Friday, July 18, 2014

The World Says No to GMOs!

Ten of these organizations include:
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports:
We urge the food industry to drop its legal war against consumers’ right to know and instead begin listening to its consumers on this issue. We urge companies to offer not just the foods that are most convenient to grow or process, but the foods consumers really want, fully labeled.
Consumers Union also spoke about a recent health study of GM feed, stating:
"There have been very few animal feeding studies of GE food to date, and extremely few that lasted longer than 90 days. This new study looked at pigs fed GE corn and soy under commercial production conditions over a 22.7 week period. Compared to a control group that was fed conventional corn and soy, the GE-fed pigs showed significant increases in severe stomach inflammation and thickening of the uterus."
The study is online here:
Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has long been concerned about the impact of GE crops and thinks these effects are a red flag and deserve further study. We also believe this study underlines the need for labeling of GE food, since there still much to learn about their health effects. Consumers Union urges state legislatures, as well as Congress, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to require labeling of GE foods.
Sierra Club:
"Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods have the potential to cause a variety of health problems. For example, they may produce new allergens and toxins, and spread harmful traits to non-GMO crops. In addition, at least one major environmental impact of genetic engineering has already reached critical proportions: overuse of herbicide-tolerant GE crops has spurred an increase in herbicide use and an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds," which will lead to even more herbicide use. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment they cannot be recalled."
Even the loss of milkweed that Monarch butterflies depend on, (and other sources of nectar and pollen that wild pollinators require to survive) is an environmental side effect of intensive herbicide use associated with GE crops.
Union of Concerned Scientists:
Does UCS Have a Position On GE?
"Yes. We see that the technology has potential benefits, but we are critics of its commercial application and regulation to date. GE has proved valuable in some areas (as in the contained use of engineered bacteria in pharmeceutical development and some GE applications could turn out to play a useful role in food production.
However, its applications in agriculture so far have fallen short of expectations, and in some cases have caused serious problems. Rather than supporting a more sustainable agriculture and food system with broad societal benefits, the technology has been employed in ways that reinforce problematic industrial approaches to agriculture. Policy decisions about the use of GE have too often been driven by biotech industry PR campaigns, rather than by what science tells us about the most cost-effective ways to produce abundant food and preserve the health of our farmland."
UCS offers these pages for more information:
Learn more:
The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility:
"As scientists, physicians, academics, and experts from disciplines relevant to the scientific, legal, social and safety assessment aspects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we strongly reject claims by GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators, and journalists that there is a “scientific consensus” on GMO safety and that the debate on this topic is “over”."
ENSSER highlights the following concerns on their official statement about genetically engineered crops with detailed information about each of these concerns:
1. There is no consensus on GM food safety
2. There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GM food consumption on human health
3. Claims that scientific and governmental bodies endorse GMO safety are exaggerated or inaccurate
4. EU research project does not provide reliable evidence of GM food safety
5. List of several hundred studies does not show GM food safety
6. There is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops
7. International agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GM foods and crops
The Institute of Science in Society:
"Reliable evidence obtained by scientist independent of the biotech industry fully corroborates real life experiences of farmers in the field from different parts of the world (hitherto dismissed by the scientific establishment as “anecdotal evidence”): GM feed and other exposures to GMOs invariably cause harm, regardless of the species of animal, the GM crop, or the genes and constructs involved. A full list is presented in our report, and it includes the most horrendous cases of excess deaths, birth defects, infertility, tumours and cancers (some of which will be presented by other scientists at this conference). The inevitable conclusion one comes to is that genetic modification is inherently hazardous, on account of the new genetics of the fluid and responsive genome."
ISIS also states:
"This is a dangerous situation for the future of food and farming, one that needs to be reversed as quickly as possible, particularly as GM agriculture is failing on all counts. That can only be achieved by a ban on GMOs, an action already taken by countries and local communities around the world. We need to join forces with them, to put an end to the GM corporate empire."
"The transnational companies that produce genetically engineered (GE) food crops include several of the worst polluters of the 20th century.
These "agbiotech" companies evolved from long-time chemical polluters that have reinvented themselves as "life sciences" companies. These companies see huge profits in controlling life patents, in denying consumers their right to know when food is genetically altered and in creating crops that require farmers to use the company's brand of pesticides."
Greenpeace also has an official statement against GMOs here, saying:
"We believe:
GMOs should not be released into the environment since there is not an adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.
We advocate immediate interim measures such as labelling of GE ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops and seeds from conventional ones.
We also oppose all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity. When we force life forms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril."
Food and Water Watch:
"Farmers, who now depend on the few firms that sell seeds and affiliated agrochemicals, face higher prices and patent infringement lawsuits if a patent is allegedly violated. Genetic contamination is a serious threat to the livelihoods of non-GE and organic farmers who bear the financial burden for these incidents.
GE crops can take a toll on agriculture and surrounding wildlife as well. The environmental effects of GE crops include intensified agrochemical use and pollution, increased weed and insect resistance to herbicides and pesticides, and gene flow between GE and non-GE crops.
Once GE products are on the market, no labeling is required. This means that U.S. consumers blindly eat and drink GE ingredients every day and are not given the knowledge or choice to do otherwise. Several studies point to the health risks of GE crops and their associated agrochemicals, but proponents of the technology promote it as an environmentally responsible, profitable way for farmers to feed a growing global population. Yet the only ones experiencing any benefits from GE crops are the few, massive corporations that are controlling the food system at every step and seeing large profit margins."
The Institute for Responsible Technology:
"Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied."
Center for Food Safety:
"A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to farmers, human health, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Despite these long-term and wide-ranging risks, Congress has yet to pass a single law intended to manage them responsibly. The haphazard and negligent agency regulation of biotechnology has been a disaster for consumers and the environment. Unsuspecting consumers by the tens of millions are purchasing and consuming unlabeled GE foods, despite a finding by U.S. Food & Drug Administration scientists that these foods could pose serious risks.
Center for Food Safety seeks to halt the approval, commercialization and/or release of any new genetically engineered crops until they have been thoroughly tested and found safe for human health and the environment. CFS maintains that any foods that already contain GE ingredients must be clearly labeled, and advocates for the containment and reduction of existing genetically engineered crops."
"Genetically modified crops may exacerbate environmental and social problems.
The director general of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), a leading global conservation organization, issued a notice to the group’s members in December reaffirming a call for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The message from IUCN head Ibrahim Thiaw urges governments and businesses to take a precautionary approach to GMOs until the safety of the organisms can be assured “beyond reasonable doubt.” The group, of which the Worldwatch Institute is a member, is concerned about the potential negative consequences of GMO use, including biodiversity loss and the emergence of pests and weeds that are resistant to controls...
Besides potential biological problems, genetically modified crops can increase farmers’ debt and dependency. Because agricultural biotechnology companies place strict patents on their GMOs, farmers are prohibited from breeding the altered seeds, trading them, and even from saving them from one year to the next. As such, growers are forced to buy new seed from manufacturers every year. This is particularly detrimental to farmers in the developing world, who have traditionally depended on seed saving to sustain their livelihoods."
Sum of Us has many campaigns about GMOs and Monsanto, including this one:
"Monsanto: it's one of the greatest corporate scandals of our time. This mega-corporation has paid off our politicians, taken over our regulators, and bullied public opponents into submission while it silently monopolizes our food system with its genetically-engineered products."
and this one:
"When corporations control seeds, they control life. They’re taking a renewable common resource and turning it into a non-renewable, patented commodity. It’s up to us to fight back."
and many more.

