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The safety of pesticides and other agrochemicals is still the subject of heated debate. Despite nearly indisputable evidence of their health risks, the use of these chemicals is more widespread than ever. An incredible 9.4 million tons of RoundUp pesticide have been sprayed onto fields since the product’s inception in 1974, making it the most-used agricultural chemical in history.[1]

Unsurprisingly, Bayer has adopted Monsanto’s long-held stance that their products pose no human health risks. Meanwhile, an entire class of pesticides (those which contain the chemical chlorpyrifos) was recently banned, demonstrating that regulatory agencies are beginning to understand the dangers of these chemicals. A California court even acknowledged the dangerous association between pesticide exposure and cancer development by ordering Bayer-Monsanto to pay $289 million to a man who alleged his cancer was caused by frequent use of RoundUp.

These events are landmarks in the fight against toxic agrochemicals, but we have a long way to go. Progress is being made far more slowly in places like Argentina, an early supporter of GE agriculture that now is struggling to break free of its devastating effects on human health and the environment.

How companies exploit Argentinian farmers

The Argentinian agricultural industry has long been dominated by genetically engineered crops and heavy agrochemical usage. These practices were first approved in 1996, at which time the Argentinian government took Monsanto’s safety studies at face value.

It has now come to light that Monsanto ghostwrote its own safety studies on glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp pesticide. Subsequent, independent studies, as well as voluminous anecdotal reports, have called the safety of glyphosate into question. The World Health Organization now classifies glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

Back in 1996, though, the GMO-agrochemical model simply seemed like a safe and prosperous one for Argentina to adopt. Monsanto’s commercials suggested that producing hardy, aesthetically pleasing crops and high yields would allow farmers to prosper, and that GE seeds and agrochemicals were the perfect tools for the job.

The commercials worked. Today, nearly 61.9 million acres of Argentinian land are planted with GE crops. Each and every year, farmers apply an astounding 300 million liters of RoundUp pesticide on their genetically modified soy, maize, cotton, corn, and tobacco (the most common crops in this region).

Such mass-scale farming has indeed brought more prosperity into the region, including up to 35% taxes on crop exports. But farming families have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of children born with severe defects and deformities, and they’re realizing they were lied to about glyphosate’s risks.

“Genetically modified children”

A new documentary film called Genetically Modified Children takes the viewer on a tour of Argentinian farming regions, where decades of agrochemical usage have led to shocking physical deformities and rare, life-threatening health conditions in children.

The story highlights the plight of tobacco farmers, who have become ensnared in a vicious cycle of industrial agriculture. Philip Morris, an American multinational tobacco company, exerts an enormous amount of control over the agriculture of Argentina’s Misiones Province. The company places unreasonable production standards on Argentinian farmers, who therefore must use more than 100 different agrochemicals (including glyphosate) to ensure a final product of pristine appearance. Otherwise, Philip Morris will simply pass over their crop yield and purchase from other farmers who present a more aesthetic product.

Because none of these farmers were told that glyphosate poses risks to human health, they’ve spent decades treating their crops without protecting themselves or their families from exposure. The results are heart-wrenching: the film shows children with severe deformities, epilepsy, hampered development of mental function and motor skills, multiple muscular atrophy, congenital microcephaly, and many other ailments stemming from genetic mutation. One child is even shown whose skin has no pores, and thus no ability to perspire—the results of a genetic incurable skin condition.

Many experts believe this disproportionate rate of birth defects demonstrates glyphosate’s genotoxicity, as both in vivo and in vitro animal studies have demonstrated.[2] Fearful of escalating health effects, farmers are doing their best to move their families away from chemical-laden farmland.

Many would like to detach from glyphosate use altogether, but this choice is not tenable for most of them, as the region lacks other avenues for generating income reliably. Tragically, the families most deeply affected by glyphosate are the ones least able to stop using it—they rely heavily on the income and social security provided by Philip Morris in order to tend to their children’s medical needs.

Help change this deplorable situation

The tide is beginning to turn, as evidenced by the victories discussed at this article’s outset. U.S. lawyers have begun to work on behalf of affected Argentinian families, but progress is slow, as agrobusinesses exert far-reaching political and economic power throughout the country.

In the meantime, you can do your part by boycotting companies who manufacture or encourage the use of genotoxic pesticides. This means avoiding the vast majority of conventionally grown produce and tobacco, as well as processed foods.

Watch Genetically Modified Children to learn more about Argentina’s agrochemical crisis, and to find out more about how you can help.

 


References

[1] https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0

[2] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf9606518

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Have you heard of the infamous Dirty Dozen?

This catchy name refers to the types of conventional produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published a corresponding list for a number of years, and their 2017 report is full of more frightening statistics than ever.

If you ever purchase conventional (non-organic) produce, you’d do well to steer clear of the Dirty Dozen. Instead, choose what the EWG calls their Clean Fifteen—the fifteen forms of produce with the smallest likelihood of pesticide contamination.

Without further ado, here’s the 2017 lists.

The Dirty Dozen (most contaminated first)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Celery
  7. Grapes
  8. Pears
  9. Cherries
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

The Clean Fifteen (cleanest first)

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Honeydew melons
  12. Kiwis
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

What does the EWG mean when they say “dirty” and “clean”?

