Ongoing research into the effects of glyphosate on human health have determined that it can actually double the risk of developing cancer, yet it is still being used. The following chart shows us which US states are using the highest quantities of glysophate for farming:
Tag Archives: pesticides
h/t: Takepart –
In June, the Environmental Protection Agency released the results of its assessment of 52 chemicals and the likelihood that any of them could be classified as endocrine disruptors—those substances known to interfere with the hormonal system and linked to such health ills as certain cancers, birth defects, and developmental disorders. On the list of chemicals the agency examined was glyphosate, which most Americans know better as Roundup, which is Monsanto’s trade name for what has become the most widely used herbicide in the world. In the United States, hundreds of millions of pounds are dumped on farmland annually.
“As a longtime Monsanto scientist who has spent my career studying the health and safety of pesticides, including glyphosate, I was happy to see that the safety profile of one of our products was upheld by an independent regulatory agency,” Steve Levine, a senior science fellow at Monsanto, crowed on the company blog.
The italics are mine. But heck, I thought I might as well just give them to Levine, because it becomes almost embarrassingly obvious that’s what he wants. He practically goes overboard in trying to sell you on the EPA’s objectivity—not only emphasizing the agency’s “independence” but calling its review “comprehensive” (twice) as well as “rigorous” and “science-based.”
It doesn’t take more than five minutes poking around on Google or WorldCat to begin turning up fairly recent studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals that include sentences like “a growing body of knowledge suggests the predominance of endocrine disrupting mechanisms caused by environmentally relevant levels of exposure” to glyphosate-based herbicides. So how can the EPA be so certain glyphosate isn’t an endocrine disruptor?
Because, it seems, Monsanto and other chemical companies said so.
As Sharon Lerner revealed over at The Intercept this week, of the 32 studies the EPA used to make its determination that there is “no convincing evidence” that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, 27 were either conducted or funded by the agrichemical industry. “Most of the studies were sponsored by Monsanto or an industry group called the Joint Glyphosate Task Force,” Lerner wrote. “One study was by Syngenta, which sells its own glyphosate-containing herbicide, Touchdown.”
More telling, when Lerner reviewed the paltry five independently funded studies the EPA relied on for its determination, three of them concluded glyphosate could very well pose a danger to the endocrine system.
“Yet, of the 27 industry studies, none concluded that glyphosate caused harm,” Lerner added, even though “many of the industry-funded studies contained data that suggested that exposure to glyphosate had serious effects.” No less worrisome is that a majority of the studies were more than two decades old—thereby predating the existence of the term “endocrine disruption.”
Just last week, a senior researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed allegations that he was harassed after publicly voicing concerns about another popular class of pesticides. You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder just how “independent” and “rigorous” our federal regulatory agencies are when it comes to evaluating the risks posed by all those agrichemicals out there coating all those amber waves of grain.
Jason Best is a regular contributor to TakePart. He has worked for Gourmet and the Natural Resources Defense Council. He writes about food, sustainability and the environment.
In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, ushering in multiple lawsuits against Monsanto. Personal injury lawyers claim that glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup has caused cancer in farm workers and others, and that Monsanto has long been aware that it is hazardous to humans. One lawsuit alleges that Monsanto “led a prolonged campaign of misinformation” to convince the public of Roundup’s safety.
Several firms are offering “free Roundup lawsuit evaluations” to find plaintiffs for likely mass tort actions. Monsanto is also struggling against 700+ lawsuits on behalf of people claiming their non-Hodgkin lymphoma was caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) manufactured by the company until the late 1970s.
By: Jérôme Rigot, PhD; The Cornucopia Institute |
Surprising Facts about Colorings and Other Non-Organic Ingredients in Organics
Colors?!? Why would organic food need color? In fact, the original colors in prepared foods are often modified or destroyed during processing; thus, food manufacturers feel the need to add colors to their products to ensure their appeal to customers.
As an example, let’s look at certified organic Strawberry Cobbler Multigrain Cereal Bars, manufactured by Health Valley Organic, which is owned by industry giant Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
Many people know that when you cook strawberries, their color changes to a dark reddish brown — the natural color may not be eye-poppingly appealing. But customers certainly want a vibrant strawberry-red color like the one on the package, don’t they?
So what to do? There are at least two options. One is to use the cooked strawberries as is (unthinkable!). Another would be to add color — in this case it would have to be a “natural” color because artificial colors are prohibited in organic products. If you look at the ingredients list (right), you will see that red cabbage extract was added for color. Red-cabbage-colored strawberry cobbler…what a feast!
But all humor aside, this is cause for concern. The red cabbage extract used for color is derived from conventional cabbage grown with toxic agrochemicals. Yet it appears on the National List, the itemization of all synthetic and non-organic substances allowed in organic production. Why? Because at the time it was petitioned to be added to the National List, there was no commercially available red cabbage extract in organic form.
Red cabbage extract: is it so bad? Let’s look at the health and environmental effects of cultivating red cabbage conventionally. A database maintained by Beyond Pesticides indicates that there are 49 pesticides with established toxicity used for growing cabbage: 32 are acutely toxic, creating a hazardous environment for farmworkers; 47 are linked to chronic health problems (including cancer); 15 contaminate streams or groundwater; 44 are poisonous to wildlife; and 25 are considered toxic to honey bees and other insect pollinators.
Another cause for concern is that pigments derived from agricultural sources are highly concentrated. They are also most often extracted from parts of fruits or vegetables likely to contain the highest levels of pesticide residues. Examples include grape skin extract, beet juice extract, purple potato juice extract, and red cabbage extract, all commonly used for color in processed foods.
Why do people want organic food? Because producing it has minimal negative impacts on the environment and human health, and there are demonstrably lower pesticide residues.
Is this what you, the concerned customer, are getting when you purchase processed organic foods that contain “natural” colors or flavors?
To avoid potentially toxic color in your food, one of the most effective approaches is to stay away from any form of processed food. Home-cooked meals made from scratch are so satisfying. But if you must use processed foods, look at the label carefully. Only organic colors, which are becoming more readily available, should be listed. When possible, avoide organic food that lists a vegetable extract without specifying whether it is organic or not.
