Secret studies proving Monsanto sells poison

Rappoport’s Blog
by Jon Rappoport

Claire Robinson has written a stunning article exposing hidden proof Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is poison:

The glyphosate toxicity studies you’re not allowed to see,” gmwatch.org, July 2, 2014.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s product, which is used in hurricane-like proportions on GMO crops.

Robinson doesn’t baldly assert these secret studies prove the poisonous nature of Roundup, but her piece certainly leads to that conclusion.

Here are the facts:

In China, this year, the Ministry of Agriculture admitted that legalizing the import of Roundup was based on a single toxicology test done in St. Louis.

Monsanto then stated, as Robinson reports, “that the study constituted its own commercial secret, adding that the company had never disclosed the study anywhere in the world and did not agree to disclose it now.”

Why not? Because the study proved Roundup was safe? Are you kidding?

In Europe, two studies on Roundup toxicity are also hidden in the closet.

The European Food Safety Authority and German regulators, Robinson states, “have refused… requests to release the studies, on the grounds that they are commercially confidential information.”

In other words, the studies are owned by a corporation(s).

No problem. Nothing is riding on the results of those studies except the health of the population of Europe.

In 2011, a group called Earth Open Source issued a report: Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?

Robinson writes: “The report found that industry’s own studies conducted in the 1980s and 1990s showed that glyphosate causes birth defects in experimental animals. While the industry studies themselves are held by the German government and remain secret, the Earth Open Source authors examined Germany’s summary report on the studies, which is in the public domain. This report was submitted to the EU Commission and led to glyphosate’s European approval in 2002.”

What?!

Germany’s summary report invented various “redefinitions” of birth defects that downplayed their significance, and Roundup was approved for sale.

And again, the actual studies are being held secret.

Let’s see. Studies on the toxicity of Roundup are hidden by Monsanto and government regulators. The studies are called “corporate property.” That’s the justification.

“We own this science and we’re not releasing it. But don’t worry, it’s not important, you’re safe, Roundup is safe, it’s all good.”

Here’s the bottom line. If corporate science is used to justify the safety of corporate products, then that science must be made public in every detail, so it can be examined by people who don’t owe their souls to the corporations.

Anyone who stands in the way of this happening is a rank criminal.

But in this respect, we live in a lawless society. Government protects the corporations and itself.

The US Justice Department wouldn’t arrest and prosecute Monsanto executives who hide toxicity data in a million years.

But poisoning Americans? No problem.

Glyphosate/Roundup & Human Male Infertility

ISIS

Steep decline in human male sperm count concomitant with rise in testicular germ cell cancer, congenital malformations of the male reproductive tract and drop in serum testosterone levels, all pointing towards increasing exposure to glyphosate/Roundup herbicides during the past decades, now corroborated by lab findings Dr Mae-Wan Ho

A fully referenced and illustrated version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.

“The infertility timebomb: are men facing extinction?”

The headline of a newspaper article published in 2010 [1] refers to findings from decades of research carried out by Niels Shakkebaek, a professor at University of Copenhagen. Male infertility has been rising sharply in industrialized countries worldwide, one in five healthy men between the ages of 18 and 25 produce abnormal sperm counts. The problems start in the womb, says Dr. Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services in the UK. Testis development begins in the growing foetus. Factors blamed include too much beef in the diet rich in polycyclic aromatics, obesity during pregnancy, exposure to smoke, pesticides, traffic fumes, plastics and even soybeans.

Shakkebaek first highlighted the issue during a mini symposium at the European Medical Research Councils plenary meeting in Strasbourg in 2009. Semen quality has been declining in the past half century. In men without fertility problems, average sperm count dropped from 113 x 106 to 66 x 106/ml. About 20 % of young men in various European countries have sperm counts below the WHO (World Health Organization) reference level of 2o m/ml, and 40 % of have levels below 40 m/ml associated with prolonging the time to pregnancy [2]. Concomitantly, the demand for assisted reproductive technology (ART) is growing. In Denmark, more than 7 % of all children born in 2007 were conceived using ART.

