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Monsanto continues to insist that glyphosate, the active ingredient in their best-selling RoundUp pesticide, poses no risk to human health. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe their claims, however, and many experts believe it’s only a matter of time before glyphosate goes the way of Monsanto’s past creations (saccharine, PCBs, and Zyklon-B, just to name a few).

If you’ve been reading our articles for long, you’re probably no stranger to the case against glyphosate. This globally prevalent pesticide stands at the center of a sprawling and complex debate. The ethics of genetic modification, the disadvantages of monocrop agriculture, the politics of patenting and owning seeds (and the debt slavery that ensues for farmers in developing nations), the worldwide collapse of bee colonies, the precipitous rise in chronic and degenerative disease—all of these talking points lead inevitably back to Monsanto and their beloved glyphosate.

And yet even if we leave aside all of these hotly debated questions, there are two simple ones that still remain—questions that should be easy enough to answer. First question…

Does glyphosate pose risks to human health?

Unsurprisingly, Monsanto’s answer is no. Representatives from the company claim that the safety profile of glyphosate is assured by “decades of comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world.”

This statement was issued, by the way, in response to the World Health Organization’s classification of glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” Needless to say, when the WHO issues a proclamation about the toxicity of a substance, you can bet that it’s substantiated—and yet Monsanto has continued to fight, calling the classification a mere “allegation.”

Their case became even harder to trust in February of 2017, when a United States District Court judge ordered Monsanto to unseal a cache of incriminating documents. And incriminating is an understatement. Remember those “comprehensive safety reviews”? The unsealed documents revealed that Monsanto wrote its own research papers, then forged credentials to make it look like independent research. They also prevented a health review by the EPA, thanks to a mole within the agency, and even were tipped off about the WHO’s reclassification of glyphosate months before the official announcement (which gave them time to launch a smear campaign against the data).

You can read more about these unsealed documents here, but suffice it to say that Monsanto has nothing legitimate to offer that proves the safety of glyphosate.

Real research demonstrates worrying connections between glyphosate contamination and developmental disorders like autism[1] and ADHD, birth defects,[2] accelerated cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease,[3] celiac disease and other gastrointestinal issues,[4] chronic kidney disease, diabetes, depression, heart disease, liver disease, and cancer.

And the coup de grace: Monsanto’s own unsealed documents reveal evidence of acute toxicity. The company knew the risks that RoundUp poses, and therefore did whatever was necessary to bury the data and prevent further safety reviews.

A quick perusal of mainstream media will reveal that despite this mountain of data demonstrating the toxicity of glyphosate, the battle is far from over. Many sources simply deny that any research has ever linked glyphosate with disease etiology.

More commonly, pundits rely on the argument that glyphosate could be toxic, but we just don’t know. They claim that even the WHO’s classification means that the pesticide could cause cancer, but we just don’t know. Regardless, isn’t this a good enough reason to exercise more restraint? 1.6 billion kilograms of RoundUp pesticide have been applied since 1974 in the United States, and a staggering two thirds of this total have been applied in the last ten years alone.[5]

Advocates claim that no restraint is required, because glyphosate levels never exceed the point of toxicity in the human body. Which leads us to our second question…

Does glyphosate accumulate in the human body?

Once again, Monsanto and its supporters answer with a resounding no. They claim that glyphosate residues would never be able to build to toxic levels, because it’s designed to be biocompatible and biodegradable.

Yes, Monsanto actually says that their poison is biodegradable—in the glyphosate FAQ on their website, they claim that the pesticide “breaks down into naturally occurring compounds” as soon as it’s done killing weeds.[6]

Never mind the fact the environmental assays contradict this claim—let’s stay focused on human biology. Many studies over the years have conclusively demonstrated that glyphosate does bioaccumulate within the human body; it is not easily excreted or metabolized, and it most certainly does not break down into harmless compounds.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego recently released data from a long, comprehensive analysis of glyphosate levels in the human body. They collected urine samples from a large group of people between 1993 and 1996, and then again between 2014 and 2016.

