Friday, December 13, 2013

The Rise of Superweeds—and What to Do About It

It sounds like a sci-fi movie: American farmers fighting desperately to hold back an onslaught of herbicide-defying "superweeds."
But there's nothing imaginary—or entertaining—about this scenario. Superweeds are all too real, and they have now spread to over 60 million acres of our farmland, wreaking environmental and economic havoc wherever they go.
How did we get into this mess, and how do we fix it? A 2013 UCS briefing paper, The Rise of Superweeds—and What to Do About It, answers these questions.

Roundup: the cure that super-sized the disease

The superweed problem began as a promised solution.
In the 1990s, Monsanto introduced a new line of seeds called "Roundup Ready," which were genetically engineered to be immune to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company’s patented herbicide, Roundup.
Roundup Ready seeds were expensive, but they were widely adopted because they made weed control easier. And because glyphosate is less toxic than other common herbicides, the Roundup Ready system was hailed as an environmental breakthrough.
But there was a catch: as more and more farmers used more and more Roundup, genes for glyphosate resistance began to spread in weed populations. The growth of resistance was accelerated by a trio of factors:
  • Monoculture. Growing the same crop on the same land year after year helps weeds to flourish.
  • Overreliance on a single herbicide. When farmers use Roundup exclusively, resistance develops more quickly.
  • Neglect of other weed control measures. The convenience of the Roundup Ready system encouraged farmers to abandon a range of practices that had been part of their weed control strategy.

    This “perfect storm” of accelerating factors has quickly turned the Roundup resistance problem into a superweed crisis. And because many farmers can no longer rely on glyphosate alone, overall herbicide use in the United States—which Roundup was supposed to help reduce—has instead gone up (see graph at right).

    Industry doubles down

    The pesticide and seed industry has responded to the superweed crisis with a predictable refrain: let's do it again. A new generation of herbicide-resistant crops is awaiting USDA approval, engineered to tolerate older herbicides, such as 2,4-D and dicamba, in addition to glyphosate.
    What's wrong with that?
  • 2,4-D and dicamba belong to a chemical class that has been associated with increased rates of diseases, including non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
  • They are highly toxic to broadleaf crops, including many of the most common fruit and vegetable crops.
  • They are more prone to volatilization (air dispersal) than glyphosate, so their increased use is likely to harm neighboring farms and uncultivated areas.
On top of all these drawbacks is a more fundamental one: weeds that developed glyphosate resistance can develop resistance to the new herbicides as well—and this has already begun to happen. When major weed species develop widespread multi-herbicide resistance, farmers will really be in a bind, because there are no new herbicides coming over the horizon to save the day.

A science-based solution: healthy farms

There's a better way. Farmers can control weeds using practices grounded in the science of agroecology, including crop rotation, cover crops, judicious tillage, the use of manure and compost instead of synthetic fertilizers, and taking advantage of the weed-suppressing chemicals that some crops produce.
Such practices have benefits beyond weed control: they increase soil fertility and water-holding capacity, reduce water pollution and global warming emissions, and make the farm and its surroundings more welcoming to pollinators and other beneficial organisms.
In short, agroecological practices make the farm healthier. And recent research shows that they work.

What we should do

Despite their promise, agroecological practices have been held back by farm policies and research agendas that favor monoculture, as well as a lack of information and technical support for farmers who want to change their methods.
To encourage the adoption of these healthier practices, UCS recommends that Congress and the USDA should take the following actions:
  • Fund and implement the Conservation Stewardship Program, which provides support for farmers using sustainable weed control methods.
  • Institute new regional programs that encourage farmers to address weed problems through sustainable techniques.
  • Support organic farmers and those who want to transition to organic farming with research, certification, cost-sharing, and marketing programs. (Organic farming serves as a "test kitchen" for integrated weed management practices that can be broadly applied to conventional farm systems.)
  • Support multidisciplinary research on integrated weed management strategies and educate farmers in their use.
  • Bring together scientists, industry, farmers, and public interest groups to formulate plans preventing or containing the development of herbicide-resistant weeds, and make the approval of new herbicide-tolerant crops conditional on the implementation of such plans.
  • Fund and carry out long-term research to breed crop varieties and cover crops that compete with and control weeds more effectively.

