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Precautionary Principle


"What the public fears is not the experimental science, but the fundamental irrational decision to let out of the laboratory into the real world before we truly understand it."
Barry Commoner, Cellular Biologist

In 1975 scientists worldwide agreed. For all the good gene manipulation held, left unchecked it had the capability to adversely affect humanity on a very large scale. Their concerns led to the Asilomar Conference, the birthplace of the Precautionary Principle. The central tenet of the Precautionary Principle is first, do no harm. The second is if there is the slightest of suspicion that recombinant technology could harm the public’s health or the environment, the burden of proof falls on those who use the technology to prove different. Well, the accumulating evidence is indicating something is going very wrong, very fast and it could well be related to what we're eating. Genetically engineered biofoods have been linked to a host of serious illnesses, environmental hazards and ecological destruction. Countries worldwide are calling to enact the Precautionary Principle and the appropriate labeling of food before it's too late. But the Goliaths are fighting back.

In-Hive Pesticides Contamination

From the University of Maryland, a 2016 study focussing on the honeybee colonies’ exposome, a term traditionally used in cancer research. It's defined as the measure of all exposures over an individual’s lifetime and how those exposures relate to health. In their investigation, researchers did not look at individual honeybees but instead treated the colony as a single super-organism basing its results on lifetime exposure to agricultural chemicals. Simply put, these models attempted to summarize potential risk from multiple contaminations in real-world contexts.

Researchers gauged the effect of pesticide exposure not only by looking at the number of pesticides in colonies, but also their toxicological relevance over a specific threshold, as well as through the calculation of a hazard quotient (HQ), which evaluates the cumulative toxicity of various pesticide residues.

Farmers Losing the Superweed Battle

A 2016 University of Illinois Plant Clinic herbicide resistance report shows that glyphosate herbicide resistance and PPO Inhibitor herbicide resistance have both reached epic proportions across the Midwest of the United States.

Herbicide-resistant weeds are symptomatic of a bigger problem: an outdated system of farming that relies on planting huge acreages of the same crop year after year. Farming practices such as monoculture, promotes excellent habitats for the accelerated development of weed and pest pesticide resistance. In response to the crisis, Monsanto and its competitors suggest using more of their herbicides to cover the resistant weeds. This approach ignores the underlying biology of agricultural systems and inevitably leads to more resistance. Great for chemical sales; not so great for land stewartship or honeybees.

Should Glyphosate be Banned

For years, the public has been assured that the chemical glyphosate was safe whether it was found in the environment or in our fresh water supply or in the processed food we feed our families. As a result, farmers spray more than 185 million pounds of glyphosate-based herbicides, particularly Monsanto’s Roundup, on food crops in North America The questionable agrochemical is also the third most commonly used herbicide for industrial and commercial land and the second most commonly used herbicide in the home and garden. A whopping twenty-five million applications are spread on yards within easy reach of children, pregnant women, the elderly and pets, every year. In short, this herbicide is everywhere. So why the concern? Turns out the industry reports behind glyphosate's safety may have been overstated.

Agribusiness Earth's New Superhero? Maybe Not.

Corporate actions happens for many reasons. Sometimes they are tied to economic shifts, other times ephemeral political winds are a trigger or as we all know technological revolutions like transgenics can cause major upheavals. This week two major agribusinesses have taken actions to correct some serious wrongs. Mind you, they are not admitting anything, they're just throwing money at two problems that they contributed to originally. Step in the right direction? Yep. Enough to make a major difference? Nope.

More Bad News for Honeybees

Bayer CropScience just scored a big win on both sides of the Canada/US borders. In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it completed the registration of Bayer’s new pesticide, flupyradifurone. The chemical spray can now be marketed as an alternative to neonicotinoid pesticides and “safer for bees.” Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), also proposed full registration for the sale and use of flupyradifurone. Good news for the honeybees right? Well, not so much. A closer look reveals the EPA and Health Canada may be misleading the public on the ecological safety of pesticide.

POLLINATORS IN DECLINE GLOBALLY

As residents living on this beautiful blue planet, we are all interconnected and nothing exemplifies this more than Earth's ecosystems. They are humanity’s life support system. These delicate environs depend on pollinators to regenerate finely tuned elements to ensure continuity. Whether mammal, animal or insect, should these pollinators disappear, the impact on humanity would be considerable. Previous studies indicate that the number of pollinators may be falling, but until now, there has been no investigation of how they are faring on a global level. A new international study does just that and it's ringing a very loud warning bell.

GMO Crops Linked to Decline in Monarch Butterflies

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) just released a detailed scientific report, revealing the severe impacts of herbicide-resistant genetically engineered (GE) crops on the monarch population, which has plummeted over the past twenty years.

The report makes it abundantly clear this iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system.

Pushing Earth's ‘Planetary Boundaries’

A new report published in Science gauges the breaking points in the natural world. Researchers contend that we have already crossed four of the nine “planetary boundaries”: the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean.

Chalk One Up for the Good Guys

An important and controversial piece of independent research that provides new insights into the risks of genetically modified organisms in food has finally been republished. The original research paper was summarily retracted without just cause by The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT). The retraction basically removed the study's findings from the realm of accepted science. Independent scientists all over the world objected. Many believe the study was removed from the journal due to pressure by Monsanto, the owner of the plant and Roundup. Monsanto’s position was that the results of the Séralini study were inconclusive as was its own (90-day) research.

France Calls on Commission to Ban Monsanto GM Corn

The French Government have called on the European Commission to suspend the authorization to grow Monsanto's genetically modified MON810GM corn seeds in the EU.

The French ecology ministry said in a statement that it had asked European regulators to overturn the authorization for the use of genetically modified MON 810 maize crops produced by US agriculture and biotechnology giant Monsanto.