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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monsanto Found Guilty of Chemical Poisoning in France

Monday 13 February 2012

by: Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society | Report

In a major victory for public health and what will hopefully lead to other nations taking action, a French court decided today that GMO crops monster Monsanto is guilty of chemically poisoning a French farmer. The grain grower, Paul Francois, says he developed neurological problems such as memory loss and headaches after being exposed to Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller back in 2004. The monumental case paves the way for legal action against Monsanto’s Roundup and other harmful herbicides and pesticides made by other manufacturers.

In a ruling given by a court in Lyon (southeast France), Francois says that Monsanto failed to provide proper warnings on the product label. The court ordered an expert opinion to determine the sum of the damages, and to verify the link between Lasso and the reported illnesses. The case is extremely important, as previous legal action taken against Monsanto by farmers has failed due to the challenge of properly linking pesticide exposure with the experienced side effects.

When contacted by Reuters, Monsanto’s lawyers declined to comment.

Monsanto’s Deadly Concoctions

Farmer Paul Francois was not alone in his quest to hold Monsanto accountable for their actions. He and other farmers affected by Monsanto’s deadly concoctions actually founded an association last year to make the case that their health problems were a result of Monsanto’s Lasso and other ‘crop protection’ products. Their claims were also met by many other farmers. Since 1996, the agricultural branch of the French social security system has gathered about 200 alerts per year regarding sickness related to pesticides. However only 47 cases were even recognized in the past 10 years.

Francois, whose life was damaged by Monsanto’s products, has now set the powerful precedent in the defense of farmers.

“I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of this,” Francois, 47, told Reuters.

It is also important to note that Monsanto’s Lasso pesticide was actually banned in France back in 2007 following a European Union directive that came after the ban of the product in other nations.

New Research: GMO Food Far Worse Than We Think

February 19th 2012

Disturbing new research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology indicates that genetically modified (GM) crops with "stacked traits" --that is, with multiple traits such as glyphosate-herbicide resistance and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal toxins engineered together into the same plant, are likely far more dangerous to human health than previously believed, due to their synergistic toxicity.

Resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has been engineered into many GM plants, so that fields can be sprayed indiscriminately with herbicide without destroying the crops. While the GM glyphosate-resistant plants survive, they subsequently contain residues of glyphosate and its various metabolites (e.g. aminomethylphosphonic acid) that present a significant health threat to the public.

In this latest study the glyphosate-containing herbicide Roundup was tested on human embryonic kidney cells at concentrations between 1 to 20,000 parts per million (ppm). It was found that concentrations as low as 50 ppm per million, which the authors noted were "far below agricultural dilutions," induced cell death, with the 50% of the cells dying at 57.5 ppm.

The researchers also found that the insecticidal toxin produced by GM plants known as Cry1Ab was capable of causing cell death at 100 ppm concentrations.

Taken together the authors concluded:

"In these results, we argue that modified Bt toxins are not inert on nontarget human cells, and that they can present combined side-effects with other residues of pesticides specific to GM plants."

These disturbing findings follow on the heels of recent revelations that Roundup is several orders of magnitude more toxic than previously believed. Only 5 days ago (Feb. 14) the journal Archives of Toxicology reported that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications. This effect is likely due to the presence of the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine within the Roundup formulation which may dramatically enhance the absorption of glyphosate into exposed human cells and tissue.

For additional research on two dozen adverse health effects reported in the biomedical literature on Roundup, go here. Also, for research on the ubiquitous nature of glyphosate exposure, read our article on the subject here.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Monsanto, Agent Orange Creator, Returns To Vietnam

Monsanto ready to sell GM crops and weed-killing chemicals in Vietnam; Many outraged

- Common Dreams staff

Multinational agricultural biotech corporation Monsanto, known as the creator of chemical weapon Agent Orange, is attempting to infiltrate Vietnam once again -- this time as GMO dealer.

Agent Orange, used for chemical warfare in the Vietnam War, is estimated to have killed 400,000, deformed 500,000 and sickened another 2 million."BA VI, VIETNAM: Handicapped orphans are fed by the medical staff at the Ba Vi orphanage. These young children represent the 3rd generation of Agent Orange victims more than 30 years after the war in Vietnam, where a battle is still being fought to help people suffering from the effects of the deadly chemical." - Global Post (Photo Paula Bronstein / AFP/Getty Images) "Between 2.1 to 4.8 million Vietnamese were directly exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals that have been linked to cancers, birth defects, and other chronic diseases during the war that ended in 1975, according to the Vietnam Red Cross," Thanh Nienn News writes.

30 years after the war, three generations have suffered from the effects of Agent Orange.

Now, as Monsanto seeks to reap profits in Vietnam once again, this time through agribusiness, many are speaking out against the corporation as well as the potential effects of the GM seeds and herbicides that Monsanto seeks to sell.

No biotech company has yet got the official green light for selling genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but it does not assuage the fears that Vietnam could end up with another tragic legacy from a company that once caused many deaths in the country, environmental activists say.

It would be ironic if Vietnam becomes a willing party to a “lethal” product made by the same US company that manufactured Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used during the Vietnam War.It would be ironic if Vietnam becomes a willing party to a “lethal” product made by the same US company that manufactured Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used during the Vietnam War, they pointed out. [...]

In 2006 the government approved a blueprint that envisaged covering between 30 percent and half of the country’s agriculture lands with the controversial gene-altered crops by 2020.

Only three companies – Monsanto, Syngenta, and Pioneer – have been licensed to carry out lab research and tests in Vietnam, the minister’s statement said.

Monsanto accounts for almost one-quarter (23 percent) of the global proprietary seed market.

[Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, former deputy defense minister, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange] is also worried about the weedkiller Roundup Monsanto plugs for use along with its crops.

“By introducing [GMOs] paired with toxic weed killers, the tragic legacy of Agent Orange might repeat itself,” he warned. [...]

The U.S. Airforce spraying 'Agent Orange' defoliant over the countryside of Vietnam. Originally termed "Operation Hades," the spraying program was renamed "Operation Ranch Hand" to improve public relations.Jeffrey Smith, author of the bestseller Seeds of Deception and founder and executive director of the California, US-based NGO Institute for Responsible Technology, said: “It is not inconsequential that a new genetically modified corn up for review is designed to be tolerant to the herbicide 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange.

“This means that much higher amounts of toxic 2,4-D will drench the agricultural lands where this new crop is planted.

“It would be a harsh and ironic consequence if Vietnamese people suffer from birth defects from both of these Monsanto products, Roundup and Agent Orange.”

Monsanto is, of course, highly aware of Agent Orange's reputation and has fought numerous lawsuits filed by chemical's victims both Vietnamese and American. The chemical, commissioned by the U.S. military, was dumped over jungles to kill vegetation and rout communist forces.

In Monsanto's own primer on the Agent Orange era, it casts the chemical as patriotic -- it was meant "to save the lives of U.S. and allied soldiers," Monsanto says -- and contends that the matter "should be resolved by the governments that were involved."

Keeping Monsanto out of Vietnam already appears to be an uphill fight.

A Vietnamese legislator and former deputy defense minister has, according to Thanh Nien, faced evasion when he tried to raise the issue with the [government].