Tag Archives: poison

Agrochemical drift causing diseases and death in Argentina and Georgia

Pesticide poisoning has rapidly increased in Argentina as Monsanto-seed pesticided crops ramped up. Meanwhile in Georgia, 90+% of common crops already are doused in pesticides. What effects are all those poisons having on our own children and adults?

Michael Warren and Natacha Pisarenko wrote for AP today, Argentines link health crisis to agrochemicals,

Argentine farmworker Fabian Tomasi wasn’t trained to use protective gear as he pumped pesticides into crop dusters. Now at 47, he’s a living skeleton.

Schoolteacher Andrea Druetta lives in a town where it’s illegal to spray agrochemicals within 550 yards of homes, and yet soy is planted just 33 yards from her back door. Recently, her boys were showered in chemicals while swimming in their backyard pool.

Sofia Gatica’s search for answers after losing her newborn to kidney failure led to Argentina’s first criminal convictions for illegal spraying last year. But 80 percent of her neighbors’ children surveyed carry pesticides in their blood.

Meanwhile, German researchers found pesticides in all samples of urine, and back in the U.S.A. and Canada, researchers found pesticide metabolites in 95% of schoolchildren tested.

90+% of cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and corn around here are doused in agrochemicals, and even Continue reading

Monsanto loses French appeal, reconvicted of poisoning

Will we listen to French farmer Paul François, who sued Monsanto for nerve damage due to inhaling Lasso weedkiller, and won last year? Monsanto appealed, but François just won

“Farmers need to understand that those who speak for them are businessmen who defend other interests, very lucrative for the businessmen, who do not care about farmers’ health or the health of those around us.”
the appeal, too. Now the court is gauging losses to determine penalties for Monsanto. This after back in 2009 France convicted Monsanto of lying about its claims that Roundup was “biodegradable” and “left the soil clean”. And Argentinean tobacco farmers are suing Monsanto in New Castle County Court, Delaware, saying Monsanto “knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children”. These same Monsanto herbicides and pesticides are sprayed on most fields around here, and they’re just as much poisons here as in Argentina or France.

Paul François answered questions from Pierre Penin for Sud Ouest (southwest France) 8 February 2013,

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Pesticide studies hitting a nerve

There’s quite the controversy about that recent study that shows that “inert” ingredients in Roundup are actually toxic. Apparently Dr. Séralini hit a nerve.

Some critics are making up stuff:

EFSA logo “The EFSA requested access to the raw data” —Jon Entine

That turns out not to be true:

No. EFSA has not requested raw data for the study as this information is not required at this stage of the review process.” —EFSA.

Monsanto logo Who previously actually did refuse to release raw data?

Monsanto only released the raw data after a legal challenge from Greenpeace, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and French anti-GM campaigners.

Here’s the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)’s rather vague statement about the recent study and EFSA’s FAQ clarifying that statement.

Here’s a much more substantive response from scientists supporting the Séralini cell toxicity study. The last item of that response:

GMWatch logo CRITICISM: GM has been in the food chain for years in the US. Why isn’t there evidence of people and animals suffering more tumours or dying earlier? Why aren’t Americans “dropping like flies?”

RESPONSE: Most GM crops are fed to farm animals, which have relatively short lives either for meat or dairy production and so there is probably not enough time for tumours to develop.

Americans have been eating GM food (soya, maize) for only a relatively short time in significant quantities in processed foods. So it may be too short a period for long-term effects such as tumour formation to be noticeable. However, we should also note that there is no labelling of GM foods in the USA and no monitoring of the population for ill-effects, so if GM food were causing ill health this would be going undetected.

Ill effects of Roundup went mostly unstudied until scientists in places like Austria (the first study above) and France (the second study) and Canada and Continue reading

Roundup causes DNA damage even when vastly diluted

Roundup (you know, the stuff that’s sprayed on cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and corn and drifts across the road) causes DNA damage even when diluted down to 450 times less than what’s used in agriculture, according to a scientific study from February 2012.

Cytotoxic and DNA-damaging properties of glyphosate and Roundup in human-derived buccal epithelial cells, by Verena J. Koller, Maria Fürhacker, Armen Nersesyan, Miroslav Mišík, Maria Eisenbauer and Siegfried Knasmueller, Archives of Toxicology Volume 86, Number 5 (2012), 805-813, DOI: 10.1007/s00204-012-0804-8.

Glyphosate (G) is the largest selling herbicide worldwide; the most common formulations (Roundup, R) contain polyoxyethyleneamine as main surfactant. Recent findings indicate that G exposure may cause DNA damage and cancer in humans….

