Sunday, April 28, 2013

As another report studies health risks of Monsanto's ubiquitous Roundup week killer; 49% of U.S. farms report Roundup-resistant 'superweeds'

French rats fed Monsanto's genetically engineered 'Roundup-
Ready' NK603 — a seed variety made tolerant to Monsanto's
Roundup weedkiller — died early: 50% of male and 70% of
female rats died prematurely, compared with only 30% and
20% in the control group, said the researchers.
A peer-reviewed study published in the scientific journal Entropy says residues of the chief ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, glyphosate, now found in food, enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce diseases such as Parkinson's, infertility and cancers
     The report was written by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc.
     More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton in the US comes from seed genetically altered to withstand direct application of glyphosate.
     The EPA is conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate and will decide by 2015 if glyphosate use should be limited. The study is among many comments submitted to the agency.
     Monsanto also sells canola, sugar beet, corn and soybean seeds that are genetically modified to withstand direct dousing in the field by Roundup without dying.
     Roundup, also used on golf courses, lawns, and gardens, is the world's most popular herbicide; 185 million pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, twice what was applied six years ago, according to the EPA.
Farmer Jake Conner stands in a field choked by Roundup resistant weeds.
     Forty-nine percent of U.S. farms now report glyphosate-resistant "superweeds." From 2011 to 2012 the acres with resistance almost doubled in Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana.
     According to Mother Jones:
     Monsanto and its peers would like them [farmers] to try out "next generation" herbicide-resistant seeds—that is, crops engineered to resist not just Roundup, but also other, more toxic herbicides, like 2,4-D and Dicamba. Trouble is, such an escalation in the chemical war on weeds will likely only lead to more prolific, and more super, superweeds, along with a sharp increase in herbicide use. That's the message of a peer-reviewed 2011 paper by a team of Penn State University researchers led by David A. Mortensen. (I discussed their paper in a post last year.)
     And such novel seeds won't be available in the 2013 growing season anyway. None have made it through the US Department of Agriculture's registration process. The USDA was widely expected to award final approval on Dow's 2,4-D/Roundup-resistant corn during the Christmas break, but didn't. The agency hasn't stated the reason it hasn't decided on the product, known as Enlist, but the nondecision effectively delays its introduction until 2014 at the earliest, as Dow acknowledged last month. Reuters reporter Carey Gillam noted that the USDA' delay comes amid "opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials" to the new product, and that these opponents have "bombarded Dow and US regulators with an array of concerns" about it.

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