A systematic review of scientific studies on pesticides and fertility finds exposure associated with lower semen quality, DNA fragmentation and chromosomal abnormalities.
Published in the journal Andrology, the review is yet another warning from a long string of researchers sounding the alarm over the connection between global fertility and toxic chemical exposure.
With data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating roughly one in five couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, and trends continuing to slope downwards, it is critical that contributing factors be identified so that protective changes can be made.
After screening more than 1,300 studies, researchers narrowed their review down to 64 papers assessing semen parameters and DNA integrity after pesticide exposure. Each study is analyzed for its design, the pesticide investigated, the population studied, controls and reproductive effects determined.
Pesticides are evaluated for their impacts to sperm quality and DNA integrity based on their chemical class. Organochlorine insecticides, which are all banned but still persistent in soil, air, water and food in the United States, include a range of impacts to sperm quality.
Higher levels of DDT or its breakdown metabolite DDE are associated with lower semen count, and motility and morphology below normal threshold values established by the World Health Organization (WHO). (Under WHO threshold values, a sub-fertile condition is defined by values lower than the fifth percentile of the general population.)
Several studies find that as organochlorine concentrations increase in individual males, sperm parameters also fall.
In addition to sperm quality, organochlorines are associated with chromosomal aberrations in several studies, including effects such as sperm disomy, where sperm have extra or missing chromosomes. This can result in viable offspring, but those offspring are at greater risk of abnormalities.
Organophosphate, the class of insecticides that replaced the organochlorines as they were phased out, also present a range of deleterious impacts. These chemicals include pesticides like malathion, still widely used, and chlorpyrifos, which is only now being phased out of agricultural use.
Effects on sperm parameters are particularly pronounced for individuals in farming regions or with a history of occupational pesticide work.
However, studies on the general population also show cause for concern, finding total sperm count and concentrations inversely related to urinary metabolites of organophosphate insecticides.
Apart from sperm quality, the literature reveals several studies showing organophosphate exposure resulting in missing or extra chromosomes in sperm, with particular attention paid to diethyl phosphate, a non-specific organophosphate metabolite.
Synthetic pyrethroids are also singled out in the scientific literature for their links to sperm damage. These are the insecticides that are replacing the organophosphates, as they are being phased out for their myriad health hazards.
Unfortunately, the game of whack-a-mole played by the pesticide industry with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s allowance has not resulted in chemicals that are safer for long-term human fertility.
Like organophosphates, occupationally exposed individuals are particularly affected, with pyrethroid factory workers showing higher rates of sperm abnormalities and lower motility than non-exposed individuals. Factory workers are also more likely to exhibit DNA fragmentation in their sperm.
Another concentration-dependent relationship is found, with individuals reporting higher levels of urinary 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA), a non-specific pyrethroid metabolite, having a lower sperm counts, disomy and a greater chance of exhibiting sperm morphology below WHO thresholds.
Beyond these three classes, scientists did find evidence of negative associations with carbamate class insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, but the low number of studies does not allow for extensive analysis. Mixtures of various pesticides are cited as having similar effects to the three main pesticide classes investigated though firm results were difficult to specify due to lack of complete information.
In general, occupationally exposed workers are most at risk, with chronic exposure being associated with greater sperm defects.
The results of the study are concerning in light of steadily declining sperm counts. A 2017 study found that sperm counts since 1973 have fallen by nearly 60%.
One author of that study, Shanna Swan, Ph.D., captured public attention regarding sperm declines through her book “Countdown,” which goes into great depth regarding the impact of environmental chemicals on human fertility.
Researchers have been sounding the alarm on the impact of pesticides on fertility for decades. In 2013, a previous literature review evaluating pesticide impacts on fertility found pesticides strongly associated with declines in sperm count.
As she recounted in a presentation at Beyond Pesticides’ 2021 National Pesticide Forum Dr. Swan’s own work is borne out of efforts to try to disprove a paper published in 1992 by Carlsen et al., which highlights significant declines in sperm quality since the late 1930s.
As the human civilization grapples with a range of cascading crises, from climate change to the insect apocalypse and global biodiversity crisis, we may be missing the chance to address one of the most critical aspects to the continuation of humanity as we now know it.
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.
(TT) — The massive decline of insect populations in recent years is an environmental crisis that is often overlooked, and by all indications, it seems that pesticides are largely to blame for this problem. However, researchers are currently developing alternatives that can hopefully protect crops for farmers without causing widespread harm to insect populations.
Biopesticides are derived from natural materials like plants, bacteria, and certain minerals. These substances are not harmful to the environment and also pose less of a risk to insects. Some Biopesticides are not even harmful, but just work to repel certain insects from the area, while others only target specific insects in a limited range.
