October 6, 2017

Lethal Pesticide Outbreak in India


At least fifty Indian cotton farmers are dead and over 800 have been hospitalized after spraying the pesticide Profex Super, a combination of profenofos and cypermethrin. The poison causes vomiting, dizziness, disorientation, trouble breathing, trouble seeing. These farmers grow Monsanto’s Bollgard II cotton which is supposed to kill insect pests and reduce the need for sprayed pesticide. But Bt cotton has been a complete failure all over the world, with target bollworms quickly developing resistance to every toxin the poison plant can serve up for them. Especially in India, there was at most a very brief spraying dividend over ten years ago, even as the seeds required neonic pesticide coatings to enable the crop to grow at all. Farmers soon had to revert to spraying many times a year as the bollworms became more and more impervious.
Bt cotton is perhaps the most notorious example of the basic failure and fraud of the entire genre of Bt insecticidal GMOs. It highlights how, contrary to the industry’s lies, GMOs increase pesticide use, and are designed to increase pesticide use.
Today we have a new development. Acute illness and sometimes death is nothing new among pesticide applicators, but such a big outbreak is. The system’s “experts” are doing their usual thing of blaming the farmers for not taking proper precautions. But the fact is that the Indian government provides vanishingly little institutional support to farmers. They get almost all their advice from the sellers themselves of pesticides and GM seeds, but such advice has little safety value. So the lack of proper safety precautions when spraying is a long-running chronic circumstance which often leads to acute illness (and longer term illness such as cancer) but seldom brings lethal outbreaks. And in fact the experts have ended up confessing that this outbreak is a mystery to them.
The proximate cause is a mystery, but there’s no mystery about the chaotic structural cause. Clearly this is the kind of engineering failure which is triggered by a special combination of circumstances, where such combinations have unpredictable but often extreme effects.
The circumstances going into the brew here may include some tipping point of quantity of poison sprayed, the weather and environmental conditions, some contaminant or simple change in production method of the poison itself, chaotic reaction with other pesticides, and/or any number of factors which may unpredictably combine to trigger such a chaotic effect.
The takeaway is that this kind of acute lethal outbreak could happen any where, any time that significant amounts of pesticides are injected into the environment. If the Bhopal disaster was a massive chaotic outbreak, this is a mini-Bhopal. We can expect more of them, as the poisonist system deploys ever greater numbers of pesticides in ever greater amounts, with ever greater chaotic effects reverberating among these poisons and between them and the environment.
In India there’s nothing new about pesticides causing mass death. Since corporate agriculture forced its globalization campaign upon Indian small cotton farmers, in their economically driven despair they have been killing themselves in vast numbers by drinking their own pesticides. These pesticides comprise the very symbol of their having been made a human sacrifice to corporate power and technocratic derangement.
The recent lethal outbreak is being called an “accident”, but like Bhopal such outbreaks really are hard-wired into the structure of poison-based agriculture, and of corporate-driven poisonism in general. The despair driving the suicide epidemic, itself an acute version of the languishing despair and slow death of the millions driven off their land and into the shantytowns, also is hard-wired. All these forms of despair and death are caused, for no reason, by a system which doesn’t work and has no goal but waste, destruction, and its own power. All these forms of death are, in the end, murder.


  1. Actually in my opinion bt corn (‘starlink’) is the worst example, since it’s contaminated our entire yellow corn supply so we’re all eating some of it.

    not to mention GMO seed infesting Mexico’s corn, which is where the genetic diversity of corn comes from.

    It’s amusing that these poison peddlers push the concept of ‘terminator seeds’ that can’t sprout, yet their ‘product’ does exactly that, along with their ‘terminator pollen’ diluting and ruining conventional corn varieties.

    I agree though – genetic engineering is a failure all across the board. The GMO’s themselves, the petrol-chemical inputs (which otherwise would be industrial waste, same as gasoline), super-weeds, super-bugs, and with western medicine’s antibiotics (mold piss) super-bacteria.

    Nature adapts and exposes the folly of man’s attempts control her.

    Too bad these pesticides are far more toxic to mammals than to the ‘target’ lifeforms, which is no surprise since they’re derived from nerve gas, in fact some of them are directly re-purposed from emptied shells they wanted to dispose of.

