Questions and Answers about Pesticides
R. Mason MB ChB FRCA
Question: Surely you can’t blame the ills of the NHS on glyphosate?
Answer: Yes, in fact you probably can. Glyphosate is a man-made amino-acid, which mimics the essential amino acid glycine and takes over many of its functions. Glycine helps to detoxify foreign proteins, promotes gluconeogenesis (making new glucose from amino acids) from the liver and kidney, goes into the bone marrow, helps to make collagen and is a neurotransmitter.
Tony Mitra from Canada interviews Anthony Samsel by video link saying: “Some 21 amino acids are the basic building blocks of life on this planet as we understand it. Glycine is one of them, the simplest and most basic, and it performs a long chain of invaluable tasks in the biology of the living kingdom. .. Glyphosate mimics glycine… And so, like carrying a bunch of deadly soldiers in the belly of the Trojan Horse, glyphosate slips into our system essentially replacing glycine whenever and wherever it can, and creates an avalanche of unpredictable diseases, health hazards and defects of all kinds. Pretending to be the amino acid Glycine, it can cross the blood-brain barrier and start interfering in our brain chemistry and into our bone marrow…” Tony introduces Anthony Samsel who explains briefly what he has discovered. Anthony Samsel emphasizes that all lifeforms will be negatively affected; that is why biodiversity is rapidly declining.
Question: There must have been hundreds of journalists at COP21 in Paris. How did UK journalists manage to miss this particular Press Release? Dozens of NGOs from all over the world (apart from the UK) have combined to take Monsanto to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, to be tried for crimes against nature and humanity and ecocide on World Food Day October 16 2016. This International Criminal Court, established in 2002 in The Hague, has determined that prosecuting ecocide as a criminal offense is the only way to guarantee the rights of humans to a healthy environment and the right of nature to be protected.Answer: They can’t have been looking at the time.
Question: Why did Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust and expert on antibiotic resistant diseases, not reply to me when I told him that glyphosate had been patented as an antibiotic?
Answer: Because the Wellcome Trust hosts the Science Media Centre which is sponsored by corporations, including Monsanto. A paper appeared in 2015 showing that Sublethal Exposure to Commercial Formulations of the Herbicides Dicamba, 2,4-Dichloro- phenoxyacetic Acid, and Glyphosate Cause Changes in Antibiotic Susceptibility in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.
The authors pointed out the importance of their findings: “Increasingly common chemicals used in agriculture, domestic gardens, and public places can induce a multiple antibiotic resistance phenotype in potential pathogens. The effect occurs upon simultaneous exposure to antibiotics and is faster than the lethal effect of antibiotics. The magnitude of the induced response may undermine antibiotic therapy and substantially increase the probability of spontaneous mutation to higher levels of resistance. The combination of high use of both herbicides and antibiotics in proximity to farm animals and important insects, such as honeybees, might also compromise their therapeutic effects and drive greater use of antibiotics. To address the crisis of antibiotic resistance requires broadening our view of environmental contributors to the evolution of resistance.” There must be many microbiologists attending these meetings around the world. Why did farmers, vets and GPs take the blame instead of Monsanto and Dow Chemicals?
Question: Why has the European Food Safety Authority recommended to the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (December 10/11 2015) to endorse the opinion of the German Rapporteur Member State that glyphosate doesn’t damage human health or the environment?
EFSA also maintains it is not a carcinogen despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declaration that Glyphosate is a Grade 2A carcinogen (probably carcinogenic) to humans. In view of EFSA’s statement, a letter was sent from the IARC Working Group and signed by 90 independent scientists. It strongly rejected the German Assessment and said it was unacceptable to use historical controls and unpublished, confidential (redacted) evidence and asked for the letter to be forwarded to the Committee.
Answer: Because EFSA and the German RMS are controlled by the Glyphosate Task Force (GTF) which is a consortium of 24 companies joining resources and efforts in order to renew the European glyphosate registration with a joint submission.
Question: On 14 July 2015 Reuters reported that Monsanto had hired Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy to convene a panel of internationally recognized scientific experts to review IARC’s work. The Panel said that IARC was wrong.
Answer:Twelve out of the 16 experts had previous associations with Monsanto and had major conflicts of interest.
Question: Does that mean that the Regulatory Agencies around the world aren’t protecting human health and biodiversity?
Answer: Correct. They are protecting corporation’s shareholders and their profits, not the people.
Question: What about the EFSA Panel on GMOs? A Vice Chairman of the Panel Prof Patrick du Jardin was second author of a paper whose first author, Nancy Podevin an EFSA employee, found a hidden viral gene in GMO crops. How was he able to conceal the paper?
Answer: He failed to declare it on his CV for the GMO Panel.
Question: The Chairman of EFSA GMO Panel, Professor Joe Perry, was the first author of a paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology Estimating the effects of Cry1F Bt‐maize pollen on non‐target Lepidoptera using a mathematical model of exposure. “A 14-parameter mathematical model integrating small- and large-scale exposure was used to estimate the larval mortality of hypothetical species with a range of sensitivities, and under a range of simulated mitigation measures consisting of non-Bt maize strips of different widths placed around the field edge… Mitigation measures of risks of Bt-maize to sensitive larvae of non-target lepidopteran species can be effective, but depend on host-plant densities which are in turn affected by weed-management regimes. Is mathematical modelling of a species reliable?
