Posts Tagged ‘Monsanto’
04/09/14 The Institute of Science in Society
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 . Kidney problems have been further documented in other global regions, prompting an earlier complete ban by El Salvador late last year . 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 . 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 . 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)  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  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  Glyphosate and Cancer, SiS 62), infertility (see  Glyphosate/Roundup & Human Male Infertility, SiS 62), along with neurotoxicity, reproductive problems, birth defects, and other problems (see  Ban GMOs Now, special ISIS report). Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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.
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?