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First-Of-its-kind Testing Shows Weed-killer Found in People Across Europe

First-Of-its-kind Testing Shows Weed-killer Found in People Across Europe

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Monsanto wheat Oregon GM GMO genetically-modified organisms

Monsanto wheat Oregon GM GMO genetically-modified organisms

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Published by: sisterrosetta on Jun 29, 2013
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"The unprecedented tests, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe, found the herbicide in 44percent of volunteers in 18 European countries"First-of-its-kind testing shows weed-killer found in people across EuropePosted Jun. 18, 2013 / Posted by: Adam Russellhttp://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2013-06-first-of-its-kind-testing-shows-pesticide-found-in-peopleMonsanto's Roundup chemical linked to breast cancer cell growthWASHINGTON, D.C. - Test results released last week reveal that people across Europe arecontaminated with world’s best selling weed-killer, glyphosate. The unprecedented tests, commissionedby Friends of the Earth Europe, found the herbicide in 44 percent of volunteers in 18 Europeancountries. [1] Neither the U.S. government nor the European Union track glyphosate levels in people,despite its widespread use, so these test results show for the first time that there may be widespreadpresence of glyphosate in the general population.The biggest producer of glyphosate is U.S. biotech giant Monsanto [NYSE: MON], which sells it underthe brand name “Roundup,” in combination with other chemical ingredients.“The presence of glyphosate and a glyphosate breakdown product in people suggests that manyEuropeans are exposed to the world’s most widely used herbicide. Further evaluation of the ingredientglyphosate would be wise, as well as the Roundup product, especially since the herbicide is used sopervasively in U.S. farm fields, schools, parks and homes,” said Emily Marquez, PhD, endocrinologistand staff scientist with Pesticide Action Network North America.A study published June 8 in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology suggests thatlow levels of glyphosate can induce growth in estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells, adding to thegrowing body of evidence raising concerns about widespread, chronic low-level exposures to Roundup.[2]“This new information is a warning bell telling us that we need to know more about how this weed-killer is polluting people and what the health consequences are of repeated, low level exposures to thispotential hormone disruptor, particularly for vulnerable populations like women of childbearing ageand children.” said Lisa Archer, Food and Technology program director of Friends of the Earth U.S.“Friends of the Earth is calling on governments around the world to ramp up investigations on thesafety of Roundup and its presence in people and restrict its use until it is proven safe to ensure peopleand the environment are put before the interests of a Monsanto and other chemical corporations.”Glyphosate is one of the most widely-used weed killers in the world, and its use is increasing in theUnited States due to the extensive use of genetically engineered crops. Weeds and insects in thenation’s agricultural fields are now resistant to glyphosate and Monsanto’s pervasive Roundup Readyproducts, causing farmers to use increasing amounts of glyphosate as well as even more toxicpesticides such as 2,4-D and dicamba. According to a peer-reviewed study published in 2012 inEnvironmental Sciences Europe, genetically engineered crops have increased pesticide use by 404million pounds in the United States since they were introduced in 1996. [3]
Two 2011 U.S. Geological Service peer-reviewed studies revealed that glyphosate use is so widespreadthat it is commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas. [4]“What’s happening in the U.S. should be a cautionary tale for the rest of the world. GE crops in theU.S. are creating a scourge of super-weeds and super-bugs that are keeping us on a pesticide treadmill,driving up the use of more hazardous pesticides. The new tests show that Roundup contamination maybe widespread in people across Europe, and due to the heavy use of GE crops here in the U.S., ourpopulation is likely also being exposed at higher rates,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, seniorscientist at Pesticide Action Network North America.Herbicide-tolerant and Bt-transgenic crops are the dominant crops grown in the United States coveringroughly half of cropland -- roughly 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and more than 85 percentof corn acres. [5] In Europe, GE crops have been largely rejected, with only one GE crop growncommercially. However, 14 applications to grow glyphosate resistant crops are in the pipeline and a2012 study predicts glyphosate use will increase by up to 800 percent in the EU if these crops are putinto production. [6]This recent study comes amid a spate of bad news for the poorly regulated biotechnology industry.Recent developments include:The discovery of an experimental strain of Monsanto’s genetically-engineered glyphosate-resistantwheat in an Oregon farm has caused Japan and Korea to block U.S. wheat exports -- threateningbillions of dollars of income for U.S. farmers. The genetically engineered wheat was grown in openfield trials between 1998 and 2005 but has never been approved or marketed. [7]A peer-reviewed long-term feeding study published June 11 in Organic Systems Journal found that pigsfed a combination of genetically modified soy and corn suffer more frequent severe stomachinflammation and enlargement of the uterus than those fed a non-GE diet.Also last week, Connecticut became the first state in the United States to require labeling forgenetically engineered foods. The bill will go into effect only after other states pass similar laws. ThisNovember, Washington State will vote on a ballot initiative to require labeling of geneticallyengineered foods in that state.On May 29, Friends of the Earth U.S. announced that major supermarkets including Target, TraderJoe’s, Whole Foods, Aldi, Giant Eagle and others -- totally more than 4,000 stores -- have agreed to notsell genetically engineered salmon if it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.A peer-reviewed study published the same day in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, providesevidence that genetically engineered salmon can breed with wild trout, creating offspring that groweven faster that GE salmon and can outcompete wild fish.###Contact:Lisa Archer, Friends of the Earth U.S.: 510-900-3145, larcher@foe.orgPaul Towers, Pesticide Action Network North America: 916-216-1082, ptowers@panna.orgAdrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth Europe: + 49 1 609 490 1163, adrian.bebb@foeeurope.org
Notes:[1] Friends of the Earth Europe test summary, test results, methodology and all background briefingpapers: http://foeeurope.org/weed-killer-glyphosate-found-human-urine-across-Europe-130613[2] Thongprakaisang S et al (2013) Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogenreceptors Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jun 8. pii: S0278-6915(13)00363-3. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2013.05.057. [Epub ahead of print] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23756170. Formore information on glyphosate and Roundup safety, see Friends of the Earth Europe briefing:Growing doubts about the safety of glyphosate (briefing 3)http://foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/press_releases/foee_3_growing_doubts_glyphosate.pdf [3] Reuters story “Pesticide use ramping up as GMO crop technology backfires: study” athttp://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-usa-study-pesticides-idUSBRE89100X20121002[4] USGS (2011) Press release: “Widely Used Herbicide Commonly Found in Rain and Streams in theMississippi River Basin” at http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2909[5] Reuters story “Pesticide use ramping up as GMO crop technology backfires: study” athttp://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-usa-study-pesticides-idUSBRE89100X20121002[6] Benbrook CM (2012) Glyphosate tolerant crops in the EU: a forecast of impacts on herbicide use.http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/agriculture/2012/GI_Herb_Use_FINAL_10-18-12.pdf [7] Reuters Story: “U.S. discovery of rogue GMO wheat raises concerns over controls” athttp://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/31/us-wheat-control-idUSL2N0EB0WF20130531Categories: Food And Technology, News ReleasesSee also:http://www.sandiegolovesgreen.com/articles/food-articles/gmo/first-of-its-kind-testing-shows-weed-killer-found-in-people-across-europe/  Monsanto glyphosate-tolerant glyphosate Roundup herbicide-tolerant wheat herbicide dicambaAmid uproar over escaped GMO wheat, Monsanto tests more strainsBy Carey GillamJune 4 | Tue Jun 4, 2013http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/04/usa-wheat-monsanto-idUSL1N0EG1S620130604 US Department of Agriculture probes Oregon Monsanto GM wheat mysteryCompany cries foul over appearance of genetically modified wheat but scientist who found it doubts

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