June 7, 2014

Stacking the Danger: The Special Health Dangers of Stacked GMOs (Part Two)


In part one [1] of my post on SmartStax I wrote about how GMOs which are engineered to be herbicide tolerant (HT) and to express their own internal insecticide (these are the two kinds of GMOs which really exist) accomplish nothing but to generate herbicide-resistant superweeds and Bt-resistant superbugs against themselves. This requires the deployment of new GMO varieties and the resumed use of allegedly obsolete, even more toxic poisons, in order to keep up with the weeds and pests. By design it dooms industrial agriculture to an unwinnable arms race which can only lead to the complete collapse of this agriculture.
But along the way Monsanto and the rest of the GMO cartel will make an astronomical amount of money, and hope to impose total organizational control over all of agriculture and food, from seed to plate.
Along the way this system will also continue to hideously poison our crops, soil, water, environment, and bodies, with incalculable effects on our health. Since SmartStax represents a perfect storm of poisons, here is a good spot to briefly survey just some of the toxic effects of GMOs and the GMO system.
(On account of the buggy WordPress posting system, I’ve been having trouble inserting links. There’s too many I wanted to include in this post for me to insert them all. So I’m just going to footnote them at the bottom.)
1. SmartStax, like almost all herbicide-tolerant GMOs, is engineered to be tolerant of glyphosate. Like most of these, it’s a Roundup Ready variety. It’s meant to allow vastly greater slathering of glyphosate than with conventional crops, since the poison can now be sprayed directly on the crop without killing it. Under concentional spraying schedules, the poison can be sprayed only prior to planting the crop, otherwise it would kill the crop itself. This is why GMOs cause such extreme surges in herbicide use.
Contrary to corporate and government lies, glyphosate is highly toxic to human and animal health [2]. (Many of the effects I’ll list are compiled in the report I just linked. I’ll add some other links as I go.)
It’s linked to reproductive disorders, infertility in humans and livestock [3], spontaneous abortions and miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects [4], developmental disorders in children. It’s linked to breast cancer [5], non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, other blood cancers, and cancers of the skin, testicles, and kidneys. It’s linked to many aspects of heart disease including atherosclerosis and myocardial blockage.
It’s a severe endocrine disruptor, which may cause many of the birth defects, reproductive problems, and carcinogenic effects. The industry’s own unpublished studies from the 1980s found that it causes chromosomal damage. This genetic damage in turn leads to mutations, cancer, reproductive problems and birth defects. Acute exposure causes damage in the bone marrow, liver, and kidneys. Glyphosate’s main breakdown product AMPA may especially have acute genotoxic effects.
Glyphosate is linked to many brain diseases including Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Acute exposure from spraying or ingestion may cause increased oxidative stress related to retinoic acid oversignaling. (Also a potential health hazard of so-called “golden rice”, BTW [6].) Glyphosate has also been found to be an AChE enzyme inhibitor, which can lead to many diseases of the brain, behavioral problems, and effects on other physiological systems.
Glyphosate-driven endocrine disruption, oxidation effects, and cell damage from acute exposure cause many kinds of organ toxicity, including to the liver, kidneys, hormonal glands, bone marrow, blood, and skin. Acute exposure from skin contact and inhalation, as farm workers and the people forced to live near industrial farms must undergo, causes skin and eye irritation, allergies, nausea, and respiratory problems.
The 2012 Seralini study [7], the only study done so far which tested the effects of Roundup over the full two-year life cycle of the rat subjects, confirmed some of these organ toxicity effects and gave more evidence of cancer-causing effects, along with premature mortality.
(All corporate feeding tests, among other ways in which they’re rigged to prevent the worst health effects from manifesting, have intentionally shortened lengths, usually 90 days for rats. This is the equivalent of early adolescence in the human life cycle. This trial length is calculated to meet the needs of industry, which will be slaughtering animals at a young age and only needs to know that they’ll quickly put on weight and not drop dead before slaughter, while also preventing longer-term health effects from revealing themselves, as would be the case with humans being exposed to the herbicide or GMO over their entire lives.
Even though such a test is a fraud from the point of view of testing for safety in the human diet and environment, corporations and governments lie and claim that such industry tests have established the safety of GMOs and related poisons for humans. The fact that real toxicity and cancer studies have never been done, and the fact that epidemiological studies of the effects of over fifteen years now of GMOs in the human diet have also never been done, is the unspoken basis for the lie, popular among pro-GMO flacks, that “billions” or even “trillions” (the number keeps being inflated with every iteration of the lie) of GM meals have been eaten with no ill effects. But in fact the only basis for such an allegation is that the system is intentionally ignorant of the effects.
On the contrary, the fact that corporations and governments have been desperate to avoid any kind of real safety testing or epidemiological study to find out if, for example, the exponential surge of allergies, autism, and other autoimmune diseases since GMO commercialization has been caused by GMOs, is proof that the system believes such research would prove the health dangers of GMOs and poisons like glyphosate.
In spite of their best obscurantist efforts, the corporate feeding trials have still often found evidence of toxicity. This evidence has usually had to be forced to be released to the public through lawsuits. The 2012 Seralini study was an outgrowth of Seralini’s lawsuit and subsequent 2009 analysis of Monsanto’s own trial data which found toxic effects in its 90-day feeding trials [8]. Contrary to the many lies about Seralini’s study, all he did was replicate Monsanto’s own trials, the same which the EFSA found sufficient to approve NK603 Roundup Ready corn for import into the EU in food and feed, but extend the study length from 90 days to 2 years, and test for more parameters than the original.)
Glyphosate devastates the microbiome, our gastrointestinal bacteria which play a major cooperative role in digestion and many other bodily processes [9]. It disproportionately kills beneficial gut bacteria which keep potentially pathogenic ones like salmonella and botulins in check. Its residue does the same in the soil. These combined effects have led to the surge of botulism cases among cattle [10]. Through horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the glyphosate-tolerant trait may transfer in the gut to the surviving gut bacteria. Since one of the ways HT works is to sequester glyphosate among the plant cells, this means our gut bacteria may accumulate glyphosate within our bodies. Since one of the ways glyphosate works is to chelate mineral nutrients, denying them to the plant, the accumulation of glyphosate in our digestive tracts may cause this mineral chelation in our bodies, denying us what mineral nutrients are in our diet, and leading to nutrition deficiency disease. A similar effect is already observed with livestock, where they’re fed diets badly deficient in manganese, cobalt, and other essential minerals, on account of these nutrients having been bound up by the glyphosate in the treatment of crops and/or in the diet. The result is an epidemic of birth defects and infant morality among livestock [11].
