Glyphosate

Press release

Wednesday 22 September, 2010

Contact:   Nina Holland, nina@corporateeurope.org, tel + 32 497 389 632

GM soy damages health and the environment
New study shows Roundup link with birth defects

A coalition of international scientists has released a report warning
of the health and environmental impacts of cultivating genetically
modified (GM) Roundup Ready soy and the associated spraying of
glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide [1].

The findings in the new report, GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible?,
challenge claims that GM soy cultivation is sustainable and that the
glyphosate herbicide it is genetically engineered to tolerate is safe
[2]. GM RoundupReady soy is the most grown GM crop worldwide, with 95%
of soy grown in Argentina and the US RoundupReady.

Soy is imported to Europe from Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil mostly
for use as animal feed. Growing demand in Europe has led to a rapid
expansion in soy cultivation in Latin America.

The report cites over 100 scientific studies into the health and
environmental impacts of glyphosate and RR soy production including
increased cases of glyphosate-resistant weeds, and growing use of
agrochemicals.

New research published by Argentine government scientist and report
co-author Professor Andrés Carrasco in August 2010 found that
glyphosate causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses
far lower than those used in agricultural spraying [3]. The findings
could have serious implications for people because the experimental
animals share similar developmental mechanisms with humans [4].

Carrasco said people living in soy-producing areas of Argentina began
reporting problems in 2002, two years after the first big harvests of
GM RoundupReady soy. Scientific studies now suggest links between
exposure to glyphosate herbicides and premature births, miscarriages,
cancer, and DNA damage. Glyphosate is also toxic to reproductive cells.

The report challenges the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) (an
initiative led by WWF and industry) which plans to introduce a
?responsible? soy label to the European market in early 2011. This
label has been criticised by other NGOs because it will label
RoundupReady soy as ?responsible? and because it fails to prevent
deforestation.

The RTRS is one of the voluntary certification schemes that will be
used by the European Commission to accredit biofuel crops as
?sustainable? under the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) to meet
the EU 10% target [5].

Evidence in the report suggest that glyphosate spraying in South
America damages food crops, causes death among affected livestock, and
contributes to the death of fish. Reported health effects from
glyphosate spraying include high rates of birth defects as well as
infertility, stillbirths, miscarriages, and cancers [6].  It also
persists in soil and water and has toxic effects on the environment.

Glyphosate is marketed as ?Roundup? in Europe to home gardeners as
well as farmers and is sold as safe to use around children and pets
and as environmentally friendly. Most of the soy Europe imports for
animal and human food is GM, sprayed with glyphosate.

Critics of Argentina?s GM soy agricultural model report censorship and
harassment. In August 2010 Amnesty International called for an
investigation into a violent attack by an organised mob on people who
gathered to hear Carrasco talk about his research findings in the
agricultural town of La Leonesa [7].

Carrasco believes attention must be paid to the residents who have
reported birth defects and other health problems from glyphosate
spraying for years. He said, ?It must be remembered that the origin of
my work is my contact with the communities victimized by agrochemical
use. They are the irrefutable proof of my research.?

The report is being released together with the testimonies of
Argentine people whose lives have been affected by the rapid expansion
of GM soy in their country.
ENDS

Notes:
[1] GM RR Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? is published by GLS
Gemeinschaftsbank, Bochum, Germany and ARGE Gentechnik-frei, Vienna,
Austria  and is available at:
http://www.gmwatch.org/files/GMsoy_SustainableResponsible_Sept2010.pdf
Summary at:
http://www.gmwatch.org/files/GMsoy_SustainableResponsible_Sept2010_Summary.pdf
The authors are(in alphabetical order of surname):

1.Michael Antoniou is reader in molecular genetics and head, Nuclear
Biology Group, King?s College London School of Medicine, London, UK.
2.Paulo Brack is professor, Institute of Biosciences, Federal
University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil; and member, CTNBio
(National Technical Commission on Biosafety), Brazil.
3.Andrés Carrasco is professor and director of the Laboratory of
Molecular Embryology, University of Buenos Aires Medical School,
Argentina; and lead researcher of the National Council of Scientific
and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina.
4.John Fagan is an internationally recognized authority on
agricultural biotechnology and GMO testing. He is co-founder of Earth
Open Source, a UK-based not-for-profit foundation that uses open
source collaboration to advance environmentally sustainable and
socially equitable food production.
5.Mohamed Ezz El-Din Mostafa Habib is professor and former director,
Institute of Biology, UNICAMP, São Paulo, Brazil, and provost for
extension and community affairs, UNICAMP. He is an internationally
recognized expert on ecology, entomology, agricultural pests,
environmental education, sustainability, biological control, and
agroecology.
6.Paulo Yoshio Kageyama is director, National Programme for
Biodiversity Conservation, ministry of the environment, Brazil; a
Fellow of the National Council of Scientific and Technological
Development (CNPq) of the ministry of science and technology, Brazil;
and professor, department of forest sciences, University of São Paulo,
Brazil.
7.Carlo Leifert is professor of ecological agriculture at the School
of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AFRD), Newcastle
University, UK; and director of the Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd
(STC), UK, a non-profit company providing R&D support for the UK
horticultural industry.
8.Rubens Onofre Nodari is professor, Federal University of Santa
Catarina, Brazil; former manager of plant genetic resources, ministry
of environment, Brazil; and a Fellow of the National Council of
Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) of the ministry of
science and technology, Brazil.
9.Walter Pengue is professor of agriculture and ecology, University of
Buenos Aires, Argentina; and scientific member, IPSRM International
Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, UNEP, United Nations.

[2] This claim has been made by the Round Table on Responsible Soy
(RTRS), a multi-stakeholder forum with a membership including NGOs
such as WWF and Solidaridad and multinational companies such as ADM,
Bunge, Cargill, Monsanto, Syngenta, Shell, and BP ?
http://www.responsiblesoy.org
[3] Carrasco is director of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology,
University of Buenos Aires Medical School and lead researcher of the
National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET),
Argentina. The August research is:
Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., López, S.L., Carrasco, A.E.
2010. Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on
vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signalling. Chem. Res.
Toxicol., August 9 (online publication ahead of print).
[4] Carrasco, A. 2010. Interview with journalist Dario Aranda, August
[5] The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) was set up by WWF and
Swiss supermarket chain COOP in 2005. It aims to introduce a voluntary
label for ?responsible? soy that would reassure ethically minded
traders and consumers that the soy was produced with consideration for
people and the environment, but it has been the target of widespread
criticism. Corporate members of the RTRS include Monsanto, Syngenta,
Cargill, ADM, Rabobank, Unilever, Shell and BP. The RTRS intends to
launch the first ?responsible? soy in early 2011, most likely in the
Netherlands and Belgium.
[6] Webber, J., Weitzman, H. 2009. Argentina pressed to ban crop
chemical after health concerns. Financial Times, May 29.
http://www.gene.ch/genet/2009/Jun/msg00006.html and others.
[7] Amnesty International. 2010. Argentina: Threats deny community
access to research. 12 August. http://bit.ly/cJsqUR

—– End forwarded message —–

_______________________________________________
Team mailing list
Team@www14.antenna.nl
http://www14.antenna.nl/mailman/listinfo/team


Corporate Europe Observatory
Rue d’Edimbourg 26
1050 Brussels
Belgium
0032 (0)2 893 0930

ALSO, 20 mg/Kilo GLYPHOSAT SIND LEGAL…

EXTRACTS: The maximum glyphosate residue limit allowed in soy in the EU is 20 mg/kg. Carrasco found malformations in embryos injected with just 2.03 mg/kg glyphosate, nearly 10 times lower. Soybeans have been found to contain glyphosate residues at levels up to 17mg/kg.

…Peralta, like Carrasco, has been vilified for speaking out. Soy producers have accused her of being anti-progress and of scaremongering. She says, „It’s a lie. We’ve always lived quietly, but when soy arrived, everything changed. You cannot live with the poison, yet you cannot speak out against soy because they jump on you and accuse you of being the enemy. They care more about money than the health of our children.“

NOTE: For links to multiple resources including all those mentioned below:
http://gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/12491 —
—
GMWatch’s backgrounder on the paper and new report The best-selling weedkiller Roundup, developed by Monsanto, causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agricultural spraying, according to research recently published by Carrasco et al.

Professor Andrés Carrasco, director of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, University of Buenos Aires Medical School and lead researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina is presenting his research today to members of the European Parliament and members of the European Commission.

Roundup’s active ingredient is glyphosate. As well as being widely used in agriculture, Roundup is marketed to home gardeners across Europe as environmentally friendly and as safe to use around children and pets.

Carrasco comments in his paper that most of the earlier safety data on Roundup were provided by industry and lack independence.