    – so we have petrol-chemical waste in solid form (plastic, and all plastics are toxic testing has revealed), in liquid form (benzene in gasoline which is the ‘gold standard’ in carcinogens) and gas form (CFC’s and chloro-carbons/organochloride and nerve gas)

    I see this as a small rich group of fossil fools, pushing their industrial waste on the world, by calling their industrial waste ‘product’ and little more.

    They couldn’t exist without it because the cost of disposal would otherwise eat up their profits. When you’re engaged in large scale production all the end-products have to be considered. “what can we do with all this benzene? Hey I know, we’ll dispose of it in the gasoline!”

    So instead of paying high prices to contain or incinerate it as the toxic waste it is, they profit from it, by externalizing it’s toxicity onto everyone else.


    And now they’ve been disposing of toxic waste by adding it to fracking fluid, again with regulations bypassed to allow it.

    the word RACKET comes to mind..

    The petrol-chemical industry is basically a giant racket, and ALL their ‘products’ are marketed as ‘features not bugs’

    Just as ‘atoms for peace’ was nothing more than a marketing campaign for continued nuclear bomb-making, the ‘age of plastic’ along with the oil age, is simply a marketing campaign for war making.

    War making is at the root of it all – the pentaCON is the single biggest user of fossil fuels and single worst polluter in the world, both for greenhouse gas emissions and toxic waste sites.

    War for oil, or oil for war?

    the chicken or the egg

    Comment by Anonymous — October 6, 2017 @ 7:39 am

    • Starlink was one Bt maize product which to the best of my knowledge hasn’t been grown in years, but you’re right about the Bt genre as such, and all GM maize. It’s extremely difficult to prevent contamination, and GE contamination of maize is rife across the US, Mexico, and elsewhere. Same for cotton, canola, alfalfa, and others.

      Everything you say about fossil fuels is spot on. In the 1940s and 50s the US government and Rockefeller Foundation collaborated in drawing up plans for a planned economy of “agribusiness” (the term was coined at Harvard in 1956 by a Rockefeller-funded academic) whose main proximate goals were forcing into being vast markets across the global South for agricultural petro-products and US agricultural exports. They eventually dubbed this the “green revolution”, in contradistinction to the so-called “red”. (The whole thing also was an anti-communist propaganda campaign, and in general an ideological campaign to denigrate socioeconomic analysis and prescriptions in favor of purely technocratic engineering “solutions”. That campaign continues to this day, and is at the core of what I’m here to fight.)

      So to simplify somewhat, Standard Oil drove the agribusiness onslaught for its own power interests.

      Comment by Russ — October 6, 2017 @ 10:23 am

  2. A quick search reveals:

    “Illegal StarLink™ GM Corn Resurfaces in Saudi Arabian Food Supply” (2013)

    “Biotech Company Admits StarLink Contamination is Forever”

    and other results..

    re: petrol-chemicals

    I see it from the perspective of all fossil fuel climate criminals, as an international problem. Ironically (actually not) the classes that have the largest carbon footprints are the very one’s where AGW denialism (still) thrives. So we see the ‘5-eyes’ along with all other petrol producing nations grooming and feeding into this AGW denialist cult, spending billions on PR, astro-turf and front groups. This propaganda allows moral cowards to not think at all, and it’s this relationship of petrol criminals and their willing consumers, which empower this ecocide, outside of the main driver – war.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 6, 2017 @ 11:21 am

  3. also of note, Latham’s recent review paper on the dramatic differences between organic Bt and engineered Bt. Another industry lie:


    It’s almost like they can’t tell the truth even if they wanted to. Sociopaths at work

    Comment by Robert — October 6, 2017 @ 11:31 am

    • They sure can’t tell the truth since that would sink their products completely. Bt crops don’t work, are unsafe for food and the environment, and all “safety testing” has been pure fraud, for example the fraudulent use of a different form of Bt than exists in the food product as Latham and Hilbeck repeat here. Of course by definition any Bt crop is substantially different from a non-Bt crop, and thus a refutation of the propaganda lie of “substantial equivalence.”


      Comment by Russ — October 6, 2017 @ 11:46 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: