World Health Organization sees ‘weak evidence’ of human poisoning by endocrine disruptors in chemicals

While admitting humans are experiencing the highest incidence of disease and that thousands of dangerous chemicals are used in products people consume, a World Health Organization report says there is only weak evidence that human health has been adversely affected by the abundance of those chemicals in food and other products.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 25, 2013

There are two facts that are undeniable when it comes to human health. First, despite great advances in science and technology, humans are sicker beings today –both mentally and physically–, when compared to half a century ago, for example. Even worse, the incidence of previously unknown or inexistant diseases has grown exponentially due to ‘inexplicable’ reasons. Second, those who were charged with verifying the safety of the production processes and the goods that are mass-produced for human consumption, failed to point out the dangers, and the side effects of thousands of substances used in the manufacture of industrial products.

The reason for the failure to properly guard human health and the environment from toxic chemicals varies, and it needs to be investigated on a case to case basis, but generally it occurred either due to lack of knowledge or because those watching out for our safety overlooked clear evidence that certain chemicals posed a direct threat to humanity and the environment. Three cases in point: DDT, fluoride in the water, mercury in vaccines, pesticides and herbicides.

In 2013, 41 years after its creation, the World Health Organization finally decided to publish a document where it expresses its concern about the adverse effects that toxic chemicals may have in humans; specifically on the human endocrine system. The document issued by the WHO titled Global Assessment of the State‐of‐the‐Science of Endocrine Disruptors, addresses what millions of people around the world, and thousands of health care practitioners have warned about for many years: chemicals put in the foods we eat, the water we drink and others used in industrial processes harm human health and gravely contaminate the environment.

Unfortunately, the report starts by playing down the role of industrial chemicals in the exponential appearance of disease among humans. The WHO cites as its final conclusion that “although it is clear that certain environmental chemicals can interfere with normal hormonal processes, there is weak evidence that human health has been adversely affected by exposure to endocrine-active chemicals.” As many other unaccountable global organizations, the WHO refused to look at independently gathered evidence that raised concerns about the poisoning of humans and the environment by the industrial process and how chemicals used in the production of food, for example, was the origin of previously unknown diseases.

It took 16 years for the WHO to accept and implement the advice provided by various health groups about the serious problem with the way food is produced as well as the way toxic chemicals are used in the production of the food we ingest. Back in 1997, the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and the Environment Leaders of the Eight regarding the issue of EDCs, the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), a joint programme of WHO, UNEP and the International Labour Organization, began preparing the report issued in 2013.

Along with its general conclusion that its panel of scientists did not find enough evidence –despite all the evidence that exists– that human health is indeed adversely affected by exposure to endocrine disruptors found in toxic chemicals, the WHO report highlights just over a dozen other warning signs that humans, animals and the environment as a whole MAY be experiencing the consequences of systematic poisoning.

After explaining that life on Earth depends on its ability to reproduce and developed normally, the WHO report explains that there is a high incidence and a growing trend of endocrine-related disorders in humans; that there are observations of endocrine-related effects in wildlife populations; and that there is enough evidence that chemicals to which everyone is exposed to have endocrine disrupting properties linked to disease outcomes in laboratory studies. Amazingly, the WHO admits that there is more evidence to suggest that toxic chemicals DO cause endocrine disruptions on animals than on humans.

Endocrine Disruption

Figure 2. Overview of the endocrine system. Obtained from WHO report “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals”. 2013.

The report found that endocrine-related diseases and disorders are on the rise, especially on young men. It related that in some countries, up to 40% of young men show low semen quality, which translates in their inability to have children. In addition to infertility, the report calls attention to the incidence of genital malformations, adverse pregnancy outcomes, neurobehavioural disorders associated with thyroid disruption, an unexplained rise in endocrine-related cancers that include breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, testicular and thyroid, earlier development of the breasts in young girls and the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which increased exponentially all over the world for the past 40 years.

The World Health Organization reports that some 800 chemicals are confirmed or suspected to interfere with hormone receptors, hormonal synthesis or conversion and that only a small amount of those chemicals have been properly studied to determine their negative effects on the organisms. That is to say, health watchdogs –both at the national and international levels– traditionally failed to test for the potential or demonstrated threats that toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of food products presented to humans and other forms of life. “The vast majority of chemicals in current commercial use have not been tested at all,” the study admits.

As many independent observations have previously warned, humans and all life on this planet are continuously exposed to Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals (EDC), which traditionally occurs in low but permanent levels. The WHO report confirms this fact by saying that evidence shows that humans and wildlife are exposed to more EDCs than just those found in persistent organic pollutants. The report also confirms that food and drinking water are two major contributors of human and animal poisoning, but that the list of those elements that poison us all is long.

“Children can have higher exposures to chemicals compared with adults—for example, through their hand-to-mouth activity and higher metabolic rate. The speed with which the increases in disease incidence have occurred in recent decades rules out genetic factors as the sole plausible explanation.”

Endocrine Disruption in Babies

Figure 3. Sensitive windows of development. Each tissue has a specific window during development when it is forming. Obtained from WHO report “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals”. 2013.

The statement above is damning evidence that most, if not all supposedly genetically transmitted diseases, are not really passed on to humans by their progenitors, but by their exposure to chemicals created or used during the production of food and other products. The report goes on detailing that chemicals such as DDT, PCB’s, diethylstilbestrol (DES) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), often used in pesticides and herbicides, or for controlling insect reproduction, are to blame for breast cancer, prostate cancer, non-descended testes.

How can they then say that the evidence is weak when it comes to the relation between toxic chemicals and mass spread disease?

The assessment on endocrine disruptors clarified that much of the damage caused by toxic chemicals happens during pregnancy or early in human life. “Numerous laboratory studies support the idea that chemical exposures contribute to endocrine disorders in humans and wildlife.”

