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Sri Lanka Partially Bans Glyphosate for Deadly Kidney Disease Epidemic

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04/09/14  The Institute of Science in Society      roundup kills

Glyphosate’s metal-chelating activity causes bioaccumulation of toxic metals in the body, resulting in an estimated 400 000 cases in Sri Lanka and 20 000 deaths     Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

Sri Lanka is set to partially ban glyphosate-based herbicide use following a new peer-reviewed study linking it to a fatal chronic kidney disease epidemic badly affecting the country [1]. Kidney problems have been further documented in other global regions, prompting an earlier complete ban by El Salvador late last year [2]. A complete ban was initially proposed, but due to plantation sector representatives claiming a shortage of agricultural workers that would not sufficiently manage weeds without glyphosate, the government has now limited the ban to disease endemic areas [3]. Even Brazil, one of the largest growers of glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops has now filed a law suit by Federal Prosecutors to ban glyphosate along with 8 other dangerous pesticides [4]. It is becoming increasingly difficult for government regulators and glyphosate producers to justify the use of this herbicide when other nations are banning the chemical outright in order to protect their citizens.

Glyphosate can impact human health in a number of ways, one of which is through its potent metal chelating abilities. Indeed, glyphosate was originally patented by Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1964 (U.S. Patent No. 3,160,632) [5] for this very function. Chelating mineral ions can lead to nutritional depletion in plants and animals, which has already been shown to cause health problems in both. In the case of this kidney disease epidemic, its chelation of metals such as arsenic in the water supplies is now though to lead to their bioaccumulation in the body, resulting in kidney failure and even death, as proposed in a new study [6] by Channa Jayasumana (Rajarata University, Sri Lanka), Sarath Gunatilake (California State University, USA) and Priyantha Senanayake (Hela Suwaya Organization, Sri Lanka) published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Glyphosate has also been linked to many other health problems including cancers (see [7] Glyphosate and Cancer, SiS 62), infertility (see [8] Glyphosate/Roundup & Human Male Infertility, SiS 62), along with neurotoxicity, reproductive problems, birth defects, and other problems (see [9] Ban GMOs Now, special ISIS report). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by laudyms

April 9, 2014 at 8:41 am

Colombian Farmers Defeat Monsanto: Win Back Control of Seeds

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Sept. 17, 2013  By Oscar León The Real News - reposted at Food Freedom News

Colombians in Trafalgar Square show their support for the farmers' strike in Colombia. Protesters are demonstrating against the free trade agreement with the US; seed multinationals; GMO crops, and seed patents. Photo by Andres Pantoja

Colombians in Trafalgar Square show their support for the farmers’ strike in Colombia. Protesters are demonstrating against the free trade agreement with the US; seed multinationals; GMO crops, and seed patents. Photo by Andres Pantoja

On Sept. 10 in Colombia, after 21 days of a nationwide strike by thousands of farmers, who were supported by bus and truck drivers, miners, students, and others joining massive demonstrations in cities and towns all around the country in places as far as Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Cauca, Huila, Putumayo, Caldas, Cundinamarca, and Nariño, and blocking more than 40 roads, in an historic moment, protesting farmers forced the Colombian government to negotiate the rejection of a farm bill and the release of detained protesters.

On Sunday, September 8, Vice President Angelino Garzón met with the Strike Negotiating Commission in Popayan and agreed to suspend Law 970, the one that gave control over seeds to the government [which made it illegal for farmers to save seeds, any seeds, forcing them to buy patented ones].

They also were promised the release of the 648 arrested during the strike and the creation of a new mining law.

Under this first and provisional agreement, the government will compensate the farmers for their losses when competing with cheaper products imported under as much as ten free market treaties with countries all around the world. In other cases it will suspend the importation of such products.

The strike was ended and negotiations started to discuss the farmers’ proposals. The process of negotiation, as well as the final agreement and its implementation, will be verified by the United Nations.

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Industry and regulators covered up Roundup/birth defect link for decades

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July, 2011            ResponsibleTechnology.org

The pesticide industry knew from its own studies (including one by Monsanto) as long ago as the 1980s-and EU regulators knew since the 1990s- that the best-selling herbicide Roundup causes birth defects.

A new report by international scientists now exposes the 30-year cover-up, including efforts as recent as last year by the German government’s consumer protection office to rebut a 2010 study showing Roundup causes birth defects in frogs and chickens at tiny doses. The study was prompted by reports of high rates of birth defects and cancers in areas of South America growing GM Roundup Ready soy, which is sprayed with high doses of the herbicide. Read a lengthy article on this in the Huffington Post, a summary in The Ecologist, or the full report “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” Monsanto responded to the report, but the report’s authors pick apart the company’s statements, showing how they are unsupported and unscientific.

