Showing posts with label Roundup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roundup. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Toxic Combo of Roundup and Fertilizers Blamed for Tens of Thousands of Deaths

The EPA was directed to set standards for radi...
The EPA was directed to set standards for radioactive materials under Reorganization Plan No. 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Dr. Mercola
The public's appreciation of the toxicity of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—is still limited, despite highly damning research being published.
The fact that Monsanto marketed Roundup as "environmentally friendly" and "biodegradable" probably has a lot to do with this general lack of insight.
More people are apt to remember the Roundup commercial than recall the fact that Monsanto was twice found guilty of false advertising of this herbicide. In 2009, a French court again upheld these earlier convictions.
Mounting evidence shows that glyphosate is FAR more toxic than anyone previously suspected, both alone and in combination with other additives (as in the case of Roundup), or in combination with other agricultural chemicals and/or heavy metals.
Dr. Donald Huber, one of the premier plant pathologists in the US, views it far more toxic than DDT. They are spraying nearly ONE BILLION pounds every year on our food crops. That is enough glyphosate to fill 4,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.
Most recently, what's being referred to as "an epidemic" of chronic kidney disease—a mysterious form of toxic nephropathy—striking down farmers in Sri Lanka, India, and Central America's Pacific coastline (El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica), has now been traced back to Roundup in combination with contaminated fertilizer.
As reported by Lanka Business Online1Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) first appeared in Sri Lanka's rice growing areas in the north central province in the 1990s and has been spreading into other areas including the South, with over 20,000 estimated deaths so far.” According to estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some 20,000 American farm workers are also being poisoned on the job each year2.

Lethal Kidney Disease Linked to Roundup and Phosphate Fertilizer Combo

According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,3 glyphosate may carry heavy metals and minerals, whether naturally-occurring or originating from agricultural chemicals, into your kidneys, courtesy of its chelating properties.
A unique feature of this kidney disease (chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology/CKDu) is that none of the commonly known risk factors apply, such as diabetes or hypertension, but there's a strong association between this mysterious kidney disease and consumption of hard water, i.e. water that contains higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron.
Ninety-six percent of patients with chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology had consumed hard or very hard water for at least five years. Meanwhile, the disease is not found among those who get their drinking water straight from natural springs. Kidney toxicity is not known to be associated with hard water consumption, and this surprising finding added to the initial mystery. Furthermore, the disease seemed to have cropped out of nowhere. There were no reported cases of this kind of kidney disease in Sri Lanka prior to the 1990s.
The researchers note that the original use of glyphosate was as a de-scaling agent, used to clean out calcium and other mineral deposits in hot water systems. De-scaling agents attach to minerals such as calcium and magnesium, rendering them water soluble. According to the authors:
"[T]he totality of scientific evidence gathered so far has highlighted the fact that an unknown factor (Compound X) originating from agrochemicals, when combined with hardness/Ca/Mg can cause significant kidney damage; thus explaining many current observations including the unique geographical distribution of the disease.
If we assume that the 'Compound X' is derived from the agrochemicals and is easily bound to Ca/Mg/Sr/Fe to ultimately cause damage to the kidneys, then this hypothesis can explain the geographical distribution of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) as well as the occurrence of the disease only after the 1990s...
Although glyphosate alone does not cause an epidemic of chronic kidney disease, it seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers when it forms complexes with a localized geo-environmental factor (hardness) and nephrotoxic metals."