One of the most interesting recent developments in the field of biopesticides is the use of fungi.
Fungus-based pesticides would still kill the insects that attempt to feast on the crops, but this will not be a toxin that gets into the environment, which reduces the widespread exposure to plant, animal and insect life.
Two fungus-based pesticides were developed and patented by the famous mycologist Paul Stamets. One of the products is specifically targeted toward fire ants, carpenter ants, and termites, while his other offering can affect roughly 200,000 insect species.
One of the fungi-based biopesticides, called MycoPesticide, will begin to sprout inside of the insect once it is eaten and will then feed on the creature until it dies, often with mushroom sprouts popping out of its head. It is also not harmful to bees, which has been a growing concern in relation to pesticides.
However, the cost is still a major obstacle for advocates of fungi-based pesticides, as they can be up to 20 times more expensive than chemical pesticides.
Paul Underhill, co-owner of the organic Terra Firma Farm in Winters, California says that the fungi methods are also a bit more difficult to work with.
“Some, like those with fungi, can require special storage, such as refrigeration. [And] the cost to the farmer can easily be 20 times what a conventional pesticide might be,” Underhill told NPR.
The short term financial cost for biopesticides might be higher right now, but hopefully, those prices will start to fall as the development of this technology progresses. It is also important to consider the long term financial and environmental consequences that may not be immediately obvious in the short term.
There are also plant-based pesticides that are currently in development, which could also provide an alternative to conventional chemicals. One example is PureCrop1, a plant-based pesticide company that is partly owned by NBA star John Salley.
According to the PureCrop1, the organic pesticide is made with plant-based materials from grains, and seed crops. Their products do not contain petroleum distillates or synthetics including artificial foaming and thickening agents, builders, reagents, dyes or fragrances.
New solutions can’t come soon enough. According to a new study published this month in the scientific journal PLOS One, America’s agricultural landscape has grown 48 times more toxic to insects in the past 25 years. As Truth Theory reported last month, even fireflies are facing possible extinction all over the world.
A highly concerning new investigative report from the largest daily newspaper in Germany alleges that Monsanto, the US Military and the US government have colluded to track and disrupt both anti-GMO activists and independent scientists who study the adverse effects of genetically modified food.
As revealed by Sustainable Pulse, on July 13th the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung detailed information on how the US Government “advances the interests of their corporations,” focusing on Monsanto as a prime example.
The report titled, “The Sinister Monsanto Group: ‘Agent Orange’ to Genetically Modified Corn,” described a ‘new fangled cyber war’ being waged against both eco-activists and independent scientists by supporters and former employees of Monsanto, who are described as “operationally powerful assistants” and who have taken up sometimes high ranking posts in the US administration, regulatory authorities, and some of whom have connections deep within the military industrial establishment, including the CIA.
“Monsanto contacts are known to the notorious former secret service agent Joseph Cofer Black, who helped formulate the law of the jungle in the fight against terrorists and other enemies. He is a specialist on dirty work, a total hardliner. He worked for the CIA for almost three decades, among other things as the head of anti-terroism. He later became vice president of the private security company Blackwater, which sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan under US government orders.”
“Thanks to Snowden and Wikileaks, the world has a new idea of how these friends and partners operate where power and money are concerned. The whistle-blowing platform published embassy dispatches two years ago, which also included details about Monsanto and genetic engineering.”
“For example, in 2007, the former US ambassador in Paris, Craig Stapleton, suggested the US government should create a penalties list for EU states which wanted to forbid the cultivation of genetically engineered plants from American companies. The wording of the secret dispatch: “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU.” Pain, retaliation: not exactly the language of diplomacy.”
The report details the case of Australian scientist Judy Carman, whose work on GMOs underwent heavy criticism by Monsanto supporters. Soon sites that published her work were attacked by hackers with apparent military connections:
Hackers regularly target various web pages where Carman publishes her studies and the sites are also systematically observed, at least that is the impression Carman has. Evaluations of IP log files show that not only Monsanto visits the pages regularly, but also various organizations of the U.S. government, including the military. These include the Navy Network Information Center, the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Army Intelligence Center, an institution of the US Army, which trains soldiers with information gathering. Monsanto’s interest in the studies is understandable, even for Carman. “But I do not understand why the U.S. government and the military are having me observed,” she says.
The report went on to describe the ongoing though mostly failed crusade of the United States, seemingly on behalf of Monsanto, to open up the European Union’s markets to genetically engineered food and feed crops. According to the report:
“The USA is hoping that negotiations started this week for a free-trade agreement between the USA and the EU will also open the markets for genetic engineering.”
