Monsanto’s Herbicide Causes DNA Damage, Cell Death

A new peer-reviewed scientific study has found that soybean farmers in Brazil who are using Monsanto’s flagship product Roundup suffer from DNA damage and high cell death, reported RT on Wednesday.

The scientific team focused on farmers in Rio Grando do Sul, Brazil, exposed to fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides from the company, especially the chemicals  Glyphosate and 2,4-D.

While the former is currently sprayed on crops twice more than it used to be five years ago, the latter has been used since the 1940s, meaning that soil and water are likely highly contaminated by the substance.

The study, published by the Elsevier, recommends “monitoring [of] genetic toxicity in soybean farm workers exposed to pesticides.”

However,  farmers would not be the only ones contaminated, according to the Natural Society, citing a German study published in Ithaca that found that glyphosate levels in the blood and urine of city dwellers were often up to 20 times the allowable levels in drinking water.

Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not regularly test the toxicity of the chemical in humans; allegedly because of its high cost, other previous studies have already assessed it, coming to similar conclusions. The famous research team led by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen, France, revealed in particular that the Roundup product completely destroyed kidney cells, even under low exposure.

Meanwhile, thousands of farmers using Monsanto’s products still “mysteriously” died from kidney diseases – as the World Health Organization refused to directly indicate Monsanto’s responsibility, but rather evoked a “possible cause” of their deaths.

MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO TO SHOUT “HELL NO TO GMOS” FOR SECOND YEAR

 In 2013, Tami Monroe Canal founded March Against Monsanto because she believed it would protect her daughters’ health. Monsanto is an agricultural company that produces seed brands and herbicides (most famously, Roundup), some of which have been scientifically proven to cause health risks, such as birth defects, cancer, organ damage and auto-immune conditions. Monsanto is also one of the world’s leading producers of genetically modified organisms (better known as GMOs).

GMOs have been partially banned in several countries and foods containing GMO ingredients are currently labeled in 64 countries. Monsanto has spent millions in lobbying efforts opposing such laws in the United States. (Anti-labeling groups spent $22 million in an attempt to beat down labeling legislation in the state of Washington alone). The company has failed to make nice with independent farmers; early this year it won a lawsuit that allows the agri-giant to sue farmers whose fields are found to contain patent-protected Monsanto biotechnology, even if the farmers did not knowingly use such matter.

Despite the insistence from Monsanto that their company helps, not hurts, farmers, and the lack of credible scientific evidence proving that GMOs harm health and environment, Canal’s anti-Monsanto message is increasingly popular, evidenced by the 54 GMO labeling bills currently being discussed in 26 states, including Vermont’s signing such a bill into state law in early May.

March Against Monsanto (MAM) will gather on May 24 across “six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities.” Participants demand Monsanto halt GMO use and the production of pesticides they believe are hazardous to human health and the environment, and support GMO labeling legislation as well. Locally, the march is organized by Cynthia Rose Kurkowski.

From the Farmers’ Perspective

OSGATA (Organic Seed Growers Association) v. Monsanto was filed by farmers and farm organizations in March 2011 to “invalidate Monsanto’s patents and protect organic and non-GMO family farmers from unwanted genetic contamination of their crops.” Monsanto sees it differently though, according to its website: “We understand the importance of planting and harvesting and always seek to minimize interfering with farmers’ normal activities.” However, unwanted seeds can blow into farmers’ crops, cross-pollinating with traditional crops, which ruins organic farms.

Since the GMO seeds are patented, this gives Monsanto the power to enforce their legal patents. Supporters of OSGATA argue that Monsanto harms independent farmers’ livelihoods worldwide with ruthless patent infringement legislation and its giant status as a near-monopoly means some crops, like corn and soybeans, are virtually impossible to guarantee as organic and GMO-free.

Agent Orange

Monsanto was the largest producer of agent orange during the Vietnam War and “half of agent orange’s chemical compound (2,4-D) and pesticides like Roundup are chemicals being sprayed on GMO crops,” allege The Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance and March Against Monsanto. The groups insinuate that this could negatively impact health, with CVVHA pointing to its members’ own myriad defects and chronic diseases; however, the EPA has said 2,4-D and Roundup are safe for farming.