There are geographical differences in semen quality. Finnish men have 35 % higher sperm counts than Danish men, while Scottish and French sperm counts are in between. Japanese sperm counts are as low as those of the Danes, and Singapore men have even lower sperm counts.

The trend in semen quality has implications for health in general, as men with poor semen quality seem to have increased mortality rates and shorter life expectancy. Infertility is also closely linked to several dysfunctions and abnormalities of male reproductive organs that have been rising concomitantly with infertility.

Infertility trend associated with testicular germ cell cancer, congenital malformations & low testosterone

Testicular germ cell cancer (TGC) is the commonest cancer in young men in many countries, associated with impaired semen quality and lower fertility rates even prior to cancer development. The incidence of TGC has been increasing over the past 40 to 50 years in the majority of industrialized countries coincidentally with the declining trend in semen quality. TGC is initiated during foetal development. The regional differences in TGC incidence in Europe follow the same pattern as observed for semen quality.

Congenital malformations of the male reproductive tract – undescended testis and incomplete fusion of the urethral folds that form the penis – are among the most frequent congenital malformations in human males. These two abnormalities share common risk factors, both associated with reduced fertility; the first malformation is also associated with poor semen quality and considerably increased risk of TGC. Incidences of these malformations appear to have been increasing in the Western world over recent decades.

Testosterone, the male hormone, is the major driver of male reproductive development and function. Suppression of its levels within the adult testis shuts down spermatogenesis and induces infertility. Studies of men with idiopathic infertility – for which the cause is unknown – and low sperm counts often show evidence of abnormal Leydig cells, which produce testosterone in the testis.

In Europe, incidences of TGC and congenital reproductive tract malformations have been going up coincidentally with a downward trend in semen quality and testosterone levels (although there are only data for the latter in Denmark). These disorders share common risk factors and are risk factors for one another. Consequently, it has been proposed that the conditions collectively may represent a syndrome – a testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) – caused by a common underlying causal factor, which is either a change in lifestyle or an environmental toxin, especially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as pesticides. Notably, the review published by the European Science Foundation (an official body that coordinates international research programmes in Europe) fails to mention glyphosate explicitly, even though its use has been rising most rapidly among pesticides in Europe and in the rest of the world since the 1980s to 1990s.

Age-independent testosterone decline reflects rise in glyphosate use with GM crops

In America, there has been a substantial age-independent decline in testosterone that does not appear attributable to observed changes in explanatory factors including health status and lifestyle characteristics such as smoking and obesity. The estimated declines were larger than the cross sectional declines typically associated with age, as shown in Figure 1 [3].

The data are from randomly selected men living in greater Boston, Massachusetts in the United States, not connected with studies on infertility but with aging in general, as considerable loss of serum testosterone is thought to be a mark of male aging.

It is notable that the steep decline in testosterone levels began just after the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops in 1994 with concomitant increase in glyphosate herbicides use on glyphosate tolerant GM crops. A comprehensive review article has blamed glyphosate for “most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet” including infertility [4], although the precise mode of action, at least in the case of infertility, remains unclear.

Roundup more damaging than glyphosate

There is already evidence that glyphosate is an endocrine disrupting chemical (see later), but the extent of the problem is far greater than it appears. Different glyphosate formulations vary in toxicity, mainly because some of them contain adjuvants that are either toxic by themselves, or else exert synergistic effects with glyphosate. It has long been known that Monsanto’s formulation Roundup, the most widely used glyphosate herbicide, is far more damaging than glyphosate itself (reviewed in [5] Ban GMOs Now, ISIS special report).

