Genetically Modified Foods and the Threat to Public Health

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017

A long-term study of genetically modified corn, or maize, published in the September 19, 2012 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that laboratory animals fed the genetically modified Roundup-tolerant corn developed breast cancer, dysfunction of the pituitary, sex hormone imbalance, liver congestion and necrosis, and kidney disease at a much higher rate than controls. These alarming health effects occurred after 90 days, the length of time of prior industry studies, and the animals were followed for over 2 years. The potential risks and harm to individuals and to world food supplies from both these specific GMOs and the genetically matched glyphosate herbicides is not simple, but is proven to be real.

Corn that is genetically modified to be unaffected by the common herbicide Roundup (Monsanto), itself the subject of many alarming studies revealing potential harm to the health, has been approved in the United States, and now makes up the bulk of the crop, but over the intense objections of many scientists. This study cited above, at the University of Caen, Institute of Biology, in Caen Cedex, France, and the University of Verona, Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Motor Sciences, in Verona, Italy, was immediately criticized by the food industry, and challenged. It was perhaps the first unbiased study designed to determine long-term negative health effects, and will be followed up by health authorities with further study in Europe. Unfortunately, by the end of 2015, there were still no adequate unbiased and independent follow-up studies to explore these long-term health risks published. The array of criticisms of the small and specific University of Caen and Verona study concerned a lack of control animals in the original study, the failure to assess all of the many potential causes of the cancers, kidney and liver dysfunctions seen in the study animals, and the failure to assess all of the potential causes of early mortality in the animals given the GMO corn or the combination of the GMO and herbicide. Of course, almost all such scientific studies are initially underfunded and start with a small study that needs much larger funding and elaborateness to verify. The public, and much of the scientific community, is still wondering why, with this level of threat, such studies have not been performed, or at least not published. The enormous industry pressure on governments, university research programs, and published journals is one obvious answer to this question. The widespread embarrassment and scandal that would result from so many governments and health organizations quickly approving the ubiquitous and enormous marketing of these specific GMO crops and glyphosate herbicides if indeed the harm and risk is real is also an issue, a potentially explosive political issue. Such scientific study as this is applicable to the Roundup Ready GMO crops of wheat, soy, sugar beet, rice and other staple food crops as well, and while it may be difficult to absolutely prove a direct cause of specific diseases in individuals from these crops, as there are many potential causes in the environment and diet, the health threat is real, and of concern.The 2012 University of Caen and Verona study did prove that the risks to human health over a long period of time, postulated by studies of laboratory animals that have been shown to be compatible with the human organism, and have a relatively short lifespan, are real, and were purposely ignored in the amazing amount of industry-generated research published to gain approval of these GMO crops.

A 2016 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine stated that the chief reason justifying the widespread approval of massive growing of Monsanto, and now Dow and Dupont, GMO crops matched to herbicides, cited by the industry and parroted by even the World Health Organization (WHO), that the health risks were justified due to the promise of higher yields of staple foods in a world where rising populations and food shortage is big problem, and the need for herbicides and pesticides would be greatly reduced, were indeed false promises. The chairman of the committee that filed the analysis, Professor Fred Gould of North Carolina State University, wrote awkwardly in the preface that: "We received impassioned requests to give the public a simple, general, authoritative answer about G.E. (genetically engineered) crops. Given the complexity of the G.E. issues, we did not see that as appropriate." This report shows that these current GMO crops have not provided economic or environmental benefits to farmers, as was advertised heavily, and we see that despite enormous pressure from the industry to issue reports that clear these specific GMO crops of medical harm, these now definitive reports are slowly admitting that the Monsanto GMO crops were indeed falsely promoted and in fact a scam. This Academy report also recommended that we adopt a more nuanced approval process, with a tiered classification of threats to health and the environment. While once again this committee found no conclusive legal direct cause-and-effect relationship between the GMO crops and diseases, this was expected, as the proof of health risks involve multifactorial health problems that could be caused by an array of factors. This lack of legal proof of a one-to-one relationship between the crops and diseases does not rule out the potential adverse health effects. The public must realize that if we were sold a bill of goods regarding the great economic and environmental benefits of of adopting Roundup Ready GMO crops that we surely cannot trust the huge amount of industry generated and funded research reassuring complete safety of these crops and herbicides. Even today, this analysis by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences is dominated by a large body of safety research generated by these companies themselves, and the bulk of unbiased studies is still relatively small in comparison.

