GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS May 7, 2013
Genetically modified foods are a threat to our dwindling water supplies; they are less water-efficient and contaminate fresh water
Genetically Modified (GM) crops are widely recognised for their potential to damage both human health and the environment. Evidence is now accumulating of the contamination of streams, rivers, rain, as well as groundwater with GM-associated chemicals including Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, while genetic elements such as antibiotic resistant genes are emerging in water-borne microbes. Further, GM crops have been shown to be less water efficient, corroborating farmer’s reports of failing GM crops during droughts. Industrial farming in general has been shown to be ill-adapted to extreme weather events such as hurricanes as well as droughts; and GM crops are not expected to do any better.Comments (3)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS May 2, 2013
Small double-stranded RNA (dsRNAs) that aim to interfere with specific gene expression are increasingly used to create GM crops; unfortunately they have many off-target effects and can also interfere with gene expression in all animals exposed to the crops.
Genetic modification by RNA interference
Most commercially grown genetically modified (GM) crops are engineered to produce foreign proteins, but new ones are increasingly engineered to produce RNA of a special kind – double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) – that aims to interfere with the expression of a specific gene, usually to silence the gene  (Table 1).
Table 1 GM crops with dsRNA commercially approved or in the approval pipeline
|Flav Savr tomato||Monsanto||Withdrawn from market|
|High oleic acid soybean lines G94-1, G94-19 and G168||Monsanto||FSANZ*
Withdrawn from market
|New Leaf Y and New Leaf Plus Potato||Dupont Pioneer||FSANZ* approved 2001
Withdrawn from market
|High oleic acid soybean lind DP-305423-1||Dupont Pioneer||FSAMZ* approved 2010|
|Herbicde tolerant, high oleic acid soybean Line MON87705||Monsanto||approved 2011|
|Golden mosaic virus resistant pinto bean||Embrapa*||Brazil
|Papaya ringspot virus resistant papaya||Hawaii University||USA
1996, Canada 2003, Japan
|Altered grain starch wheat||CSIRO*||Approved for field trials & feeding experiment|
*CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
*Embrapa Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation
*FSANZ Food Standards Australia New Zealand
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GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS April 22, 2013
A comparison of US Midwest non-GM with GM corn shows shockingly high levels of glyphosate as well as formaldehyde, and severely depleted of mineral nutrients in the GM corn.
The results of a comparison
of GM and non-GM corn from adjacent Midwest fields in the US that first
appeared on the Moms Across America March website  are reproduced in Table
Table 1 Comparison between GM and non-GM corn grown side by side*
|Parts per million (ppm)|
|Ingredient||GM corn||Non-GM corn|
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Consumerism, Energy Systems, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by I-SIS February 21, 2013
Shale gas could be a useful stop-gap substitute for more conventional fossil fuels on our way towards fully green renewable energies, but health and environmental risks including pollution to ground water remain to be addressed.
by Prof Peter Saunders
Shale gas is being hailed as the new source of energy that will keep the world’s economy going as oil supplies start to dwindle. It will, so we are told, make developed countries less dependent on the politically unstable Middle East and it will contribute to mitigating climate change because it produces less greenhouse gas than coal or oil.Comments (1)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS January 28, 2013
ISIS has warned against the CaMV 35S promoter and called for all affected GM crops to be withdrawn since 1999 while damning evidence on its safety continues to emerge
How to bury a bombshell
Cauliflower Mosaic Virus
A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientist has just discovered that major GM crops and products the regulatory agency has been approving for commercial release over the past 20 years contain a potentially dangerous virus gene. The gene – Gene VI – overlaps with the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter. The CaMV 35S promoter is the commonest, most widely used regulatory sequence for driving gene expression in GM crops. This momentous discovery was published in a little known journal during the holiday season at the end of 2012 , and would have passed unnoticed had it not caught the attention of Jonathan Latham and Alison Wilson of Independent Science News. They described the finding and carried out a proper retrospective risk assessment on the Gene VI fragment in a report posted on their website . This attracted so much public attention that EFSA and its counterpart Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) are said  to have jointly “shredded” the scientific paper on which Latham and Wilson’s report is based.Comments (1)
Conservation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS January 22, 2013
From pathogens, biological drugs, illicit drugs to arsenic, by Prof Joe Cummins
An intact forest ecosystem protects and supplies the watershed
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
Unpolluted healthy drinking water is a right not a privilege. That right must be protected and restored to those suffering from shortages of drinking water or forced to consume polluted water. Water suppliers must fully and truthfully report findings of water pollutants even at levels deemed to be safe for human consumption by regulatory bureaucracies.
An estimated one billion people lack access to safe, reliable water supplies, and two billion people lack adequate sanitation. In the face of growing populations, climate change, and increasing transboundary water issues, conflict and even warfare over water have been widely predicted . Our goal must be to provide water security for all, especially for the poor everywhere.Comments (2)
Health & Disease, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS December 5, 2012
Licit and illicit drugs
Until the mid-2000s, the emerging study of pharmaceuticals in the environment inexplicably excluded illicit drugs. Illicit drugs are a structurally diverse group of chemicals used in enormous quantities worldwide that are very likely to affect humans and other non-target organisms; and just like pharmaceuticals, can enter the environment via many pathways. It had been known for decades that illicit drugs and their breakdown products are excreted in urine, faeces, hair, and sweat; but this was ignored until 1999 when the United Nations included illicit drugs in its scope of concern.Comments (3)
Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS November 9, 2012
GM technologies have led to a 7% increase in pesticide use.
A new peer-reviewed study has blown away the persistent claims made by agritech corporations that GM crops are beneficial to both the environment and human health by reducing pesticide use.Comments (1)
Global Warming/Climate Change, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS November 7, 2012
One hundred tons of an iron-rich dirt-like material was dumped into the ocean near Haida Gwaii, an island off the shores of British Columbia and Alaska, in an effort to enhance the growth of phytoplankton and improve fishery . It was done without permits as part of a $2-million project, initiated by the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation in the hope of obtaining carbon credits, and has sparked considerable controversy.
Previous open ocean geoengineering experiments hoping to stimulate photosynthesis and carbon fixation have shown that iron additions stimulated growth of the toxigenic diatom genus Pseudonitzschia. The sparse oceanic Pseudonitzschia community at the high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll Ocean Station PAPA (50 degrees N, 145 degrees W) produced approximately 200 pg/L of the neurotoxic domoic acid (DA) in response to iron addition. This finding raised serious concern over the net benefit and sustainability of large-scale iron fertilizations .Comments (3)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS November 2, 2012
The latest findings of cancers and deaths from GM maize and Roundup herbicide are the result of the most in-depth long-term toxicology study ever done on GM food; we ignore them at our peril.
In the Vatican Museums in Rome stands a statue of Laocoön and his sons. Legend has it that Laocoön tried to warn his fellow citizens against taking in the wooden horse that the Greeks had left outside their gates. It was not a gift, but a ruse designed to allow Greek soldiers to enter the city. The Greek gods, who wanted to see Troy destroyed, sent sea serpents to kill Laocoön. This convinced the Trojans that the horse was indeed sacred; so they opened the gates and dragged it into the city. The result was the total destruction of Troy and its empire.Comments (0)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS October 17, 2012
That cancers are found even with a small number of rats tested is strong evidence that the GM feed and herbicide are carcinogenic.
In September 2012, the research team led by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen published the findings of their feeding trial on rats to test for toxicity of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and/or Roundup herbicide in the online edition of Food and Chemical Toxicology .
Séralini and his colleagues had previously found evidence for toxicity of GM feed in data from Monsanto’s own experiments, which they had obtained through a Freedom of Information demand . Monsanto challenged their conclusions and, to no one’s great surprise the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) supported Monsanto . So the team decided to run their own experiment, using an unusually large number of animals and over a period of about two years, roughly the life expectancy of the rats, rather than the usual 90 days required in toxicity trials including Monsanto’s.
What Séralini and his colleagues found was that NK603 and Roundup are not only both toxic as expected, but also carcinogenic, which was unexpected. The proportion of treated rats that died during the experiments was much greater than the controls; moreover, in almost all groups a higher proportion developed tumours, and the tumours appeared earlier.
