tagged w/ Birth Defects
The grassroots March Against Monsanto movement is spreading across the nation, and the initiative spells out an increasingly massive number of activists and concerned citizens who will ultimately be responsible for ending the GMO juggernaut through peaceful protest and the spread of information.
It really comes down to the basic understanding that what we want is real food — not chemical-laden junk that is riddled with genetically modified organisms. And of course Monsanto is responsible for the majority of such junk, holding a monopoly over the GM seed market with 90% of staple crop seeds under Monsanto control. Seeds that are sold to ignorant farmers who oftentimes end up killing themselves after they find that the seeds produce decreased yields and milk the farmers financially dry through the enforceable patents that come along with the seeds. Patents that Monsanto goons carefully enforce, preying upon small farmers through devious lawsuits and farm stakeouts.
Even organic and natural farmers are subject to such legal attacks, since it’s possible for the patented seeds (which India calls biopiracy) to blow over to such farms and begin to grow. This is also how widespread GMO contamination begins, to which the USDA simply responds ‘get insurance’. We can even go back decades to find that Monsanto was integral in the creation of the infamous Agent Orange, a Vietnam-era chemical warfare weapon which estimates say killed or maimed around 400,000 people and caused a startling 500,000 birth defects.
But the days where this information could hide as footnotes within the media are over.
More at the linkThe grassroots March Against Monsanto movement is spreading across the nation, and the... more
Findings may eventually help those suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
Veterans studied say the illness has wrecked their lives
More than 250,000 veterans of the 1991 war have reported some symptoms
WASHINGTON — Researchers say they have found physical proof that Gulf War illness is caused by damage to the brain — and that proof may ultimately help civilians who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Using fMRI machines, the Georgetown University researchers were able to see anomalies in the bundle of nerve fibers that interpret pain signals in the brain in 31 Gulf War veterans. The research will be published Wednesday in PLOS ONE journal.
The findings are "huge," because an fMRI allows doctors to diagnose a person with Gulf War illness quickly, said James Baraniuk, senior author and professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center. The research, he said, also shows that Gulf War illness is not psychological.
An fMRI, or "functional" MRI, is a scan that measures activity by detecting how blood flows through the brain.
Many veterans have had difficulties getting benefits and treatment for a service-connected condition because doctors assumed they were either faking it or suffering from post-traumatic stress. "That's a problem with all physicians — VA, military or civilian," Baraniuk said. "If it doesn't fall within their small world of known diseases, then the patient is nuts."
Gulf War illness is a series of symptoms that has affected more than 250,000 veterans of the 1991 war against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Baraniuk said the correlation of anomalies in the brain's white matter with Gulf War illness has not been studied before. Researchers, he said, also found that fatigue and pain worsen congruently in the veterans.
To test the veterans, they watched the way liquid moved through brain nerve cells at rest and while the veterans were exercising. They could locate the nerves' axons and determine how healthy they were, said Rakib Rayhan, lead author of the study.
"We're able to say, 'There is something here,' " Rayhan said. " 'Take these veterans seriously when they come in.' "
In particular, John VanMeter, director of Georgetown's Center for functional and molecular imaging, said they looked at the fibers that process pain.
"The fibers in the Gulf War veterans have deteriorated compared to the control," he said. Those fibers interpret environmental pain, but in the case of the veterans, a tiny pulse of pressure is interpreted as a painful pinch, or normal muscle fatigue from walking a flight of stairs could be interpreted as climbing to the fourteenth floor. "They get, 'I'm in pain! I'm in pain! I'm in pain!' all the time."
He said that most hospitals already have the MRI equipment they need to do the exam, but they may need to purchase or install fMRI software, as well as to be trained to use it.
The researchers do not know whether the veterans' symptoms will continue to worsen, though it appears they have from their onset 22 years ago until now.
"The guys who were robust and leading the charge on this 10 years ago are now using canes," Baraniuk said.
This research appears to correlate with previous research on Gulf War Illness, including a major study this year that showed problems in involuntary function, and a second that showed that as many as 100,000 troops may have been doused with Sarin gas when the U.S. Air Force bombed a munitions factory during the war.
The researchers suspect the damage came from environmental factors. Other researchers have found that as many as 100,000 troops were exposed to Sarin gas when the U.S. Air Force bombed an Iraqi munitions plant, and other researchers have found a connection between the symptoms and the ACHL-inhibitors found in nerve agents, the anti-nerve-agent pills servicemembers took, and the industrial-strength bug spray troops used on their clothing and skin.
Baraniuk believes that the three areas of symptoms seen in Gulf War veterans are all different stages of the same disease — and he will be able to show that in a future paper.
Veterans who participated in the study said the illness has hurt them but they were optimistic about the survey's findings.
Army veteran Robert Ward's symptoms began while he was still in the Middle East. He felt tired and his gums started to swell and bleed. He figured it was a fluke, until he read a newspaper article in 1993 and discovered he was one of many. Soon, he suffered irritable bowel syndrome, constant headaches, muscle twitches, rashes and muscle fatigue. For 18 months, he found himself bedridden. He moved in with his parents so they could help care for him.
"This is a big deal," he said. "This has ruined my life. I'm thankful that Gulf War illness patients will be able to get the help that they deserve."
The researchers themselves said they've been surprised by how little attention this group of veterans has received.
"If 30% of Congress got sick, or 30% of Manhattan got sick, there would have been an outcry," Baraniuk said.