To help us make sense of their data (and to incentivize us to take it to heart the next time we go grocery shopping), the Environmental Working Group also reports “Key Findings” in conjunction with their lists. Here’s their top points for 2017[1]:

  • “More than 98% of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.”
  • “A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides.”
  • “Spinach samples had, on average, twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.”
  • “Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest: only 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.”
  • “More than 80% of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions, and cabbage had no pesticide residues.”
  • “No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than four types of pesticide.”
  • “Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5 percent of the Clean Fifteen vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.”

You can read the EWG’s full report on 48 different common fruits and vegetables here.

Some things to consider

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that your best choice is always to avoid GMO produce altogether. As long as you exclusively purchase organic produce, you can be much more certain that any fruit or vegetable you purchase will be pesticide-free.

As we reported in a previous article, though, there is still a chance of pesticide contamination in organic produce. Thankfully, this occurrence is still somewhat rare, and it’s mostly because pesticides applied to neighboring GMO crops are carried by wind over to organic farms (not because organic farms are also using toxic pesticides).

For this reason, it’s imperative that we withdraw our support from GMO farming operations—otherwise, they will reach a point of prevalence that will make it difficult for any farmers or consumers to escape from pesticides.

Some would argue that our world is already dangerously saturated with poisonous pesticides. For example, a worrying laboratory test conducted by the University of California San Francisco found that 93% of urine submitted urine samples tested positive for glyphosate.[2]

Therefore, try not to see the Clean Fifteen as permission to purchase certain kinds of conventional produce. You may have noticed that the fruits and vegetables on the Clean Fifteen list all have husks, shells, or other protective mechanisms that prevent pesticides from being directly absorbed (as opposed to produce like strawberries from the Dirty Dozen list, which are porous and thus incredibly vulnerable to pesticide absorption).

Here’s the problem, though: anything that is conventionally grown has a dramatically higher chance of being genetically modified. By purchasing the Clean Fifteen, you may be protected from pesticide exposure, but you’re still supporting GMO agriculture—and thus worldwide pesticide contamination (along with a whole host of other horrors that accompany GMO agribusiness).

The Environmental Working Group understands that purchasing nothing but organic produce is perceived as cost-prohibitive for many people. Thus, their Clean Fifteen list is an attempt to reveal what kinds of produce aren’t acutely unhealthy for you, if and when you must purchase non-organic fruits and vegetables.

You might find, however, that buying organic isn’t as cost-prohibitive as you think. Organic produce may be a bit pricier than conventional, but it’s still cheaper than most processed and packaged foods (which aren’t as healthful anyway). By replacing packaged foods with more fresh produce, you can support organic farming and save money in the process.

Also, look up any coops or farmers markets in your area—coops often offer lower prices to their members, and farmers markets are usually cheaper too (because farmers can sell directly to consumers without stores operating as middlemen).

With a bit of education and forethought, you can protect yourself from exposure to toxic pesticides and support the farming industries who are regenerating rather than destroying our planet.

 


References

[1] https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

[2] https://detoxproject.org/1321-2/

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In the natural health community, Monsanto is already infamous. It’s widely acknowledged that Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship product, carries many dangers, and that Monsanto has worked hard to cover them up.

But the story is somewhat different in the world of mainstream medicine and media. Here, Monsanto is often taken at face value; it is widely accepted that Roundup is safe, and that Monsanto simply wishes to engineer new methods for producing bounteous quantities of food for everyone.

Monsanto has of course stuck to this story all along, insisting that there’s nothing harmful about their product. In the company’s words, “the allegation that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans is inconsistent with decades of comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world.” Even the Environmental Protection Agency supported this view, and most people believed it…until recently.

It just got harder to believe Monsanto’s lies

Let’s face it: no one wants to believe that corporations knowingly manufacture poisonous products that harm the environment and give us cancer, that such corporations tell bald-faced lies about these products in order to protect their bottom line, or that governmental agencies help protect these secrets.

It’s much easier simply to believe the official story until hard evidence arises. It all sounds like a conspiracy theory—that is, until a federal court releases documents demonstrating that all of these “allegations” are actually true.

The documents, unsealed as of February 27, 2017, are so incriminating that even mainstream media has grown to distrust Monsanto and its products—the New York Times and similar publications ran full stories about the controversy.

Here’s how the situation unfolded.

Health authorities, doctors, researchers, and citizens have been questioning Monsanto’s safety claims for years. Two years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a brand of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) as “a probable human carcinogen.” We covered this growing movement in past articles.

Despite Monsanto’s continuous denial of research and panel findings indicating the health risks of glyphosate, a class action lawsuit was launched against the company. Monsanto also denies that the company is even being sued—nevertheless, the suit is ongoing. It is currently comprised of individuals who have been exposed to Roundup and have been diagnosed with cancer.

Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco’s Northern District of California (a United States District Court) has presided over the case. Throughout the early stages of the litigation, Judge Chhabria became increasingly concerned over Monsanto’s secrecy.

His own words speak volumes: “I have a problem with Monsanto because…it is insisting that stuff should be filed under seal when it should not be filed under seal.” Despite Monsanto’s numerous attempts to block the release of documents, email communications, and other records, Judge Chhabria insisted that materials “relevant to the litigation…shouldn’t be under seal,” even if they are “embarrassing to Monsanto.”[1]

Embarrassing is an understatement. The documents reveal a number of noteworthy (and rather frightening) truths.