These are just a few of the world organizations that have spoken out against genetic engineering. 

More and more scientists, doctors, researchers and advocacy groups are taking a stand against GMOs, along with millions of concerned citizens. It is important to keep speaking out, spreading awareness and speaking with our pocketbooks.

See 15 Ways to take a stand against Monsanto and avoid GMO foods for more ways to take a stand against GMOs.

Our future depends on it -- for our health, for our farmers and for our environment.
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Ban Roundup - Linked to Rising Kidney Disease in US and Abroad

We usually only post the most recent articles here, but think this one from March of this year, has not received the attention that it warrants. A study in a peer reviewed journal, showed that Roundup is linked to a fatal chronic kidney disease in farming communities in Sri Lanka (Roundup banned) El Salvador (just passed a ban on Roundup) Costa Rica (2/3 of the country banned GM agriculture) and Nicaragua (where there was a ban- but looks like government stepped back from it).  Brazil is also trying to ban Roundup

The rapid expansion of GM agriculture in our country, most of which is engineered to be Roundup Ready, has resulted in glyphosate polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink and has been found in the breast milk of 3 out of 10 American mothers (at levels 760 to 1600 times higher than what the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides). In farming regions, glyphosate is in the rain that falls and in the urine of the people.

Renal failure death in the US has doubled over the past thirty years. Hospitalization for acute kidney injuries in the US tripled from 1996 (the year Roundup Ready crops were first planted) to 2006 and death rates from Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer increased by 50% from 1998 to 2008.

When is the last time you heard this discussed in MSM? Please share.