At long last those living this horror inflicted upon them by a government that doesn't even care for those it sends to fight their wars of aggression may get the attention they deserve. And can you imagine, these warmongering gung ho I love the military and I support the troops Republicans (and let's face it, Congress as a whole) who vote for war everytime because they don't have to fight it DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THESE PEOPLE.
I would hope that those afflicted not only seek benefits but justice for the crime committed against them.
We just marked 10 years since the subsequent invasion of Iraq by Bush 41's unelected puppet and his cabal and as reported, PTSD and suicides are at an all time high. This then begs the question: IS war worth the price? How many more lies? How many more deaths? How many more lives ruined by this government for their own agenda?
WHERE IS THE VICTORY IN THIS ?!Story Highlights
Findings may eventually help those suffering from chronic fatigue... more
By Glenn Ellis
As I flew in to Buenos Aires to make this film, all the talk was of President Cristina Kirchner’s latest gambit. Her foreign minister had pulled out of a meeting with the British foreign secretary to discuss the Falklands (or the Malvinas depending on your outlook). And for the people I rubbed up against in Argentina’s smart and chic capital, on discovering I was English, this, along with Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ moment, was the topic on everybody’s lips. "We won the war", they would say. "After the fighting we got rid of our dictators but you had another 10 years of Thatcher."
When I explained I was in the country to cover the soya boom, which has given Argentina the fastest growth rate in South America, but also allegedly caused devastating malformations in children, there was a look of disbelief. "Here, in Argentina? Why haven’t we heard about it?"
A good question: why had not anyone heard about it? And when I ventured a little further explaining I also wanted to cover what is best described as a dirty war in the North of the country where campesinos are being driven off their land, and sometimes killed, to make way for soya plantations - the bemusement increased. “That’s historical" people would say, "it’s been going on since the time of the conquistadores." So when I arrived with my crew at Argentina’s second city, Cordoba, 700 kilometres North West of the capital, to meet Alternative Nobel Laureate Professor Raul Montenegro, I was not quite sure what to expect.
Montenegro, a world-renowned biologist, looked the part of a pioneer, in khaki shirt and jungle boots. "I have pesticide in me", he said, almost as soon as he opened the door. "Here we all have pesticide in our bodies because the land is saturated with it. And it is a huge problem. In Argentina biodiversity is diminishing. Even in national parks, because pesticides don’t recognise the limit of the park." Montenegro is a man in a hurry. "You must see for yourself", he said pointing to his Land Rover and taking us a short drive out of Cordoba to a slight rise in the vast plain which surrounds the city. Here, as far as the eye can see, endless acres of soya stretched to the horizon. "More than 18 million hectares are covered by this GMO soya but it’s not solely a matter of soya because over this plant on this huge surface more than 300 million litres of pesticide are used."
More at the link
Some responses removed to keep the thread on topic.
And as far as "blackballing" goes here, perhaps that may not be the word that best fits but nevertheless I and others do see the changes here and the lack of response and caring for these topics/ issues that once had both and it is discouraging to say the least. That is all I will have to say on it here anymore.By Glenn Ellis
As I flew in to Buenos Aires to make this film, all the talk was of... more
New study links increase with military action by Western forces
October 13, 2012
It played unwilling host to one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. Fallujah's homes and businesses were left shattered; hundreds of Iraqi civilians were killed. Its residents changed the name of their "City of Mosques" to "the polluted city" after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. Now, one month before the World Health Organisation reveals its view on the legacy of the two battles for the town, a new study reports a "staggering rise" in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war.
High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.
There is "compelling evidence" to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the new research.
US marines first bombarded Fallujah in April 2004 after four employees from the American security company Blackwater were killed, their bodies burned and dragged through the street, with two of the corpses left hanging from a bridge. Seven months later, the marines stormed the city for a second time, using some of the heaviest US air strikes deployed in Iraq. American forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus shells, although they never admitted to using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects.
The new findings, published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology bulletin, will bolster claims that US and Nato munitions used in the conflict led to a widespread health crisis in Iraq. They are the latest in a series of studies that have suggested a link between bombardment and a rise in birth defects. Their preliminary findings, in 2010, prompted a World Health Organisation inquiry into the prevalence of birth defects in the area. The WHO's report, out next month, is widely expected to show an increase in birth defects after the conflict. It has looked at nine "high-risk" areas in Iraq, including Fallujah and Basra. Where high prevalence is found, the WHO is expected to call for additional studies to pinpoint precise causes.
The latest study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect. More than 45 per cent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from only 10 per cent before the bombing. Between 2007 and 2010, one in six of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage.
The new research, which looked at the health histories of 56 families in Fallujah, also examined births in Basra, in southern Iraq, attacked by British forces in 2003.
Researchers found more than 20 babies out of 1,000 were born with defects in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital in 2003, a number that is 17 times higher than recorded a decade previously. In the past seven years, the number of malformed babies born increased by more than 60 per cent; 37 out of every 1,000 are now born with defects.
The report's authors link the rising number of babies born with birth defects in the two cities to increased exposure to metals released by bombs and bullets used over the past two decades. Scientists who studied hair samples of the population in Fallujah found that levels of lead were five times higher in the hair of children with birth defects than in other children; mercury levels were six times higher. Children with defects in Basra had three times more lead in their teeth than children living in non-impacted areas.