Again, where is the weak link then?

“Developmental exposures can cause changes that, while not evident as birth defects, can induce permanent changes that lead to increased incidence of diseases throughout life.

These insights from endocrine disruptor research in animals have an impact on current practice in toxicological testing and screening. Instead of solely studying effects of exposures in adulthood, the effects of exposures during sensitive windows in fetal development, perinatal life, childhood and puberty require careful scrutiny.”

The WHO report openly admits that organizations that are supposed to be vigilant about the adverse effects of poisons used in the industrial manufacture process have failed time after time to do that very task. “There has been a failure to adequately address the underlying environmental causes of trends in endocrine diseases and disorders.”

Is there room here for liability?

According to the WHO, disease risk induced by endocrine disrupting chemicals may have been significantly underestimated. That is to say, doctors and other health care practitioners who up until today follow the teachings of modern medicine as their base to diagnose disease while ignoring –sometimes purposely– the evidence presented by many studies on the adverse effects of EDC’s, are also to blame for current wave of ‘unknown’ or ‘untreatable disorders.

“We know that humans and wildlife are simultaneously exposed to many EDCs; thus, the measurement of the linkage between exposure to  mixtures of EDCs and disease or dysfunction is more physiologically relevant. In addition, it is likely that exposure to a single EDC may cause disease syndromes or multiple diseases, an area that has not been adequately studied.” Why not? Certainly nor because of lack of funding. Perhaps disinterest from the part of large pharmaceutical conglomerates who conduct their own studies with the ONLY intention to show whether a product is effective, but not to determine its safety or the long-term adverse effects on humans. The same is true for companies like Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and others which brag about their technological discoveries even though many independent tests prove, beyond reasonable doubt that their GMO’s, herbicides and pesticides are killing people all over the world.

Despite the mounting evidence presented in its own study, the skyrocketing incidence of disease in the last 50 years and the growing trends that show how EDC’s are more and more involved in causing adverse effects on human populations, the WHO again limits the relation between EDC’s and disease as a matter of association, instead of going beyond and calling it a matter of cause and effect. The report says that human studies can show associations only. But what happens when those associations continue to appear, study after study? Doesn’t that build a clear relationship of cause and effect?

Since most main stream corporate or government financed studies do not properly test for the effects of EDC’s on humans, because they are conducted with a very low number of subjects and for a very short time, the WHO has determined that this ‘association’ does not go beyond casual results that do not offer enough evidence to pose a cause and effect relationship. This is so, because although the mounting evidence, most tests are not designed to show that cause-effect relationship, which immediately invalidates them as reliable proof or evidence that toxic chemicals have –for a long time– caused disease in people and polluted the environment.

The report correctly points out that the shift already taking place from determining associations to testing for links –cause and effect– is the way to go to show what it deems as solid evidence that toxic chemicals indeed cause disease. But the WHO still fails to recognize what many studies have determined: that the adverse effects of early and continuous exposure to toxic chemicals are only detected late in life. Those effects, as explained before, are usually misdiagnosed by most doctors, who usually tell their patients that the origin of their illness is still unknown and that there is no way to treat the causes; only the symptoms. At this point, patients are condemned to taking pharmaceutical drugs for the rest of their lives, which eventually end up killing them due to their own adverse effects.

So, the state of human health today is equally bad from two different fronts. People are either killed by long-term exposure to toxic chemicals used in the production process of food or in the food itself, or they die while trying to ‘cure’ their diseases with industrialized pharmaceuticals whose own side effects are as deadly as those from the chemicals people are trying to get rid of. Either way, people die long, painful deaths.

So what is next? What needs to be done to end this vicious circle of disease? Can long-term studies be the solution? I think it is too little too late for that. Waiting another 10 or 20 years to see the result of long-term tests is not something a lot of people can afford now. That does not mean that those studies should not be done. It means that people need to find solutions by themselves. Now that the World Health Organization has finally confessed they have not done their job to protect people from dangerous substances –quite the opposite is true–  people need to understand that their nutrition is their responsibility. It always has been so. From the part of the organizations that are supposed to keep us safe from the dangers of toxic chemicals, it is time to stop talking and start walking.

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Agent Orange in your Food

by Dr. Mercola
Dr. Mercola.com
February 11, 2012

Agent Orange, produced by both Monsanto and Dow Chemicals, was used to defoliate jungles during the Vietnam War.

During that time, millions of gallons of the toxic chemical mixture were sprayed on trees and vegetation, and the aftermath left hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese sick, with countless numbers of their children suffering birth defects, and a still growing group of U.S. veterans with related diseases ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s disease.

Agent Orange was a horrific chemical concoction that never should have been used, and if you want to see some of its effects on children who were exposed in the womb, you can do so here — but I warn you the photos are very graphic and upsetting.

Agent Orange is no longer produced — so why am I bringing it up now?

Because Dow AgroSciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals), who was one of the original manufacturers of Agent Orange (AO), has developed a new generation of genetically modified (GM) crops — soybeans, corn and cotton — that are designed to resist a major ingredient in AO: the herbicide called 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).

The use of 2,4-D, however, is not new, as it is actually one of the most widely used herbicides in the world.

What is new – and disturbingly so – is that now that staple crops like soy and corn have been engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D, it may soon be applied to U.S. arable land on an unprecedented scale — not unlike its indiscriminate application during Vietnam.

The whole point of engineering resistance to an herbicide within a GMO plant, of course, is so that you can “carpet bomb” an entire field, leaving only your “Frankenfoods” standing, without having to exert even a fraction of the effort required raise crops organically and sustainably.