 DOWNLOAD: The Rise of Superweeds--and What to Do About It


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tx, Transplant Predict Multiple Myeloma Survival

NEW ORLEANS -- Only about one multiple myeloma patient in 13 will live more than 10 years, according to a database analysis.
But the chances of long-term survival are greater for patients treated at academic centers, according to Ronald Go, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Patients also do better if they have an autologous stem cell transplant as part of their initial therapy, Go told MedPage Today before the analysis was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.
The findings come from analysis of theNational Cancer Data Base, a joint program of the Commission on Cancer, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Cancer Society, according to Go, who was senior author of the study.
It's the first attempt to try to tease out demographic factors that contribute to longer-term survival in multiple myeloma, a disease that almost always kills relatively quickly.
The researchers analyzed data for 27,987 patients diagnosed in 1998 through 2000, and divided them into four groups based on the median survival -- just 26.7 months at the time. Specifically:
  • Cohort 1: Overall survival (OS) that was less than the median and included 55% of the patients
  • Cohort 2: OS that was more than the median but less than twice the median with 19% of the patients
  • Cohort 3: OS greater than twice the median but less than 10 years and included 18% of the patients
  • Cohort 4: OS of 10 years or more with 8% of the patients
More than half the patients were male with a mean age at diagnosis of 67.2 years.
Analysis showed that several factors predicted long-term survival, Go said.
For instance, more than 10% of patients treated at academic centers fell into the long-term cohort 4, compared with about 5% treated at community cancer centers.
Similarly, more than 20% of those who had a stem cell transplant as part of initial therapy lived more than a decade, compared with about 5% of those who did not.
Younger age also predicted survival, although Go pointed out that older patients, even without disease, would be less likely to live a long time.
African Americans also did less well than whites, even though they are known to have better outcomes from multiple myeloma. That's probably a result of comorbidities such as high blood pressure and diabetes skewing the all-cause mortality statistics, Go said.
Sex, ethnicity, and place of residence had no apparent effects, the researchers found.
The study is "really quite striking," commented Noopur Raje, MD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, who was not involved in the study.
"From a myeloma investigator's point of view," the interesting part of the study is that -- without going into the biological aspects of the disease -- Go and colleagues were able to pinpoint factors predicting survival, she told MedPage Today.
"What it really tells me is that some of [survival may have] to do with access to drugs and access to therapies," she said. Access to the latest treatments is more likely at academic centers, she noted.
The clinical implication for patients is that "if you have a center which focuses on this disease, go to that site," she said.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Non-GMO NestFresh Eggs Give Holiday Recipes Something to Celebrate

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Dec 11, 2013) - Avoiding genetically modified organisms or GMOs in your favorite holiday recipes will give you even more reason to celebrate the season. NestFresh cage-free and free-range eggs are the first nationally distributed egg line to receive the Non-GMO Project Verified seal from the Non-GMO Project, a third-party certification program that assures a food product has been produced according to consensus-based best practices for GMO avoidance. 

GMOs are in as much as 80 percent of the conventionally processed food in the United States. A GMO is a plant or animal that has been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species do not occur naturally in the environment and, according to the nonprofit Non-GMO Project, a growing body of evidence is connecting them to health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers' and consumers' rights.

With eggs being called for in almost every holiday recipe, NestFresh non-GMO eggs are a good way to get cracking on a non-GMO-filled celebration. 

NestFresh chickens are fed non-GMO feed consisting of corn and soybeans, which are the most at risk for GMOs. A routine schedule for the non-GMO feed is tested and approved by the Non-GMO Project to ensure the chickens produce non-GMO eggs. 

This groundbreaking commitment to non-GMO verification in eggs by NestFresh currently impacts approximately 400 acres of non-GMO corn and 380 acres of non-GMO soybeans. And by working with multiple small farms across the country, NestFresh provides more opportunities and a safer environment for family farmers. This is another good reason to celebrate, so bring on the eggnog! 