Monsanto is Poisoning Us All: Famous Scientist, Don Huber Exposes Hazards of Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

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Update:  Watch Food Democracy Now’s interview with Dr. Huber

originally published as: Latter-Day Luther Nails Troubling Thesis to GM Farm & Food Citadels ,

March 29, 2011  by Steven McFadden

Don M. Huber, Ph.D.

After trucking across the high plains for five hours, and casting my eyes over perhaps 100,000 acres or more of winter’s still deathly gray industrial farmland, I came face to face with the newly famous Dr. Don M. Huber in the cave-dark meeting room of the Black Horse Inn just outside the American Heartland village of Creighton, Nebraska.

On the morning of March 24, along with about 80 farmers and Extension agents, I listened as Huber discoursed with erudition and eloquence upon industrial farming practices that may be impacting nearly every morsel of food produced on the planet, and that subsequently may also be having staggeringly serious health consequences for plants, animals, and human beings.

Huber is emeritus soil scientist of Purdue University, and a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served as an intelligence analyst, for 41 years, active and reserves. In Nebraska, he stood ramrod straight for three hours with no notes and spoke with an astonishing depth and range of knowledge on crucial, controversial matters of soil science, genetic engineering, and the profound impact of the widely used herbicide glyphosate upon soil and plants, and ultimately upon the health of animals and human beings.

Dressed in a conservative dark suit and tie, Huber set the stage for his presentation by observing that he has been married for 52 years, and has 11 children, 36 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild on the way. He then began his formal talk framed by a PowerPoint slide bearing a Biblical quote: “All flesh is grass.” – Isaiah 4:6. With this he emphasized the foundational reality that the biotech grains we eat, as well as the biotech grains eaten by cows, hogs, and chickens, are grown in vast herbicide-treated fields.

Martin Luther nails his theses to the church door.

For the domineering giants of industrial agriculture — multinational corporations, universities, and governments — Huber’s assertions about the impact of glyphosate, and the mounting scientific questions about GMO crops, may be as significant and disrupting as Martin Luther’s “heretical” act in 1517. That’s when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany to challenge the systemic problems in the almighty institutions of his era.

Luther disputed the claim that spiritual forgiveness from sins could be legitimately sold for money. Huber and other researchers say they are accumulating evidence that — along with the 2010 report of the U.S. President’s Cancer panel which bluntly blames chemicals for the staggering prevalence of cancers — raises profoundly challenging questions about the chemical and genetic-engineering practices of industrial agriculture. The challenge, if it holds up, has implications not just for agricultural institutions, but also for the primary food chain serving the Earth’s population.

Not an altogether new controversy, the complex matters of industrial agriculture, genetic engineering and the far-flung use of herbicides has been ominously and exponentially accentuated in the last year by virtue of its ominous context: last summer’s epic oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the nation-ripping 9.0 earthquake in Japan earlier this month, with its subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdown which is contaminating the nation’s water and food chain, in combination with the statistical reality that on our planet of nearly seven billion people, over a billion human beings — one of every six of us — is hungry.

All of this was brought into prominent public focus — both sharp and fuzzy — in January of this year by the unlikely matter of alfalfa.

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Scientists Discover New Route for GM-gene ‘Escape’

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Genetically modified genes can jump species via wounds,

yes horizontal gene transfer happens, and at high frequencies; it is the greatest, most underestimated hazard from GMOs released into the environment

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho March 2, 2011

Institute of Science in Society

Gene “escape” a misnomer for horizontal gene transfer

Scientists at Bristol University in the UK announced the discovery of [1] “a previously unknown route” whereby “GM genes may escape into the natural environment.”  “Escape” is a misnomer. There is no need for the GM (genetically modified) genes to “escape”, when genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been released in great abundance and with gay abandon into the environment over the past 17 years. At issue is how fast and how widely the GM genes can spread, and what dire consequences could arise.

The “escape” referred to is horizontal gene transfer – the spread of GM genes by infection and multiplication (literally like a virus) regardless of species barriers; hence the rate of spread is much more rapid, and the extent virtually unlimited.  New combinations of genetic material are created at unprecedented speed; affecting species the most that reproduce the fastest, i.e., bacteria and viruses that cause diseases. Horizontal gene transfer and recombination is indeed a main route for generating new strains of bacteria and viruses that cause diseases. Genetic modification and release of GMOs into the environment is nothing if not greatly facilitated horizontal gene transfer and recombination. It has created highways for gene trafficking in place of narrow by-ways and occasional footpaths that previously existed.

