Informed consent is one of the most basic aspects of patient-physician relations, as well as subject-researcher relations in the case of research studies. This involves making the patient aware of and verifying that they understand the risks, benefits, facts, and the future implications of the procedure or test they are going to be subjected to.
In the case of genetically modified organisms we have not been made aware of the risks. In fact, the GMO industry has deliberately hidden the real dangers behind the seeds and herbicides they peddle. The Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America has defined informed consent in the following bureaucratic jargon:
Except as provided in 50.23 and 50.24, no investigator may involve a human being as a subject in research covered by these regulations unless the investigator has obtained the legally effective informed consent of the subject or the subject’s legally authorized representative. An investigator shall seek such consent only under circumstances that provide the prospective subject or the representative sufficient opportunity to consider whether or not to participate and that minimize the possibility of coercion or undue influence. The information that is given to the subject or the representative shall be in language understandable to the subject or the representative. No informed consent, whether oral or written, may include any exculpatory language through which the subject or the representative is made to waive or appear to waive any of the subject’s legal rights, or releases or appears to release the investigator, the sponsor, the institution, or its agents from liability for negligence.
Under all of these definitions, including the exceptions which you can peruse at the above linked official website, what Monsanto is doing with GM crops and their Roundup products are ethically wrong and illegal.
Some might say, “So what? It doesn’t matter since genetically modified products are perfectly safe! Why would I care, if it helps farmers, and it is safe, then what is wrong with doing it without informed consent?”
Well, so many people disagree that after much argumentation, the United States was forced to drop their opposition to the labeling of products that have genetically modified ingredients. Unfortunately, this step forward was a very small one, as this is completely voluntary. Since many consumers do not want to eat these products, it is almost guaranteed that we won’t see them on the ingredient list on our food labels any time soon.
This would be quite hilarious if it wasn’t so dangerous: the new “guidance” approved by the Codex Alimentarius Commission simply “allows countries to label genetically modified foods without [breaching] international free trade laws.”
That is, of course, unless the people of America start realizing the real dangers that these products pose and demand that all companies be legally required to identify if any ingredients were genetically modified anywhere along the line of production.
This means that if corn was grown from a Monsanto GM seed, the producer would be forced to identify that the corn is indeed genetically modified on the label.
Are there real health risks, or is this just a bunch of hype attempting to defame the good name of the multinational giant known as Monsanto?
In this article we will review the scientific findings and compare them to what we are told by the media and government about the total safety of these products.
In a report published in June 2011 in Earth Open Source, written by several professors and researchers from across the world entitled, Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? significant evidence is presented showing that the best-selling herbicide Roundup is indeed linked with birth defects.
Roundup, a product of Monsanto, is comprised mostly of the isopropylamine salt of glyphosate, which is the most used herbicidal chemical in America. Monsanto’s Roundup has been outselling every other herbicide worldwide since four years after its introduction to the market in 1976. For those who are not familiar with the history of Monsanto and their Roundup product, I highly recommend the documentary entitled The World According to Monsanto.
Roundup is far from the only dangerous GM product, as you will see as this article continues.
So what exactly are the dangers of Roundup? Should you be worried about your food source using it or using “Roundup” ready genetically modified seeds?
To put it simply: yes, in fact you should be very concerned and this article will lay it out so anyone can understand exactly why we need to get active and fight back against the monster that is Monsanto and the gargantuan genetically modified organism market.
First I must describe what a “Roundup ready” genetically modified crop entails. The GM plant has been specially engineered to be able to handle the incredibly toxic herbicide Roundup. It does not resist the herbicide but instead it has been modified so it can uptake the poison and still live. The Roundup then makes its way into your system, and anyone will tell you that eating a ton of glyphosate is not a good idea.
Roundup is not backed by any impartial, independent, rigorous scientific research. The studies used to back up the claims of governments around the world and especially in the EU are unpublished industry studies.
The real research shows a very different picture.
In 2002, a scientific research paper was published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, a publication of the American Chemical Society, entitled Pesticide Roundup Provokes Cell Division Dysfunction at the Level of CDK1/Cyclin B Activation. This bombshell paper reveals the real inherent dangers of the world’s most popular systemic herbicide.
The model they used to test the effects of the glyphosate based Roundup was an embryonic sea urchin in the first cell divisions after successful fertilization. This is suitable for an analog study (meaning that it can be applied to human cell division) because these first divisions represent the universal cell cycle regulation.
