Argentina – a Poster Child for the Health Hazard of GM seeds

By Dr. Mercola

Roundup Ready soy is now being cultivated on a massive scale across the globe, along with the exponentially increasing use of the herbicide Roundup. Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” soy beans are genetically modified to survive otherwise lethal doses of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company’s herbicide Roundup.

It’s a win-win for Monsanto. But it’s a loss for just about everyone else. Not to mention a health hazard for the environment, and the animals and humans that eat these crops.

Argentina’s Bad Seeds

One of the countries most affected by genetically engineered soy is Argentina, whose population is being sickened by massive spraying of herbicides. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is blamed for the dramatic increase in devastating birth defects as well as cancer.

In the film People and Power — Argentina: The Bad Seeds, film maker Glenn Ellis investigates the destructive and health-harming trends associated with the burgeoning use of genetically engineered soy.

In Cordoba, he speaks to Alternative Nobel Laureate Professor Raul Montenegro about the problems associated with excessive pesticide use.

“Montenegro, a world-renowned biologist, looked the part of a pioneer, in a khaki shirt and jungle boots.’I have pesticide in me,’ he said, almost as soon as he opened the door. Here we all have pesticide in our bodies because the land is saturated with it. And it is a huge problem. In Argentina biodiversity is diminishing. Even in national parks, because pesticides don’t recognize the limit of the park,” Ellis writes.1

More than 18 million hectares in Argentina are covered by genetically engineered soy, on which more than 300 million litres of pesticides are sprayed. Studies strongly suggest that the glyphosate these crops are doused with can cause cancer and birth deformities; both of which are occurring at increasing rates in areas where spraying is done.

Sterility and miscarriages are also increasing. Experts warn that in 10 to 15 years, rates of cancer, infertility and endocrine dysfunction could reach catastrophic levels in Argentina.

Birth Malformation Skyrocketing in Agricultural Centers of Argentina

Ellis also met with Dr. Medardo Vasquez, the neonatal specialist who heads up the Children’s Hospital in Cordoba. Dr. Vasquez tells him:

“I see new-born infants, many of whom are malformed. I have to tell parents that their children are dying because of these agricultural methods. In some areas in Argentina the primary cause of death for children less than one year old is malformations.”

Ellis is also shown a chart of two steeply climbing graphs, rising in tandem with each other — one representing the increase in soya plantations over the last 15 years; the other the rise in birth defects across the province during that same time. In the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by soy plantations, the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average, courtesy of glyphosate.

Aside from chemical spraying, silos containing genetically engineered crops are another contributing factor. The chemically treated crop produces contaminated dust, which is then ventilated outdoors without filtration, where it is carried with the winds and breathed by the local residents.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Monsanto still maintains its innocence. In a written statement to Ellis, the company said:

“Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides have a long history of safe use when used according to label directions in more than 100 countries around the world. Comprehensive toxicological studies have demonstrated that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® branded agricultural herbicides, does not cause birth defects or reproductive problems.”

Stunning Report Illustrates Nutritional Deficiencies and Hazards of GMO Corn

In related news, a report given to MomsAcrossAmerica2 by an employee of De Dell Seed Company (Canada’s only non-GMO corn seed company) offers a stunning picture of the nutritional differences between GMO and non-GMO corn. Clearly, the former is NOT equivalent to the latter, which is the very premise by which genetically engineered crops were approved in the first place. Here are a small sampling of the nutritional differences found in this 2012 nutritional analysis:

• Calcium: GMO corn = 14 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 6,130 ppm (437 times more)
• Magnesium: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 113 ppm (56 times more)
• Manganese: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 14 ppm (7 times more)

GMO corn was also found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GMO corn. The EPA standard for glyphosate in American water supplies is 0.7 ppm. In Europe, the maximum allowable level in water is 0.2 ppm. Organ damage in animals has occurred at levels as low as 0.1 ppm… GMO corn was also found to contain extremely high levels of formaldehyde. According to Dr. Huber, at least one study found that 0.97 ppm of ingested formaldehyde was toxic to animals. GMO corn contains a staggering 200 times that amount! Perhaps it’s no wonder that animals, when given a choice, avoid genetically engineered feed like the plague.