The presence of glyphosate concentrations and the disproportional populations of gut microflora may be one of several factors causing gut inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. These gastrointestinal problems comprise a new diet-caused epidemic in themselves. They also lead to severe health problems. Gut inflammation is itself an autoimmune response, which heightens the prospect of other autoimmune symptoms arising. This inflammation also allows ill-digested and undigested particles to enter the bloodstream. Many of these should never enter the bloodstream in the first place.
This invasion of alien material triggers a further autoimmune response, which may be the reason for the exponential surge of autoimmune diseases – allergies, asthma, autism, and others – since the commercialization of GMOs. This invasion may have many other harmful health effects, as toxic materials circulate freely through the body. What’s more, a study found that part of glyphosate’s destructive microbial effect is to kill gut flora which help break down many dietary toxins [12]. So glyphosate is not only rendering us vulnerable to non-nutritional materials from the diet entering our bloodstreams, but makes it more likely that these won’t have been detoxified.
2. Glyphosate’s effect on crops and soil is similarly devastating [13].
Glyphosate harms the environment and kills plants and animals. It directly kills soil microbes and worms, in this way rendering the soil a dead zone. It’s also a key element in the general industrial onslaught which is denuding and eroding the soil.
Due to its high solubility in water, glyphosate is particularly harmful to aquatic and amphibian species. It has been found in studies to kill most frogs. At a low does it inhibits green algae while promoting potentially toxic waterborne bacteria.
In the US midwest, it’s responsible for a tremendous decline in milkweed growth, which has contributed to the calamitous decline in the monarch butterfly population.
3. With the rise of glyphosate-resistant superweeds and systemic failure of glyphosate, stacked varieties increasingly include tolerance traits for more than one herbicide. SmartStax is also tolerant to glufosinate, which causes organ toxicity and neurotoxicity, as well as reproductive and birth defects [14].
SmartStax is resistant to both glyphosate and glufosinate.  This and other newer herbicide tolerant varieties, including Agent Orange corn and other crops resistant to 2,4-D, are not replacing glyphosate with a different poison, but adding the new poison on top of the ever-increasing glyphosate application. There are already GMOs in the pipeline engineered to resist three or more poisons. This number, and the amount of each poison and the aggregate amount of poison slathered on the crops and soil and into our water, will only continue to escalate for as long as we continue on the insane path of poison-based agriculture including GMOs. It’s self-evidently an unwinnable arms race, a never-ending, ever-accelerating treadmill. And those who enact or support such a destructive, homicidal, suicidal campaign for the sake of greed are simply the most evil criminals who have ever existed.
4. Then there’s the health dangers of each Bt toxin [15]. (SmartStax oozes SIX of them from every cell of the plant.) Studies have proven that it can persist in the mammalian digestive tract [16] and enter the human bloodstream [17], contrary to the lies of corporations and governments. In another study it was found to cause intestinal irritation [18]. It also damages the intestinal ileum.
Here we already see how there can be a modified from in our own bodies of Bt’s intended mode of action, which is to cause the stomach wall of the target insect to rupture, killing it. In our case Bt toxins ingested in our food may contribute to the gut inflammation I described above as an effect of glyphosate ingestion. This can lead to the same destructive cycle of autoimmune disease and foreign, often toxic, material entering the bloodstream from the digestive tract.
Bt has been found to trigger autoimmune responses in farm workers who were only exposed to the Bt spray. Genetically modified endemic Bt expression generates a far more concentrated toxin than the agricultural spray, and constantly injects the poison into the crop and the environment. So the form we ingest is more toxic and in a much higher dose.
Even so, the level of Bt toxin found in the human bloodstream in the Canadian study linked above still seems high to have come just from the diet, the way the study theorized. Although this hasn’t yet been proven, another theory is that the Bt-expressing trait is being passed, via horizontal gut transfer, to our gut flora. In that case we could have permanent pesticide factories within our own gastrointestinal tracts, constantly producing Bt toxin, constantly irritating and inflaming our gut wall, constantly inviting autoimmune disease and exposing us to every kind of ingested toxin.
Bt toxins also target mammalian red blood cells, causing damage which is associated with anemia, the suppression of bone marrow production, and leukemia [19]. This is especially hazardous when Bt poisoning is combined with glyphosate poisoning, as they very often are, since as I mentioned above glyphosate is linked to hairy cell leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
5. Then there’s the health hazards of genetic engineering as such [20].
In the case of a stacked variety, these hazards are compounded by the reverberations of not just one violent transgenic insertion, but eight of them. Products which stack as many as ten transgenes and are the combination of as many as six separate GMOs are currently in the pipeline. This can only escalate.
This arms race is a testament to the ineffectuality of the two basic genres of GMOs, herbicide tolerance and insecticide expression. Neither reliably works, each inevitably fails, and the rate and magnitude of failure accelerate over time. A measure of this is how we started out with glyphosate tolerance, it took some years for glyphosate-tolerant weeds to overcome Roundup, now the “second generation” HT products are stacking tolerance for 2,4-D and/or dicamba on top of glyphosate tolerance, while the 2,4-D resistant weeds are already proliferating, even though the Agent Orange GMOs haven’t yet been widely commercialized. The same dynamic is occurring with Bt poisons. For example rootworms who took a few years to become resistant to the original CryBb1 toxin far more quickly transferred this resistance to the “second generation” Cry3A [21]. SmartStax’s rootworm protection is based partially on one of these already-obsolete poisons, and its second anti-rootworm toxin is guaranteed to fail soon enough.
These examples demonstrate the incontrovertible principle that neither herbicide-tolerant GMOs nor Bt-expressing GMOs have a future. They can only continue to fail, and finally definitively fail with catastrophic consequences for any agriculture dependent upon them, and for any people dependent upon this agriculture for their food. The fight to avert this otherwise inevitable catastrophe is in itself sufficient reason to be a GMO abolitionist, and in itself renders abolition necessary. The proponents of GMOs, in their denial of the proven failure of the entire product concept, demonstrate their combination of malevolent greed for power and profit, and their literally insane ideology of technological domination of nature.
And in the meantime these GMOs and their affiliated poisons will continue to poison our soil, crops, water, air, food, and bodies. That too is just cause and a clear and present need for abolition.