They found that a solution containing just 8 mM (millimolar, or 8/1000 moles) of glyphosate “induces a delay in the kinetic of the first cell cleavage of the sea urchin embryos.” This means that the initial cell division, which starts with cleavage of the single cell zygote is delayed, something which could prove destructive in human beings.
Anyone who has taken a biology course can tell you that the human reproductive cycle is a beautiful, finely tuned, and remarkably elegant system. When this system is upset, say by toxins in the mother’s blood, the results are not pretty.
They further reveal, “The delay in the cell cycle could be induced using increasing glyphosate concentrations (1-10 mM) in the presence of a subthreshold concentration of Roundup 0.2%, while glyphosate alone was ineffective, thus indicating synergy between glyphosate and Roundup formulation products.” While the effects of the toxin were “not lethal,” it still induced “a delay into M-phase of the cell cycle.”
CDK1 and cyclin B universally regulate the cell’s M-phase, and Roundup delayed the activation of these compounds in vivo. Furthermore, “Roundup inhibited also the global protein synthetic rate” and “affects cell cycle regulation by delaying activation of the CDK1/cyclin B complex” which leads to the ominous conclusion: “our results question the safety of glyphosate and Roundup on human health.”
Why is this not headline news? Why are the people of the world not up in arms about these toxins being present in our foods, possibly affecting the embryonic development of our children?
Shockingly, this is not the only scientific study published in the prestigious journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. In 2009, two French researchers at the University of Caen in France out of the Laboratory for Estrogens and Reproduction in the Institute of Biology published Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells.
For those unfamiliar with the terms, Apoptosis is the natural process of programmed cell death that allows human fetuses to develop fingers, toes and other features. This is distinct from necrosis because the cells break up into fragments that are easily consumed by phagocytic cells (cells that consume other cells) which quickly remove the dead cell fragments before they can cause damage to surrounding cells.
Necrosis, on the other hand, is the premature death of living cells and living tissues, which is not naturally occurring and necessary process like apoptosis. Unlike the vital process of apoptosis, necrosis can prove fatal. Necrotic tissues are not consumed by the phagocytic cells, which means that the tissues usually have to be “debrided” which is the surgical removal of the necrotic tissue.
If you want to witness the effects of necrosis and have a strong stomach, you might want to search for images of necrosis online; although I must emphasize that you should have a strong stomach before viewing these images.
This study was especially conservative, evaluating the toxicity of four different glyphosate-based herbicides in Monsanto’s Roundup products in solutions diluted 100,000 times. This is clearly far below the level at which it is used in agricultural applications, which therefore corresponds to the low levels detected in food for human consumptions as well as animal feeds.
To make the study even more scientifically rigorous, they tested it on three distinct human cell types, embryonic, placental, and umbilical as well as testing both glyphosate alone and the Roundup formula.
Unlike glyphosate alone, all of the heavily diluted Roundup formations caused total cell death within twenty four hours through necrosis. It was also found that Roundup induces apoptosis, causing DNA fragmentation, shrinkage of the nucleus, and fragmentation of the nucleus.
As I briefly outlined above, apoptosis is a necessary part of the human development process, however, when it is artificially induced, danger arises.
While Roundup induced complete cell death, glyphosate alone induced only apoptosis. They found conclusive evidence that the Roundup adjuvants (an agent that modifies the behavior and activity of another agent, while having few effects on its own) change the permeability of the three human cells studied.
This amplifies the toxicity already induced via glyphosate, proving that the adjuvants in Roundup are not inert.
They conclude the abstract of the paper with the following ominous sentence,
“Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from [Roundup] formulation-treated crops.”
Now that you know the horrors of Roundup and the inherent dangers of this systemic herbicide, would you like to eat it? I doubt it. If you don’t like the idea of consuming this necrosis-inducing toxin, you must know what contains the poison and what does not.
Unfortunately, without proper labeling practices, you cannot be sure unless you buy all of your food from farmers you know and trust and/or have a home garden that can sustain you.
Until these practices are put in place, I highly recommend that you seek out as much locally grown organic food as humanly possible. Inform your friends and family about the real dangers of Roundup and the hard science this is based upon.
When more people around the world start demanding that their food be properly labeled with warnings just like cigarettes or alcohol, some real change can occur. If we continue to sit back and hope our governments will actually represent us instead of their corporate interests, we will continue to be subjected to the largest human experiment in history, in which you never have to give informed consent.