NestFresh cage-free and free-range eggs are the only non-GMO eggs available nationwide (MSRP: $3.49-$4.99). For free holiday recipes visit: To see a complete list of Non-GMO Project Verified products, visit:


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How Roundup Weedkiller Can Promote Cancer, New Study Reveals

Roundup herbicide (glyphosate) is in our air, rain, groundwater, soil and most food in the U.S., and an increasing body of research reveals it has cancer-promoting properties.
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research have recently confirmed the carcinogenic potential of Roundup herbicide using human skin cells (HaCaT ) exposed to extremely low concentrations of the world's best selling herbicide.
The researchers previously reported on glyphosate's tumor promoting potential in a two-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis model[i] through its disruption of proteins that regulate calcium (Ca2+- ) signaling and oxidative stress (SOD 1), but were unable in these investigations to identify the exact molecular mechanisms behind how glyphosate contributes to tumor promotion.
The new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal ISRN Dermatology,[ii] sought out to clarify the exact mode of tumorigenic action, finding the likely mechanism behind glyphosate's cancer promoting properties is through the downregulation of mitochondrial apoptotic (self-destructive) signaling pathways, as well as through the disruption of a wide range of cell signaling and regulatory components. Cell proliferative effects were induced by concentrations lower than .1 mM, and as low as 0.01 mM, which is four orders of magnitude lower than concentrations commonly used in GM agricultural applications (e.g. 50 mM). The fact that lower concentrations were more effective at inducing proliferation than higher concentrations (which suppressed cell growth), indicates that Roundup is a potent endocrine disrupter, and further highlights why conventional toxicological risk assessments are inadequate because they do not account for the fact that as concentrations are reducedcertain types of toxicity -- e.g. endocrine disruption -- actually increase.
The researchers used the product Roundup Original (glyphosate 41%, polyethoxethyleneamine (POEA) ≅15%—Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO, USA), and observed the following changes to human skin cells induced through exposure to this chemical mixture:
  • Significant increases in cell proliferation (via disruption of CA2+ levels, i.e. decreased levels)
  • Increases oxidative stress, as measured by levels of ROS (reactive oxygen species)
  • Cell-cycle dysregulation, marked by an accumulation of cells in S-phase (hallmark feature of cancer)
  • Increased proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), a marker for increased cell proliferation
  • Increased Bromodeoxyuridin (BrdU), a marker for increased cell proliferation
  • Decreases in the level of the protein IP3R1, an indication of resistance to cell death
  • Increases in Bcl-2 protein, a tumor promoter gene product
  • Decreases in Bax proteins, a tumor suppressor gene product
  • Caspase suppression (associated with prevention of cell death)
  • Changes in the expression of the Ca2+- binding family of proteins (S100 family) S100A6/S100A9, associated with various cancers.
It is important to emphasize that while the researchers observed cell proliferation-associated changes in the expression of the Ca2+- binding proteins S100A6/A9 following glyphosate exposure to human skin cells, the implications of these findings reach beyond the skin cell lineage. They explained that related modifications of the expression pattern of S100A6/A9 protein have also been found in "hepatocellular carcinoma [15], lung cancer [16], colorectal cancer [17], and melanoma [18]."
The study included a diagram (shown below) representing graphically the multiple ways in which glyphosate disrupts cellular structure/function to contribute to uncontrolled cell proliferation.
The researchers summarized their findings as follows:
In conclusion, in this study, we demonstrated that glyphosate may possibly exert proliferative effect in HaCaT cells by activating Ca2+ binding proteins to promote the imbalance of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and lessen SOD1 to increase ROS generation. This effect was partially reversed by treatment with antioxidant NAC indicating connections between oxidative stress and hypocalcaemia. Reduced Ca2+ levels enhance Bcl-2 and decrease Bax, subsequently leading to decrease in cytochrome c to stimulate further decrease of caspase 3 via the downregulation of IP3R1 level, thus halting apoptosis. The present study for the first time provides insight into the mechanism of glyphosate-induced neoplastic potential in mammalian skin system.
It should be noted that their observation that the carcinogenicity of Roundup may be suppressed by the antioxidant n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), which is a precursor to the cellular detoxifier and antioxidant known as glutathione and a readily available dietary supplement, has important implications, owing to how widespread exposure to Roundup herbicide has become, both throughenvironmental exposures in air, soil, rain and groundwater, as well as in the tens of thousands of unlabeled products containing GM ingredients contaminated with physiologically significant levels of this chemical.

This study adds to a growing body of research demonstrating the carcinogenicity of Roundup herbicide. Only five months ago, the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology published a study indicating that glyphosate is estrogenic anddrives breast cancer cell proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range. To view the growing body of research on Roundup's potential to contribute to cancer initiation or promotion view our toxicology citations here: Roundup Toxicology Research.