Some of us have long considered horizontal gene transfer to be the most serious hidden and underestimated hazard of genetic engineering, and have alerted regulators accordingly, time and again, since GMOs were first released (see for example [3, 4] (Gene Technology and Gene Ecology of Infectious Diseases, ISIS scientific publication; Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare, ISIS publication). The recent “emergency” warning sent by a senior US Department of Agriculture scientist to US Secretary of Agriculture on a suspected pathogen “new to science” associated with GM crops may prove to be a case in point [5] (Emergency! Pathogen New to Science Found in Roundup Ready GM Crops? SiS 50).

Plant wounds hotspots for gene trafficking

The researchers at Bristol University showed that plant wounds, that could be created by insect bites, abrasion and other mechanical damage, are hotspots for gene trafficking due to the wound hormones produced by the plant. Under such circumstances, the soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which causes crown gall disease in plants, could enlarge its host range to infect fungi, and insert foreign genes into the fungi’s genome [2]. This has large implications on the safety of GMOs already widely released into the environment.

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GMO-Risk Scientist Wins Libel Case After Smear Campaign

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“Neutral”  attackers revealed to have financial interests in the industry.

Victory for Independent Science

World-famous independent scientist researching the risks of GMOs wins libel case against biotech association fronting a concerted campaign to discredit and victimise him

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 26, 2011 Institute of Science in Society

Gilles-Eric Séralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, and president of the scientific council for independent research on genetic engineering (CRIIGEN), is a leading researcher into the risks of GMOs. Not surprisingly, he and his team became the target a concerted campaign of vilification, which included Monsanto, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and scientific societies representing biotechnology in France: the French Association of Plant Biotechnology and the French High Counsel on Biotechnology (see [1] Defend Gilles-Eric Seralini and Transparency in GMO Risk Assessment! SiS 46).

This attach was triggered by the team’s recent thorough re-analysis of data submitted by Monsanto to obtain commercial approval in Europe for three GM maize lines, MON 863, MON 810, NK603, on which EFSA had given a favourable opinion.  In a published paper, the team concluded that the data “highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.”

Séralini and his colleagues received massive support from scientists and civil society. But Séralini decided to sue for libel; he believed the researchers Claude Allegre, Axel Kahn, and Marc Fellous were behind the defamation and intimidation campaign in France and that is why he pursued Fellous, who chairs the French Association of Plant Biotechnologies (AFBV), in the courts. Séralini argued that the campaign had damaged his reputation, reducing his opportunities for work and his chances of getting funding for his research [2].

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Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health

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Jeffrey Smith The world’s leading consumer advocate promoting healthier, non-GMO choices

January 14, 2011   Institute for Responsible Technology

The following article reveals the devastating and unprecedented impact that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is having on the health of our soil, plants, animals, and human population. On top of this perfect storm, the USDA now wants to approve Roundup Ready alfalfa, which will exacerbate this calamity. Please tell USDA Secretary Vilsack not to approve Monsanto’s alfalfa today.

While visiting a seed corn dealer’s demonstration plots in Iowa last fall, Dr. Don Huber walked passed a soybean field and noticed a distinct line separating severely diseased yellowing soybeans on the right from healthy green plants on the left (see photo). The yellow section was suffering from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease that ravaged the Midwest in 2009 and ’10, driving down yields and profits. Something had caused that area of soybeans to be highly susceptible and Don had a good idea what it was.

The diseased field on the right had glyphosate applied the previous season. Photo by Don Huber

Don Huber spent 35 years as a plant pathologist at Purdue University and knows a lot about what causes green plants to turn yellow and die prematurely. He asked the seed dealer why the SDS was so severe in the one area of the field and not the other. “Did you plant something there last year that wasn’t planted in the rest of the field?” he asked. Sure enough, precisely where the severe SDS was, the dealer had grown alfalfa, which he later killed off at the end of the season by spraying a glyphosate-based herbicide (such as Roundup). The healthy part of the field, on the other hand, had been planted to sweet corn and hadn’t received glyphosate.

This was yet another confirmation that Roundup was triggering SDS. In many fields, the evidence is even more obvious. The disease was most severe at the ends of rows where the herbicide applicator looped back to make another pass (see photo). That’s where extra Roundup was applied.

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State Department offers to attack France for Monsanto

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Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert discuss the US State Department’s planned retaliation against France for daring to reject Monsanto’s toxic GMO corn seeds. This operation was revealed by WikiLeaks but has not been reported by the media.

Also discussed are the economic dangers of GMO agriculture, and Monsanto’s ability to subvert the US government to do their dirty work via placing their operatives in government oversight positions. In the second half of the show, Max talks to author and blogger, James Howard Kunstler, about shopping stampedes and revolutionary times.