The main points in the confusing issue of the widely adopted GMO crops Roundup Ready corn, soy, sugar beet, rice, and the Bt toxin GM crops, are that 1) there are potential long-term health risks to insertion of certain engineered genes and new proteins in staple food, with increased risk of protein allergies as well as added stress on the human immune system and metabolism that may contribute to liver and kidney problems and cancer; 2) there are proven harmful effects to human health from glyphosate herbicides and glyphosate metabolites at even low levels and accumulation; 3) there are proven injuries and dangers to the environment from ubiquitous use of a single type of herbicide, especially when resistance to the herbicide occurs, as well as eventual damage to the health of the soil biome and mineral balance needed to produce healthy foods; 4) the reasons provided that spurred quick, universal, reckless approval of these GMO crops and matching herbicide have been proven to be lies and mistruths, with a lack of the expected economic and environmental benefits, and in fact the opposite effects in the long run; 5) we lack the regulatory technology and guidelines to insure that each genetically modified food, both plant and animal, is assured of long-term safety; 6) the universal adoption of single types of GMO staple crops leaves humanity open to the threats presented by lack of genetic diversity in food crops and thus a much increased potential that specific diseases will evolve that destroy a type of staple food and create enormous harm with sudden lack of food as well as massive economic harm; and 7) the spread of genetically modified gene traits to related species of plants and animals, as well as horizontal gene transfer, presents an unknown threat that could be devastating in the future.

The chief concern raised by scientific experts in this field is that we will realize too late that we have introduced genetic changes into our food crops that have long-term adverse effects on public health that are complex, still poorly understood, and unexpected. Genetically modified glyphosate-tolerant soybeans, cotton and canola are already being planted, as well as corn and sugarbeets, and the costs of these GMO seeds is high, while the long-term economic benefits are problematic. In 2009, it was reported that 95 percent of Argentina's annual soy crop of 47 million tonnes was composed of the GM Roundup Ready genetically modified soybean, the same percentage as in the United States. In addition, Roundup-resistant sugar beets were introduced in Canada and the USA in 2008, and by 2013, about 54 percent of the sugar sold in the United States was genetically modified. By 2013, it was estimated that over 90 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States was genetically modified. In 2009, the US Court of Appeals held to its decision to uphold a ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa, citing potential to cause irreversible harm to organic and conventional crops, damage to the environment, and economic harm to farmers. Once again, giant corporations adopted a plan to offer initial costs to their technology that were appealing, and once a domination of the market is secure, the costs rise to maximize profits, and the long-term costs incurred by damage to the soil, increasing need for chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, environmental toxicity and clean-up, and finally the effects from consumer alarm at the health threats increase the overall long-term price of the technology. All of this comes from a set of chemical companies that have a long and checkered history of creating enormous public harm from their products and passing the costs of long-term harm to the government and the taxpayer.

Worldwide Legislation to Reverse the Ubiquitous Growing of Specific GMO Crops

In recent years we are seeing more and more governmental regulation of these genetically-modified food crops, despite enormous lobbying, but also a strong reluctance to curb the alleged increased food production made possible by these strategies. Unfortunately, the evidence that these specific GMO crops actually increased food production or decreased the overall need for harmful herbicides and pesticides is lacking. A 2013 ruling by the top administrative court in France stopped a 2012 government ban on a Monsanto genetically modified Roundup-resistant corn, not because there was no evidence of risk or harm, as reported in many news services, but because the European Union laws state that proof of major risk to public health, or an emergency, is needed to enact such a ban. The French government responded that they would enact legislation to achieve further bans on genetically modified crops, and so far, by 2015, 19 EU member states have passed bans on genetically modified crops, despite approval of GMO crops by the European Food Safety Authority. Contrary to news reports, these bans on genetically modified crops do not apply to all genetically modified foods, just the harmful and threatening ones. The question is not a binary one, whether each person is for or against genetic science, but rather a nuanced one, with a growing percentage of people across the planet concerned about specific genetically modified staple food crops that pose considerable risk and are already creating harm. By 2016, bans on specific GMO crops were enacted in 38 countries. The most important issue is the well-structured campaign of misinformation and the quick, almost sudden, domination of the world market for staple crop seeds and herbicides by just a few corporations. This potential for international manipulation of the human food supply presents a clear and present security risk that needs to be addressed.

This study from 2012 mentioned above, headed by Gilles-Eric Seralini, Emilie Clair, et al, and associated with the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering, found that animals fed this corn, some with corn treated with Roundup, and some with corn not treated with the herbicide, died 2-3 times more than controls, and had shorter life spans. Alarmingly large breast tumors developed in many animals, after the 90 day period that most prior studies had used as the endpoint. About 3/4 of the altered biochemical parameters noted in the study related to the kidneys, and fatty liver and liver necrosis occurred at a rate of 2.5 to 5.5 times that of controls. The genetically modified corn was developed by the Monsanto Corporation, as was the glyphosate herbicide called Roundup that was matched to these crops of corn, soy, canola and cotton. How they succeeded in having their patented genetically modified crops take over almost the entire seed plantings in so short of time is both amazing and alarming, and has led many thoughtful individuals question whether our government is now just controlled by huge multinational corporations, or are we still a democracy of, by and for the people.

A number of countries in the European Union have passed laws restricting genetically modified crops, and a proposition in California was on the fall 2012 ballot, as well as other states, to require food labels to point out that the food contains genetically modified ingredients (poorly written, it turns out, and requiring that growers not using genetically modified crops spend an inordinate amount of money proving that their foods were not GMO, which was designed to drive many small farmers out of business, as well as not distinguishing between benign genetically modified food crops and harmful ones - in effect benefiting Monsanto and Dow in the long run, as confusing as this sounds). In 2015, the European Union amended its rules to allow member states to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the separate territories, ending a legal struggle. A growing skepticism of widespread manipulation of health study information, documented by the U.S. congress under the watch of the Republican congressman from Iowa, Charles Grassley, has contributed to the fear that the profit motive may be forcing out concerns for public health in industry. Since all of these feared long-term health effects, and diseases, are potentially multifactorial, proving the liability of a single factor, such as a low level of herbicidal chemicals, or the effects of genetically modified staple foods on protein messengers and protein enzymes, is almost impossible in the legal system. This degree of legal protection of manufacturers makes it even more important that our government prevent this scenario rather than deal with the eventual ramifications of widespread public health risks.

Finally, in 2015, the Obama administration announced a retooling of the system that approves genetically modified foods. This system was created in 1986, called the 'coordinated framework', and updated in 1992, at a time that genetically modified crops were not yet being sold. The responsibility for public safety approval in this framework was purposefully designed to thwart public concerns, involving the Agriculture Department (USAD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but with no real clarity on ultimate responsibility, and a cumbersome set of regulations and rules that favored only the large corporations such as Monsanto, and made it difficult for any smaller competitors to survive the process financially, in effect preventing useful and safe biotechnology using genetic modification. The White House Science Advisor, John P. Holdren, and three other officials, announced the process of creating new rules regulating genetically modified foods, with 3 public hearings scheduled starting in Washington DC in the fall of 2015. Hopefully, the biotech industry and the public interest groups will be able to agree to a system that is finally safe and transparent. Professor Holdren from Harvard has been one of the world's experts in government policy, environmental policy, overpopulation, arms control and climate change, and holds degrees specializing in plasma physics, aeronautics, astronautics and energy technologies, teaching at Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley for decades, and accepting a Nobel Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which he chaired. He is working with Christy Goldfuss, the Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who served at the National Parks Service and worked closely with John Podesta on congressional relations, as well as with him at the Center for American Progress, a think tank that he founded.

Scientists have voiced much concern that we are judging the safety of new chemicals and genetic alteration of our staple food crops with the same level of concern of immediate toxic effects, or poisoning, that we have applied to herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers in the past, rather than looking at long-term implications of the alterations of our genetic, hormonal, neurological and immunological physiology from these genetically modified staple foods and newer herbicides and pesticides. In addition, concern about the enormous amount of data justifying safety that comes from the manufacturer, not from completely independent studies, and the danger of a single company providing both an herbicide and a genetically modified set of staple crops that are resistant to this herbicide, which may be applied to a large majority of the world's staple food crops, are of course setting off warning bells that we are needlessly putting the population of the planet at risk.

While this company, Monsanto, is able to spend an enormous sum of money to control public opinion, scientific research and publication, and even the decisions of government, the individuals in society are understandably concerned. When looking at the track record of the Monsanto Company regarding the health risks of dioxins in PCBs, dioxins in Agent Orange herbicides, and the failure to take actions to protect the public health for decades, as well as the scientific findings of damage over time to the liver, endocrine system, kidney function, and neurological system from both the dominant world herbicide Roundup (glyphosate-based) and the Roundup-resistant genetically engineered staple crops, a growing chorus of individuals are demanding that safety be absolutely insured in this important matter. In May of 2013, organizers of the March Against Monsanto stated that over 2 million protesters in over 50 countries participated in protests on the same day. The concern was not just for the health of the public, but the health of nature itself, and the need to increase diversity in our staple foods, not continue towards a potentially disastrous monocropping strategy. Many also believe that this debate will decide whether governments protect their citizens more than their corporations, the 21st century class struggle.

A Detailed Misinformation Campaign is 'Just Business As Usual' in the Chemical Industry - Refined Over Decades of Struggle to Avoid Liability

The industry/media response to the widespread public alarm at the sudden takeover of world food staple crops by a single company has been, of course, a complex misinformation campaign. Articles that claim that the anti-GMO campaign does not distinguish between crops that are proven safe from those that are either proven or potentially harmful have been printed in abundance. A close look at these claims against the anti-GMO scientists and organizations shows that there is little validity to this, though, except in the media itself. The very name of the 2013 worldwide protest, March Against Monsanto, shows that the organizers of this project are not protesting against all GMO crops (genetically modified organisms), and are decidedly focused on the Monsanto Roundup Ready GMOs and and Bt GM crops. One example in the media is the protest against a single field of a genetically modified rice called Golden Rice. This isolated incidence involved a Philippine community that was spurred to destroy a research field of a genetically modified rice that was touted in Time magazine in 2000, and that contained a gene that produced beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is deficient in the diet of a large part of poor Asians and Africans, who depend on inexpensive rice for most of their nutrition, because of monocropping, global food economies, and discouragement of local, sustainable agriculture practices by a vast system of non-governmental organization (NGOs) that distribute surplus crops from wealthy countries to poor communities.

The second major criticism of citizens protesting Monsanto GMO strategies worldwide is that this protest is based on misinformation, with a fundamental belief that these genetic alterations are spreading readily to other plant species, which is theoretically impossible. The fact is that renowned scientists at major university research centers are questioning the safety of these widespread genetic modifications, and most protesters realize that so-called superweeds occur because of evolved resistance to glyphosate herbicides, not cross-species genetic changes. Such published criticism of the protest against Monsanto GMO strategies is obviously designed to confuse the public, and protect the corporations involved, as well as to control the research funding, and only real public understanding and voicing of concern will alter the outcomes.

The scientific complexity of the issue of GMO crops and adverse effects and potential risks, both to human health, the environment, and agriculture itself, works in favor of the large corporations that have thoroughly analyzed this profitable business opportunity and are ready to counter any argument against what they are doing, relying on the public to jump to simplistic judgments. The reality is that the issue of a universal glyphosate herbicide matched with world domination of staple food crops that are genetically altered to resist this herbicide, coupled with similar tactics that violate our civilized ethics of economic control that have long been called "anti-trust", are complex. The public should not succumb to simplified dumbing down of the these issues and binary choices of whether to believe or not to believe, but instead educate themselves to the scientific issues involved. In the twenty-first century, civilization must advance their ability to analyze important issues of public health in a more complex manner.

When looking at the potential benefits of genetic modification, we might look to the example of the Golden Rice mentioned above. The answer to supplying a balanced healthy diet for distressed communities, and an agricultural economy that supplies income to buy the food, is to support sustainable agriculture and encourage a return to gardening and small farming, not to monocrop with a genetically modified staple grain to solve every nutritional deficiency in the world. Critics of this genetically modified rice, which has now been touted for over 15 years, but still not approved or in production, state that this strain of GMO is not a profitable crop, and hence will not be highly marketed, and was developed purely to hype the safety of GMO crops. If the targeted population depended upon Golden Rice to supply enough beta carotene, they would have to eat an enormous quantity, although the developers state that they are ramping up the beta carotene production in the rice through further genetic modification. After 15 years of development, some scientists are skeptical. While officially the Golden Rice strain is being developed through a non-profit called the International Rice Research Institute, the funding largely comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports much research that tries to find technological, patentable, and profitable, means to supplant natural chemicals in food and herbs. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation states on its own website that it is starting to support sustainable agriculture in 2012 by partnering with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, but stresses that it will advocate new technology, such as genetically modified crops that are drought and stress tolerant in Africa and South Asia. This is not the solution that many scientists advocating sustainable agriculture and diverse food species are shooting for.

In addition, regarding beta carotene deficiency as a need to use GMO crops, there already are naturally evolved strains of rice that have abundant antioxidant pigments, such as the Chinese fermented Monascus purpureus rice, popular in rural China, with valuable orange and yellow pigments that do essentially the same tasks as beta carotene. Beta carotene, a pigment retinoid in the Vitamin A family, is also found in abundance in a number of easy to grow and inexpensive crops, such as carrots, spinach, bell peppers, sweet potato, mustard greens, Bok-choy, Chinese cabbage, chives, spirulina, sorrel, purslane, nasturtium, barley, comfrey, watercress, and papaya. Poor communities do not need a genetically modified strain of rice to supply beta carotene and other useful pigment antioxidants. A little community health education and economic support for sustainable agriculture would solve the problem. Much of the world is now promoting a return to food growing practices that are traditional, growing private gardens, and small plots of vegetables, fruit trees, etc. due to the fact that since monocropping and globalization of staple foods have gained dominance, the price of food in poor countries has soared, increasing malnutrition in communities now dependent upon buying cheap foods, or being given food staples by NGOs, instead of just growing it. Local sustainable food economies do not fail the community when the global market controls decide to raise prices.

Should we use genetically modified staple crops to solve problems with nutrient deficiencies? Concerning beta carotene, or Vitamin A deficiency, listed as one of the three most prevalent micronutrient malnutrition health issues in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with iron and iodine deficiency, the solution to this problem, supported by the WHO and implemented around the world already, is the addition of Vitamin A to common foods. Already, Vitamin A deficiency in Guatemala and other Central and South American countries was reduced from 27 percent of the population to 9 percent in 1997 by simply adding Vitamin A supplement to sugar. In the Philippines, Vitamin A was temporarily added to the popular food additive monosodium glutamate and this improved children's health issues dramatically. Of course, adding Vitamin A to a potentially harmful additive such as monosodium glutamate was at best ill-conceived, and at worse a cynical move. Later programs in the Philippines added Vitamin A to margarine for 6 months and reported a drop in Vitamin A deficiency prevalence from 26 percent to 10 percent, and a 30 week program that added Vitamin A to flour used to make buns for schoolchildren halved the number of Vitamin A deficiency cases. Once again, adding Vitamin A, or beta-carotene, to transfat margarine, itself an unhealthy food product, appears either ill-conceived or a decidely cynical move. Instead of continuing these practices, or developing the healthiest way to get more Vitamin A into the public diet for impoverished people, these means of adding Vitamin A by public mandate, which have worked dramatically for many decades in the United States, were stopped, and the questionable use of a genetically modified rice from 15 years ago was again introduced to solve the Vitamin A malnutrition.

