Toxic Corporations Are Destroying the Planet’s Soil
Anewly published analysis in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science argues that a toxic soup of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides is causing havoc beneath fields covered in corn, soybeans, wheat and other monoculture crops. The research is the most comprehensive review ever conducted on how pesticides affect soil health.
The study is discussed by two of the report’s authors, Nathan Donley and Tari Gunstone, in a recent article appearing on the Scientific American website.
The authors state that the findings should bring about immediate changes in how regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess the risks posed by the nearly 850 pesticide ingredients approved for use in the USA.
Conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and the University of Maryland, the research looked at almost 400 published studies that together had carried out more than 2800 experiments on how pesticides affect soil organisms. The review encompassed 275 unique species or types of soil organisms and 284 different pesticides or pesticide mixtures.
Pesticides were found to harm organisms that are critical to maintaining healthy soils in over 70 per cent of cases. But Donley and Gunstone say this type of harm is not considered in the EPA’s safety reviews, which ignore pesticide harm to earthworms, springtails, beetles and thousands of other subterranean species.
The EPA uses a single test species to estimate risk to all soil organisms, the European honeybee, which spends its entire life above ground in artificial boxes. But 50-100 per cent of all pesticides end up in soil.
The researchers conclude that the ongoing escalation of pesticide-intensive agriculture and pollution are major driving factors in the decline of soil organisms. By carrying out wholly inadequate reviews, the regulatory system serves to protect the pesticide industry.
The study comes in the wake of other recent findings that indicate high levels of the weedkiller chemical glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA have been found in topsoil samples from no-till fields in Brazil.
Writing on the GMWatch website, Claire Robinson and Jonathan Matthews note that, despite this, the agrochemical companies seeking the renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate by the European Union in 2022 are saying that one of the greatest benefits of glyphosate is its ability to foster healthier soils by reducing the need for tillage (or ploughing).
This in itself is misleading because farmers are resorting to ploughing given increasing weed resistance to glyphosate and organic agriculture also incorporates no till methods. At the same time, proponents of glyphosate conveniently ignore or deny its toxicity to soils, water, humans and wildlife.
With that in mind, it is noteworthy that GMWatch also refers to another recent study which says that glyphosate is responsible for a five per cent increase in infant mortality in Brazil.
The new study, ‘Pesticides in a case study on no-tillage farming systems and surrounding forest patches in Brazil’ in the journal Scientific Reports, leads the researchers to conclude that glyphosate-contaminated soil can adversely impact food quality and human health and ecological processes for ecosystem services maintenance. They argue that glyphosate and AMPA presence in soil may promote toxicity to key species for biodiversity conservation, which are fundamental for maintaining functioning ecological systems.
These studies reiterate the need to shift away from increasingly discredited ‘green revolution’ ideology and practices. This chemical-intensive model has helped the drive towards greater monocropping and has resulted in less diverse diets and less nutritious foods. Its long-term impact has led to soil degradation and mineral imbalances, which in turn have adversely affected human health.
If we turn to India, for instance, that country is losing 5334 million tonnes of soil every year due to soil erosion and degradation, much of which is attributed to the indiscreet and excessive use of synthetic agrochemicals. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research reports that soil is becoming deficient in nutrients and fertility.
India is not unique in this respect. Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization stated back in 2014 that if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. She noted that about a third of the world’s soil had already been degraded. There is general agreement that chemical-heavy farming techniques are a major cause.
It can take 500 years to generate an inch of soil yet just a few generations to destroy. When you drench soil with proprietary synthetic agrochemicals as part of a model of chemical-dependent farming, you harm essential micro-organisms and end up feeding soil a limited doughnut diet of toxic inputs.
Armed with their multi-billion-dollar money-spinning synthetic biocides, this is what the agrochemical companies have been doing for decades. In their arrogance, these companies claim to have knowledge that they do not possess and then attempt to get the public and co-opted agencies and politicians to bow before the altar of corporate ‘science’ and its bought-and-paid-for scientific priesthood.
The damaging impacts of their products on health and the environment have been widely reported for decades, starting with Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking 1962 book Silent Spring.
Dewayne Johnson (center), former groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District, leaves Department 504 with his wife Araceli Johnson (right) behind attorney Brent Wisner (left) at Superior Court of California during the Monsanto trial on Monday, July 23, 2018 in San Francisco, Calif.
Photo: Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle
A former school groundskeeper, diagnosed with terminal cancer, told a San Francisco jury Monday that he called a Monsanto Co. hotline twice — once before his diagnosis, once after — and asked whether the herbicide he was spraying on the job, the most widely used weed killer in the world, could cause harm to humans.
Both times, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson said, the person at the other end of the line listened to his account of being accidentally doused with the herbicide glyphosate, and said someone would call him back. No one ever did.
“I would never have sprayed the product around school grounds or around people if I thought it would cause them harm,” Johnson told a Superior Court jury hearing his suit against Monsanto. “They deserve better.”
Johnson, 46, of Vallejo, was a groundskeeper and pest-control manager for the Benicia Unified School District from 2012 until May 2016. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2014 and with what his lawyers described as a more aggressive form of the cancer in March 2015.
Even after the latter diagnosis, Johnson said he continued to spray Monsanto’s product, a high-concentration brand of glyphosate called Ranger Pro, until he became convinced that it was dangerous and refused to use it in his final months on the job.
His damage suit, now into its third week, is the first of about 4,000 nationwide to go to trial against Monsanto, now a subsidiary of Bayer. The company markets glyphosate, the world’s leading herbicide, as Roundup, and in higher concentrations, as Ranger Pro. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
Monsanto disputes the assessment, noting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never classified glyphosate as a carcinogen or restricted its use. The company’s lawyers also said Johnson’s primary treating physicians have not determined the cause of his cancer.
Earlier Monday, his wife and a physician described Johnson’s deteriorating condition, although he did not appear frail on the witness stand, speaking calmly in a deep, resonant voice. But jurors saw photos of the painful welts and lesions — on his legs, arms, face, and even his eyelids — that have arisen while he undergoes radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Johnson is scheduled for another round of chemotherapy next month and said he would next turn to a bone-marrow transplant.
He has self-published two books and is working on a third — “about people and how they’re judged by their faces” — and hopes he’ll get to finish it. He tries to shield the couple’s two sons, aged 13 and 10, from his bouts of depression and tears, and said that despite a grim prognosis, “I’ll keep fighting till my last breath.”
Araceli Johnson, his wife of 13 years and a nurse practitioner, said she now works 14 hours a day at two jobs to support them. “My world shut down” when her husband told her he had cancer, she told the jury.
Attorney Brent Wisner answers questions from the media at Superior Court of California on Monday, July 23, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif.
Photo: Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle
Johnson started working for the Benicia schools as a delivery driver but then applied to become the district’s first pest-control manager and passed a licensing exam. “I liked the job a lot,” he said, recalling how some students gave him a poster for ridding their school of a skunk.
He said the district told him to use the Ranger Pro form of glyphosate because Roundup wasn’t strong enough to remove all the weeds from hillsides on district-owned property. A supervisor told him the product was safe as long as he wore long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks.
In addition, Johnson said, he wore a sturdy jacket, rubber gloves, goggles and a face mask while he mixed the herbicide with water in 50-gallon drums and sprayed it 20 to 30 times a year for two to three hours a day, mostly during summer months. But he said he couldn’t fully protect his face from wind-blown spray. And twice, he said, he got drenched with herbicide, once when a spray hose became detached from a truck that was hauling it, and another time when the chemical somehow leaked onto his back. He said he had no access to a shower until much later in the day.
It was after the first exposure, Johnson said, that he started noticing rashes on his skin and called the company hotline.
“I had this uncontrollable situation on my skin, which used to be as perfect as this table,” he said, pointing to the brown witness stand. “It was a very scary, confusing time.”
During cross-examination, Monsanto lawyer Sandra Edwards asked Johnson about his past statement to his doctors that he had first developed a skin rash in the autumn of 2013, before he was accidentally doused with glyphosate. The company has contended that the sequence of events suggests other causes for Johnson’s illness.
“It’s hard to remember all that way back,” said Johnson, whose wife testified that her husband has sometimes suffered memory lapses since his diagnosis. That appeared to be on display early in his testimony Monday, when he said he had stopped working for the school district about five years ago, then was shown a document noting that he had worked there until May 2016.
Jurors also heard from Dr. Ope Ofodile, a dermatologist who coordinated Johnson’s medical treatment at Kaiser Health Care in Vallejo from 2014 through mid-2016. She said she saw him more than 25 times, removed one of his lesions, administered radiation, and wrote a letter in 2015 asking the school board not to expose Johnson to airborne chemicals.
“He was not responding (to treatment). He was heading in the wrong direction,” she said. But “he was very much motivated to get better.”
After being told by her doctor that genetically engineered (GE) food and pesticides could be responsible for her son’s food allergies, Ekaterina Yakovleva set out to investigate. Her quest for answers was captured by the Russian Times in the featured film, “The Peril on Your Plate: Genetic Engineering and Chemical Agriculture.”
The film shows Yakovleva and her team traveling the world to meet “the people who lift the lid on the perils of GMOs and the chemicals used in the industry,” as well as proponents of GMOs who argue that genetic engineering is a “high-tech” solution to feeding the world’s growing population. Advocates for genetic engineering tell Yakovleva that the technology is beneficial to farmers in that it increases resistance to pests and disease, as well as produces higher yields. But Yakovleva isn’t convinced.
She learns nothing could be further from the truth after witnessing the devastation caused by mass farmer suicides in India as a result of the failure of Monsanto’s Bt cotton. Yakovleva visits the U.K. where she meets Lady Margaret, Countess of Mar, a member of the House of Lords and a former farmer who suffered from chemical use, and then to the U.S. where she meets with Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America about the link between GMOs, pesticides and chronic disease in humans.
What Is Genetic Engineering?
In order to better understand genetic engineering and its impact on human health, Yakovleva starts to research the technique and how it’s used. She learns that genetic engineering enables DNA to be transferred not only between different kinds of plants, but even between different kingdoms, meaning scientists can take DNA from an insect or animal and insert it into the genome of a plant.
Many GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding methods, and just as safe. Nothing could be further from the truth — on both counts. Genetic engineering is radically different from conventional breeding techniques used to improve a crop. For starters, it’s a laboratory-based technique allowing scientists to create a food that could never be created by nature.
Claire Robinson, editor of GM Watch and coauthor of the book, “GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen’s Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Foods and Crops,” says:
US Leads World in GM Crop Production
Yakovleva learns that an estimated 190 million hectares (469.5 acres) of GE crops1 — an area three times the size of France — are cultivated in 28 countries worldwide.2 The U.S. leads the world in GM crop production, growing about 40 percent,3 while Brazil grows 27 percent and Argentina 13 percent. Canada and India each grow 6 percent.4GE crops currently in production include squash/pumpkin, alfalfa, sugar beet, potato, papaya, rapeseed oil, corn, soy and cotton.
Monsanto, soon to forgo its name and merge with Bayer, controls a vast majority of GE crops including 80 percent of GE corn and 93 percent of GE soy in the U.S. The first GE crop to hit the market was tobacco. It was genetically modified in 1983 to be resistant to an antibiotic.5 It was later altered for other reasons, including to remove a gene that turns nicotine into a carcinogen in tobacco leaves,6and to increase the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.7
The first genetically engineered food crop was the Flavr Savr tomato, produced by Calgene, a California-based company later bought by Monsanto. The tomato was genetically modified to stay riper longer by inhibiting a gene responsible for producing a protein that makes a tomato soften.8 Calgene is reported to have been transparent in its marketing of the tomato, clearly labeling the product and adding an 800 number for people with questions. Monsanto later removed the Flavr Savr tomato from store shelves.
A Growing List of Countries Say No to GMOs
The film highlights regions that are completely GMO-free, including Romania, which stopped cultivating GE crops despite being the first country in geographical Europe to introduce them.9 Portugal and Spain have reduced the amount of areas under GE crop cultivation,10while a number have enacted a total ban including France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Greece, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Russia forbids GE crop cultivation,11 but does not prevent GMOs from entering the country’s food chain, according to the film. Yakovleva travels to the Agrarian University in Moscow to meet GMO proponent Arkady Zlochevsky, chairman of the Russian Grain Union. She confronts him about the human health effects of eating GE foods.
“There is absolutely no risk to the human body associated with eating GM foods compared to traditional equivalents, not a single one,” he says, adding that GMOs are “high-tech” and have “significant advantages.” He even went so far as to say that glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, is safer than 100 percent manure.
Glyphosate Doubles as Herbicide and Suicide Poison in India
Unconvinced, Yakovleva travels to India where glyphosate doubles as a lethal human poison. The Punjab region, formally known as the bread basket of India, is now known for colossal suicides among farmers, particularly young farmers between the ages of 20 and 35.
Yakovleva meets with families of farmers who committed suicide. She learns that thousands of farmers have taken their own lives after agriculture corporations granted them loans they could never repay to purchase seeds and pesticides that ultimately failed to provide the profits that were promised.
Inderjit Singh Jaijee, chairman of Punjab’s Baba Nanak Educational Society, says farmers who commit suicide often take drugs, drink alcohol or even take a swig of glyphosate to muster up the courage to go through with it. Singh Jaijee, who is on a mission to raise awareness about the serious issue of suicides in Punjab, says that young farmers are more susceptible because they don’t yet have the experience older people do to survive.