Carrasco was led to research the effects of glyphosate by reports on the effects of herbicides on humans. He says, „The findings in the lab are compatible with malformations observed in humans exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy.“

He adds that his findings have serious implications for people because the experimental animals share similar developmental mechanisms with humans.

Carrasco et al conclude that the results raise „concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to Roundup in agricultural fields.“

The use of Roundup has massively increased since 1996 with the rapid expansion of genetically modified Roundup Ready (GM RR) soy in North and South America.

GM RR soy is genetically engineered to tolerate the Roundup herbicide. The RR gene allows farmers to spray the field liberally with Roundup, killing weeds without killing the crop.

In Argentina, GM RR soy covers 19 million hectares. Carrasco says that people living in soy-producing areas of Argentina began reporting problems in 2002, two years after the first big harvests of GM RR soy. He says, „I suspect the toxicity classification of glyphosate is too low … in some cases this can be a powerful poison.“

Carrasco has been persecuted in Argentina for his findings. In August 2010 Amnesty International reported that an organized mob violently attacked community activists, residents, and public officials who gathered to hear a talk by Carrasco in La Leonesa on his research findings on glyphosate.

La Leonesa has become a centre for activism against agrochemical spraying. Three people were seriously injured in the attack and the event had to be abandoned. Carrasco and a colleague shut themselves in a car and were surrounded by people making violent threats and beating the car for two hours.

*New report confirms health and environmental dangers of Roundup

In addition to his recently published paper, Prof. Carrasco is also the co-author of a new report, „GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible?“.

This is also released today (September 16) by a group of international scientists. The report documents studies on the harmful health and environmental impacts of GM RR soy and Roundup.

The findings challenge claims that GM soy cultivation is sustainable and that the Roundup herbicide, which it is genetically engineered to tolerate, is safe.

The findings of the report are supported by the testimonies of Argentine people whose lives have been affected by the rapid expansion of GM soy in their country.

In both Argentina and Paraguay, people living in GM soy producing areas have reported serious health effects from Roundup spraying, including high rates of birth defects as well as infertility, stillbirths, miscarriages, and cancers.

Scientific studies collected in the new report confirm links between exposure to Roundup and premature births, miscarriages, cancer, and damage to DNA and reproductive organ cells.

The new report and its summary have both been released in English today but will soon also be available in German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

*Malformations found at levels lower than EU residue limit

Europe imports around 38 million tons of soy per year, which mostly goes into animal feed. Around 50–65 percent of this is GM or GM-contaminated, with 14–19 million tons GM-free or containing less than 0.9% GMO. Food products from GM-fed animals do not have to carry a GM label.

The maximum glyphosate residue limit allowed in soy in the EU is 20 mg/kg. Carrasco found malformations in embryos injected with just 2.03 mg/kg glyphosate, nearly 10 times lower. Soybeans have been found to contain glyphosate residues at levels up to 17mg/kg.

Sprayed residents speak

Carrasco believes his research is less important than the experiences of residents who have reported birth defects and other health problems from glyphosate spraying for years. He said, „Remember that the origin of my work is my contact with the communities victimized by agrochemical use. They are the irrefutable proof of my research.“

One of these residents is Viviana Peralta, from San Jorge, Santa Fe, Argentina. Peralta had to rush her newborn baby daughter, Ailen, to hospital after Roundup and other agrochemicals were sprayed on GM soy from planes flying near her home. The baby had turned blue and Peralta herself suffered respiratory problems.

Peralta joined with other residents to launch a lawsuit against soy producers that resulted in a landmark court ruling banning the spraying of Roundup and other agrochemicals within 1500 yards of houses.

Peralta, like Carrasco, has been vilified for speaking out. Soy producers have accused her of being anti-progress and of scaremongering. She says, „It’s a lie. We’ve always lived quietly, but when soy arrived, everything changed. You cannot live with the poison, yet you cannot speak out against soy because they jump on you and accuse you of being the enemy. They care more about money than the health of our children.

“I do not understand chemistry, I did not go to university, but I know what my whole family suffered. They are the living proof that agrochemicals are poisons that affect us. To people who are not familiar with this agricultural model, I say, ‚Do not believe the companies. Reject agrochemicals. Do it for the life of your children.'“

Notes

1. Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., López, S.L., Carrasco, A.E. 2010. Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signalling. Chem. Res. Toxicol., August 9. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx1001749

Advertisements