Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 36 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Product is safe, Monsanto insists

Our pesticide should not be misused, the firm says in response to a critical report

By Michael Warren

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:14 a.m. HST, Oct 23, 2013

star-advertiser / jan. 2012Seed corn is grown by five companies -- BASF, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Syngenta -- on about 5,600 acres throughout the state. Shown here is a field on Oahu's Ewa Plain.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina » Monsanto Co. is calling for more controls on agrochemicals, including its Roundup line of glyphosate-based weedkillers, in response to an Associated Press report about concerns that illegal pesticide applications are harming human health in Argentina.

"If pesticides are being misused in Argentina, then it is in everyone's best interests — the public, the government, farmers, industry, and Monsanto — that the misuse be stopped," the St. Louis-based company said after the report was published Monday.

The firm criticized the report as lacking in specifics about health impacts, though the story cited hospital birth records, court records, peer-reviewed studies, epidemiological surveys, pesticide industry and government data, and an audit of agrochemical use in 2008-11 prepared by Argentina's bipartisan Auditor General's Office.

Asked for Monsanto's position on this, Monsanto spokes­man Thomas Hel­scher said in an email Tuesday that "the absence of reliable data makes it very difficult to establish trends in disease incidence and even more difficult to establish causal relationships. To our knowledge there are no established causal relationships."

(Monsanto and other large agricultural firms have recently been the target of protests against, and legislation controlling, the use of pesticides and GMO crops in Hawaii.)

Argentine doctors said their caseloads — not laboratory experiments — show an apparent correlation between the arrival of intensive industrial agriculture and rising rates of cancer and birth defects in rural communities, and they're calling for broader, longer-term studies to rule out agrochemical exposure as a cause of these and other illnesses.

"The story is overbroad in indicting all ‘pesticides' when we know that glyphosate is safe," Monsanto countered. "The U.S. EPA and other agencies not only say there is no evidence of carcinogenicity but go further to give it the highest rating, ‘E,' which means there is affirmative evidence that glyphosate does not cause cancer in humans."

This claim of safety, however, is a problem, Monsanto's critics say. While glyphosate is less toxic in terms of acute exposure than many other herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, it is routinely blended with other chemicals when applied to crops. The spray that drifts from fields and seeps into groundwater adds to an overall chemical burden, a mix of many individual ingredients.

Dr. Damian Verzenassi runs a continuing epidemiological study at the National University of Rosa­rio Medical School that has found a 90 percent increase in cancer rates since 1997.

"They said this new system of production would diminish agrochemical use in the country. They called the arrival of GMOs a second green revolution," he said Tuesday.

Given ample evidence of poor enforcement and growing complaints of human health impacts 17 years after Argentina accepted this farming system, Monsanto should do more, said Judy Hatcher, chairwoman of Pesticide Action Network International.

"Argentina was an early adopter of genetically engineered seed technology. As we've also learned in the United States, herbicide-resistant GE crops lead to dramatically increased pesticide use. And as weeds develop resistance to these chemicals, industry rolls out even more hazardous chemicals to battle the ‘superweeds.' Farmers get trapped on the pesticide treadmill."

