USDA research links pesticides to monarch butterfly declines

April 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

USDA researchers have identified the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin as a likely contributor to monarch butterfly declines in North America. The USDA research is published in the journal Science of Nature and was published online on April 3rd (Pecenka and Lundgren 2015). Monarch butterfly populations (Danaus Plexippus) have declined precipitously in North America in the last twenty years. This decline has commonly been linked to loss of milkweeds (Asclepias species) from farmer’s fields. Monarch caterpillars are dependent on milkweeds. The ability of farmers to kill them with the Monsanto herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) has therefore led to this herbicide being considered as a major contributor to the decline of the monarch butterfly. However, industrial farming methods include other known or potential causes of monarch disappearances. One of these is the known toxicity of Bt insecticides found in GMO crops. For instance, in 2006 pollen from Syngenta’s BT176 corn (no longer on the US market) was shown to have a lethal dose of 14 pollen grains towards caterpillars of European Swallowtail butterflies. Pollen from GMO crops falls on the milkweeds where monarchs feed and individual maize plants produce millions of pollen grains. Neonicotinoids have been strongly implicated in pollinator declines worldwide. As shown by a

World Health Organization Won’t Back Down From Study Linking Monsanto to Cancer

April 1, 2015 // 0 Comments

The scientists behind a recent World Health Organization study which concluded the herbicide glyphosate “probably” causes cancer, say they stand behind their assessment. The comments come in response to criticisms from Monsanto Co., who said the study was based on “junk science”. The main ingredient in Monsanto’s Round Up product is glyphosate. Monsanto executives said they are reviewing their options as they move forward. Aaron Blair, a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute and lead author of the study, told Reuters,“There was sufficient evidence in animals, limited evidence in humans and strong supporting evidence showing DNA mutations and damaged chromosomes.” The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published their study of glyphosate on March 20, finding that the popular herbicide may contribute to non-hodgkins lymphoma. IARC report was published in The Lancet Oncology detailing evaluations of organophosphate pesticides and herbicides. The report concluded that there was “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” The evidence for this conclusion was pulled from studies of exposure to the chemical in the US, Canada and Sweden published since 2001. The researchers found “convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause cancer in laboratory animals.” The report points out that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) had

Monsanto’s “Discredit Bureau” really does exist

April 1, 2015 // 0 Comments

Reuters is reporting that Monsanto is demanding a sit-down with members of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This international scientific body is being called on the carpet for reporting that Monsanto’s most widely sold herbicide, which is inextricably linked to the majority of their genetically engineered products, is probably carcinogenic to humans. In a DO-YOU-KNOW-WHO-WE-ARE moment, Monsanto’s vice president of global regulatory affairs Philip Miller said the following in interview: “We question the quality of the assessment. The WHO has something to explain.” Evidence for the carcinogenicity of Glyphosate comes from a peer-reviewed study published in March of 2015 in the respected journal The Lancet Oncology: “Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate “Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, currently with the highest production volumes of all herbicides. It is used in more than 750 different products for agriculture, forestry, urban, and home applications. Its use has increased sharply with the development of genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crop varieties. Glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water, and in food. There WAS limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. Read

Did the U.N. just ruin this $5 billion Monsanto business?

March 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

The United Nations may have just delivered a hard right hook to Monsanto’s (NYSE: MON  )  business. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, the U.N.’s cancer research center at the World Health Organization, declared the main ingredient in Monsanto’s leading weed-killer Roundup a probable cancer-causing product. Because the glyphosate-based herbicide is primarily responsible for almost half of all Monsanto’s revenues, or $5.1 billion in 2014, the declaration could have far-reaching implications for the biotech. Worse, because the herbicide platform is used to strategically support Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops — which comprise the vast bulk of the balance of its revenue stream — the health organization’s determination stretches across the whole breadth and depth of Monsanto’s operations potentially affecting all $16 billion of its revenues. Although staggered — the biotech’s stock is down 10% over the past month — don’t expect the ruling to be a knockout blow. Growing like a weed Read

11 Quick Reasons to Dislike DuPont as Much as Monsanto

March 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

Sure, Monsanto is listed as one of the most hated companies on the planet, but what about other biotechnology giants such as DuPont? This company has been terrorizing the planet for far too long, but they hide easily in Monsanto’s ominous shadow. It’s easy to lose sight of the other companies that are just as responsible for ruining our food supply and contaminating our water, soil, and air, as we just focus on a singular mammoth corporation. But we need to open our eyes to see the entire collection of carnage these companies commit – or to get to know the other rotten apples in the bunch. DuPont is just as big in genetically-modified seeds and agricultural chemicals, and pursues largely the same policies as Monsanto with respect to pricing, IP enforcement, and other blatant, propagandizing, corporate maneuvers. Here’s a little lesson in Dupont history. I hope you get to know them better by the time you’ve reached the end of the page. Getting to Know DuPont Dupont is in the biotechnology business, with their main products being chemicals. The corporation is one of the top ten companies completely strangling the natural world – and it needs to stop. If that isn’t enough reason to put them on your watch