In fact, if 2,4-D resistant crops receive approval and eventually come to replace Monsanto’s failing Roundup-resistant crops as Dow intends, it is likely that billions of pounds will be needed, on top of the already insane levels of Roundup now being used (1.6 billion lbs were used in 2007 in the US alone!).

Agent Orange Ingredient to be Used in GMO Crops

Dow’s new GM product, dubbed “Enlist,” is a three-gene, herbicide-tolerant soybean that has been engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup herbicide, along with glufosinate and 2,4-D. The company expects to earn $1.5 billion in additional profit in 2013 by selling these triple herbicide-resistant seeds. As noted by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs:

“The two active ingredients in the Agent Orange herbicide combination were equal amounts of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), which contained traces of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).”
Ironically, while Dow’s new crops would seriously escalate the use of 2,4-D, Monsanto is currently facing a class-action lawsuit involving the other Agent Orange ingredient, 2,4,5-T. The suit alleges that homes and schools near one of its 2,4,5-T chemical plants are nowcontaminated with cancer-causing dioxin, a byproduct of the manufacturing process. This should be a wake-up call to those considering widespread application of any toxic Agent Orange ingredient.

Dow, however, is touting the new product as a solution to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GM crops, which currently dominate the GM seed market but are now being overshadowed by problems with weed resistance (not to mention that glyphosate itself is also incredibly toxic, and has been linked to infertility, among other serious health problems).

Where Monsanto has failed, Dow and other chemical rivals like DuPont, Syngenta, and Bayer (which are also working on their own herbicide-resistant GM seeds) see opportunity. So Dow has trotted in on their white horse to offer a new variety of GM crop, which they say will not pose the “superweed” problem that Roundup Ready crops have created.

This is not so, according to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which researchers state that suggesting 2,4-D will not lead to widespread weed resistance “misrepresented the potential for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)–resistant weeds in 2,4-D–resistant cropping systems and exaggerated the sustainability of their approach to addressing glyphosate-resistant weed problems in agriculture.”

They, in fact, note 28 species across 16 plant families that have already evolved resistance to similar herbicides to 2,4-D. Further, asstated on GreenMedInfo, the new Enlist crops are setting the stage for even greater and simultaneous herbicide use, the health ramifications of which are completely unknown:

“Instead of learning from Monsanto’s colossal mistakes (which happens when you play geneticist-as-God and use a broad spectrum poison to kill all but your “chosen” plants) Dow AgroScience’s solution is to multiply the problem by a factor of three, creating the “first-ever, three-gene,” herbicide-tolerant staple crops.

What this means is that instead of using only one highly toxic herbicide (Roundup), three will be used simultaneously, further increasing the risk of serious exposures, and setting up the conditions for synergistic toxicities – something that toxicological risk assessments on singular herbicide ingredients, which establish “an acceptable level of harm,” never account for.”

Studies Show Increases in Cancer, Birth Defects With Use of 2,4-D

What is known about 2,4-D so far is not reassuring, considering the devastation caused by Agent Orange. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding 2,4-D specifically:

“Health effects of chronic or acute 2,4-D exposure reported for adults included blood, liver, and kidney toxicity. Specific effects included a reduction in hemoglobin and red blood cell numbers, decreased liver enzyme activity, and increased kidney weight. Acute exposure can result in skin and eye irritation. Acute exposure to very high concentrations of 2,4-D can cause the following clinical symptoms: stupor, coma, coughing, burning sensations in lungs, loss of muscular coordination, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness.

Experimental animal studies of chronic oral exposure have reported adverse effects on the eye, thyroid, kidney, adrenals, and ovaries/testes. In addition, some experimental animal studies have reported teratogenic effects (birth defects) at high doses, including increased fetal death, urinary tract malformation, and extra ribs.

When adult female experimental animals were exposed to 2,4-D during their pregnancy and lactation periods, their exposed offspring exhibited neurological effects, including delayed neurobehavioral development and changes in several neurotransmitter levels or binding activities and ganglioside levels in the brain. Delayed neurobehavioral development was manifested as delays in acquisition of certain motor skills such as the righting reflex.”

The glaring problem, of course, is that with approval of Dow’s new GM crops, the use of 2,4-D could skyrocket out of control. As reported by The Cornucopia Institute:

“”The concern is that, just like Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn that is resistant to RoundUp™ (glyphosate) herbicide, the approval of a cultivar resistant to 2,4-D will cause an exponential increase in the use of this toxic agrichemical,” says Mark A. Kastel, senior farm policy analyst with The Cornucopia Institute.

And again, as the EPA acknowledges, this is far from a benign chemical. The Cornucopia Institute continues:
“2,4-D is a chlorophenoxy herbicide, and scientists around the world have reported increased cancer risks in association with its use, especially for soft tissue sarcoma and malignant lymphoma. Four separate studies in the United States reported an association with chlorophenoxy herbicide use and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

… Research by the EPA found that babies born in counties with high rates of 2,4-D application to farm fields were significantly more likely to be born with birth defects of the respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as defects of the musculoskeletal system like clubfoot, fused digits and extra digits. These birth defects were 60% to 90% more likely in counties with higher 2,4-D application rates. The results also showed a higher likelihood of birth defects in babies conceived in the spring, when herbicide application rates peak.”

Weed Scientist Says, “We Told You So”

In the same way that Dow is now certain that its new three-gene, herbicide-tolerant soybean will not spur the creation of more herbicide-resistant “super weeds,” Monsanto was also historically adamant that Roundup Ready crops would not cause weed resistance either.

Of course, now that the die has been cast, the United States is reaping the consequences with 13 resistant weed species covering more than 11 million acres, mostly those planted with Monsanto’s GM soy, corn and cotton crops. Around the world, 21 weed species are now resistant to glyphosate, up from zero in 1996.