Other Allowed Ingredients
Colors are only a few of the highly questionable and controversial ingredients, synthetic or “natural,” allowed for use in organic processed foods.
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) looks poised to keep many of these ingredients on the National List, even though, in many cases, they are not essential to the manufacture of the food or organic alternatives exist.
Ironically, unlike the USDA’s organic program, a number of corporations that manufacture and sell conventional processed foods are listening to their stakeholders—that is, their customers. KRAFT, General Mills, Hersheys, Nestlé, Kellogg, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and Subway, among others, have announced that they will remove a number of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and food processing aids from their products.
One of the most notable examples of this corporate responsiveness is Panera. In May, the popular bakery-café chain published its “No No List” identifying all of the ingredients it refuses to use or plans to remove from its food by the end of 2016. Surprisingly, some of the ingredients Panera has banned from its products are currently on or being petitioned for addition to the National List! (See sidebar at right.)
It is obvious that the corporate organic food industry is pressuring the USDA to keep ingredients in organic processed food that should not be there. That is why Cornucopia’s policy and scientific staff will be at the next NOSB meeting, October 26–29 in Stowe, Vermont. You can count on us to keep you informed as to when your voice — farmers and consumers together — can make a difference.
By: Alex Pietrowski, Waking Times |
The Environmental Protection agency of California has just made moves to label Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, or Glyphosate, as a ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’ It’s linked to cancer and heavily contaminates the soil, yet there is no sign that farmers will stop using this poison any time soon. In fact, over the last couple of decades, this chemical has seen an astonishing surge in use in the United States and across the world.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), in the US alone in the years between 1992 and 2012, over 2.6 billion pounds of Roundup herbicide have been dumped onto America’s farmland and food supply. With the rise in GMO seed such as BT Corn and ‘Roundup Ready’ soy beans, glyphosate is becoming something farmers simply cannot avoid even if they wanted to.
So how badly are we poisoning ourselves with this stuff? Watch a time-lapse photo presentation of the spread of glyphosate across th United States in the last 2 decades.
Do Americans have a right to know if their food supply and environment is contaminated by carcinogenic Roundup? Yot bet they do, which is why government is doing everything it can to make sure that the truth does not see the light of day. Do your part in this fight against Monsanto by spreading the word and buying organic.
Photo credit: USGS, Pesticide National Synthesis Project
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.
By: Justin Gardner, The Free Thought Project |
Monsanto has many weapons in its arsenal when it comes to eliminating competition from non-GMO and organic farmers. After more than two decades of pushing their products onto US farmland with purposely flawed safety studies, the sheer presence of genetically modified crops poses an existential threat to the business of traditional and organic farming.
A new report has come out showing the extraordinary costs that non-GMO and organic farmers incur from GMO contamination of their crops.
“Results from the newest USDA survey indicate that of the farmers who chose to answer the question, 92 had experienced monetary loss between 2011 and 2014 averaging approximately $66,395 per farmer during that timeframe. Overall, GMO presence cost organic farmers at least $6.1 million over four years. This figure is 77 times that reported during the 2006 to 2011 timeframe—a staggering increase.”
The USDA conducted its first survey this year of the financial losses suffered by non-GMO and organic farmers from contamination. They did so at the urging of rights groups such as Food and Water Watch, who conducted their own survey in 2013.
That report found that one in three farmers had dealt with GMO contamination, causing many buyer rejections at a median cost of $4,500 each rejection. Considering the 77-fold increase in financial burden since previous years, it is clear that the biotech industry is pushing their competition toward financial ruin.
But genetic contamination is only half the story. The USDA’s report excludes losses incurred from pesticide drift, which occurs when crops such as Monsanto’s “RoundUp Ready” corn are sprayed and the chemical drifts onto nearby fields. This will become a bigger burden as more chemical–resistant GMO crops are approved by friendly federal agencies.
“Regarding drift issues, one farmer we surveyed wrote, ‘my only problem comes from drift when commercial chemical sprayers spray on a windy day and the spray drifts across the road or buffer strip to kill my alfalfa or other crops. I call the company and complain but they have never compensated me for my loss as of yet.’ Regarding dicamba, another farmer wrote, ‘I’m more concerned with spray drift—especially with the effort to release Banvel-resistant soybeans. Everyone knows how volatile that chemical can be—not only to organic farmers but all farmers and home owners.’ Even Roundup, considered to be less harmful and less prone to drift than 2,4-D and dicamba has been a huge problem for organic growers. One farmer wrote, ‘in the last 16 years I have had three instances where spray drift has affected my fields. All three times it was Roundup. It has totaled $65,000 and I have had to start the three-year transition process [for organic certification] all over., Not only has spray drift negatively affected relationships between neighbors, it has resulted in organic farmers being forced to take some areas of their farm out of organic production completely.”
All of these burdens—from wind-driven pollen contamination to post-harvest seed/grain mixing to pesticide drift—are borne by the victimized farmers. They must establish buffers or adopt delayed planting regimens, and they alone bear the financial cost of rejected crops.
Meanwhile, biotech companies enjoy regulatory and financial support from their co-conspirators in federal departments, as they slowly grind the competition to dust.
Adding insult to injury, last year Monsanto persuaded their friends at the Supreme Court (including former Monsanto attorney Clarence Thomas) to grant Monsanto the ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with GMO material.
The results of these attacks on multiple fronts are being seen, with the number of organic farms decreasing over the past few years.
With each new published study, independently conducted and peer-reviewed, alerting us that glyphosate is more toxic than we thought, poses a more serious health threat than was previously believed, the reaction is the same.
Monsanto denies the facts, attacks the scientists and directs the media and the public to its own industry-funded studies as “proof” that glyphosate (and Roundup) are perfectly safe.
After decades of this back-and-forth, and decades of government regulatory agencies siding with Monsanto, instead of independent scientists and the public, we’re still at a stalemate.
That could change, according to the author of this week’s essay—if could be proven in a court of law that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate is one of the most toxic substances ever launched on the public.
It could happen.