A 'Perfect Storm' of Environmental Factors and Chemical Contamination

Arsenic also plays a role. Previous research has shown victims of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology have arsenic in their hair and nails, and arsenic along with heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, nickel, and lead are also found in the triple-super-phosphate (TSP) fertilizer used by Sri Lankan farmers.
Triple superphosphate4 (TSP), also known as calcium dihydrogen phosphate and as monocalcium phosphate, became widely used in the 20th cen­tury. In Sri Lanka, it's applied within a couple of weeks of spraying the rice fields with glyphosate.
According to the featured study, Sri Lankan farmers do not use protective gear when applying agricultural chemicals, which would explain why glyphosate has been found in farmers' urine post-application. The matter may be further compounded by the fact that:
  • The affected farmers dissolve the glyphosate in hard water before spraying
  • They eat rice contaminated with glyphosate and heavy metals
  • Many chew locally grown tobacco, which has also been found to be contaminated with cadmium and arsenic
"The phosphorus atom in the phosphonic group in the glyphosate/AMPA molecule can possibly be replaced by As (Arsenic). Following dermal and respiratory absorption of glyphosate, it can form complexes with nephrotoxic metals and arsenic derived from rice, vegetables and tobacco within the circulation," the researchers say.

Chemical Agriculture Has Replaced Sustainable Agriculture Around the Globe

Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology has also become commonplace among Central American sugarcane farmers. The two crops, rice and sugarcane, both require higher amounts of agricultural chemicals when grown on a large scale, and glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in areas affected by this chronic kidney disease.
Shockingly, considering its majestic natural beauty, the island country of Sri Lanka has some of the highest use of agricultural chemicals in the world! According to the featured article:5
"The Island newspaper... quoted WHO/UN data which said Sri Lanka used 471 units of agro-chemicals, the highest in the world, made up of 187 Units of pesticides, which was also the highest in the world and 284 units of fertilizer, which was the 8th highest in the world.
Others were; Bangladesh (431U), Jamaica (397U), Dominican Republic (358U), Costa Rica (357U) and El Salvador (355U)... The state also subsidizes chemical fertilizer in an unprecedented scale."

The Many Health Hazards of Glyphosate

It seems quite clear that we've radically altered our farming methods, embracing the "marvels" of chemical agriculture, without having a clear understanding of what all of these products actually do, alone and in combination, beyond their obvious benefits of killing pests. It appears as though, long-term, certain chemicals such as glyphosate also have the ability to kill the human population, along with other portions of the natural world.
Glyphosate is actually, in many ways, similar to DDT, which is now known to cause reproductive problems and birth defects6among other things. The most recent research into DDT effects found that exposure appears to increase the risk of developingAlzheimer's disease, decades later.
This is undoubtedly unwelcome news to those who, in their youth, used to run out and frolic in the fumes from the DDT truck! Remember, DDT was advertised7 as completely harmless, and sold to an unsuspecting public with catchy slogans like "DDT is Good for Me-e-e!" Heck, they even sold DDT-laced wallpaper8 specifically designed for children's rooms! And it was "certified to be absolutely safe for home use."
Today, we have glyphosate which, just like DDT, has been falsely advertised, and falsely "certified" and "guaranteed" as safe. Besides being identified as a likely causative factor in fertility problems and birth defects, research also shows that glyphosate:
Decimates beneficial microorganisms in the soil essential for proper plant function and high quality nutritionCauses extreme disruption of your gut microbes' function and lifecycle;preferentially affecting beneficial bacteria, while promoting the growth of pathogens in your intestines
Chelates critical microminerals, preventing them from being utilized by the plant (leading to nutrient-deficient food)Inhibits enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of organic substances, which appears to be an overlooked component of glyphosate's toxicity to mammals. By limiting the ability of these enzymes to detoxify foreign chemical compounds, glyphosateenhances the damaging effects of those chemicals and environmental toxins you may be exposed to
Promotes the proliferation of disease-causing pathogens in soilIs toxic to water fleas at extraordinarily low levels, well within the levels expected to be found in the environment. These findings throw serious doubt on glyphosate's safety
Predisposes cattle to lethal botulismIs toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications

Other Hidden Health Hazards Associated with Phosphate Fertilizers

Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive element9 that releases alpha particles as it decays. It's also chemically toxic.10 While alpha particles cannot penetrate deeply into your body, they can cause serious damage to cells they do come into contact with. While naturally present in small amounts in the environment, one of the primary sources of exposure is via calcium phosphate fertilizers, commonly used on tobacco fields and food crops.
Researchers have gone so far as to suggest that it's the radiation from these fertilizers that are the primary cause of cancer in smokers.11, 12, 13 According to a report in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research,14 radioactivity in tobacco comes from two sources: the atmosphere and uptake through soil rich in calcium phosphate fertilizer contaminated with polonium phosphates.
You can also consume polonium by drinking fluoridated water, courtesy of the fluorosilicic acid used. This chemical byproduct, created during the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process, is what is typically used to fluoridate municipal water supplies. Uranium and radium are two known carcinogens found in fluorosilicic acid used for water fluoridation, and polonium-210 is one of two decay products of uranium. Furthermore, polonium decays into stable lead-206, which also has significant health risks—especially in children—and research has indeed shown that drinking fluoridated water increases lead absorption in your body.

Phosphate Fertilizers Also Used in GMO Agriculture

Phosphate fertilizers are also used on food crops. And while food-borne polonium may be absorbed and react differently in your body than being inhaled, you could potentially be exposed to greater levels of this (and other) radioactive elements than previously thought, through the aggressive use of phosphate fertilizers in food production. Besides the risk of radioactive contamination, research has shown that dietary calcium phosphate has a detrimental effect on your gut health—an effect shared by glyphosate, which also decimates your gut flora. According to a 2002 study in the Journal of Nutrition:15
"Most Gram-positive bacteria are susceptible to the bactericidal action of fatty acids and bile acids. Because dietary calcium phosphate (CaP(i)) lowers the intestinal concentration of these antimicrobial agents, high CaP(i) intake may enhance intestinal colonization of Gram-positive pathogens and the subsequent pathogenesis."
Taken together, modern agricultural methods may at first glance appear to be the most cost effective and efficient strategy, but it quickly becomes one of the most costly ways to produce food once you take into account the environmental and human health consequences.
Moreover, processed food manufacturers, represented by the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (GMA), is working hand-in-hand with the chemical technology industry to force this food model on the world, with tax payers subsidizing the very food that will promotes disease and wreaks havoc on the environment. The GMA is spearheading the efforts of these industries to prevent you from knowing the truth about what you're really eating, and control the food system at virtually any cost, it seems.

Greatest Purveyors of Disease Fight to Maintain Control of the Food System

As you may recall, during last year's I-522 ballot campaign to label GMOs in Washington State, the GMA came up with an ingenious, and illegal, money laundering scheme to protect the identity of members who donated funds to the opposing campaign.16
This illegal move helped them defeat I-522 by a mere one percent margin. The scheme fell apart however, and the GMA was sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson,17 who accused them of intentional money laundering and violating state campaign disclosure laws. As a result, the identities of the companies paying to defeat I-522 were released.18 Not surprisingly it contained the usual suspects: Pepsi, Coke, General Mills and Nestle – all primary purveyors of chronic disease.
But that's not the end of the story.
On January 13, the Washington State Office of the Attorney General announced that the GMA has countersued the state, challenging its campaign finance laws.19 Essentially, the Association is suing for the right to hide corporate campaign funds—a move that threatens the transparency of the state's elections on every issue! What's more, the GMA has also filed a civil rights complaint against the Attorney General himself, claiming that he acted unconstitutionally when he enforced the state's laws! It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. This is bullying at its finest. As recently reported by
"If you don't live in Washington state and are wondering why you should care, A. Bryan Enders, associate professor of agricultural law at the University of Illinois, has food for thought. 'This is part of a larger narrative involving increased consumer awareness,' he says. 'The GMA countersuit can be viewed as not pro- or anti-consumer but about maintaining control over the messaging of our food system. As various states respond to consumer demand for heightened food labels, this shifts control away from GMA and its members and places it within the hands of diffuse consumer interests.'
The latest countersuit isn't GMA's only stick in the fire. According to Reuters, the trade group is working with a coalition including biotech crop developers and unnamed lawmakers to introduce federal GMO labeling legislation—legislation that would have the power to nullify individual state laws, a tactic public health lawyer Michele Simon spoke with us about in September. 'The devil is in the details,' Simon said. 'Industry will agree to federal labeling, but in exchange, they say, 'we want to preempt or stop any states from going further.'"