Thousands of Indian Farmers Commit Suicide Over Faulty GE Crops
The amount of suicides in the Punjab region is so massive that some people are making a profit removing dead bodies from a local canal. Ashu Malik, an underwater diver, uses surveillance cameras to monitor the canal for floating bodies. If a body is not claimed, it’s placed back into the water, he says. Ending up in the canal as a result of suicide is so common in this region that families built a house on the canal’s shoreline for them to stay in while they search for their loved ones who are missing.
The exact number of suicides occurring annually in the Punjab region remains unknown. One estimation found the annual suicide rate to be about 2,200. However, Singh Jaijee’s research estimates it to be closer to 4,000 suicides per year, while farmer organizations estimate up to 6,000. Shocked by what’s become a normality for agricultural communities in India, Yakovleva interviews agricultural scientist Kiran Kumar Vissa to learn more about Monsanto’s Bt cotton, the crop responsible for placing so many farmers into debt.
Monsanto’s Bt cotton was marketed as a solution to the challenges faced by cotton farmers, many of whom were in crisis; however, it ended up causing farmers more problems. There are many places where Bt cotton is not suitable for cultivation, including dry, nonirrigated areas, explains Vissa. The packaging says that Bt cotton is suitable for both irrigated and nonirrigated conditions, but it’s not true, says Vissa, adding, that it’s deceptive to farmers.
Big Ag Uses Images of Rich, American Farmers to Sell GMOs Abroad
Next, Yakovleva meets with renowned scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva, who blames the mass suicides solely on the corporations that sell the seeds and chemicals. Monsanto spends huge amounts of money on advertising. Between the fiscal years 2011 to 2017, Monsanto spent more than $500 million on advertising worldwide.12
Shiva explains that seed and chemical agents show farmers in India images of American farmers with big tractors and promise them that if they just take this seed, which they can pay for later, they will be rich. But what they don’t tell the farmer is that they can’t save the seed and that it might fail because the seeds aren’t meant for dry, nonirrigated areas, says Shiva.
So, the farmer takes it on credit, not having a good understanding of the costs involved, and the seed fails, Vandana explains, adding that in two years’ time the agents who sold the seed and pesticide return and repossess the farmer’s land because he could not pay his loan. Shiva tells Yakovleva that she has personally spoken to widows whose farmer husbands committed suicide and when she asked what their debt was, they showed her packages of Monsanto’s Bt cotton seed.
Are Farmers Risking Their Health by Using Chemicals?
Yakovleva’s investigation proceeds to the U.K. where she meets with Lady Margaret, Countess of Mar, a member of the House of Lords and a former farmer who suffered from chemical use.
While serving organic tea and pudding, Lady Margaret says she had to give up farming after she was exposed to harmful chemicals while dipping sheep. The sheep dip contained organophosphates, the same class of chemicals to which glyphosate belongs. The chemicals are used as both flame retardants and pesticides. According to National Geographic:
Within weeks of being exposed, Lady Margaret says she began to suffer from intense fatigue and neurological problems. She even felt suicidal. At one point, she was forced to rely on an oxygen tank for up to 16 hours a day. Lady Margaret was ill for three years before doctors diagnosed her with organophosphate poisoning.
Most of Americans Have Glyphosate in Their Bodies
Humans are increasingly testing positive for residues of glyphosate.14 In tests conducted by a University of California San Francisco lab, 93 percent of the participants tested positive for glyphosate residues.15 In the European Union, when 48 members of Parliament volunteered for glyphosate testing, everyone one of them tested positive.16Humans are exposed to glyphosate via the food they eat, the air they breathe, the water they drink and the lawns, gardens, parks and other environments they frequent.
What impact is this having on human health? To find out, Yakovleva and her team head to the U.S. to meet with Honeycutt, who blames chemicals in our food for the rise in chronic disease. A number of chronic diseases have been linked to pesticides, including autism, cancer, food allergies, endocrine disruption, diabetes and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.17
One in 4 females over the age of 30 now has a gluten intolerance, says Honeycutt; however, she believes it’s not gluten that’s the problem, but the glyphosate that’s applied to wheat as a drying agent prior to harvest.
“It’s destroying their gut lining. They can’t process it and then the body acknowledges it as a gluten intolerance,” says Honeycutt, adding that food today not only has more chemicals, but is also less nutritious. Chemical-intensive agriculture has depleted our soils of essential nutrients and has drawn out vitamins and minerals that make our food healthy, she adds.