The weeds are making Monsanto’s promises that their GM crops would reduce pesticide use completely laughable — since farmers are being forced to use multiple, and more, pesticides to keep weeds in their GM crops under control — and are turning out to be a very big thorn in Monsanto’s proverbial side.

Monsanto’s solution is similar to Dow’s … add more herbicide-resistant genes to the plants so even more potent herbicide cocktails can be poured over U.S. farmland! According to Monsanto Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant, who was interviewed in Business Week, the company plans to add resistance to Dicamba, another weedkiller, to Roundup Ready crops by 2015, noting that:

“The cavalry is coming.”

The cavalry is coming indeed … unfortunately they are working for the wrong side, with their “war on weeds” causing massive collateral damage to environmental and human health alike. William G. Johnson, a weed scientist at Purdue University, told Business Week, these new technologies may control Roundup-resistant weeds and leave us in “wedded bliss for 10 or 15 years” but “they do select for their own failure:”

 “Now that it has kind of blown up, it’s like, ‘We told you so,'” he says.

Adding further insult to injury, Johnson explains that “Dicamba and 2,4-D both tend to volatilize, turning the chemicals into vapor that can drift onto neighboring land … ” accidentally killing nearby crops and exposing greater expanses to its toxic effects.

Let us also not forget that all the “weeds” these herbicides were designed to kill represent biodiversity, without which we would be left with only a handful of staple crops — upon which our entire subsistence now precariously depends. Only because we do not find obvious value in a plant, does not mean it is not there.

Emerson once said: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

Indeed, when we target as “the enemy” any living plant that does not bear the favored qualities of a GM plant, and use the slash-and-burn, herbicidal approach to eradicate any competing plant life form, we are basically declaring war on the biosphere itself, and thereby setting up the future conditions for the collapse of our entire food production system, as well as poisoning ourselves in the process. Without biodiversity, monoculturing puts “too many eggs in one basket,” virtually guaranteeing future crop collapses and famine. In a nutshell, industrial herbicides (and the GM plants designed to thrive when exposed to them), are a dead end – both figuratively, and literally.

Now’s the Time to Take Action!

Dow has applied for non-regulated status of its 2,4-D-resistant corn, and you have until February 27, 2012 to comment on the petition. Please let your opinion be heard that approving more herbicide-tolerant crops is not the solution to ending “super weeds”; the real solution lies in eliminating the genetically modified crops that created them in the first place!

As Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides told The Cornucopia Institute:

“In 2012 the USDA is proposing approving a new GE corn variety that is resistant to a different toxic herbicide, escalating the toxic treadmill in chemical-dependent agriculture. This is nothing more than a band-aid solution to a serious problem, and will only give rise to more superweeds, more herbicide pollution in our environment, more herbicide poisoning, while likely leading to the need for even more toxic herbicides a couple of years down the line. This foolish circle has to end.”

It’s quite clear that genetically engineered foods are not only threatening the food supply with the creation of herbicide-resistant weeds, but they can also pose potentially serious threats to animal and human health when consumed. Fortunately, now you, too, can let your opinion be heard on this issue. Several organizations, including Mercola.com, the Organic Consumers Association, the Institute for Responsible Technology, and the Environmental Working Group, are working to generate a tipping point of consumer rejection to make GMOs a thing of the past.

Here’s how you can get involved:

In the meantime, the simplest way to avoid GM foods is to buy whole, certified organic foods. By definition, foods that are certified organic must never intentionally use GM organisms, must be produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and come from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GM corn feed, although now that GM alfalfa is approved, grass-fed will not always mean GMO free. You can also look for foods that are“non-GMO verified” by the Non-GMO Project.

Important Action Item: Support California’s Ballot Initiative to Label GMO’s!

In 2007, then-Presidential candidate Obama promised to “immediately” require GM labeling if elected. So far, nothing of the sort has transpired.

Alimentos Modificados Genéticamente – ¿Envenenando Nuestra Gente?

Traducción Luis R. Miranda
allAfrica.com
Junio 9, 2011

Opinión

Uno de los más extensos experimentos no regulados en seres humanos se está llevando a cabo aquí en África del Sur. Los sudafricanos fueron los primeros en el mundo en consumir alimentos genéticamente modificados (OGM)como parte de su dieta. Según fuentes de la industria más del 75% de nuestro maíz blanco es ahora GM. Esto significa que la papilla consumida a diario en la mayoría de los hogares de Sudáfrica está compuesto de maíz genéticamente modificado.

La afirmación de la industria que nadie se ha enfermado después de ingerir alimentos modificados genéticamente es científicamente deshonesta. Se basa en el principio de “si no miras, no encuentras”. Debido a que los alimentos modificados genéticamente no están claramente identificados a través de un etiquetado claro, es muy imposible saber qué enfermedades están relacionadas con el consumo del producto.

Se dice que estos alimentos han sido probados y son seguros. Al mismo tiempo, los productores de transgénicos afirman que sus productos son “sustancialmente equivalentes” – idénticos a sus contra partes naturales. Como tales, no requieren pruebas. Cuando las pruebas se ha hecho han sido presas de las mismas trampas que han afectado las pruebas de toxicología hechas a productos químicos durante décadas. No es sorprendente que las empresas que producen OGM, sin excepción han evolucionado a partir de las empresas químicas agrícolas, infames en su abuso de los protocolos estadísticos y experimentales.

La mayoría de las pruebas se han realizado en los alimentos y presentado por las mismas compañías que buscan su aprobación. El diseño de estas pruebas ha sido opaco y engañoso. Las investigaciones han demostrado que los resultados han sido sistemáticamente manipulados y sesgados. Dice la epidemióloga Judy Carman: “Su enfoque conjunto para el análisis no sería útil para una clase de estadística básica.”

Los primeros análisis de todos los estudios de alimentación encuentran exactamente tres experimentos. Aún estas pruebas muestran tendencias preocupantes. Más reciente meta-análisis han reforzado estas preocupaciones. Un hallazgo consistente ha sido el daño al hígado y los riñones. Cabe destacar que el hígado y la enfermedad renal han aumentado desde que los cultivos transgénicos se introdujeron en los EE.UU..

Lo notable es que cuando los investigadores empleados o conectados a los desarrolladores de los alimentos GM hicieron estudios, no se reportaron problemas. Por otra parte, estudios realizados por científicos independientes siempre motivan su preocupación. Un análisis publicado recientemente puso de relieve esta tendencia. Esta relación es común en los análisis de otros productos químicos y alimentos.

Más preocupante aún es el hecho de que los estudios de alimentación fueron hechos a muy corto plazo, con no más de tres meses. Fundamentalmente, ninguno de ellos utiliza más de un tercio de los productos transgénicos en la dieta. En el sur de África, comemos maíz transgénico no identificado como un alimento básico en niveles que en muchos casos puede alcanzar el 100% de la dieta. La pregunta es: Si el daño es preocupante y está estadísticamente demostrado que los riñones, el hígado y otros órganos son destruídos cuando los animales son alimentados con un tercio de su dieta con productos modificados genéticamente, en estudios de una duración de tres meses, entonces ¿qué diablos va a pasar con aquellos de nosotros que comemos una dieta que es predominantemente a base de maíz GM, todos los días durante años?

Esto no es nada menos que un experimento masivo no regulado. Para empeorar las cosas este experimento no se lleva a cabo en una población sana, sino en una cuya salud está doblemente comprometida: en primer lugar, las personas no comen una dieta lo suficientemente variada. En segundo lugar, tenemos el mayor número de habitantes con VIH, SIDA e infecciones de tuberculosis en el mundo.

Hay muchos otros estudios que han señalado los problemas del consumo de los cultivos transgénicos, incluso a niveles reducidos de una tercera parte de la dieta total. Los estudios han demostrado menor recuento de espermatozoides y esterilidad. Los investigadores han pedido constantemente para que se siga investigando. Todo lo que la industria de los transgénicos hace es lo de siempre; intentar salirse con la suya.

Esta situación escandalosa cuenta con la asistencia de nuestra mala regulación de los alimentos modificados genéticamente que sólo se identificarán a finales de este año. En otras palabras, las personas han estado comiendo alimentos GM en la ignorancia total de los hechos. Hasta el momento, no hay una prueba independiente, llevada a cabo durante generaciones sobre como la dieta de varias de las personas se ve afectada al consumir alimentos GM. Esto equivale a poco menos que negligencia criminal por parte de nuestro gobierno, que siempre ha hecho caso omiso de estas preocupaciones, y en lugar ha tomado el lado de una industria con una trayectoria muy defectuosa.

Por supuesto esta industria insiste en que la Unión Europea y otros han producido informes que demuestran que los cultivos transgénicos no tienen ningún riesgo para la salud. El hecho es que los reguladores de la UE se han basado en exactamente las mismas pruebas producidas por la propia industria. En segundo lugar, la influencia de la industria en el régimen normativo es significativo. Esta industria tiene no sólo los reguladores habitualmente mal informados, a través de pruebas con el suministro de datos estadísticos sesgados, pero siempre ha interferido en el régimen de reglamentación.
Por ejemplo, la normativa que regula los cultivos transgénicos en los EE.UU. fue redactada por el ex jefe de asuntos reguladores de Monsanto, Michael Taylor, quien dejó la empresa Monsanto para trabajar en el gobierno con el fin de elaborar una legislación favorable a la industria. Luego regresó a Monsanto. Desde entonces, ha vuelto al gobierno, en lo que se conoce como “la puerta giratoria”. Esto no es en absoluto un caso aislado y una situación similar existe en el sur de África.

Esta es sólo la punta del iceberg. Hay casos documentados de como la industria restringe y prohíbe las pruebas independientes de sus productos. Esto es posible debido a que estos productos están patentados se necesita permiso de las empresas para accesar diversos aspectos cruciales de e información en las pruebas científicas, el cual es siempre negado.

No se trata sólo de los peligros inherentes de los cultivos transgénicos. El producto GM más cultivado en el mundo, la soja resistente a los herbicidas, se ha relacionado con niveles altos del herbicida Roundup, fabricado por Monsanto, que también es propietaria de las patentes en más del 90% de todos los cultivos transgénicos a nivel mundial. Monsanto también introdujo el maíz resistentes a los herbicidas, que se cultivan en el sur de África. Pese a las afirmaciones de que los cultivos transgénicos reducen el uso de productos químicos, hemos visto exactamente que lo contrario ocurre en todo el mundo.

Por ejemplo, en Argentina, el uso de herbicidas ha aumentado 180 veces en 13 años. En los EE.UU., 174 000 toneladas más se usan cada año. En Brasil es de hasta un 95%. La responsabilidad del impacto ambiental y en la salud de las personas no es la preocupación de los agricultores, sino que simplemente es pasada a los consumidores, que no son los más sabios. Y los riesgos que estos productos químicos crean son cada vez más y más preocupantes que los cultivos transgénicos en sí.

Cuando los primeros cultivos transgénicos se introdujeron la cantidad permitida legalmente de residuos de herbicidas en los alimentos se aumento en 200 veces en el caso de la Unión Europea, con incrementos similares en otros lugares, todo para acomodar las peticiones de las corporaciones. Roundup está vinculado a graves impactos en la salud humana, incluidos los daños al crecimiento del embrión y el feto (impactos tetragénicos), así como el daño celular, entre muchos otros impactos sobre los mamíferos. Hay literalmente docenas de estudios publicados que indican las preocupaciones acerca de este producto químico. También afecta a los anfibios, insectos, lombrices y bacterias del suelo que liberan nutrientes para las plantas.

Además de estas preocupaciones, hay una inconsistencia evidente en el argumento de que los cultivos transgénicos son necesarios para alimentar al mundo: El hecho de que el producto GM más cultivado en el mundo, la soja, siempre ha sido demostrado que rinden menos que la soja convencional y natural. A pesar de años de promesas de que los cultivos GM son más resistentes a la sequía estas promesas siguen sin cumplirse.

Oxfam Internacional publicó recientemente un informe que indica que los precios de los alimentos se duplicaran, desde sus ya altos niveles en las próximas dos décadas. ¿Cómo podemos solucionar este problema? Somos constantemente informados por los partidarios de los cultivos transgénicos que debemos adoptar la tecnología para alimentar al mundo. La realidad es que los programas de mejoramiento convencional de plantas han logrado mucho más, a un costo mucho más bajo, mejorando el rendimiento, la resistencia viral, la mejora nutricional y resistencia a la sequía.

Quince años de cultivos genéticamente modificados en África del Sur han demostrado que la rápida adopción de cultivos transgénicos no ha tenido impacto alguno sobre la cantidad de alimentos que llegan a la boca de los más necesitados. La única conclusión que puede ser obtenida es que los cultivos transgénicos no son la solución. Más importante es que estamos jugando un peligroso juego de la ruleta rusa genética con la salud de nuestro pueblo.

La Evaluación Internacional del Papel del Conocimiento, Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo (IAASTD), en su informe titulado “Agricultura en la encrucijada”, señaló que los cultivos transgénicos en el mejor de los casos desempeñará un papel limitado en la lucha contra el hambre mundial. El enfoque en la agricultura de altos insumos industriales y los OGM han marginado las prácticas agrícolas más eficaces. El estudio de la IAASTD fue financiado por el Banco Mundial y varios organismos de la ONU, e involucró a más de 400 expertos en agricultura de todo el mundo.

El enfoque perjudicial en los cultivos transgénicos en las últimas dos décadas ha contribuido a retrasar el desarrollo de la investigación que se necesita con urgencia. En lugar de centrarse en el clima y los aspectos relacionados en los sistemas de producción de las comunidades que necesitamos para fomentar la seguridad alimentaria y la verdadera independencia, el enfoque político-institucional sobre los cultivos transgénicos nos ha dirigido hacia la confianza en el modelo de dependencia personificado por la agricultura industrial, en cuanto erosiona nuestra salud y la ya precaria situación.
Se mire como se mire, los cultivos transgénicos personifican el problema, no la solución.

GM Food – Poisoning Our People?

Glenn Ashton
allAfrica.com
June 8, 2011

One of the most massive unregulated experiments on humans ever is being carried out right here in South Africa. South Africans are the first people in the world to consume a genetically modified (GM) food as a staple. According to industry sources more than 75% of our white maize is now GM. This means that the pap and samp consumed daily in the majority of South African households is now mainly comprised of genetically modified maize.

The industry claim that nobody has become ill from GM foods is scientifically dishonest. It is based on the principle of “don’t look – don’t find.” Because GM foods are not clearly identified through clear labelling, it is impossible to know what sicknesses are related to the consumption of the product.

We are repeatedly told these are the most widely tested foods ever. However, GM producers claim their products to be ‘substantially equivalent’ – identical to their natural counterparts. As such they do not require testing. Where testing has been done it has fallen prey to the same pitfalls that have dogged chemical and toxicological testing for decades. This is unsurprising as the GM companies have without exception evolved from agricultural chemical companies, infamous in their abuse of statistical and experimental protocols.

Most food tests have been undertaken and submitted by the very companies seeking approval. The design of these tests has been opaque and misleading. Research has shown results to have been routinely manipulated and skewed to the extent that epidemiologist Judy Carman said, “Their whole approach to the analysis would fail a basic statistics class.”

The earliest analysis of all feeding studies found exactly three experiments. Even these indicated worrying trends. More recent meta-analyses have reinforced these concerns. A consistent finding has been damage to the liver and kidneys. It is notable that liver and kidney disease has increased since GM crops were introduced in the US.

What is remarkable is that when researchers employed or connected to the developers of GM foods did studies, no problems were reported. On the other hand, studies undertaken by independent scientists consistently raised concerns. A recently published analysis highlighted this trend. This relationship is common in analyses of other chemicals and foodstuff.

Of even more concern is the fact that feeding studies were extremely short term, with most lasting three months. Crucially, none of them used more than one-third of GM product in the diet. In South Africa we eat unidentified GM white maize as a staple food at levels that may in many cases reach 100% of the diet. The question is: If statistically worrying damage is shown to kidney, liver and other organs when animals are fed one third of their diet as GM products, in studies lasting three months, then what on earth will happen to those of us who eat a diet that is predominantly based on GM maize, every day for years on end?

This is nothing less than a massive, unregulated experiment. To make matters worse this experiment is not being undertaken on a healthy population but one that is doubly compromised: First through most people not eating a sufficient or varied enough diet and secondly because we have the highest burden of HIV, AIDS and TB infections in the world.

There are numerous other studies that have indicated problems from consuming GM crops, even at reduced levels of a third of the total diet. Studies have shown reduced sperm count and even sterility. Researchers have consistently called for further work to be done. All the GM industry does is consistently try to spin itself out of trouble.

This outrageous situation is assisted by our poor regulation of GM food that will only need to be labelled later this year. In other words we have been eating the world’s first GM staple food in total ignorance of the fact. So far not one independent, multi-generational dietary test has been undertaken locally by independent scientists. This amounts to little less than criminal negligence by our government, which has consistently ignored all of these concerns, instead taking the side of an industry with a seriously blemished track record.