Biological Farming Is the Way Out of This Mess

Last year, I interviewed Dr. Elaine Ingham, an internationally recognized expert on the benefits of sustainable soil science. According to Dr. Ingham and other soil experts, a key component of successful agriculture lies in having the right helper organisms in the soil; beneficial species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, beneficial nematodes (not the weedfeeders), microarthropods, and earthworms—all of which contribute to plant growth in a number of different ways.
Nutrient cycling is another major issue. Dr. Ingham believes the concept that your soil is deficient and needs added phosphorus or nitrogen, etc. in order to grow plants is seriously flawed, and largely orchestrated by the chemical companies, because it's based on looking at the soluble, inorganic nutrients that are partly present in your soil. The real nutrition plants require is actually derived from microorganisms in the soil. These organisms take the mineral material in the soil and convert it into a plant-available form. Without these bioorganisms, plants cannot get the nutrients they need.
So what you need is not more chemical soil additives, what you need is the proper balance of beneficial soil organisms. You can actually use a starter culture to boost the fermentation and generation of beneficial bacteria much in the same way you can boost the probiotics in your fermented vegetables.
For compost, this strategy is used if you want to compost very rapidly. In that case, you can use a starter to inoculate the specific sets of organisms for your garden's particular needs. Dr. Ingham has written several books on this topic, including The Field Guide for Actively Aerated Compost Tea, and The Compost Tea Brewing Manual. You can also greatly enhance the benefits of compost or compost tea by adding biochar, as it serves as residence where the bacteria can live and thrive; otherwise they tend to die out relatively rapidly after adding them to the soil.

Eat Well and Help Save Farmers by Supporting Sustainable Agriculture

With everything we now know about the benefits of organically grown foods, and the health and environmental hazards of chemical farming, there's no doubt that HOW your food is grown is of utmost importance to your health. This is why I encourage you to support small family farms, and to buy organic whenever possible.
Another alternative is to grow some of your own vegetables. Sprouts are an excellent choice if you're just getting started, or if you want to grow the most nutritious food for the least amount of time and money. Frequenting farmer's markets and joining a community-supported agriculture program are other options. Below are several resources to obtain wholesome food that supports not only you but also the environment and the farmers who grow your food.
  • Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Farmers' Markets -- A national listing of farmers' markets.
  • Local Harvest -- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
  • Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
  • Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) -- CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
  • FoodRoutes -- The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs, and markets near you.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Unethical Journal Retraction Fuels Mistrust in GMO Science

Ciencia traicionada... ¿será?
Ciencia traicionada... ¿será? (Photo credit: jpazkual)

By Dr. Mercola
In September of last year, the first-ever lifetime feeding study assessing the health risks of genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready corn (NK603) was published in Reed Elsevier’s peer-reviewed journalFood and Chemical Toxicology.
The two-year long study1 led by Gilles-Eric Séralini revealed shocking health effects, including massive tumors and early death.
Rats given glyphosate in their drinking water also developed tumors. Glyphosateis the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, which has recently been implicated as a major contributor to chronic disease. Needless to say, Séralini’s findings set off a fire-storm of opposition from the industry.
Last month, the publisher retracted the study saying it “did not meet scientific standards.” While no errors or misrepresentation of data were found, the study had too small a sample size to make any definite conclusion about health effects, Elsevier said.2, 3, 4, 5
According to Reuters:6
“The journal said that while it received many letters expressing concerns about the validity of the findings, the proper use of animals and even allegations of fraud, its own investigation found ‘no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.’
‘However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected,’ it said.”

