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Monsanto Linked to Deaths of Thousands of Farmers

Farmers in developing countries are dying in their thousands from a mysterious kidney disorder, which has been termed as "Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology" (CKDu).

The disease is running rife through farmers from the rice paddy regions of Sri Lanka, and in El Salavdor, it is the second leading cause of death among male adults, posing a greater risk to health there than diabetes, AIDS, and leukemia combined. A new study has now linked the unexplained deaths to the use of a herbicide patented by the giant biochemical company, Monsanto.

The CKDu originally manifested in Sri Lanka a couple of decades ago, and has spread rapidly throughout the country's farming communities where it now affects up to fifteen per cent of adults. Over the years, 400,000 people have been affected and 20,000 have died from the disease. The Sri Lankan Ministry of Health reported that the condition did not appear to follow risk factors normally associated with chronic kidney diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension or kidney inflammation.

The recent study, which was published in the Swiss-based International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, may now be able to explain how the CKDu develops: it has suggested that a widely used glyphosate-based herbicide can become a fatal brew once it is combined with the metals often contained in hard water or soil, and that the resulting toxic compounds can destroy kidney tissue.

Soil can contain metals such as arsenic and cadmium, and the metal content of hard water can be made up of many different elements, including calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron. The study states that glyphosate, a molecule patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the 1970s, can form “strong complexes with metal ions,” complexes that are capable of retaining nephrotoxic metals and delivering them to the kidney. Glyphosate is an toxic molecule in its own right, but is not harmful enough to cause the type of deleterious effect on kidney tissue observed in CKDu. Combined with other metal elements, however, it appears to become a deadly poison. The herbicide, known commercially as "Roundup," can be easily ingested via consumption of contaminated hard water, in food, or through the skin. The findings of the study, which was conducted by Channa Jayasumana (Rajarata University, Sri Lanka), Sarath Gunatilake (California State University, USA) and Priyantha Senanayake (Hela Suwaya Organization, Sri Lanka), indicated that up to 96 per cent of patients had consumed “hard or very hard water for at least five years, from wells that receive their supply from shallow regolith aquifers.”

"The phosphorous atom in the phosphonic group in the glyphosate/AMPA molecule can possibly be replaced by As (Arsenic)," an excerpt from the study explained. "Following dermal and respiratory absorption of glyphosate, it can form complexes with nephrotoxic metals and As derived from rice, vegetables and tobacco within the circulation."

Glyphosate-metal complexes (GMCs) are not evacuated via normal liver’s detoxification process, and the researchers believe that the toxic complexes may accumulate in the body over a long period of time, so that it could take many years before signs of the CKDu are observed in affected individuals. This hypothesis is based on the fact that agrochemicals have been used in the affected areas since the 1970s, but the CKDu did not begin to afflict the population until the 1990s.

The spread of the disease is thought to be due to the fact that glyphosate is easily ingested through a variety of different means, and also because, once it has reacted to form hard complexes, its half-life can increase from 47 days up to 22 years. This means that it can potentially accumulate in increasingly large amounts, multiplying the risk of exposure, a fact of even greater concern when one considers that it is used in copious quantities throughout countries like Sri Lanka.

The researchers noted that Roundup is used alongside triple-super-phosphate (TSP) fertilizer which contains arsenic and heavy metals.

"...Within a couple of weeks after the spraying of glyphosate farmers apply triple phosphate (TSP) to the paddy fields," said the authors. "Recent findings have shown that the TSP available in Sri Lanka is contaminated with significant amounts of Cd (Cadmium), Cr (Cromium), Ni (Nickel) and Pb (lead). Furthermore, it was also found that TSP used in Sri Lanka is a very rich source of arsenic."

According to the study, even the World Health Organisation had associated the CKDu with arsenic, cadmium and pesticide contamination, along with hard water consumption. It also proposed that other outbreaks of kidney disorders in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Andra Pradesh in India, could also be attributed to the use of Roundup.

A series of articles published in the journal Science last year claimed that developing countries need stronger pesticide regulation, and an international body to carry out regular pesticide safety assessments. The special report suggested that new technologies must be developed in order to make pesticides safer, ultimately producing crops that will not require pesticides at all.

Jeffery Dangl, a biology professor at the University of North Carolina, United States, and his colleagues, revealed advances in the understanding of plant immune systems and DNA sequencing that have allowed the production of crops that are less susceptible to pests and disease.

"We lose 20 to 30 per cent of our global food supply to pests and pathogens every year," Dangl told SciDev.Net. "If you reduce plant diseases and recover that, you could feed 20 to 30 per cent more calories to people."

The research could potentially have the greatest impact in developing countries, where currently there is poor regulation of pesticide use.

"One often sees farmers throwing chemicals on their plants, using their hands, and without proper clothing, and they often use fungicides and pesticides that are no longer allowed in the developed world," explained Dangl. "There's poor regulation and poor administration of the regulation."

Reducing contamination of the environment and food by pesticides would seem to be a very positive step forward in farming, though engineering such pesticide-resistant crops would surely require some genetic modification to achieve that result. This fact that could prove to be an emotive issue for those opposed to GM foods, an issue that has provoked strong reactions over the past few decades.