Answer: No. US populations of a ‘real’ lepidopteran, the migrant monarch butterfly, have declined by 90% in the last 20 years in areas where GM Roundup® Ready crops are cultivated year after year.
Question: What about the European Commission? Didn’t they ban three neonicotinoid pesticides that were harmful to bees in December 2012?
Answer: Coalition Against Bayer Dangers (CBG) in Germany issued a Press Release, 8 December 2015: In Germany sales of pesticides harmful to bees were still as high as before the ban. The quantities exported by German companies actually increased significantly – from 952 tons (2008) to 2269 tons (2014). CBG is calling for the EU Commission to revoke licenses for Neonicotinoids.
Question: Did you know that the public is powerless to stop the collusion between the UK and US governments, the USDA, the NFU, the European Food Safety Authority, the European Commission, the US EPA, the mainstream media and the multinational agrochemical corporations?
Answer: Yes; but they have no idea what they are doing. They only think about money. According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics paper on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, “we are drowning our world in unsafe and untested chemicals.” Some 30,000 pounds of chemicals were manufactured or imported for every person in the United States in 2012 alone—a whopping 9.5 trillion pounds in total. Annually, the FIGO authors write, chemical manufacturing leads to 7 million deaths and billions in health care costs.
Question: Yes, but what about the UK?
Answer: That is very similar to the US. We are not far behind the US in terms of obesity. It is predicted that by 2020, nearly 68% of the UK population will be overweight, 73% of the US and 63% of Australians. These three countries are where governments have allowed themselves to be ruled by the agrochemical corporations.
In the US:
In 1970: one child in 10,000 was born with Autism
In 2007: one child in 150 was born with Autism
In 2009: one child in 100 was born with Autism
In 2013: one child in 50 was born with Autism
If the rate continues to increase ‘pro-rata‘ Dr Stephanie Seneff predicts that by 2025, one child in two in the US will develop Autism. The increases in rates of autism have close correlations in the US with glyphosate sprayed on crops and percentage of GM crops grown.
In the UK
In 2012 one child in 100 was born with Autism So, Britain is only 3 years behind the US.
In an article written for Google about why we should eat organic food, the journalist said that 31,000 tonnes of chemical are used in farming in the UK each year. In 2003 25% of foods sampled contained pesticide residues and now in 2011, almost half of the products tested contained residues.
Farmers in Britain began pre-harvest spraying of crops with glyphosate at the suggestion of a Monsanto scientist in 1980. Another Monsanto scientist also advised them to apply glyphosate to grasslands. Both were endorsed by ADAS. More than 1,700 tonnes of glyphosate were sprayed on crops in 2014, up a third on 2012, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to cope with blackgrass, a glyphosate-resistant weed.
Question: Is glyphosate measured in groundwater?
Answer: No, farmers just apply it blindly. Apparently it doesn’t appear on the list of pesticides that require to be monitored in Europe or the US (nor the neonicotinoids insecticides for that matter).
Question: Why not? It is the most widely used herbicide in the world.
Answer: Monsanto says it is safe. Mind you, they were convicted in a New York Court in 1996 for false advertising on television …for saying it was ‘practically non-toxic’ and implying it could be used in water when on the label there was warning that it should not be allowed to contaminate water.
Question: Presumably Monsanto took that to heart?
Answer: Not a bit of it. Their document on Glyphosate Uses in Europe in 2010 says that it is safe to humans and the environment and can be used in water. In fact, Monsanto is being sued in the US at the moment for another false claim on the label.
Question: What is that?
Answer: It states on the label that it is not toxic to humans and animals because they don’t have the same metabolic pathway as plants, fungi and bacteria. In fact this is what the German RMS and EFSA have said in their re-registration proposal.
Question: But surely they know that it is false; that humans and animals absorb nutrients via the gut microbiome, trillions of bacteria in our guts? Glyphosate is just as toxic to humans as it is to plants.
Answer: Possibly they do, but they have been following orders from the Glyphosate Task Force.
Question: You say that Monsanto it being sued in the US for these false claims?
Answer: Yes, the lawsuits started in July 2015 and now many law firms are catching on. In addition they are taking out lawsuits on behalf of patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Three epidemiological papers showed that glyphosate was associated with NHL and so did IARC. There is a positive tsunami of lawsuits in the US, but absolutely nothing in Britain.
Question: Why should people be promoting and protecting the pesticides industry in Britain; for example, the mainstream media and particularly the BBC?
Answer: Because they have been brainwashed for so long by the industry into thinking that chemicals are an essential part of farming – in the UK since the founding of Rothamsted Research in 1843. The herbicide, 2,4-D was developed during World War II at British Rothamsted Experimental Station (at the same time as in the US) by Judah Hirsch Quastel and sold commercially in 1946. IARC has now classified 2,4-D as a Group 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans).
Question: Countries around the world have signed up to the Faroes Statement that states that exposure to chemicals during pregnancy damages the foetal brain. The UK government, the Department of Health and the NFU doesn’t support this thesis.
Have you got any proof of chemical brain drain in British children?
Answer: Yes. From OECD figures: The UK is falling behind global rivals in international tests taken by 15-year-olds, failing to make the top 20 in maths, reading and science (December 2013). Although not directly comparable, because there have been different numbers of countries taking part, this marks a sustained decline, with the UK having ranked 4th in the tests taken in 2000.