Dr Savabieasfahani said that for the first time, there is a "footprint of metal in the population" and that there is "compelling evidence linking the staggering increases in Iraqi birth defects to neuro-toxic metal contamination following the repeated bombardments of Iraqi cities". She called the "epidemic" a "public health crisis".
"In utero exposure to pollutants can drastically change the outcome of an otherwise normal pregnancy. The metal levels we see in the Fallujah children with birth defects clearly indicates that metals were involved in manifestation of birth defects in these children," she said. "The massive and repeated bombardment of these cities is clearly implicated here. I have no knowledge of any alternative source of metal contamination in these areas." She added that the data was likely to be an "underestimate", as many parents who give birth to children with defects hide them from public view.
Professor Alastair Hay, a professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said the figures presented in the study were "absolutely extraordinary". He added: "People here would be worried if there was a five or 10 per cent increase [in birth defects]. If there's a fivefold increase in Fallujah, no one could possibly ignore that; it's crying out for an explanation as to what's the cause. A rapid increase in exposure to lead and mercury seems reasonable if lots of ammunition is going off. I would have also thought a major factor would be the extreme stress people are under in that period; we know this can cause major physiological changes."
A US Defense Department spokesperson said: "We are not aware of any official reports indicating an increase in birth defects in Al Basrah or Fallujah that may be related to exposure to the metals contained in munitions used by the US or coalition partners. We always take very seriously public health concerns about any population now living in a combat theatre. Unexploded ordnance, including improvised explosive devises, are a recognised hazard."
A UK government spokesperson said there was no "reliable scientific or medical evidence to confirm a link between conventional ammunition and birth defects in Basra", adding: "All ammunition used by UK armed forces falls within international humanitarian law and is consistent with the Geneva Convention."
Dr Savabieasfahani said she plans to analyse the children's samples for the presence of depleted uranium once funds have been raised. She added: "We need extensive environmental sampling, of food, water and air to find out where this is coming from.
Then we can clean it up. Now we are seeing 50 per cent of children being born with malformations; in a few years it could be everyone."New study links increase with military action by Western forces
October 13, 2012... more
Vo Duoc fights back tears while sharing the news that broke his heart: A few days ago he received test results confirming he and 11 family members have elevated levels of dioxin lingering in their blood.
The family lives in a two-story house near a former U.S. military base in Danang where the defoliant Agent Orange was stored during the Vietnam War, which ended nearly four decades ago. Duoc, 58, sells steel for a living and has diabetes, while his wife battles breast cancer and their daughter has remained childless after suffering repeated miscarriages. For years, Duoc thought the ailments were unrelated, but after seeing the blood tests he now suspects his family unwittingly ingested dioxin from Agent Orange-contaminated fish, vegetables and well water.
Dioxin, a persistent chemical linked to cancer, birth defects and other disabilities, has seeped into Vietnam’s soils and watersheds, creating a lasting war legacy that remains a thorny issue between the former foes. Washington has been slow to respond, but on Thursday the U.S. for the first time will begin cleaning up dioxin from Agent Orange that was stored at the former military base, now part of Danang’s airport.
‘‘It’s better late than never that the U.S. government is cleaning up the environment for our children,’’ Duoc said in Danang, surrounded by family members sitting on plastic stools. ‘‘They have to do as much as possible and as quickly as possible.’’
The $43 million project begins as Vietnam and the U.S. forge closer ties to boost trade and counter China’s rising influence in the disputed South China Sea.
Although the countries’ economic and military ties are blossoming, progress on addressing the dioxin legacy has been slow. Washington still disputes a claim by Hanoi that between 3 million to 4 million Vietnamese were affected by toxic chemicals sprayed by U.S. planes during the war to eliminate jungle cover for guerrilla fighters, arguing that the actual number is far lower and other environmental factors are to blame for the health issues.
That position irks Vietnamese, who say the United States maintains a double standard in acknowledging the consequences of Agent Orange.
The U.S. has given billions of dollars in disability payments to American servicemen who developed illnesses associated with dioxin after exposure to the defoliant during the Vietnam War.
In 2004, a group of Vietnamese citizens filed suit in a U.S. court against companies that produced the chemical, but the case was dismissed and the Supreme Court declined to take it up.
Until a few years ago, Washington took a defensive position whenever Agent Orange was raised because no one had determined how much dioxin remained in Vietnam’s soil and watersheds, and the U.S. worried about potential liabilities, said Susan Hammond, director of the War Legacies Project, a U.S. nonprofit organization that mainly focuses on the Agent Orange legacy from the Vietnam War.
‘‘There was a lot of the blame game going on, and it led nowhere,’’ Hammond said by telephone from Vermont. ‘‘But now at least progress is being made.’’
Over the past five years, Congress has appropriated about $49 million for environmental remediation and about $11 million to help people living with disabilities in Vietnam regardless of cause. Experts have identified three former U.S. air bases — in Danang in central Vietnam and the southern locations of Bien Hoa and Phu Cat — as hotspots where Agent Orange was mixed, stored and loaded onto planes.
The U.S. military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971.
The defoliant decimated about 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest — roughly the size of Massachusetts — and another 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of crops.
The war ended on April 30, 1975, when northern Communist forces seized control of Saigon, the U.S.-backed former capital of South Vietnam. The country was then reunified under a one-party Communist government. Following years of poverty and isolation, Vietnam shook hands with the U.S. in 1995 and normalized diplomatic relations.