It seems illogical that we would need to genetically alter the world's rice crops to solve a public health problem with Vitamin A deficiency, not only because it would be expensive to create, and potentially raise of the cost of rice seed dramatically as a patented crop, but because we could easily solve the problem by fortifying common foods, as was done successfully in the United States and other countries, as well as providing public health education and encouraging the growth of green leafy vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and common garden herbs, or encouraging such popular foods as papaya. Also, with the introduction of new technology that comes with considerable long-term risk, the world needs to go slow in widespread adoption of healthy GMO food crops. Obviously, if we develop a genetic modification, and complex issues of affect on human physiology can only be tested by seeing what happens over the next 50 years, we should not put this genetic alteration in 90 percent of the world crop, like Monsanto has. The issue of GMO foods is not a simple yea or nay, and even support of useful genetically modified foods should not result in an automatic acceptance of potentially harmful genetically modified foods or monocropping, or the quick application of genetic modification to the entire world crop until it is certain that unhealthy consequences are ruled out. Our media outlets try to make all issues in the world binary, simply choosing sides, in order to simplify and sensationalize the news, and increase viewers and readers, but most issue in life are nuanced, not binary. Sensible analysis involves some thought and research, not just a gut reaction to propaganda, and requires some unbiased expert input, not research that is bought and paid for by the industry trying to make huge profits.

Scientific study is finding health risks and adverse effects not only with Roundup-resistant genetically modified crops, but with Roundup glyphosate herbicide itself, which is being heavily promoted as the single herbicide in use worldwide, and already creating a problem with Roundup-resistant superweeds, both from evolving defenses against the glyphosate herbicide and from acquiring the Roundup-resistant genes from the food crops, which Monsanto had claimed was nearly impossible

The real issue concerning GMO crops is not whether all GMO crops are bad, or which side you are on. Obviously, there was little opposition to genetically modified foods until the alarming facts came out concerning the list of negative factors associated with the Roundup-resistant staple crops quickly taking over the entire world seed crops, the dangers of Roundup glyphosate herbicide, and the problems with monocropping and patenting the food supply of the world for profit. With the widespread Monsanto Roundup-resistant genetically modified staple food crops, the issue is also one of whether we want this one type of herbicide to be used everywhere, with its own adverse health effects, and of course, evolved resistance in weeds to this glyphosate herbicide when it is the only one used. The 2012 study of genetically altered crops at the University of Caen, mentioned above, also fed some of the animals a dosage of the herbicide Roundup that was comparable to that found in the drinking water in some areas of the United States. Roundup, a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide also developed by Monsanto, is a glyphosate, or N-phosphonomethyl-glycine, that effectively kills broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. It works by inhibiting a protein enzyme involved in the synthesis of aromatic amino acids, such as tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which are important to neurohormonal health. While the shikimic acid pathway responsible for these effects is apparently absent in mammals, it does inhibit these important amino acids from forming in both plants and microorganisms. Since symbiotic microorganisms in our biota produce these essential amino acids for the human host, and we also depend upon such nutrients from plant foods that we eat, this is a concern.

In addition, the industry continues to state that the mechanism of toxicity of glyphosate in mammals is unknown, but appears to relate to the uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation, an extremely important aspect of our cellular metabolism. Oxidative phosphorylation, or chemiosmosis, is the mechanism that creates much of our cellular energy via mitochondria in our cells, generating ATP to fuel our biochemical processes. These researchers at the University of Caen Lower Normandy, in France, have conducted research on the health risks of glyphosate herbicides for many years by 2012, consistently finding evidence of adverse health effects from a realistic dosage and accumulative effect of the glyphosate combined with the other chemicals in the herbicides, as well as the metabolites of the glyphosate. The University of Caen Lower Normandy is an accredited public university established in 1432 with an enrollment of nearly 25,000 students, providing a wide range of doctoral degrees in health sciences, technology and engineering. There is absolutely no reason to believe that these researchers are biased or mistaken in their scientific studies. The justifications that universal use of a single glyphosate herbicide would decrease overall use of toxic herbicides in the world is also proving to be a fairy tale, especially as weeds acquire resistant traits to glyphosates, as well as the genetic alterations from Roundup-resistant seed crops through genetic drift, and superweeds are created, requiring more and more herbicides. The sales pitch that use of Roundup Ready GMO and Roundup herbicide would eventually decrease the world use and need of herbicides was a lie, and instead has increased the need for harmful herbicides, and this need may be extensive if resistant weeds spread through out agricultural land and crops.

