses far higher than relevant environmental or occupational exposures."
However, one of the main points of our report is that regulatory authorities have indeed agreed that glyphosate does not cause birth defects – but that conclusion is directly contradicted by the evidence in industry's own studies. These industry studies, submitted by companies including Monsanto in support of glyphosate's approval in the EU, showed that glyphosate causes birth defects in experimental animals. These effects were found not only at high doses, but also at mid and lower doses.
In addition, studies from the independent scientific literature, also detailed in our report and hitherto ignored or dismissed by the EU Commission and the EFSA, show that glyphosate and Roundup cause birth defects in experimental animals, as well as cancer, genetic damage, endocrine disruption and other serious health effects. Many of these effects are found at very low, physiologically relevant doses.
Monsanto said that Earth Open Source created "an account of glyphosate toxicity from a selected set of scientific studies, while they ignored much of the comprehensive data establishing the safety of the product". This is false, since our data analysis included industry-funded research studies, some commissioned by Monsanto, which were submitted to the European Commission in support of glyphosate's approval. We found that both these studies and studies by independent scientists contained clear evidence indicating that glyphosate and Roundup cause birth defects.
Monsanto said, "glyphosate inhibits an enzyme that is essential to plant growth; this enzyme is not found in humans or other animals, contributing to the low risk to human health from the use of glyphosate according to label directions."
However, numerous studies by industry and independent scientists detailed in our report show that glyphosate and Roundup are toxic to mammals and to human cells tested in vitro. Thus, Roundup must have other modes of action in addition to the enzyme inhibitory effect described by Monsanto. This is not surprising, as it can take decades to establish the precise mode of action of a toxin. Often, it remains unclear.
Monsanto called the studies that show problems with glyphosate "flawed". But we repeat – among the studies that we review in our report are industry studies, including some commissioned by Monsanto, which show that glyphosate causes birth defects in experimental animals. It follows that Monsanto is condemning the industry studies – including its own studies – as flawed. Since the current EU approval of glyphosate is based on these industry studies, Monsanto's apparent judgment that they are flawed gives us all the more reason to question the current approval of glyphosate.
Monsanto's less than convincing attempt to rebut the conclusions presented in our paper raises additional questions regarding the logic supporting the approval of glyphosate as safe for use in the EU. It provides additional justification for our appeal that the European Commission appoint independent scientists to carry out an immediate, objective review of glyphosate and Roundup, considering the full range of industry and independent studies.The EOS report showed industry has known that glyphosate causes birth defects since... more
PLENARY SESSION OF THE CONGRESS APPROVED MORATORIUM OF TEN YEARS FOR THE
ENTRANCE OF TRANSGENIC
SOURCE: Andian, Peru
AUTHOR: Machine translation of the Spanish text
SUMMARY: "The Plenary Session of the Congress, approved the opinion of the law
project that declares a moratorium of ten years that prevents the import of
Genetically Modified Organisms on the national territory for cultivation,
breeding or of any transgenic production."
Lima, jun. 07 (ANDINA). The Plenary Session of the Congress, approved the
opinion of the law project that declares a moratorium of ten years that prevents
the import of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) on the national territory for
cultivation, breeding or of any transgenic production. It was sustained by the
president of the Agrarian Commission, Aníbal Huerta (PAP), who declared that in
the face of the danger that can arise from the use of the biotechnology a
moratorium must be approved to take care of our biodiversity. It received the
endorsement of congressmen Elizabeth Leon (BPCD), Franklin Sanchez (PAP),
Mauritius Mulder (PAP), Oswaldo Luizar (BPCD), Jorge of Castillo (PAP), Oswaldo
de la Cruz (GPF), Luis Wilson (PAP), Yonhy Lescano (AP), Aldo Estrada (UPP),
Hilda Guevara (PAP), Gloria Branches (BPDC) and Maria Sumire (GPN). From
different viewpoints, they agreed in the defense of the national biodiversity
due to our greater climatic diversity, but they differed with regard
to the moratorium.
Congressman Alejandro Rebaza (PAP), made some precisions to
the opinion and, like the colleagues Sanchez and Estrada, proposed a technical
commission of prevention and investigation that issues a report in two years.
The legislators Raul Castro (UN) and Juan Carlos Eguren (UN) expressed
themselves against the moratorium, because they considered that already we
consumed transgenic products and that the doors to biotechnology could not be
closed because the transgenic production, that is necessary for covering the
food needs, has 70% more sale than the organic production. The parliamentarian
José Saldaña (AN) remembered that the biologists have asked to file the project
in debate because already exists a law on the matter, whereas legislator Yaneth
Cajahuanca (GPN) suggested to leave the project for the next session. On the
other hand, congressmen Luis Giampietri (PAP) and Édgard Núñez (PAP) said that
it is not possible to close the doors to science and that it is possible to decided on a prudential moratorium of five years.