Since we found genotoxic effects after short exposure to concentrations that correspond to a 450-fold dilution of spraying used in agriculture, our findings indicate that inhalation may cause DNA damage in exposed individuals.

It’s probably not even the “active” ingredient, glyphosate, that’s causing this DNA damage, more likely one of its “inert” ingredients.

Sayer Ji wrote for Greenmedinfo 15 October 2012, Research: Roundup Herbicide Toxicity Vastly Underestimated,

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Parkinson’s and Roundup: latest in a long list

We already knew Argentinian farmers were suing Monsanto about Roundup-induced birth defects, including cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psychomotor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness; we knew Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate was “a risk factor for developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma”; we knew that Roundup-ready corn causes liver and kidney damage in rats and chickens fed feed including Monsanto corn show abnormal gene expression, and we knew that Roundup-ready corn is toxic to humans. Add to all that: Roundup is a risk for Parkinson’s disease.

Sayer Ji wrote for GreenMediaInfo 18 April 2012, Roundup Herbicide Linked To Parkinson’s-Related Brain Damage,

Alarming new research published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology supports the emerging connection between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonian disorders.

Published this month (April, 2012), the new study entitled “Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and authophagic mechanisms,” investigated the potential brain-damaging effects of herbicides, which the authors stated “have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.”1

They found that glyphosate inhibited the viability of differentiated test cells (PC12, adrenal medula derived), in both dose-and-time dependent manners. The researchers also found that “glyphosate induced cell death via authophagy pathways in addition to activating apoptotic pathways.”

Roundup herbicide is now a ubiquitous contaminant in our air, rain, groundwater, and food, making complete avoidance near impossible. A growing body of experimental evidence now indicates that it in addition to its neurotoxicity it also has the following.

Modes of Toxicity

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Want some 2,4-D with that drifting Roundup and Paraquat?

Got enough Roundup and Paraquat drifting onto you? Want some 2,4-D with that? If not, you can send your comments to USDA now. Hey, what if we all plowed under the mutant pigweed instead of breeding more with poison soup!

Tom Philpott wrote for Mother Jones 18 July 2012, USDA Prepares To Greenlight Gnarliest GMO Soy Yet,

In early July, on the sleepy Friday after Independence Day, the USDA quietly signaled its intention to greenlight a new genetically engineered soybean seed from Dow AgroSciences. The product is designed to produce soy plants that withstand 2,4-D, a highly toxic herbicide (and, famously, the less toxic component in the notorious Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange).

Readers may remember that during an even-sleepier period—the week between Christmas and the New Year—the USDA made a similar move on Dow’s 2,4-D-ready corn.

If the USDA deregulates the two products—as it has telegraphed its intention to do—Dow will enjoy a massive profit opportunity. Every year, about half of all US farmland is planted in corn and soy. Currently, Dow’s rival Monsanto has a tight grip on weed management in corn-and-soy country. Upwards of 90 percent of soy and 70 percent of corn is engineered to withstand another herbicide called glyphosate through highly profitable Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seed lines. And after so many years of lashing so much land with the same herbicide, glyphosate-resistant superweeds are now vexing farmers and “alarming” weed-control experts throughout the midwest.

And that’s where Dow’s 2,4-D-ready corn and soy seeds come in. Dow’s novel products will be engineered to withstand glyphosate and 2,4-D, so farmers can douse their fields with both herbicides; the 2,4-D will kill the weeds that glyphosate no longer can. That’s the marketing pitch, anyway.

There’s more in the article.

It can also get into your well water, and then, according to EPA:

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Greed is Good for Poisoning the Food Supply?

For many years big agro has treated the world’s health as an economic externality, a problem for somebody else that did not affect its own bottom line. That is starting to change, most recently in Argentina.

Anthony Gucciardi wrote for NaturalSociety 11 April 2012, Explosive: Monsanto ‘Knowingly Poisoned Workers’ Causing Devastating Birth Defects,

In a developing news piece just unleashed by a courthouse news wire, Monsanto is being brought to court by dozens of Argentinean tobacco farmers who say that the biotech giant knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children. The farmers are now suing not only Monsanto on behalf of their children, but many big tobacco giants as well. The birth defects that the farmers say occurred as a result are many, and include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psychomotor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness.

This would be the same Monsanto that was convicted of chemical poisoning in France.

