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Roundup®: Converging Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic to Laboratory Studies

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roundup toxic

A Roundup of Roundup® Reveals Converging Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic to Laboratory Studies

We need to ban glyphosate from our own communities as most governments fail to protect citizens

Institute of Science in Society   1/19/15

**please support research of Seralini’s team on analysing glyphosate residues in rats exposed to Roundup here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Support_Seralini_Team_for_New_GMO_Risk_Research.php

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate, perhaps surprisingly for a chemical so ubiquitously associated with our food, was not first used as an agricultural chemical but instead first patented as a metal chelator in 1964 by Stauffer Chemical company (US 3160632 A) [1] and used as an industrial pipe cleaner. It was later patented by Monsanto as an herbicidal agent in 1974 (US3799758 A) [2] based on its ability to block the shikimate pathway involved in the production of aromatic amino acids in both plants and bacteria. It has become the most popular herbicide in the world especially since glyphosate tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops were commercialized in the mid-1990s, together with the assumption (perpetrated by Monsanto) that the herbicide is safe for health and the environment. In 2010, it was also patented by Monsanto as an antibiotic agent. Moreover, it is being increasingly used as a pre-harvest desiccant for drying seeds, a process that results in contamination of non-GM grains, one of the main exposure routes in the EU where GM crops are not commonly grown. Thus, an estimated 70 % of UK oil seed rape (canola) and 50-60 % of EU sunflowers are sprayed with glyphosate [3], resulting in products of major food brands in the UK testing positive for glyphosate residues in a 2014 analysis by GM Freeze, with glyphosate the most commonly detected of all chemicals [4].

All of glyphosate’s chemical properties already mentioned have implications for the health of both people and planet. Scientific research has additionally implicated glyphosate as an endocrine disruptor and a DNA mutagen; and it affects over 291 different enzymes in the body [5]. It is increasingly linked with a wide variety of illnesses, the sharp rises in illnesses occurring in parallel with glyphosate application across various GM cultivating regions of the world.

The most convincing evidence of glyphosate toxicity is the consistent pattern of diseases associated with glyphosate that has emerged from the farm to the clinic and from scientific studies to citizen testimonials.

Glyphosate widespread in the environment and in our bodies

Glyphosate’s popularity is due in large measure to its concomitant use with the most widely planted type of GM crops, those tolerant to glyphosate-herbicides. Monsanto commercialised the first Roundup-ready crop in 1996 (Roundup being the commercial formulation containing ‘adjuvants’ that make it much more toxic than the active ingredient glyphosate alone, see later). In countries such as Argentina where large swaths of the country have been dubbed soy deserts, GM soybean cultivation has resulted in an 858 % rise in glyphosate use (see [6] Devastating Impacts of Glyphosate Use with GMO Seeds in Argentina, to appear). Similarly, the US has seen even greater rises of 2 500 % from 1987 to 2007 [7].

This widespread and massive application of glyphosate herbicides has resulted in almost ubiquitous contamination of the environment. A 2014 study on US water systems across 38 states found glyphosate and its principle metabolite AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) not only in rivers, lakes and streams, but also rain, soil and sediment, ditches and drains and groundwater (see [7]). Some 70 % of rain samples tested positive for glyphosate. Similarly in Europe, (in Catalonia, a large region of Spain) it was found that all 11 groundwater sites were positive for glyphosate despite it being a region free from glyphosate-tolerant crop cultivation; 41 % of samples were above detection limits [8]. The detection in groundwater goes against one of the claims on glyphosate safety that its propensity to bind to soil and sediment means it will not leach into our fresh water supplies. In Argentina, new data of rain sample measurements averaged an extreme 6.5 µg/L and reaching as high as 67 µg/L (67 ppt) across four regions from October 2012 to April 2014 [9]. These levels are far higher than those seen in US rain samples where the average and maximum concentrations were 0.11 µg/L and 2.5 µg/L respectively [7]. Read the rest of this entry »

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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