Study Links Widely Used Pesticides to Antibiotic Resistance

March 27, 2015 // 0 Comments

This has not been a good week for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides. On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it had classified glyphosate, the United States’ most widely-used pesticide, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Now, the chemical has another strike against it. A study published today by the American Society of Microbiology’s journal mBio has linked glyphosate and two other widely-used herbicides–2,4-D and dicamba–to one of the most pressing public health crises of our time: antibiotic resistance. This study found that exposure to these herbicides in their commercial forms changed the way bacteria responded to a number of antibiotics, including ampicillin,ciprofloxacin, and tetracycline–drugs widely used to treat a range of deadly diseases. Dicamba, 2,4-D, and glyphosate have been in use for decades, so why have their antibacterial-resistance effects not been documented before? As the study’s lead author, Jack Heinemann, professor of genetics at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, explains, when pesticides are tested for adverse effects, “it’s the lethal toxicity that people focus on.” In other words, how much of the chemical will kill an organism. “What makes our study different, is that it is looking at a sub-lethal effect,” says Heinemann. “The effect we see requires that the bacteria stay alive.” Read

Monsanto Wants to Keep You in The DARK

March 27, 2015 // 0 Comments

In the absence of a federal requirement tolabel GMOs, food activists have taken matters into their own hands, passing labeling laws in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut and putting the issue on the ballot in California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon. Big Food and its friends in the biotechnology industry haven’t liked this one bit, and have spent over $80 million over the past several years to defeat GMO labeling ballot initiatives. If you’ve been following the debate recently, you also know that companies like Monsanto have launched an aggressive PR campaign to sell the public on this questionable technology. Even beloved scientist Bill Nye has joined the fray, flipping his previously critical position on GMOs after a recent visit to Monsanto’s headquarters. As we’ve said before, the debate over GMOs isn’t just about their possible environmental and public health effects. It’s also about who controls the food system. Today, Big Food’s play for control became ever more clear when Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) introduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which might as well be called the “Denying Americans the Right to Know” Act (DARK Act), or Monsanto’s Dream Bill. This is not Pompeo’s first ride in the GMO rodeo. He first introduced this

WHO Declares that Glyphosate Herbicides Probably Cause Cancer

March 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

The World Health Organisation’s cancer agency has declared the world’s most widely used weedkiller – glyphosate – a “probable human carcinogen” in a move that will alarm the agrochemical industry and amateur gardeners. The assessment by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of glyphosate, which is used in herbicides with estimated annual sales of USD 6 Billion, will be of special concern to Monsanto, the company that brought glyphosate to market under the trade name Roundup in the 1970s. Over 80% of GM crops worldwide are engineered to be grown with the herbicide. The IARC has no regulatory role and its decisions do not automatically lead to bans or restrictions, but campaigners are expected to use them to put pressure on regulators. The IARC reached its decision based on the view of 17 experts from 11 countries, who met in Lyon, France, to assess the carcinogenicity of 5 organophosphate pesticides. The IARC’s assessment of the 5 pesticides is published in the latest issue of The Lancet Oncology. Read

GMO science deniers: Monsanto and the USDA

March 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

Perhaps no group of science deniers has been more ridiculed than those who deny the science of evolution. What you may not know is that Monsanto and our United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are among them. That’s right: for decades, Monsanto and its enablers inside the USDA have denied the central tenets of evolutionary biology, namely natural selection and adaptation. And this denial of basic science by the company and our government threatens the future viability of American agriculture. Third Grade Science Let’s start with interrelated concepts of natural selection and adaptation. This is elementary school science. In fact, in Washington D.C. it is part of the basic third grade science curriculum. As we all remember from biology class, when an environment changes, trait variation in a species could allow some in that species to adapt to that new environment and survive. Others will die out. The survivors are then able to reproduce and even thrive under the new environmental conditions. For example, if a drought were to occur, some plants might have traits that allow them to survive while other plants in the same species would perish. The drought-resistant plants then become the “evolved” species, and they are

Select Committee report on GM is insult to science and danger to the public: Part I – Science abused

March 19, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Science and Technology Committee’s report blames Europe’s precautionary GMO regulation for preventing the adoption of GM crops in the UK, Europe, and the developing world. The pro-GMO Science Media Centre publicised the report with a welcoming selection of quotes from GMO advocates. For example, Johnjoe McFadden, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey, offered the emotive claim that “The cost of the eco lobby’s opposition to GMO Golden Rice has been about 1.4m life years lost last decade in India alone”. McFadden’s quote, with its blatant disregard for facts, sets the tone for the report itself. In reality, the IRRI, the body responsible for rolling out GMO Golden Rice, admitted that the crop failed its field trials and hasn’t been proven safe to eat or effective in alleviating vitamin A deficiency in malnourished people. All these basic research and development problems, as the IRRI said, will cause further delays in making Golden Rice available. So to claim that green lobby’s opposition to GMO Golden Rice has cost even one life is a lie. On the contrary, the real crime against humanity consists in pouring further resources into GMO Golden Rice at the expense of successful and readily available alternatives that require only modest funding and
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