Halting Influence on Government

Many MAM marchers are also concerned about Monsanto’s influence in government circles. There’s the ability to invest millions in lobbying efforts (as in Washington State) for one, but there’s also a more insidious dynamic at play, according to anti-GMO activists. In 1998, writing for progressive British journal The Ecologist, Jennifer Ferrera noted that several former Monsanto employees held key positions in the U.S.’ Food and Drug Administration. To the activists this creates a troubling conflict of interest in Monsanto and other biotech giants’ favor. Monsanto brushes this off as a logical progression for industry specialists.

MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO ON MAY 24th in a city near you!

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Agent Orange to Farm to Table

 With genetically engineered corn and soy, Dow Chemical aims to bring back toxic herbicide use, big time

While my sister-in-law put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner, I listened to her friend recount the losing battle her husband, a Vietnam veteran, fought with lung cancer. She explained her husband’s illness was caused by his wartime exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange, produced primarily by two companies, Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Named for the colored band on its transport tanks, Agent Orange was a cocktail of chemicals, including an herbicide called 2,4-D. Shortly after the spraying — conducted to deprive guerrilla fighters of cover and a food supply — started in 1962, reports began to emerge of serious health effects, from birth defects to other illnesses. To this day, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers an Agent Orange registry health exam for the possible long-term problems caused by exposure, and more than 40,000 veterans have submitted disability claims. The Red Cross estimates that 1 million Vietnamese were affected, including third-generation children born with severe birth defects.

In January the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a public comment period on the environmental and health impacts of a new suite of crops engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D. These corn and soybean plants, produced by Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, would be the first developed to be resistant to the herbicide.

According to experts, the introduction of these new crops could cause 2,4-D use to jump, big time. Chuck Benbrook, a pesticide policy expert with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, has estimated that if it’s approved, the engineered corn could cause applications of 2,4-D to jump 20-fold by 2019.

That’s particularly concerning because experts have long shown that 2,4-D causes serious harm to humans, especially when used over vast swaths of farmland and lawns. Largely because of such concern, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the chemical’s approval, first granted in 1948.

NRDC researchers and other critics of 2,4-D point to studies showing the chemical is a neurotoxin and that exposure to it can cause hormone disruption, certain forms of cancer and genetic mutations. The chemical has also been linked to lowered sperm counts, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as adverse effects on reproductive and immune systems. What’s further worrisome is that 2,4-D is known to drift, affecting areas near farms, including streams, rivers and wildlife.

In April 2012 the EPA rejected the NRDC’s petition, stating that the group did not prove that the chemical was unsafe in the manner it is used. Despite the EPA’s actions, public health advocates have maintained that there are serious human health impacts, based on compelling evidence from peer-reviewed studies around the world. A University of Minnesota study found a greater frequency of genetic mutations in pesticide applicators who had higher rates of 2,4-D in their urine. A National Cancer Institute study found farmers exposed to 2,4-D upward of 20 days a year had a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than nonfarmers did, by a factor of six. The EPA’s fact sheet notes that the chemical has shown toxic effects on the thyroid and gonads and expresses concern about potential “endocrine-disrupting effects.”

With all these risks, why are chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto formulating seeds to be resistant to this decades-old chemical with a terrible health track record? The USDA said these new crops are intended to “help address the problem of weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicides.”

The real motivation for introducing new herbicide-resistant seeds is Monsanto’s and Dow’s bottom lines; it is one of the best ways to boost sales of chemicals. 

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‘Toxic War’ – The Story of Agent Orange

U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was long and costly in many ways.  The conflict itself raged for more than two decades, but the consequences of military actions taken in Vietnam continue to this day.  One of the darkest legacies is the effect of a widely used defoliant meant to quickly clear dense forests and flush out enemy forces.  Known as Agent Orange, the chemical induced adverse health issues for both U.S. troops and Vietnamese on both sides of the war.

Peter Sills, an attorney who helped represent the Vietnam Veterans of America in a class action lawsuit regarding the use of Agent Orange, has written about it in a new book titled Toxic War. Speaking with VOA’s Jim Stevenson, Sills told of the many ways Agent Orange had a direct effect on people, and how it even evolved into a weapon.

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SILLS:  The thing that surprised me the most, when the (U.S.) government found out people were scared of it (Agent Orange), they began spraying the Vietnamese people deliberately. Whether they knew they were poisoning them or not is a question I raise in my book. And there is evidence on both sides of that.
 
