Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pesticides and Birth Defects

"Groundbreaking study shows Roundup link to birth defects. International scientists confirm dangers of Roundup at GMO-Free Regions Conference in Brussels
Brussels 16 September 2010     
     Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world's best-selling weedkiller Roundup, causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agricultural spraying and well below maximum residue levels in products presently approved in the European Union. This is reported in research (1) published by a group around Professor Andrés Carrasco, director of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School and member of Argentina's National Council of Scientific and Technical Research.
     Carrasco was led to research the embryonic effects of glyphosate by reports of high rates of birth defects in rural areas of Argentina where Monsanto's genetically modified "Roundup Ready" (RR) soybeans are grown in large monocultures sprayed from airplanes regularly. RR soy is engineered to tolerate Roundup, allowing farmers to spray the herbicide liberally to kill weeds while the crop is growing. 
     The authors concluded that the results raise "concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to Roundup in agricultural fields." Carrasco added, "I suspect the toxicity classification of glyphosate is too low. In some cases this can be a powerful poison."
     The maximum residue level (MRL) allowed for glyphosate in soy in the EU is 20 mg/kg. The level was increased 200-fold from 0.1 mg/kg to 20 mg/kg in 1997 after GM RR soy was commercialized in Europe. Carrasco found malformations in embryos injected with 2.03 mg/kg glyphosate. Soybeans can contain glyphosate residues of up to 17mg/kg.
     In August 2010 Amnesty International reported that an organized mob violently attacked people who gathered to hear Carrasco talk about his research in the town of La Leonesa, Chaco province. Witnesses implicated local agro-industry figures in the attack. 
     Carrasco is also the co-author of a report, "GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible?" released on September 16 by a group of international scientists. The report documents a bulk of evidence in scientific studies on the harmful health and environmental impacts of GM RR soy and Roundup."
(1)    Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., López, S.L., Carrasco, A.E. 2010. Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signalling. Chem. Res. Toxicol., August 9.
(2)    "GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible?" is released on September 16 by Andrés Carrasco and eight other international scientists:
     "Last June the Argentinian newspaper Página 12 carried a report (see article in Spanish, below) regarding a publication prepared by a commission opened by the Chaco State Government (in the north of the country) analyzing health statistics in intensive agrochemical use zones.  In one decade, the rates of childhood cancer tripled and babies with birth defects increased fourfold.
Download Chaco State Government report
on the effects of agrochemical
spraying on GM soy and rice
on human health in English or Spanish.
These staggering data confirm denouncements that have been made for some years, by local residents, in the regions of intensive soya and rice crops. This frightening increase of diseases linked to agrochemicals occurred in only one decade, a period in  which the use of agrochemicals grew considerably.     The study, simply called “First Information,” was handed to the State Government in the local office of the Ministry of Agriculture. The cases of cancer are concentrated in the locality of La Leonesa, epicenter of the denouncements about the use of herbicides and pesticides. Birth defects correspond to the whole State’s data, and always agreed with the official data of 17 cases a month.     La Leonesa is a locality with 10,000 inhabitants 60 kilometers from Resistencia, the State capital. For the past ten years, the health effects of agrotoxics used in the rice plantations have been denounced. The following chemicals have been singled out: glyphosate, endosulfan, methamidophos, picloram, and chlopyriphos, among other chemicals also used on soybeans..."
      About Monsanto's sick debaucle that they see no way out of except, through denial and bribery (lobbyists and contributions, and the future well paid jobs (positions);)...This is from Truthout and tells the story of Dr. Carrasco and his associates, one of whom is paralyzed from the waist down from the attack the day they publicly reported this in their country. They were attacked by Monsanto workers, while the police stood by. 
Also talks about what is happening now. 2010/11/11 with Monsanto.