Sunday, April 27, 2008

From Material Girl to Monsanto. Who is Monsanto?

I decided to take a break from reading about Autism or the environment while on spring break. At the airport, I saw exactly what I needed. Madonna was on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. My savior! My idol from high school that continues to inspire me with that figure and determination of hers. A perfect thing to indulge in. I may even read something "smart" or "intellectual" in the other articles. Hmm..that Princess Di update looks good too.

After getting my material fix, I saw a reference to an environmental article. Curious, I took a look. This is Vanity Fair after all. It couldn't possibly get under my skin.

I started reading about this company I knew nothing about that has had the MOST impact on our food supply and environmental contamination. Monsanto. How was this possible? So much in one company's hands? I know there are a slew of offenders of industrial polluters. I was amazed and shocked as I read further. They are responsible for saccharin, dioxin, PCBs, GMO seeds, and finally hormone milk!!! All from one company! I still can't believe it!

Monsantohas a decades-long history of toxic contamination. Here are some shocking snipets:

1) Monsanto Chemical Works began in 1901 by John Francis Queeny. Started out with saccharin, which started his company. Coca-Cola made him solid. Then added vanillin, caffeine, and drugs used as sedatives and laxatives, aspirin. Later, plastics, resins, rubber goods, fuel additives, artificial caffeine, industrial fluids, vinyl siding, dishwasher detergent, anti-freeze, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides.

2) They are responsible for dioxin and PCBs. Dioxins refer to a group of highly toxic chemicals linked to heart disease, liver disease, human reproductive disorders, and developmental problems. Finally in 2001 the government listed it as a human carcinogen.

3) 1981 created the GMO. Can introduce anything into a plant cell. 1980 U.S. Supreme Court turned seeds into widgets laying groundwork for a handful of corporations to begin taking control of the world's food supply. They held out for a decade, viewing seeds as lifeforms with too many variables to patent. But they say it's a live human-made microorganism. It's actually a bacteria developed by a GE scientist to clean up oil spills.

4) Roundup, the weed killer is their product. They discovered the way to genetically modify a seed to not be affected. For farmer convenience, they can spray fields. For soybeans, corn, canola, and cotton. Up and coming are sugar, beets, and alfalfa. 90% of soybeans are from Monsanto seeds. Currently has 674 biotechnology patents, the leader.

1980; no GMOs
2007: 282 million acres worldwide. 142 million in U.S.

5) Now, latest is on to rBGH and rBST milk. In 1993, Monsanto studies convinced the FDA to approve use. Still no long-term studies on human safety have been doen. All data continues to come from Monsanto. An FDA deputy commissioner joined Monsanto as senior vp in 1999. An assistant at the E.P.A. left and became vp of Monsanto from 1995 to 2000, only to return to the E.P.A. The incestuous back-and-forth goes on and on. So many players. After FTC in 2007 saying there's no difference in milk with or without it. Says marketers are using "deceptive advertising and labeling practices" of milk that is labeled free of the hormones.

We are totally screwed.

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