Séralini Defends His Research

Séralini vehemently defends his research, and according to some sources may end up taking the issue to court.7 He’s certainly no stranger to legal battles. A mere two years ago, he won a libel case against the French Association of Plant Biotechnologies. As reported by GM Watch in January 2011:8
“Séralini sued for libel following a smear campaign... This was part of a furious response from the GM industry to a number of papers by Seralini and colleagues which demonstrated serious statistical and other shortcomings in the Monsanto research dossiers submitted in support of applications for the approval of three GM varieties.
The papers had not argued that the Monsanto GM maize lines were actually dangerous, but had simply argued that there were no grounds for assuming them to be completely harmless. They asked for further research and longer animal feeding studies than those that had been conducted.”
The research team issued the following statement9 on
“We, authors of the paper published in FCT more than one year ago on the effects of Roundup and a Roundup-tolerant GMO, and having answered to critics in the same journal, do not accept as scientifically sound the debate on the fact that these papers are inconclusive because of the rat strain or the number of rats used.
We maintain our conclusions. We already published some answers to the same critics in your Journal, which have not been answered.”
It’s quite noteworthy that after an intense year-long review by the publisher—in addition to being reviewed by twice the typical number of referees prior to publication—the study was not retracted due to errors, fraud, or even the slightest misrepresentation of data.
It was retracted because the strain and number of animals used allegedly rendered the findings inconclusive. However, since when are studies retracted for showing inconclusive findings?

Inconclusive Findings Are Not a Valid Ground for Retraction

As noted by GM Watch,10 inconclusiveness of findings is not a valid ground for retraction. According to the guidelines for scientific retractions set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the only grounds for a retraction are:
  • Clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error
  • Plagiarism or redundant publication
  • Unethical research
Clearly, the retraction is in violation of COPE guidelines. On his website,11 Séralini defends the use of Sprague Dawley rats, stating this strain of rats is routinely used in studies investigating toxicological and tumor-inducing effects, including in some of Monsanto’s own toxicology studies.
One main difference is that Monsanto ended their feeding study at 90 days, and Séralini’s team discovered that tumors and other devastating health effects occurred AFTER the 90-day mark. What’s more, contrary to Séralini’s paper, Monsanto’s study actually contains errors, yet it was never retracted. As reported by ISIS:12
“[A] study published by Monsanto in the same journal in 2004 does contain errors if not outright fraud, basically because the effect of GMOs was not compared with matched isogenic non-GMO controls, while the feed for controls was most likely contaminated with GMOs. That paper should be considered for retraction, but the issue was never even raised.”
Séralini also explains and defends the number of animals used, stating that while standard research guidelines call for 20 animals per group in carcinogenicity studies, the team was not performing a carcinogenesis study. They were assessing long-term chronic toxicity, and tumors just happened to be part of the outcome; hence they were reported. As noted by GM Watch:13
“It is important that scientists do not overstate their findings or draw conclusions that are not justified by the data, but Prof Séralini's paper does not do this. Because Prof Séralini's study was a chronic toxicity study and not a full-scale carcinogenicity study, which normally requires larger numbers of rats, He conservatively did not do a statistical analysis of the tumors and mortality findings. Instead he simply reported them, without drawing definitive conclusions. This is in line with the OECD chronic toxicity protocol, which requires that any ‘lesions’ (including tumors) observed are recorded.”