Dramatic Increase in Kidney Disease in the US and Abroad Linked To Roundup (Glyphosate) 'Weedkiller'
Global Epidemic of Kidney Disease Linked To Roundup (Glyphosate) 'Weedkiller'

Last month, we reported on a mysterious global epidemic of fatal kidney disease, focusing on a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health1 that laid down evidence showing the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) is responsible for an epidemic of kidney-related deaths in a rural farming region of Northern Sri Lanka, as well as other rural regions around the world, including Costa Rica and Nicaragua. You can review the report here: Roundup Weedkiller Linked To Global Epidemic of Fatal Kidney Disease.

This information, while shocking to many who still consider glyphosate herbicide and the GM food produced with it to be relatively non-toxic, is not surprising to those who have been tracking the published research on glyphosate's wide ranging harmful effects, and which now shows a link between glyphosate and several dozen health conditions. You can view the first-hand toxicological citations here: Adverse Health Effects of Glyphosate Formulations.

Only days ago, The Center for Public Integrity released a report titled, "Sri Lanka bans Monsanto herbicide citing potential link to deadly kidney disease," citing Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's March 13th decision to impose an outright ban on glyphosate. This decision follows a decision by the legislature in El Salvador last September to approve a ban on glyphosate, but the proposal has not yet been signed into law.

Now that the world seems to be paying closer attention to the fact that the primary agrichemical used in the farming of genetically modified crops has deleterius, if not deadly, consequences to exposed populations, including kidney harm, it is only logical to ask the question if the US, which has the highest amount of glyphosate usage in the world, is also experiencing kidney harm as a result of widespread daily exposure.

A series of graphs based on data from the USDA, National Cancer Institutes, Centers for Disease Control, have recently surfaced, depicting at steep rise in the rates of kidney disease in the US from the time of the introduction of glyphosate and GM food, reveals that the US may also be suffering from an epidemic of glyphosate-linked kidney damage.

The first graph below depicts the 'Age Adjusted Acute Renal Failure Deaths' in the US from 1981 to 2009 plotted against the percentage of GE soy and corn planted, and the tonnage of glyphosate applied to corn and soy, showing death rates more than doubling over the past 30 years.

Age Adjusted Acute Renal Failure Deaths

The second graph depicts the 'Number of Hospitalizations for Acute Kidney Injury' in the US plotted against glyphosate applied to corn and soy, between years 1990-2010. Within a single decade (1996-2006), hospitalizations due to acute kidney injury had more than tripled.

'Number of Hospitalizations for Acute Kidney Injury'

The third graph depicts 'Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer Incidence' in the US, plotted against the percentage of GE soy and corn planted, and the tonnage of glyphosate applied to corn and soy, showing death rates increasing by 50% between 1998 and 2008.

'Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer Incidence'

The implications of this data are highly concerning. The steady increase in acute and chronic kidney disease in the US population dovetails so closely with the increased use (and therefore human exposure) to glyphosate and glyphosate contaminated food, that it is hard to write off the correlation as coincidence.

In previous articles, we have examined the evidence showing that glyphosate is accumulating in our air, rain, groundwater, soil, food, and even persists in the seawater where it may be killing our coral reefs. Far from the 'highly biodegradable,' 'virtually non toxic' chemical it was once marketed to be by its creator Monsanto, it is now known to persist in a way that makes daily exposure inevitable, and which accumulates with time, as its use increases each year.

In fact, the entire basis for arguing for the substantial equivalence of GMO and non-GMO foods is that glyphosate possesses negligible toxicity. The GMO biosafety debate normally revolves around whether the novel transgenes inserted into the plants produce problematic proteins or insecticidal compounds that have adverse, non-target adverse health effects on humans.  If glyphosate is toxic in extremely low concentrations (as low as the parts per trillion range), then any food produced using glyphosate (and which is therefore contaminated with it, or its equally toxic metabolites, such as AMPA) will not be equivalent in safety to the non-GMO/conventional/organic food which is free of such residues.

As the increasingly educated world comes to understand the inherent and extreme dangers of glyphosate formulations like Roundup, there will be increasing momentum for the consumer to move supplicating the 'powers that be' for lapdog like permission to have GM-containing products accurately labeled, to recognizing the underlying infrastructure of GMO agriculture is slowing altering (via GMO transgene biopollution) and killing the biosphere via wide-ranging agrichemical destruction. In other words, the rallying cry now is to 'Ban Glyphosate and GMOs!'