Giles-Eric Séralini and colleagues at University of Caen in France clearly demonstrated that POEA (polyethoxylated tallowamine, a major adjuvant surfactant in Roundup) alone was by far the most cytotoxic for several human cell types, at concentrations a hundredth to ten-thousandth that of glyphosate itself and other formulations without POEA [6]. Another study from the same laboratory also showed that Roundup exposure damages testosterone producing Leydig cells from mature rat testis at concentrations a tenth of agricultural use and beginning 1 hour after exposure [7]. Within 24-48 h, the same formulation was toxic to other cells inducing cell death, in contrast to glyphosate alone, which is only toxic to Sertoli cells (feeder cells for germ cells). At 48 h, Roundup induces apoptosis (programmed cell death involving DNA fragmentation) in germ cells and in Sertoli/germ cells co-culture. At the very low, non-toxic concentration of 1 ppm, both Roundup and glyphosate decreased testosterone level by 35 %. These experiments expose a major inadequacy in the regulatory regime, which still regards POEA in Roundup as an inert adjuvant for which no risk assessment is required.

A recent laboratory experiment shows that Roundup has direct, acute impacts on the mammalian testis at levels of exposure orders of magnitude below recommended agricultural concentrations.

Acute Roundup exposure at very low concentrations kills cells in the immature testis

The Brazilian research team led by Ariane Zamoner at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, and Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, are well aware of the increased toxicity of Roundup compared with glyphosate, and were prompted to investigate the effects of Roundup by the high prevalence of reproductive dysfunction among agricultural workers occupationally exposed to the herbicide. They looked at concentrations of Roundup 2 to 3 orders of magnitude below the 10 000 to 20 000 ppm (10-20g/L) used in agriculture, which is quite realistic in terms of exposure levels for agricultural workers and members of the general public close to or within the spraying range [8].

The researchers found that brief exposure to Roundup at 36 ppm (0.036 g/L) for 30 minutes was sufficient to induce oxidative stress (a failure of energy metabolism, see later) and activate multiple stress-response pathways leading to cell death in the pre-puberty rat testis.

The team concluded [8]: “Altogether, the Ca2+-mediated disturbances by glyphosate-Roundup in rat testis cells around 36 ppm, could contribute to the reproductive effects observed in male agricultural workers exposed to this pesticide at prepubertal age.”

Detailed mechanisms of action identified

The team found that Roundup increases intracellular Ca2+ concentration by opening L-type -voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels – thereby allowing Ca2+ to enter the cells – as well as targeting the endoplasmic reticulum IP3 (inositol triphosphate) and ryanodine receptors (both Ca2+ release channels), leading to Ca2+ release and overload within the cells, setting off cell death. The mechanisms involved were inferred from experiments with specific inhibitors that cancelled out the effect of Roundup as well as Ca2+ influx; and confirmed by the increase in radioactive tracer 45Ca2+ uptake by testis incubated with Roundup at 36 ppm. These events were prevented by the antioxidants Trolox and ascorbic acid, which counteract the reactive oxygen species (see below) responsible for the oxidative stress. Activated protein kinase C, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and the mitogen-activated protein kinases such as ERK1/2 and p38MAPK all play a role in eliciting Ca2+ influx and cell death.

Roundup also decreases the levels of reduced glutathione (GSH, the tissue’s own antioxidant) as consistent with oxidative stress, and increases the amounts of thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBARS) and protein carbonyls, which are signs of oxidative damage from reactive oxygen species to lipids and proteins respectively. Exposure to Roundup stimulates the activities of a whole collection of enzymes supporting the down-regulation of GSH levels.

The research team looked at acute Roundup exposure of both whole immature Wistar rat testis and isolated Sertoli cells in culture; and the findings were very similar in the two systems.

Based on their experimental results, the team propose that Roundup toxicity is due to Ca2+ overload, resulting in cell signalling fault, a stress response and/or defence against depleted antioxidant, all contributing to the death of Sertoli cells, thereby impacting on male fertility.