But this is once again far away in a small country of which we know nothing, right? Wrong:

The farmers come from small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell their tobacco to many United States distributors. The family farmers say that major tobacco companies like the Philip Morris company asked them to use Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides, assuring them that the products were safe. Through asserting that the toxic chemicals were safe, the farmers state in their claim that the tobacco companies ”wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”

Still, it must be some obscure poison only sold in the third world, right?


The majority of the farmers in the area used Monsanto’s Roundup, an herbicide with the active ingredient glyphosate that has shown to be killing human kidney cells. What’s more, the farmers say that the tobacco companies pushed Monsanto’s Roundup on the farmers despite a lack of protective equipment. In other words, these farmers — many in dire economic conditions — were being directly exposed to Roundup in large concentrations without any protective gear (or even experience or skills in handling the substance). Still, the farmers say the tobacco giants required the struggling farmers to ‘purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides’.

That would be the same Roundup that farmers use around here all the time, without protective equipment. The Roundup we already knew was Continue reading

Why Monsanto Thought Weeds Would Never Defeat Roundup

Wishful thinking. That’s why Monsanto unleashed crops and pesticides that are both poisonous to humans. Wishful thinking. Also known as greed.

Daniel Charles wrote for The Salt 11 March 2012, Why Monsanto Thought Weeds Would Never Defeat Roundup,

First, the company had been selling Roundup for years without any problems. Second, and perhaps most important, the company’s scientists had just spent more than a decade, and many millions of dollars, trying to create the Roundup-resistant plants that they desperately wanted — soybeans and cotton and corn. It had been incredibly difficult. When I interviewed former Monsanto scientists for my book on biotech crops, one of them called it the company’s “Manhattan Project.”

Considering how hard it had been to create those crops, “the thinking was, it would be really difficult for weeds to become tolerant” to Roundup, says Rick Cole, who is now responsible for Monsanto’s efforts to deal with the problem of resistant weeds.

So they thought small scale would be the same as saturating 90+% of every corn, soybean, peanut, and cotton field in the U.S. and numerous other countries with virulent poisons. Because they wanted the money.


Monsanto Worst Company of 2011 —Natural Society

Back in 2010, a survey by Covalence found Monsanto to be the least ethical company in the world. Another year, another award for Monsanto!

Michelle Schoffro Cook wrote for care2 1 February 2012, Monsanto Wins Worst Company of 2011 Award,

Natural Society has awarded Monsanto the Worst Company of 2011 award for its ongoing work to threaten human health and the environment. Currently responsible for 90 percent of all genetically-modified (GM) seed in the US, the biotechnology giant is also the leader in developing genetically-modified (GM) seeds and the resulting crops worldwide. But Monsanto is perhaps best known for its herbicide Roundup, which many experts link to soil damage and herbicide-resistant superweeds, not to mention potential health problems.
The article gives plenty of reasons, and that was even before the recent hard evidence that both Monsanto’s GM corn and Monsanto’s Roundup are toxic to humans.

Why do people keep growing that stuff around here and spraying Roundup on it?


Both Roundup-Ready corn and Roundup are toxic to humans: scientific evidence

Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini put out a press release yesterday, NEW STUDY: Genetically Modified Corn Toxic to Humans,
“We were very much surprised by our findings. Until now, it has been thought almost impossible for Bt proteins to be toxic to human cells. Now further investigations have to be conducted to find out how these toxins impact the cells and if combinatorial effects with other compounds in the food and feed chain have to be taken into account,” says Gilles-Eric Séralini from the University of Caen, who supervised the experiments. “In conclusion, these experiments show that the risks of Bt toxins and of Roundup have been underestimated.”
The toxicity of the corn itself may have been a surprise, but not that of Roundup:
These findings are in accordance with several other investigations highlighting unexpected health risks associated with glyphosate preparations.
Previous studies, including ones by Dr. Séralini, already showed exposure to glysophate (the active ingredient in Roundup) to be “a risk factor for developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma”, and to be toxic to human umbilical, placental, and placental cells with a that “is far below agricultural recommendations and corresponds to low levels of residues in food or feed.” In Argentina, Prof. Andrés Carrasco has demonstrated birth defects in amphibians and there is increasing evidence of human birth defects.

Regarding Monsanto’s GM corn itself, we already knew it causes liver and kidney damage in rats (later reverified using Monsanto’s own data), and chickens fed feed including Monsanto corn show abnormal gene expression.

Now we have even more hard evidence of the toxicity of Monsanto’s GM corn and of Monsanto’s Roundup. The journal article is available through Wiley online.