“The Americans want to use the Free Trade Agreement to open the European GMO Market. The negotiations will be detailed. Toughness will rule the day. US President Barack Obama has therefore appointed Islam Siddiqui as chief negotiator for agriculture. He has worked for many years for the US ministry of agriculture as an expert. However, hardly anyone in Europe knows: From 2001 to 2008, he represented CropLife America as a registered lobbyist. CropLife America is an important industry association in the United States, representing the interests of pesticide and gene technology manufacturers – including of course Monsanto. “Actually, the EU cannot accept such a chief negotiator because of bias”, says Manfred Hausling, who represents the Green Party in the EU parliament.
If this report is accurate, we can assume that Monsanto has so thoroughly populated both the government and military industrial complex with its own supporters that any remaining illusion of there being a division of Corporation and State has now been dispelled. Worse, we are bearing witness to the preeminence of the Corporation over State, the very definition of a corpocracy.
AS if the bee population were not already threatened enough, this happens:
Pesticide blamed in death of 25,000 bumblebees in Oregon
Conservationists in Oregon are trying to figure out why 25,000 bees died in a parking lot.
By Devin KellyJune 21, 2013, 1:08 p.m.
A pesticide used to control aphids has been singled out as the cause in this week’s deaths of tens of thousands of bumblebees in a retail parking lot in Oregon, state officials said Friday.
At least 25,000 bees were found dead and more were dying in a Target parking lot in Wilsonville, about 18 miles southwest of Portland, in what experts have described as the largest known die-off of bees in the United States.
Witnesses reported bees falling from trees and littering the ground.
Crews worked Friday morning to wrap protective netting, purchased by the city, around the 55 European linden trees in the area. Workers stood on cherry-pickers to place the bee-proof shade material around the large trees, which are in full bloom.
On Monday, concerned calls from shoppers prompted the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation — a Portland-area conservation group — to sound an alarm. The Oregon State Department of Agriculture responded by sending staff to collect samples of insects and foliage from the linden trees.
State officials were able to directly link the deaths to the pesticide Safari, which was sprayed on the trees Saturday to control aphids, the department said Friday in a statement. Officials have not yet identified the property management agency or the crews that applied the pesticide.
“It was a mistake to put it on linden trees in bloom,” said Dan Hilburn, director of plant programs with the Oregon State Department of Agriculture. Linden flowers contain nectar highly attractive to bees.
The pesticide, in a class called neonicotinoids, is lethal to bees and other pollinators. Honeybees, ladybird beetles (ladybugs) and syrphid flies were also found dead in the lot, said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society.
In terms of assessing penalties, investigators are focusing on whether the pesticide was applied incosistently with its labeling, and whether the activity was conducted in a faulty, careless or negligent manner, said Dale Mitchell, the pesticide compliance program manager with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Violations can carry fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, Mitchell said.
In fact, the product label reads:
“This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product or allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds if bees are visiting the treatment area.”
The environmental impact of neonicotinoids has come under increasing scrutiny worldwide. In April, the European Union banned the use of three types of neonicotinoid pesticides in crops that attract bees.
In the United States, one group, the Center for Food Safety, has sued the Environmental Protection Agency, saying that neonicotinoids are not regulated properly.
In a statement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was aware of the Wilsonville bee deaths. “The EPA is tracking the incident closely but at this time we cannot comment on ongoing investigations,” the agency said.
The Wilsonville incident marked an ominous start to National Pollinator Week, an event designed to bring attention to the disappearance of bees. An estimated 10 billion hives have been lost since colony collapse disorder first emerged in 2006.
Bumblebee hives are much smaller than honeybee hives, and an estimated 150 colonies were destroyed in Wilsonville, Black said.
Nearly two decades after their mid-’90s debut in US farm fields, GMO seeds are looking less and less promising. Do the industry’s products ramp up crop yields? The Union of Concerned Scientists looked at that question in detail for a 2009 study. Short answer: marginally, if at all. Do they lead to reduced pesticide use? No; in fact, the opposite.
Yet despite all of these problems, the US State Department has been essentially acting as of de facto global-marketing arm of the ag-biotech industry, complete with figures as high-ranking as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mouthing industry talking points as if they were gospel, a new Food & Water Watch analysis of internal documents finds.
The FWW report is based on an analysis of diplomatic cables, written between 2005 and 2009 and released in the big Wikileaks document dump of 2010. FWW sums it up: “a concerted strategy to promote agricultural biotechnology overseas, compel countries to import biotech crops and foods that they do not want, and lobby foreign governments—especially in the developing world—to adopt policies to pave the way to cultivate biotech crops.”