 Print   Email   Comment | View 36 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
kiragirl wrote:
Years ago, the tobacco industry said that smoking cigarettes is harmless.
on October 23,2013 | 04:03AM
Leinanij wrote:
You can't trust Big Tobacco, Big Ag or Big Business. They only care about profits to their shareholders and not the public.
on October 23,2013 | 07:42AM
holumuahawaii wrote:
That's right. Having a product that harms people is always profitable for a long time. Look at cars. You could get in ann accident. Or look at hay balers. What if you got your arm caught in a baling machine? That's why we should only have natural, subsistence, no added science, agriculture.
on October 23,2013 | 09:16PM
postmanx wrote:
Freaky, freaky, freaky story....
on October 23,2013 | 08:20AM
Anonymous wrote:
Monsanto's Agent Orange is harmless too.
on October 23,2013 | 09:59AM
poipoo wrote:
You are certainly correct, kiragirl. That people continue to be blindsided into accepting the biased rationale of Monsanto is disturbing. We don't wish Hawaii to become like Argentina - so we'd all better be prepared to speak - with our words and with our wallets.
on October 23,2013 | 12:37PM
Mediocrates wrote:
It's hilarious to see these huge agra-businesses continue to make claims about enhancing the food supply with their creations that use unsuspecting human beings as guinea pigs with "food" that isn't even considered just food by the federal government but is instead registered with the FDA as a pesticide. To repeat THEIR CORN ITSELF IS REGISTERED WITH THE FDA AS A PESTICIDE, not as a food. But sure, it is totally safe to east pesticides... yes, of course it is.
on October 23,2013 | 05:40AM
allie wrote:
After 20 years and billions of people served by GMO, not a single case of harm has occurred hon. Skip the mythic claims. GMO is the wave of the future.
on October 23,2013 | 07:47AM
Wazdat wrote:
That is not correct.
on October 23,2013 | 10:48AM
allie wrote:
see facts
on October 23,2013 | 04:41PM
lookup wrote:
No wonder there is so much mental illness now days. All that pestacides are affecting the brains of those who do not know what they are eating.
on October 23,2013 | 11:33AM
noheawilli wrote:
Yea monsanto we trust you... wow I could actually type that, but the truth is We do not trust your organization at all.
on October 23,2013 | 07:09AM
Honulove wrote:
Another randomly timed AP story regarding this agro-chemical giant's practices? (thanks by the way for posting an international story with a local picture-hope some readers will think Kunia, Haleiwa and Kihei while reading).............no, Monsanto is now 30 days into Argentinian resident's blockade of the construction of the 2nd largest gmo seed processing plant in Latin America..................................The plans for Monsanto’s new plant show future construction of 240 silos for storage of chemically treated GMO corn. The silos have fans that are required to ventilate the shafts. GMO corn in an enclosed area tends to rub together and produce chemical dust which explodes without proper ventilation. People there fear that when Monsanto switches on the fans the local town of Malvinas will be engulfed in a cloud of chemical dust ........................People around the world are increasingly becoming aware that Monsanto's seeds originate in Hawaii's year-round growing season in strictly controlled conditions that require the crops to be sprayed with ????????? near our homes and waterways........................ Please google and watch this film: People and Power — Argentina: The Bad Seeds, to learn what our "farming neighbor" is up to.
on October 23,2013 | 07:22AM
allie wrote:
thank God GMO is here..we need the jobs. Hawaii has so little to offer anyone.
on October 23,2013 | 07:47AM
leino wrote:
. How much should we risk for money/jobs? The real answer is a lower population. Islands have a finite carrying capacity. So does our planet for that matter.
on October 23,2013 | 09:28AM
Leinanij wrote:
All Lies doesn't care about Hawai'i's lands or its people. Just ignore her and she'll leave if she ever graduates, but it's hard because she spends most of her time goofing off and not studying.
on October 23,2013 | 10:21AM
allie wrote:
huh> I graduate in December
on October 23,2013 | 04:42PM
lee1957 wrote:
Non-GMO corn will cause grain silo explosions as well, GMO has nothing to do with it.
on October 23,2013 | 11:36AM
leino wrote:
Why am i thinking about DDT and agent orange right now. I know it was because then as now the manufactures claimed " no problem". Wrong. This big money machine has a growing [both physically and metaphorically] problem on its hands. Let's see if it is marketing that bails them out with PR and advertising, or if it is political influence money, bureaucratic appointment, or some new corporate financed studies. Stay tooned it will be entertaining.
on October 23,2013 | 07:48AM
DABLACK wrote:
Cattle are fed grain doctored with "Fast Growth fertilizer". People are affected, now the government encourage "Free range meat" is better than farm raised animals. GMO is no good for this state or anywhere else. Try asking the Monsanto people if they'll eat meat with fed with their crops. You may get a "song and dance" to justify lining their pockets.
on October 23,2013 | 08:00AM
Leinanij wrote:
They don't serve GMOs in their employee cafeteria. That should show you how much they believe that GMOs are good for you.
on October 23,2013 | 10:22AM
NuuanuMama wrote:
For the uninformed, the Wikipedia site has lots of good information about glyphosphate - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate When looking at scientific reports, how the study was funded is crucial. As Wikipedia notes: "On two occasions, the United States EPA has caught scientists deliberately falsifying test results at research laboratories hired by Monsanto to study glyphosate." You might also do a net search on "glyphosphate reduces plant nutirents" that leads me to conclude that glyphosphate produces nutrient deficient food.
on October 23,2013 | 08:43AM
copperwire9 wrote:
Thanks. That's helpful information.
on October 23,2013 | 09:55AM
lee1957 wrote:
One might think the EPA would use their vast arsenal of regulatory authority to hammer a company for falsifying test results. Wikipedia or not, that statement seems suspicious.
on October 23,2013 | 11:38AM
gari wrote:
Please separate the to issue so the lay man , we , can understand the problem and solution GMO vs pesticides ...It is emotional enough ; thank you
on October 23,2013 | 09:37AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Monsanto defends Monsanto. Stop the presses.