Monsanto was tipped off about the WHO’s classification of glyphosate. Email communications found in the documents revealed that Jess Rowland, a deputy division director at the EPA, warned Monsanto months before the World Health Organization announced its re-classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen,” thus allowing the company to launch a huge attack against the finding before it was even public knowledge.

The EPA colluded with Monsanto to prevent a health review of glyphosate. Because of the WHO’s finding, the Department of Health and Human Services began to plan for its own independent review of glyphosate. The court released emails also show that Jess Rowland (the EPA deputy) promised to stop the review in its tracks—and sure enough, it never occurred.

Monsanto wrote its own research papers and forged credentials. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the court documents also suggest that Monsanto decided to ghostwrite its own research and pay credentialed academics to put their names on the papers. The company (as well as the academics who were mentioned by name) obviously denied the allegation, but the language used in the unsealed email correspondences is pretty clear. A Monsanto executive named William F. Heydens stated the following in one email: “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak.” He even referenced previous times that Monsanto had taken exactly this route.

Can Monsanto weather this public relations nightmare?

You would think that these revelations would be enough to destroy Monsanto’s public image, and thus their ongoing campaign to monopolize food production, poison the environment, and jeopardize our health.

But once again, people want to believe that Monsanto is telling the truth when they deny all of the allegations above.

It’s going to take time for public opinion to turn, especially as long as Monsanto has nearly unlimited power and resources at its disposal—but this litigation is a huge step in the right direction. You can follow its progress here.

 


References

[1] https://monsantoroundupclassactionlawsuit.com/?gclid=CNaik8a6z9MCFYkCaQodMnEDsA

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monsanto-poison

By now, you’re most likely familiar with glyphosate, the poison in best-selling pesticides that’s quickly making its way into every nook and cranny of our planet…including your body.

Last year, an organization called the Detox Project launched an initiative to discover just how widespread glyphosate contamination really is. They invited individuals to send in urine samples, and organized the first-ever comprehensive and validated glyphosate testing at the University of California San Francisco.

What they found was terrifying: 93% of all Americans who submitted samples tested positive for glyphosate. Those living in the west and mid-west had higher levels of contamination, and children showed the highest levels of all.

And it gets worse. The project was orchestrated in conjunction with the Organic Consumers Organization, which means it’s safe to assume that a good percentage of its participants regularly consume organic food products. And most people who would choose to participate in such a study are probably conscientious consumers anyways, regardless of whether or not they’re affiliated with this organization.

This means that even organic food isn’t safe from glyphosate. As we discussed in another article, testing of organic grains (especially from Montana, North Dakota, and Canada) found them to be nearly as high in glyphosate as conventional grains.

There’s many possible reasons for this contamination, each scarier than the last: some organic farmers still use glyphosate-containing pesticides in late season, and this practice isn’t even technically illegal according to the less-than-ideal standards of the USDA and EPA (in fact, in recent years, the EPA actually raised the allowable level of pesticides in food products).

And perhaps worst of all, some experts even believe that environmental glyphosate pollution has reached such a high level that organic crops are bound to be contaminated by rainwater and irrigation.

Are we sure that glyphosate is bad for you?

It’s worth noting that widespread glyphosate contamination is only worrisome to the degree that the chemical is actually bad for our bodies and our planet.

If you’re still skeptical about the evidence against glyphosate, though, know this: Experts around the around the world agree that glyphosate poses significant health risks. The World Health Organization considers it a “probable human carcinogen.” Monsanto’s own internal reports (which they went to considerable efforts to hide from the public) show that they’ve known about its toxicity from the very beginning.[1]

Independent research has linked glyphosate toxicity with a wide range of health conditions, including ADHD, birth defects,[2] Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline,[3] autism,[4] celiac disease and other gastrointestinal issues,[5] chronic kidney disease,[6] depression, diabetes,[7] heart disease, liver disease, a wide range of cancers,[8] and many others. Researchers have even found a strong correlation between frequency of general illness and glyphosate blood levels.[9]

And those are just the conditions that have been specifically studied. The deeper they dig, the more researchers worry that glyphosate plays a role in nearly every major health issue of our time.

The fight continues

It’s no longer a matter of “proving” the risks of glyphosate—the task before us now is to make public policy reflect the established fact of its toxicity.

A flurry of anti-Monsanto movements and organizations are leading the charge, and many governments and regulatory bodies around the world are heeding the call. Its use is now banned or severely restricted in the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka, and banned for personal gardening use in France. Germany, Brazil, and Argentina are considering legislative bans, and more countries are gearing up to follow suit. The state of California is rolling out plans to label glyphosate-containing commercial products as carcinogens.

Meanwhile, Monsanto continues to deny vehemently that RoundUp poses any environmental or health risks. This denialism is particularly shocking given the recent release of 15,000 pages of Monsanto’s “sealed” documents, which display in great detail the results of the company’s own research into glyphosate. The files reveal decades of meticulous research demonstrating that glyphosate (even in ultra-low doses) causes cancers and dysfunctions of all kinds in mammals, voluminous studies showing that glyphosate does not biodegrade (and instead bio-accumulates very easily in nearly every kind of mammalian cell), and even incontrovertible evidence that Monsanto tried to dilute and falsify this data.

Sadly, this massive scandal shows that even overwhelming scientific evidence is not enough to remove poisons from commercial circulation. The hope is that Monsanto will one day be tried and brought to justice for their falsification of data and knowing endangerment of everyone on the planet.

