– The world’s largest human experiment part two: why Europeans (and everyone else) should be worried (Activist Post, July 11, 2011):
In part one of what will become a long-running series, I briefly outlined two recent papers published in the renowned peer-reviewed journal, Chemical Research in Toxicology, which revealed the horrifying effects of Monsanto’s best-selling glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide.
These two independent and highly rigorous studies found that Roundup caused critical cell damage including necrosis, a horrendous process in which cells break down and release their contents into the surrounding area, creating widespread, unmitigated cell death. The Monsanto formulation was found to be much more devastating to human cells than the glyphosate herbicide alone.
The studies that comprised the bulk of part one of this series were published in an American journal, yet the people of the United States seem, on the whole, ignorant of the dangers of Roundup and the specifically modified Roundup Ready genetically modified seeds made to be able to absorb the toxin and live.
Unfortunately, the problem is not an isolated one, and Americans are not the only people who should be attempting to tell as many of their fellow citizens about these dangers as possible. While Americans need to become vocal on this issue and make it clear to our representatives that we will not stand for anything less than mandatory genetically modified organism labeling requirements, Europeans are now on the front lines of this battle as well.
In the summary report published in June of this year, Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?, there is thorough evidence of the European Union attempting to deceive and betray their constituents as our so-called representatives have here in America.
The EU Commission responsible for representing the health of the people of Europe had dismissed credible and thorough scientific research showing considerable dangers associated with glyphosate and Monsanto’s Roundup. They recently dismissed a study published last year in which it was observed that frog and chicken embryos developed birth defects when exposed to solutions of Roundup and glyphosate much more diluted than the solutions utilized for home gardening and agricultural applications.
This dismissal was based solely upon a report manufactured by the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) which cited “unpublished industry studies” to legitimize their claims.
We also learn that:
The Commission has previously ignored or dismissed many other findings from the independent scientific literature showing that Roundup and glyphosate cause endocrine disruption, damage to DNA, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and cancer, as well as birth defects. Many of these effects are found at very low doses, comparable to levels of pesticide residues found in food and the environment. (P. 5)
Unsurprisingly, the undemocratic European Union has delayed a thorough review of the toxic systemic herbicide Roundup and its main ingredient, glyphosate. All of this was done behind closed doors without any input from the people of Europe who will suffer the consequences of these deadly toxins.
The EU Commission has willfully put the lives of millions of Europeans and their future children at risk knowing full well the inherent dangers in these GMOs. Apparently the lure of power and money has made those responsible for such actions forget that they themselves will be subjected to these so-called foods.
Typically, safety reviews are conducted every ten years, the last being in 1992. Instead of conducting a review of the peer-reviewed independent scientific literature next year, the Europeans have decided to delay it at least another three years.
Due to the serious health risks involved in these products, the Earth Open Source report recommends that the EU Commission utilize what power they have to remove Roundup and glyphosate products from the market until real investigation takes place.
I seriously doubt that the endless coffers of Monsanto will be outweighed by a little bit of common sense or human decency on the part of the fascists responsible for the closed-door dealings that are all-too-common in the European Union.
The aforementioned study published in 2010 that found Roundup caused chicken and frog embryos to grow abnormally was conducted by the lead researcher for the Argentinian government research group CONICET, Andres Carrasco.
Professor Carrasco was inspired to carry out this research by the reports of unusually high rate of birth defects, similar to those found in the chicken and frog embryos, in the regions of his native Argentina that cultivate genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans.
The idea behind a Roundup Ready GM seed is that, unlike all other vegetation, the Roundup Ready (RR) plant can tolerate the herbicide without withering away. It is important to note that this does not meant that the crop actually resists the toxin, instead it is able to absorb and live, passing the atypically high levels of glyphosate to your dinner table.
The major soy producing countries of South America have embraced GM RR soy with open arms as the report reveals on page 7:
In Brazil, nearly 90,000 tons of glyphosate-based pesticides in 71 different commercial formulations were sold in 2009. In Argentina, over half the cultivated land is given over to GM soy, which is sprayed with 200 million litres of glyphosate herbicide each year. Spraying is often carried out from the air, causing major problems of drift.
Drift is when the airborne particles of the Roundup herbicide travel unknown distances to water sources, farms in which they do not use GM RR seeds, and to homes. In all of these cases the consequences can be dire.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said in a 2005 report of the Joint meeting of the FAO Panel of Experts on Pesticide Residues in Food and the Environment and the WHO Core Assessment Group on Pesticide Residues that while the maximum residue limit for glyphosate in food for human consumption and animal feed products in the European Union is 20 mg/kg while soybeans have been measured to have glyphosate residue levels at 17 mg/kg.