Since then, the relationship has flourished and the two countries have become important trading partners. Military ties have also strengthened, with Vietnam looking to the U.S. amid rising tensions with China in the disputed South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves and is crossed by vital shipping lanes.Continued...
More at the linkVo Duoc fights back tears while sharing the news that broke his heart: A few days ago... more
On 27th June, international campaigners for justice in Bhopal are uniting around the world to take action against Dow Chemical. With one month to go to the London Olympics, demonstrators are marking this day by calling for Dow to be dropped as an Olympic sponsor. Actions will be taking place in India, the UK, the US and Canada.
"We are calling for the Olympic sponsorship deal with Dow to be dropped because Dow is the company now responsible for the consequences of the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984.The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more . Dow bought Union Carbide, the company which owned the site in Bhopal when the gas leak occurred, in 2001  The site of the disaster has still not been cleaned up, which has caused contamination of the water supply for thousands of Bhopalis . Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects as a result ."
More at the link
Actions are still going on today to call for DOW to step down as an Olympic sponsor and for justice for the victims of Bhopal.On 27th June, international campaigners for justice in Bhopal are uniting around the... more
Stalwart peace campaigner Len Aldis visited Hanoi, Vietnam, in early May to speak at a Medical University on Agent Orange and the consequences for Vietnam. While he was there he was able to contact the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU). Shortly after Len’s return to the UK, the VWU emailed him a letter addressed to the IOC (below) which Len was able to deliver by hand to the Office of Lord Coe, Chair of LOCOG, based at Canary Wharf.
With a membership of 17 million throughoutVietnamthe VWU is a powerful additional voice to those already opposed to Dow Chemical being a sponsor of the Olympic Games.
The women of Vietnam played a major part in the defending their country against theUS forces and their allies. The use of 80 million litres of Agent Orange over a period of ten-years from August 1961 has left 4.8 million still suffering from its effects. Tragically, Agent Orange is still affecting babies born in Vietnam– the fourth generation to suffer from US use of biological weapons against an innocent civilian population.Stalwart peace campaigner Len Aldis visited Hanoi, Vietnam, in early May to speak at a... more
It's been almost 35 years since Lois Gibbs became an environmental activist after she discovered her 7-year-old son's elementary school in Niagara Falls, N.Y., was built on a toxic waste dump.
This week, Gibbs was in West Virginia to hear the stories of women whose families live near mountaintop removal coal mining operations. Gibbs was one of three jurists in an effort by Appalachian women's groups to put the coal industry on trial.
On Thursday, women from across the coalfields of West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee gathered in Charleston to talk about blasting, dust and polluted water.
"The evidence we heard was compelling," Gibbs said Friday during a meeting with Gazette staffers.
Among other things, Gibbs and her fellow jurists heard from Beverly May, a family nurse practitioner from Kentucky. She gave a rundown of the studies by West Virginia University researcher Michael Hendryx and his colleagues that point to links between living near mountaintop removal and being more likely to get cancer or be born with birth defects.
"All of the research points to what mountain people have known since strip-mining began," May said. "It is not possible to destroy our mountains without destroy ourselves. It is not possible to poison our streams without poisoning our children."
Ivy Breshear, 23, said she's worried about having children, given the proximity of her homeplace in Eastern Kentucky to mountaintop removal operations.
"If we don't stand up for ourselves, we must stand up for future generations," Breshear said.
Janet Keating of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said there has been a "deafening silence" from local political leaders about the WVU studies showing mining's relationship to public health problems.
"The industry has always said in the past, 'You just care about the mayflies and the salamanders,'" Keating said. "It's not just about mayflies and salamanders."
Coal industry officials favor mountaintop removal, saying the practice is the only efficient way to get at some thin seams of Southern West Virginia coal. The industry has also recently donated $15 million to a Virginia Tech-based project to produce reports that respond to scientific papers like those authored by Hendryx and by other researchers who have examined mining's impact on water quality.
Gibbs and her fellow jurors, Bolivian activist Elizabeth Peredo Beltran and Civil Society Institute energy analyst Grant Smith, recommended an immediate moratorium on mountaintop removal and more detailed studies on the practice's impacts on public health.
The Central Appalachian Women's Tribunal on Climate Justice was sponsored by Loretto, an international public interest group, and a variety of local organizations. Results of this week's tribunal will be delivered in June at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil, along with information from other women's group tribunals on other issues around the globe.
More at the linkIt's been almost 35 years since Lois Gibbs became an environmental activist after... more
Monsanto, Philip Morris and other U.S. tobacco giants knowingly poisoned Argentinean tobacco farmers with pesticides, causing "devastating birth defects" in their children, dozens of workers claim in court. The farmers, on their own behalf and for their injured children, sued Altria Group fka Philip Morris Cos., Philip Morris USA, Carolina Leaf Tobacco, Universal Corporation fka Universal Leaf Tobacco Company, Monsanto, and their affiliates and Argentine subsidiaries, in New Castle County Court.
The farmers grow tobacco on small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell it to U.S. tobacco distributors. Most of Argentina's tobacco is grown in Misiones, a rural northeastern province. The farmers claim the tobacco companies asked them to use herbicides, pesticides and other toxic products made and distributed by Monsanto, and assured them the products were safe.
They say the defendants "wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects." Birth defects cited in the 55-page complaint include cerebral palsy, psychomotor retardation, epilepsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, metabolic disorders, congenital heart defects, Down syndrome, missing fingers and blindness.