The new findings are consistent with the well-known involvement of Ca2+ in cell death from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes Ca2+ influx into the cytoplasm from the extracellular environment and from the endoplasmic reticulum [9]. Rising Ca2+ concentration in the cytoplasm in turn causes Ca2+influx into the mitochondria and nuclei. In the mitochondria, Ca2+ accelerates the disruption of normal oxidative metabolism leading to necrotic cell death. In nuclei, Ca2+ modulates gene transcription and nucleases that control apoptosis (programmed cell death that involves fragmentation of DNA).

There is already evidence that glyphosate may act as an endocrine disruptor for both males and females by altering aromatase activity, oestrogen regulated genes, and testosterone levels in rats [10]. But Roundup acts via different mechanisms. Roundup exposure during pregnancy and lactation at a level that did not induce maternal toxicity in Wistar rats nevertheless induced adverse reproductive effects in male offspring, including decreased daily sperm production during adulthood, increase in abnormal sperms, and low testosterone serum level at puberty. In exposed female offspring, only a delay in vaginal canal opening was observed [11].

Oxidative stress and endocrine disrupting effects specific to Roundup

The key to understanding the action of Roundup on male infertility is the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in oxidative stress (see [12, 13] The Body Does Burn Water and Living with Oxygen, SiS 43). Not only are ROS implicated in practically every chronic human disease including cancer [14] (Cancer a Redox Disease, SiS 54), but also play an essential role in the pathogenesis of many reproductive processes as detailed in a review published in 2003 [15]. In male-factor infertility, oxidative stress attacks the lipids of the sperm plasma membrane and the integrity of DNA in the sperm nucleus. In addition, ROS induce DNA damage, accelerate germ cell death and decrease sperm counts, thereby contributing to male infertility.

ROS is so closely linked to male infertility that infertile males generating high levels of ROS are 7 times less likely to initiate a pregnancy compared with those with low levels of ROS. A meta-analysis demonstrated that ROS levels were significantly correlated with the fertilization rate in couples undergoing in vitro fertilization [16].

Ashok Agarwal at the Center for Advanced Research in Human Reproduction, Infertility and Sexual Function, Cleveland Ohio in the United States led a retrospective study on 132 male factor infertility (MFI) patients (failure to initiate pregnancy with fertile partner after one year of unprotected sex) consisting of 24 with all normal sperm parameters, 38 with all abnormal parameter and the rest with 1 or more abnormal parameters [17]. They found that the 34 normal healthy donors (controls) had significantly higher sperm concentrations, motility and morphology compared with all MFI patients. There was a significant association between MFI and ROS with odds ratio of 4.25, independently of sperm parameters and age. They concluded that high ROS is an independent marker of MFI, irrespective of whether these patients have normal or abnormal semen parameters. They proposed that ROS measurement should be included a part of idiopathic infertility evaluation, and treatment with antioxidants may be beneficial for such patents.

ROS are generated as intermediates in the central metabolic process whereby oxygen-breathing organisms obtain energy to fuel all their activities. The energy metabolism takes place in the mitochondria, the tiny membranous powerhouses within cells where fragments from the breakdown of glucose are oxidized ultimately into carbon dioxide and water. It involves a tightly coupled process of oxidative phosphorylation in which electrons and protons are extracted from the chemical fragments, with electrons transported down the electron transport chain and protons transported up the proton gradient, so that their energy can be tapped to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the universal energy intermediate of the body) (for a good summary of the entire process see Chapters 21 and 22 of [18]

Living_Rainbow_H2O, ISIS publication). During this tightly coupled process, ROS are generated as partially oxidized intermediates [13]. Consequently, disturbances that uncouple oxidative phosphorylation lead to a failure of oxidation and release the partially oxidized and damaging ROS intermediates into the cell, resulting in oxidative stress.

It is very likely that the primary target of Roundup, especially its POEA surfactant, is the mitochondria, which play a key role in the development of sperm cells and sperm motility [19]. In addition, male infertility could arise from ROS damages to mitochondrial DNA.

