Monsanto’s Dirty Dozen: The 12 Most Awful Products Made By Monsanto


Monsanto’s Dirty Dozen: The 12 Most Awful Products Made By Monsanto

History of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market.

1 – Saccharin

Did you know Monsanto got started because of an artificial sweetener? John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri with the goal of producing saccharin[1] for Coca-Cola. In stark contrast to its sweet beginnings, studies performed during the early 1970s[2],* including astudy by the National Cancer Institute in 1980[3], showed that saccharin caused cancer in test rats[4] and mice

2 – PCBs

During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. Fifty years later, toxicity tests[10] began reporting serious health effects[11] from PCBs in laboratory rats exposed to the chemical.

After another decade of studies, the truth could no longer be contained: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report[12] citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans. Additional peer-reviewed health studies showed a causal link between exposure to PCBs and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a frequently fatal form of cancer.

3 – Polystyrene

In 1941, Monsanto began focusing on plastics and synthetic polystyrene, which is still widely used in food packaging and ranked 5th in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals[16] whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.

4 – Atom bomb and nuclear weapons

Shortly after acquiring Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto turned this division into their Central Research Department[17]. Between 1943 to 1945, this department coordinated key production efforts of the Manhattan Project[18]—including plutonium purification and production and, as part of the Manhattan Project’s Dayton Project[19], techniques to refine chemicals used as triggers for atomic weapons (an era of U.S. history that sadly included the deadliest industrial accident[20]).

5 – DDT

In 1944, Monsanto became one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Despite decades of Monsanto propaganda insisting that DDT was safe, the true effects of DDT’s toxicity were at last confirmed through outside research and in 1972, DDT was banned throughout the U.S.

6 – Dioxin

In 1945, Monsanto began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture with the manufacture of the herbicide 2,4,5-T (one of the precursors to Agent Orange), containing dioxin. Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that since become known as one of the “Dirty Dozen[21]” — persistent environmental pollutants that accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals. In the decades since it was first developed, Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.

7 – Agent Orange

During the early 1960s, Monsanto was one of the two primary manufacturers of Agent Orange, an herbicide / defoliant used for chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Except Monsanto’s formula had dioxin levels many times higher than the Agent Orange produced by Dow Chemicals, the other manufacturer (which is why Monsanto was the key defendant in the lawsuit brought by Vietnam War veterans in the United States).

8 – Petroleum-Based Fertilizer

In 1955, Monsanto began manufacturing petroleum-based fertilizer after purchasing a major oil refinery. Petroleum-based fertilizers can kill beneficial soil micro-organisms[28], sterilizing the soil and creating a dependence, like an addiction, to the synthetic replacements. Not the best addiction to have, considering the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil…

9 – RoundUp

During the early 1970s, Monsanto founded their Agricultural Chemicals division with a focus on herbicides, and one herbicide in particular: RoundUp (glyphosate). Because of its ability to eradicate weeds literally overnight, RoundUp was quickly adopted by farmers. Its use increased even more when Monsanto introduced “RoundUp Ready” (glyphosate-resistant) crops, enabling farmers to saturate the entire field with weedkiller without killing the crops.

While glyphosate has been approved by regulatory bodies worldwide and is widely used, concerns about its effects on humans and the environment persist. RoundUp has been found in samples of groundwater[29], as well as soil[30], and even in streams and air[31] throughout the Midwest U.S., and increasingly in food. It has been linked to butterfly[32] mortality, and the proliferation of superweeds[33]. Studies in rats have shown consistently negative health impacts ranging from tumors, altered organ function, and infertility, to cancer and premature death. Reference the above “GMO Risks[34]” page which includes countless references to support these statements.

10 – Aspartame (NutraSweet / Equal)

An accidental discovery during research on gastrointestinal hormones resulted in a uniquely sweet chemical: aspartame. During the clinical trials conducted on 7 infant monkeys as part of aspartame’s application for FDA approval, 1 monkey died and 5 other monkeys had grand mal seizures—yet somehow aspartame was still approved by the FDA in 1974. In 1985, Monsanto acquired the company responsible for aspartame’s manufacture (G.D. Searle) and began marketing the product as NutraSweet. Twenty years later, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report listing 94 health issues[35] caused by aspartame.

11 – Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)

This genetically modified hormone was developed by Monsanto to be injected into dairy cows to produce more milk. Cows subjected to rBGH suffer excruciating pain due to swollen udders and mastitis[36], and the pus[37] from the resulting infection enters the milk supply[38] requiring the use of additional antibiotics. rBGH milk has been linked to breast cancer[39], colon cancer[40], and prostate cancer[41] in humans.

12 – Genetically Modified Crops / GMOs

In the early 1990s, Monsanto began gene-splicing corn, cotton, soy, and canola with DNA from a foreign source to achieve one of two traits: an internally-generated pesticide, or an internal resistance to Monsanto’s weedkiller RoundUp. Despite decades of promises that genetically engineered crops would feed the world with more nutrients, drought resistance, or yield, the majority of Monsanto’s profits[42] are from seeds that are engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s RoundUp—an ever-rising, dual income stream as weeds continue to evolve resistance to RoundUp[43].

Most sobering however, is that the world is once again buying into Monsanto’s “safe” claims.

Just like the early days of PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Monsanto has successfully fooled the general public and regulatory agencies into believing that RoundUp, and the genetically modified crops that help sell RoundUp, are “safe.”

What’s the Result of our Monsanto Legacy?

Between 75% to 80% of the processed food[47] you consume every day has GMOs inside, and residues of Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide outside. But it’s not just processed food—fresh fruit and vegetables are next: genetically engineered sweet corn[48] is already being sold at your local grocer, with apples and a host of other “natural” produce currently in field trials.