Roundup, or glyphosate, has a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicity class 3 rating, on a scale of 1-4 (4 being the least toxic), and a mandate to wear protective clothing and bar entering a field where it is sprayed for at least 4 hours. Normally, the glyphosate degrades rapidly in the environment, but conjugated with other molecules, could potentially accumulate, and is proven in laboratory animal studies to be an endocrine disruptor, especially inhibiting aromatase enzyme. Monsanto admits to combining the Roundup with surfactants and other supposedly inert chemicals to help the herbicide penetrate plant cuticles, and critics cite the lack of these combined chemicals in the industry tests. Glyphosate has been found to persist in water for up to 60 days, and in sediments of streams and ponds for up to a year before degrading. Low glyphosate accumulations have been noted in many creeks and rivers in the United States and Europe, contradicting the industry data on breakdown in the environment. In soils, the half-life, or time for the chemical to break down by half, was noted as 141 days at a study site in Iowa, and up to 2 years in soil studied in Sweden. These findings of the few small studies published clearly show that the evidence presented by research funded directly or indirectly by Monsanto and the chemical industry were lies. Safety of Roundup herbicide was dependent on the impossibility of sufficient accumulation in the environment, and this was a lie. In 2015, a study by experts in genetic biology at King's College London in the U.K., the University of Caen in France, and the University of Verona in Italy, concluded low levels of accumulative glyphosate Roundup herbicide was associated with alterations of expression in thousands of gene clusters in laboratory animals in randomized controlled studies. The conclusion: "Our results suggest that chronic exposure to a GBH (glyphosate-based herbicide) in an established laboratory animal toxicity model system at an ultra-low, environmental dose can result in liver and kidney damage with potential significant health implications for animal and human populations" (PMID: 26302742).

While the risks, dangers and adverse effects of glyphosate herbicides and glyphosate conjugate molecules may seem like a lot of scientific garble to most people, the problems that have occurred can be simply stated. One, that glyphosate herbicide is toxic and does accumulate in the environment when overused; Two, that metabolites of the glyphosate herbicides are toxic; Three, that glyphosate inhibits important essential nutrients in food crops as well as the human Biome, causing deficiency of tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine; Four, that glyphosate is a mineral chelator that causes a potential deficiency of essential minerals in food crops, hardens soils and damages the biotic health of the food soils, where nutrition is obtained for humans, and could be contributing to the accumulation of chelated minerals in the drinking water that are harmful, such as lead; Five, that glyphosate when accumulated presents toxicity to the neuroendocrine health and a broad set of adverse health effects, even subfertility; and Six, Seven, Eight, more risks the more we study the problem. A little herbicide and pesticide, as little as is needed to successfully grow food, is obviously not a big health problem, but a tremendous amount of these toxic chemicals, and certainly world domination of a single herbicide, is an alarming public health threat, with the only real benefit being enormous profits for the company that makes it.

The Dangers of the Sudden Worldwide Adoption of Roundup Glyphosate Herbicide Because of the Huge Push to Grow Roundup-Resistant GMO Staple Crops - How and Why did Our World Staple Crops Change in Such as Short Span of Time?

One of the chief concerns with the sudden domination of our agriculture by a single herbicide and its matching GMO crops is the creation of weeds that are resistant to this herbicide, which is creating a demand for the next type of herbicide that is already matched to another set of GMO crops. This is a potentially devastating cycle that incurs huge profits for 2 corporations, but potential disaster for humanity, the environment, and agriculture itself.

The widespread use of the Roundup glyphosate herbicide, and subsequent bioaccumulation, as well as the cross-transfer of genetically modified plant genes, has resulted in an estimate of 7 to 10 million acres of land in 13 states in the U.S. with Roundup-resistant superweeds as well in 2012. These superweeds may create a further imbalance of natural plant species that compete with each other to form the natural habitat, as well as require more intense herbicides to control them. Many farmers also fear that these genetically modified corn species will breed with other natural corn species, altering even crops grown organically from non-genetically modified seed, since corn breeds by pollination spread on the wind. The Union of Concerned Scientists state that "GE crops do have the potential to cause a variety of health problems and environmental impacts. For instance, they may produce new allergens and toxins, spread harmful traits to weeds and non-GE crops, or harm animals that consume them. At least one major environmental impact of genetic engineering has already reached critical proportions: overuse of herbicide-tolerant GE crops has spurred an increase in herbicide use and an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds", which will lead to even more herbicide use." The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonprofit group founded in 1969 by faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with the Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry Kendall as founder and chairman, and now the Harvard professor and past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, James J. McCarthy, as chairman. With the growing evidence of potential harm from glyphosate herbicides such a Roundup, these specific genetically engineered crops, and alterations of other plants genes and explosive growth of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, do pose a real threat to public health. The main health threat is not immediate, but long-term, and is apparently complex and nuanced.