1  Channa Jayasumana,  Sarath Gunatilake, Priyantha Senanayake  Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka?Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 2125-2147; doi:10.3390/ijerph110202125

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Move Over Coke & Pepsi, Truvia Also Doubles as a Pesticide

(NaturalNews) Truvia sweetener is made from about 99.5% erythritol (a sugar alcohol), and 0.5% rebiana, an extract from the stevia plant (but not at all the same thing as stevia). A shocking new study published in the journal PLOS ONE (1) has found that Truvia, an alternative sweetener manufactured by food giant Cargill, is a potent insecticide that kills fruit flies which consume it.

The study is titled, Erythritol, a Non-Nutritive Sugar Alcohol Sweetener and the Main Component of Truvia, Is a Palatable Ingested Insecticide.

The study found that while fruit flies normally live between 39 and 51 days, those that ate the Truvia ingredient erythritol died in less than a week.

Erythritol is often indirectly derived from genetically modified corn, by the way. Cargill was forced to settle a class action lawsuit last year (2) for labeling Truvia "natural" when it's actually made from a fermentation process whereby yeast are fed GM corn maltodextrin.

Cargill plays word games with this process, insisting that "erythritol is not derived from corn or dextrose feedstock; it is derived from the yeast organism."

Yeah, okay, but the yeast are fed GMOs. So they're playing mind games with their explanations.

There is a verified non-GMO erythritol available today, by the way, and it's made by Pyure Brands, based in Florida.

Pyure Brands offers alternative sweeteners for the health-conscious marketplace, and their product is USDA Organic certified and Non-GMO Project Verified.

Truvia a really amazing insecticide

This story on Truvia's insecticidal properties has really caught the attention of the public. Even CBS News (3), a mainstream media outlet that rarely covers the dangers of food additives, covered this story, reporting:

Erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, has a new, unexpected application -- it may be used as an insecticide. ...Researchers found that fruit flies fed with food that included erythritol or the erythritol-containing sweetener Truvia died much sooner than flies fed with food containing other types of sweeteners.

"The more you get [fruit flies] to consume erythritol, the faster they die," Sean O'Donnell, a professor of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, told CBS News.

"We are hoping to develop it into a human-safe insecticide," O'Donnell later says in the story.

The abstract of the published study concludes, "Here we show that Erythritol, a non-nutritive sugar alcohol, was toxic to the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster."

No other sweetener killed the fruit flies

Fruit flies were also subjected to feeding tests with sucrose and corn syrup, but those sweeteners didn't kill them. Only erythritol had this effect, as it shown in the chart below:

Erythritol also interfered with the flies' motor coordination, as stated in the study text: flies raised on food containing Truvia displayed aberrant motor control prior to death. We therefore assayed motor reflex behavior through climbing assays. Flies raised on food containing Truvia showed a significantly decreased ability to climb.

Researchers were also able to determine that stevia was not the cause of the problem. They also tested Purevia and found it was safe for fruit flies. Only erythritol, the main component of Truvia, replicated the toxic effects on fruit flies.

Erythritol also exhibited a dose-dependent death response, meaning the more that was consumed by the flies, the more quickly they died.

What to make of Truvia’s usefulness as a pesticide?

The FDA has declared Truvia to be safe for human consumption. Then again, the FDA has also declared aspartame to be safe for human consumption, so that doesn’t carry any real credibility.
Sugar alcohols are widely consumed by millions of people, but that also isn’t any guarantee of their safety because Vioxx was also widely consumed by millions of people (while killing tens of thousands of them via heart attacks).

Most people believe sugar alcohols are safe to consume, and perhaps they’re right. But maybe there’s some yet-unknown contaminant in erythritol that’s causing these toxic effects. Or perhaps it’s the GMO connection, since most erythritol comes from genetically modified corn. A really interesting study on this would test GMO-derived erythritol vs. non-GMO erythritol to determine if there’s any difference.

Many scientists might also argue that perhaps erythritol is perfectly safe for humans and only selectively toxic to insects because of their different physiology. That would be the best-case scenario.

If true, it opens up a positive conclusion to all this: What if erythritol could be used as a natural pesticide that replaces the toxic chemical pesticides sold by companies like Monsanto and DuPont?
Imagine, if you will, a natural, plant-based pesticide that could be sprayed on crops to kill insects, yet still eaten by humans in trace amounts with no ill effects. That’s the hope of this discovery: maybe sugar alcohols can be sprayed on crops or used in organic food production.

By the way, the idea for this research came from a sixth-grader named Simon D. Kaschock-Marenda, once again proving that science is available to everyone, including children. This is why I have openly called for enhanced science education in America — in the hope that more children can learn about scientific investigations and use their knowledge to help achieve a safer, less toxic world.

Sources for this article include: