Ban GMOs for Environmental Health and Safety

Those who voted "No" on Proposition 37 should be rethinking their choice. Since the failure of Prop 37 in California, the world has been awakened to the presence and consequences of genetically engineered food on their tables, grocery store shelves, and in their fields. 

It appears that Ag-biotech bought the "No" vote with the same money and deception used to acquire seed patents and government approval of their products. Their commercials during the campaign asked questions like:  Why will chicken potpies have to be labeled and chicken won't? The answer is simple: Potpies would be labeled, not because of the chicken, but because they contain GMO canola  oil, cornstarch, soy products. California law allows only one issue to be addressed in an initiative, and Prop 37 addressed the labeling of foods and  ingredients in processed foods that had been genetically engineered. The raising of animals on genetically engineered feed is another issue and could not be included in the initiative.

If GMO crops are substantially equivalent to conventional crops, and if GMO foods are as safe as the Ag-biotech industry claims, why would they spend 45 million dollars to prevent them from being labeled?

Most commercial genetically engineered crops, such as com, canola, sugar beets, cotton and soybeans, are developed to be herbicide resistant, so that herbicides will kill the weeds without harming the crops, or to be pest resistant by producing their own pesticides within the plant.

The weeds and bugs are fighting back! Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" crops require heavier spraying to be effective because many of the weeds have become resistant. The Western Com Rootworm is also becoming resistant to the BT toxin pesticide produced in each cell of genetically engineered com. 

The producer of Roundup has said that genetically engineered crops would lower the use of herbicides , but a peer reviewed research study done by Professor Charles Benbrook of Washington State University states that "the annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011." Despite numerous studies showing adverse health effects and serious environmental concerns surrounding the use of Glyphosate, the EPA just raised the allowed residue levels of Glyphosate on food.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is a systemic chemical that is absorbed into the

plant when it is applied to the seeds, soil or leaves and cannot be washed off. It circulates throughout the tissues of the plant and is consumed along with the plant.

A study in May 2013 found that G lyphosate inhibits the body's natural detoxification process by increasing the effects of other damaging environmental and ingested toxins. Glyphosate has been linked to cell death, birth defects, liver and kidney problems, Parkinson's disease, miscarriage, low sperm counts, DNA damage, breast cancer, ADD and ADHD, autism, and more recently, the destruction of gut bacteria.  Studies show a correlation between a marked increase in these conditions and the introduction of genetically engineered foods.

Stephanie Seneff, PhD, senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains how Glyphosate kills bacteria in the gut, wiping out delicate beneficial microflora that help protect us from disease. These findings shouldn't be a surprise to Monsanto who, about 10 years ago, registered a patent for Glyphosate's use as an antimicrobial agent..  Seneff said that Glyphosate can produce leaky gut syndrome by compromising the protective lining in the gut and disrupt the production of serotonin and tryptophan. Low serotonin levels have been linked to depression and other ailments. (Entropy 2013, /5(4))

A June, 2013 study found that Glyphosate (Roundup) multiplies the growth of hormone­dependent breast cancer by 500- J ,300%, even at exposures of just a few parts per trillion (ppt). (Food Chern Toxicol, 2013 June, I 0)

In 1997, the California Environmental Protection Agency set a limit of 1.0 mg/L (1,000 ppb) of Glyphosate in drinking water." This is 1,000 times higher than the amount shown to cause a 500.1,300% increase in cancer ceil growth, and was almost 50% higher than the national EPA exposure level 0[700 ppb.

At the end of May, 2013 it was reported that Glyphosate was found in urine samples of city dwellers living in Europe in concentrations 5 to 20 times the limit allowed in their drinking water. It is time that we label GMOs and ban the use of Glyphosate on our food supply. 

Published in Sonoma County Peace Press Aug/Sept. 2013

Karen Hudson is Coordinator of Sonoma County Label GMOs and is a retired teacher; cancer survivor; mom, and grandma. She taught nutrition classes and studied and advocated healthy lifestyles and nutrition for forty years. 

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