The industry cites numerous studies that they conducted that show safety of Roundup, but critics, mostly researchers and scientists at prominent universities, have long voiced concern, and skepticism at the way these studies were designed. While direct toxicity is not apparent with normal dosage of Roundup glyphosate, the concern is that indirect effects due to disruption of normal protein signaling and enzymatic effects would lead to chromosomal damage and contribute to various disease mechanisms. In addition, the slow bioaccumulation at a low level with conjugation of glyphosate with other molecules, interaction of glyphosate with other chemical toxins, and other indirect health effects continue to be studied. While numerous studies claim to show no toxicity to the systems in the body, and almost no potential for acute irritation to membranes, the fact is that in reported exposures with acute symptoms in California, Roundup has long ranked third in the number of reports of skin and eye irritation among agricultural workers, and products containing glyphosate ranked fifteenth for systemic and respiratory symptoms reported. Studies conducted outside of the United States, such as the 2002 study of teratogenic effects (fetal birth defects), at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre, Brazil (Eliane Dallegrave et al) showed that fetal defects, skeletal alterations, and long-term adverse effects on bone development was prevalent from normal dosage of Roundup glyphosate now seen in water sources (Toxicology Letters 142 (2003) 45-52). Epidemiologic studies in recent years confirm the increased frequency of birth defects among agricultural workers exposed to the highest levels of combined herbicides and fungicides. Increased scrutiny has resulted for both the mixture of chemicals in Roundup, and the interaction with other chemicals in herbicides and fungicides used with this common herbicide. A 2009 study, published in Scientific American, showed that reportedly "inert" chemicals in the herbicide, such as POEA (polyethoxylated tallowamine) were indeed toxic to embryonic cells and interfered with hormone production. It appears that the safety level of Roundup could have been assumed because of the quantity of favorable industry studies, not the quality.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a 2005 report on Roundup glyphosate that raised some questions concerning safety. For instance, glyphosate is not expected to accumulate in animal tissues, but residues of glyphosate have been found in fish, crustaceans, and molluscs exposed to water containing glyphosate. These accumulations declined to only 50-90 percent of accumulated levels when these animals were placed in water free of glyphosate for 28 days. This study of safety that was cited was performed in 1986. In 1989, surface water in the Netherlands contained up to 1 microgram of glyphosate per litre, and 6 micrograms of the glyphosate metabolite AMPA per litre. In Canada, in recent years, glyphosate residues as high as 5153 micrograms per litre of water were measured after direct aerial spraying. While the levels of residues declined after a few days to supposedly acceptable levels, with increased use, we can expect these levels to remain high, and numerous studies now demonstrate that glyphosates and their metabolites do not break down completely in a few days. The WHO reports that the most substantial source of residues appears to be runoff into our drinking water sources, so this glyphosate apparently does not break down quickly enough when sprayed, as purported. In the U.S., current studies showed that pond water contained 90-1700 micrograms of glyphosate per liter and 2-35 micrograms of the glyphosate metabolite AMPA per litre, and streams contained 35-1237 micrograms of glyphosate per litre of water. This is proof that the rosy picture of glyphosate Roundup herbicide breaking down quickly after spraying is not true. With bioaccumulation in anaerobic stream sediments (oxygen is needed for the chemical to break down), which are heavily polluted in the United States, the continuing release of glyphosate into the water would be expected from this source as well. The WHO data in 2005 for accumulation of glyphosate in foods was almost nonexistent, though, with the only information used in studies coming from industry studies, which showed that cereal grains sprayed with glyphosates contained up to 4.8 milligrams when the "good agricultural practices" were used. Many fear that this strange lack of published studies has also been scientifically engineered, and that the widespread use of a small number of studies designed by the company now has guided our expert opinion. All of this study exposes the fundamental mistruths still widely accepted by most institutions, revealing that the blinders are on, and reversing scientific beliefs strongly held continues to be a challenge. Such scientific religiosity needs to end.

By 2015, the World Health Organization finally released data that suggested that a number of scientific studies now confirmed the risk of glyphosate herbicides such as RoundUp in causing cancers, specifically linked to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in workers exposed to these herbicides. The longstanding tentative support by the WHO for Monsanto and RoundUp had come to an end, leaving the public to wonder just what had determined such support in the first place. A 2014 meta-review of all published scientific studies of health risks from agricultural pesticides and herbicides, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon Cedex, France, had already determined that B cell lymphoma was positively associated with glyphosate herbicides and other organophosphate and phenoxy herbicides, and that Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was associated with 21 pesticide chemical groups and 80 active chemicals in these products in 44 research studies of high quality (PMID: 24762670).