The farmers claim Philip Morris and Carolina Leaf used a tobacco brokerage company, Tabacos Norte, to buy tobacco from the farmers and sell them crop production supplies, including herbicides and pesticides. Tabacos Norte, based in Misiones, was created by Carolina Leaf and Philip Morris' Argentine subsidiary in 1984, to produce tobacco fit for the North and South American markets, according to the complaint. The farmers say the tobacco companies that bought their crops asked them to replace the native tobacco with a new type, used in Philip Morris cigarettes, which required more pesticides.
They say the defendants pushed for excessive use of pesticides and failed to warn them of the dangers or provide them with information or protective gear. Most farmers in Misiones used Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide made by Monsanto, to kill weeds and clear tobacco fields, according to the complaint. Monsanto and Philip Morris told them to use glyphosate frequently and in quantities beyond that necessary for effective weed control, the farmers say.
"Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants promoted the use of Roundup and other herbicides to tobacco farmers in Misiones even though they were on direct and explicit notice that at all relevant times farmers in Misiones, including the instant plaintiffs, lacked the necessary personal protective equipment and other safety knowledge and skills required to minimize harmful exposures to Roundup," the complaint states.
"What is more, at all relevant times Tabacos Norte, the Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants did not recommend protective measures to farmers and their families in Misiones. In fact, aforementioned defendants actively recommended and/or required that contracted tobacco farmers, including the instant plaintiffs, purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides.
"At all relevant times, defendants were on direct and explicit notice that fruits, vegetables and farm animals designated for family consumption would be contaminated with pesticides including Roundup if contract farmers followed the defendants' aggressive chemical application specifications for tobacco cultivation." Monsanto's pesticides contaminated the farmers' non-tobacco crops, water wells and streams meant for family use, exposing their families to the toxic substances, the farmer say.
"The plaintiff tobacco farmers' lack of training and instruction on the safe disposal of unused Roundup and other pesticides caused further exposure," the complaint states. "Leftover pesticides were discarded in locations where they leached into the water supply." The farmers claim their exposure to the pesticides caused their children's birth defects.
More at the linkMonsanto, Philip Morris and other U.S. tobacco giants knowingly poisoned Argentinean... more
American veterans and the entire country of Viet Nam affected by Agent Orange have been shafted beyond imagination due to corruption within the US government and US courts. US courts have protected Monsanto and Dow Chemical from liability and criminal prosecution. The US government has shielded Monsanto and Dow from the massive cost of medical treatment for victims and environmental remediation cleanup costs that would drive these corporations into bankruptcy.
Before we delve further into the issue, it’s important to detail what exactly dioxin is. Dioxin has a half life of 100 years or more when it is below the surface, leached into soil or embedded in river or stream sediment. Dioxin was generated as a byproduct of herbicide 2,4,5-T made by Monsanto and Dow, the top 2 producers of Agent Orange. It causes cancer, birth defects, liver damage and other major health problems.
Monsanto & Dow’s 2,4,5-T dioxin laden-herbicide was used in the US for agricultural purposes in the 1940′s before it was used for chemical warfare in Viet Nam from the early 1960′s through 1971. It was phased out in the late 1970′s. Now, let’s discuss the political situation behind this carcinogen.
US Government and US Court Dioxin Cover-Ups
•President Reagans’s administration, in cahoots with the CDC, thwarted a $43 million Congressional Study of Agent Orange in 1987 to protect itself and its corporate pals Monsanto & Dow from accountability to US veterans and the people of Viet Nam.
•US Courts dismissed veterans’ Agent Orange lawsuits based on a Supreme Court precedent, known as the Feres Doctrine, freeing the government of responsibility for deaths and injuries related to military service.
•The Supreme Court refused to hear American and Vietnamese victims’ lawsuits against Monsanto, Dow and other Agent Orange manufacturers on 3 separate occasions. Remember that the Supreme Court collects their checks from the federal government.
Atrocious Criminal Acts By Monsanto & Dow
•Agent Orange makers hide behind government contractor immunity, despite the fact that dioxin contaminated herbicide 2,4,5-T was produced long before they were contractors for the government (50 million tons of the herbicide was sprayed in the US per year). No modifications were used for Monsanto & Dow’s herbicide — half the ingredients in Agent Orange — so the immunity defense falls flat.
•Boehringer, a German 2,4,5-T herbicide producer notified Dow in 1957 about dioxin hazards and that dioxin could be eliminated by slow cooking the herbicide for about 12 hours. It appears that Dow and Monsanto continued cooking 2,4,5-T quickly in 45 minutes. Higher output led to higher profits. Monsanto’s formula contained high levels of dioxin and was dirtier than Dow’s product.
•Monsanto was not only aware in 1950 that dioxin was a health danger, but they also created a fraudulent health study.
•In 1965 Dow met in secret with other Agent Orange manufacturers to discuss the toxicity hazards of dioxin and their fear over a government investigation and restrictive regulations.
US Veterans Shafted By the Kangaroo Court
Judge Jack Weinstein of the US Federal Court of the Eastern District of New York committed the following offenses in several class action suits filed by veterans against Monsanto & Dow:
•Weinstein appointed attorneys to represent the veterans and then intimidated the attorneys into agreeing to a ‘nuisance’ settlement of $180 million- nowhere near enough money to cover the medical treatment of hundreds of thousands of injured vets.
•Weinstein rejected the veterans’ expert studies, instead of allowing a jury to decide on the credibility of the expert witnesses; Weinstein created a new rule of law from the bench.