Sadly Keiser is a bit hyper, but the info is still very important. See also:

WikiLeaks: US Ambassador Planned “Retaliation” Against France Over Ban on Monsanto Corn

Coexistence with Monsanto: Hell No! by Ronnie Cummins

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Organic Consumers Association, Dec 22, 2010

“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” - Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” – Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, quoted in the New York Times, October 25, 1998

After 16 years of non-stop biotech bullying and force-feeding Genetically Engineered or Modified (GE or GM) crops to farm animals and “Frankenfoods” to unwitting consumers, Monsanto has a big problem, or rather several big problems. A growing number of published scientific studies indicate that GE foods pose serious human health threats.  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) recently stated that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM advises consumers to avoid GM foods. Before the FDA arbitrarily decided to allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into food products in 1994, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can set off serious, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored. http://www.responsibletechnology.org

Federal judges are finally starting to acknowledge what organic farmers and consumers have said all along: uncontrollable and unpredictable GMO crops such as alfalfa and sugar beets spread their mutant genes onto organic farms and into non-GMO varieties and plant relatives, and should be halted.  http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22173.cfm

An appeals court recently ruled that consumers have the right to know whether the dairy products they are purchasing are derived from cows injected with Monsanto’s (now Elanco’s) controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), linked to serious animal health problems and increased cancer risk for humans.

Monsanto’s Roundup, the agro-toxic companion herbicide for millions of acres of GM soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets, is losing market share. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4, D and paraquat. Moreover, patented “Roundup Ready” crops require massive amounts of climate destabilizing nitrate fertilizer. Compounding Monsanto’s damage to the environment and climate, rampant Roundup use is literally killing the soil, destroying essential soil microorganisms, degrading the living soil’s ability to capture and sequester CO2, and spreading deadly plant diseases. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21039.cfm

In just one year, Monsanto has moved from being Forbes’ “Company of the Year” to the Worst Stock of the Year. The Biotech Bully of St. Louis has become one of the most hated corporations on Earth. http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm

Monsanto and their agro-toxic allies are now turning to Obama’s pro-biotech USDA for assistance. They want the organic community to stop suing them and boycotting their products. They want food activists and the OCA to mute our criticisms and stop tarnishing the image of their brands, their seeds, and companies. They want us to resign ourselves to the fact that one-third of U.S. croplands, and one-tenth of global cultivated acreage, are already contaminated with GMOs. That’s why Monsanto recently hired the notorious mercenary firm, Blackwater, to spy on us. That’s why Monsanto has teamed up with the Gates Foundation to bribe government officials and scientists and spread GMOs throughout Africa and the developing world.  That’s why the biotech bullies and the Farm Bureau have joined hands with the Obama Administration to preach their new doctrine of “coexistence.”

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Wikileaks Reveals Intel Efforts to Make Africa Safe for Monsanto

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Wikileaks: State Dept. wants intel on African acceptance of GMOs
By Tom Laskawy
Grist Magazine, Nov 29, 2010

The Wikileaks release of U.S. State Department classified diplomatic cables may be problematic, but it has been quite a trove of information on the workings of our diplomatic corps. For the most part, the dump has confirmed things that we already knew about U.S. policy — and that seems to be the case regarding the one mention of agricultural policy in these thousands of emails and documents (no doubt there are more) to which I was alerted.

Buried deep in a document that outlines priorities for intelligence gathering in the African “Great Lakes” countries of Burundi, the Republic of Congo, and Rwanda is a list (for the most part, very reasonable) of what the State Department would like to know about the region’s agricultural policy. Things like government policies on food security and food safety top the list, for example, along with information on the impact of rising food prices in these countries. Agricultural yield statistics, infrastructure improvements, data on deforestation and desertification, water issues, and invasive species are included as priorities for “reporting” as well.

But also getting its own line item on the intel priority list is this:

Government acceptance of genetically modified food and propagation of genetically modified crops.

Sigh.

Tom Philpott has reported on the State Department’s biotech-loving science adviser Nina Federoff and her industry ties — and certainly USDA Chief  Tom Vilsack believes that genetically modified foods are an answer to world hunger. So this revelation hardly counts as a surprise. But it’s still a shame to see that our spymasters are actively engaged in efforts to make the world safe for Monsanto. Aren’t there better things for them to do?

Tom Laskawy is a writer and a media & technology consultant who thinks that wrecking the planet is a bad idea. He twitters and blogs here and at Beyond Green about food policy, alternative energy, climate science and politics as well as the multiple and various effects of living on a warming planet.

For related articles and more information please visit Organic Consumers Association‘s Resource Center on Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, our Millions Against Monsanto Campaign, and our page on Politics and Democracy.

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