Long-Term Safety Studies Are Sorely Lacking
Yakovleva and her team reached out to Monsanto regarding the public health concerns tied to its Roundup weed killer, but the company refused to comment, instead directing them to its website which, of course, states that all of their products are safe and environmentally friendly. The deceptive GMO talking points Yakovleva received from the seed and chemical industry failed to convince her that GE crops are safe for human consumption, as there’s no real evidence to support this claim.
While few in number, longer-term animal feeding studies have been published over the past several years showing there’s definite cause for concern. Liver and kidney toxicity and immune reactions tend to be the most prevalent. Digestive system, inflammation and fertility problems have also been seen. A major part of the problem is that safety studies conducted for regulatory purposes to gain market approval for a GE product are too short to show the damage that could occur from life-long consumption of the GE food.
Some independent studies looking at lifetime consumption of GMOs have found rather dramatic health effects, whereas the safety studies used to promote GE foods as safe have all been short-term. There seems to be an agreement among biotech scientists to not test GE foods longer than 90 days in rats, which is only about seven to nine years in human terms. That’s nothing when you consider the average human life span is somewhere in the 70s, and the current generation is fed GMO food from Day 1.
How to Protect Yourself From Toxic Agriculture
The biotech giants have deep pocketbooks and political influence and are fighting to maintain their position of dominance. At the end of the day, we must shatter Monsanto’s grip on the agricultural sector. There is no way to recall GMOs once they have been released into the environment. The stakes could not be higher. Will you continue supporting the corrupt, toxic and unsustainable food system that Monsanto and its industry allies are working so hard to protect?
For more and more people, the answer is no. Consumers are rejecting genetically engineered and pesticide-laden foods. Another positive trend is that there has been strong growth in the global organic and grass-fed sectors. This just proves one thing: We can make a difference if we steadily work toward the same goal.
One of the best things you can do is to buy your foods from a local farmer who runs a small business and uses diverse methods that promote regenerative agriculture. You can also join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, where you can buy a “share” of the vegetables produced by the farm, so that you get a regular supply of fresh food.
I believe that joining a CSA is a powerful investment not only in your own health, but in that of your local community and economy as well. In addition, you should also adopt preventive strategies that can help reduce the toxic chemical pollution that assaults your body. I recommend visiting these trustworthy sites for non-GMO food resources in your country as well:
Monsanto and its allies want you to think that they control everything, but they are on the wrong side of history. It’s you, the informed and empowered, who hold the future in your hands. Let’s all work together to topple the biotech industry’s house of cards. Remember — it all starts with shopping smart and making the best food purchases for you and your family.
Biotech Companies Are Gaining Power by Taking Over the Government
to read the rest of the article, go to: http://www.wakingtimes.com/2018/06/27/the-peril-on-your-plate-film-explores-the-human-health-effects-of-genetic-engineering-and-chemical-agriculture/
The coral reefs are dying and the seas are increasingly depleted of sea life. Could Roundup ‘weed killer’ be partially to blame?
A highly concerning new study published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin indicates that the world’s most popular herbicide glyphosate (aka Roundup), used primarily in GM agriculture, is particularly resistant to biodegradation in coral reef collected sea water, and could therefore be a major contributor to the decline of marine coral reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms, and is so massive it is visible from outer space.[i] Sadly, according to a study published in 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985,[ii] which is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including climate change induced acidification of the ocean, outbreaks of predator species and extensive pollution. Despite the established role of agrichemicals in harming sea life, glyphosate has yet to be included in marine monitoring programs for its impacts on the reef — this despite being used at a rate of 30,000,000 lbs annually in Australia.
In the new study titled, “Glyphosate persistence in seawater,” Australian marine researchers describe “increasing concern over the global loss of corals and seagrass and this has been particularly well documented for the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef (GBR),” pointing out that extensive agriculture activities impact water quality around reefs and seagrass beds, especially during the summer wet season from November to March, when rain-induced flooding delivers “runoff containing excess sediments, nutrients, and pesticides,” and with satellite imagery reveals their associated plumes travel up to 50 km offshore as far as the midshelf coral reefs.
In order to ascertain the potential impact of glyphosate, they quantified its biodegradation using “simulation” flask tests with native bacterial populations and coastal seawater from the Great Barrier Reef. They discovered that, “the half-life for glyphosate at 25°C in low-light was 47 days, extending to 267 days in the dark at 25°C and 315 days in the dark at 31°C, which is the longest persistence reported for this herbicide.”