The Controversy Deepens

Interestingly, according to one report, Séralini may be planning an experiment that could throw serious doubt on virtually allprevious GMO research.14 According to Séralini, all experimental animals are routinely exposed to pollutants and (most likely) GMOs via their chow. This makes it impossible to properly distinguish spontaneous, natural tumors from tumors developed in response to GMOs and other toxic contaminants, and it doesn’t matter how many animals you use in your tests... As stated by Sustainable Pulse:15
“In short, the ultimate defense [of Seralini’s 2012 GM maize study] is to cast doubt on the relevance of the studies done so far. This statement – which would need to be seriously supported – will undoubtedly cause a wave of protest. The editors of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology were perhaps hoping to extinguish the controversy, but instead they may have fanned the flames.”
Indeed, the chemical technology industry, led by Monsanto, is not sitting so pretty right now, and victory shouts of “I told you so” in response to the retraction of Séralini’s hotly contested research falls flat when you consider that the GMO industry just lost one of its own primary scientific figure heads to a string of embarrassing study retractions. I’m talking about Pamela Ronald,16 of course, the public face of GMO research. Two of her scientific papers (published in 2009 and 2011 respectively) were retracted this year, and questions have been raised about a third paper. Her work was correctly retracted due to errors, which included mislabeled samples and failure to use replicable experimental conditions, and more.
What many don’t realize is that even a small number of retracted studies can wreak absolute havoc with the science-based paradigm. Other scientists, who have based their research on the results from studies that for whatever reason end up being retracted, are now perpetuating flawed science as well. In this case, Dr. Ronald’s retracted GMO studies have been cited by at least 121 times.17, 18 That’s a large cleanup job in a field that’s already heavily criticized for its preponderance of lousy science. This probably added pressure to even the playing field by removing some of the worst evidence of harm from the table. With Séralini’s findings dismissed, they’ve managed to at least slow down the GMO industry’s demise.

Mistrust in Science Grows as Conflicts of Interest Become the Norm

As if Elsevier wasn’t in enough hot water, the retraction of Séralini’s research comes on the heels of the installation of a Monsanto employee on the publisher’s editorial staff. Earlier this year, they created a brand new editorial position, Associate Editor for Biotechnology and filled it with Richard E. Goodman,19 who was a Monsanto scientist for seven years. Goodman is also an affiliate of the GMO industry-funded group, the International Life Sciences Institute.
While on Monsanto’s payroll, he assessed GE crops for allergenicity and published papers on the safety of GE food. While there’s no proof that Goodman was responsible for the retraction, the timing and obnoxiously blatant appearance of conflicts of interest are hard to ignore. As stated by the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS):20
“The journal and its publisher are operating a double standard in retracting a paper reporting adverse health impacts for which no fraud or error was found, as opposed to one claiming no health impacts where serious error at least is involved. This is not just a blatant violation of publishing ethics, it means conspiring to remove from the public record results that could be of great importance for public health. Furthermore, it is an abuse of science and amounts to corporate terrorism on independent science and scientists. It strikes at the very heart of science and democracy, and the aspiration of scientists to work for the public good.”  [Emphasis mine]
Indeed, regardless of Goodman’s level of involvement, the bizarre justification for retracting Séralini’s study is enough to indicate that “corporate terrorism” has seized the field and is actively undermining science as we know it. Science used to be a field held in the highest of esteem, and all of modern medicine is built on the foundation of “science-based” treatments.
Now, it is abundantly clear that the preferred business model of an industry is created first, and “scientific evidence” is then concocted, sometimes almost like an afterthought, to support the established business model—not the other way around, which is how most people understand the fundamental role of science. This is precisely why the scam has worked this long. Everyone just assumes that scientific integrity is somehow assured; that there are safeguards along the way...