•Weinstein based his ruling on Monsanto’s expert study that was later proven to be fraudulent.
• Weinstein dismissed all other veterans’ lawsuits against Monsanto and Dow.
• Weinstein took over a case that was unlawfully transferred to his federal court as it had been filed in the state of Texas. He dismissed that case.
• Astonishingly, Weistein created a second new rule of law to protect Monsanto and Dow. Weinstein invented immunity for government contractors!
Weinstein’s excuse for the government contractor defense was that if contractors were made to pay, they would pass the cost on to the government, so they were therefore immune. Weinstein’s new law was created from the bench instead of law passed through Congress!
Weinsteins’s law has now been extended to all government supply contractors (even non-military contractors) in the courts.
Approximately 11 million gallons of Agent Orange was dumped on Viet Nam between 1962 to 1970. It is estimated that Agent Orange is responsible for 400,000 deaths, 3 million victims of disease and 500,000 children born with birth defects.
Over 14 million acres of Vietnamese forests were sprayed. Agent Orange was also dumped in water supplies.
In 2004, Vietnamese victims filed a lawsuit against Dow, Monsanto and other manufacturers of Agent Orange. Judge Weinstein (yes, the same Judge Weinstein) presided over this case and dismissed it. Weinstein used the excuse that Monsanto and Dow had government sovereign immunity that extended to them because they were government contractors. He also ruled that Agent Orange was not considered a poison during that period, under international law.
The Supreme Court refused to hear this case, too.
The stated purpose of using Agent Orange was to deny the enemy cover in forested areas through defoliation. However, the US Army did contract studies in 1943 of the effects of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D (the other ingredient of Agent Orange) on cereal grains, including rice, and developed the concept of using aerial herbicide spraying to destroy enemy crops to disrupt the food supply. Obviously, poisoning the enemy, farmland and civilians was a chemical warfare strategy used by the US government.
Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/white-house-us-courts-and-epa-shaft-veterans-to-protect-monsanto/#ixzz1mZIi85a7
http://www.salem-news.com/stimg/february132012/agent_orange_the_last_battle.jpgAmerican veterans and the entire country of Viet Nam affected by Agent Orange have... more
Monsanto ready to sell GM crops and weed-killing chemicals in Vietnam; Many outraged
- Common Dreams staff
Multinational agricultural biotech corporation Monsanto, known as the creator of chemical weapon Agent Orange, is attempting to infiltrate Vietnam once again -- this time as GMO dealer.
Agent Orange, used for chemical warfare in the Vietnam War, is estimated to have killed 400,000, deformed 500,000 and sickened another 2 million.
"BA VI, VIETNAM: Handicapped orphans are fed by the medical staff at the Ba Vi orphanage. These young children represent the 3rd generation of Agent Orange victims more than 30 years after the war in Vietnam, where a battle is still being fought to help people suffering from the effects of the deadly chemical." - Global Post (Photo Paula Bronstein / AFP/Getty Images)
"Between 2.1 to 4.8 million Vietnamese were directly exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals that have been linked to cancers, birth defects, and other chronic diseases during the war that ended in 1975, according to the Vietnam Red Cross," Thanh Nienn News writes.
30 years after the war, three generations have suffered from the effects of Agent Orange.
Now, as Monsanto seeks to reap profits in Vietnam once again, this time through agribusiness, many are speaking out against the corporation as well as the potential effects of the GM seeds and herbicides that Monsanto seeks to sell.
* * *
Thanh Nienn News in Ho Chi Minh City reports:
No biotech company has yet got the official green light for selling genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but it does not assuage the fears that Vietnam could end up with another tragic legacy from a company that once caused many deaths in the country, environmental activists say.
It would be ironic if Vietnam becomes a willing party to a “lethal” product made by the same US company that manufactured Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used during the Vietnam War.It would be ironic if Vietnam becomes a willing party to a “lethal” product made by the same US company that manufactured Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used during the Vietnam War, they pointed out. [...]
In 2006 the government approved a blueprint that envisaged covering between 30 percent and half of the country’s agriculture lands with the controversial gene-altered crops by 2020.
Only three companies – Monsanto, Syngenta, and Pioneer – have been licensed to carry out lab research and tests in Vietnam, the minister’s statement said.
Monsanto accounts for almost one-quarter (23 percent) of the global proprietary seed market.
[Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, former deputy defense minister, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange] is also worried about the weedkiller Roundup Monsanto plugs for use along with its crops.
“By introducing [GMOs] paired with toxic weed killers, the tragic legacy of Agent Orange might repeat itself,” he warned. [...]
The U.S. Airforce spraying 'Agent Orange' defoliant over the countryside of Vietnam. Originally termed "Operation Hades," the spraying program was renamed "Operation Ranch Hand" to improve public relations. Jeffrey Smith, author of the bestseller Seeds of Deception and founder and executive director of the California, US-based NGO Institute for Responsible Technology, said: “It is not inconsequential that a new genetically modified corn up for review is designed to be tolerant to the herbicide 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange.
“This means that much higher amounts of toxic 2,4-D will drench the agricultural lands where this new crop is planted.
“It would be a harsh and ironic consequence if Vietnamese people suffer from birth defects from both of these Monsanto products, Roundup and Agent Orange.”
* * *
The Global Post reports:
Monsanto is, of course, highly aware of Agent Orange's reputation and has fought numerous lawsuits filed by chemical's victims both Vietnamese and American. The chemical, commissioned by the U.S. military, was dumped over jungles to kill vegetation and rout communist forces.
In Monsanto's own primer on the Agent Orange era, it casts the chemical as patriotic -- it was meant "to save the lives of U.S. and allied soldiers," Monsanto says -- and contends that the matter "should be resolved by the governments that were involved."
Keeping Monsanto out of Vietnam already appears to be an uphill fight.
A Vietnamese legislator and former deputy defense minister has, according to Thanh Nien, faced evasion when he tried to raise the issue with the [government].
More at the linkMonsanto ready to sell GM crops and weed-killing chemicals in Vietnam; Many outraged... more
Last week, the London Olympics were wrapped in fresh embarassment and controversy as Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘ethics Tzar’ resigned live on BBC Newsnight over fears that her ethics and sustainability concerns with regards to sponsors simply weren’t being listened to. In an interview with Jeremy Paxman she announced that her position at the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) was no longer tenable in light of the LOCOG’s continued relationship with and defence of the Dow Chemical Company.
The moment: Meredith Alexander appears live on the BBC's Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman to announce her resignation from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012
“By coming on air tonight, I’m taking the decision to resign my position and stand up for my principles… I feel that I was part of a body that has been used to legitimize Dow’s involvement in the games.” Dow took over Union Carbide Corporation in 2001, but neither company have addressed the ongoing issue of water and soil contamination in Bhopal that continues to kill thousands and afflict even more with chronic illnesses.
Coverage of the ongoing Bhopal tragedy, and the controversy over Dow and London 2012, went through the roof and Meredith acquired overnight celebrity status in India. Her resignation live on British television resulted in an outpouring of hope, gratitude and optimism from those still living in Union Carbide and Dow’s toxic shadow.
This week, the Bhopal Medical Appeal caught up with Ms. Alexander for a chat…
BMA: What were the main reasons for your resignation from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) ?
MA: All the evidence I have read has convinced me that Dow Chemicals is responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas leak. The assets and liabilities of the company involved at the time – Union Carbide – are in Dow’s hands. Londoners, and other people, who are rightly excited about the London games, should not have this toxic legacy on their conscience.
BMA: At what point did your position became “untenable” and why?
MA: The tipping point for me, was the correspondence between Amnesty International and Lord Coe [Chair of LOCOG]. The latest response from Amnesty, just last week, pointed out how LOCOG have become apologists for Dow, falsely legitimising Dow’s stance that it bears no responsibility to the victims of the disaster and their families. I feel that the Olympic bodies are supporting Dow’s line and have failed to take the victim’s views into consideration.
BMA: Last week, Sebastian Shakespeare published a controversial column in the London Evening Standard with the bold headline “The Olympics should be no place for ethics.” Have you read it, and if so, what did you think?
MA: I have read it. And I actually submitted a letter to the editor yesterday about it. I think most Londoners share my view that ethics and sport can and must go hand in hand. Yet as things stand, the enjoyment of the Games risks being hampered by the toxic legacy of one of the sponsors: Dow Chemicals. When London bid to host the 2012 Games, we made a promise to the world that it would be most sustainable Games ever. [Read Meredith's whole letter to the ES newspaper here.]
BMA: Based on your resignation, can you further tell us why you think that ethics, morality, and sustainability are an important part of the Olympics? Why shouldn’t we just accept that commercial sponsorship is inevitable and ‘get over it.’
MA: I think it’s important to remember that there was absolutely no need for the London 2012 organisers to award anyone the contract for this wrap. It’s a completely optional item that is not essential to the design of the stadium. It will not help a single athlete run faster nor will it help spectators have a better view. Dow’s connection to the Olympics is a slap in the face to the victims of Bhopal, but the fact that this wrap is unnecessary makes this particular deal even more galling for those who have spent decades fighting for justice.
More of the interview at the linkLast week, the London Olympics were wrapped in fresh embarassment and controversy as... more
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday came out in open against Dow Chemical's sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics and has decided to lodge its protest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
At its general body meeting in New Delhi, the IOA decided that it would seek the removal of Dow Chemical, which bought Union Carbide, responsible for the thousands of deaths during the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. However, the issue of boycotting the event did not even come up for discussion.
Acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the IOA will convey the sentiments of Indians to IOC chief Jacques Rogge and London Games Organising Committee chief Sebastian Coe.
"It is IOA's considered opinion that the sponsorship by Dow Chemical is against the spirit of the Olympic ideals. Olympic Games showcase the best of human endeavour, sporting spirit and camaraderie, and to have Dow Chemical even as one of the sponsors negates all these lofty values," said Malhotra.
"IOA's views not only reflect the concerns of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy but the feelings of millions of people all over the world and it is not a partisan demand.
"We in fact are making IOC aware of the feelings of the people who have suffered due to that tragedy. It is not only the Indians who are protesting this sponsorship; there has been an outcry against this world over from various NGOs and other bodies. It is no longer a local issue."
There has been a huge outcry in India over Dow's involvement with the Games. Olympians and the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy have demanded either Dow's sponsorship be withdrawn or India boycott the event.
Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ioa-to-lodge-protest-over-london-olympic-sponsor-dow/1/164530.html
More at the linkThe Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday came out in open against Dow... more
The verdict as well as closing remarks will be given December 6, 3:30 PM Bangalore India time. That should be around 5AM standard EST here for anyone interested in seeing justice done. I wll report on any other information I get about this.
I hope this is only a first step to bringing accountability to these purveyors of global toxicity and death.The verdict as well as closing remarks will be given December 6, 3:30 PM Bangalore... more
Miscarriages. Cancers. The loss of a job or an entire way of life. It's never easy to talk publicly about personal pain. That's why the stories of Vi, David, Juana, Mildre and Jeff are so powerful. In their own words, they talk about the harms that pesticides cause. On video, to millions of people.
Their point: ensure that someday, pesticide corporations are no longer above the law when it comes to our health, our economy and our well-being. Watch these extraordinary, brave individuals tell their truths.
This week, PAN International launches our 'people's trial' against the Big 6 pesticide corporations in Bangalore, India. People around the world are showing up and testifying. A jury will listen, confer and issue a verdict.
PAN's point: hold global pesticide corporations to account for damages done.
During the next seven days, join Vi, David, Juana, Mildre, Jeff and many others by watching the video, and sharing their stories with others through your own networks — by email, on facebook or twitter. Only together can we stand up and hold these corporations to account.
More news and videos at the link.Miscarriages. Cancers. The loss of a job or an entire way of life. It's never... 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
EXTRACT: "Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment," says Paul Capel, USGS chemist and an author on this study. "This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season."
Widely Used Herbicide Commonly Found in Rain and Streams in the Mississippi River Basin
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192 Paul Capel
Phone: (612) 625-3082
Phone: (571) 420-9408
Glyphosate, also known by its tradename Roundup, is commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed, according to two new USGS studies released this month.
Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural and urban areas of the United States. The greatest glyphosate use is in the Mississippi River basin, where most applications are for weed control on genetically-modified corn, soybeans and cotton. Overall, agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than 11,000 tons in 1992 to more than 88,000 tons in 2007.
"Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment," says Paul Capel, USGS chemist and an author on this study. "This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season. This is crucial information for understanding where management efforts for this chemical would best be focused."
In these studies, Glyphosate was frequently detected in surface waters, rain and air in areas where it is heavily used in the basin. The consistent occurrence of glyphosate in streams and air indicates its transport from its point of use into the broader environment.
Additionally, glyphosate persists in streams throughout the growing season in Iowa and Mississippi, but is generally not observed during other times of the year. The degradation product of glyphosate, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), which has a longer environmental lifetime, was also frequently detected in streams and rain.
Detailed results of this glyphosate research are available in "Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere," published in volume 30 of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and in "Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in surface waters of agricultural basins," published online in Pest Management Science. Copies of the reports are available from the journals or from Paul Capel ( email@example.com).
Research on the transport of glyphosate was conducted as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The NAWQA program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions, whether conditions are getting better or worse over time, and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Additional information on the NAWQA program can be found online.
http://eii.org/eijournal/spring05/images/spraying.jpgEXTRACT: "Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we... more
Dr. Woody, WWH – Turns out, the weed-killer, Round-Up, used on GMO crops bred to resist Round-Up used to reduce pest on crops, is probably causing birth defects down the food chain, when people eat crops with the Round-Up resistant gene.Dr. Woody, WWH – Turns out, the weed-killer, Round-Up, used on GMO crops bred to... more
Agent Orange is one of the most devastating weapons of modern warfare, a chemical which killed or injured an estimated 400,000 people during the Vietnam War -- and now it's being used against the Amazon rainforest. According to officials, ranchers in Brazil have begun spraying the highly toxic herbicide over patches of forest as a covert method to illegally clear foliage, more difficult to detect that chainsaws and tractors. In recent weeks, an aerial survey detected some 440 acres of rainforest that had been sprayed with the compound -- poisoning thousands of trees and an untold number of animals, potentially for generations.
Officials from Brazil's environmental agency IBAMA were first tipped to the illegal clearing by satellite images of the forest in Amazonia; a helicopter flyover in the region later revealed thousands of trees left ash-colored and defoliated by toxic chemicals. IBAMA says that Agent Orange was likely dispersed by aircraft by a yet unidentified rancher to clear the land for pasture because it is more difficult to detect than traditional operations that require chainsaws and tractors.
Last week, in another part of the Amazon, an investigation conducted by the agency uncovered approximately four tons of the highly toxic herbal pesticides hidden in the forest awaiting dispension. If released, the chemicals could have potentially decimated some 7,500 acres of rainforest, killing all the wildlife that resides there and contaminating groundwater. In this case, the individual responsible was identified and now faces fines nearing $1.3 million.
According to a report from Folha de São Paulo, the last time such chemicals were recorded in use by deforesters was in 1999, but officials say dispensing the devastating herbicide may become more common as officials crack down on the most flagrant types of environmental crime.
"They [deforesters] have changed their strategy because, in a short time, more areas of forest can be destroyed with herbicides. Thus, they don't need to mobilize tree-cutting teams and can therefore bypass the supervision of IBAMA," says Jerfferson Lobato of IBAMA.
While Agent Orange was originally designed to clear forest coverage in combat situations, its use became a subject of controversy due to its impact on humans and wildlife. During the Vietnam War, the United States military dispersed 12 million gallons of herbicide, impacting the health of some 3 million, mostly peasant, Vietnamese citizens, and causing birth defects in around 500 thousand children. Additionally, the chemical's effect on the environment have been profound and lasting.
More at the linkAgent Orange is one of the most devastating weapons of modern warfare, a chemical... 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