Tag Archives: poison

USDA Approves New Monsanto Corn

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a new genetically modified type of corn produced by Monsanto Company. The announcement comes from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Reuters reports that APHIS conducted a review and concluded the product posed no significant threat to agricultural crops, other plants or the environment. Monsanto’s MON 87411 maize is designed to protect plants against corn rootworms and have a tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is not only recognized as the most widely-used herbicide, it is a key ingredient in Monsanto’s popular RoundUp products.

Before officially being allowed on the market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must conduct their own reviews. According to Reuters, the EPA’s scientific advisory panel has criticized the guidelines as “weak”. The panel is attempting to understand the potential impact on pollinators, such as the dwindling bee population.

APHIS also said it was extending the comment period for genetically-engineered corn developed by Syngenta Seeds Inc. Syngenta’s MZHG0JG corn is also resistant to glyphosate. Critics have long said that perpetual reliance on herbicides like glyphosate is leading to an increase in herbicide-resistant plants which itself leads to an increased use of the chemicals.

The USDA’s preliminary findings of Syngenta’s petition found 14 different glyphosate-resistant weed species as of 2014. The agency also stated the risk of herbicide-resistant weeds will be an ongoing problem as long as herbicides are used.

Fighting herbicide resistance is only one of Monsanto’s current problems, however. In March of this year, Truth In Media reported that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a report in The Lancet Oncology detailing evaluations of organophosphate pesticides and herbicides.

The report concluded that there was “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” The evidence for this conclusion was pulled from studies of exposure to the chemical in the US, Canada and Sweden published since 2001.

The researchers found “convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause cancer in laboratory animals.” The report points out that the EPA had originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans in 1985.
The IARC Working Group evaluated the original EPA findings and more recent reports before concluding “there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Despite the WHO’s findings, the EPA approved Monsanto’s use of glyphosate as recently as 2013.
Glyphosate is not the only one of Monsanto’s products that have been recently connected to cancer. In June the IARC also found that the weed killer 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, known as 2,4-D, “possibly” causes cancer in humans. 

Since the IARC’s rulings, Monsanto has faced a wave of lawsuits as personal injury lawyers are now looking for plaintiffs who have been harmed by the corporations products. 

Monsanto continues to deny the charges against its products. Company spokewoman Charla Lord told Reuters, “Glyphosate is not a carcinogen. The most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product contradict the claims in the suits.”

In 2013, Ben Swann examined several controversies surrounding Monsanto in a Truth in Media episode, seen below.


New Study Says Water Fluoridation Does Not Reduce Cavities

A prominent independent network of researchers recently examined every available study on water fluoridation and found that the practice does not reduce cavities.

The Cochrane Collaboration, a  global independent network of researchers, professionals, and patients, narrowed the review down to the most comprehensive, well-designed and reliable papers, before analyzing and publishing their conclusion.

According to Newsweek:

“The review identified only three studies since 1975—of sufficient quality to be included—that addressed the effectiveness of fluoridation in the population at large. These papers determined that fluoridation does not reduce cavities to a statistically significant degree, says study co-author Anne-Marie Glenny, a health science researcher at Manchester University in the United Kingdom.

The scientists also found “insufficient evidence” that fluoridation reduces tooth decay in adults (children excluded).

From the review, we’re unable to determine whether water fluoridation has an impact on caries levels in adults,” Glenny says.”

 Trevor Sheldon, dean of the Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom, conducted a review of water fluoridation in 2000. Sheldon concluded that the process is not effective. “I had assumed because of everything I’d heard that water fluoridation reduces cavities but I was completely amazed by the lack of evidence,” he told Newsweek. “My prior view was completely reversed.”

Sheldon points out that some studies have actually shown that when water fluoridation was ceased, cavities went down a small percentage among schoolchildren.  This includes a 2001 study of two British Columbia communities that was included in the Cochrane review.

The Cochrane team also found that most studies confirming the effectiveness of fluoridation were completed prior to the widespread use of dental products such as mouth rinses and toothpastes. The study did find evidence that fluoridation was linked to a 26 percent decrease in cavities. However, this study was also done before the growth of modern dentistry. The researchers write, “We have limited confidence in the size of this effect due to the high risk of bias within the studies and the lack of contemporary evidence.”

Critics have long argued that any benefits of fluoride are only effective when applied topically, directly to the teeth. This would make water fluoridation largely a waste of resources. Moreover, exposing the internal organs to fluoride might actually be harmful to health. The possibility of harmful side effects from water fluoridation is still heavily debated.

In early June, the Health Research Board (HRB) completed an in-depth review of the effects of water fluoridation. The review was conducted at the behest of the U.S. Department of Health. After examining all internationally peer-reviewed papers on the topic of fluoride and health effects from 2006 to 2014, the HRB “found no definitive evidence that community water fluoridation is associated with positive or negative systemic health effects.”

Both the HRB review and the Cochrane review concluded that the majority of studies on fluoride, either for or against, were significantly flawed. The researchers found that around 70 percent of the studies did not account for conflicting factors, including sources of fluoride beyond tap water, diet, and ethnicity.

Despite the new findings from the Cochrane Review the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stands by their support of water fluoridation.  Barbara Gooch, a dental researcher with CDC’s Division of Oral Health, told Newsweek that the review does not reduce the government’s “confidence in water fluoridation as a valuable tool to prevent tooth decay in children as well as adults.”

The new data comes just months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report recommending water fluoridation levels be lowered.

The HHS released their final Public Health Service (PHS) for fluoride, calling for a change from the recommended 0.7 -1.2 milligrams per liter to a maximum of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.

The HHS says the change is in response to growing cases of dental fluorosis, which causes yellowing and pitting of the teeth. A 2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey found that approximately 41% of 12-15 year olds suffer from dental fluorosis, a consequence of fluoride overexposure. The Cochrane review also concluded that water fluoridation is leading to an increase in dental fluorosis.

For more on the history of Fluoride, health issues, and conflicts of interests with the CDC, check this article.

Bartender indicted for threatening to kill Speaker Boehner

A former bartender in Ohio has been indicted on the charge of threatening to kill House Speaker John Boehner.

Michael Hoyt, 44, worked as the bartender of the Wetherington Country Club in West Chester, Ohio, but he was fired in October. It was while working at this country club Hoyt had served drinks to Boehner for five years, according to WCPO Cincinnati.

Hoyt called police on Oct. 29, a week after being fired, and told the 911 dispatcher he blamed Boehner for his termination from the position.

When officers responded to Hoyt’s home, according to NBC News, Hoyt told the officers he believed he was Jesus Christ and that he also blamed Boehner for the Ebola outbreak. Court documents also show Hoyt claimed to hear voices coming from the speakers in his car and his home radio which told him Boehner was evil.

After being taken into custody, Hoyt was ordered by a judge to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at a facility run by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. According to FOX News, the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police believe Hoyt, “poses a current and ongoing credible threat” to Boehner.

Reuters also reports Hoyt had sent messages to Boehner’s wife, Debbie, which showed his anger at being fired from his position as the country club’s bartender. In the messages, Hoyt also said he could have easily killed Boehner previously by poisoning his drinks.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said Boehner  is “aware of the situation and sincerely thanks the FBI, the Capitol Police and the local authorities in Ohio for their efforts.”

It remains unclear as to why officials waited so long to indict Hoyt given the incident occurred on Oct. 29 and the complaint was filed on Nov. 6, while the indictment is dated Jan. 7.