Thursday, 19 February 2015

Poisoning the Earth = “Countricide” – Tim Veater

 Poisoning the Earth = “Countricide” – Tim Veater

“The world’s most widely used insecticides have contaminated the environment
across the planet so pervasively that global food production is at risk,
according to a comprehensive scientific assessment of the chemicals’ impacts.
The researchers compare their impact with that reported in Silent Spring, the
landmark 1962 book by Rachel Carson that revealed the decimation of birds and
insects by the blanket use of DDT and other pesticides and led to the modern
environmental movement.
Billions of dollars’ worth of the potent and long-lasting neurotoxins are sold
every year but regulations have failed to prevent the poisoning of almost all
habitats, the international team of scientists concluded in the most detailed
study yet. As a result, they say, creatures essential to global food production
– from bees to earthworms – are likely to be suffering grave harm and the
chemicals must be phased out.”

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2 Responses to Poisoning the Earth = “Countricide” – Tim Veater

  1. Tim Veater says:
    BBC World Service, Assignment
    14 May 2014 Last updated at 01:21
    Are pesticides linked to health problems in Argentina?
    By Linda Pressly
    “Could pesticides – their use and abuse – increase levels of cancer and birth defects? It is a question asked across the vast belt of Argentina where GM crops are grown. In Chaco, the Minister of Public Health wants an independent commission to investigate a growing health crisis.”
    Carlos lives near Avia Terai, and says agrochemicals are sprayed close to his home, contravening local laws.
    “If the wind changes the agrochemicals come into the house. My uncle just died of cancer. My wife too passed away from cancer. Now many, many people are dying of cancer – it didn’t used to be like that,” he says.
    Continue reading the main story
    Find out more
    Argentina: GMs’ New Frontline is presented by Linda Pressly for Assignment on BBC World Service
    Or catch up on BBC iPlayer
    Cancer is becoming more common everywhere. Could Carlos’s experience just be part of life in the modern world? He doesn’t think so.
    “In my opinion, this has to do with the poison they put on the fields.”
    “We want someone to come in from outside and carry out an exhaustive analysis of all these cases. As a doctor, as a minister and as a Chaqueno, I’m concerned young women are having recurrent miscarriages, that children are born with deformities, that there are many examples of cancer. But we also have many cases in areas where they don’t use agrochemicals. So we must treat this with scientific rigour – that’s what we’re doing this year.”
    (Dr Andres Carrasco spoke to the BBC in Buenos Aires – his death was announced in Argentina on Saturday 10 May 2014).
    Contrast this with just one advertisement for the product as here:
    “Welcome to the home of weedkilling
    Roundup is the weedkiller the professionals use. Utilising the same advanced technology developed by its agricultural counterpart, Roundup has been specially formulated to kill weeds right down to the root.
    So, with Roundup Weed Killer, gardeners know that, once the weed’s gone, it’s gone for good.”
    Note the “medium” and “message” of the advertisement. “It’s gone for good.” All dangers and adverse implications are eliminated. This poison is presented only as a “GOOD”. It is an example of how the attitude of the consumer is surreptitiously influenced to ever more dependence on oil by-products, that have a poisoning effect on the earth and all it’s living systems – including humans themselves. END.
  2. Tim Veater says:
    “Reports from Argentina say there have been attempts to intimidate the lead researcher of a study showing that Roundup – the glyphosate herbicide developed by Monsanto – can cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in fetuses.
    “The lead researcher for the study, carried out in Argentina where Roundup is used on a massive scale on GM herbicide-resistant soy, is embryology professor Dr Andres Carrasco.
    “Dr Carrasco has worked for nearly thirty years in embryonic development, and was President and Assistant Secretary of Conicet (Brazil’s National Commission for Scientific Research). He now works at the Defence Ministry.
    “Dr Carrasco has warned that the doses of herbicide used in his study “were much lower than the levels used in the fumigations [crop spraying],” and so the situation “is much more serious” that the study suggests because “glyphosate does not degrade”.
    “According to an article in the Argentine press, after news about the study broke, Dr Carrasco was the victim of an act of intimidation, when four men arrived at his laboratory in the Faculty of Medicine and acted aggressively.
    “Two of the men were said to be members of an agrochemical industry body but refused to give their names. The other two claimed to be a lawyer and notary. They apparently interrogated Dr Carrasco and demanded to see details of the experiments. They left a card identifying them as being from Basilico, Andrada & Santurio, attorneys on behalf of Felipe Alejandro Noel.
    “Dr Carrasco also reports being subjected to offensive phone calls and there have been disparaging references to his research in newspapers with links to agribusiness. Dr Carrasco however is resisting the intimidation, saying, “If I know something, I will not shut my mouth.”
    “Source: GMWatch, News report in Spanish at:
    “Andres Carrasco, the Argentine scientist who challenged Monsanto, dies
    AP | May 11, 2014,
    “BUENOS AIRES (Argentina): Dr Andres Carrasco, an Argentine neuroscientist who challenged pesticide regulators to re-examine one of the world’s most widely used weed killers, has died. He was 67.
    “Argentina’s national science council announced Carrasco’s death on Saturday. He had been in declining health.
    “Carrasco, a molecular biologist at the University of Buenos Aires and past-president of Argentina’s CONICET science council, was a widely published expert in embryonic development whose work focused on how neurotransmitters affect genetic expression in vertebrates. But none of his research generated as much controversy as his 2010 study on glyphosate, which became a major public relations challenge for the St Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto Company.”
    “His team’s study, published in the peer-reviewed Chemical Research in Toxicology journal, found that injecting very low doses of glyphosate into embryos can change levels of retinoic acid, causing the same sort of spinal defects that doctors are increasingly registering in communities where farm chemicals are ubiquitous. Retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A, is fundamental for keeping cancers in check and triggering genetic expression, the process by which embryonic cells develop into organs and limbs.
    “If it’s possible to reproduce this in a laboratory, surely what is happening in the field is much worse,” Carrasco told AP. “And if it’s much worse, and we suspect that it is, what we have to do is put this under a magnifying glass.”
    His death on the 10th May, 2014 at the age of sixty-seven was reported to have been from cancer, the nature of which has not been disclosed. He apparently had suffered from declining health for some time. END.

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