The most important toxicity in humans from this accumulation in water, soil and foods of glyphosates may be the accumulation in animal tissues of the metabolite of the breakdown of glyphosate, AMPA. AMPA, or 2-amino-3-3hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazol-4-yl-propanoic acid, is a specific agonist for the AMPA receptor, and a mimic for the abundant neurotransmitter glutamate. Two types of glutamate receptors, kainic acid and NMDA receptors, are highly associated with neurological diseases, such as epilepsy, and other diseases related to neural hyperexcitability, or excitotoxicity. Chronic diseases and symptoms associated with excitotoxicity and glutamate receptors, including nocturnal bruxism, ADHD, restless leg syndrome, anxiety and agitation disorders, tinnitus, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's, could be aggravated by AMPA. The WHO stated that no long-term study of toxicity or carcinogenicity of AMPA has been carried out (no studies carried out). Short-term studies showed irritation of bowel and urinary bladder mucosa, hormonal effects, and kidney degeneration, but only at high doses, and these studies were often conducted on just a few animals. The WHO states that no multigenerational study of reproductive toxicity of AMPA has been reported (not findings but studies themselves). It seems that after 20 years that we would have numerous studies of these concerns. Present data suggested that short-term toxicity of glyphosate and AMPA appeared to be low in concentrations expected in drinking water, or under usual conditions, but the concerns are not about short-term toxicity or low concentrations in the environment. What would happen when unusual concentrations occurred, such as when the industry adopted Roundup glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops and increased the use of Roundup substantially, is not reported (no studies cited). The widespread constant use of Roundup glyphosate herbicide has already occurred, though, in the last few years, spurred by widespread adoption of the Roundup-resistant genetically modified crops. Once again, we may have been led down the yellow brick road of fairy tale assurances that the industry would never adopt such complex policies and strategies that would harm public health. Most of us know better by now.

Increased Need for Fungicides, Other Pesticides, and Eventually Other Herbicides due to Overuse of Glyphosate Herbicides and Bt GMO

In the short-term the use of a GMO crop genetically adapted to a glyphosate herbicide (Roundup) and an insect toxin (Bt) would result in less need for herbicide and pesticide, but in the long-term this is proving to be untrue, and in fact the opposite is occurring. As so-called 'superweeds' develop with an adaptive trait of resistance to glyphosate herbicide, farmers must use both glyphosate and then an array of other herbicides to counter weeds, and as these glyphosate resistant traits expand we will obviously need more and more herbicide in the future, which will impact the crop health and the health of the public eating the crops. In addition, the chelating effects of glyphosate is proven to damage the soil Biome, or microbial balance, which is actually the chief means of controlling plant disease and in many cases, the balance of weed species. To ignore the role of Nature in the control of weeds and pests is ridiculous, yet this appears to be the general attitude of scientists employed by Monsanto, Dow and Dupont. Glyphosate herbicide is also proving to damage the soil Biome in ways that dramatically increase the growth of plant fungi, compounded by the mineral imbalance created by the chelating effects of glyphosate.

This rise in crop fungal infections has led to a dramatic increase in the use of fungicide, a type of pesticide, and subsequently a dramatic rise in fungi resistant to synthetic fungicides. Now, fungicide has a low acute toxicity to humans, but the chronic toxicity, especially if the amount of fungicide reaches accumulative levels on the plant foods and in the runoff into drinking and bathing water, is a cause of concern. A 2016 Pesticide Safety Fact Sheet entitled Potential Health Effects of Pesticides, by experts at Penn State University, PennStateExtension, in the U.S. stated that: "Chronic exposures to lower concentrations of fungicides can cause adverse health effects. Most cases of human fungicide poisonings have been from consumption of seed grain." This problem was of such concern that a pink dye was required to distinguish treated seed grain, but obviously, if fungicide is sprayed on seed grain crops, these crops have low concentrations of fungicide on them. The list of signs and symptoms from low level fungicide exposure in this report includes not only skin and eye irritation, but respiratory tract disease, allergies, eczema, diarrhea, and neural and visual disturbances. Organophosphate pesticides, of which there are many, have increased in use in the last decade dramatically, and inhibit the activity of cholinesterase, an important human enzyme that regulates the levels of key molecules such as acetylcholine, the most important and prevalent neurotransmitter. Altered levels of acteylcholine are involved in excitotoxicity in the brain, movement disorders such as noturnal bruxism and restless leg syndrome, and ADHD. Organophosphate pesticides were developed by Monsanto and now account for about 70 percent of all pesticides in use in the United States.

The worldwide use of pesticides and fungicides declined between 1999 and 2004, mainly due to the sudden widespread use of GMO crops, but since 2005 the use of both herbicides and pesticides, especially fungicides, have steadily increased, with an increase of about 3 percent per year for synthetic pesticides, and about 15 per year for biopesticides, which come with less potential harm to the public. In the U.S. there are currently registered more than 245 biopesticide-active ingredients, and these account for about 20 percent of all pesticide chemicals used in the United States. Synthetic fungicide overuse has led to the development of resistant strains of fungi, accumulative pollution, and residual toxicity. The rise in natural biopesticides and plant-based fungicides, essentially herbal medicine, has occurred because this enormous rise in the need for fungicides and pesticides has created public health problems, negative effects on non-targeted organisms, and environmental concerns. The promise of environmental benefit from the Roundup Ready and Bt GMO from Monsanto was short-lived, and the opposite environmental harm is long-term and complex, now even acknowledged by the 2016 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.