Posts Tagged ‘Roundup’
Exposure among amphibians and other vertebrate animals to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been shown, for the very first time, to actually induce physical changes to the shapes of these animals’ bodies. Published in the journalEcological Applications, the new study reveals once again the incredible hormone-altering power of Roundup, and how even minute exposure to this highly-toxic chemical brew can have disastrous health consequences.
In their natural environment, tadpoles, which are just amphibians in the larval stage of their life cycle, have a natural ability to detect the presence of predators and respond accordingly. In order to avoid insect predators, for instance, tadpoles can actually develop deeper or longer tails in order to swim away from them faster, which helps ensure their survival (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10862727).
But it appears as though Roundup, which has already been shown in other studies to be highly pervasive throughout the environment (http://www.naturalnews.com/033699_Roundup_pollution.html), induces these very same physical changes. And when exposed to both Roundup and natural predators, tadpoles will develop grossly large tails that are much larger than normal, which is likely the result of both the tadpoles’ detection of Roundup, and Roundup’s ability to chemically-induce hormonal changes.
“What shocked us was that the Roundup induced the same changes,” said Rick Relyea, a professor of biological sciences at theUniversity of Pittsburgh‘s (Pitt)Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciencesand director of Pitt’sPymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, referring to changes in the tadpoles’ tails that caused them to actually become twice as large as normal.
“This discovery highlights the fact that pesticides [...] can have unintended consequences for species that are not the pesticides’ target. [W]e are learning that [pesticides and herbicides] can have a wide range of surprising effects by altering how hormones work in the bodies of animals.”
For his study, Relyea examined how tadpoles living in water tanks respond to varying exposures of Roundup, as well as to predators. And his findings revealed that Roundup visibly alters tadpoles’ stress hormones, which appears to coincide with an earlier study that revealed Roundup-induced hormonal changes in humans (http://www.naturalnews.com/035135_Roundup_herbicide_testosterone.html).
Meanwhile, more than a dozen Argentinian farmers have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, creator of Roundup, and several tobacco companies for allegedly knowingly poisoning them with Roundup and other pesticide and herbicide chemicals. According to the filing, Monsanto’s pesticides and herbicides caused the farmers’ children to be born with “devastating birth defects” (http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/10/45469.htm).
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A recent study published in the Journal of Toxicology in Vitro has found that, even at very low levels, Monsanto’s herbicide formula Roundup destroys testosterone and ultimately leads to male infertility. The findings add to the more than 25 other diseases known to be linked to Roundup, which include DNA damage, birth defects, liver dysfunction, and cancer.
For their study, Emilie Clair and her colleagues from the Universite de Caen Basse-Normandie Institute of Biology in France tested the effects of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, on testicular cells from rats. Ranging in dilution from one part per million (ppm) to 10,000 ppm, which accounts for varying exposure levels in real life situations, each of the tests revealed undeniable cell toxicity caused by Roundup.
Interestingly, the findings revealed that even at one ppm, Roundup was responsible for causing severe endocrine disruption that reduced testosterone levels by 35 percent. And a one ppm exposure level is considered to be extremely low, and much lower than typical exposure levels in everyday environmental situations.
At higher exposure levels, Roundup was shown to induce testicular cell death in a little as one hour, and typically no later than 48 hours after exposure. And this is only acute toxicity, as the study did not analyze the long-term effects of continual and repeated exposure to Roundup, which has already been shown to seep into rivers and groundwater supplies.
A similar study published in the journalReproductive Toxicologyback in 2007 found similar results. In vivo tests with Roundup revealed that the ducks exposed to Roundup exhibited “alterations in the structure of the testis and epididymal (a part of the male reproductive system) region as well as in the serum levels of testosterone and estradiol, with changes in the expression of androgen receptors restricted to the testis.”
So contrary to the claims made by Monsanto, there is truly no safe exposure level to Roundup. At typical exposure levels, it has been proven to destroy human cells and cause serious reproductive harm. And at trace levels, it has been proven to severely disrupt proper hormonal function and lead to low testosterone in men.
“Because it’s a systemic pesticide and sprayed in high doses, produce and fruit and nut trees often take up the poison into the parts of the food we eat,” writes Leah Zerbe in a recentRodale Newspiece on Roundup. “Three easy ways to reduce your exposure? Eat organically grown foods … [a]dopt organic lawn care techniques in your yard, and start an organic garden to further reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.”
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Insecticidal Bt toxins such as those produced in genetically engineered plants can be detrimental to human cells. This is a result of recent research led by researchers at the University of Caen (France).
Their experiments showed that toxins produced in, for example, the genetically engineered maize MON810, can significantly impact the viability of human cells. The effects were observed with relatively high concentrations of the toxins, nevertheless there is cause for concern.
According to companies like Monsanto, which produces genetically engineered maize with these toxins, the toxins are supposed to be active only against particular insects and should have no effect on mammals and humans at all.
For the first time, experiments have now shown that they can have an effect on human cells. These kinds of investigations are not a requirement for risk assessment in Europe or in any other region.
Another finding of the researchers concerns a herbicide formulation sold under the brand name Roundup. Massive amounts of this herbicide are sprayed on genetically engineered soybean crops and its residues can be found in food and feed.
According to the new publication, even extremely low dosages of Roundup (glyphosate formulations) can damage human cells. These findings are in accordance with several other investigations highlighting unexpected health risks associated with glyphosate preparations.
“We were very much surprised by our findings. Until now, it has been thought almost impossible for Bt proteins to be toxic to human cells. Now further investigations have to be conducted to find out how these toxins impact the cells and if combinatorial effects with other compounds in the food and feed chain have to be taken into account,” says Gilles-Eric Séralini from the University of Caen, who supervised the experiments. “In conclusion, these experiments show that the risks of Bt toxins and of Roundup have been underestimated.”
Bt toxins and tolerance to herbicides are broadly used in genetically engineered plants. Bt proteins only naturally occur in soil bacteria. By introducing the modified toxin gene into the plants, the structure of the toxins is modified and may thereby cause selectivity to be changed. The content of the proteins within the plants is highly variable.
Many genetically engineered plants contain several Bt toxins at the same time. For example, SmartStax produces six different Bt toxins and therefore has a higher overall content of the proteins. In addition, it was made tolerant to herbicides.
So far, there has been no investigation of the combinatorial effects of these toxins and residues from spraying, or their potential risks for human health, which was considered unlikely. The researchers have now shown that interactivity does occur. Under the specific conditions of their experiment, the modified Bt toxin lowered the toxicity of Roundup.
Further investigations are necessary to examine other potential combinatorial effects under varying conditions.
“These results are pretty worrying. Risk assessment requirements for genetically engineered plants and pesticides need to be rigidly enforced. In the light of these findings, we think that the commercialization of these plants is not in accordance with EU regulations”, says Christoph Then at Testbiotech.
Testbiotech is closely following risk assessment at the European Food Safety Authority EFSA and has repeatedly brought attention to gaps in risk assessment.
The research was supported by GEKKO foundation (Germany). The Committee for Research and Independent Investigation on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) Association (France) and Testbiotech (Germany) were involved in planning the experiments and the discussion of results. Findings were published after peer review process.
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Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and of America’s most-used herbicide RoundUp, is finally showing signs of breaking. Earlier this year, the company was named Company of the Year by Forbes Magazine. Forbes has since apologized1 for that award while stock market commentator Jim Cramer has named Monsanto to be “the worst stock of 2010.”
So what’s happening to the GMO Giant?
Several things are happening at once, bringing the powerful company down to earth. First, Monsanto’s best-selling product, RoundUp (glyphosate), has seen its patent run out. This means cheaper competition, especially in large, foreign markets like Asia.2 Second, the company is also seeing many of its core seed buyers turning to other sources because of the growing threat of RoundUp-resistant crops.
The second problem is looming so large that the GMO mega-company is actually paying farmers to use competitor’s herbicides. They’re offering incentives to soybean and cotton growers; the two crops with the worst infestations.3
The rise of these Roundup-resistant “superweeds” in the American South and the Corn Belt, two areas where Monsanto has held a stranglehold on crop diversity, has caused growers to begin questioning the merits of RoundUp Ready (or Herbicide Tolerant/HT-ready) crops. This is the core of Monsanto’s customer base and it’s faltering.
This leaves Monsanto with few things to offer. Their one-time standing as one of Big Agra’s biggest movers and shakers is withering away. Their latest products are just more of the same, offering nothing new to replace their dominant seed varieties that have been the core of the company’s sales – in tandem with the soon-to-be-defunct RoundUp herbicide. In their latest report to investors, Monsanto admitted, in so many words, that in order to stay competitive, they would have to start slashing prices. A first for the GM titan.
In what appears to be a move to diversity its holdings, Monsanto has quietly purchased a controlling share of Xe Services. Xe Services is the new name for what used to be called Blackwater. In a clear case of Evil consolidating with Evil, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified food crops has teamed up with the world’s largest producer of private corporate terrorism. Interestingly enough, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased a huge number of shares in Monsanto ($23 million worth).4 Another case of Evil consolidation, maybe?
With all of this, the GMO corporation’s losses are still large. Their stocks have dropped by 42% this year. Add to that the (likely to be whitewashed) Justice Department investigation into Monsanto’s alleged anti-trust violations and the company’s attempts to get footholds in the European agricultural markets being blocked by those who oppose GM foods and you begin to see the cracks in the wall.
The future isn’t looking so bright for Monsanto anymore. We may be witnessing the beginning of the death knell that finally brings the anti-food giant to its knees.
1 – Forbes Was Wrong on Monsanto.. Really Wrong Forbes Blogs
2 – After Growth, Fortunes Turn for Monsanto by Andrew Pollack, New York Times
3 – Monsanto paying farmers to increase herbicide use by Philip Brasher, Desmoines Register Blog
4 – Machines of War: Blackwater, Monsanto, and Bill Gates by Silvia Ribeiro, Pravda
Everybody’s favorite genetically modified seed and biotech company, Monsanto, has yet again proven their loveability. The world’s poster child for corporate manipulation and deceit1 was the focus of a new study looking at their top-selling product, Roundup herbicides.
The study was conducted by Professor Andres Carrasco and an international team of scientists and researchers at the Laboratorio de Embriolagia Molecular at the University of Buenos Aires and was published by the American Chemical Society in August.2 It focused on glyphosate, the prime ingredient of Roundup and the most widely-used broad spectrum herbicide in use worldwide. Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) are also the focus of most of Monsanto’s herbicide-tolerant (HT-ready) genetically modified seeds (GM or GMO).
The Argentinian study looked at how GBH affects vertebrate embryos in development. Treated during incubation with a dilute 1/5,000 GBH, the embryos showed several abnormalities in bone development, particularly in the skull and vertebrae. The animal embryos used were frogs and chickens.
For comparison, a 1/5,000 concentration (2.03mg/kg) is about 1/10th of the amount used on most agricultural plants. The maximum level for GBH allowed in soybeans in the European Union is 20mg/kg (established in 1997 when GMO soy was commercialized in Europe). Soybeans after harvest can typically contain up to 17mg/kg of GBH residue.
The research done by Carrasco and his team was prompted by the high rate of birth defects in rural areas of Argentina where Monsanto’s GMO soybeans are often grown in large monocultures and sprayed with Roundup from aircraft.
At a press conference during the 6th European Conference of GMO-Free Regions in the European Parliament in Brussels, Professor Carrasco said “The findings in the lab are compatible with malformations observed in humans exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy.”3
Here in the U.S., we are undergoing a 3-pronged attack against our agricultural and food system. Over 90% of our soybeans, 70% of our corn, and many other common crops are now genetically modified. The plant-patenting and manipulation industry, lead by Monsanto, has been taking over both the USDA and the FDA while systematically eliminating family and independent farmers who resist using GM seeds.4
Meanwhile, the evidence against the safety of GM foods continues to mount. This study from Professor Carrasco and his team is just the latest in a long line of research showing the extremely negative effects of the genetic manipulation of our food supply.
The best way to combat this problem individually? Buy from local, non-GMO farmers and growers, eat healthy, non-processed foods, and continue to spread the word about the evils of Big Agra. Things will only change when people begin voting en masse with their wallets and forks, walking away from the Big Agra-Industrial-Pharma-Government complex that is attempting to destroy our lives.
1 – Monsanto: The world’s poster child for corporate manipulation and deceit by Jeffrey M. Smith, NaturalNews
2 – Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling by Alejandra Paganelli, Andres Carrasco, et al, American Chemical Society, August 9, 2010
3 – Groundbreaking study shows Roundup link to birth defects, Press Release, GMO-Free Regions Conference 2010
4 – Three-Pronged System Enables GMO Takeover of American Agriculture by Aaron Turpen, NaturalNews