(Natural News) Continuing its reputation for harboring racism and bigotry against Jewish people, another high-level New York Times employee has been outed for anti-Semitic, disparaging comments made on social media, Breitbart News reports. And, of course, since they work for a Left-wing rag, naturally the person wasn’t censored or banned. According to the report, Jazmine…
(Natural News) Is neuropathic pain making daily life miserable? Using essential oils in aromatherapy may help ease the pain stemming from injured nerves. Essential oils are extracts drawn from beneficial and medicinal plants. Examples include chamomile, ginger, holy basil, lavender, peppermint, and St. John’s wort. Studies have shown that some essential oils help decrease and…
(Natural News) Coughing in itself is no cause for alarm – it is simply your body’s natural response to something that is irritating your air passages. Dry cough, which often occurs due to irritation in the throat, does not bring up any phlegm or mucus but causes an itching sensation. However, persistent dry coughing can…
60 Minutes Australia took on glyphosate in a recent segment, calling it a “toxic villain … likely to be sitting on a shelf in the backyard shed of most Australian families.” In the video above, you can see their interview with DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who was awarded $289 million in damages after a jury ruled Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup caused his terminal cancer.1
The award was later slashed to $78 million,2 but it signaled the beginning of a running trend in Roundup cancer lawsuits. As of July 2019 there are now 18,400 U.S. lawsuits from individuals alleging that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, caused them to develop cancer.3
Johnson told 60 Minutes about the time the hose broke while he was spraying, causing the poison to leak into his protective suit, soaking his clothing and reaching his skin. Yet, he explained that every time he would spray, he would end up with some Roundup on his face or elsewhere, as the protective clothing didn’t cover everything.
The lesions on his skin, seen in the segment, are one outward sign of the cancer that has infiltrated his body as a result. In the U.S., the next two Roundup lawsuit verdicts also sided with the plaintiffs, including a $2 billion payout in the third case, which was later slashed to $20 million.4
Australia’s First Roundup Lawsuit Filed
In Australia, controversy over glyphosate is growing and the first lawsuit against Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in June 2018, has been filed. Like Johnson, Michael Ogalirolo, a former landscaper, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup, in Ogalirolo’s case regularly for more than two decades.5 The suit, filed by Carbone Lawyers, alleges:6
“The defendant knew or ought to have known that the use of Roundup products were dangerous for the plaintiff … in particular causing DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, cancer, kidney disease, infertility and nerve damage among other devastating illnesses …
As such, Roundup products are dangerous to human health and unfit to be marketed and sold in commerce, particularly without proper warnings and directions.”
In the U.S., two proposed class-action lawsuits have even been filed against Home Depot and Lowe’s, alleging that the retail outlets did not do their duty to warn consumers about cancer and exposure risks when using glyphosate-based products.
Retailers are given a safety data sheet (SDS) regarding glyphosate, which states that exposure can occur via inhalation or skin contact. According to Sustainable Pulse, consumer and plaintiff James Weeks’ complaint states:7
“Despite its knowledge of the SDS, defendant does not warn consumers they may be exposed to glyphosate through inhalation and skin contact. Defendant further omits proper use instructions, e.g. advising consumers to use a gas mask respirator when using Roundup.”
The complaint also alleges that, due to glyphosate’s “probable carcinogenic nature,” Home Depot was in violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act by not disclosing the cancer risk on the label.8 The warning label on Roundup is also deemed inadequate because it only warns of “moderate eye irritation.”
This, the complaint notes, gives a false impression that eye irritation is the only risk when using Roundup, when in fact it could potentially cause cancer and other health risks.9,10
As discussed by 60 Minutes, the packaging for Roundup does not warn users to wear protective clothing or respirators when using the product, and in order to get such safety data, it must be downloaded from the internet, something most users are probably not going to do.
Germany Bans Roundup Pesticide
Germany, meanwhile, isn’t waiting for the dust to settle from lawsuits overseas before taking action to protect residents from this ubiquitous poison. When the EU’s approval period for glyphosate ends in 2023, Germany announced it would be banning the chemical, with the phase-out starting even sooner.11
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen” in 2015. Germany’s decision to ban the chemical, however, is based on its effects on insect populations, including pollinators that support the food supply.
Worldwide, more than 40% of insect species are threatened with extinction in the next few decades.12 Overall, the total mass of insects is said to be falling by a “shocking” 2.5% a year. If this rate continues unchecked, insects could disappear within 100 years.13
“It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none,” researcher Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, told The Guardian.14 The study, published in Biological Conservation,15 is but one to suggest that chemicals like glyphosate could be harming insects.