Of course this industry insists that the EU and others have produced reports clearing GM crops of any health risk. The fact remains that EU regulators have relied upon exactly the same compromised tests consistently produced by the industry itself. Secondly, the influence of industry within the regulatory regime is significant. This industry has not only routinely misinformed regulators, through supplying tests with skewed statistical data, but it has consistently interfered in the regulatory regime itself.

For instance, the regulations governing GM crops in the US were drafted by the ex-Monsanto head of regulatory affairs, Michael Taylor, who left Monsanto to work in government in order to draft industry friendly legislation. He then returned to Monsanto. He has since returned to government, in what is known as ‘the revolving door’. This is not by any means an isolated case and a similar situation exists in South Africa.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are repeated documented cases of this industry restricting and prohibiting independent testing of its products. This is possible because these products are patented and owned by the companies and permission must be granted for access to various crucial aspects of information in scientific testing, which is consistently refused.

It is not only the inherent dangers associated with GM crops themselves. The most widely grown GM crop in the world, herbicide resistant soy, has been linked to sharply increased levels of the herbicide Roundup, made by Monsanto, which also owns the patents on over 90% of all GM crops grown globally. Monsanto is also rapidly introducing herbicide resistant maize, now being grown in South Africa. Despite claims that GM crops reduce chemical use, we have seen exactly the opposite occurring around the world.

For instance, in Argentina, herbicide use has increased 180 fold in 13 years. In the USA, 174 000 tonnes more are used per year. In Brazil it is up by 95%. Responsibility for the downstream health impacts is not the farmers’ concern but is simply passed onto consumers who are none the wiser. And the risks of these chemicals are increasingly been proven to be as worrying, if not more so, than the concerns about the GM crops themselves.

When the first GM crops were introduced the amount of herbicide residue on food was permitted to be increased by 200 times in the case of the European Union, with similar increases elsewhere. Roundup is linked to serious human health impacts, including damage to embryo and fetus growth (tetragenic impacts) as well as cellular damage, amongst many other impacts on mammals. There are literally dozens of published studies indicating concerns about this chemical. It also affects amphibians, insects, earthworms and soil bacteria that liberate plant nutrients.

Besides these serious concerns, there is a final, glaring inconsistency in the argument that GM crops are required to feed the world. This is the fact that the most widely grown GM crop in the world, GM soy, has consistently been shown to yield less than conventional, natural soy. Despite years of promises of more nutritional or drought resistant GM crops, these promises remain unmet.

Oxfam recently released a report stating that food prices will more than double, from already high levels, over the next two decades. How do we address this problem? We are constantly informed by supporters of GM crops that we must adopt their technology to feed the world. The reality is that conventional plant breeding programmes have achieved far more, at far lower cost, enhancing yield, viral resistance, nutritional improvement and drought resistance.

Fifteen years of growing GM crops in South Africa has demonstrated that the rapid uptake of GM crops has had no impact at all on the amount of food reaching the mouths of the most needy. The only conclusion can be that GM crops are not the solution. More importantly we are playing a dangerous game of genetic roulette with the health of our people.

The four year International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), in its report entitled “Agriculture at a Crossroads” indicated that GM crops would at best play a limited role in tackling global hunger. The focus on high-input industrial farming and GMOs has marginalised far more effective agricultural practices. The IAASTD study was funded by the World Bank and several leading UN organisations, and involved over 400 agricultural experts from around the world.

The perverse focus on GM crops over the past two decades has been instrumental in retarding development of urgently needed research. Instead of focussing on the proven, climate resilient and community based food production systems we require to encourage true food security and independence, the political-corporate focus on GM crops has steered us towards reliance on the dependency model epitomised by industrial agriculture, while simultaneously eroding our already tenuous health status.

Every way you look at it, GM crops epitomise the problem, not the solution.

Bacterial Genes, High Dosis of RoundUp may cause Sterility and Infant Mortality

Institute for Responsible Technology
April 5, 2011

Rats' testicles

“This study was just routine,” said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry.

After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.

And if this isn’t shocking enough, some in the third generation even had hair growing inside their mouths—a phenomenon rarely seen, but apparently more prevalent among hamsters eating GM soy.

The study, jointly conducted by Surov’s Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security, is expected to be published in three months (July 2010)—so the technical details will have to wait. But Surov sketched out the basic set up for me in an email.

He used Campbell hamsters, with a fast reproduction rate, divided into 4 groups. All were fed a normal diet, but one was without any soy, another had non-GM soy, a third used GM soy, and a fourth contained higher amounts of GM soy. They used 5 pairs of hamsters per group, each of which produced 7-8 litters, totally 140 animals.

Surov told The Voice of Russia,

“Originally, everything went smoothly. However, we noticed quite a serious effect when we selected new pairs from their cubs and continued to feed them as before. These pairs’ growth rate was slower and reached their sexual maturity slowly.”

He selected new pairs from each group, which generated another 39 litters. There were 52 pups born to the control group and 78 to the non-GM soy group. In the GM soy group, however, only 40 pups were born. And of these, 25% died. This was a fivefold higher death rate than the 5% seen among the controls. Of the hamsters that ate high GM soy content, only a single female hamster gave birth. She had 16 pups; about 20% died.

Surov said “The low numbers in F2 [third generation] showed that many animals were sterile.”

The published paper will also include measurements of organ size for the third generation animals, including testes, spleen, uterus, etc. And if the team can raise sufficient funds, they will also analyze hormone levels in collected blood samples.

Hair Growing in the Mouth

Earlier this year, Surov co-authored a paper in Doklady Biological Sciences showing that in rare instances, hair grows inside recessed pouches in the mouths of hamsters.

