News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
Glyphosate-based herbicide caused adverse health effects in rats at a dose claimed to be safe by regulators, according to a new study. Glyphosate herbicides are used on the vast majority of all GM crops worldwide. The study used the US Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable daily dietary exposure level of glyphosate – 1.75 mg per kg of bodyweight per day. The same concentration was given to the rats daily over a 3-month period. The study was focused on the newborn, infancy and adolescence phases of life. The results reveal that glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) was able to alter certain important biological parameters, mainly relating to sexual development, genotoxicity, and the intestinal microbiome. The effects occurred at a dose deemed safe by regulators to ingest on a daily basis over a long-term period. In human-equivalent terms the dosing period corresponded to the period from the embryo stage to 18 years of age.
People living in an Argentine town in the heart of the GM soy and maize growing area suffer miscarriages at three times and birth defects at twice the national average rate, a new study shows. In addition, the study found a correlation between a high environmental exposure to glyphosate and an increased frequency of reproductive disorders (miscarriage and birth defects).
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public input on the health impacts of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. But despite mounting evidence, the EPA continues to ignore glyphosate’s hazards, and it looks like Monsanto’s under-the-table influence may be a reason why. Monsanto has launched a campaign to pressure the EPA into declaring glyphosate safe. It is terrified of losing the profits from selling this ubiquitous herbicide. The use of glyphosate on U.S. farmland has exploded in recent years. A recent study found that Americans’ exposure to the pesticide has increased fivefold since it was first introduced more than 20 years ago.
Research from China has revealed a new dimension in environmental risk posed by GM plants: additionally inserted genes can enhance the potential for uncontrolled spread into the environment. There is now evidence to show that this is the case for glyphosate-tolerant plants. Where there is gene flow from the plants into the natural populations, the offspring will have increased fitness and can spread their transgenic DNA more effectively than assumed. Glyphosate-tolerant GM plants have been grown commercially for more than 20 years and are the most commonly grown GM plants worldwide. Nevertheless, their high potential for uncontrolled spread has so far not been investigated in detail in any official risk assessment. There are some previous findings showing enhanced fitness of transgenic plants. Especially GM oilseed rape and rice have several times succeeded in introgressing natural populations. Contrary to expectations, the resulting transgenic offspring very often persisted in the environment and continued to propagate. Chinese researchers have clearly shown that even in a glyphosate-free environment higher fitness does occur. They are demanding that further studies should be conducted, including the hybrid descendants of transgenic crops, to thoroughly assess the ecological impact.
GM Arctic apples are being sold on Amazon without disclosing that they are GM. They are engineered not to brown when cut and thus are advertised as "preservative free". GM Arctic apples are engineered using a gene-silencing technique called RNAi or RNA interference. Independent scientists warn that products engineered using RNAi might silence the genes or otherwise affect the gene expression of non-target organisms. In this case, non-target organisms include humans who eat the apples. The Arctic apple was developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which was acquired in 2015 by biotech company Intrexon. Intrexon also owns the GM salmon firm AquaBounty.
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A federal judge in San Francisco will hear from expert witnesses on the science and safety of glyphosate at critical hearing starting Monday that will determine if plaintiffs around the country can move forward with their legal action against Monsanto over cancer claims. More than 365 pending lawsuits against the agribusiness giant have been centralized in multidistrict litigation under U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. The plaintiffs claim they or their loved ones developed non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) due to exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller. During the week-long hearing—dubbed "Science Week"—epidemiologists, oncologists, toxicologists and other scientists representing both sides will offer testimony about glyphosate. The judge will not decide whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. Rather, Chhabria will determine if the experts providing scientific opinions regarding causation will be permitted to testify at trial, explained Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, one of the law firms leading the litigation.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) attempt to hide thousands of pages of key government documents revealing how the agency arrived at its controversial approval of the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) animal for human consumption, a GE salmon. The court order rejected the Trump Administration’s position that it can unilaterally decide which documents to provide and which to withhold from public and court review. “Dictatorial secrecy is antithetical to democracy. This is a safeguarding win for government transparency, accountability, and meaningful judicial review of government decisions,” said George Kimbrell, of Center for Food Safety and counsel in the case.
The story with Monsanto’s round that begins as early as the 1980s when laboratory tests on glyphosate began to show cellular changes in laboratory animals that should’ve been considered early signals of a relationship clearly to cancer. In fact, in 1985 the EPA determined that glyphosate, which is the primary ingredient in Roundup, needed to be classified as a Class C carcinogen, which meant that it clearly is suggested of a relationship to cancer. But then miraculously for some reason six years later the EPA suddenly changed that classification to something just the opposite. Now they were saying that they were wrong to classify it as a possible carcinogen and that the public had nothing to worry about when using products that contained this chemical. That was their change. Then all of a sudden the laboratory data from the early ’80s that the EPA use to classify glyphosate as cancer suddenly became unavailable to the public. Why? Because Monsanto argued that all the early testing results for this chemical fell under a protection of trade’s secret rule, meaning they didn’t have to share this information with the general public. It was theirs. They were going to keep it quiet. Joining me now to talk about this is Carey Gillam, author of the book Whitewash: The Story of Weed Killer, Cancer, and Corruption of Science.
No-Till Farmer is a magazine aimed at farmers who grow GM glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans using herbicides instead of ploughing to control weeds. In a revealing sign of the times, the magazine has published an article detailing the serious problems of soil and plant health caused by the application of glyphosate on these GM crops in no-till systems. The paywalled article, written by No-Till Farmer's senior editor John Dobberstein, draws on the expertise of Robert Kremer, a retired research microbiologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and adjunct professor at the University of Missouri, as well as other researchers. Noting that "there may be trouble on the horizon for glyphosate," Dobberstein says that when measured by pounds applied per square mile, the use of glyphosate has increased from less than 1 million pounds in 1974 to 28 million pounds in 1995, and 80 million pounds in 2010. Between 1974 and 2014, 30 billion pounds of glyphosate were applied to US agricultural lands, according to federal data.