1. https://attempter.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/stacking-the-danger-smartstax-system-failure-and-the-gmo-arms-race-1-of-2/ 

2. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Why_Glyphosate_Should_be_Banned.php 

3. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/10/dr-don-huber-interview-part-1.aspx 

4. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15121-argentines-link-health-problems-to-agrochemicals 

5. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/14817-glyphosate-induces-human-breast-cancer-cell-growth-study 

6. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15023-golden-rice-myths 

7. https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/the-seralini-study-is-a-good-study-and-is-good-enough-for-action/ 

8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2706426/

9. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2012/14520-roundup-harms-beneficial-gut-bacteria-study

10. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15008-torturing-animals-with-monsanto-s-gm-feed

11. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15187-deformities-sickness-and-livestock-deaths-the-real-cost-of-gm-animal-feed  

12. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/14748-glyphosate-contributes-to-modern-disease-new-paper 

13. https://attempter.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/the-gmoglyphosate-regime-and-crop-disease/ 

14. http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Actives/glufosin.htm 

15. https://attempter.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/bt-overview/ 

16. http://www.gmoseralini.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/GM_Food.pdf 

17. http://www.panna.org/blog/genetic-trespass-ge-toxin-reaches-umbilical-cordblood 

18. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/14740-problems-in-salmon-fed-gm-bt-maize 

19. http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/14970-bt-toxins-are-toxic-to-the-blood-of-mice 

20. https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/health-hazards-of-genetic-engineering-overview-and-perspective/ 

21. https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/rootworms-and-gmos/



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