Researchers cited compelling evidence that agricultural intensification is the main driver of population declines in birds, small mammals and insects. In order of importance, habitat loss due to land converted to intensive agriculture, as well as urbanization, are major problems.
The next most significant contributor named is pollution, primarily that from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. As usage of glyphosate has skyrocketed, for instance, milkweed, which is the only plant on which the adult monarch will lay its eggs, has plummeted.
In 2013, it was estimated that just 1% of the common milkweed present in 1999 remained in corn and soybean fields and, tragically, while milkweed is not harmed by many herbicides, it is easily killed by glyphosate.16 A 2017 study published in the journal Ecography further noted a strong connection between large-scale Monarch deaths and glyphosate application.17,18
According to Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze, “a world without insects is not worth living in,” adding, “What harms insects also harms people. What we need is more humming and buzzing.”19
In the first phase of the ban, starting in 2020, glyphosate will be prohibited in city parks and private gardens. Use of glyphosate will also be banned in areas with rich biodiversity, such as grasslands, orchard meadows and some river and lake shores.20
Where Else Is Glyphosate Banned?
An increasing number of other countries are also concerned about glyphosate’s toxicity and have imposed bans, restricted usage or made plans to do so. Among them:21
Austria plans to ban glyphosate on January 1, 2020.
Bahrain has banned glyphosate.
Brussels, Belgium prohibits the use of glyphosate and Belgium banned individual glyphosate usage.
Vancouver, Canada, banned public and private glyphosate usage, except for treating invasive weeds.
The Czech Republic banned glyphosate as a weed killer and drying agent.
Denmark banned the use of glyphosate on post-emergent crops to avoid food residues of the chemical.
Malta banned the use of glyphosate in public spaces, including on roadsides or near schools.
Netherlands banned all noncommercial glyphosate usage.
In the U.S., California’s Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced in 2015 that they intended to list glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer under Proposition 65, which requires consumer products with potential cancer-causing ingredients to bear warning labels.
Glyphosate was officially added to the Proposition 65 list of carcinogens in July 2017, and warning labels stating that glyphosate may cause cancer were supposed to be added to products beginning in the summer of 2018. The labels, however, were halted when Monsanto challenged the California rule in court.
Monsanto filed formal comments with OEHHA saying the plan to list glyphosate as a carcinogen should be withdrawn. When they didn’t give in, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against OEHHA in January 2016 to stop the glyphosate/cancer classification. OEHHA filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and a Fresno, California, superior court judge ruled on their behalf in January 2017.22
As mentioned, in February 2018, a federal judge then temporarily banned California’s plans to add cancer warning labels on glyphosate-based products,23 a move the EPA has since backed up.
In August 2019, the EPA stated they will “no longer approve product labels claiming glyphosate is known to cause cancer,” adding that that is “a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).”24
They then took direct aim at California’s Proposition 65, stating, “The State of California’s much criticized Proposition 65 has led to misleading labeling requirements for products, like glyphosate, because it misinforms the public about the risks they are facing.”25 So while other countries are moving to get this poison off store shelves, in the U.S., the EPA continues to support its use.
Monsanto Intimidated Cancer Researchers
Ever since the IARC determined Monsanto’s cash cow glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen, the company has been engaged in attempts to discredit their science and the researchers along with it.
Monsanto allocated about $17 million in one year in order to discredit IARC scientists that spoke out against glyphosate. The information came from a deposition of Monsanto executive Sam Murphey, who now works for Bayer. U.S. Right to Know revealed:26
“… [I]mmediately after the IARC classification of glyphosate – and continuing to this day – the cancer scientists became the subject of sweeping condemnation from an assortment of organizations, individuals and even some U.S. lawmakers.”
Further, internal emails and deposition transcripts released by plaintiff’s attorneys in the Roundup lawsuits revealed Monsanto’s strategy for discrediting IARC, which included sending their team of lobbyists to speak with staff at the EPA, USTR, USDA and State Department and placing advertisements in Capital Hill newspapers.27
“But the documents also suggest that the firm has used its influence with lawmakers to antagonize regulators, applying pressure and investigative threats to shape the science used to research glyphosate and other controversial chemical compounds, as part of a larger campaign to silence critics and discredit the IARC,” The Intercept reported.28
Former Monsanto attorney Todd Rands, working with consulting group FTI Government Affairs, even sent a draft letter that was supposed to have been written by U.S. Rep. Rob Aderholt, R-Ala.
The letter was addressed to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes for Health, and claimed glyphosate does not cause cancer, IARC was engaged in “bunk science,” and even threatened to reassess the NIH budget.