In five years in Waimea on the Hawaiian island Kauai, at least nine babies have been born with severe heart malformations, more than 10 times the national rate. Meanwhile, Kauai is sprayed with 17 times more pesticide per acre than mainland cornfields. Kauai boasts 12,000 acres of GMO corn test plots, yielding three crops per year in Hawaii’s ideal climate. The chemical companies neither employ buffer zones around the fields nor disclose what they spray. Their political clout has so far prevented Hawaii from banning GMOs, but Hawaiians continue to fight for the health of their children and land.
Neonicotinoids, the pesticides linked to the mass die-off of bees, are now found in stream and well samples across the U.S.. These widely used pesticides aren’t just killing the bees and butterflies. They’re also killing insects, which are critical to the food chain. But what are they doing to us? U.S. regulatory agencies have set what they say are “safe” limits for neonic residues on our food, including baby foods. But as Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of The Xerces Society, points out, no one is studying the long-term, potentially carcinogenic effect, neonics have on humans.
Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of The Xerces Society, speaks about the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on the environment. “We believe because they’re so toxic, they’re so long-lived, they’re found inside plants but readily move into water, that we could really see big ecosystem changes because of these chemicals,” he says. He says that neonicotinoids, now found in stream and well samples across the United States, are not only affecting pollinators like bees and butterflies but killing insects — the underpinning of the food chain. And that affects birds, fish, and other wildlife. “The chemical companies are really running the show here,” Black says. He questions whether a chemical closely related to nicotine – a known carcinogen – should be so widely used on food crops until further safety studies are done. “It’s not just about the environment. It’s that we are not taking care of humans.”
There’s an epidemic in America that’s bound to make your head itch the moment you read about it. Just in time for back-to-school, there’s an outbreak of “super lice”.
Because plain old ordinary lice weren’t bad enough, super lice don’t respond to the normal chemical treatments. Just like antibiotic-resistant infections, it seems that lice have adapted to the pesticide-filled shampoos that are commonly used and are thumbing their little buggy noses at efforts to eradicate them.
Dr. Kyong Yoon, PhD, of Southern Illinois University has been researching the trend. “We are the first group to collect lice samples from a large number of populations across the U.S.What we found was that 104 out of the 109 lice populations we tested had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.”
Dr. Yoon says that there are other treatments that will work against the current batch of lice, but warns, “If you use a chemical over and over, these little creatures will eventually develop resistance.”
Applying pesticides to children’s heads
Here’s the thing: these are poisons. Would you spray pesticides on your kid’s head? Pediatrician Dr. William Sears explains the hazards of some of these chemicals on his website:
- Permethrin 1% (brand name NIX) – this over-the-counter rinse is a synthetic pesticide. It is the safest of all the pesticide-type lice shampoos. It is not recommended for infants under 2 months of age. The best thing about this shampoo is that it kills both the live lice and the unhatched eggs. It also keeps working for 2 weeks. Therefore, re-treatment usually is not necessary. Don’t use this if you are allergic to chrysanthemums…
- Malathion (brand name Ovide) – this pesticide is available by prescription. It is for kids 6 years and older. You may have heard of this pesticide – it is sprayed from aircraft over cities to control certain agricultural insects including fruit flies. This shampoo lotion was previously used in the U.S., then was taken off the market for a while (although it was still used in other countries), and is now recently approved again by the FDA for use in the U.S. Because of its potential toxicity, we do not routinely recommend using this product unless virtually everything else has been tried. Precautions – product is flammable, do not use hot curlers or hair driers, and do not smoke while product is on. Rinse off immediately if significant irritation occurs. May irritate the eyes. Wash hands thoroughly. Minimize contact with face and other parts of body.
- Lindane – this is another pesticide available by prescription. It is approved for children of all ages, although should be used with extreme caution in kids under 2 years. It is the most potentially toxic of all the lice shampoos and therefore should only be used when everything else has failed twice. Because of its potential toxicity we do not recommened its use, especially considering the harmless nature of head lice. It does not kill the lice eggs; therefore care should be taken to use a nit comb to remove all nits after use.
But these treatments have been linked to adverse reactions that range from an itchy rash to headaches to death.
The most commonly used OTC treatment is Permethrin, a pyrethroid which everyone will try to tell you is just as safe as chrysanthemums. However, a) just because something comes from a plant doesn’t mean that’s it’s non-toxic – (poison ivy or oleander, anyone?) and b) it’s NOT from a plant – it’s a synthetic version of the active ingredient in the plant.
Permethrin, the least toxic of the options, is nonetheless horrifying.
While pyrethroids may be amongst the least toxic of insecticides, they are an excitatory nerve poison, acting upon the sodium ion channels in nerve cell membranes:
- by sending a train of impulses rather than a single one, they overload the pathways, blocking the passage of sodium ions across cell membranes; similar in action to organophosphates (which include the now banned DDT); inhibits ATPase, which affects the release of acetylcholine, monoamine oxidase-A and acetylcholine;
- inhibits GABAa receptors, resulting in convulsions and excitability (and more ‘minor’ problems such as sleep disorders);
- known to be carcinogenic;
- liver damage
- thyroid function
- cause chromosomal abnormalities in mice and hamsters;
- are highly toxic to insects, fish, and birds;
- mimic estrogen, leading to estrogen dominant health problems in females and feminizing effects in males, including lowered sperm counts and abnormal breast development
- sublethal doses have produced a wide array of abnormal behaviors, including aggression, and disruption in learning and learned behaviors
This is the treatment that is no longer effective to treat the super lice making the rounds in America. So, if this is the “safe” one, what on earth are the unsafe ones going to do to your children?
Lindane is so toxic that it can’t be used on crops or cattle, so why in the name of all things cute and fluffy would a parent ever put it on their child? According to the FDA, who still somehow approves this for use on the skin of children, there are some horrific potential side effects.
Lindane may cause serious side effects such as seizures (convulsions, fits) or death. Lindane can also make you feel sleepy, dizzy, or can cause body shaking that you cannot control.
The most common side effects of Lindane are:
- itching skin
- burning skin
- dry skin
- a skin rash
Seriously? This is somehow okay?
Use the wet-combing method for head lice removal instead.
To get rid of lice, you don’t need to use toxic chemicals or to smother them with substances like olive oil, mayonnaise, or petroleum jelly. There is a far simpler method that is absolutely effective. Since it doesn’t rely on chemical pesticide, there’s no need to be concerned about bugs that are resistant to conventional treatments.
It’s called “wet combing” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. All you need is an extremely fine toothed comb. Those little plastic ones that come with the boxes of chemical treatments aren’t sufficient.
This comb has strong metal tines that are very close together. The groove help to catch the nits as well as the live bugs. There are other brands, but make sure you get a metal one with the grooves.
Conventional pharmacy treatments are very expensive and you have to buy new treatments each time. The great thing about these combs is that they never wear out and can be used for years (although hopefully you’ll need it only rarely.) From a preparedness standpoint, this is an item you’ll definitely want to keep in your medical kit. In the aftermath of a disaster, treatment options may not be readily available and this head lice removal method will work regardless of whether the lice outbreak is made up of “super lice” that are immune to chemical treatments.
How to remove lice without chemicals
This process is time-consuming but it’s THE MOST effective way to get rid of head lice. Gather up your supplies:
- A lice comb with metal teeth
- Kleenexes or a white cloth
- Tweezers (optional)
- Magnifying glass (optional)
A tolerance will never be built up because no chemicals are used, it’s inexpensive, and it’s completely non-toxic. The term “wet-combing” is a little bit misleading, since you start with a completely dry head.
- Find a location with good light, where the person with the infestation can be completely comfortable. When I’ve treated children, I generally put them on a pillow on the floor in front of the couch and put a movie on to entertain them.
- Apply conditioner liberally to dry hair. Use a brush to pull the conditioner completely through the hair from root to tip. Add more if necessary. It’s very important that the hair be well-lubricated with conditioner so that you can use the fine-toothed comb without pulling too painfully. If, for some reason, you don’t have access to conditioner you can use a spray bottle with water. However, it won’t detangle as well. After brushing the conditioner through the person’s hair, put the brush aside to be cleaned. DO NOT use it again, or you could be putting nits right back into the hair you just combed out.
- Separate the hair into sections, and use clips to hold them into place. How many sections depends on how thick the person’s hair is. For someone with very thick hair, you’ll probably need to make 6 or more sections. You’re going to work on one section at a time, then pin the completed section back into place to keep it away from the other sections.
- Using your lice comb (or “cootie comb” as we called it in my house) start all the way up at the scalp. Draw the comb all the way through the entire length of the strand of hair. After each pass with the comb, wipe off the conditioner and whatever else comes off the hair with it. I normally use kleenexes for this so that I can flush the bugs and nits when I’m done. Go through each strand 2-3 times, or until the comb comes back without bugs or nits.
- Pay extra attention to places like the crown of the head, behind the ears, and along the hairline at the nape of the neck. These tend to be the most lice-populated areas.
- Once you’ve gone through the entire head of hair, the person can wash out the conditioner.
- Do away with the bugs and eggs by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them into the woodstove or fireplace.
After you’re finished combing, wash everything that has touched the person’s head in hot soapy water with a touch of bleach.
Repeat this process no less than 2 times per day for a week after the lice were found. After that, check the person’s head every day for another week. If you missed any eggs, it will take 7-12 days for them to hatch and your infestation could start all over again if you aren’t scrupulous.
Do a thorough cleaning after you’ve gotten rid of head lice
It’s imperative that you also do some extra housekeeping. It does no good to painstakingly comb out hair but then to go and lay in a bed where bugs could be lying in wait. It isn’t necessary to get expensive (and toxic) sprays to kill the bugs in your house. A thorough cleaning with a few extra steps will do just as much to get rid of them.
- Stuffed animals and pillows can be placed in a freezer for a week, or in black plastic garbage bags out in the sun for two weeks.
- Washing and drying clothing and bedding at temperatures above 130 degrees Fahrenheit will kill lice and eggs.
- Thoroughly vacuum all carpeted areas and throw out your vacuum cleaner bag immediately after.
- Remember, in stubborn cases, lice and nits can only live 2-7 days away from a host, so keeping your children out of their rooms for 10 days can eliminate the need to spray the bedding and carpet.
It’s important to note that head lice have absolutely nothing to do with cleanliness or personal hygiene. If a family member ends up with lice, it’s unpleasant and makes extra work, but it is not a reflection on your home or habits.
An itchy head often the first sign of a lice infestation. The earlier you catch it, the easier time you will have getting rid of it. Check your child’s head frequently to perform head lice removal while it’s just a bug or two. This school year promises to be a doozy.
If your child DOES have lice, don’t be pressured into using the toxic chemical treatments. Wet combing is highly effective and works on even “super lice.”
Pick up a good quality lice comb BEFORE your child comes home with head lice. It’s about a $10 investment that will allow you to immediately take action should that note from the nurse come home.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author ofThe Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]
By: Between the Lines |
The International Center for Technology Assessment and the Center for Food Safety filed a joint lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on July 27 challenging the agency’s conditional approval of the antimicrobial pesticide product called, “Nanosilva.” The pesticide under scrutiny, which will be used in textiles and plastics, employs nanotechnology that breaks down silver into particles more than 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Conventional silver has been used as an antibacterial products for centuries, as it releases ions that are deadly for many bacteria and fungi. However, watchdog groups and scientists are increasingly concerned about the growing number of consumer products that contain nanoparticles that could pose unique hazards and long-term risks. Unless regulations are imposed, nanoparticles of silver, that combat stains and odors, may soon be embedded in children’s toys, clothing, plastics and fabrics.
The lawsuit filed against the EPA in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals seeks to block the sale of the Nanosilva pesticide in the marketplace without the legally required analysis of the product’s effect on human health, wildlife and the environment. EPA’s conditional approval of Nanosilva means that the pesticide can be sold over the next four years while the manufacturer, Nanosilva LLC of Georgia, performs the required testing.
Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Jaydee Hanson, policy director with the International Center for Technology Assessment, who discusses his group’s lawsuit against the EPA and the health and safety concerns surrounding nanotechnology.
For more information visit International Center for Technology Assessment at icta.org.
- Interview conducted by Scott Harris, Counterpoint, July 27, 2015 (24:40)
- “Groups Sue EPA over Faulty Approval of Nanotechnology Pesticide,” Center For Food Safety, July 27, 2015
- “Nano-Silver in Food and Food Contact Products,” Center For Food Safety, Dec. 15, 2014
- “EPA’s fast-track approval process for pesticides raises health concerns,” Center for Investigative Reporting, Jan. 15, 2014
- “EPA sued over approval of nanotechnology product,” Reuters, July 29, 2015
- “Pesticides just got a whole lot smaller. Is that a good thing?,” Grist, Jan. 22, 2015
- “Scientists call fast-track approval of nano silver needless, dangerous,” Sacramento News & Review, Jan. 23, 2014
- “Uncertainties over nanosilver safety persist, says French agency,” Chemical Watch, March 19, 2015
Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don’t plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.
“We’ve traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it’s a very productive acre and a half,” Eric Reuter says.
Their neighbors grow acres of conventional corn and soybeans, and they mostly got along. That is until one July evening in 2014. Joanna Reuter was transplanting some broccoli when a sound caught her attention.
“I basically heard this loud noise,” she says. “It was coming north to south, and I basically yelled, ‘What the ‘beep’ is that?’ “
They spotted a crop duster passing unusually close to their property. Shortly after experiencing headaches and irritation, they knew the wind had blown something chemical onto their land. Without knowing what it was, they were left in the lurch, with a big asterisk on the authenticity of their organic crops.
“We were concerned about how do we properly market ourselves, because we feel very strongly about openness and honesty,” Eric Reuter says. “We felt a little odd about marketing farm shares and such for the next year as a sustainable, chemical-free farm.”
They’ve opted not to sell their produce this year and hope the contaminated soil will rebound for next year. It’s a big hit for their small business.
And for the crop duster? He received a warning letter. The farm next door did not respond to my requests for an interview.
“We’re more susceptible to that kind of contamination than we thought,” Eric Reuter says. “And that raises the stakes significantly for a farm like ours.”
In the U.S., farmers use nearly 900 million pounds of pesticides every year to protect their crops from weeds and insects. Sometimes those chemicals drift to neighboring property, which can ruin crops on organic farms.
Although conventional farms can also get hit with unwanted pesticides, it’s the $40 billion organic industry that’s most vulnerable. As more organic farms pop up, these kinds of disputes will only be more common.
Kaci Buhl of the National Pesticide Information Center says there’s no clear picture of how common pesticide drift is for the nearly 20,000 organic farms nationwide.
“The data would get better, and possibly resource allocation would increase, if there was more consistent reporting,” she says.
Each state’s agency responsible for handling pesticide-drift investigations — typically, it’s the state agriculture department or the equivalent — deals with the probes differently.
Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media
Missouri Department of Agriculture spokesperson Sarah Alsegar says the department does its best, but is sometimes limited by the turnaround time of lab analysis, as well as gathering records from the pesticide applicators in the region.
That’s why the organic industry is pushing for national regulations that prioritize drift investigations and consider stricter penalties for negligent farms. Farmers say investigations into chemical drift can drag on for months, and penalties vary.
“Once we do have a federal approach to pesticide drift, I suspect we’ll be a lot more coordinated in our responses, and potentially, have better prevention strategies and more timely reaction to events when they do occur,” says Nate Lewis with the Organic Trade Association.
Lewis says that drift needs to remain on the forefront of policy efforts, especially as organic acreage grows and farmers become more aware of pesticide drift. Currently, there is no federal policy outlining pesticide drift investigations or recourse.
Paul Schlegel with the American Farm Bureau Federation says unless the drift problem escalates, the current state regulatory system that handles drift incidents works. The focus should be on improving education and drift-reduction technology.
“I think you would probably find in the organic sector as whole, there’s a greater reluctance to accept pesticides as a whole,” he says.
Ultimately, he says, pesticides are part of the food production landscape all farms just have to navigate.
Recently, organic farmer Margot McMillen was traipsing through her muddy farmland, about 25 miles from Chert Hollow. At her farm, called Terra Bella Farm in central Missouri, she grows all sorts of vegetables.
While scanning her crops after a recent rain, she noticed some possible pesticide damage on her grape vines.
“This curling of the leaf is real characteristic, and there’s a real thinness of that leaf,” she says, cradling the leaf in her hand. “To me they look like little fists (saying), ‘Help, help.'”
McMillen is all too familiar with curled up foliage. She says in 2014, pesticide drift destroyed $25,000 worth of her tomatoes. The state agriculture department confirmed drift occurred, but couldn’t identify the culprit.
Even if her contaminated produce had survived, it was no longer sellable as organic. Pesticide drift puts McMillen and much of the organic industry in a tough spot.
“It’s so out of our hands,” she says.
This year, she says, she’s been forced to grow her plants “defensively.” Large bushes now block the wind from the road. She moved crops over a hillcrest, away from other farms, and moved the tomatoes inside the greenhouse.
“Everybody (who) doesn’t use [pesticides] is running into this problem,” she says.
McMillen says she knows her farm is still vulnerable. She says a federal policy would help, but planting defensively — even through it’s not foolproof — is the best she can do for now.
This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting collaboration that focuses on agriculture and food production.
By: Pat Thomas | The Ecologist –
Lab Rats Used in Safety Studies Eat Feeds Laced with Pesticides, Herbicides and GMOs.
A new scientific study has found that laboratory rats used in health and toxicity studies are routinely given feeds contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, writes Pat Thomas, potentially invalidating the results of crucial safety tests on GMOs, agrochemicals, medical drugs and other substances, on which health and environmental regulators base critical decisions.
In the face of uncertainty we often look to science to help us make sense of things.
This is particularly true in complex areas such as GMOs where adverse effects may be difficult to predict or may even be masked by other aspects of our lives and diets.
The potential link between GMOs and cancer is a good example. Do GMOs cause cancer? Many people believe they do, but cause and effect studies of this are rare.
Certainly some studies have shown a higher incidence of tumours (and tumours can be different from cancer) in animals fed GMOs and their associated herbicide glyphosate. Others have shown that the glyphosate, used widely on and absorbed by GMO crops, is an endocrine disrupter and thus can be a trigger for cancer.
Indeed the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization, has recently concluded that glyphosate is a ‘probable human carcinogen‘.
But in the real world, lots of things are known to cause cancer and so it is difficult to know how much or little GMOs contribute to the rising incidence of this disease. We can’t know because the tests aren’t being done, for example, to find out if, for example, glyphosate might combine in food or in our bodies with other chemicals we are commonly exposed to to promote cancer, or to make it more aggressive.
It’s important to remember that the absence of evidence of harm is not the same as proof of safety. For this and so many other reasons there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs.
Now, with the publication of a new study, we have even more cause to question the science of GMO safety and even the wider world of toxicological testing.
Before we look at the results of the study let’s look at how we ‘do’ science.
Toxicity studies are most commonly conducted in rats. Setting aside the rights and wrongs of animal testing, many scientists believe that studying effects on rodent health has a reasonable predictive value for how a substance might affect human health.
But there are unique problems with ‘lab rats’ which scientists have been wrestling with for years.
The main problem is that they are so unhealthy to begin with.
Some of this is down to the fact that laboratory rats are sedentary and can develop all the same diseases that humans develop from being inactive. They can also be stressed and this too has an impact. Genetics also plays a part. The genetic manipulation used to produce strains of laboratory rats can leave them more vulnerable to disease than normal rats.
As a result, populations of laboratory rodents across the world develop high rates of so-called ‘spontaneous’ diseases. For instance, after two years the average incidences of mammary fibroadenomas and pituitary adenomas among certain kinds of Sprague Dawley rats can be up to 71% and 42% respectively.
When a scientist tests a toxic substance, for instance in the diet, he or she will generally divide a group of rodents into a control group, which eats a normal diet, and a test group, whose diet includes the toxic substance. Interpreting the results of the study requires that we make some assumptions about the health and ‘normalcy’ of the ‘control group’.
Such assumptions, however, have come under fire in a new study by French scientists which looks at the toxicity of the ‘normal’ diet of the lab rat.
A question mark
The scientists tested 13 samples of proprietary feed. All of the samples contained significant amounts of pesticides and other contaminants.
Traces of the herbicide glyphosate (both glyphosate itself and its breakdown product AMPA) were detected in 9 of the 13 diets; and 11 of the 13 diets contained ‘Roundup Ready’ GMOs that are grown with large amounts of glyphosate, the main active ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup formulation.
Traces of the insecticides pirimiphos methyl, deltamethrin, chlorpyrifos methyl and ethyl, and malathion were also found in the rats’ food along with significant traces of heavy metals (mostly lead and cadmium) and PCBs.
The study found that the contamination levels recorded in the food were high enough to cause serious diseases and disrupt the hormonal and nervous systems of the animals in control groups.
What this means is that instead of comparing a clean, healthy diet with a contaminated diet, scientists are comparing a contaminated diet with an even more contaminated diet.
The contamination of the ‘control diet’, which can make the rats sick, effectively masks the true toxic effect of the test diet – essentially making it seem less toxic than it actually is. This effect could be why we see so many studies showing ‘non-significant’ toxicity of some very highly toxic substances in animal trials.
This applies especially to ‘endocrine disruptor’ chemicals which are active at very low ‘trace’ levels of parts per billion. Tests that examine toxic effects at such very low concentrations would produce null results if the feed is already contaminated at comparable or higher levels.
This new study is not the only to determine that rat chow can be contaminated.
Last year some of the scientists involved in the current French study analysed the rat chow used in a conventional GMO canola feeding experiment and found that it contained 18% of the Roundup tolerant maize NK603, 14.9% of MON810 (a modified Bt insecticide producing GMO) and 110 ppb of glyphosate and 200 ppb of AMPA (the breakdown product of glyphosate).
They argued that such a level of contamination invalidated the authors’ conclusions about the safety of the variety studied and were a threat to sensible regulation of GMOs.
Earlier this year in the US Dr Anthony Samsel, an independent scientist and consultant, analysed the Purina diet routinely used in animal feeding experiments designed to test the safety of GMOs. His findings showed that three of the standard Purina feeds formulated for rats, mice and other mammals contain both GMOs and glyphosate.
Scientists questioning the science
Rat chow manufacturers like Purina don’t routinely test for these contaminants, and make no guarantees for the purity of their feeds in this regard. Yet these feeds are used every day, in laboratories around the world in feeding experiments.
No certification regarding the purity of test feed is required by journal editors or by food safety regulators either in the EU of the US – and this has been going on for decades.
Scientists are now beginning to speak out about these problems and their implications for the regulation of toxic substances.
GRACE (GMO Risk Assessment and Communication of Evidence) is a publicly funded EU research project. The results of its work are guiding future methods and criteria that will be used in the EU to assess the risks of genetically engineered plants for cultivation or use in feed and food.
Heroes … and villains
The scientists who are speaking out on this issue are heroes and should be congratulated. Instead they have been met with the full force of a well-financed sceptic army whose sole job is to detect and stamp out any criticism of GMO food and the science behind it.
But the lock-step, knee-jerk reactions of groups like the Genetic Literacy Project are looking increasingly dumb in the light of the rapidly changing landscape of GMO science.
There is no escaping that the problem of contaminated laboratory diets are a serious regulatory issue since all of our safety regulations for toxic substances are based on the results of this kind of animal testing.
It’s also human health issue – possibly predictive, but certainly reflective of our own toxic diets and the ‘background’ damage they do to our health, as well as how hard it is to determine cause and effect when it comes to the multiple toxins we are routinely exposed to.
It is also an animal welfare issue, particularly if scientists know that they are routinely feeding contaminated food to their animals and they keep on doing it anyway.
For all these reasons we must take a much harder look at the science of GMOs and the places it can lead – but also mislead – us.
By: Mercola.com |
Monsanto recently made a bid to take over European agrichemical giant Syngenta, the world’s largest pesticide producer. The $45 billion bid was rejected, but there’s still a chance for a merger between these two chemical technology giants.
Monsanto is reportedly considering raising the offer, and as noted by Mother Jones,1“combined, the two companies would form a singular agribusiness behemoth, a company that controls a third of both the globe’s seed and pesticides markets.”
As reported by Bloomberg,2 the possibility of Monsanto taking over Syngenta raises a number of concerns; a top one being loss of crop diversity.
“…[A] larger company would eventually mean fewer varieties of seeds available to farmers, say opponents such as [science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, Bill] Freese.
Another is that the combined company could spur increased use of herbicides by combining Syngenta’s stable of weed killers with Monsanto’s marketing heft and crop development expertise.
‘Two really big seed companies becoming one big seed company means even less choice for farmers,’ said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, a policy group in Washington.
‘From a public health and environmental perspective this is a complete disaster,’ said Bill Freese… ‘The more I look at this, the more it worries me and the more it needs to be opposed.’”
What’s in a Name?
According to one analyst, the takeover might boost Monsanto’s reputation, as Syngenta has been “less publicly enthusiastic” about genetically engineered (GE) crops.
Personally, I don’t foresee Monsanto ever being able to shed its toxic reputation, no matter how it tries to rebrand itself. It recently tried to do just that by declaring itself “sustainable agriculture company.”
But actions speak louder than mere words, and there’s nothing sustainable about Monsanto’s business. Taking on the Syngenta name would do nothing to change the obnoxious dichotomy between Monsanto’s words and deeds.
In fact, Mother Jones astutely notes that by trying to acquire Syngenta, Monsanto contradicts “years of rhetoric about how its ultimate goal with biotech is to wean farmers off agrichemicals.”
It’s quite clear Monsanto has no desire or plans to help farmers reduce the use of crop chemicals. On the contrary, it has and continues to push for the increased use of its flagship product, Roundup.
By: Jérôme Rigot, PhD | The Cornucopia Institute –
USDA researchers have identified the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin as a likely contributor to monarch butterfly declines in North America. The USDA research was published online April 3rd, 2015 in the journal Science of Nature.
Neonicotinoids have been strongly implicated in pollinator declines worldwide; they are neurotoxins that are partially banned in the European Union. A recent report indicates (see references at the end of full article) that neonicotinoids, such as clothianidin (Bayer), are a particular hazard because, unlike most pesticides, they are soluble molecules. From soil or seed treatments they can reach nectar and are found in pollen.
Neonicotinoids are now the most widely used pesticides in the world. Up until now there has been negligible research on the effects of neonicotinoids on butterflies. This new report is therefore the first to link neonicotinoids to monarch butterfly survival and reproduction.
In their experiments the USDA researchers showed that clothianidin can impact monarch caterpillars at doses as low as 1 part per billion (ppb). The effects seen were on caterpillar size, caterpillar weight, and caterpillar survival. The lethal concentration (LC50) was found to be 15 ppb.
In this research project, the caterpillars were exposed to clothianidin-treated food for only 36 hours. However, the researchers noted that in agricultural environments caterpillar exposure would likely be greater than in the experimental conditions set for this project; furthermore, in nature butterfly caterpillars would also be exposed to other pesticides, including other neonicotinoids.
In sampling experiments from corn-growing areas in South Dakota the researchers found on average over 1 ppb clothianidin in milkweed plants.
Based on this study’s results, the USDA researchers concluded that “neonicotinoids could negatively affect larval monarch populations.” They added, “Although preliminary, this study clearly shows that monarch larvae are exposed to clothianidin in the field at potentially harmful doses of the toxin.”
More on this from Independentsciencenews.org at:
Comment from Cornucopia scientist Jérôme Rigot, PhD, Farm and Food Policy Analyst:
The study states: “The lethal concentration (LC50) was found to be 15 parts per billion.”: This is a very low level; however, the implications are that much lower levels of neonicotinoids as well as synergistic effects with other pesticides at very low levels (1 ppb or less), as suggested in the text, would significantly and negatively affect caterpillars’ health.
Extrapolating from the study results, the synergistic action of pesticides, even at levels below 1 ppb (levels that may not be detected by the EPA’s current analytical equipment), can significantly and detrimentally impact the health of organisms (including humans) that come in contact (e.g., ingest) with a vegetable or fruit that has been sprayed from seed to harvest by a variety of pesticides and likely is covered by and/or contains a number of pesticide residues at trace levels.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder that generally impairs speech and motor skills and is characterized by tremors and muscular rigidity. There is still a lot to learn about the symptoms and effects of Parkinson’s disease, but recently, a new study concluded with interesting results.
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Contracted?
There are many forms of Parkinson’s disease that appear to be idiopathic, meaning doctors aren’t sure of the causes. Some cases are linked to drug toxicity, medical disorders, or head trauma. The latest observation that medical scientists are exploring is a possible link between pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease.
According to new research  into the causes of Parkinson’s Disease, two specific insecticide classes were cited as significantly associated: organochlorines and organophosphorus compounds. While the research isn’t exhaustive or definitive, the results compiled thus far are enough to warrant closer examination by the medical community.
Did Anyone Know that These Chemicals Posed a Health Risk?
The answer is yes. It’s not news that pesticides are harmful. The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was set up by the World Health Organization to create international safety guidelines for food. They researched the threat, dismissed the evidence of dangers presented to them, and approved seven dangerous toxic chemical compounds, including organochlorines in pesticides.
The Price We Pay for Scientific Advancement?
I have provided a wealth of health-related information explaining even more about the dangers of pesticides and other chemicals that we’re exposed to regularly, with the sanction of the government.
With this new link to Parkinson’s disease, perhaps more attention will be paid to the poisons known as pesticides, insecticides and herbicides. Scientists will have to seriously rethink their ideas about excessive use of chemicals in lieu of non-toxic crop rotation practices, and other such safe practices.
- Dana B Hancock, Eden R Martin, Gregory M Mayhew, Jeffrey M Stajich, Rita Jewett, Mark A Stacy, Burton L Scott, Jeffery M Vance and William K Scott. Researching causes of Parkinson’s disease. BMC Neurology 2008 March 6, 8:6.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
Many Americans recognize pesticides in produce as a problem, but should you really be worried? Well, it definitely pays to be aware, if nothing else. Pesticides are linked to all sorts of health problems, after all. Let me share 6 facts about pesticides that are sure to make you angry.
- Pesticides Have Completely Ruined Strawberries
Toxic pesticides like fumigants are all over our strawberries—even organic ones! These poisons are released into the soil to kill off diseases, weeds, and pests before they become a problem, but now you’re left with a toxic gas in the environment—and on the berries. Fumigants are also linked to cancer.  Is that really something you want in your body? And while the USDA is researching alternatives, no projects are looking at strawberries. 
- Pesticides Are Destroying Male Fertility
So if strawberries are treated with fumigants, it stands to reason other fruits and vegetables use pesticides as well. When it comes to pesticides, though, there’s no such thing as safe conventional produce, but avocado, sweet corn, and pineapple seem to have the lowest residue levels.  But residues could even be harming male fertility. A study suggested men who eat lots of produce could have sperm counts 50% lower than men who consume smaller amounts of vegetables and fruits, and that the men who at the most fruits containing pesticides experienced 32% more abnormally shaped sperm. 
3. Pesticides Are Polluting the Water Supply
In the Midwest, where farming can be big business, fertilizer runoff is polluting the water supply. Iowa’s largest water utility is even “threatening to sue three rural counties” under the Federal Clean Water Act because of drinking water contamination.  The main concern here is nitrates in the water, which could poison—even kill—infants. Pesticides are such a widespread problem that they’re even making their way into our oceans. Whale meat from Norway was imported to Japan; tests confirmed that it had twice the legal limit of the toxins. 
- Pesticides Are Ruining Good Wine
In some places, toxic pesticides have even made drinking to escape your problems impractical. Take some wines in France, for instance. A report found that some “300 French wines from the 2007 and 2008 vintages of the Rhône and the wider Aquitaine region,” 90 percent of those had pesticide contamination. 
- Pesticides Lead to Antibiotic Resistance
A recent study suggested glyphosate—the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup—and two other common herbicides (2,4-D and dicamba) could be connected to antibiotic resistance.  After exposure to the toxins, bacteria reacted differently to common antibiotics like ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, and tetracycline. And with glyphosate also recently ruled “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization (WHO), this latest study is just one more reason to stay away from herbicides. 
- Pesticides Linked to Autism
Clearly, glyphosate is bad news, but Monsanto Company—its creator—doesn’t think so: it even wants a retraction of that WHO report! But it’s not just cancer that could be a concern; one study suggested that because of glyphosate toxicity in our food supply, 1 in 2 children will have autism by the year 2025.  That’s a radical claim, yes, but also a potentially devastating one that can’t be ignored.
One Final Thought
We can’t even rely on the government to protect us. The EPA just says to not worry about pesticide exposure; the agency has even set “tolerance levels” for the consumer—how reassuring. And, in many cases, the laws about pesticides aren’t even being enforced. In Europe, however, they’re trying to further regulate toxic pesticides, and the U.S. is having a fit. After all, if Europe were to strictly regulate the toxins, the U.S. could stand to lose out on a multi-billion dollar import business. Unfortunately, even when our health is on the line, our government can only see dollar signs.
What do you think about pesticides? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
- Weisenburger, D. Human health effects of agrichemical use. Human Pathology. 24 (6).
- United States Department of Agriculture. National Program 308: Methyl Bromide Alternatives. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Environmental Working Group. EWG’s 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. Environmental Working Group.
- Chiu, Y. H. et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction.
- Rao, M. A closely watched fight brewing over nitrates in Iowa water. Star Tribune.
- The Japan Times. Norway whale meat dumped in Japan after pesticide finding. The Japan Times.
- Sciolino, E. In France, Pesticides Get in Way of Natural Wines. New York Times.
- Kurenbach, B. et al. Sublethal Exposure to Commercial Formulations of the Herbicides Dicamba, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, and Glyphosate Cause Changes in Antibiotic Susceptibility in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. mBio. 6 (2).
- International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides. World Health Organization.
- Alliance for Natural Health. Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025, Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT. Alliance for Natural Health.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
A group of professors at the University of Cordoba, Argentina, detected incidence rates of cancer and other diseases that triple the provincial and national averages.
After conducting a study with thousands of people, the professors recommended that grain storage plants, pesticides and other agrochemicals be kept outside the city center.
The higher than normal incidence in various types of cancer was detected in the village of In Monte Maíz, a small town located 440 kilometers west of Buenos Aires. With only 8,200 inhabitants Monte Maíz, asked the University of Córdoba to investigate what they perceived as an increase in serious illnesses.
Medics, university students and experts of the Center for Environmental Research, University of La Plata participated in the study.
The research found that the gross rate of cancer incidence was of 707 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 264 in the province of Córdoba and 217 throughout Argentina.
The main types of tumors that were detected included breast, colon, prostate, thyroid and skin. A total of 21.6% of the cases occurred in people whose age was under 44, a segment of the population that is represented by only 11.6% at the provincial level.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Monte Maíz, 33.4% of the total deaths in 2014. In Argentina, cancer comes second as the cause of death at a rate of 20% and behind cardiovascular disease.
The researchers recommended the mayor to relocate the deposits of agrochemicals and also the grain, since toxic substances would also be released from them.
During the study conducted by experts, they found glyphosate, cypermethrin and cloropiritos residues in soil samples. “The rural area totals 65,000 hectares, where people spray 630,000 liters of pesticides annually,” says the report.
The document also expresses concern about an open dump located 800 meters from the village, notes the existence of stagnant water from past floods and a drainage channel with harmful waste products from local industries.
Cancer is not the only concern in Monte Maíz. The rate of spontaneous abortions amounted to 9.9% of pregnant women, compared to the 3% national average.
Children with congenital malformations account for 2.9% in the last 10 years, compared to 1.9% as the national average.
Doctors also drew attention to the amount of pulmonary disease, hypothyroidism and lupus.
Argentina is the third largest producer of soybeans in the world. In 2012, at the first trial on agrochemical pollution in this country, a court in Cordoba sentenced a farmer to three years suspended sentence to a farmer and a pilot whose planes fumigate the inhabitants of a neighboring district of the city while spraying chemicals on a nearby plantation.
Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news. Read more about Luis.