STEVENSON:  So what you are asserting is at the very least unintentional chemical warfare.
 
SILLS:  Yes, a chemical war. The U.S. government used chemicals that were not manufactured as weapons but they were used as weapons. That includes herbicides, riot control gasses. Napalm which is supposedly used to defoliate was modified to stick to human flesh. As we started to lose the war and become more desperate, we changed the tools we used to help in the war, we started to use them against people.
 
STEVENSON:  How were American veterans at that time being exposed in harmful ways?
 
SILLS:  When you start spraying towns and villages, there are American soldiers there too. That is part of it. The food that people ate became poisoned, and the water that people drank. There is another surprising thing: herbicides came in 50-gallon barrels. When they were emptied, they were not really empty. There were two or three gallons of herbicide left in the barrels. Soldiers used them for showers, for bar-b-ques (grills for cooking). Vietnamese used them to hold gasoline and wound up spraying dioxin all over Vietnam. The cities became defoliated even though they were never sprayed (from U.S. planes). They were sprayed by Vietnamese automobiles and motorcycles. No one could figure it out for a while. So people were exposed in surprising and unexpected ways.
 
STEVENSON:  How many U.S. veterans are we talking about looking for some sort of compensation because of exposure to Agent Orange?
 
SILLS:  Hundreds of thousands, possibly over a million. That is muddy unfortunately because there are so many people who are sick for reasons other than herbicide exposure. The symptoms of dioxin exposure, the poison in the herbicide, are not very different from what people get normally, heart attacks, diabetes, lung cancer, liver problems, neurological problems, things that people just get. So to determine whether they were actually exposed, it should be possible to do that. But the officially done science has not been able to do that.

Why We Need to Keep ‘Agent Orange’ GMO Crops Off Our Farms

Have you heard of superweeds? For years, Monsanto has been selling genetically engineered (GE) or GMO corn and soybeans that promote the use of an herbicide called Roundup. Evolution is happening, and now weeds are becoming resistant to Monsanto’s killer.

Dow Chemical thinks they have the solution – new GE corn and soybeans genetically engineered to survive an even more toxic herbicide called 2,4-D.  But big profits for Dow Chemical is bad news for the rest of us!

2,4-D was a major component of the chemical defoliant known as Agent Orange

Agent Orange was sprayed aerially by U.S. planes in Vietnam to destroy the country’s forests and agricultural lands. The veterans and civilians exposed to Agent Orange experienced extreme health complications – a range of cancers and birth defects have been linked to exposure to the toxic chemical. The Vietnamese Red Cross estimates nearly 1 million people have experienced health problems as a result of the use of Agent Orange.[1]

2,4-D alone is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S

2,4-D is thought to be the less toxic component of Agent Orange, but 2,4-D alone is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S. Dioxins are highly toxic chemical byproducts of 2,4-D and can bioaccumulate, which means they can build up in your system over time. A 2008 study found that women living near Dow Chemical’s facility in Michigan have significantly higher rates of breast cancer.[2] It has been projected that Dow Chemical’s corn and soybeans would increase the amount of 2,4-D used in industrial agriculture by over 100 million pounds,[3] severely increasing the amount of this toxic herbicide in our food, air, and water.

Exposure to 2,4-D has been linked to major health problems

Health problems include cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lowered sperm counts, liver disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Studies have also demonstrated the chemical’s adverse effects on hormonal, reproductive, neurological, and immune systems.[4],[5],[6],[7],[8]

Dow Chemicals has lied about product safety before

Dow Chemical insists that the use of 2,4-D is safe. But they also assured the public that an insecticide called Dursban was safe…until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined Dow Chemical $800,000 for illegally withholding over 250 reports of poisonings, including many that occurred even when the product was used correctly.

Why did Dow Chemical think Dursban was safe? They fed it to prisoners in New York and decided that none became “violently” ill right away.[9]

Even after paying the EPA fine for withholding evidence of poisonings, Dow Chemical continued to market Dursban as “safe” in its brochures. In 2003, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued the company for violating a 1994 agreement against falsely advertising the product as safe. Dow Chemical agreed to pay $2,000,000.