The report brims with examples of the US government promoting the biotech industry abroad. Here are a few:
The State Department encouraged embassies to bring visitors—especially reporters—to the United States, which has “proven to be effective ways of dispelling concerns about biotech [crops].” The State Department organized or sponsored 28 junkets from 17 countries between 2005 and 2009. In 2008, when the US embassy was trying to prevent Poland from adopting a ban on biotech livestock feed, the State Department brought a delegation of high-level Polish government agriculture officials to meet with the USDA in Washington, tour Michigan State University and visit the Chicago Board of Trade. The USDA sponsored a trip for El Salvador’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock to visit Pioneer Hi-Bred’s Iowa facilities and to meet with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that was expected to “pay rich dividends by helping [the Minister] clearly advocate policy positions in our mutual bilateral interests.”
The State Department hotly pushed GMOs in low-income African nations—in the face of popular opposition.
Another example: this 2009 cable, referenced in the FWW report, shows a State Department functionary casually requesting US taxpayer funds to to combat a popular effort to require labeling of GMO foods in Hong Kong—and boasting about successfully having done so in the past. Why focus on the GMO policy of a quasi-independent city? Hong Kong’s rejection of a mandatory labeling policy “could have influential spillover effects in the region, including Taiwan, mainland China and Southeast Asia,” the functionary writes, adding that her consulate had “intentionally designed [anti-labeling] programs other embassies and consulates” could use.
The report also shows how the State Department hotly pushed GMOs in low-income African nations—in the face of popular opposition. In a 2009 cable, FWW shows, the US embassy in Nigeria bragged that “U.S. government support in drafting [pro-biotech] legislation as well as sensitizing key stakeholders through a public outreach program” helped pass and industry-friendly law. Working with USAID—an independent US government agency that operates under the State Department’s authority—the State Department pushed similar efforts in Kenya and Ghana, FWW shows.
Yet, as FWW points out, in so aggressively pushing biotech solutions abroad, State is bucking against the global consensus of ag-development experts as expressed by the 2009 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a three-year project, convened by the World Bank and the United Nations and completed in 2008, to assess what forms of agriculture would best meet the world’s needs in a time of rapid climate change. The IAASTD took such a skeptical view of deregulated biotech as a panacea for the globe’s food challenges that Croplife America, the industry’s main industry lobbying group, saw fit to denounce it. The US government backed up the biotech lobby on this one—just three of the 61 governments that participated refused to sign the IAASTD: the Bush II-led United States, Canada, and Australia.
So why why are our corps of diplomats behaving as if they answered to Monsanto’s shareholders with regard to ag policy? My guess is GMO seed technology, dominated by Monsanto, as well as our towering crops corn and soy crops (which are at this point almost completely from GM seeds) are two of the few areas of global trade wherein the US still generates a trade surplus. The website of the State Department’s Biotechnology and Textile Trade Policy Division puts it like this:
In 2013, the United States is forecasted to export $145 billion in agricultural products, which is $9.2 billion above fiscal 2012 exports, and have a trade surplus of $30 billion in our agricultural sector.
I guess US presidents, Democratic and Republican alike, are bent on preserving and expanding that surplus. President Obama altered much about US foreign policy when he took over for President Bush in 2009; but he doesn’t seem to have changed a thing when it comes to pushing biotech on the global stage. And the impulse is not confined to the State Department. Back in 2009, when Obama needed to appoint someone to lead agriculture negotiations at the US Trade Office, he went straight to the ag-biotech industry, tapping the vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, Islam A. Siddiqui, who still holds that post today.
Meanwhile, the State Department operates an Office of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Textile Trade Affairs, which exists in part to “maintain open markets for U.S. products derived from modern biotechnology” and “promote acceptance of this promising technology.” The office’s biotechnology page is larded with language that reads like boilerplate from Monsanto promo material: “Agricultural biotechnology helps farmers increase yields, enabling them to produce more food per acre while reducing the need for chemicals, pesticides, water, and tilling. This provides benefits to the environment as well as to the health and livelihood of farmers.”
In what should probably surprise no one who has been following the Proposition 37 issue, a California proposal that would require the ingredients in all GM foods to be labeled, the so-called “Big 6″ pesticide corporations have become the movement’s main opponents.
Filings released this week by the California Secretary of State’s office denote that the world’s six largest pesticide corporations have become the six biggest contributors to opponents of Prop 37. In all, they have funneled in excess of $20 million to oppose the measure which, again, would require what should already be happening: the labeling of genetically engineered or modified food. The money has especially funded an aggressive, extensive ad campaign in recent weeks.