What they found was rather shocking: glyphosate levels had increased an average of 500% over the twenty-year period, with some individuals exhibiting a 1,208% increase.[7] The glyphosate levels found during this study are 100 times higher than those linked with liver disease and other health problems.

So what’s your verdict?

Isn’t this data enough to give us pause? If you’re ready to act with caution when it comes to glyphosate, all you need to do is eat exclusively organic, get serious about detoxification practices, and join the movement to ban the use of glyphosate-containing pesticides.


References

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

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

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

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044953/

[6] https://monsanto.com/company/media/statements/glyphosate-herbicide/

[7] https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2017-10-24-exposure-to-glyphosate-chemical-found-in-weed-killer-increased-over-23-years.aspx

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Pesticide usage is an intensely polarizing issue. Many still tout the practice as an essential tool of agricultural efficiency, but mounting evidence suggests that the dangers of these chemicals may not be worth the perceived benefits!

The debate is especially heated around a pesticide chemical called glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp.

Commercial usage of glyphosate has been banned or restricted in at least fourteen countries already, due to the health risks that many believe the pesticide poses.[1] Chief among these risks is cancer—the World Health Organization ranks glyphosate as a Class 2A carcinogen (i.e. a “probable human carcinogen).

Monsanto maintains that numerous studies and scientific reviews “support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer.”[2] This is well-chosen and potentially misleading language, as nearly all medical studies are careful not to evoke causation, especially with a disease as complex as cancer. This does not, however, exonerate glyphosate as a strong contributing risk factor for cancer (this is implied in the WHO’s notion of a “probable human carcinogen”).

For a growing number of people, the connection between glyphosate and cancer isn’t so ambiguous. Over 5,000 lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto by individuals who claim that glyphosate exposure caused their cancer.

In August 2018, the first of these lawsuits to go to trial resulted in a major victory for those against pesticide use: a California jury found Monsanto liable, and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.

A milestone in the fight against pesticide toxicity

For years, the problem of pesticide toxicity appeared intractable to environmentalists and advocacy groups. Monsanto simply had all the money, power, and influence it needed to defeat regulatory attempts before they could even gain traction.

But a series of significant events has made it clear that Monsanto’s power over public opinion is eroding.

While the story is a complicated one, the tide arguably began to turn with the World Health Organization’s highly publicized reclassification of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Monsanto vehemently denied the validity of the classification, and even demanded that the WHO overturn it, to no avail. Suddenly, the possibility of glyphosate’s toxicity was no longer just a fringe idea, but one given serious credence by a globally respected organization.

Soon after, two class action lawsuits were filed against Monsanto on the basis of consumer fraud claims. On February 27, 2017, a judge presiding over one of the cases ordered Monsanto to unseal incriminating documents.

His words clearly reflect a sense of growing suspicion over Monsanto’s tendency toward deception: “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.” The documents revealed that Monsanto was tipped off about the WHO’s reclassification of glyphosate (and tried to stop it), that the EPA colluded with the company to prevent a health review of glyphosate, and that Monsanto ghostwrote its own studies and got experts to sign off on them.

The two class action lawsuits were later consolidated in the Missouri federal court, and were settled with  Monsanto agreeing to pay $21.5 million. While this was certainly a victory, it was more of a technical one. The settlement still didn’t draw a direct connection between RoundUp and cancer—instead, it focused on a labeling issue that misrepresented the value of the product being purchased.

This current cancer lawsuit sets a new precedent

The California lawsuit that came to a conclusion in August 2018 is an entirely different story. That suit was personal, not class action—a school groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson sued Monsanto, on the grounds that RoundUp caused his cancer.

The case was fast-tracked to trial, because of the severity of Mr. Johnson’s cancer (it was made clear that he may not live past 2020). As mentioned earlier, the jury ruled in favor of Mr. Johnson, and Monsanto was ordered to pay $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages. And perhaps even more importantly, the court found that Monsanto failed to warn Mr. Johnson about the cancer risk associated with glyphosate exposure.