In the meantime, though, it’s up to us to tell regulatory agencies that we won’t tolerate the use of RoundUp in our country anymore. Particular pressure needs to be applied to the EPA, which seems to be getting progressively deeper into the pocket of Monsanto—you can start by signing this petition put together by the Organic Consumers Organization.

Eliminating glyphosate from our food chain (and thus from our planetary ecosystem) is one of the most important and far-reaching actions we can take…and regulatory agencies aren’t going to get the job done unless we make our voices heard. Get involved—your health and the health of future generations depends on it!

 


References 

[1] https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-sealed-documents-reveal-truth-behind-roundups-toxicological-dangers

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241196/

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.med.nyu.edu/science/article/pii/S0300483X14000493

[4] http://www.autismone.org/content/autism-explained-synergistic-poisoning-aluminum-and-glyphosate-stephanie-seneff

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

[6] http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/2/2125

[7] http://www.gmoevidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/GlyModern-diseaseSamsel-Seneff-13-1.pdf

[8] http://archive.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/10/agrochemical_spraying_in_argen.html

[9] http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-residues-in-animals-and-humans-2161-0525.1000210.pdf

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glyphosate-contaminated-foods

We’ve written before about the horrors of glyphosate—the poisonous weed killer liberally used on a staggering number of crops throughout the United States.

Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) now considers glyphosate “a probable carcinogen,” and even though a mountain of evidence has come to light linking it to both health and environmental degradation, herbicide manufacturers still deny its toxicity. And even more absurdly, these companies claim that it’s only toxic to weeds, and that there’s no way that the chemical ends up in agricultural food products.

Experts how long feared that glyphosate could easily contaminate both our planetary ecosystem and planetary food chain, unless its widespread use is curbed. Countries around the world are imposing outright bans on its use—having openly acknowledged it as genotoxic and carcinogenic—and yet the United States shows no signs of banning (or even restricting) its use.

Yet now another piece of incontrovertible evidence has arisen proving the much-ridiculed opponents of glyphosate correct. Glyphosate has been detected in shockingly high levels within a variety of consumer packaged products—thus proving that the chemical has made its way deep into our global food chain.

Watch out for these products

After commissioning the testing of a number of packaged products, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH-USA) discovered frightening levels of glyphosate contamination. Topping the list was Quaker Instant Oatmeal (Strawberries and Cream flavor), which contained a whopping 1,327.1 parts per billion (ppb) of this noxious weed killer.

Other serious offenders included Thomas’s Whole Wheat Bagels (491.9 ppb), Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Bread (403.0 ppb), and Cream of Wheat Hot Cereal Whole Grain (260.6 ppb).

But you might be thinking…those are quintessentially conventional and “unhealthy” products; of course they’re contaminated. While it is strange for oatmeal to be so severely contaminated (because oats are not a GMO crop), your logic would still be fairly sound.

Here’s the problem, though: even some supposedly “healthier” products showed contamination. This part of the list includes many products that are specifically advertised as non-GMO, such as Dave’s Killer Whole Wheat Bread (136.4 ppb), the Whole Foods Brand 365 Coffee Creamer (104 ppb), and Original Silk Soy Creamer (86 ppb).

We’ve already written about the pitfalls of gluten, dairy, and soy—but this ANH-USA testing lengthens the list of reasons to avoid them.

So, because the presence of glyphosate in our consumer food chain is indisputable, let’s return to herbicide manufacturers’ claims that it poses no risks to your health.

Is glyphosate really so bad for you?

Let us refresh your memory…

Glyphosate has been correlated with a staggering number of society-wide health problems and conditions. Despite slanderous retorts from Monsanto and other pesticide manufacturers, credible studies have conclusively linked glyphosate toxicity to autism, Alzheimer’s, depression, obesity, gastrointestinal conditions, ALS, multiple sclerosis, infertility, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s.[1]

Furthermore, glyphosate worsens and accelerates antibiotic resistance by killing good bacteria and speeding the mutation of pathogenic bacteria. You could even say it’s disrupting the planetary microbiome—it’s ravaging natural ecosystems, and has been linked with bee colony collapse around the world.

And it’s everywhere. Packaged food products are just the beginning—just proof of how deeply it has penetrated the food chain. A U.S. Geological Survey found glyphosate in 59% of sampled water sites, 50% of soil and sediment samples, 8.4% of groundwater samples, and even 10% of water that had already undergone treatment at wastewater treatment plants.[2] Glyphosate has even been detected in woman’s breast milk and urine.[3]

How to protect yourself

Joining the fight to ban glyphosate is one of the most important actions you can take to safeguard your body and our planet.

But in the meantime, as the agricultural industry continues to douse our food with poison, you simply have to do your best to keep it out of your system.

Avoiding the products listed above is a good start—but this by no means is an exhaustive list. Assume all non-organic products to be suspect, even if they’re labeled as non-GMO. Organic products tend to be much cleaner than conventional products, but even they’re not immune.

We covered in another article, it’s been discovered that glyphosate-spraying conventional farms can sometimes contaminate nearby organic produce—and these “organic” foods are then used to make the packaged products that we believe to be healthy, simply because of that little green USDA label.

To be safe, eat only organic food products and adopt lifestyle practices that supercharge your body’s detoxification abilities.