“Pesticide corporations like Monsanto continue to enjoy unfettered and unlabeled access to the market, while consumers are left largely in the dark,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network. “Despite the best efforts of the big six to confuse and distort the issue, Californians have a right to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown.”
The Big 6 – Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta – far and away dominate the global seed and pesticide markets; they are actively opposing Prop 37. In filings released recently, each of the corporations “made contributions of at least $2 million, with Monsanto’s contribution alone totaling more than $7 million,” said PAN, in a press release.
What do the Big 6 have to hide?
The opposition really wants Prop. 37 defeated. Including Big 6 donations, so far those committed to defeating it have ponied up in excess of $37 million; they’ve spent $19 million with Sacramento public relations firms and on aggressive television advertising and paid mailings to voters.
But why? Why are companies so opposed to openness and honesty when it comes to allowing consumers the right to know what’s in the GM foods they are buying?
The answer may lie in a comprehensive study released a week ago. According to Dr. Charles Benbrook, who conducted the study using federal government data, the Big 6 likely don’t want you to know that genetically engineered crops drive up the use of dangerous pesticides while they open more markets for them as well (as usual, “follow the money”).
Benbrook found that GM crops have “increased pesticide use by over 400 million pounds in the United States over the past fifteen years,” said the PAN statement.
“Increased pesticide use has led to greater and greater weed resistance. In turn, this has led to more applications of pesticides – as well as use of more hazardous pesticides – in agricultural fields, putting rural communities and farm workers at the greatest risk of harm due to pesticide exposure,” the activist organization said.
More pesticides, more chemicals, more danger
In addition to the use of more pesticides, the control over seeds has also benefited these giant biotech companies – at the expense, of course, of consumers.
“The Big 6 chemical and seed companies are working diligently to monopolize the food system at the expense of consumers, farmers and smaller seed companies,” said Philip H. Howard, an associate professor at Michigan State University and an expert on industry consolidation.
In all, Monsanto alone controls 23 percent of the world’s seed market, while Bayer controls 20 percent of the global pesticide market.
So what’s the big deal, really? Why should GM foods be labeled anyhow?
Probably the biggest reason why is because GMOs – genetically modified organisms – in general were not created by food or agriculture companies. They were created by Monsanto – the same biotech and chemical company that brought us DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange. Monsanto also marketed aspartame and created bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to infect milking cows that put pus into commercial milk.
Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.
It can be found in public company reports hosted on mainstream media that Monsanto scooped up the Beeologics firm back in September 2011. During this time the correlation between Monsanto’s GM crops and the bee decline was not explored in the mainstream, and in fact it was hardly touched upon until Polish officials addressed the serious concern amid the monumental ban. Owning a major organization that focuses heavily on the bee collapse and is recognized by the USDA for their mission statement of “restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination” could be very advantageous for Monsanto.
In fact, Beelogics’ company information states that the primary goal of the firm is to study the very collapse disorder that is thought to be a result — at least in part — of Monsanto’s own creations. Their website states:
“While its primary goal is to control the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) infection crises, Beeologics’ mission is to become the guardian of bee health worldwide.”
What’s more, Beelogics is recognized by the USDA, the USDA-ARS, the media, and ‘leading entomologists’ worldwide. The USDA, of course, has a great relationship with Monsanto. The government agency has gone to great lengths to ensure that Monsanto’s financial gains continue to soar, going as far as to give the company special speed approval for their newest genetically engineered seed varieties. It turns out that Monsanto was not getting quick enough approval for their crops, which have been linked to severe organ damage and other significant health concerns.
Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. It was a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants squash competition and make profits. After all, who cares about public health?
“It is a concern from a competition standpoint,” Censky said in a telephone interview.
It appears that when Monsanto cannot answer for their environmental devastation, they buy up a company that may potentially be their ‘experts’ in denying any such link between their crops and the bee decline.
About the Author
Anthony Gucciardi is an accomplished investigative journalist with a passion for natural health. Anthony’s articles have been featured on top alternative news websites such as Infowars, NaturalNews, Rense, and many others. Anthony is the co-founder of Natural Society, a website dedicated to sharing life-saving natural health techniques.
You can make your own organic bug spray from kitchen leftovers! Simply save your onion skins, peels and ends then refrigerate in an empty margarine-sized tub or ziplock bag until the container is full. Once you have enough, place the onion pieces in a pail and fill with warm water. Soak for a few days, up to a week. You can keep this on the patio in the sun to steep but this is optional. After one week, strain the onion bits out and store the onion water in spray bottles.
Bury the onion bits around plants that are prone to aphids, spiders and other pests. Just spray both house and garden plants with the water to fight aphids and pests. You can also mix your garlic trimmings in with the onion pieces, bugs hate garlic too!
