GM Free Cymru

Argentinian Doctors Confirm Major Health Problems Associated With RR Soy

A report by Argentine physicians points to the major health problems arising from the increasing use of GM Roundup Ready (RR) soy in the country. It is the product of the 1st National Meeting Of Physicians In The Crop-Sprayed Towns organized by the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the National University of Cordoba and held in August this year (2010). The meeting was attended by more than 160 participants from the provinces in Argentina as well as from six national universities.

Presentations and stories of the participants matched the clinical observations of a range of diseases and health conditions on people subject to Roundup herbicide sprayings. These include acute poisoning, exceptionally high incidences of miscarriages and birth defects in newborns in the crop-sprayed towns. There is also an increased detection of cancers in children and adults, and serious illnesses, such as Henoch-Schönlein purpura, toxic liver disease, and neurological disorders.

The physicians, many of whom have served for more than 25 years, found that such health problems were quite unusual and strictly linked to systemic sprayings of pesticides. The report also contains a lot of details about DNA damage, confirming laboratory research on glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA, and neurological development problems.

Comment:

This detailed report confirms, from carefully collated data collected by the medical profession, the points made by Prof Andres Carrasco and other researchers over the past decade about the negative and powerful health effects associated with the planting and cultivation of Roundup Ready GM crops.

Meanwhile, following 3 consents for the import of GM soy into the EU (for food and animal feed use) our regulators, government and the farming industry all protest that we MUST have imported GM soy from Argentina and elsewhere, simply because it is "cheap". So who pays the real cost? And whatever happened to ethics?

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EXTRACTS

Introduction

For nearly 10 years, the residents of rural and periurban areas, where agricultural activities are carried out based on the current model of agro-industrial production, have been demanding to the political authorities, the courts of justice, and also protesting before the general public, because they feel that the health of their communities is being environmentally affected, mainly through sprayings of agrochemicals used for different types of agricultural crops, but also for the handling and storage of these chemicals in populated areas, the waste disposal, as well as the collection of grains soaked with chemicals within the towns.

A reflection of these complaints and reports is included in the “Declaration of Caroya”1 made on September 13, 2008, by a large group of organizations made up of self-organized neighbors and environmental NGOs from the Capital City of Córdoba, Oncativo, Colonia Caroya, Jesús María, Sinsacate, Alta Gracia, Cañada de Luque, Marcos Juárez, La Granja, Anisacate, Río Ceballos, and Las Peñas, among others. This text reads as follows: That the processes of soyization, monoculture, direct sowing, intense farming … have affected our natural co-existence in the following order: Health: Reduction in the average age and height in crop-sprayed towns due to malnutrition, and a decrease of the body’s natural defenses. Birth defects, mutagenesis, miscarriages, depression and suicide, disorders of the central nervous system and other neurological pathologies; disabilities, spina bifida, lupus, leukemia and other types of cancers; chloracne and other skin problems; asthma, allergies, and other respiratory and lung-related problems; male sterility and impotence; hormonal disruption and other hormonal disorders; diminished childhood development; prolonged febrile syndrome without focus; children’s increased vulnerability to pollutants; anemia, multiple sclerosis, cerebral ischemia, death…1

These claims and accusations were made public through the national press when it was known that the ordinary criminal justice system had recognized the complaints from neighbors in the Ituzaingó Anexo neighborhood, in the city of Córdoba, accepting the complaints from the City’s Secretary of Health, due to poisoning through aerial spraying to which the population of one part of the City had been subjected, as well as being severely and environmentally attacked2. In January 2009, the Rural Reflection Group presented an extensive work to Mrs. President of the Nation, which contained the complaints of crop-sprayed towns throughout the country3.

San Jorge in Santa Fe, San Nicolás in Buenos Aires, Ituzaingó neighborhood in Córdoba, and La Leonesa in Chaco, are only some of the places where the increased number of cancer cases, birth defects, reproductive and endocrine disorders, have been suffered and detected ever since systematic pesticide spraying has become commonplace. These claims from crop-sprayed towns were advocated many times by members of health teams, but responses from State Public Health areas, and the participation as well as the involvement of State Universities were very scarce and limited.

Reports and Testimonies

Presentations and stories of the participants matched the clinical observations of a range of diseases and health conditions on people subject to sprayings. While manifestations of acute poisoning are the daily demands of these patients, what alarms physicians the most in crop-sprayed towns are two main observations: Firstly, more newborns suffer from birth defects and there are more miscarriages than those usually occurring in their population of patients. Secondly, there is an increased detection of cancers in children and adults, and serious illnesses, such as Henoch–Schönlein purpura (HSP, also known as anaphylactoid purpura, purpura rheumatica, and Schönlein–Henoch purpura-skin disease), toxic liver disease, and neurological disorders. (See full Report)

Research studies from Argentine University Groups (see full Report)

Analysis of scientific literature

Over the last years, there has been an increase in the quality and quantity of epidemiological-related papers that link exposure to pesticides with harm to human health. (See full Report)

The Magnitude of the Problem

It is crucial to acknowledge the fact that, together with the increase in cancer and birth defect cases in the mentioned areas, the use of pesticides also increased exponentially since the introduction of transgenic crops. This type of crop requires the use of more and more pesticides. In 1990, 35 million liters were used during the crop year. In 1996, the introduction of transgenic biotechnology accelerated the use of pesticides to the extent that 98 million liters were used, and in 2000, it increased to 145 million liters. Last year 292 million liters were used, and this year we will be spraying the fields with over 300 million liters of herbicides, insecticides, acaricides, defoliants and other poisonous substances (see Graph No. 12). 200 million liters of Glyphosate, a commonly used pesticide, may be sprayed this year. Nearly 4 million liters per year of Endosulfan, a poisonous insecticide, are sprayed each year.