When compared to previously reported half-life estimates for glyphosate biodegradation in soil and fresh waters, the sea water estimates are dramatically higher. Previous soil and water data described glyphosate’s biodegration half-life to be as rapid as 5 days for field soil and 49 days for bog and natural water.* If the new sea water flask experiments accurately reflect real world conditions, glyphosate’s maximal 315 day half life in sea water would add up to 63 fold increased persistence to the chemical’s toxicological profile. The researchers also pointed out that flooding events which would bring glyphosate to sea would involve co-occurrence of massive quantities of sediment to which glyphosate readily binds, which would further prevent glyphosate’s biodegradation, potentially greatly enhancing its persistence and toxic effects.
*Note: accumulating evidence reveals that these original estimates are inaccurate and that glyphosate’s persistence in the soil, groundwater, and even air, is a far greater problem than officially acknowledged.
How much longer will we deny the growing body of research linking Roundup to infertility before calling this chemical a contraceptive?
Following closely on the heels of the EPA’s decision to allow Roundup herbicide residues in your food at concentrations a million times higher than shown carcinogenic, a concerning new study published in the journal Free Radical Medicine & Biology implicates the herbicide, and its main ingredient glyphosate, in male infertility, at concentration ranges well within the EPA’s “safe level” for food.
Performed by Brazilian researchers, the study found acute Roundup exposure at low doses (36ppm, 0.036g/L) for 30 minutes induced cell death in Sertoli cells in prepubertal rat testis. Sertoli cells are known as “mother” or “nurse” cells within the testicles, as they are responsible for maintaining the health of sperm cells, and are required for normal male sexual development.
Roundup herbicide exposure was found to induce oxidative stress and to activate multiple-stress response pathways within affected cells, and was associated with an increase in intracellular calcium (Ca2+) concentration leading to Ca2+ overload, and cell death.
Thirty minute incubation tests with glyphosate alone (36 ppm) also increased Ca2+ uptake, and both Roundup and glyphosate were observe to downregulate reduced glutathione levels. As glutathione is an antioxidant (electron donor) found within every cell in the human body, protecting it against oxidative stress, as well as maintaining a wide range of biochemical reactions such as DNA and protein synthesis and repair, amino acid transport, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid and enzyme activation, a dysregulation of glutathione can result in a wide range of adverse effects.
The researchers noted
Glyphosate has been described as an endocrine disruptor affecting the male reproductive system; however, the molecular basis of its toxicity remains to be clarified. We could propose that Roundup® toxicity, implicating in Ca2+ overload, cell signaling misregulation, stress response of the endoplasmic reticulum and/or depleted antioxidant defenses could contribute to Sertoli cell disruption of spermatogenesis that could impact male fertility.
This study adds to a growing body of research implicating Roundup herbicide in male infertility:
A 2007 study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that Roundup herbicide altered the structure of the testis and epididymal region (part of the tubular spermatic duct system), as well as the serum levels of testosterone and estradiol, in male ducks, leading the researchers to conclude that Roundup “…may cause disorder in the morphophysiology of the male genital system of animals.”
A 2010 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology revealed prepubertal exposure to commercial formulation of the herbicide glyphosate alters testosterone levels and testicular morphology, leading researchers to describe the herbicide as “a potent endocrine disruptor.”
A 2011 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology revealed maternal exposure to glyphosate disturbed the masculinization process and promoted behavioral changes and histological and endocrine problems in reproductive parameters.
A 2011 study published in the journal Toxicology In Vitro found a glyphosate-based herbicide induced necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels.[i] In the study, Roundup and glyphosate at concentrations as low as 1 part per million produced a testosterone decrease in sperm cells by 35%.
A more recent 2013 study in male rats published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Reproductive Safety found glyphosate (in combination with another pesticide) provoked severe oxidative stress in male testes, resulting in inhibited testosterone production and disrupted gonadotropin levels.
Given the growing body of research clearly revealing Roundup’s toxicity to the germline of animal species, the argument can be made that this chemical has contraceptive properties and therefore genocidal consequences. By directly affecting the biologically immortal cells within the testes, whose DNA contains over 3 billion years worth of information essential for there being a future for our species as a whole, Roundup should be considered an instrument of mass destruction. At the very least, the precautionary principle should be applied, and any chemical that signals the potential to disrupt or destroy our species’ germline cells, should be banned unless the manufacturer can prove beyond a reasonable doubt its safety to exposed populations.
For additional research on the wide spectrum of adverse health effects now linked to glyphosate-based herbicide formulations such as Roundup, view our research articles on GMOs, as well as view and download our free biomedical PDF on glyphosate/Roundup research.