As soon as the paper appeared, the GM lobby swung into action. In particular, the Science Media Centre (SMC), a London-based organisation partly funded by industry, quickly obtained quotes from a number of pro-GM scientists and distributed them to the media . According to a report in Times Higher Education , the SMC succeeded in influencing the coverage of the story in the UK press and largely kept it off the television news.Comments (2)
GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change — by I-SIS October 10, 2012
Editor’s Note: I’m sorry I can’t put the images up that accompany this piece, but I understand the need for I-SIS to encourage subscription to their site so as to support their important work. I am an I-SIS member, so was able to see the images (Figures 1 and 2), and the photographs show quite stark contrast between the GM and non-GM crops. This is yet another report showing that GM crops do not perform as they promise — they actually perform worse in drought, not better — and that genetic modification of plants actually depresses plant function and productivity. I can foresee another 2008-like food crisis about to occur — within 3 – 10 months I estimate — and considering the world’s current acute state of vulnerability, it’s clear that utilising diverse crop varieties developed locally for regional climate variability has got to be the safest way forward.
Non-GM varieties are more drought resistant, yet agritech giants ensure farmers are unable to access them, by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
The United States is suffering the worst drought in 50 years. But crop damage may well have been avoided if high quality non-GM varieties were available to farmers. Further evidence is emerging that glyphosate-tolerant crops are ill-equipped to deal with drought, while high quality non-GM varieties are flourishing. Monopoly of the seed industry has left farmers unable to get non-GM varieties, despite the drought having global repercussions including steep rises of cereal prices and reduced meat production in many countries.Comments (0)
Global Warming/Climate Change — by I-SIS September 19, 2012
Reducing the solar radiation that reaches Earth will have potentially significant consequences beyond limiting the mean temperature of the planet; it may reduce annual rainfall, especially in the Americas and northern Eurasia.
Harvard geoengineers are set to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to cool the planet from a balloon at 80 000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico . Chief investigator David Keith manages a multimillion dollar research fund awarded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and has already commissioned a study by a US aerospace company that made the case for large-scale deployment of solar radiation management technologies. The experiment, to be conducted with James Anderson within a year, will release tens to hundreds of kilograms of particles to measure the impacts on ozone chemistry and test ways of making sulphate aerosols the appropriate size.
Many scientists are opposed to geoengineering experiments, preferring to study the impacts of sulphuric dust emitted by volcanoes, and to use modelling to identify the risks. A British field test involving a balloon and hose-pipe to pump water into the sky, which was part of the government-funded Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (Spice) project (see  Skyhook to Save the Climate?) was cancelled after public outcry.
But there are good reasons why geoengineering should not be considered.Comments (2)
Researchers confirm Bt toxicity to non-target beneficial insects and show how experiments claiming to refute their results were designed not to find the effect. A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.
A new study confirms that the Cry1Ab Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin present in genetically modified (GM) crops kills the larvae of the two-spotted ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.), a species that GM supporters claim to be unaffected by the toxin .
The study raises questions regarding the integrity of previous work published by GM proponents, whose experimental protocols were re-tested and shown to lack the scientific rigour required to pick up signs of toxicity even in target insects that the pesticide is designed to kill.Comments (1)
UK Parliament’s decision to authorise the construction of 10 new nuclear power plants was taken on the basis of misleading evidence
UK’s commitment to nuclear
In early May 2012, Japan shut down its last nuclear power station for routine maintenance in a safety drive since the Fukushima meltdown, leaving the country nuclear free for the first time in more than 40 years . Before the Fukushima disaster, Japan got 30% of its power from nuclear energy. Hundreds marched through Tokyo to celebrate what they hope will be the end of nuclear power in Japan.
Most other countries are having second thoughts about nuclear power; some like Germany and Italy have already decided to do without it and others like Japan may follow  (Fukushima Fallout (SiS 51), but the UK government is still determined to go ahead with the construction of at least 10 new reactors. This is the only way we can fulfil our future energy needs and still meet our commitment to reduce carbon emissions, so we are told; besides, nuclear is the cheapest alternative to fossil fuels and is safer than coal. Every one of those claims is contradicted by evidence, as we have shown in numerous reports.Comments (6)