This official acknowledgement of glyphosate’s cancer risk sets a new precedent for those advocating stricter regulation of pesticides (and for all of the individuals who have brought similar lawsuits against Monsanto). The anti-pesticide movement was further bolstered by the recent banning of chlorpyrifos-based pesticides, and Mr. Johnson’s victory provides even more leverage in the fight for safe and sustainable agriculture.

Monsanto appealed the jury’s ruling in favor of Mr. Johnson, but the California Supreme Court rejected the request on the basis of the state’s Proposition 65, which follows the WHO’s classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

Regardless of your stance on pesticides, it should be clear that these events are a step in the right direction. They affirm that the judicial system can help us move toward more transparent business practices—ones which, in the words of Mr. Johnson’s lawyer, “put consumer safety first over profits.”[3]

 


References

[1] https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/germany-13-other-countries-say-no-glyphosate-what-about-us

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/business/monsanto-roundup-cancer-trial.html

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/business/monsanto-roundup-cancer-trial.html

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Despite the ongoing debate around genetically modified organisms (GMOs), it’s clear to many that we should tread lightly when allowing them into our diets.

The companies responsible for creating and distributing GMO foods maintain that they carry no health risks. Further, they hide behind the moralistic message of saving our ailing food system and solving worldwide food crises using “scientific” systems of mass-scale food production.

While it’s certainly true that our food system is in dire need of saving, the answer is not to tinker with the genetic make-up of foods without knowledge of the repercussions. And besides, if fighting world hunger was truly the mission of corporations like Monsanto, they would focus less on profiting off the indebted farmers of developing nations, and more on actually providing food for those in need.

Besides, GMOs do carry documented health risks, as we’ve covered in past articles. For example, GMO corn and soy have been linked with multiple organ damage, gastrointestinal distress and damage, tumors, and birth defects in animals fed these crops.[1] GMO advocates argue that it’s unclear whether these risks are connected to pesticide contamination or genetic modification itself, but this hardly tempers the inherent dangers.

For this reason and more, the Euopean Union has banned many genetically modified fruits, as well as the toxic pesticides used to grow them. Because no such action seems forthcoming in the United States, it’s up to us to make wise food choices on our own.

A new kind of GMO (and why you should be worried)

Meanwhile, Monsanto is busy developing a whole new kind of genetically modified food. It was recently announced that the company plans to invest at least $100 million in the gene editing technology CRISPR (which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats).

You may have heard of CRISPR in the context of healthcare—it’s been making headlines as a scientific breakthrough that will allow us to fight disease on a genetic level. Unsurprisingly, the technology is hotly debated, and there’s much we still don’t understand about its risks and possibilities.

But the hesitancy of many experts isn’t stopping Monsanto from barreling forward with their investments. They plan to use CRISPR to gene-edit a wide variety of crops, starting with corn, soy, wheat, cotton, and canola (some of their biggest cash crops). The company believes that CRISPR will allow them to modify the food characteristics that current GMOs target—such as flavor, shelf life, color, and size—with even greater accuracy and facility.

It goes without saying, of course, that Monsanto will own the exclusive rights to all of these gene-edited crops.

But even though Monsanto’s CRISPR crops are not set to hit store shelves for 5-10 years, there are already concerns beyond unscrupulous profit motives. One study in particular showed that mice gene-edited with CRISPR exhibited 1,500 genetic mutations—all of these mutations were “off-target,” meaning that they occurred in genes that were not targeted for editing by the CRISPR process.[2] The research is a worrying reminder that we just don’t know what we’re dealing with when it comes to gene editing, and that the advertised benefits may not be worth the risks.

Here’s the strangest part: this study was retracted just three days after Monsanto announced its partnership with a CRISPR-focused start-up called Pairwise Plants. Perhaps this could be brushed aside as coincidence if Monsanto didn’t have such a questionable history of suppressing negative research data about their products.

Luckily, the researchers behind the now-retracted study are committed to performing follow-up studies, which will examine the entire genome sequence of gene-edited foods. As data demonstrating the risks of CRISPR foods becomes more prevalent and comprehensive, we can only hope that Monsanto will have a harder time hiding the truth behind their offerings.

Even before this study was published, molecular geneticists predicted that gene-editing would inevitably yield unpredictable consequences, so the researchers’ results hardly came as a surprise. Leading experts warn that full analyses and long-term toxicity studies should be conducted on gene-edited foods before they’re released to the public—but sadly, exactly the opposite is happening. The USDA has already approved the sale of CRISPR-edited foods years in advance of their public availability.

So what should you do to protect yourself?

The only good news is that it’s easy to protect yourself from the health risks of Monsanto’s upcoming CRISPR foods: just don’t buy them.

Stick with organic foods, and steer clear of any technologically created foods with an unproven safety record, especially if you believe that corporations like Monsanto don’t deserve our support.

Remember that, despite continuing activism efforts, companies are still not required to label GMO products. This means that healthy shopping and eating requires extra vigilance. Don’t purchase produce unless you can confirm it was organically grown (and if you must consume conventional produce, stick to the Clean 15 and avoid the Dirty Dozen).

Scientific innovations certainly can help us improve our food system, but they must be introduced in a safe and thorough fashion that prioritizes our health rather than profits. Unless researchers can prove that CRISPR foods and similar GMOs have no long-term health risks, stick with the food that you know is nourishing and risk-free.

 


References

[1] https://www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/8106.pdf

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796662/

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The organic food movement was born from a genuine desire to heal the earth through regenerative agriculture practices and a proper relationship with food. Its intention was to provide a standard to which our nation’s food producers could be held—one that would foster healthy soil building, humane and sustainable animal husbandry, and nutrient-dense, health-promoting crops.

We’ve written before about the clear superiority of organic foods, and how switching from conventional to organic produce can clear pesticides and other toxins from the body at a miraculous pace.

We’ve also lamented the “watering down” of the organic certification, though, and how the “USDA Organic” stamp of approval is no longer a guarantee of quality and safety.

Organic grains and produce have been found to be contaminated with glyphosate and other toxic pesticides.

Some of these compromises in quality and safety are simply a product of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. For example, organic grains and produce have been found to be contaminated with glyphosate and other toxic pesticides. In most cases, this isn’t because organic farmers are clandestinely using pesticides, but instead because nearby conventional farms enable cross-contamination via rainwater, irrigation, and wind.

In other cases, however, a much more blatant undermining of the organic standard is occurring.

Has the organic label been compromised?

Unfortunately, the problem of fake organics (not so affectionately called “fauxganics” by some organic activists) is not a new one. In a previous article, we discussed how fake organics make their way to the United States from China. In this case, conventionally grown crops, GMOs, and even highly contaminated products are intentionally snuck in under the banner of the organic seal. And because the United States outsources its certification approvals to certifiers in China, the violation is allowed to continue.

The dairy industry has also been in the business of pumping out fake organics for quite some time. Dairy mega-farms have been caught blatantly breaking the rules of their organic certification: keeping far more animals on the premises than is allowed, not allowing cows out to graze (and then advertising products as “organic grass-fed”), and even feeding cows the same toxic, grain-based diet as conventional milk cows.

The saddest part of this story is that the malpractice of these large companies is slipping right past USDA organic inspectors. Either inspectors are falling woefully short in the quality of their certifications, or they’re intentionally collaborating with farms by ignoring violations.

Another, more recent controversy is the flooding of organic markets with hydroponics—that is, produce grown indoors, with artificial lights, and without the use of soil.

In many ways, hydroponics operations are laudable. They’re incredibly space and energy-efficient, and thus could serve the world’s growing need for food production without the destructive and unwieldy practices of conventional agriculture.

Hydroponics could give the countless acres of soil depleted by monocrop agriculture a chance to rebuild. And because hydroponics happens indoors, there’s no need for pesticides, and yields don’t suffer (because they don’t use pesticides, organic farmers’ crop yields are usually smaller).

Despite these advantages, however, many organic activists insist that hydroponic produce does not belong under the organic banner. After all, organic agriculture is supposed to be about soil building, regeneration of natural ecosystems, and alignment with biological cycles—the soilless, indoor practice of hydroponics can’t claim to have much in common with this philosophy.

Because of its efficiency, hydroponic produce is much less expensive to grow. As a result, hydroponics are quickly replacing authentically organic produce in grocery stores. Again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for hydroponics to be available, but they should be clearly differentiated from organically grown produce.

And one more word to the wise about hydroponics: Scotts Miracle-Gro, a longtime partner with Monsanto in the distribution of Roundup pesticide, is attempting to capture the hydroponics market by buying up companies that sell nutrients and growing lights. If you choose to buy hydroponics, always know your sources, and don’t unwittingly support Monsanto’s cronies.

Vote with your dollar

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose what kind of organic products deserve to be supported. No advocacy group or activism program can preserve the culture of organic food in its current form if public interest pushes for change. If enough consumers choose not to buy fauxganics, however, the market will have to respond.

Learn to be aware of what you’re buying—where it came from, how it was grown, and what assurances there are of it being authentically organic.

Fake organic dairy products are some of the easiest to spot, and the ethics behind them are unambiguously disgraceful, so avoid them at all costs. Tread carefully with any “organic” products that have been imported from China; in most cases, it’s easy enough to find a local (or least domestic) version of the product that’s more likely to be truly organic.

Make up your own mind about hydroponics, but remember that truly organic farmers—the ones rebuilding the earth’s soil and fostering positive relationships with natural ecosystems—could use your support too. Without them, there’s little standing in the way of the soil-destroying (and health-sapping) practices of conventional agriculture.

 


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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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Medical cannabis is rapidly gaining momentum. This budding industry is offering a natural solution to a variety of ailments, generating economic prosperity for the states that have legalized it, and winning more and more hearts and minds with each passing day.

There’s still plenty of controversy surrounding the subject, and despite its medical and recreational legality in some states, cannabis is still federally illegal. Nevertheless, research and anecdotal reports have shown that the plant does offer a surprising range of health benefits. It’s currently indicated for mood and mental disorders, pain management, alcoholism, diabetes and metabolic disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and cancer—and the research-backed list of applications is growing all the time.

Despite its current legal status (and the bureaucratic haul it will take to change it), by all appearances, cannabis offers great promise as a medicine of the future.

It certainly presents a welcome alternative to the pharmaceutical industry: one that enriches local economies instead of corporations, and one with a product that’s arguably far safer than pharmaceutical drugs.

For example, many of the side effects of cannabis (which are mild compared to those of many pharmaceuticals) can be attenuated by working with extracted cannabinoids and terpenes rather than the whole plant.

Furthermore, studies demonstrate that it’s physically impossible to die from a cannabis overdose; meanwhile, prescription drug overdoses kill over 30,000 people in the United States every year (that’s more than guns or cars, and more than half of all drug overdoses).[1]

There’s just one problem: the efficacy and lucrativeness of cannabis has attracted the attention of less than scrupulous powers, who are already making moves to adversely transform the industry.

The takeover has begun

Gaining legal status is the least of the cannabis industry’s worries. By now, we should know that no money-making breakthrough gets passed up by corporate monopolies of the world—and cannabis is no exception.

The pharmaceutical industry has already patented several FDA-approved cannabis-based medications

The pharmaceutical industry has already patented several FDA-approved cannabis-based medications, such as Marinol, Syndros, Cesamet, and Sativex. In some cases, medications are made with synthetic THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and other times the pharmaceutical company grows cannabis and makes natural extracts.

That’s right: pharmaceutical companies are being allowed to grow their own cannabis and create synthetic cannabinoids, even in countries where it is federally illegal for private citizens to do so.

And it gets worse. Big Pharma and their corporate cronies don’t simply intend to compete against local cannabis and derivative products; instead, it seems they hope to infiltrate and monopolize the industry and every level possible.

The Bayer-Monsanto cannabis campaign

At the center of the drama are Bayer and Monsanto, two of the world’s most notorious corporations, who are in the midst of concentrating their power through a historically unprecedented merger.

When the deal is sealed, business insiders speculate that the Monsanto name will be dropped—a wise choice, considering that Monsanto has become almost synonymous with “evil corporation” in recent years.

Bayer has managed to keep their name a bit cleaner, though their actions are every bit as despicable as Monsanto’s. The company’s illustrious track record includes covering up the risks of birth control and OTC painkillers (both of which they manufacture and distribute), distributing contaminated milk that killed 24 Peruvian children, distributing HIV-tainted blood, cheating Medicaid, perpetrating false advertising (for which they have sued), sponsoring gruesome human experiments at Auschwitz during the Holocaust, and manufacturing Zyklon-B for the Nazi’s gas chambers.[2]

Monsanto’s crimes and audacities—developing GMO crops, contaminating the world with horrendously toxic pesticides, and the manufacturing of PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange—are well known.

In short, Bayer and Monsanto have never had our best interest in mind. If they choose to participate in the cannabis industry, it will be with the intention of profiting massively, not bettering public health and healthcare.

Prominent voices in the cannabis community have already started to warn others about the moves these companies are making. Here’s a glimpse into their game plan.

Medical cannabis. Bayer has begun selling the cannabis medications manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals. By lobbying against the legalization of locally grown cannabis and aggressively promoting FDA-approved (patented) cannabis medications, these companies can corner the market.

Cannabis cultivation. Monsanto has developed close ties with Scotts Miracle-Gro, whose CEO has expressed intentions to buy out the entire cannabis growing industry. The company has already bought out numerous hydroponics and cannabis cultivation companies, and Monsanto is helping to ensure that only its “affiliates” can be admitted into indoor gardening expo events.

GMO cannabis. Rumors state that Monsanto and Bayer have agreed to share trade secrets regarding the development of genetically modified cannabis. This campaign would allow them the same dominance they’ve claimed over conventional agriculture, by ensuring that farmers must purchase new Bayer-Monsanto seeds each year.

We MUST Take a Stand

If we wish to see cannabis, hemp, and its derivative therapeutic products emerge as safe, affordable, locally sourced medicines, we must take a stand. The campaign closely resembles the one against GMO foods: never support companies that are owned by or affiliated with Bayer and Monsanto, always ask questions about where products are coming from, and support local economies.

Last but not least, regardless of where you stand on the legalization of cannabis, know this: federal legalization would make it much more difficult for these corporations to monopolize the industry. If cultivation and product creation remains in the hands of the few, Bayer-Monsanto will have a much smaller market to corner.

 


References 

[1] https://www.statnews.com/2016/12/09/opoid-overdose-deaths-us/

[2] https://www.i-lawsuit.com/the-dark-history-of-bayer-drugs/

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monsanto-evil

Industrial society has not been kind to our planet. The greed of capitalism, politics, and power dynamics have all but conquered the world, leaving a wake of environmental degradation, sickness, and suffering. The future doesn’t look very bright.

The ecological recklessness of our world’s corporatocracy is tragic, sick, and insupportable—but this doesn’t mean that every large commercial entity is willfully acting in an evil and malicious way. More often than not, ignorance and incompetence are to blame, more so than malevolent conspiracy.

But there ARE Companies for which greed-fueled, destructive decisions are the rule rather than the exception, and which seem to have nearly no redeeming qualities.

Perhaps the prominent example of this breed of company is Monsanto, an entity routinely referred to as “the world’s most evil corporation.”

In making this statement, it’s imperative that you look at the facts and make your own decisions. The rallying cry of natural health and earth-friendly communities everywhere is that Monsanto products should be boycotted without exception.

Read through this primer on the company’s history, and you’ll probably understand why.

A long line of profitable poisons

Monsanto is most well-known for its glyphosate-containing pesticide RoundUp—currently the most widely used pesticide in the world—as well as their genetically modified seeds and agricultural products. But the company’s foray into the world of GMO agribusiness is only its most recent controversial product line.

Here’s some examples of some of their other past (and current) projects.

Sweeteners (and military meddling)
Monsanto got their start manufacturing saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low) for Coca-Cola. Despite the fact that their own internal studies demonstrated that it’s massively toxic (and despite being sued by the government for covering up this information), they proceeded to saturate the market with this poisonous sweetener.[1]

The same goes for aspartame, a later “innovation” that actually was originally developed as a chemical weapon. And if that’s not bad enough, they introduced their new poison to the world in partnership with I. G. Farben, the infamous corporation that produced Zyklon-B for the gas chambers of World War II.

During WWII, they were also running the uranium research that was used to build the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project.[2]

Home care products
Through another shady partnership with G. D. Searle (known for its falsified studies and deep political ties), Monsanto expanded into widespread distribution of a suite of toxic home care products that had been developed over decades—including detergents, soaps, and industrial cleaning products.

The environment is still suffering from the introduction of all these products into society, and we’re still struggling as a culture to break our addiction to these miracle home products of the past. Luckily, it’s just as easy to make your own non-toxic versions.

PCB’s
This era of the company’s history also saw the creation of PCB’s, which were hailed as “wonder chemicals” with “limited applications,” but which have now been banned after fifty years of use, and are widely considered “one of the greatest chemical threats on the planet.”[3]

It’s hard to deny the facts: there just seem to be no moral boundaries that Monsanto isn’t willing to cross in the pursuit of profits and power.

Pathological lies

It would be much easier to maintain a shred a trust in Monsanto if they admitted when research reveals toxicity with their products, or at least admitted wrongdoing (and showed remorse) for past products that have been proven beyond any shadow of doubt to be harmful.

But of course, Monsanto continues to claim that none of its current offerings are toxic—just like they did with all of their past monstrosities, including those that are now banned (like PCB’s and dioxin). They’ve routinely dodged investigations, denied allegations, and weaseled their way out of lawsuits throughout their entire history, never fessing up to any wrongdoing or oversight.

The Monsanto website even features a Myths about Monsanto section called “Just Plain False,” where representatives “debunk” all the horrible accusations leveled against the company. For example, they deny any evidence suggesting that GMO foods are unsafe, that Monsanto sells “terminator seeds” that become sterile after one generation, and even that the company has “undue” influence in government.[4]

Volumes could be written about each and every one of these claims—but suffice it to say that there’s ample evidence demonstrating that Monsanto is lying.

Because here’s the thing: the company has a long history of not only toxin production, but also propaganda and whitewashing. When they partnered with Disneyland in the 1950’s to build an exhibit called “The House of the Future,” they openly claimed that all the house’s materials were completely biodegradable, even though it was built entirely out of toxic and enduring plastics (which they knew very well are anything but biodegradable).

So what do you think?

Believe it or not, this primer still barely scratches the surface of Monsanto’s toxic endeavors over the years—and it accounts even less for the rampant cronyism and political maneuvering that the company uses to get whatever it wants, whenever it wants.

So should you boycott Monsanto products and projects? The choice is yours, but here’s our personal decision: to whatever degree possible, we’re steering clear of anything with which this frightening and powerful company has ever been involved. The world deserves better.

 


References

[1] http://www.naturalnews.com/054760_Monsanto_Dirty_Dozen_chemicals.html

[2] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-complete-history-of-monsanto-the-worlds-most-evil-corporation/5387964

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/myths-about-monsanto.aspx

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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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