Knowing the UN and their countless sub-organization, one would not be wrong to speculate that it is likely the case that much less than 20 mg/kg is dangerous to human health.
In Carrasco’s study, he injected 2.03 mg/kg of glyphosate into the frog and chicken embryos, resulting in malformations. While injecting glyphosate does not perfectly represent orally ingesting it through food, it is concerning that levels 10 times less than the maximum residue limit cause these defects.
In a 2010 interview, Carrasco stated:
Bear in mind that Argentina is a unique case, with huge amounts of soybean acres – 19 million hectares – on more than half the cultivated area of the country, This is something rarely seen. So I say that, from the eco-toxicological point of view, what is happening in Argentina is a massive experiment.
However, it is not only the people of Argentina that are being subjected to a massive experiment, inhabitants of every continent have been forced, without their consent or knowledge, into a dangerous human trial.
The fact is that the governments of Europe and the United States have not bothered to carry out thorough independent investigations of the levels at which average human beings and animals ingest this toxin.
With Europe importing from 35-40 million tons of soybeans and their derivatives every year from the United States, Argentina and Brazil, according to GMO Compass, there is a considerable amount of product being consumed, the safety of which has not been verified independently.
The EU does not cultivate the GM soy themselves as it is officially forbidden; instead they just import it and pretend that it is somehow different than growing the modified beans themselves. Indeed many of these soybeans are GM RR crops, and only three of the ten applications as foodstuffs and feeds have been approved.
In the United States nine applications have been approved, Canada has seven, Japan has six, while Mexico and Australia have five, Taiwan has four, Brazil has three, South Africa has two, the Philippines and China have three, Korea has two, and Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Russia and Switzerland only have one application approved.
What about the United States makes these genetically modified crops safer than the many other nations that have far less instances in which the untested GMOs can be used? The answer is: there is no difference; it is just that we have the wonderful group known as the FDA that is quick to approve anything as long as there is money behind it.
Soon the EU will begin cultivating its own Roundup Ready “food,” Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready corn product called NK603. The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) already gave the thumbs up to the GM RR corn, enabling the heavy herbicidal spraying that has been tied to increased birth defects in Argentina.
However, in September of last year, the startling research of Professor Carrasco was sent to the European Union’s Commissioner for health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli. During the next month, the MEP of the Greek Green Party, Michail Tremopoulos questioned what Dalli was going to do about Monsanto’s NK603 application.
In response, Dalli said that he had heard from the German Government that Carrasco’s study was not applicable or important for the following reasons:
– The study was conducted under “highly artificial” conditions
– The existing “comprehensive and reliable toxicological database for glyphosate” is substantial enough to not question its approval
Resulting in the conclusion that it was not necessary to move to restrict or ban the use of the systemic herbicide.
This inference does not align with the peer-reviewed scientific literature or even EU law. According to the new pesticide regulation 1107/2009, enacted in June of this year, the EU cannot rely on studies that are kept secret from the affected public under the pretenses of “commercial confidentiality.” The law makes it clear that real, open, peer-reviewed scientific literature must be assessed, especially the open literature published in the decade before the assessment.
The report reveals:
The entire decision-making process on the delay was done behind closed doors with a limited group of national representatives (mainly from the agricultural ministries of member states) and set into law without notifying stakeholders. This process is called “comitology” and is much criticized for being non-transparent, confusing (even to legal experts) and undemocratic. (P. 9)
The sad thing is that we need not be only concerned about Roundup being present in our food supply; we must also be concerned about the fact that any Tom Dick and Harry can get the highly toxic glyphosate-based herbicide at their local grocery or convenience store.
Those who do not go out of their way to get the real information on Roundup happily kill their weeds with the product since it is both easy and cheap.
Without the government making it clear that there are extreme dangers associated with this product, people will continue to spray their yards and gardens where their children and pets play. This is one case in which the government could actually do some good by stepping in and taking a firm stance, instead of just serving their corporate puppeteers.
The consequences of these widespread domestic and municipal uses have, as of yet, been completely ignored.
For those who are interested, please read (and download) the full review PDF here: Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?
More information on GMOs:
GM food alters your DNA, changes your brain waves, destroys your immune system, your organs and makes you infertile.
“Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.”
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