Each year the amount of Glyphosate per hectare repeatedly sprayed on the same plot of land has increased. This is probably because weeds have become resistant. In 1996, the sprayings started at less than 2 liters per hectare, whereas today some areas are sprayed with 10 liters per hectare, and almost 20 liters per hectare in other areas. These poisonous substances are sprayed over extensive territories.

Transgenic crops subject to systematic sprayings cover 22 million hectares located in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Entre Ríos, Santiago del Estero, San Luis, Chaco, Salta, Jujuy, Tucumán, La Pampa and Corrientes. According to geographers from the UNC, at least 12 million people live in towns surrounded by crops that may be found in these vast territories, and that figure does not include the population from large cities in each of these provinces.

Twelve million Argentineans are directly sprayed. This means that a sufficient amount of those 300 million liters of agrotoxics are sprayed on houses, schools, parks, water sources, sports fields, and work areas. In other words, on their lives. This population is treated by physicians working in the crop-sprayed towns, where we notice an alarming increase of cancer, birth defects and reproductive disorders which cannot be concealed anymore.

This undisputed reality is revealed, for example, in the geo-reference made in 2005 by the mothers in Córdoba’s Ituzaingó neighborhood and its local government primary care team about the cases in this neighborhood where, among other pollutants, agrochemicals played a relevant role.

Proposals

The first recommendation is for the public and society to listen, recognize and acknowledge what health and science experts state - toxic pesticides are poisonous, and they are making us sick. The diseases that we are exposed to everyday are not random, and they are caused by the spraying of these pesticides.

Due to the seriousness of the problem presented here, and in view of the precautionary principle, we believe that measures must be taken in order to guarantee a healthy and clean environment for the people in the crop-sprayed areas, our patients. It is urgent that we make progress in restricting the use of pesticides, since crop-sprayed towns of Argentina are poisoned massively during at least 6 months each year, and three times per month.

Sprayings carried out by airplanes or helicopters have shown to generate a "drift" of poisonous substances spreading uncontrollably. In fact, in its Directive 128/09, the European Parliament banned pesticides throughout its territories, and established that the regulations from every member country must be adapted in that regard, since pesticide sprayings in France were detected in Iceland a few days later.

Taking into consideration Argentina’s widespread use of agrochemicals and the fragile health status observed in people who live in the crop-sprayed towns, we believe that it is essential to immediately ban all aerial sprayings of pesticides throughout the country.

Also, sprayings on land must be carried out far away from highly populated towns and cities. Even though its drift is lower, these chemicals can still be found in neighborhoods near to fields. Therefore, it is essential that crops are sprayed from a distance of no less than 1000 meters from the limits of urban areas - towns and cities – and respecting all specific regulations.

We believe that in addition to stop sprayings in populated areas, it is necessary to ban the use of pesticides of Ia and Ib toxicological type. They are real chemical weapons.

We question the current agro-industrial and transgenic production model. There are other options for agro-ecological production that the State University should promote and develop. It is necessary to research, select, and agree to production systems that allow for social and cultural integration, defending and reproducing our environment's ecological conditions.

State universities and their Faculties of Medical Sciences should commit more to research and training of their professionals29 so that they recognize and respond proactively and therapeutically to these types of conditions and environmentally related diseases.

Cordoba, August 28, 2010

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Report from the 1st NATIONAL MEETING OF PHYSICIANS IN THE CROP-SPRAYED TOWNS Faculty of Medical Sciences, National University of Cordoba. August 27th and 28th 2010, University Campus, Cordoba Coordinators: Dr. Medardo Ávila Vazquez, Prof. Dr. Carlos Nota.

The report can be downloaded from <http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/report-from-the-first-national-meeting-of-physicians-in-the-crop-sprayed-towns/>

See also:

ISIS Report 13/07/11 EU Regulators and Monsanto Exposed for Hiding Glyphosate Toxicity
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/EU_Regulators_Monsanto_Glyphosate_Toxicity.php

See also:

Antoniou M, Habib M, Howard CV, Jennings RC, Leifert C, Nodari RO, Robinson C, Fagan J. Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source, 2011.

GM SOY -- Sustainable? Responsible? by Michael Antoniou, Paulo Brack, Andrés Carrasco, John Fagan, Mohamed Habib, Paulo Kageyama, Carlo Leifert, Rubens Onofre Nodari, Walter Pengue 2010 GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG and ARGE Gentechnik-frei

See also:

ISIS Report 06/10/10

Argentina's Roundup Human Tragedy Ten years of GM soy and glyphosate poisoning have escalated the rates of cancer and birth defects. Claire Robinson http://www.i-sis.org.uk/argentinasRoundupHumanTragedy.ph