ECONEWS is reporting that the pesticide industry claims that glyphosate - one the main ingredients in herbicides - is safe. But a new review of the academic research by Greenpeace and GM Freeze suggests that exposure to glyphosate can cause cancer, hormonal imbalance, birth defects, and neurological illnesses including Parkinson's disease.
There are now reports coming in of escalating levels of birth defects and cancers in areas of South America where glyphosate is being heavily sprayed on crops.
As permaculturists observe, evolution has created and sustained Earth's organisms and creatures, using naturally occurring mutations and natural selection to build the incredibly rich and diverse ecosystems that are the foundation of all life on Earth today.
Yet in just the past 25 years, agri-businesses have used genetic engineering to introduce characteristics such as longer shelf-life, and crops that are resistant to chemical herbicides - mostly soybeans, corn, alfalfa, cotton and canola. Genetic engineering is also being extended to sugar beet, papayas, zucchini, sweet peppers, tomatoes, petunias, carnations, roses and poplars.
Chemically-fertilised soil that is deprived of organic nutrients also soon becomes mineral deficient. This is passed on in the food, and opens the door to disease for humans and animals alike. Needless to say, glyphosate also runs off into creeks, rivers and lakes.
The weeds have ways of evolving, anyway. Glyphosate resistance has been confirmed in more than twenty different weed species on six million hectares, primarily in Argentina, Brazil and the US.
None of this is necessary. Food can be grown organically with only marginally lower yields (higher yields in drought years) and 132% increased yield in the developing world. A 2007 study that compiled 293 different comparisons concluded that organic methods could produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the world's current and potential future population without increasing the agricultural land base.
Ontario has already banned the cosmetic sale and use of pesticides. It is essential for others to look at this research and understand what we are putting into our food systems, lands and peoples.
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