Francisco Peixoto at University of Trás-os-Montes, Real, in Portugal compared the effects of Roundup with glyphosate on isolated rat liver mitochondria [20] and found dramatic differences. Roundup collapses the transmembrane potential of the mitochondria and uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, depressing the rates of oxidation, with effects starting at 0.5 mM (7.5 ppm). These effects are most likely due to non-specific permeation of the mitochondrial membrane by Roundup or its adjuvant POEA. In addition, Roundup specifically inhibited succinate dehydrogenase, succinate cytochrome c reductase, and ATP synthase and ATPase, key enzymes in oxidative phosphorylation. Glyphosate, on the other hand, does not have any significant effects on the function of mitochondria up to the highest concentration used, 15 mM (253.5 ppm).

Second-Largest Dutch City Bans Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

Natural Society
by Elizabeth Renter

Some cynics write off citizen action including petitions and sign-carrying protestors. They don’t believe such small efforts can make any big difference. But the more than 600,000 people of Dutch city Rotterdam disagree. Their efforts, which began with a petition, have led to a “green initiative” in their city including the banning of Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship product.

The petition campaign was called “Non-toxic Sidewalks for Our Children.” With support from that country’s Green Party, concerned citizens were able to make a significant change for their city and their future.

As we know, Roundup (glyphosate) is a dangerous pesticide that is used all over the world. Though its maker, Monsanto, would have you believe there’s nothing to be afraid of, research says differently. As a matter of fact, glyphosate has been connected to numerous health problems including respiratory distress, cellular damage, and even cancer.  Check out this article which outlines just 7 nasty effects of pesticides. 

 “It is bad stuff and I’m glad we’re giving it up,” says Emile Cammeraat, Green party leader in the council. “The producer Monsanto also provides genetically engineered seeds, Monsanto’s own plants are the only thing RoundUp doesn’t kill. In such a business district as you want to be, no Roundup is simply necessary, as there are organic alternatives.” (Translated by Fritz Kreiss)

 Global consumers are getting wise to the dangers of Roundup and the GMO seeds designed to resist it. They don’t want Monsanto and other GMO-seed giants taking over the global food supply and have started grassroots resistance movements around the world. The problem lies in getting enough people to take actual action against the seed giants and local, state, and federal lawmakers who support them in one way or another.

Collectively, the people of Rotterdam were able to make their voices heard, essentially eliminating glyphosate from their local environment. There’s no reason similar cities in other areas of the world couldn’t do the very same thing.

Comically, the U.S. government has recently decided to increase the allowable amount of glyphosate in U.S. food crops, just as another place bans the substance. The new rule allowing for even greater use of this damaging ingredient would take existing limits on glyphosate and dwarf them with new, higher ones. These limits would truly only work to benefit the interests of one, and it’s not the American people, but Monsanto – the giant corporation who is making millions off of genetically modified crops and the destruction of agriculture and human health.

In addition to the Roundup ban, Rotterdam’s green initiative will provide new parks and play areas, and even get the city involved in planting fruit trees. There will be more flowers and environments to support bees and wildlife, and more places for the urbanites to take in nature without fear of contamination by Monsanto’s evil poster child.

Is It Time To Acknowledge Roundup Herbicide As A Contraceptive?

Natural Blaze
by Sayer Ji

How much longer will we deny the growing body of research linking Roundup to infertility before calling this chemical a contraceptive?

Following closely on the heels of the EPA’s decision to allow Roundup herbicide residues in your food at concentrations a million times higher than shown carcinogenic, a concerning new study published in the journal Free Radical Medicine & Biology implicates the herbicide, and its main ingredient glyphosate, in male infertility, at concentration ranges well within the EPA’s “safe level” for food.

Performed by Brazilian researchers, the study found acute Roundup exposure at low doses (36ppm, 0.036g/L) for 30 minutes induced cell death in Sertoli cells in prepubertal rat testis. Sertoli cells are known as “mother” or “nurse” cells within the testicles, as they are responsible for maintaining the health of sperm cells, and are required for normal male sexual development.

Roundup herbicide exposure was found to induce oxidative stress and to activate multiple-stress response pathways within affected cells, and was associated with an increase in intracellular calcium (Ca2+) concentration leading to Ca2+ overload, and cell death.

Thirty-minute incubation tests with glyphosate alone (36 ppm) also increased Ca2+ uptake, and both Roundup and glyphosate were observe to downregulate reduced glutathione levels. As glutathione is an antioxidant (electron donor) found within every cell in the human body, protecting it against oxidative stress, as well as maintaining a wide range of biochemical reactions such as DNA and protein synthesis and repair, amino acid transport, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid and enzyme activation, a dysregulation of glutathione can result in a wide range of adverse effects.

The researchers noted “Glyphosate has been described as an endocrine disruptor affecting the male reproductive system; however, the molecular basis of its toxicity remains to be clarified. We could propose that Roundup® toxicity, implicating in Ca2+ overload, cell signaling misregulation, stress response of the endoplasmic reticulum and/or depleted antioxidant defenses could contribute to Sertoli cell disruption of spermatogenesis that could impact male fertility.”

This study adds to a growing body of research implicating Roundup herbicide in male infertility:

A 2007 study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that Roundup herbicide altered the structure of the testis and epididymal region (part of the tubular spermatic duct system), as well as the serum levels of testosterone and estradiol, in male ducks, leading the researchers to conclude that Roundup “…may cause disorder in the morphophysiology of the male genital system of animals.”

A 2010 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology revealed prepubertal exposure to commercial formulation of the herbicide glyphosate alters testosterone levels and testicular morphology, leading researchers to describe the herbicide as “a potent endocrine disruptor.”

A 2011 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology revealed maternal exposure to glyphosate disturbed the masculinization process and promoted behavioral changes and histological and endocrine problems in reproductive parameters.

A 2011 study published in the journal Toxicology In Vitro found a glyphosate-based herbicide induced necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. In the study, Roundup and glyphosate at concentrations as low as 1 part per million produced a testosterone decrease in sperm cells by 35%.
A more recent 2013 study in male rats published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Reproductive Safety found glyphosate (in combination with another pesticide) provoked severe oxidative stress in male testes, resulting in inhibited testosterone production and disrupted gonadotropin levels.

Given the growing body of research clearly revealing Roundup’s toxicity to the germline of animal species, the argument can be made that this chemical has contraceptive properties and therefore genocidal consequences. By directly affecting the biologically immortal cells within the testes, whose DNA contains over 3 billion years worth of information essential for there being a future for our species as a whole, Roundup should be considered an instrument of mass destruction. At the very least, the precautionary principle should be applied, and any chemical that signals the potential to disrupt or destroy our species’ germline cells, should be banned unless the manufacturer can prove beyond a reasonable doubt its safety to exposed populations.

For additional research on the wide spectrum of adverse health effects now linked to glyphosate-based herbicide formulations such as Roundup, view our research articles on GMOs, as well as view and download our free biomedical PDF on glyphosate/Roundup research:

PDF on the adverse health effects associated with glyphosate-based herbicide

Related: EPA Raises Glyphosate Concentrations on Food Crops

Killing Bees In America & Worldwide Will Be The Death Of Humanity

Rense
by Frosty Wooldridge

The world-famous Harvard University biologist Edward O. Wilson speculates: “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”

Each day, millions of middle class Americans across this country spray Roundup, Weed-Be-Gone, Termite Spray, Bug Killer, Wasp Spray and hundreds of other poisons onto their sidewalks, driveways, bushes, trees, flowers and onto their lawns. They kill everything that pecks, slithers, crawls, flaps, bites and breathes. Their mass slaughter includes bats, honey bees, flies, butterflies, mosquitoes, wasps, bumblebees and other pollinators. Billions upon trillions of insects suffer death via poisons that disrupt their breathing or digestive tracks.

As human life menacingly expands across the planet, it devours the natural world. It kills the balance of the natural world. It murders just about anything that flies, bites or burps. According to a High Country News report years ago, Americans kill 1 vertebrate crossing our roads (road kill) every 11.1 seconds. That equals to one million deaths every day of the year.(www.HighCountryNews.com) That equals 365 million creatures lose their lives to tires, boat propellers, fans, boats, jet intakes, aircraft propellers and other mechanical devices every single day of the year. Humans kill everything that runs, leaps, flies or swims—by the billions and trillions.

But we shall pay for our transgressions when it comes to the pollinators: bees, bats, wasps, butterflies and other insects.

Consider the coming collapse of the $30 billion honey bee economy in the US.

“Since 2006 honey bees responsible for pollinating more than 100 crops—from apples to zucchini—have been dying by the tens of millions,” said a Huffington Post report. “As a new report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) details, scientists are still struggling to pinpoint the cause of so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and time is running out. Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops.”

The report said, “CCD has wiped out some 10 million bee hives worth $2 billion over the past six years. The death rate for colonies has hit 30% annually in recent years and there are now about 2.5 million honey bee colonies in the US, down from 6 million in 1947 and 3 million in 1990. That downward spiral leaves “virtually no cushion of bees for pollination.”

With mounting information, it becomes downright frightening. For example: take almonds. California harvests more than 80 percent of the world’s almonds. But you can’t grow the nut without honey bees and it takes 60 percent of the US’s remaining colonies to pollinate that one $4 billion cash crop.”

“If the death toll continues at the present rate, that means there will soon be barely enough bees to pollinate almonds, let alone avocadoes, blueberries, pears or plums. “We are one poor weather event or high winter bee loss away from a pollination disaster,” USDA scientist Jeff Pettis said in the report.

Jacques Cousteau worried about what humans were doing to the ecosystem: “If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe to be replaced by the insect.”

Scientists report several factors—from disease-carrying parasites to pesticides. What sickens me stems from the fact that we know our chemicals disrupt every living creature in a cornfield, wheat field, potato field, tomato patch and bean acre. Yet we pour, spray and inject more and more poisons.

A beekeeper said, “Bees are vital to our lives as they are among the primary pollinators of our food plants. It has been deduced that if our native bees were to die out the effect on crops and wild flowers would be utterly catastrophic. As these crops and flowers provide food for our wild and farm animals we could easily lose up to a third of our regular diet. This is a very real problem, and one that is not getting the attention it needs.”

Bees and other pollinators allow humanity to thrive. Without them, we won’t survive the 21st century. I finding it particularly galling if not a whole new dimension of “stupid” for our species to continue expanding our numbers while we diminish insect numbers, rodent numbers, big beasts and avian numbers at a rate of one million daily via road kill in the USA alone.
But the wholesale poisoning via such insane herbicides like Roundup makes me sick to my stomach. Those poisons travel into the ground, into the angleworms, into the birds, into the bugs and finally into the water systems where they ultimately poison each and every one of us. How can we be this stupid?

We wonder why 1 out of 3 Americans suffers from the biggest killer in the USA: cancer. How stupid can we prove ourselves? How absolutely out of touch and in denial of reality can we be? What kind of intellectually and morally bankrupt greedy money-mongers make TV commercials parading Roundup to millions of really stupid, ignorant and uninformed Americans too fat and too lazy to bend down and pull out the weeds on their driveway with their hands?

To think that within another 37 years, our country will grow by 137 million Americans while the rest of the world adds another 3 billion people—all capable of using Roundup and hundreds of other poisons to kill the bees of the world. We prove ourselves to be the smartest—dumbest species on this planet. I’ll toss in arrogant, self-righteous and insanely dull of mind to boot.
Tama Janowitz puts the earthly competition between insects and humans this way: “Long after the bomb falls and you and your good deeds are gone, cockroaches, will still be here, prowling the streets like armored cars.”