GE Crops are NOT the ‘Most Tested’ Product in the World

It’s important to realize that genetically engineered (GE) foods have never been proven safe for human consumption over a lifetime, let alone over generations. Monsanto and its advocates claim genetically engineered crops are “the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen.” What they don’t tell you is that:

• Industry-funded research predictably affects the outcome of the trial. This has been verified by dozens of scientific reviews comparing funding with the findings of the study. When industry funds the research, it’s virtually guaranteed to be positive. Therefore, independent studies must be done to replicate and thus verify results.
• The longest industry-funded animal feeding study was 90 days, which recent research has confirmed is FAR too short. In the world’s first independently funded lifetime feeding study, massive health problems set in during and after the 13th month, including organ damage and cancer.
• Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta rarely if ever allow independent researchers access to their patented seeds, citing the legal protection these seeds have under patent laws. Hence independent research is extremely difficult or nearly impossible to conduct. If these scientists get seeds from a farmer, they sue them into oblivion as one of their favorite tactics is to use the legal system to their advantage. Additionally, virtually all academic agricultural research is controlled by Monsanto as they are the primary supporters of these departments and none will risk losing their funding from them.
• There is no safety monitoring. Meaning, once the GE item in question has been approved, not a single country on earth is actively monitoring and tracking reports of potential health effects.

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Are GMO foods already out of control? By Dr Mercola

CANCERactive has previously covered the quite ludicrous acceptance-without-independent research policy of Western Governments towards Genetically Modified seeds. The same governments that bring in laws against the consumption of thousand-year-old herbs whilst supporting claims like ´Just because it´s natural, doesn´t make it safe´ seem hell-bent on supporting the downright unnatural and potentially unsafe. We have also previously covered the American pressure, for example, directed towards the French authorities when they refused to take American GM seed.

Dr Mercola: The company that brought you the most destructive products known to man like dioxins (Agent Orange) and polychlorinated biphenols (PCB´s), are not only bringing you GM seeds and busy buying up non-GM seed companies, but bringing you a new chemical threat: glyphosate.

In France a documentary entitled ´The World according to Monsanto´ has slammed the company hinting at Mafia-like practices with teams of enforcers stopping farmers saving seeds from one year to the next, so that they have to use Monsanto´s patented GM seeds.

Some GM crops, such as GM sugar beets and certain varieties of GM corn and soy, are engineered (with the Roundup Ready gene) to withstand otherwise lethal doses of Monsanto´s herbicide Roundup, which has the active chemical glyphosate. Users of GM seeds become dependent upon Roundup and have to agree to its exclusive use. But one problem is that the weeds have already genetically developed to withstand it, so much so that weeds that grow several inches per day are now being found around GM crops. 11 million acres of US soul are now ´polluted´ by 130 or more strains of ´super weed´, across 40 states. (Scientific American)

Washing crops thoroughly is essential as all of these crops receive numerous applications of Roundup each and every year. But washing could never be enough. Glyphosate is already being found in waterways, in rain and in soil samples. A French court even found Monsanto guilty of falsely advertising its herbicide as ´biodegradable´ especially given that according to Monsanto´s own tests only 2 per cent breaks down within 28 days.

Glyphosate is now being linked to ´Sudden Death Syndrome´ (SDS) in plants and the emergence of disease, as the chemical weakens the plant defences and can interfere in photosynthesis.

As if this wasn´t enough of a threat to our health, some GM seeds are designed to produce chemicals that kill attackers, like bacteria and moulds. In 2011 Cry1Ab, a specific type of Bt toxin from GM crops was detected in human and foetal blood samples for the first time. Canadian research found this toxin in

• 93 percent of  blood samples of pregnant women

• 80 percent of fetal blood samples

• 69 percent of non-pregnant women blood samples

In a review of 19 research studies by French Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, published in Environmental Sciences Europe (March 1st 2011), the conclusions showed that consuming genetically modified corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. Weight changes were also common.

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finally looking into the damaging effects of glyphosate on humans and the environment and plans to make a decision regarding its future by 2015, we all have to ask´ Will this be too late?´

Ed: With no independent testing of these seeds in the UK, their possible cross pollination of existing crops, a fear that ´organic´ seed companies will simply be bought up, could we at least ask for a little ´Chemical Consistency´ from our Government and Health Bodies? A new food has to go through all manner of approvals before a company can sell it. But an existing food can incorporate a new GM seed tomorrow, often without any UK acknowledgement on the label. California has just introduced a labelling law as a start. Where is ours?

While we have laws for drugs and now herbs, why is there no equivalent regulation on GM seeds? Perhaps it is time to bypass the Food Standards Agency and ask your MP directly exactly what he intends to do.

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