Reflecting on the Implications

We leave the reader with some final reflections on the implications of this research. The wholesale dismissal of attempts to differentiate GMO from conventional products through accurate labeling is based on the idea that they are 'substantially equivalent.' But, this fallacious approach is based on the mistaken view that the only difference between GMO and non-GMO crops of feed and food importance is the presence of either the novel transgenes inserted into them or their novel transgene protein products.
The discover of Roundup's extreme toxicity destroys that argument, and calls into question the credibility of any would-be 'scientist' or pro-GMO advocate who would propose otherwise.  How so? The fact is that the majority of approved GM plants have been genetically engineered to be "Roundup Ready," i.e. resistant to glyphosate, which means that the land they are grown upon is basically carpet-bombed with the chemical mixture to kill any living plant other than the glyphosate-resistant GM monocultures. The GM plants take up glyphosate, convert some of it to a similarly toxic metabolite AMPA, and survive the chemical exposure, while maintaining residues of both chemicals post-harvest -- which ultimately means that the consumer will be exposed to these compounds through their food.
This means that if you are not consuming foods that are explicitly GM free, you are being exposed to glyphosate (and glyphosate metabolites) on a daily basis. The difference, therefore between GMO and non-GMO is vastly more significant than simply the presence or absence of novel transgenes or their proteins.  It is the difference, candidly, between being exposed (poisoned) with a chemical with likely carcinogenicity or not being exposed to it.  For a more elaborate explanation read: Extreme Toxicity of Roundup Destroys GM/non-GM 'Substantial Equivalence' Argument.
Lastly, consider if Roundup (glyphosate) 'weed-killer' bore a warning sign 'may cause cancer,' or the tens thousands of products made with GM ingredients contaminated with it. Would there be any justifiable reason to resist GMO labeling? No, to the contrary, the focus would be on banning them immediately, instead of cow-towing to the powers that be to allow us the choice not to be poisoned by default.
Despite the so called "science" and "reason" based GMO proponents who think it makes sense to have mattresses labeled, but not food you put into your body, the actual empirical, peer-reviewed and published research – not ghost-written or funded by biotech corporations themselves – says that this omnipresent herbicide has multiple models of carcinogenicity, and in concentration ranges far below agricultural application, as far down as to the parts-per-trillion range. It is time those paying lip service to the 'evidence-based' model of GMO risk assessment, and who recklessly promote the dystopian interests of biotech corporations, address the evidence itself, or stop co-opting powerful sounding terms like "Science" to justify their highly irrational and ultimately biased and self-serving perspectives on the subject.

