Tag Archive | "Bt toxin"

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Roundup (Glyphosate) and Infertility

Posted on 27 April 2012 by Jerry

In a new study the chemical glyphosate, commonly referred to as GLYP, and glyphosate-based products like Monsanto’s Roundup Bioforce®, were found to cause testicular cells in rats to die within 24-48 hours after a dosage that is 10 times below the chemical level in normal agricultural use.  This chemical is used on crops that have been genetically engineered to not be harmed by the herbicide.  In an earlier August 2011 article, “Where there’s toxins, there’s….What?” we identified a study at the University of Sherbrook Hospital Center in Quebec that showed GLYP was found in the blood streams of the women studied.  The unknown of those findings was the physical effects of the exposure in their blood streams.  This new study gives us an indication of some of the long term effects of exposure to this chemical.

The lead French researcher, Gilles-Eric Séralini at the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, released his report at the same time there were reports of GLYP contamination of ground water in Catalonia, Spain, and GLYP found in human urine samples at 4-20 times the level allowed in drinking water of Berlin City (0.1 micrograms per litre, or 0.1 parts per billion [ppb]).  An article summarizing these findings stated, “American consumers exposed to glyphosate through residual levels in genetically modified (GM) foods are likely to have even higher levels in their system; although no studies appear to have been done.”

Further the article observed, “The concentration of the herbicides used in the experiments ranged from 0.0001% (1ppm) of Roundup Bioforce®, (corresponding to 0.336ppm of pure glyphosate) to agricultural levels of 1% (10,000ppm)….  Further the permitted level of glyphosate residue on food or feed in the U.S. is 400 ppm or 400 times the lowest concentrations tested by Séralini and colleagues.  Thus, the concentrations used in the study are very relevant to human exposure as well as exposure of other animals.  Of particular concern is the scarcity of published data regarding the possible bioaccumulation of this herbicide, leaving us only able to speculate how much is in our bodies….Chronic exposure has not been sufficiently tested, and needs to be investigated.”

In another study also led by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, he and his colleagues tested the effects on human tissue of combined exposure to both glyphosate-based herbicides (like Roundup) and pesticides with the Bt toxins of Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac.  Human embryonic kidney cell line 293 was the human tissue in the experiment.  The study looked at the effects of the combined exposure within a 24 hour period. 

Findings were as follows:

  • Cry1Ab caused cell death from 100 ppm with no effects detected from exposure to Cry1Ac.
  • Roundup, tested alone from 1 to 20,000 ppm, will kill cells from 50 ppm which is far below agricultural dilutions (50% lethal concentration at 57.5 ppm).

The conclusion reached in this research contradicts assertions of the chemical industry over the last 20 years. Unfortunately the dosages administered in a very short time are considered too high to be conclusive.  More prolonged exposure to smaller dosages are required.  The researchers stated however, “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.”

Use the following link to obtain more information on this story:

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/glyphosate_kills_rat_testis_cells.php

http://www.gmfreecymru.org/pivotal_papers/crucial27.htm

 

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Genetically Modified Crops Score: EU 1, US 0

Posted on 28 January 2012 by Jerry

The worldwide war between chemical companies and environmentalists continues.  There was a victory of sorts this month when BASF, the world’s largest chemical company headquartered in Germany, announced it was no longer developing genetically modified plants solely for cultivation in Europe and was moving its plant-science headquarters from Germany to Raleigh, North Carolina.  When questioned, Stefan Marcinowski, a member of the BASF board of executive directors, cited “a lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe – from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians.”  The company indicated it would increase its focus on selling these products in the Americas and Asia.

The back story of this announcement is that BASF is admitting defeat in its efforts to gain acceptance for its genetically modified crops in Europe.  After many years of lobbying and public debate of the merits of these crops, it has thrown in the towel.  As one would expect in a political process, chemical companies would secure regulatory approval from the European Commission (a political agency) only to encounter widespread and vocal opposition in the market.  This is one of those cases where corporate money and political influence was not enough to roll over market forces and consumer sentiment in individual countries.   BASF follows Monsanto who made a similar decision to not develop crops for the EU market some time ago.

This battle in Europe mirrors the struggle that is taking place worldwide where chemical companies are using money, political influence, and detractors charge, false claims to take genetic control of crops that feed the majority of the world’s population. It is not surprising that the two most technically developed regions in the world are at odds over genetic crop utilization. The United States pioneered genetic crop engineering following the lead of Monsanto, headquartered in Missouri, with its “Round-Up-Ready” crops, while the EU looked at the technology with far less enthusiasm and much greater consideration of the potential negative impacts.  Unfortunately, the chemical companies are making inroads in less developed and less sophisticated counties around the world having gained approvals in Africa, South America and smaller countries in Asia.

Use the following links for more information on genetically engineered crops around the world:

BASF relocation:

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/01/basf-abandons-gm-crop-market-in-europe.html

GM Crops in Europe:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/09/us-eu-gmo-petition-idUSTRE6B82JO20101209

GM Crops in Asia:

http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LB04Df03.html

GM Crops in Africa:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=kenya-to-green-light-genetically-modified-crops

GM Crops in South America:

http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/06/09/peru-approves-10-year-ban-on-gm-crops-brazil-speeds-up-approvals/

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“Where there’s toxins, there’s …. WHAT?”

Posted on 27 October 2011 by Jerry

The old adage “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” is prompting the question “Where there’s toxins there’s….what?” for researchers in Canada.  They have identified toxins (pesticides/insecticides) contained within genetically modified (GM) foods in the blood streams of a group of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses.  After decades of the genetically modified food industry’s assurances these poisons are destroyed in the digestive tracts of the humans and animals that consume them, this study shows they are not destroyed and in fact, enter the human blood stream.

This is potentially a very significant issue for human health given the vast amount of crops Americans and Canadians consume that now contain these poisons.  In an earlier article entitled “Speed/Slow/Stop…or Label Genetically Modified Foods” we quote statistics from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service that show that various genetically modified crops now represent the majority of U.S. planted acreage of each crop.  For example between 65% to 72% of all corn planted in the U.S. contains Bt pesticides or HT, herbicide-tolerant, toxins and 94% of all soybeans planted contain HT herbicide-tolerant toxins.  In addition, recent estimates are that 80% of all processed foods purchased in supermarkets have genetically modified ingredients largely as a result of oils and syrups from GM corn, cottonseed, canola, and soybeans.

Not only are we consuming these toxins directly in the crops we eat, we are also exposed to them indirectly in our animal protein (beef, pork, etc.) as these same crops are fed to animals in our food chain.  Researchers Aziz Aris and Samual Leblanc from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Center in Quebec, Canada believe the toxins found in these human bloodstreams came from meat, eggs, and milk derived from farm livestock which have been fed genetically modified grains or corn.   Their research report appeared in Reproductive Toxicology in early 2011. Genes that produce these toxins have been incorporated into widely grown genetically modified crops both in Canada and in the United States.

This research paper entitled “Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada” is one of the few research efforts looking for evidence of the toxins.  This is not because of a shortage of people who want to research them but rather because it is so difficult to obtain the necessary information. These genetic modifications have been patented and are therefore proprietary to the chemical companies that produce them.  This means information about these seeds is secret.  Furthermore farmers who buy and use these seeds are required to sign contracts stipulating they will not give seeds to others.  If they fail to honor these agreements, the chemical companies can sue them and deny them future access to the seeds.

This study looked at 69 women and 30 fetuses for herbicide serums GLYP, GLUF, and 3-MPPA.  They also looked for the Bt insecticide toxin CryAb1.   All of these serums and toxins were found in the non-pregnant women although the Bt toxin was found in only 67% of them.  Pregnant women only showed evidence of the 3-MPPA serum and the Bt toxin CryAb1 with the Bt toxin showing up in 93% of the pregnant women.  All fetuses likewise showed evidence of the herbicide 3-MPPA with 80% of them showing the Bt toxin CryAb1.

At this point we do not know what negative effects result from these GM chemicals in the human blood stream.  Further study will be required.  In the interim, to be as safe as possible people should choose organically grown foods to have the least possible exposure to these genetically modified substances.  Finding animal protein where the animals have not been fed genetically modified foods will be much tougher because there is usually nothing that will indicate what these animals were fed.
Note: The genes used in genetically modified crops are to make plants tolerate herbicides such as GLYP, GLUF and 3MPPA.  This is what has been added to produce “Roundup Ready” crops which allow farmers to use Roundup to suppress weeds with no fear of hurting or destroying their crops.  The CryAb1 is a Bt toxin or an insecticide produced by genetically modified crops to make them insect resistant.

 

Background: In Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, Chapter 13: Protect Life Imperative – Synthetic Biology, we discuss the developments of genetic engineering and its successor science, synthetic biology.  We describe the risks associated with both.  This article describes the realization of one of the worst fears of opponents of genetically modified foods.  For more information and other articles on related topics go to www.iamaguardian.com.

Use the following link to access the original study: http://somloquesembrem.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/arisleblanc2011.pdf

August 12, 2011, San Francisco, Synthetic Biology/Genetic Engineering

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Nope, I’ll Pass on That…But Gimme Some of THAT

Posted on 15 October 2011 by Jerry

In a related editorial, Speed/Slow/Stop…or Label Genetically Modified Foods (July 10, 2011), we shared USDA statistics on adoption of genetically modified crops in the United States.   Consistent with insuring we have sound information to guide our food consumption, we’d like to share two useful lists.  The Environmental Working Group has published a list of produce and fruit with higher and lower levels of pesticide residues.  A link to the list appears below.  Topping the list of 53 produce and fruit choices with the highest levels of pesticide residues are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, and spinach.  At the bottom of the list with the least pesticide residues are: onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, and asparagus.

Identifying sweet corn as one of the more pesticide free vegetables is problematic since 65% of planted acres of corn in the U.S. have been genetically modified.  You have a better chance of avoiding genetically modified foods if you buy organic.  There is an excellent article appearing in the September 25, 2011 issue of the New York Times Style Magazine.  The article, Children of the Corn, by Verlyn Klinkenborg is about an Iroquois Indian tribe’s heritage of growing natural corn.  In the article is a section entitled Essentials – Heirloom Agriculture, referencing seed catalogs for heirloom varieties, most of which – though not all – are also organic.  Cited were Comstock Garden Seeds – www.comstockfeere.com, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – www.rareseeds.com, and Seeds of Change – www.seedsofchange.com. It also identified where one can order heirloom varieties of fruit trees, at Trees of Antiquity – www.treesofantiquity.com.  Best sources for native corn were Native Seeds/Search – www.nativeseeds.org and Sandhill Preservation Center at www.sandhillpreservation.com.  If you have land available for your own garden or crops and are looking for natural seed varieties, we would point you to these sites.

Background: In Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, in Chapter 13: Protect Life Imperative – Synthetic Biology, genetic modification is explored.  In addition, in the Genetic Engineering/Synthetic Biology category of this blog are articles that discuss some of the hazards of genetically modified crops and foods.

Use the following links for more information:

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list

http://comstockfeere.com

http://www.rareseeds.com

http://www.seedsofchange.com

http://www.treesofantiquity.com

http://www.nativeseeds.org

http://sandhillpreservation.com

October 5, 2011, San Francisco, Genetic Engineering

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GM Bt Rice Contaminates Crops in China

Posted on 05 October 2011 by Jerry

Physorg.com reports contaminated rice crops surfacing in China, one of the largest producing rice countries in the world.  Cited is contamination by Monsanto patented versions of genetically modified rice, which produce Bt toxins and have not been approved for wide scale use in China.  Dated on June 15, 2011, the article entitled, “GM rice spreads, prompts debate in China” cites China’s environment ministry officials as stating a joint investigation by four government departments had found that “illegal GM seeds are present in several provinces because of weak management”.  Tong Pingya, a Chinese agronomist criticized Chinese scientists for “treating the people like guinea pigs” at a May conference hosted by Vice-Premier Li Keqiang.  The article further states that “environmentalists and some Chinese scientists warn against the as-yet unknown long-term consequences of using GM rice for biodiversity and human health.”  Finally the article states that should the GM modified Bt producing crop become commercialized, patent holder Monsanto could “demand royalties and compensation from China”.

June 15, 2011, San Francisco, Synthetic Biology/Genetic Engineering

Background:   In Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, Chapter 13: Protect Life Imperative – Synthetic Biology, we discuss the developments of genetic engineering and its successor science, synthetic biology.  We describe the risks associated with both.  On Page 149 we discuss the contamination of the U. S. rice crop.  This article shows this type of contamination is a worldwide problem.

 

Use the following link to access the physorg.com article:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-gm-rice-prompts-debate-china.html

 

 

 

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