According to The Intercept, “During his deposition, Rands said that he believed it appropriate for Monsanto to draft a letter on behalf of a lawmaker to NIH, calling such ghostwriting a “common practice in Washington.”29
Eat Organic or Biodynamic to Avoid Glyphosate Residues
If you’re interested, the Health Research Institute (HRI) in Iowa developed the glyphosate urine test kit, which will allow you to determine your own exposure to this toxic herbicide. They’re also in the process of doing hair testing for glyphosate, which is a better test for long-term exposure.
If it turns out that you have measurable levels of glyphosate in your body, Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shared some tips for detoxing glyphosate here.
Biotech company Oxitec has created genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes in an attempt to control mosquito-borne diseases like yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika.
The male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been genetically engineered to carry a “genetic kill switch,” such that when they mate with wild female mosquitoes, their offspring inherit the lethal gene and cannot survive or reproduce in the wild.
Except, the GE mosquitoes have already been released in Brazil, and researchers monitoring the project have found the GE genes have crossed with wild mosquitoes — despite the company’s assurances that this wouldn’t happen.
In a press release from Yale, senior study author Jeffrey Powell, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, noted, “The claim was that genes from the release strain would not get into the general population because offspring would die … That obviously was not what happened.”1
GE Mosquitoes Passed Genes to Native Mosquitoes
The largest release of Oxitec’s GE mosquitoes, dubbed OX513A, occurred in the city of Jacobina in Bahia, Brazil. About 450,000 male mosquitoes were released weekly for 27 months in the region in an attempt to reduce numbers of disease-carrying mosquitoes.2 “If lethality is complete, releasing this strain should only reduce population size and not affect the genetics of the target populations,” researchers wrote in Scientific Reports.3
However, this wasn’t the case. The researchers monitored the population of Ae. Aegypti mosquitoes in Jacobina to determine if the release of GE mosquitoes was affecting the genetics of the wild population by transferring genes. The GE mosquitoes contain a fluorescent protein gene, which allows the GE offspring to be detected.
When analyzed six, 12 and 27 to 30 months after release, the researchers found “clear evidence that portions of the transgenic strain genome have been incorporated into the target population.”4 The study explained:5
“Evidently, rare viable hybrid offspring between the release strain and the Jacobina population are sufficiently robust to be able to reproduce in nature. The release strain was developed using a strain originally from Cuba, then outcrossed to a Mexican population.
Thus, Jacobina Ae. aegypti are now a mix of three populations. It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors.”
This shouldn’t come entirely as a surprise, since in lab tests up to 4% of OX513A offspring, which were the result of matings between OX513A and wild type mosquitoes, did survive into adulthood.6 However, on their website, Oxitec used to state, “After an Oxitec mosquito has successfully mated with a wild female, any offspring that result will not survive to adulthood … ”7
That page has since been taken down, but the company is still touting the “self-limiting gene” that’s supposed to “disappear from the environment”:8
“Our insects contain a self-limiting gene, and when this gene is passed on to their offspring, offspring do not survive to adulthood, resulting in a reduction in the pest insect population. We call this method “self-limiting” because the released insects and the self-limiting gene that they pass on are designed to die and disappear from the environment.
We release males, because it is the female insects that are directly responsible for spreading disease or producing larvae that damage crops. Our males have one job: to find wild females where they live and mate with them … The self-limiting gene prevents offspring of our released male insect from surviving to adulthood … ”
Mosquito Population Rebounds After Initial Decline
Oxitec has stated that releasing their OX513A mosquitoes may reduce local mosquito populations by 90+%.9,10 It sounds impressive, but the featured study revealed that, after an initial decline, the mosquito population rebounded about 18 months after the GE mosquitoes were released.
Powell suggested the rebound may have occurred because female mosquitoes started to avoid mating with the GE males, a phenomenon that’s also occurred in tests when sterile male mosquitoes were released. What’s more, the “tri-hybrid population” that’s now been created from the Cuba, Mexican and Brazilian lines are “genetically distinct” and may be even heartier than previous mosquitoes:11
“The three populations forming the tri-hybrid population now in Jacobina (Cuba/Mexico/Brazil) are genetically quite distinct, very likely resulting in a more robust population than the pre-release population due to hybrid vigor.”
Depending on the sample tested, anywhere from 10% to 60% of the mosquitoes in the area were found to contain some OX513A genome.12 As for what this may mean for the future, no one knows. Powell stated:13
“ … [I]t is the unanticipated outcome that is concerning … Based largely on laboratory studies, one can predict what the likely outcome of the release of transgenic mosquitoes will be, but genetic studies of the sort we did should be done during and after such releases to determine if something different from the predicted occurred.”
