Herbicide in the first degree
Monsanto’s Roundup has been widely used since the 1970s and is now the most popular glyphosate (a synthetic compound that is a nonselective systemic herbicide, particularly effective against perennial weeds)-containig herbicide in the world. The United States uses an estimated 100 million pounds of undiluted Roundup annually. This particular herbicide is used in hopes that it will destroy weeds or other unwanted vegetation within a couple of days but it’s now known to cause Sudden Death Syndrome in plants months or even years after it is applied.
An article from June 2011 for Red Green and Blue states that top scientists from a diverse group “including Cambridge University, the King’s College London School of Medicine, and the Institute of Biology” have found (what Monsanto has known since the 1980s) and that’s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses. Monsanto has also known since 1993 that these effects could occur at lower and mid doses.
Malformations in animals exposed to Roundup treated GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) include birth defects, cancer, mammary tumors, pituitary and kidney problems. There have also been high rates of birth defects and cancers found in humans in areas of South America where genetically modified Roundup ready soy is sprayed regularly with glyphosate herbicides.
Naked Capitalism outlines some of the negative effects that Roundup and genetically engineered seeds have and how “Monsanto has (among other things) genetically engineered seeds so that they can’t reproduce, denying farmers the ability to save seeds and have a measure of financial independence. In 2009, Vandana Shiva (an Indian environmental activist and anti-globalization author) estimated that 200,000 farmers in India had committed suicide since 1997, and Monsanto was a major culprit…”
Genetically Modified Organism(s)
GMOs have been around for quite some time with the early 90’s being their first major introduction into the food supply. Most people don’t know what they are or that they are eating them on nearly a daily basis because the United States doesn’t require GMO labeling of products. The NON GMO Project states that “In nearly 50 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.”
As it’s name implies The NON GMO Project may be considerably biased but none the less those studies composed in the United States that insist that GMOs aren’t actually harmful to humans are studies that are all financially backed by Monsanto. Therefore why would a corporation that profits from their sale release the real dangers that GMOs may pose?
This site Shiftfrequency provides a comprehensive list of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. Unfortunately this list most likely comprises many, if not all, of the items included on your most recent grocery list. There are many brands that would rather not include the GMO label on their products but like the label that provides you with Nutritional Facts it’s your right to know what you’re potentially putting into your body.
Twisted Maize of deceit
Some of the real dangers that GMOs pose are those found in rats who were fed Monsanto’s genetically modified corn. These rats quickly developed tumors and suffered kidney and liver damage. This research is what was instrumental in much of Europe banning GMOs from their shelves all together.
This same article also mention the fact that “Monsanto wants to plant a corn variant across America’s Midwest that will be resistant to a powerful pesticide produced with 2,4-D, the same compound crucial to the make-up of the notorious Vietnam War-era killer Agent Orange.” Agent Orange was a chemical weapon that caused cancer and birth defects and was developed by Monsanto for the U.S. Department of Defense.
I will not post a picture of what over 1 million people have suffered as a result of the use of Agent Orange. However a quick image search will show that the use of this same chemical to treat food coming to a super market near you is easily an example of the most irresponsible business decision ever made.
“Monsanto Protection Act”
There has been ample backlash against Monsanto and it’s criminal business practices. While the public was distracted by Equal Marriage going to the Supreme Court and DOMA the what critics are calling the “Monsanto Protection Act” made its way virtually unscathed through Congress. This Act signed by Obama last week allows biotech companies like billion-dollar Monsanto to escape any form of litigation. What will prove to be detrimental is that Monsanto will have immunity should any of their genetically engineered products prove to have other harmful long-term effects.
Most of those senators instrumental in passing the bill were also ones that received a great deal of financial support from Monsanto to fund their campaigns. While much of this doesn’t bode well for the public’s health there was a petition containing over 250,000 signatures asking the White House to ensure that the bill wasn’t passed. Even though the bill did in fact pass this was not done entirely in vein. There will continue to be more public awareness about the harmful effects that herbicides and GMOs can have and hopefully with this there will, at the very least, be a demand for the appropriate labeling of products in the future.