The EPA, whose mission is to “to protect human health and the environment,” has approved Monsanto’s request to allow levels of glyphosate (Roundup) contamination in your food up to a million times higher than have been found carcinogenic.
If you haven’t already heard, it’s now official. Monsanto’s request to have the EPA raise allowable levels of its herbicide glyphosate in food you may soon be eating has been approved [see Final Rule]. Public commenting is also now closed, not that it was anything but a formality to begin with.
Here is the original registration application, lest detractors claim it was not Monsanto behind this bold move to legalize what an increasingly educated public considers a form of institutionalized mass poisoning:
1. EPA Registration Numbers: 524-421, 524-475, and 524-537. Docket ID Number:EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0132. Applicant:Monsanto Company, 1300 I Street NW., Suite 450 East, Washington, DC 20005. Active ingredient: Glyphosate. Product Type:Herbicide. Proposed Uses: Add wiper applicator use over the top to carrot and sweet potato, add preharvest use to oilseed crop group 20, add the use Teff (forage and hay), and conversion of the following old crop groups to the following new crop groups: Vegetable, bulb, group 3 to vegetable, bulb, group 3-07; vegetable, fruiting, group 8 to vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10; fruit, citrus, group 10 to fruit, citrus, group 10-10; fruit, pome, group 11 to fruit, pome, group 11-10; and berry group 13 to berry and small fruit, group 13-07. Contact: Erik Kraft, (703) 308-9358, email address: email@example.com. [emphasis added]
Notice above, the proposal includes “Add wiper applicator use over the top to carrot and sweet potato,” revealing that one reason why Monsanto wants tolerances on glyphosate raised is because this chemical will be applied directly not just to Roundup Ready plants but to non-GMO crops as well, virtually guaranteeing that unless you eat 100% USDA organic concentrations of grave concern will end up in your food and body.
Under the new regulation, forage and hay teff can contain up to 100 ppm (100,000 ppb) glyphosate; oilseed crops can contain up to 40 ppm (40,000 ppb) glyphosate, and root crops such as potatoes and beets can contain 6000 ppb glyphosate. Fruits can have concentrations from 200 ppb to 500 ppb glyphosate. These numbers are magnitudes higher than the levels some scientists believe are carcinogenic.[emphasis added]
EPA has concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.
According to this ruthless logic, since the EPA designates itself a higher authority than the independent scientific evidence clearly signaling glyphosate’s carcinogenicity (view the toxicological data yourself here), it requires no safety testing. Let the exposed populations eat Roundup Ready cake and fester in an epidemic of cancers, as it turns a self-blinded eye to the problem.
The EPA has just made such a mockery of its own mission statement, which is “to protect human health and the environment,” that one wonders why they have not already declared themselves a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto.
The obvious reason why Monsanto and its ‘EPA cheerleading division’ successfully raised the tolerances of glyphosate in your food, is because the contamination is getting so bad they had no other choice. Either limits are raised, or Monsanto breaks the law (by contaminating our food and poisoning us beyond the “acceptable level of harm” already determined by the EPA) and the EPA is shown to be completely impotent to enforce anything resembling its mission statement.
But despite Monsanto’s latest apparent success, a growing grassroots movement comprised of millions of concerned citizens is defiantly expressing their own form of “glyphosate-resistance,” armed with a growing body of published toxicological data linking the glyphosate herbicide to over 30 health problems. This movement is mirrored poetically by the “super weeds” emerging throughout the Roundup Ready monocultured farmland of the world. In both cases, the center of real power is shifting away from Monsanto back to the people who are realizing that unless they retake back control over their food, they will be coerced and poisoned into a form of biological slavery the likes of which this world has never seen before, and if it manifests fully, will likely never recover from.
Twenty-one weed species around the world are now resistant to glyphosate, up from zero in 1996 — the year Monsanto started marketing its genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops.
Glyphosate, now the world’s bestselling weed killer and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is emerging as one of the most dangerous Monsanto products to date, in part because super weeds are emerging at an alarming rate.
A briefing by GM Freeze noted that in the United States, the worst-affected country (which is not surprising since the U.S. also leads the world in GM crop acreage), 13 resistant weed species cover more than 11 million acres, mostly those planted with Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soy, corn and cotton crops.
The weeds are not only making Monsanto’s promises that their GM crops would reduce pesticide use completely laughable — since farmers are being forced to use multiple, and more, pesticides to keep weeds in their GM crops under control — but also are turning out to be a very big thorn in Monsanto’s proverbial side; one that ironically might turn out to threaten the very GM crops that created them.