Agent Orange Exposure Linked to Stroke

Stroke has been added to the growing list of possible health effects Vietnam veterans may face long term after exposure to Agent Orange.
In response to new evidence showing a statistically significant overall increase in stroke associated with exposure to chemical in Agent Orange, a committee examining these health effects has moved stroke to the "limited and suggestive" evidence category.
However, the published data do not permit distinguishing hemorrhagic from ischemic stroke, said the authors of the updated report, Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 : Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides (Ninth Biennial Update).
The evidence already suggested an association between exposure to the chemicals and hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, as well as Parkinson's disease and some cancers.
Elsewhere in the 900-page report, the committee concluded that on the basis of newly reviewed evidence and in previous reports, there is also "limited or suggestive" evidence of an association between exposure to the chemicals of interest and Parkinson's disease.
The committee concluded that on the basis of new evidence and previous reports, evidence is inadequate or insufficient to determine whether there is an association between exposure to chemicals of interest and Alzheimer's disease.
Herbicide Mixtures
The current document was produced by a committee chaired by Mary K. Walker, professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. It presents the committee's review of peer-reviewed scientific reports concerning associations between health outcomes and exposure to chemicals in herbicides used in Vietnam that were published from October 2010 to September 2012 and the integration of this new information into the existing database.
From 1962 to 1971, the US military sprayed herbicides over Vietnam to strip the thick jungle canopy that could conceal opposition forces, to destroy crops that those forces might depend on, and to clear tall grasses and bushes from the perimeters of US base camps and outlying fire-support bases.
The herbicide mixtures used were named according to the colors of identification bands painted on the storage drugs. The main chemical sprayed was Agent Orange, a 50-50 mixture of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T).
Because of continuing complaints and uncertainty about long-term health effects of sprayed herbicides in Vietnam vets, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991, which directed the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ask the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to comprehensively evaluate scientific and medical information on the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam. The legislation also instructed the Secretary to ask the NAS to conduct updates every 2 years for 10 years to draw conclusions from newly available literature.
In response to the first request, the Institute of Medicine convened a committee whose conclusions were published in 1994. The work of later committees resulted in the publication of biennial updates and of focused reports on the scientific evidence regarding type 2 diabetes, acute myeloid leukemia in children, and the latent period for respiratory cancer.
The Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001 mandated that the biennial updates continue through 2014.
In this most recent update, one of the studies the committee looked at was the Prospective Investigation of Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors, a small study (n = 35) that examined the relationship among several chemicals that have dioxin-like activity and stroke incidence.
Contrasting high and low quartiles, the study found a strong (relative risk, 3.8) and statistically significant albeit imprecise (95% confidence interval, 1.2 - 12.2) relationship between exposure and stroke after adjustment for relevant potentially confounding factors. A statistically significant dose-response relationship was also seen across exposure quartiles.
Prior literature shows an overall increase in stroke and cerebrovascular disease associated with exposure to chemicals of interest in environmental, occupational, and Vietnam veteran populations. Human and animal studies have demonstrated biological plausibility of the connection between exposure to chemicals of interest and stroke, which is strongly linked to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, conditions already in the limited and suggestive evidence category.
After weighing all these factors, the committee voted to move stroke to the limited and suggestive category.
The published data did not permit the committee to distinguish hemorrhagic from ischemic stroke, but given that only a small percentage of strokes are the hemorrhagic type in the Western population, this was not seen as an impediment, according to the report.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monsanto, the TPP and global food dominance

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations enter their last few days, Ellen Brown exposes their real purpose - corporate control of the world's food, health, environment and financial systems. Of all these, the greatest is food ...