Oxitec Wants to Release GE Mosquitoes in Key West
Oxitec has been trying for years to get approval to release its controversial GE mosquitoes in the U.S., specifically in Key West, Florida. They’re no longer pursuing a plan to release OX513A mosquitoes, but instead have turned their efforts to second generation “Friendly” mosquitoes. These GE mosquitoes carry a self-limiting gene that prevents female offspring from surviving, allowing only males to be produced. Oxitec explained:14
“After releases of Friendly™ males into the field, which find and mate with wild female mosquitoes, reduction of the target population is achieved as the female offspring of these encounters cannot survive.
Male progeny survive, carrying a copy of the self-limiting gene; in turn, these males are able to pass on the self-limiting gene to half of their offspring, of which female carriers of the gene cannot survive.
The self-limiting gene can thereby persist but declines over time, offering potentially multiple but still self-limiting generations of suppression for every Oxitec Friendly™ Aedes aegyptimale released.”
The second-generation GE mosquitoes have already been tested in Brazil, with additional field trials planned there in 2019 and 2020. In the U.S., the EPA has accepted Oxitec’s application to bring the GE mosquitoes to Key West, and a 30-day public comment period, which ends October 11, 2019, is underway.
The finding that Oxitec’s OX513A mosquitoes have spread their GE genes to local mosquitoes has opponents concerned. Barry Wray, executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, said the coalition intends to try to extend the public comment period and told WUSF News:15
“It’s another verification of the unquantified risk associated with these genetically modified mosquitoes … A new version based on the same lethal gene technology represents the same problems, with just a new marketing discussion wrapped around it.”
Tinkering with genes often results in unexpected consequences, and the researchers of the featured study suggested that the transfer of genetic information may even introduce other genes, such as insecticide resistance.16
Already, research published in the journal Oecologia has shown that mosquitoes are developing resistance to commonly used agricultural insecticides, but their predators are not, creating the perfect environment for mosquitoes to flourish.17 More caution is warranted in the case of GE mosquitoes, which have now become largely out of control in the environment, notes Christoph Then for Testbiotech:18
“The Oxitec trials have led to a situation that is largely out of control. The company has released its patented insects although it was known before that some insects could survive in the environment. The expectations of their investors was more important than the protection of health and the environment.
There is no insurance and no fast-track mechanism to prevent severe damage in a worst-case scenario. This incident must have consequences for further applications of genetic engineering. Preventing the spread of genetically engineered organisms within natural populations has to become a priority.”
Wolbachia Mosquitoes Released in Miami
In January 2018, lab-bred Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying wolbachia bacteria were released in South Miami, Florida. It was the first phase of the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Reduction Test Program, which targeted a one-half square-mile treatment area that received the altered mosquitoes and a corresponding control area within the city.
The project was conducted by the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control & Habitat Management Division in collaboration with MosquitoMate, Inc., which created the technology. MosquitoMate’s lab-bred male mosquitoes are infected with wolbachia bacteria, which is naturally occurring in up to 60% of insect species, but not in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
When the male wolbachia mosquitoes mate with female mosquitoes in the wild (which do not carry the bacteria), the resulting eggs do not hatch, which means the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area should ultimately decrease.19
In Miami-Dade County, the MosquitoMate trial was said to result in a 75% reduction in mosquitoes due to egg hatch failure.20 Tests using the so-called “biological mosquito technology” are also underway or completed in the Florida Keys; Clovis, California; St. Augustine, Florida; and Harris County, Texas.21
One of the problems with wolbachia mosquitoes is that the bacteria can spread to local mosquitoes, with unknown consequences, and once the insects are released, there’s no going back.
Further, it’s not a permanent solution but one that must be reapplied, as the mosquito population will rebound, necessitating the release of more MosquitoMate mosquitoes.22 There’s also the potential ramifications to the ecosystem, which can occur whenever any species is removed or drastically reduced.
While mosquitoes are primarily viewed as a nuisance and vector for deadly diseases like malaria, there may be downsides to eradicating them entirely, such as removing a food source for other creatures.
Natural Options for Mosquito Control
More than half the people on Earth live in an area where disease-carrying mosquitoes are present and, every year, mosquitoes cause millions of deaths from diseases like malaria, dengue and yellow fever.23 So, there’s no question that mosquito control is important.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, including that found in pet bowls, gutters, garbage and recycling bins, spare tires, bird baths and children’s toys. Draining these water sources can help eliminate mosquitoes from your yard.