CURE FOR WHITE/BLACK SPOT (mildew)
Add *1 litre of FULL cream milk to an *8 litre watering can, watered on Roses or mildew attracting plants, will kill white/black spot
Make the oil spray by blending two cups of vegetable oil with one cup of pure liquid soap, and mix it until it turns white.
Dilute one tablespoon of the emulsion to one litre of water and spray all affected areas thoroughly. Do this during mild weather, because if it’s hot it may burn the plant’s leaves.
Scales shoot a sweet substance called honeydew. Ants literally farm the scale to feed on the honeydew. They’ll pick them up and they’ll move them all over the tree. Honeydew also leads to sooty mould, a black dusty fungus that grows over the leaves and stems. Controlling the scale will also get rid of the sooty mould.
If you only have a small amount of scale, scrape it off with a fingernail or toothbrush. Larger infestations can be controlled by spraying with an oil to suffocate them.
To keep APHIDS and OTHER PESTS off your roses: Finely chop 1 onion and 2 medium cloves of garlic. Put ingredients into a blender with 2 cups of water and blend on high. Strain out pulp. Pour liquid into spray bottle. Spray a fine mist on rose bushes, making sure to coat both tops and bottoms of leaves.
Chop 90 grams of garlic, cover with mineral oil let soak over night, strain, add 1 litre of soapy water and store in a glass jar with a sealed lid. Dilute one part garlic to 50 parts water for use in spraying.
ALUMINUM FOIL “FOILS” APHIDS
Use an aluminum foil much around the base of plants such as tomatoes. The reflection confuses the insects and drives them away.
3 hot green peppers (canned or fresh) 2 or 3 cloves garlic 3/4 tsp liquid soap 3 cups water Puree the peppers and garlic cloves in a blender. Pour into a spray bottle and add the liquid soap and water. Let stand 24 hours. Strain out pulp and spray onto infested plants, making sure to coat both tops and bottoms of leaves.
AGAINST INSECT PESTS
1. Soapy water (NOT detergent). Try to find one based on caustic potash, rather than caustic soda and mix well with water until frothy (you’ll need more soap in hard water areas). For aphids and other soft-shelled insects
2. Oil sprays suffocate insects. Boil 1 kg soap with 8L of oil, stirring until dissolved. Dilute 1:20 with water just before use. Spray on cool days only.
3. Tomato leaf spray (very poisonous). Cover leaves with water, boil and cool. Use immediately as a general insecticide.
4. Pyrethrum spray. Pick almost-open flowers of Tanacetum cinerariifolium and dry in a cool place. Cover a few tablespoons of flowers with cheap sherry, steep overnight and mix with a litre of hot soapy water. Cool and use within a few days as a general insecticide. Store in a dark place.
5. Wormwood spray. Infuse leaves in boiling water and leave for a few hours. Dilute 1:4 and use for sap-sucking insects.
6. Chilli spray – equal volumes chilli and water blended and sprayed fresh onto caterpillars. (Prevent contact with eyes and skin.)
7. Lapsang Souchong tea – a strong brew (1 tbspn in a pot) deters possums from nipping rose tips
8. Many other materials can be used to make insect sprays. Depending on what you have available, try -quassia, garlic, marigolds, melaleuca, parsnips, turnips, eucalyptus, larkspur, elder, white cedar (Melia azaderach) or rhubarb (Please note: larkspur, elder (except for ripe berries) white cedar and rhubarb leaves are all highly toxic to humans.)
AGAINST FUNGAL DISEASES
The following plants reportedly contain antifungal or antibacterial chemicals that you can extract via infusion to spray onto crops:Chamomile, chives, sheoak (Allocasuarina), elder, eucalyptus, garlic, horseradish, hyssop, melaleuca (tea-tree), neem (Azadirachta indica), nettle (Urtica dioica), and thyme.
1. Milk spray: a 1:1 mix of milk and water reportedly controls black spot on roses and fungal diseases on other plants
2. Fresh urine (a healthy person’s urine is sterile)
3. Condy’s Crystals: 1gram/L of potassium permanganate. Use immediately.
4. Washing soda: 110g dissolved in 5.5L water. Add 56g soap and use immediately.
5. Bordeaux mixture: In a bucket completely dissolve 90g of copper sulphate in 6.5L water. In another bucket, thoroughly mix 125g brickies lime with 2.5L water and strain into first bucket. Mix well and use immediately. 6. Dusting sulphur
This is a standard organic fungicide used to treat a wide range of rots, mildews, and blights. Mix 90g of copper sulphate (bluestone) with 4.5 litres of hot water in a non metallic container and leave overnight. Next day mix 125g slaked lime with 4.5 litres of cold water in a non metallic container. Combine both mixtures by stirring vigorously. Use immediately. An oil like Codacide can be added to increase its effectiveness. Bordeaux spray may clog nozzles. Also, if over-used, it may lead to a build up of copper in the soil and associated toxicity.
OTHER PEST CONTROL HINTS
1. Use companion plants that mask the scent or appearance of desirable crops. Many highly aromatic plants contain chemicals designed to make them unattractive to pests. Camphor, mints, scented pelargoniums, wormwood, southernwood, lavender, balm of Gilead, rosemary, sage and many other herbs have spicy/bitter scents rather than sweet ones. When actively growing amongst desirable crops, these herbs can confuse pest insects by masking attractive scents.
2. Use companion plants that act as trap, sacrifice or indicator crops. Some plants, including nasturtium, mustard and Chinese cabbage, can be used as decoys so that pests attack them rather than your crop. Roses planted along the edges of vineyards deter human predators but also provide early warning of mildew disease!3. Use Physical Pest ControlsThe good ol’ “see ’em and squash ’em” technique still works a treat for snails and slugs. Attract them with beer in a jar sunk into the ground, or lay a wooden plank a centimetre above the ground – they’ll shelter underneath it and you can squash them in the morning. Yellow boards painted with sticky oil will attract aphids. Control ants to reduce aphid and scale infestations on trees – a band of grease will stop them climbing the trunk. Codling moth can also be reduced by banding trees with corrugated cardboard soaked in derris spray.
ORGANIC SPRAY. Quarter fill your spray bottle with vinegar, a teaspoon each of molasses (melt down in a cup of hot water) and liquid soap, top up with tap water.
Collect by hand the nuisance pest, bug, grub or snail from your garden. Place the bug(s) into a blender, cover with fresh water and switch on. DON’T FORGET THE LID. Then strain, dilute 1 part to 20 parts of water into a spray bottle. Spray the juice on the underside of the leaves as well as on top.
Milk is effective against a range of mildews on peas, pumpkins and cucumber leaves. Use equal parts milk and water and spray every couple of days until the mildew is under control. If the mildew is out of control remove the affected leaves to avoid the mildew from spreading and do not water at night, try watering in the mornings.
Molasses is a good deterrent sticky spray, ideal for cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Blend 1 tablespoon of molasses with 1 litre of hot water until the colour of weak tea, then mix in one tea spoon of detergent, which will help the molasses to stick to the leaves, spray top and under side of the leaves. You could also add vinegar to this brew to make it more potent.
For cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Blend 1/4 vinegar with 3/4 of water, then mix in one tea spoon of detergent, which will help the vinegar to stick to the grubs, bugs and leaves of the plant, spray top and under side of the leaves. You can also add molasses to this brew.
1 table spoon of dishwashing detergent & 1 cup of vegetable oil. Mix together and store in an air tight bottle. When required add 1 to 2 ½ tea spoons of brew to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle, spray on plants covering all leaf and stem surfaces.
Is a mild fungicide. Pour boiling water over a chamomile tea bag, leave to steep for ten minutes, when cool use as a spray.
(Harmless to animals and humans) Two heaped tablespoon pyrethrum flowers, stand in one litre of hot soapy water for one hour, strain and use (the soap will help the spray to stick on the plants). Do not inhale the fumes as they are toxic.
Blend fresh chillies in water, add pure soap, strain and spray. Acts as a stomach poison and can be used against caterpillars. Spray along ant trails or kitchen shelves as an ant repellent. Used by beekeepers to keep ants from hives.
Cover leaves in boiling water, infuse several hours. Dilute 1 part brew 4 parts water, use as a spray. It has very pungent qualities which makes it useful against soft bodied insects. Good aphid and fly spray. General repellent for fleas, flies, housemoth, ants and snakes.
A spray made from rhubarb leaves is harmless to bees and breaks down quickly, but it is harmful to humans, so be sure to keep it out of the reach of children. Boil 1 kilogram of leaves in 3 litres of water for half an hour, strain, add some soap. Dilute with equal parts of water before spraying.
Spray recipe Mix 1 tbsp of liquid soap with 1 cup of vegetable oil. Dilute as required using 1-2.5 tsp of the mixture to 1 cup of water.Oil sprays can cause burning when applied to sensitive plants. If in doubt, test a plant sample first and wait 2-3 days to see if burning results. Oil sprays can also cause burning if applied when shade temperatures exceed 29 degrees celcius or when applied within 4 weeks of a sulfur spray such as wettable sulfur or lime sulfur.