Finally, the president of the Commission of Andean Towns, Washington Zeballos (BPCD), informed on the modifications to the opinion and that the term of the moratorium would have to be of ten years. The proposal was approved by 56 votes to favor, zero against and two abstentions and exonerated from second voting by 50 votes to favor, four against and three abstentions. The approved norm establishes a
moratorium of ten years, determines as competent authority of the subject to the
Ministry of the Environemnt and creates a Technical Commission of Evaluation and
Prevention of Risks of Use of GMOs, that in two years will have to issue a
report on the subject.PLENARY SESSION OF THE CONGRESS APPROVED MORATORIUM OF TEN YEARS FOR THE
ENTRANCE OF... more
As the surging waters of the Mississippi pass downstream, they leave behind flooded towns and inundated lives and carry forward a brew of farm chemicals and waste that this year — given record flooding — is expected to result in the largest dead zone ever in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dead zones have been occurring in the gulf since the 1970s, and studies show that the main culprits are nitrogen and phosphorus from crop fertilizers and animal manure in river runoff. They settle in at the mouth of the gulf and fertilize algae, which prospers and eventually starves other living things of oxygen.
Government studies have traced a majority of those chemicals in the runoff to nine farming states, and yet today, decades after the dead zones began forming, there is still little political common ground on how to abate this perennial problem. Scientists who study dead zones predict that the affected area will increase significantly this year, breaking records for size and damage.
For years, environmentalists and advocates for a cleaner gulf have been calling for federal action in the form of regulation. Since 1998, the Environmental Protection Agency has been encouraging all states to place hard and fast numerical limits on the amount of those chemicals allowed in local waterways. Yet of the nine key farm states that feed the dead zone, only two, Illinois and Indiana, have acted, and only to cover lakes, not the rivers or streams that merge into the Mississippi.
The lack of formal action upstream has long been maddening to the downstream states most affected by the pollution, and the extreme flooding this year has only increased the tensions.
“Considering the current circumstances, it is extremely frustrating not seeing E.P.A. take more direct action,” said Matt Rota, director of science and water policy for the Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental advocacy group in New Orleans that has renewed its calls for federally enforced targets. “We have tried solely voluntary mechanisms to reduce this pollution for a decade and have only seen the dead zone get bigger.”
Environmental Protection Agency officials said they had no immediate plans to force the issue, but farmers in the Mississippi Basin are worried. That is because only six months ago, the agency stepped in at the Chesapeake Bay, another watershed with similar runoff issues, and set total maximum daily loads for those same pollutants in nearby waterways. If the states do not reduce enough pollution over time, the agency could penalize them in a variety of ways, including increasing federal oversight of state programs or denying new wastewater permitting rights, which could hamper development. The agency says it is too soon to evaluate their progress in reducing pollution.
Don Parish, senior director of regulatory relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, a trade group, says behind that policy is the faulty assumption that farmers fertilize too much or too casually. Since 1980, he said, farmers have increased corn yields by 80 percent while at the same time reducing their nitrate use by 4 percent through precision farming.
“We are on the razor’s edge,” Mr. Parish said. “When you get to the point where you are taking more from the soil than you are putting in, then you have to worry about productivity.”
Dead zones are areas of the ocean where low oxygen levels can stress or kill bottom-dwelling organisms that cannot escape and cause fish to leave the area. Excess nutrients transported to the gulf each year during spring floods promote algal growth. As the algae die and decompose, oxygen is consumed, creating the dead zone. The largest dead zone was measured in 2002 at about 8,500 square miles, roughly the size of New Jersey. Shrimp fishermen complain of being hurt the most by the dead zones as shrimp are less able to relocate — but the precise impacts on species are still being studied.
The United States Geological Survey has found that nine states along the Mississippi contribute 75 percent of the nitrogen and phosphorus. The survey found that corn and soybean crops were the largest contributors to the nitrogen in the runoff, and manure was a large contributor to the amount of phosphorus.
There are many other factors, of course, that determine what elements make it from crops into river water, for example, whether watersheds are protected by wetlands or buffer strips of land.
John Downing, a biogeochemist and limnologist at Iowa State University, said structural issues were also to blame. Many farms in Iowa, he said, are built on former wetlands and have drains right under the crop roots that whisk water away before soils can absorb and hold on to at least some of the fertilizer.
Still, overapplication of fertilizers remains a key contributor, he said. “For farmers, the consequences of applying too little is much riskier than putting too much on.”
cont.As the surging waters of the Mississippi pass downstream, they leave behind flooded... more
At this site you will find action items and ways you can get involved with getting GMO labelling on the ballot in California in 2012. This will hopefully be the beginning of a nationwide effort to do what Europe did years ago due to citizen action. Labelling GMOs in our food will give us a choice in what we purchase and what we consume. Of course, Monsanto and the biotech lobby have their money, big guns and political connections, but we the consumer have the power of the purse and the voices to drown them out and it is time we used them.
More at the link.At this site you will find action items and ways you can get involved with getting GMO... more