No wonder it is the most hated of American corporations. Now, it gets even better.

International Business Times: It's official: Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) has been deemed the "most evil corporation" of 2013 in a new poll that has the biotech giant beating out rivals like McDonald's and the Federal Reserve by a wide margin.

on October 23,2013 | 09:41AM
Leinanij wrote:
Ouch, that's gotta hurt, being deemed more evil than Cerberus Capital named for the dog in mythology that guards the gates of hell!
on October 23,2013 | 10:25AM
Wazdat wrote:
90 percent increase in cancer rates since 1999

GMO is NOT safe.....

on October 23,2013 | 10:47AM
lookup wrote:
You should consider the scource...anyone who stands to gain personally or corporatly from what they are presenting/selling as being good, can not be trusted. Mansanto has nothing but their own $$$ interest under consideration.
on October 23,2013 | 11:43AM
environmental_lady wrote:
Don't believe anything Monsanto says. A company that puts organic farmers out of business and drives hundreds of thousands of farmers in India to suicide should not be patronized or taken seriously. Down with Monsanto!
on October 23,2013 | 01:43PM
false wrote:
What the heck. Some of us have been using Round up for years. I guess we're doomed.
on October 23,2013 | 04:31PM
jessapo wrote:
We seriously need to consider vertical farming here in Hawaii and elsewhere. There is no need for pesticides or huge land space. Hawaii could potentially become self-sustaining. The process is still in its infancy, but has great promise if done right. There is a big test trial being done in Chicago right now. Check it out and spread the word. Down with huge chemical farms!!! http://www.verticalfarm.com/blog?201 http://www.inspirationgreen.com/vertical-farms.html
on October 23,2013 | 04:46PM
Meleana22 wrote:
The world famous Salk Institute for Biological Studies has opined that ingesting GMO enhanced foods is NOT safe. For those that are not familiar with this institute, they are a highly prestigious and internationally respected scientific research organization located in La Jolla, CA.
on October 23,2013 | 05:00PM
SteveToo wrote:
Round Up keeps the weeds on my 2 acres down. Please don't take it away from me.
on October 23,2013 | 05:02PM
huponews wrote:
It's about time that Monsanto steps up to the plate, esspecially on Molokai.... Pesticides spray can travel a mile with Molokai winds. They forgot about their MSDS, and the right to know when they spray ....what 's wrong with them sending fliers warning the people in the area of spraying....we know there are major health issues with the spraying but they ignore the publics health. Making money is more important to them which is sad.....people die from this......people's right to know...remember that Monsanto.
on October 23,2013 | 08:54PM
richmaggiani wrote:
Corporate lies.
on October 24,2013 | 01:33AM
Latest News/Updates
Political Radar
`My side’

Political Radar
‘He reminds me of me’

Bionic Reporter
Needing a new knee

Warrior Beat
Monday musings

Small Talk
Burning money

Political Radar
On policy

Warrior Beat
Apple fallout