Monsanto: Aspirin to Foods

How Monsanto Went From Selling Aspirin to Controlling Our Food Supply

April 21, 2013

Monsanto researchers in Stonington, Ill., are working to develop new soybean varieties that will be tolerant to agricultural herbicide and have greater yields in July 2006. (Photo: Monsanto via The New York Times)

Monsanto controls our food, poisons our land, and influences all three branches of government.This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.

Forty percent of the crops grown in the United States contain their genes. They produce the world’s top selling herbicide. Several of their factories are now toxic Superfund sites. They spend millions lobbying the government each year. It’s time we take a closer look at who’s controlling our food, poisoning our land, and influencing all three branches of government. To do that, the watchdog group Food and Water Watch recently published a corporate profile of Monsanto.

Patty Lovera, Food and Water Watch assistant director, says they decided to focus on Monsanto because they felt a need to “put together a piece where people can see all of the aspects of this company.”

“It really strikes us when we talk about how clear it is that this is a chemical company that wanted to expand its reach,” she says. “A chemical company that started buying up seed companies.” She feels it’s important “for food activists to understand all of the ties between the seeds and the chemicals.”

Monsanto the Chemical Company

Monsanto was founded as a chemical company in 1901, named for the maiden name of its founder’s wife. Its first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin. The company’s own telling of its history emphasizes its agricultural products, skipping forward from its founding to 1945, when it began manufacturing agrochemicals like the herbicide 2,4-D.

Prior to its entry into the agricultural market, Monsanto produced some harmless – even beneficial! – products like aspirin. It also made plastics, synthetic rubber, caffeine, and vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavoring. On the not-so-harmless side, it began producing toxic PCBs in the 1930s.

According to the new report, a whopping 99 percent of all PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, used in the U.S. were produced at a single Monsanto plant in Sauget, IL. The plant churned out toxic PCBs from the 1930s until they were banned in 1976. Used as coolants and lubricants in electronics, PCBs are carcinogenic and harmful to the liver, endocrine system, immune system, reproductive system, developmental system, skin, eye, and brain.

Even after the initial 1982 cleanup of this plant, Sauget is still home to two Superfund sites. (A Superfund site is defined by the EPA as “an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people.”) This is just one of several Monsanto facilities that became Superfund sites.

Monsanto’s Shift to Agriculture

Despite its modern-day emphasis on agriculture, Monsanto did not even create an agricultural division within the company until 1960. It soon began churning out new pesticides, each colorfully named under a rugged Western theme: Lasso, Roundup, Warrant, Lariat, Bullet, Harness, etc.

Left out of Monsanto’s version of its historical highlights is an herbicide called Agent Orange. The defoliant, a mix of herbicides 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, was used extensively during the war in Vietnam. The nearly 19 million gallons sprayed in that country between 1962 and 1971 were contaminated with dioxin, a carcinogen so potent that it is measured and regulated at concentrations of parts per trillion. Dioxin was created as a byproduct of Agent Orange’s manufacturing process, and both American veterans and Vietnamese people suffered health problems from the herbicide’s use.

Monsanto’s fortunes changed forever in 1982, when it genetically engineered a plant cell. The team responsible, led by Ernest Jaworski, consisted of Robb Fraley, Stephen Rogers, and Robert Horsch. Today, Fraley is Monsanto’s executive vice president and chief technology officer. Horsch also rose to the level of vice president at Monsanto, but he left after 25 years to join the Gates Foundation. There, he works on increasing crop yields in Sub-Saharan Africa. Together, the team received the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1998.

The company did not shift its focus from chemicals to genetically engineered seeds overnight. In fact, it was another 12 years before it commercialized the first genetically engineered product, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH), a controversial hormone used to make dairy cows produce more milk. And it was not until 1996 that it first brought genetically engineered seeds, Roundup Ready soybeans, onto the market.

By 2000, the company had undergone such a sea change from its founding a century before that it claims it is almost a different company. In Monsanto’s telling of its own history, it emphasizes a split between the “original” Monsanto Company and the Monsanto Company of today. In 2000, the Monsanto Company entered a merger and changed its name to Pharmacia. The newly formed Pharmacia then spun off its agricultural division as an independent company named Monsanto Company.

Do the mergers and spinoffs excuse Monsanto for the sins of the past committed by the company bearing the same name? Lovera does not think so. “I’m sure there’s some liability issues they have to deal with – their various production plants that are now superfund sites,” she responds. “So I’m sure there was legal thinking about which balance sheet you put those liabilities on” when the company split. She adds that the notion that today’s Monsanto is not the same as the historical Monsanto that made PCBs is “a nice PR bullet for them.”