The lab results above illustrate a frightening reality that we need to accept: nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to avoid glyphosate completely, so we must combine meticulous dietary choices with detox strategies in order to keep our bodies clean and clear of this prevalent poison.

Eat naturally detoxifying foods, boost your body’s production of natural antioxidants like glutathione and melatonin, supplement with super-supplements like liposomal vitamin C and turmeric, and integrate detoxifying activities into your life, like oil pulling and sauna sessions. All of these practices will not only keep your body clear of glyphosate’s deleterious effects—they’ll also rejuvenate and optimize every aspect of bodily functioning, so that you can feel your absolute best.

 


References

[1] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/09/monsanto-roundup-herbicide.aspx

[2] http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/2014-04-23-glyphosate_2014.html

[3] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/worlds-number-1-herbicide-your-body-test-yourself

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monsanto-hero

The world had high hopes for the COP21 (the “Conference of Parties” climate talks in Paris). The outcome of this ambitious gathering sounds promising enough on paper: the finalized “Paris Agreement” officially conveys the shared intention to keep the world’s temperature no more than 2 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times.

This declaration has been met with mixed reviews, though, mainly because the conference yielded few set-in-stone commitments from any of the countries in attendance, other than assurances that they would reduce carbon output “as soon as possible” and “do their best” to keep global warming at bay.

Luckily, though, the momentous event did serve as fertile ground for lots of grassroots organizing around a number of critical subjects. For example, a coalition of environmentalists, farmers, and sustainable food organizations banded together to address the relationship between climate change and unsustainable agricultural practices. In the center of their crosshairs is Monsanto, the agribusiness monstrosity which is the largest single perpetuator of unsustainable farming in the world.

The International Monsanto Tribunal—as the coalition calls itself—announced at the COP21 that it will hold a trial in October 2016, on World Food Day, to try Monsanto for crimes against humanity.

If you know even a fraction of Monsanto’s infamous history, you’ll know that this charge is quite fitting. The Tribunal rightly points out that Monsanto is one of the world’s leading contributors to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and that their operations are directly linked to the depletion of natural resources, the pollution of ecosystems across the planet, the extinction of animal and plant species, and the resulting decline in worldwide biodiversity.

When they’re not denying these allegations outright, Monsanto likes to claim that their business practices are small sacrifices made for the good of the human race, whose sustenance and care is their first priority. But their conquest for world domination has been detrimental for human society too—millions of small farmers have been displaced, and countless of communities have been torn apart in their toxic wake.     

Is Monsanto really so bad?

If you’ve read our articles in the past about the ravages of glyphosate, the prevalence of critically depleted soils around the world, and the litany of risks associated with GMO foods, you probably already know the answer to this question.

Mainstream media likes to claim that Monsanto is unfairly used as a scapegoat by science-denying, progress-halting environmentalists, but let’s be honest: their whitewashed propaganda is getting harder and harder to swallow. Monsanto’s chemicals have been conclusively linked to a staggering array of conditions, including cancer, autism, kidney disease, and birth defects. [1] The World Health Organization considers glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen,” and a new study demonstrates that it’s 125 times more toxic than regulators claim it is[2]

For these reasons and many more, countries around the world are banning GMO foods and glyphosate-containing pesticides at an increasing pace. Nevertheless, the meddling of lobbyists and corporate control of our government keeps such measures tantalizingly out of reach for the United States.

This is exactly why movements like the International Monsanto Tribunal are so important: only by calling attention to the morally reprehensible nature of Monsanto’s business practices can we ever hope to banish their toxic products from our food supply.

The far-reaching implications of the Tribunal (and how to get involved)

Mainstream media sources have criticized coverage of the Tribunal, stating that it’s not a “real” trial. It is true that the October 2016 event will be a citizen’s tribunal, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not an important and significant step in the right direction.

Those who criticize the actions of the Monsanto Tribunal misunderstand its true intentions. With their trial, the Tribunal seeks to encourage a rethinking of “crimes against humanity”—they intend to push for an official redefinition that includes “ecocide” (the ecological destruction of the planet), so that companies like Monsanto can finally be punished for their flagrant disregard for the planet’s health (and our health, for that matter). If we ever want to see Monsanto face a real international trial, we first need to evolve the way in which our society regards unsustainable business practices.

If you’d like to stay involved in this groundbreaking work, you can follow the progress of the Monsanto Tribunal (and donate to their cause) here. Also, be sure to sign this long-standing petition requesting that the Secretary-General of the United Nations bring real charges against Monsanto.

Together, we can create a food supply system that safeguards, not undermines, the certainty of our society’s future.  


 

References

[1] http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/12/07/monsanto-sued-for-crimes-against-humanity-at-international-criminal-court/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955666/

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gmo_toxicity

Everyone seems to be talking about genetically modified organisms—GMO’s for short.

They’re also affectionately referred to as the fruit of a harmless, breakthrough agricultural innovation, or dangerously toxic “frankenfoods,” depending on who you ask.

Experts (all of whom, upon closer examination, seem to have some vested interests in the mainstream agricultural industry) maintain their argument that there’s nothing dangerous about GMO’s.

They hide behind corporate consortiums and well-funded propoganda, and they claim that numerous studies have failed to find anything wrong with GMO seeds and crops.

And to add insult to injury, they bolster their claim by stating that no conclusive studies have linked GMO’s to health problems in either animals or humans.

In light of this bold declaration, you might find the following study-backed facts about GMO’s and their attenuating dangers quite interesting…

GM soy can lead to hormone disruption and miscarriage, especially because of the dangers posed by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide.

Glyphosate severely disrupts endocrine function, and interrupts the placenta’s ability to pass nutrients to the developing fetus.[1]

GM foods (especially soy) can cause infertility. In 2010, researchers at Russia’s Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security found that hamsters who were fed GM soy for two generations completely lost the ability to have babies.[2]  

Another study showed a dramatic change in the reproductive system of rats who consumed GM soy for 15 months.[3] These findings led researchers to believe that GM soy can lead to an increased risk of severe hormonal disruptions, retrograde menstruation, and endometriosis (which can lead to infertility).

The pesticides used on GE crops can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as other cancers.[4] Once again, the evidence is strongest for the dangers of glyphosate, but evidence is quickly mounting against other popular pesticides, as well.

In an isolated GE corn and soy farming community in Argentina, cancer rates are skyrocketing[5]and experts fear that they could reach catastrophic levels within the next 10-15 years.

GM crops lead to nutrient deficiency, in both the soil and your body. Dr. Don Huber has spent over 55 years studying the effects of GMO’s on the health of consumers and agricultural ecosystems, and his conclusion is less than rosy.

According to his work, glyphosate and other toxic byproducts of the GMO industry can reduce the nutrients in plants by up to 90%.[6]

GMO wheat has radically increased celiac disease. In this case, the issue is not so much the genetically modified crop itself, but rather the pesticide with which it’s routinely drenched.

Glyphosate has been shown to be incredibly destructive to gut flora, and it’s also a transporter of toxins like aluminum and arsenic.[7] Researchers strongly believe that these are the factors that have led to such a high correlation between wheat and celiac disease.

GM corn trigger unnatural immune responses. Despite assurances from Monsanto and the EPA that the Bt-toxin contained within GM corn would never end up in the human body, one sampling found it in the blood of an average of 80% of all tested groups.[8]

This toxin elevates the body’s levels of IgE and IgG antibodies, cytokines, and T-cells—states which have been linked to a wide array of health problems, including allergies, infections, inflammatory bowel disease, MS, cancer, asthma, and arthritis[9].

I could go on, but you probably get the point.

The growing mountain of evidence against the GMO food industry is making it more and more difficult to consider it a safe and sane strategy for the future of our food supply. GMO’s are already being stringently regulated in the European Union, as well as other countries.

Even China is beginning to fight against GMO’s

China is one of the largest consumers of GMO food crops in the world. They import more than 50 million tons of GMO soybeans every year (and that’s just one crop), and have been outspoken in their support of the GMO industry.

And yet, even they’re starting to think twice about them.

A couple years ago, they began imposing stricter regulations on GMO food imports from the United States. Unlike the old Chinese government (which may have just looked the other way in the interest of commerce), they even destroyed three whole shipments of GM corn.

And last year, China also banned GMO’s from their army food supply—making them the first military force in history to do so.[10] In support of their decision, they cited a government report that GMO soybeans have caused birth defects, infertility, depression, and all sorts of other nasty effects in the Chinese population.

When the facade of rabidly pro-GMO countries like China begins to crack, you can’t help but wonder if the world is finally waking up to the reality of this monstrous industry.

The debate rages on

While China’s growing reluctance could be a step in the right direction, it doesn’t appear that the argument over GMO’s is going to end anytime soon. In the mean time, you’ll need to make your own educated evaluation of them.

You can learn more about GMO’s here, here, and here…and then you can decide for yourself whether you think they’re worth avoiding.

If you decide to steer clear of them, you’ll be joining an increasing number of health enthusiasts and activists all around the world, who simply want a transparent, sustainable, and wholesome food supply system.

 


 

References

[1] http://www.panap.net/en/p/post/pesticides-info-database/115

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html

[3] http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/gmo/genetically_modified_soy_diets_0910100128.html

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24762670

[5] http://bigstory.ap.org/article/argentines-link-health-problems-agrochemicals-2

[6] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/10/dr-don-huber-interview-part-1.aspx

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

[8] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/29/organic-food-healthier.aspx

[9] Ibid.

[10] http://www.naturalnews.com/045443_gmos_china_food_supply.html

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gmo_foods

GMO’s are sweeping across the food industry like a plague.

Despite a public outcry against GMO food—as well as a mountain of evidence suggesting that it’s extremely detrimental to our health—its prevalence in our food system continues to increase. Current estimates that 70% of the food in grocery stores is genetically modified.[1]

Recent initiatives in Colorado and Oregon put forth a ballot measure that would have required the labeling of all GMO foods.

Even though 85% of the participants in a recent survey say that they’re concerned about GMO’s,[2] the measures were defeated in both states. You can bet that had something to do with the $21 million pro-GMO propaganda campaign launched by a coalition comprised of the usual suspects, including Monsanto, DuPont, and Coco-Cola.

It was agonizingly close in Oregon (a mere 0.3% margin, and ballots were even recounted), which speaks to the growing awareness around GMO foods.

For the time being, though, our food supply is still being polluted with mutant products that undermine health and decrease life expectancy. Animal studies have even demonstrated that just a 33% GMO diet can cause life-threatening diseases, with 50% of males dying prematurely and 70% of females dying prematurely.[3]

If you can’t beat them, avoid them

Because GMO foods aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, we simply need to learn how to avoid them.

Doing so is just a matter of knowing which products are most suspect, learning the secret code of industrial food ingredients, and paying close attention to everything we purchase.

Here’s the top 10 GMO offenders that you should banish from your life and your dinner plate…

Corn is the #1 GMO offender. GMO corn is literally designed to release bug-fighting toxins all the time—which is an excellent trick for warding off insects, but it also happens to be terrible for your health.

It’s also drenched in enough pesticides to kill regular corn, and withstands the chemical malaise only because it’s been modified to be pesticide-resistant. But, in case you were wondering, your body was not designed for the regular consumption of insect-killing chemicals.

And I’m not just talking about corn-on-the-cob. Anything made from corn poses the same dangers: high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, tortilla chips, and even meat from animals fed with GMO corn.

Your only safe bet is to purchase only organic corn products (and only organic, grass-finished meat).

Soy is another highly dangerous GMO food that’s in everything. Even organic soy has phytoestrogens that can be harmful to the body, so it’s generally a good idea to avoid soy altogether.

If a product contains soy in any form, just don’t buy it!

Sugar is another favorite of GMO food manufacturers. As though sugar wasn’t already a strong enough health destroyer, GMO sugar beets were introduced into the market in 2009, thus taking the health-sapping potential of sugar to another level entirely.

Sugars should be avoided in general, but if you simply must have sweeteners, try to use raw honey instead. And remember: a staggering array of packaged products contain sugar, so always read ingredient lists.

Aspartame is a GMO sweetener that’s used in many diet sodas and other “zero-calorie” products. Representatives of companies that use aspartame in their products often argue that it’s a simple and “natural” amino branch chain that is completely safe for human consumption.

You could technically call it natural…but here’s the reality behind their claims: much of the aspartame on the market is now made by growing it on the feces of GMO bacteria.

It doesn’t get much grosser than that!

That description—even without the GMO warning—should be enough to convince you to avoid this synthetic abomination. In case you need some more convincing, though, just know that aspartame is a powerful neurotoxin that wreaks havoc on the entire neurological system and central nervous system.[4]

And by the way, it also converts into formaldehyde when exposed to temperatures over 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here’s a great way to ensure that you avoid aspartame (or whatever other toxic laboratory creation that Monsanto would love for you to buy): just avoid all artificial sweeteners.

Canola oil is a toxic, polyunsaturated fat that is manufactured from rapeseed, nearly all of which is GMO.

Unfortunately, canola oil is one of the cheapest on the market, so it is ubiquitous in restaurants and the food industry. If possible, ask restaurants what kind of oils they use.

At home, use organic, unrefined coconut oil and grapeseed oil for high-heat cooking and olive oil for low-heat cooking.

Cotton oil is largely a Chinese import, and is almost always genetically modified. While cottonseed oil isn’t widely used for cooking, it still manages to work its way into every nook and cranny of the food industry (it’s in everything from animal feed to cosmetic products).

And while we’re on the subject, it’s worth mentioning that much of the US’s non-organic cotton is also GMO—a whopping 94%, according to the USDA.[5]

With an increasing number of studies linking GMO’s to cancer, neurological damage, infertility, behavioral issues, hormonal imbalance, and nutrient deficiencies,[6] do you really want GMO cotton that close to your skin, day after day? Better to stick to organic cotton.

Dairy. Bovine growth hormone is a GMO that is in 30% of milk in the US. This is most likely why milk has been linked to a rise in ovarian cancer and reproductive issues, and why it leads to massive hormonal imbalances in children.[7]

While more and more health experts are recommending against milk in general (especially non-organic), raw milk is still a healthful (but hard-to-acquire) dairy product.

Perhaps what’s best is to make your own milk alternatives from almonds or cashews—it’s absolutely delicious, and it’s one of the only ways to ensure that you know exactly where your milk came from.

If you’d rather purchase your milk alternative, always choose organic, and make sure that it hasn’t been irradiated.

Papaya. An increasing percentage of papaya, along with some other exotic fruits, are GMO. Genetic modification—as well as other harmful practices like irradiation—increase shelf-life and thus allow these far-flung fruits to be more easily and profitably transported to market.

Once again, just make sure that you always buy certified organic fruit, and you’ll be just fine.

Zucchini and yellow squash are sometimes sometimes modified to resist certain viruses. A relatively low percentage of zucchini and yellow squash on the market are currently GMO, but it seems that this percentage will continue to trend upwards.

The same rules apply: always buy organic produce.

Fighting against GMO’s

Becoming more conscious about what ends up in your own grocery basket is the first step toward playing an active role in the fight against GMO’s.

Here’s how else you can help: support local farmers, farmer’s markets, and coops, grow your own produce, and vote YES on all GMO labeling measures in your state.

Let’s regain control of our food system, so that it once again can serve as a provider of health and vitality, rather than an engine of profit and greed.

 


References

[1] http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2014/11/19/mixed_results_for_gmo_ballot_measures_346144.html

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11890465

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1474447/

[5] http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm352067.htm

[6] https://www.realfoodgirlunmodified.com/what-is-gmo-3/gmo-free-living/

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531686

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glyphosate-organic-foods - glyphosate pesticide

You may already be familiar with glyphosate, the pesticide constituent with which Monsanto and the agricultural industry is poisoning our entire planet. Not long ago, concerns about the usage of this noxious chemical on our nation’s crops were shrugged off as conspiracy paranoia—but now even the World Health Organization officially considers it a probable human carcinogen.

New study data is emerging all the time, and findings point to a simple but frightening fact: the toxicity of glyphosate has been grossly underestimated.

Glyphosate triggers massive inflammation, taxes the body with oxidative stress, throws your hormones out of whack, and destroys your microbiome (many experts attribute Celiac disease and grain intolerance to this damage). That pretty much covers the root causes that lead to nearly all major health conditions, so it’s no wonder that glyphosate has now been linked with immune dysfunction, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, obesity, depression and other mood disorders, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, infertility, reproductive issues, developmental deformities, and ALS.[1]

One study demonstrated that even glyphosate levels in the parts-per-trillion range cause breast cancer proliferation and extreme estrogen imbalance—and researchers fear that similarly miniscule amounts of the chemical can lead to the other conditions listed above.[2] For this reason and many others, some scientists believe that glyphosate is the most dangerous and toxic chemical ever approved for commercial use.

Amidst all of this overwhelming evidence, Monsanto continues to deny all toxicity claims. The corporation has employed a ludicrous array of tactics to undermine the information reported the WHO: attacking the professional credibility of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the division of the WHO that published its report on glyphosate, downplaying any and all negative evidence against their beloved chemical, and funding propaganda campaigns to drown out legitimate research.

Monsanto has even stooped to laughable word games, claiming that labeling their pesticides as “carcinogenic” doesn’t actually link the chemical to cancer. I’m sure that it’s hardly necessary for us to point out the absurdity in this statement.

The point is that, despite loud public outcry, Monsanto has shown its commitment to continually growing their multi-billion-dollar agricultural empire—regardless of what effect it may have on the health of you and the planet. And the larger their operations grow, the more widespread glyphosate contamination becomes.

A groundbreaking U.S. Geological Survey found glyphosate (as well as its toxic degradation product, AMPA) in 59% of sampled surface water sites, 8.4% of sampled groundwater sites, and over 50% of soil and sediment samples. Even 10% of water in wastewater treatment plants was found to contain glyphosate (and a whopping 80% contained AMPA).[3]

But at least organic food is safe…right?

In light of this increasingly grave situation, those wishing to protect themselves from the negative health effects of glyphosate have retreated into the perceived safety of organic food. But recently, a tirelessly health-conscious company, Tropical Traditions, has revealed that organic food is not as safe as we think it is.

They recently tested commercial organic grains grown in Montana, North Dakota, and Canada, and found them to contain levels of glyphosate that were nearly as high as in conventional, non-GMO grains (between 0.03-0.06 mg/kg, compared to 0.07-0.09 mg/kg found in conventional produce). While GMO grains contain much higher levels yet (between 3.3-5.7 mg/kg), this presence of glyphosate in organic products is deeply distressing—particularly given the chemical’s uncanny abilities to trigger health problems at shockingly low doses.

All organic grains they examined failed the glyphosate test, with the exception of organic rye and organic millet, as well as organic wheat from small-scale farmers in Wisconsin.

How can this be happening?

It’s human nature to want a well-defined culprit at whom we can point our fingers—especially when it comes to industrial, health-destroying schemes. For better or worse, though, the perpetrator is hard to identify in this case, as the problem extends through every level of the agricultural system.

Pesticide manufacturers are obviously the instigators of the whole problem—if companies like Monsanto would stop pushing their toxic products into the hands of farmers, our world could begin to heal the damages caused by glyphosate. Farmers may be to blame, as well, though—it’s suspected that many “organic” farmers use glyphosate to kill late-season weeds that grow in between crops, and even that they “dessicate” their crops with glyphosate (this kills the crop early, ensuring that they’re able to harvest it before early snowstorms come).

When it comes time for the USDA to give these contaminated crops the organic seal of approval, they too drop the ball—their “acceptable” pesticide levels are far too high, and if farmers demonstrate that glyphosate hasn’t been directly applied to the crop during its growing season, farmers are even given 5% of wiggle room. These numbers are based on standards set by the EPA, which recently raised the allowable limit for pesticides in food by a worrying degree.

And lastly, some glyphosate contamination is simply out of everyone’s control. Some scientists fear that glyphosate is reaching organic crops through rainwater and irrigation, and that contaminated water supplied could make it increasingly difficult to produce truly glyphosate-free food.

How to protect yourself (and our entire food system)

Luckily, companies like Tropical Traditions are leading the charge to offer officially tested, glyphosate-free food. In order for them to succeed, we must all vote with our dollars by supporting their products instead of those contaminated by Monsanto’s poisons.

Whenever possible, research products to see if they’ve been tested for glyphosate content (chances are that “glyphosate-free” will enter mainstream health food nomenclature before long). Source your food from small-scale companies and farmers, and be willing to ask tough questions about how it was grown. As long as consumers remain ambivalent about issues like glyphosate contamination, GMO labeling, and insufficient government regulation, the toxic agricultural industry will carry on with business as usual.

By only supporting companies and products that you know are committed to ridding the world of glyphosate, you can play your part in protecting the future of our food and water supply—as well as the future of your personal health and well-being.

 


References

[1] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/alert-certified-organic-food-grown-us-found-contaminated-glyphosate-herbicide?page=1

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23756170

[3] http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/2014-04-23-glyphosate_2014.html

Image source