“Some of these pouches contained single hairs; others, thick bundles of colorless or pigmented hairs reaching as high as the chewing surface of the teeth. Sometimes, the tooth row was surrounded with a regular brush of hair bundles on both sides. The hairs grew vertically and had sharp ends, often covered with lumps of a mucous.”

“(a) The external appearance of the oral cavity. Gingival pouches (GP) with thick bundles of hair growing from their mucous lining are clearly seen. (b) Perforated bone tissue of the teeth of an adult Ph. campbelli. Numerous hollows are seen. A, hair.”

From A. S. Baranov, O. F. Chernova, N. Yu. Feoktistova, and A. V. Surov, “A New Example of Ectopia: Oral Hair in Some Rodent Species,” Doklady Biological Sciences, 2010, Vol. 431, pp. 117–120, Original Russian Text © A.S. Baranov, O.F. Chernova, N.Yu. Feoktistova, A.V. Surov, 2010, published in Doklady Akademii Nauk, 2010, Vol. 431, No. 4, pp. 559–562.

At the conclusion of the study, the authors surmise that such an astounding defect may be due to the diet of hamsters raised in the laboratory. They write, “This pathology may be exacerbated by elements of the food that are absent in natural food, such as genetically modified (GM) ingredients (GM soybean or maize meal) or contaminants (pesticides, mycotoxins, heavy metals, etc.).” Indeed, the number of hairy mouthed hamsters was much higher among the third generation of GM soy fed animals than anywhere Surov had seen before.

Preliminary, But Ominous

Surov warns against jumping to early conclusions. He said, “It is quite possible that the GMO does not cause these effects by itself.” Surov wants to make the analysis of the feed components a priority, to discover just what is causing the effect and how.

In addition to the GMOs, it could be contaminants, he said, or higher herbicide residues, such as Roundup. There is in fact much higher levels of Roundup on these beans; they’re called “Roundup Ready.” Bacterial genes are forced into their DNA so that the plants can tolerate Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Therefore, GM soy always carries the double threat of higher herbicide content, couple with any side effects of genetic engineering.

Years of Reproductive Disorders from GMO-Feed

Surov’s hamsters are just the latest animals to suffer from reproductive disorders after consuming GMOs. In 2005, Irina Ermakova, also with the Russian National Academy of Sciences, reported that more than half the babies from mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks. This was also five times higher than the 10% death rate of the non-GMO soy group. The babies in the GM group were also smaller (see photo) and could not reproduce.

In a telling coincidence, after Ermakova’s feeding trials, her laboratory started feeding all the rats in the facility a commercial rat chow using GM soy. Within two months, the infant mortality facility-wide reached 55%.

When Ermakova fed male rats GM soy, their testicles changed from the normal pink to dark blue!

Italian scientists similarly found changes in mice testes (PDF), including damaged young sperm cells. Furthermore, the DNA of embryos from parent mice fed GM soy functioned differently.

An Austrian government study published in November 2008 showed that the more GM corn was fed to mice, the fewer the babies they had (PDF), and the smaller the babies were.

Central Iowa Farmer Jerry Rosman also had trouble with pigs and cows becoming sterile. Some of his pigs even had false pregnancies or gave birth to bags of water. After months of investigations and testing, he finally traced the problem to GM corn feed. Every time a newspaper, magazine, or TV show reported Jerry’s problems, he would receive calls from more farmers complaining of livestock sterility on their farm, linked to GM corn.

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine accidentally discovered that rats raised on corncob bedding “neither breed nor exhibit reproductive behavior.” Tests on the corn material revealed two compounds that stopped the sexual cycle in females “at concentrations approximately two-hundredfold lower than classical phytoestrogens.” One compound also curtailed male sexual behavior and both substances contributed to the growth of breast and prostate cancer cell cultures. Researchers found that the amount of the substances varied with GM corn varieties. The crushed corncob used at Baylor was likely shipped from central Iowa, near the farm of Jerry Rosman and others complaining of sterile livestock.

In Haryana, India, a team of investigating veterinarians report that buffalo consuming GM cottonseed suffer from infertility, as well as frequent abortions, premature deliveries, and prolapsed uteruses. Many adult and young buffalo have also died mysteriously.

Denial, Attack and Canceled Follow-up

Scientists who discover adverse findings from GMOs are regularly attacked, ridiculed, denied funding, and even fired. When Ermakova reported the high infant mortality among GM soy fed offspring, for example, she appealed to the scientific community to repeat and verify her preliminary results. She also sought additional funds to analyze preserved organs. Instead, she was attacked and vilified. Samples were stolen from her lab, papers were burnt on her desk, and she said that her boss, under pressure from his boss, told her to stop doing any more GMO research. No one has yet repeated Ermakova’s simple, inexpensive studies.

In an attempt to offer her sympathy, one of her colleagues suggested that maybe the GM soy will solve the over population problem!

Surov reports that so far, he has not been under any pressure.

Opting Out of the Massive GMO Feeding Experiment

Without detailed tests, no one can pinpoint exactly what is causing the reproductive travesties in Russian hamsters and rats, Italian and Austrian mice, and livestock in India and America. And we can only speculate about the relationship between the introduction of genetically modified foods in 1996, and the corresponding upsurge in low birth weight babies, infertility, and other problems among the US population. But many scientists, physicians, and concerned citizens don’t think that the public should remain the lab animals for the biotech industry’s massive uncontrolled experiment.

Alexey Surov says, “We have no right to use GMOs until we understand the possible adverse effects, not only to ourselves but to future generations as well. We definitely need fully detailed studies to clarify this. Any type of contamination has to be tested before we consume it, and GMO is just one of them.”