How is it that Monsanto is allowed to manipulate our food after such a dark product history? How is it they are allowed to cause such detrimental impact to our environment and our health?

According to the Organic Consumers Association[49], “There is a direct correlation between our genetically engineered food supply and the $2 trillion the U.S. spends annually on medical care, namely an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.

Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass-fed animal products, U.S. factory farms and food processors produce a glut of genetically engineered junk foods that generate heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer—backed by farm subsidies[50]—while organic farmers receive no such subsidies.

Monsanto’s history reflects a consistent pattern of toxic chemicals, lawsuits, and manipulated science. Is this the kind of company we want controlling our world’s food supply?

P.S. Monsanto’s not alone. Other companies in the “Big Six” include Pioneer Hi-Bred International[51] (a subsidiary of DuPont), Syngenta AG[52], Dow Agrosciences[53] (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, BASF[54] (which is primarily a chemical company that is rapidly expanding their biotechnology division, and Bayer Cropscience[55] (a subsidiary of Bayer).

Article source Original article on GMO Awareness fracturedparadigm.com

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Farmers return to pesticides as GMO corn loses bug resistance


SOURCE : http://grist.org/news/chemical-creep-farmers-return-to-pesticides-as-gmo-corn-loses-bug-resistance/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=socialflow

Chemical creep: Farmers return to pesticides as GMO corn loses bug resistance

By Claire Thompson

Monsanto’s Bt corn was supposed to reduce pesticide use. The Environmental Protection Agency said as much when the corn, which is genetically modified to resist the crop-ravaging rootworm, debuted in 2003. Sure enough, as more farmers sowed their fields with Bt corn, fewer of them needed to spray pesticides to protect their crops. The share of U.S. corn acreage treated with insecticides fell from 25 percent in 2005 to 9 percent in 2010.

But now, Bt corn has become, basically, too successful: Rootworms are starting to develop immunity to this prevalent crop, driving farmers to return to insecticide use. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Syngenta, one of the world’s largest pesticide makers, reported that sales of its major soil insecticide for corn, which is applied at planting time, more than doubled in 2012. Chief Financial Officer John Ramsay attributed the growth to “increased grower awareness” of rootworm resistance in the U.S. Insecticide sales in the first quarter climbed 5% to $480 million.

The frustrating part is that rootworms’ resistance to the Bt corn gene was entirely predictable — so predictable that some companies seized it as a financial opportunity:

American Vanguard bought a series of insecticide companies and technologies during the past decade, betting that insecticide demand would return as Bt corn started losing its effectiveness. In the past couple of years, that wager has paid off.

The Newport Beach, Calif., company reported that its soil-insecticide revenue jumped 50% in 2012, and company earnings climbed 70% as its stock price doubled. Its insecticide sales rose 41% in the first quarter to $79 million, with gains driven by corn insecticide.

Scientists say that so far, rootworms have only developed resistance to seeds engineered to include just one rootworm trait, and Monsanto says it plans to phase out that seed and replace it with a multiple-trait variety. But the EPA cautions that rootworms resistant to the first seed are more likely to develop resistance to other traits, too. And although Monsanto recommends crop rotation to “break the rootworm cycle,” historically high corn prices are driving more farmers to plant corn every year — and that has also increased the presence of other pests besides rootworm.

So let’s set aside, for the moment, the repetitious debates between pro- and anti-GMO contingents, and consider this simple fact: Bt corn’s success lasted all of seven or eight years before rootworm resistance popped up. The same cycle could easily repeat itself with other rootworm traits or with other pests altogether.

GMOs are supposed to make farmers’ volatile business a little more secure. But when their failure is so predictable that corporations like Vanguard can profitably bet on it, who’s really coming out on top?

Claire Thompson is an editorial assistant at Grist.

 

Pesticide residues in blood of Punjab farmers


SOURCE : http://www.cseindia.org/node/524

Pesticide residues in blood of Punjab farmers

Image taken from http://www.coldtruth.com

Pesticides are commonly used in India but this comes at great cost to human health. The Centre for Science and Environment decided to investigate the matter and looked at the agricultural heartland of Punjab. It found that  15 different pesticides in the 20 blood samples tested from four villages in Punjab. But what is more important to find out is how much of pesticide in blood is ‘safe’. Does a safety threshold level exist? If yes, how do scientists — and the industry — compute it? As we delve into such questions, it becomes clear that science claims more, but understands much less.

All pesticides are tested to establish toxicity — a dose necessary to produce a measurable harmful effect — usually established through tests on mice, rats, rabbits and dogs. Results are then extrapolated on humans, and safe exposure levels predicted. The value commonly used to measure acute toxicity is LD 50 (a lethal dose in the short-term; the subscript 50 indicates the dose is toxic enough to kill 50 per cent of lab animals exposed to the chemical). LD 50 values are measured zero onwards; the lower the LD 50 the more acutely toxic the pesticide. To illustrate, we compare DDT — most used in India up to the early 1990s — with monocrotophos, currently most used. DDT’ S LD 50 is 113 mg/kg; monocrotophos, 14 mg/kg. But let us never forget that lower LD 50 means higher acute toxicity.

Pesticides once ingested, accumulate in the body fat or pass through. Organochlorine pesticides, for instance, accumulate in body fat and blood lipids. These fat-soluble chemicals persist in the body for many years. CSE found that pesticide residues of DDE and DDT in the Punjab samples were 35 times and 188 times higher than in samples collected by US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention which analysed blood and urine levels of 116 environmental chemicals.

CSE calls for urgent action to regulate use of pesticides. It calls for action to monitor human bodies –a biomonitoring programme – to ensure that this chemical invasion is stopped.

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