Investors Warned About Monsanto’s Super Weeds
As GM Freeze reported, one investment company is now advising its clients to sell Monsanto shares because of the company’s problems with weed resistance, which are arguably set to snowball even further out of control in the very near future. Monsanto’s competitors, biotech giants like Dow and Bayer CropScience, are chomping at the bit to take over where Monsanto has failed, and already have released GM seeds with tolerance to multiple herbicides designed to be used on their own or in rotation with Roundup Ready crops in a last-ditch attempt to delay resistance from developing.
(No word yet on how these companies intend to deal with the new generation of super weeds that will inevitably develop in response to the new herbicide cocktail … )
So this dark cloud’s silver lining is the fact that, with super weeds becoming an undeniable threat that can no longer be ignored, the powers that be may be forced to acknowledge that GM crops are not all they’ve been cracked up to be. And Monsanto is also being shaken to its core by the grand scope of this environmental catastrophe.
“Monsanto is taking the problem of the rapid development of glyphosate resistance very seriously, as it represents a threat to their main sources of income.
… Monsanto has embarked on major changes in weed management in RR crops, which still includes the use of glyphosate on its own, but also in combination with other herbicides. This is increasing herbicide usage on these crops. So instead of the promised decrease in pesticide use on GM crops, the arrival of resistant weeds has resulted in herbicide use increasing on RR crops. Analysis of USDA data has found increases in herbicide use in all the crops where RR maize, cotton and soyabeans varieties dominate.
… Previous attempts to control resistant weeds by increasing the rate at which glyphosate is applied have proved unsuccessful, yet Monsanto appears to have no intention of taking responsibility for the failure of their technology.”
GM Crops Have Failed to Deliver … and That’s an Extreme Understatement
Herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) GM crops were supposed to control weeds and GM Bt crops were intended to control pests. Instead of controlling weeds and pests, GM crops have led to the emergence of super weeds and super pests
And despite claims that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will lower the levels of chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) used, this clearly has not been the case. This is of great concern both because of the negative impacts of these chemicals on ecosystems and humans, and because there is the danger that increased chemical use will cause increasing numbers of pests and weeds to develop resistance, requiring even more chemicals in order to attempt to manage them.
According to Jeffrey Smith with the Institute for Responsible Technology, by 2004 farmers used an estimated 86 percent more herbicides on GM soy fields compared to non-GM fields. Unfortunately, Monsanto’s plan to circumvent the inevitable development of more superweeds is to douse fields with more and more chemicals.
“As Einstein famously quoted, ‘no problem can be solved with the same consciousness that created it.’ That is precisely what Monsanto is doing: advocating more and more herbicides to be used. New guidance published by the company to manage resistance includes:
The use of a cocktail of pesticides including 2,4-D, prior to sowing crop seeds
The production of GM seeds expressing tolerance to more than one pesticide. DuPont has already commercialised seeds tolerant to glyphosate and glufosinate. Monsanto has recently announced an agreement with the German pesticide and biotechnology company BASF to develop crops stacked with glyphosate and dicamba tolerant genes
The use of herbicides that remains active in the soil, killing any seedlings as they germinate, including sulfentrozone
The consequences of increasing herbicide use are likely to put the environment and people at further risk.”
Why Glyphosate is a Health and Environmental Disaster
Glyphosate is the world’s bestselling weed killer, and it’s found in more than 30 percent of all herbicides — an extremely disturbing scenario considering the data showing it to be an immense threat to human health and the environment.
GM expert Jeffrey Smith has reported that glyphosate promotes the formation of certain types of fungi that are dangerous to people and contaminate food and animal feed. One such fungi, the Fusarium fungus, has been linked to plague epidemics, cancer, infertility and animal diseases. Residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed have also been linked to cell damage and death, even at very low levels. Researchers have also found it causes membrane and DNA damage, and inhibits cell respiration.
And in one animal study, rats given 1,000 mg/kg of glyphosate resulted in a 50 percent mortality rate, and skeletal alterations were observed in over 57 percent of fetuses!
Research published last year shows that glyphosate causes birth defects in frogs and chicken embryos at far lower levels than used in agricultural and garden applications.
Many of these effects were apparent at much lower doses than the typical levels of pesticide residues found in food … Yet despite the evidence of widespread human exposure, which strongly suggests that the precautionary principle should be applied, regulators are turning a blind eye.
for more, go to: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/13/monsanto-defeated-by-super-weeds.aspx?e_cid=20111213_DNL_art_2