They are carefully crafting the TPP to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides.
"Control oil and you control nations," said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. "Control foodand you control the people."
And now global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations.
This agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health. And if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.
Profits Before Populations
Genetic engineering has made proprietary control possible over the seeds on which the world’s food supply depends. According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today.
One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.
Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a 'broad-spectrum' herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.
Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate - and the GMO foods incorporating it at high levels - to pose serious dangers to health.
Compounding the risk is the toxicity of so-called 'inert' ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.
The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world’s healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.
Sixty to seventy percent of the foods in US supermarkets are now genetically modified. By contrast, in at least 26 other countries - including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia - GMOs are totally or partially banned; and significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries.
A ban on GMO and glyphosate use might go far toward improving the health of Americans. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement for which the Obama Administration has sought Fast Track status, would block that sort of cause-focused approach to the healthcare crisis.
Roundup’s Insidious Effects
Roundup-resistant crops escape being killed by glyphosate, but they do not avoid absorbing it into their tissues. Herbicide-tolerant crops have substantially higher levels of herbicide residues than other crops. In fact, many countries have had to increase their legally allowable levels - by up to 50 times - in order to accommodate the introduction of GM crops.
In the European Union, residues in food are set to rise 100-150 times if a new proposal by Monsanto is approved. Meanwhile, herbicide-tolerant "super-weeds" have adapted to the chemical, requiring even more toxic doses and new toxic chemicals to kill the plant.
Human enzymes are affected by glyphosate just as plant enzymes are: the chemical blocks the uptake of manganese and other essential minerals. Without those minerals, we cannot properly metabolize our food. That helps explain the rampant epidemic of obesity in the United States. People eat and eat in an attempt to acquire the nutrients that are simply not available in their food.
"Glyphosate's inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology ... Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.
"Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease."
More than 40 diseases have been linked to glyphosate use, and more keep appearing. In September 2013, the National University of Rio Cuarto, Argentina, published researchfinding that glyphosate enhances the growth of fungi that produce aflatoxin B1, one of the most carcinogenic of substances.
A doctor from Chaco, Argentina, told Associated Press, "We've gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects and illnesses seldom seen before." Fungi growths have increased significantly in US corn crops.
Glyphosate has also done serious damage to the environment. According to an October 2012 report by the Institute of Science in Society:
"Agribusiness claims that glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops will improve crop yields, increase farmers’ profits and benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use.
Exactly the opposite is the case ... the evidence indicates that glyphosate herbicides and glyphosate-tolerant crops have had wide-ranging detrimental effects, including glyphosate resistant super weeds, virulent plant (and new livestock) pathogens, reduced crop health and yield, harm to off-target species from insects to amphibians and livestock, as well as reduced soil fertility."
Politics Trumps Science
In light of these adverse findings, why have Washington and the European Commission continued to endorse glyphosate as safe? Critics point to lax regulations, heavy influence from corporate lobbyists, and a political agenda that has more to do with power and control than protecting the health of the people.
In the ground-breaking 2007 book Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, William Engdahl states that global food control and depopulation became US strategic policy under Rockefeller protégé Henry Kissinger. Along with oil geopolitics, they were to be the new 'solution' to the threats to US global power and continued US access to cheap raw materials from the developing world.
In line with that agenda, the government has shown extreme partisanship in favor of the biotech agribusiness industry, opting for a system in which the industry 'voluntarily' polices itself. Bio-engineered foods are treated as "natural food additives", not needing any special testing.
Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, confirmsthat US Food and Drug Administration policy allows biotech companies to determine if their own foods are safe. Submission of data is completely voluntary. He concludes:
In the critical arena of food safety research, the biotech industry is without accountability, standards, or peer-review. They’ve got bad science down to a science.
Whether or not depopulation is an intentional part of the agenda, widespread use of GMO and glyphosate is having that result. The endocrine-disrupting properties of glyphosate have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and arrested sexual development.
In Russian experiments, animals fed GM soy were sterile by the third generation. Vast amounts of farmland soil are also being systematically ruined by the killing of beneficial microorganisms that allow plant roots to uptake soil nutrients.
In Gary Null’s eye-opening documentary Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs, Dr. Bruce Lipton warns: "We are leading the world into the sixth mass extinction of life on this planet ... Human behavior is undermining the web of life."
The TPP and International Corporate Control
As the devastating conclusions of these and other researchers awaken people globally to the dangers of Roundup and GMO foods, transnational corporations are working feverishly with the Obama administration to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would strip governments of the power to regulate transnational corporate activities.
Negotiations have been kept secret from Congress but not from corporate advisors, 600 of whom have been consulted and know the details. According to Barbara Chicherio inNation of Change:
"The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the potential to become the biggest regional Free Trade Agreement in history ...
"The chief agricultural negotiator for the US is the former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddique. If ratified the TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits ...
"They are carefully crafting the TPP to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides."
Food safety is only one of many rights and protections liable to fall to this super-weapon of international corporate control. In an April 2013 interview on The Real News Network, Kevin Zeese called the TPP "NAFTA on steroids" and "a global corporate coup." He warned:
"No matter what issue you care about - whether its wages, jobs, protecting the environment ... this issue is going to adversely affect it ... If a country takes a step to try to regulate the financial industry or set up a public bank to represent the public interest, it can be sued".
Return to Nature: Not Too Late
There is a safer, saner, more earth-friendly way to feed nations. While Monsanto and US regulators are forcing GM crops on American families, Russian families are showing what can be done with permaculture methods on simple garden plots.
In 2011, 40% of Russia’s food was grown on dachas (cottage gardens or allotments). Dacha gardens produced over 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables, almost 80% of the potatoes and nearly 50% of the nation’s milk, much of it consumed raw. According to Vladimir Megre, author of the best-selling Ringing CedarsSeries:
"Essentially, what Russian gardeners do is demonstrate that gardeners can feed the world - and you do not need any GMOs, industrial farms, or any other technological gimmicks to guarantee everybody’s got enough food to eat.
Bear in mind that Russia only has 110 days of growing season per year - so in the US, for example, gardeners’ output could be substantially greater. Today, however, the area taken up by lawns in the US is two times greater than that of Russia’s gardens - and it produces nothing but a multi-billion-dollar lawn care industry."
In the US, only about 0.6 percent of the total agricultural area is devoted to organic farming. This area needs to be vastly expanded if we are to avoid the 'sixth mass extinction'. But first, we need to urge our representatives to stop Fast Track, vote no on the TPP, and pursue a global phase-out of glyphosate-based herbicides and GMO foods.
Our health, our finances and our environment are at stake.

Sign the Avaaz petition now!