So, do YOU trust Dow Chemical to care for the crops you could feed your kids? Currently, the USDA is reviewing Dow Chemical’s new GE crops designed to be resistant to 2,4-D, and they are accepting public comments until February 24.

It is up to you to say “No” to Dow Chemical Company’s “Agent Orange” crops!  

Learn more and take action at www.dow-watch.org.

LINK

The Dirt on "Agent Orange" GMOs

Last week, news broke that the USDA is recommending the approval of new, herbicide-resistant, genetically engineered corn and soybeans, sometimes referred to as “Agent Orange” GMOs. Here’s what you need to know:

Right after the announcement, concerns sprung up that this new GMO would be “an environmental catastrophe,” since the herbicide, 2,4-D, was an ingredient in the Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange.

The USDA issued its initial draft of its environmental impact statement on the corn and soybeans (engineered by Dow AgroSciences and branded under the name Enlist), while the Environmental Protection Agency is working to decide on the environmental effects of the new herbicide, Enlist Duo. So, there’s still a chance that a pin could get put in the whole operation. Good news, of course, for those who are worried about the outcome.

So what’s really at stake? According to Grist.org, if Enlist is approved, there are some positives and negatives. The positive part is that fewer farmers would “adopt aggressive tillage strategies,” according to the USDA assessment. “Aggressive tilling releases a lot of greenhouse gas and leads to topsoil erosion and water pollution.” However, on the negative side, farmers will be spraying more herbicide. “We are already looking at a 75 percent increase in the use of 2,4-D in U.S. agriculture by 2020 even if Enlist flunks the regulatory process.” If approved, “2,4-D use will further increase by another two fold to six fold,” according to the USDA.

Many are wondering if an approval will mean that more and more of these types of GMOs are released. The thing is – 2,4-D-resistant weeds already exist. So the hope is that no matter what happens, Enlist farmers will be willing to change up their weed management practices more often, slowing the spread. But what if it’s used willy-nilly? USDA responds to that questioning saying that it “depends on management practices” and “cannot be predicted.” Not exactly comforting.

The fact remains that while 2,4-D was in Agent Orange, it wasn’t the really nasty stuff. We know a lot about it, given its history and the microscope it’s under. You can check this out for details on toxicity.

Grist.org‘s Nathanael Johnson maintains that “we’ve got to figure out a better way of doing conservation tillage rather than just relying on more and more herbicides. It would be nice if the government could use its regulatory authority to promote big-picture solutions. But in this case, the USDA is firmly focused on the small-picture tradeoff between tilling and herbicide. And in that small picture, it has determined that tilling is more harmful.”

Some of the potential dangers of ‘Agent Orange’ via FoodandWaterWatch.org:

Corn with 2,4-D resistance could be dangerous to eat because a metabolite of 2,4-D is known to cause skin sores, liver damage and sometimes death in animals. 2,4-D is a potential endocrine disruptor and can affect development.

Rats exposed to 2,4-D exhibited depressed thyroid hormone levels, which can affect normal metabolism and brain functioning.  Studies found that men who applied 2,4-D had lower sperm counts and more sperm abnormalities than those unexposed to the herbicide.

Not only is 2,4-D dangerous for human health, but it also spurs weed resistance. According to the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, there have been 29 weeds found to be resistant to 2,4-D’s family of synthetic auxin herbicides.

The FDA’s Biotechnology Consultation Note for 2,4-D-resistant corn lists several amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that differed from conventional corn and were statistically significant, including glutamic acid, oleic acid, vitamin C and zinc.

On February 23, 2012, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to respond to a 2008 petition to cancel registration of 2,4-D, citing its common use despite links to cancer, cell damage, reproductive problems and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. With the approval of 2,4-D resistant corn, NRDC claims that use of 2,4-D could grow 50-fold.

Aside from its harmful endocrine and carcinogenic effects, 2,4-D is a very volatile herbicide, which can easily drift onto nearby crops, vegetables and flowers. In fact, a comparative risk assessment found that 2,4-D was 400 times more likely to cause non-target plant injury than glyphosate (also known as Roundup, the herbicide many currently used GE crops are engineered to survive.)

If you’re concerned about the USDA approving 2,4-D herbicide, sign the petition below.

Source: Grist.org

Links and Petition HERE