News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today announced that the imports and release of the agrochemical Glyphosate will be banned with immediate effect. The President, who was the Health Minister of the former government, said the government has decided to totally ban the imports of Glyphosate, which is linked to the kidney disease, as the number of kidney patients was surging.
The United States has lost more than 40% of its bee colonies this past year according to a new national survey. Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin all saw more than 60 percent of their hives die since April 2014, according to the survey. There can be no doubt that modern agriculture with its emphasis on GMOs and chemicals is a huge part of the problem. Dr. Don Huber has shown a connection between glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world's most common pesticide, Roundup, and bee colony losses.
Will Foods Contaminated with Glyphosate have to Carry a Prop 65 Cancer Warning to be Sold in California?
In late March, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), determined that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup—is a Class 2 A “probable carcinogen.” This determination is nothing short of devastating to Monsanto and other chemical technology companies that rule our food supply, and recent “astroturf” attack on Dr. Oz reveals just how desperate they are to quell rising concerns. Not only is the IARC considered the global gold standard for carcinogenicity studies, it’s also one of the research agencies from which the California agency of environmental hazards gets its data to declare carcinogens under Prop 65. So, eventually, foods containing glyphosate will likely have to carry a Prop 65 cancer warning label to be sold in California.
After the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen, the campaign has intensified in Latin America to ban the herbicide, which is employed on a massive scale on transgenic crops. It is used not only on transgenic crops but also on vegetables, tobacco, fruit trees and plantation forests of pine or eucalyptus, as well as in urban gardens and flowerbeds and along railways. Stédile, who is also a member of the international small farmers movement Vía Campesina, hopes this region and Europe will ban its use in agriculture, as Mexico, Russia and the Netherlands have done. As an alternative, he proposed “agroecological production that combines scientific know-how with the age-old knowledge of peasant farmers, to develop crops without the use of poisons, suited to each ecosystem.” That methodology has increased “the productivity of the soil and labour, better than practices that use poisons,” he said.
On April 21, 2015 a class action lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County, California against the Monsanto corporation. The suit alleges that Monsanto is guilty of false advertising by claiming that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, targets an enzyme only found in plants and not in humans or animals. Monsanto makes this claim to support the contention that glyphosate is harmless to humans. In the lawsuit, the argument is made that the targeted enzyme, EPSP synthase, is found in the microbiota which reside in our intestines and therefore this enzyme is found in humans and animals. It is further stated in the lawsuit that there are many human and animal health problems associated with the disruption of our intestinal microbes. Residents of California can become members of the class in this action.
Seeds are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly put limitations on what farmers can do with their seeds and with the seeds they buy. Seed saving, a thousand-year-old practice which forms the basis of farming, is fast becoming criminalised. What can we do about this?
Food and biotechnology companies spent $63.6 million in 2014 alone to oppose mandatory labeling of genetically modified food ingredients, or GMOs, according to a new analysis by EWG. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, for example, disclosed $5.8 million in lobbying expenditures around GMO labeling in 2014, “up sharply from $60,000 in 2013,” according to the analysis. PepsiCo nearly doubled the amount it spent, dedicating more than $4 million to the anti-labeling effort in 2014, up from 2.6 million in 2013. Other iconic companies that spent big in 2014 to deny consumers the right to know if their foods contain GMOs include Kellogg ($2.1 million), General Mills ($2.6 million) and Coca-Cola, which put up more than $9 million – the most of any food company, according to the report.
American growers sprayed 280 million pounds of glyphosate on their crops in 2012, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. That amounts to nearly a pound of glyphosate for every person in the country. The use of glyphosate on farmland has skyrocketed since the mid-1990s, when biotech companies introduced genetically engineered crop varieties (often called GMOs) that can withstand being blasted with glyphosate. Since then, agricultural use of the herbicide has increased 16-fold. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used weed killer, which according to the World Health Organization is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Roundup is an endocrine disruptor and is toxic to human cells in vitro (tested in culture dishes in the laboratory) at levels permitted in drinking water in Australia, a new study has found. This is the first study to examine the effects of glyphosate and Roundup on progesterone production by human female cells in an in vitro system that models key aspects of reproduction in women. Glyphosate alone was less toxic to human cells than glyphosate in a Roundup formulation; both glyphosate and Roundup caused chorioplacental JAr cell death which resulted in decreased progesterone levels – a form of hormone/endocrine disruption. Endocrine disruption did not precede the toxicity to cells but occurred after it. The decreases in progesterone concentrations were caused by reduced numbers of viable cells.
Texas Scientists Find Antibiotic Resistant “Super Bugs” Traveling Through the Air from Cattle Feed Lots
Phil Smith and Texas Tech University colleague Greg Mayer may have made their biggest discovery yet: DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle feedlots is airborne. For years, scientists have known that humans can contract antibiotic-resistant bacteria by consuming contaminated meat or water. The findings by Smith and Mayer indicate that humans could also be exposed to so-called "super bugs" or "super bacteria" traveling through the air. "This is the first test to open our eyes to the fact that we could be breathing these things," said Smith, an environmental toxicologist at Texas Tech.