The Rise of Corporate Terrorism

“Corporate terrorism” is perhaps one of the most apt descriptions I’ve seen so far to describe what’s happening here. Again and again, papers assessing the prevalence scientific fraud and the impact of conflicts of interest with industry show that the situation is dire and getting worse. In short, we have lost scientific integrity. Without integrity, science is dead.
Instead of evidence-based decision making, we now have decision-based evidence making.
This is creating a tremendous mistrust of science, and rightfully so. The Séralini case reveals just how gaping a gulf this problem has become. If we don’t have real, independent and unbiased science, how are we to make well-informed decisions about anything—be it related to the medical, chemical, or genetic engineering industries? The entire notion of “science-based”—anything goes right out the window! Where does that ultimately leave us, and how do we proceed?
Ever since the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) seeds in the mid-1990s, the market for these chemical-dependent crops have spawned a multibillion dollar industry. Funding for the development of more varieties of GE crop varieties has come primarily from the privately-owned chemical technology industry itself. Over the last 15 years, conflicts of interest within science have exponentially increased, and at this point, it’s blatantly obvious that financial conflicts of interest play a major role when it comes to what research is done; what gets published, and what doesn’t. According to one 2011 study published in the journalFood Policy:21
“In a study involving 94 articles selected through objective criteria, it was found that the existence of either financial or professional conflict of interest was associated to study outcomes that cast genetically modified products in a favorable light. While financial conflict of interest alone did not correlate with research results, a strong association was found between author affiliation to industry (professional conflict of interest) and study outcome. “
Here’s another example of corrupted science. As noted in a 2012 paper published in the journal Nature,22 when researchers looked into the reproducibility of what were considered to be “landmark” cancer studies, they were absolutely shocked to realize that scientific findings could only be confirmed in 11 percent of these “groundbreaking” research cases! Unless a finding can be successfully reproduced, the hypothesis doesn’t hold water.
Conflicts of interest are also at the heart of yet another round of controversy revolving around genetically engineered foods. Corinne Lepage, a Member of the European Parliament and former French environment minister recently called for the resignation of Anne Glover, chief scientific adviser to the European Commission. Glover, a GMO-advocate, was appointed to her position two years ago. Now, all of a sudden—for the first time since 1996—the commission is considering authorizing the cultivation of GM corn in Europe.23 Coincidence? Lepage doesn’t think so.
Other scientists have also spoken out about the abuse and intimidation they suffer simply for publishing findings that point to problems relating to genetically engineered foods. Some of them are addressed in Emily Waltz’s 2009 report “GM crops: Battlefield,” published in Nature.24

Take a Stand Against Unethical Science

As stated by Corinne Lepage at a November 28 press conference, Séralini’s paper raised valid questions about the safety of GMOs and Roundup, and retracting the paper “will not make these questions disappear.”25 Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, physician and co-author of the Séralini paper called the retraction “a public health scandal,” noting that the journal had already scrutinized the study more closely than other papers prior to publishing. And the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility issued a statement26 calling the retraction “a travesty of science” that “looks like a bow to industry.”
It sure does look like it, and Elsevier has the history to support such suspicions as well. Many may have forgotten this, but it was only four years ago that Elsevier was found to have created no less than six “science journals” that were nothing of the sort.27 The journals were designed to look like peer-reviewed medical journals—little did doctors know that the magazines were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and contained reprints of favorable studies and single-source reviews. In short, it was “undercover corporate propaganda.”
The publisher has also drawn enough ire from academics fed up with Elsevier’s business practices, especially its pricing. According to ISIS, more than 13,970 academics from all subjects have signed a boycott against the publisher, pledging not to publish, referee, or do editorial work for them.
Now, a group of scientists have drafted an open letter requesting Elsevier reverse its retraction of the Séralini paper, and to issue a public apology to the authors. Until this is done, we will boycott Elsevier, decline to purchase Elsevier products, submit papers for publication, review papers or do editorial work for Elsevier,” the letter states. The letter may be signed by scientists and non-scientists alike. In the time it took me to write this article, the letter received another 15 signatures by scientists. Please take a moment to sign the letter, and forward it as widely as possible.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

The food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State - to prevent you from knowing what’s in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.
I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beets, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.
If you buy processed food, opt for products bearing the USDA 100% Organic label, as certified organics do not permit GMO’s. You can also print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. Alternatively, download their free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications. For more in-depth information, I highly recommend reading the following two books, authored by Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:
Please, do your homework. Together, we have the power to stop the biotech industry from destroying our food supply, the future of our children, and the earth as a whole. All we need is about five percent of American shoppers to simply stop buying genetically engineered foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients—regardless of whether the products bear an actual GMO label or not.  Link back to website.
Enhanced by Zemanta