But, she adds, “even taking that at face value, that they are an agriculture company now, they are still producing seeds that are made to be used with chemicals they produce.” For example, Roundup herbicide alone made up more than a quarter of their sales in 2011. The proportion of their business devoted to chemicals is by no means insignificant.

Monsanto’s pesticide product line includes a number of chemicals named as Bad Actors by Pesticide Action Network. They include Alachlor (a carcinogen, water contaminant, developmental/reproductive toxin, and a suspected endocrine disruptor), Acetochlor (a carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor), Atrazine (a carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor), Clopyralid (high acute toxicity), Dicamba (developmental/reproductive toxin), and Thiodicarb (a carcinogen and cholinesterase inhibitor).

(Read Full Article)

‘Agent Orange’ Crop Chemicals Challenged by Coalition of US Farmers & Food Companies

naturalnews.com
Originally published April 22 2012
Agent Orange crop chemicals challenged by coalition of US farmers and food companies
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) It is getting down to the wire for the potential deregulation of the toxic herbicide 2,4-D, aka “Agent Orange,” and its associated crops, and food freedom advocates everywhere are turning up the heat on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop this from happening.

A grassroots coalition of farmers, food companies, and concerned individuals known as Save Our Crops has filed a petition with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the EPA requesting that they conduct a proper environmental impact statement of the herbicides 2,4-D, which is produced by Dow AgroScience, and dicamba, which is produced by Monsanto Co., before even thinking about deregulating them.

The two chemicals are set to be released in response to the growing problem of pesticide- and herbicide-resistant “superweeds,” which are increasingly plaguing conventional crop fields. But unlike existing chemical treatments, 2,4-D and dicamba are extremely toxic, and threaten to destroy nearby trees, plants, and crops, which will have a devastating impact on the environment as a whole.

2,4-D and dicamba are known to drift and volatilize, causing damage to plants over 10 miles away from the point of application,” says the Save Our Crops Coalition. “Thus, the Save Our Crops Coalition has petitioned APHIS (USDA) and EPA to prepare an environmental impact statement to consider the cumulative impacts of the deregulation of all synthetic auxin herbicide tolerant crops.”

You can view the petition here:
http://saveourcrops.org

2,4-D used as chemical weapon during Vietnam War
As we reported on previously, 2,4-D, Dow’s new “solution” to the superweed problem, is composed of roughly 50 percent of the Agent Orange chemical weapon used to carpet-bomb Vietnamese villages during the Vietnam War. This deadly chemical is capable of destroying virtually anything it comes into contact with, except, of course, the genetically-modified (GM) crops designed to resist it (http://www.naturalnews.com).

When 2,4-D is sprayed, it very easily spreads and comes into contact with other plants and animal life. Even at very low levels, 2,4-D can cause “extensive yield damage to non-target crops,” according to Save Our Crops, not to mention the profuse health problems it causes to animals and humans upon exposure or consumption.

And dicamba, Monsanto’s version of 2,4-D, is not that much different. According to research compiled by scientists from Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and the University of California at Davis, dicamba is a pervasive plant killer that can cause birth defects and other serious problems in humans (http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu).

Neither 2,4-D nor dicamba has ever been properly safety tested, or ever undergone a comprehensive environmental impact assessment. And yet the USDA and the EPA are poised to allow the unregulated use of these chemicals in conventional agriculture, much in the same way that the USDA decided to deregulate GM alfalfa back in early 2011 (http://www.naturalnews.com/GM_alfalfa.html).

“The dramatic increase in the use of 2,4-D and dicamba, and these herbicides’ known impacts on off-target crops threaten the survival of the specialty crop production in the Midwest,” said Steve Smith of Red Gold, an Indiana-based food processor. “It’s time USDA, the stewards of American agriculture, stood up and considered the cumulative impacts of all these crops.”

There is also still time to leave a comment of opposition to 2,4-D and dicamba in the Federal Register. The deadline for submission is April, 27, 2012: http://saveourcrops.org

Sources for this article include:

http://www.reuters.com

Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit www.NaturalNews.com/terms.shtml

Why Do We Want to Spray More Agent Orange on Our Crops? Are We at War with Ourselves (and Our Children)?

Why Do We Want to Spray More Agent Orange on Our Crops? Are We at War with Ourselves (and Our Children)?

February 7, 2012

GMO

Remember Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant used in the Vietnam War? Are you ready for Agent Orange Ready seeds for US agriculture? Action Alert!

One of the two active ingredients that made up Agent Orange is 2,4-D. Despite what Agent Orange did to Vietnam and the Vietnamese people, not to mention a generation of American soldiers, 2,4-D is currently the most widely used herbicide in the world, and the third most commonly used in North America. But apparently we aren’t using this poison enough. By using seeds engineered to withstand it, much more can be applied to our soil and crops.