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It came to me the other day that my dad used to go to Monsanto carpet conventions in Chicago back in the 1950's and 1960's. He was the top salesman in the Rug Department of L S Ayres department store here in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was their oriental rug expert. And Monsanto carpet was manufactured to withstand any stain I'm sure because it was coated with some chemical. When this company jumped from that to seed/herbicide/insecticide manufacturing I'm not quite sure but it's creepy and alarming to say the least.

I have heard, but don't know if it is verified that Monsatan was originally in the business of arms/weapons manufacturing.

isn't this just the "natural order" or modern industry? These corporations first try killing westerners until laws and tort deter them, then they simply move on to third world nations where the government doesn't give a crap. EG there's a toothpaste additive that was banned in the US for health reasons but allowed in imported paste, so now 90% of all toothpaste comes from China. These idiots cant seem to fathom that there's ONLY ONE PLANET. We will kill our entire civilization in the name of fourth quarter profits. I still hope we will hake up in time; though I feel its a fools hope.

isn't this just the "natural order" or modern industry? These corporations first try killing westerners until laws and tort deter them, then they simply move on to third world nations where the government doesn't give a crap. EG there's a toothpaste additive that was banned in the US for health reasons but allowed in imported paste, so now 90% of all toothpaste comes from China. These idiots cant seem to fathom that there's ONLY ONE PLANET. We will kill our entire civilization in the name of fourth quarter profits. I still hope we will hake up in time; though I feel its a fools hope.

I also recently read an article suggesting that the recent great upturn in coeliac and coaeliac-like diseases may be caused as much by the spraying of grains after harvest with Round Up as by the gross hybridization of wheat and other grains into completely different wheat-like plants (a la Wheat Belly). Whatever, the Monsanto corporation seems to be a form of global cancer all on its own. Is there a cure?

This article is more proof for what we "know."

My heart shares the following words:

Monsanto seems to be a corporation that is constantly reinventing itself -- and yet always seems to be supporting products that hurt/maim/kill humans and other earth lifeforms.

for more detail and source of long quote:

Spin-offs and mergers

Through a series of transactions, the Monsanto that existed from 1901 to 2000 and the current Monsanto are legally two distinct corporations. Although they share the same name and corporate headquarters, many of the same executives and other employees, and responsibility for liabilities arising out of activities in the industrial chemical business, the agricultural chemicals business is the only segment carried forward from the pre-1997 Monsanto Company to the current Monsanto Company. This was accomplished beginning in the 1980s:

1985: Monsanto purchased G. D. Searle & Company for $2.7 billion in cash.[47][48] In this merger, Searle's aspartame business became a separate Monsanto subsidiary, the NutraSweet Company. CEO of NutraSweet, Robert B. Shapiro, became CEO of Monsanto from 1995 to 2000.
1996: Acquired Agracetus, a majority interest in Calgene, creators of the Flavr Savr tomato, and 40% of DeKalb Genetics Corporation. It purchased the remainder of DeKalb in 1998.[49][50]
1997: Monsanto spun off its industrial chemical and fiber divisions into Solutia Inc.[51] This transferred the financial liability related to the production and contamination with PCBs at the Illinois and Alabama plants. In January, Monsanto announced the purchase of Holden's Foundations Seeds, a privately held seed business. By acquiring Holden's, Monsanto became the biggest American producer of foundation corn, the parent seed from which hybrids are made.[52] The combined purchase price was $925 million. Also, in April, Monsanto purchased the remaining shares of Calgene.
1999: Monsanto sold off NutraSweet Co. and two other companies. In December, Monsanto merged with Pharmacia & Upjohn, and the agricultural division became a wholly owned subsidiary of the "new" Pharmacia; the medical research divisions of Monsanto, which included products such as Celebrex, were rolled into Pharmacia.[53]
2000 (October): Pharmacia spun off its Monsanto subsidiary into a new company, the "new Monsanto".[54] As part of the deal, Monsanto agreed to indemnify Pharmacia against any liabilities that might be incurred from judgments against Solutia. As a result, the new Monsanto continues to be a party to numerous lawsuits that relate to operations of the old Monsanto. (Pharmacia was bought by Pfizer in a deal announced in 2002 and completed in 2003.[55][56])
2005: Monsanto acquired Emergent Genetics and its Stoneville and NexGen cotton brands. Emergent was the third largest U.S. cotton seed company, with about 12 percent of the U.S. market. Monsanto's goal was to obtain "a strategic cotton germplasm and traits platform."[57] The vegetable seed producer Seminis was purchased for $1.4 billion.[58]
2007: In June, Monsanto completed its purchase of Delta & Pine Land Company, a major cotton seed breeder, for $1.5 billion.[59] As a condition for approval of the purchase from the Department of Justice, Monsanto was obligated to divest its Stoneville cotton business, which it sold to Bayer, and to divest its NexGen cotton business, which it sold to Americot.[60] Monsanto also exited the pig breeding business by selling Monsanto Choice Genetics to Newsham Genetics LC in November, divesting itself of "any and all swine-related patents, patent applications, and all other intellectual property".[61]
2008: Monsanto purchased the Dutch seed company De Ruiter Seeds for €546 million,[62] and sold its POSILAC bovine somatotropin brand and related business to Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly in August for $300 million plus "additional contingent consideration".[63]
2013: Monsanto purchased San Francisco-based Climate Corp for $930 million.[64]

Yes, Monsanto is a form of global cancer and there is a cure. It needs to be destroyed.

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