If you would like to make a difference, please join these organizations for the most effective collective action you can take: www.CapsWeb.org ; www.NumbersUSA.org ; www.TheSocialContract.com ; www.Fairus.org

Related: Accelerating Disappearance of Earth’s Species, Plants and Animals Is Threatening Survival of Humankind

Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds

Mother Jones
By Tom Philpott

Last year’s drought took a big bite out of the two most prodigious US crops, corn and soy. But it apparently didn’t slow down the spread of weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), used on crops engineered by Monsanto to resist it. More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the US is now genetically modified to withstand glyphosate.

Back in 2011, such weeds were already spreading fast. “Monsanto’s ‘Superweeds’ Gallop Through Midwest,” declared the headline of a post I wrote then. What’s the word you use when an already-galloping horse speeds up? Because that’s what’s happening. Let’s try this: “Monsanto’s ‘Superweeds’ Stampede Through Midwest.”

That pretty much describes the situation last year, according to a new report from the agribusiness research consultancy Stratus. Since the 2010 growing season, the group has been polling “thousands of US farmers” across 31 states about herbicide resistance. Here’s what they found in the 2012 season:

Superweeds: First they gallop, then they roar. Graph: Stratus

• Nearly half (49 percent) of all US farmers surveyed said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm in 2012, up from 34 percent of farmers in 2011.

• Resistance is still worst in the South. For example, 92 percent of growers in Georgia said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds.

• But the mid-South and Midwest states are catching up. From 2011 to 2012 the acres with resistance almost doubled in Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana.

• It’s spreading at a faster pace each year: Total resistant acres increased by 25 percent in 2011 and 51 percent in 2012.
• And the problem is getting more complicated. More and more farms have at least two resistant species on their farm. In 2010 that was just 12 percent of farms, but two short years later 27 percent had more than one.

So where do farmers go from here? Well, Monsanto and its peers would like them 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.

So industrial-scale corn and soy farmers will likely have to muddle along, responding in the same way that they have been for years, which is by upping their herbicide use in hopes of controlling the rogue weeds, as Washington State University’s Charles Benbrook showed in a recent paper (my post on it here). That means significant economic losses for farmers—according to Penn State’s Mortensen, grappling with glyphosate resistance was already costing farmers nearly $1 billion per year in 2011. It will also likely mean a jump in toxic herbicides entering streams, messing with frogs and polluting people’s drinking water.

For a good idea of what’s in store, check out this piece in the trade mag Corn & Soy Digest on “Managing Herbicide-Resistant weeds.” Here’s the key bit—note that “burndown” means a complete flattening of all vegetation in a field with a broad-spectrum herbicide such as paraquat, an infamously toxic weed killer that’s been banned in 32 countries, including those of the European Union:

For those with a known resistance problem, it’s not uncommon to see them use a fall burndown plus a residual herbicide, a spring burndown before planting, another at planting including another residual herbicide, and two or more in-season herbicide applications. “If you can catch the resistant weeds early enough, paraquat does a good job of controlling them. But once Palmer amaranth [a common glyphosate-tolerant weed] gets 6 ft. tall, you can’t put on enough paraquat to kill it,” [one weed-control expert] says.

But of course there’s another way. In a 2012 study I’ll never tire of citing, Iowa State University researchers found that if farmers simply diversified their crop rotations, which typically consist of corn one year and soy the next, year after year, to include a “small grain” crop (e.g. oats) as well as offseason cover crops, weeds (including Roundup-resistant ones) can be suppressed with dramatically less fertilizer use—a factor of between 6 and 10 less. And much less herbicide means much less poison entering streams—”potential aquatic toxicity was 200 times less in the longer rotations” than in the regular corn-soy regime, the study authors note. So, despite what the seed giants and the conventional weed specialists insist, there are other ways to respond to the accelerating scourge of “superweeds” than throwing more—and ever-more toxic—chemicals at them.