INSECTICIDAL POTASSIUM SOAP
Insecticidal potassium soap has a high salt content which when sprayed on susceptible insects desiccates and kills them. Being a contact insecticide, the target insect must come into direct contact with the spray, so good coverage is essential for optimum results. Susceptible insects include aphids, mealybug, some mite species, thrip and whitefly. Potassium based soap products available on the home garden market include, ‘Moeco Neemtech’, ‘Yates Green Earth aphid-mite spray’, ‘Multicrop BugGuard’ and ‘Spraytech or Yates Naturasoap’.
Pure soap when mixed with water can be used as a natural insecticide for the control of some sap-sucking insect pests, including aphids and mealy bugs. It is a contact insecticide and works by breaking down the insect’s exoskeleton, causing it to dehydrate and die.
Sulfur is registered as a protectant and erradicant fungicide for the control of powdery mildew on vegetables and ornamentals, rust on vegetables and various fungal diseases on stonefruit. Sulfur is also registered as an insecticide, for the control of mites on vegetables and ornamentals, grape leaf rust mite and grape leaf blister mite on grapes and white louse scale, citrus rust mite and citrus bud mite on citrus. Sulfur should not be applied 21 days before or after an oil spray, in combination with an oil spray or when temperatures are expected to exceed 25 degrees celcius. Sulfur can be purchased as ‘Sulfur spray’, ‘Dusting sulfur’, ‘Powdered sulfur’ or ‘Wettable sulfur’ and can be found in various other products in combination with ‘mancozeb’, ‘copper oxychloride’, ‘rotenone’ and ‘carbaryl’.
Lime sulfur is registered to control powdery mildew on ornamentals and various diseases on stonefruit and apples. It is also registered as an insecticide for the control of some scale and mite species on various fruit trees, ornamentals and tomatoes.Lime sulfur should not be applied when the air temperature is over 32 degrees celsius, after a copper spray in the same season or within 2 weeks of an oil spray.
CONDIES CRYSTALS (potassium permanganate)
Condies crystals can be mixed with water and sprayed onto plant foliage to control powdery mildew. They may also be useful as a contact spray for the control of aphids and slugs.Condies crystal spray recipe Mix 30g of condies crystals, 9L of warm water and 30 ml of petroleum oil. Spray undiluted.
MOLASSES Molasses spray can be used as a feeding deterrent for chewing insects such as caterpillars and grasshoppers.Molasses spray recipe Mix 1 tbsp of molasses and 5 g of pure soap flakes in 1 L of water. Apply undiluted as required.Molasses applied to soil infested with nematodes may reduce root galling and nematode reproduction. Molasses soil treatmentApply 38 ml of molasses per litre of water per square metre of soil per week.
MILK Spraying equal parts full cream milk and water every 2 days may help control the fungal disease powdery mildew. Powdery mildew can be a problem in pea, tomato, capsicum and cucurbit crops.
VINEGAR Vinegar spray may be useful in controlling caterpillars and sap-sucking insects such as stink bugs, aphids, and mealybugs. Vinegar spray recipe Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and add 5 g of pure soap flakes.
CHILLI SPRAY FOR APHIDS ON ROSES
5 garlic cloves 3 hot chillies 2 litres of boiling water Steep overnight. Use in all garden sprayers.
general pest deterrent 10 garlic cloves 5 small hot chillies 3 medium onions 1 litre of water
Mix all ingredients together, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.Let stand overnight then add 2 tbsp. of milk. Store in labelled glass jars.Use by diluting 1 cup of the mixture to 9 litres of water. Use in all garden sprayers.
TO ERADICATE MILLIPEDES OR EARWIGS.
10 ml Eucalyptus Oil 10 ml Biodegradable Hair Shampoo 80 ml water Mix all ingredients together and spray around on the ground at night.
300 grams of Quassia Chips, (Surinam Tree:- wood, bark or root of this and other trees yielding bitter medicinal decoction) to 1 litre of water.
Boil chips for 5 minutes. Strain and collect water mixture. Spray on ground when cool.
Many small insects, especially thrips and aphids, can be suffocated by being sprayed with a weak solution of water soluble glue. Fine clay mixed with water has a similar effect but tends to clog spray nozzles.
Boil 500g of lantana leaves in 1 litre of water- for 20 minutes. Cool and strain. Spray liberally on affected plants. Most effective against aphids. A stronger spray can he made by substituting wormwood for lantana.
Please note : All Natural sprays can be dangerous, so LABEL well, and keep out of reach of children. Also overuse of deterants can jepordise the natural balance, so use sprays of any sort, sparingly