One of the biggest reasons for genetic engineering of crops is that the harsh poisons used to kill weeds also tend to kill the crops themselves. Scientists genetically alter the crops’ DNA so they will resist damage from the herbicides. Most of the attention to date has been on the creation of Roundup Ready seeds—that is, seeds and crops that can withstand the herbicide Roundup from Monsanto. According to USDA figures, 94 percent of soybeans and more than 70 percent of corn and cotton planted in the US contain the Roundup-resistant gene.

Not at all surprisingly, weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to Roundup, creating “superweeds” which are “galloping through the Midwest.” So Dow AgroScience created a strain of corn that has been genetically engineered to withstand a different class of herbicides—those containing 2,4-D, a known carcinogen.

Dow is now seeking to freely use this 2,4-D-resistant corn. GE modification to create resistance means they will be free to use ever-increasing amounts of the herbicide, with no limits whatsoever.

These new herbicide-resistant crops will be planted alongside conventional and organic crops. This increases the potential for cross-contamination, and for the spillover of toxic herbicides into the groundwater and neighboring farms.

The manufacturer of this seed will of course reject our use of the term
“Agent Orange Ready” seed. But don’t be deceived. 2,4-D was a principal ingredient of Agent Orange—and it is the toxic pesticide that these new seeds are designed to survive.

Three million people had health effects and 150,000 were born with birth defects as result of Agent Orange’s use during the Vietnam War. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has a shocking list of the diseases related to Agent Orange exposure, including leukemia, diabetes, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and numerous different cancers.

It is true that the other half of the Agent Orange recipe was an herbicide whose manufacturing process made it easily susceptible to contamination with an incredibly toxic chemical called TCDD (the most toxic dioxin). But this doesn’t let 2,4-D off the hook, not by any means.

The advocacy group Beyond Pesticides discusses the terrible health and environmental effects of 2,4-D at length on their website. There are clear links between 2,4-D and cancer, as well as potential endocrine disruption, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney liver damage, and birth and development defects. This herbicide is far worse than Roundup.

In 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the EPA to ban the pesticide. According to the NRDC, there are safer and more effective pesticides, but 2,4-D is often more affordable.

Even scarier, Monsanto and Dow now seem to be in collusion with one another. In its petition, Dow states that the 2,4-D trait in the GE seeds will be stacked with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready trait so that the seeds are resistant to multiple herbicide tolerances. Soon we’ll be eating food with a whole cocktail of different herbicide traits cooked into the seed—all so they can be sprayed with chemicals that are more toxic than ever before! The real solution here is to stop using GE seeds altogether.

Unfortunately, our nation is increasingly dependent on mono-cultured GE crops, rather than promoting diversity in crops and organic food and vegetables—which is better for not only for our health but for the environment as well.

GE crops are not tolerated in the European Union. BASF, a German biotech company, decided to leave the EU and go to the US where they receive safe harbor from the USDA. Last year, Hungary destroyed roughly 1000 acres of illegal GE corn, and said it plans to make distributing GMO seeds a felony.

The USDA’s public comment period for giving a green light to this GE corn ends on February 27. Even if we don’t move USDA, the more comments received, the firmer foundation is laid for Congressional or legal action. USDA has already written an environmental assessment—and not surprisingly it’s a whitewash.

Please contact USDA immediately, and protest what is going on in the strongest possible terms. Point out the serious health problems linked to 2,4-D, the danger of cross-pollination and contamination of surrounding farmland by the herbicides, as well as the environmental unsustainability of creating new GE seeds to withstand increasingly poisonous herbicides. We must not accept Agent Orange Ready seed. Please take action today!

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Vietnam Era Weapon Used To Clear Amazon | Health Freedom Alliance

Vietnam Era Weapon Used To Clear Amazon | Health Freedom Alliance.

Vietnam Era Weapon Being Used to Clear the Amazon

Submitted by Lois Rain on July 11, 2011 – 10:10 am Comments

Photo: wikipedia commons

Agent Orange, created by Monsanto, has been rediscovered by Brazilian ranchers and illegally used to clear Amazon forestry. It kills trees faster with less manpower and is not as easily detected as heavy machinery.

About 12 million gallons of the Agent Orange herbicide was used to clear forestry during the Vietnam War which devastated millions and caused major genetic damage and birth defects. The video below gives a brief history of Monsanto’s contribution (and its continuing effects) to humans and nature.  (Read more)

Note: Video contains disturbing imagery  ~Health Freedoms

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