GMO insecticide responsible for killing off bees, contaminating entire food chain

By JONATHAN BENSON | NATURAL NEWS | APRIL 10, 2012

Early last year, leaked documents obtained by a Colorado beekeeper exposed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s (EPA) illegitimate approval of clothianidin, a highly-toxic pesticide manufactured by Bayer CropScience that the regulatory agency knew was capable of killing off bees (http://www.naturalnews.com/030921_EPA_pesticides.html). Now, a new study out of Purdue University in Indiana has not only confirmed, once again, that clothianidin is killing off bees, but also that clothianidin’s toxicity is systemic throughout the entire food chain, which could one day lead to the catastrophic destruction of the food supply.

The study, which was published in the online journal PLoS ONE, investigated the various methods and routes by which a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which includes clothianidin, are harming honey bees. They discovered that both clothianidin and thiamethoxam, another component of neonicotinoid insecticides, persist in “extremely high levels” in planter exhaust material produced during the planting of crops treated with these insecticides, which runs contrary to industry claims that the chemicals biodegrade and are not a threat.

The research team also found neonicotinoid compounds in soil, including in fields where the chemicals were not even sprayed, as well as on various plants and flowers visited by bees. Based on their analysis, the researchers involved with the study determined that bees actively transfer contaminated pollen from primarily neonicotinoid-treated corn crops, and bring it back to their hives. The bees also transfer neonicotinoid compounds to other plants and crops not treated with the chemicals, which shows just how persistent these chemicals truly are in the environment.

You can read the entire report for yourself at the following link:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3250423/?tool=pubmed

“This research should nail the coffin lid shut on clothianidin,” said Laurel Hopwood, chairwoman of the Sierra Club‘s Genetic Engineering Action Team, who is petitioning the EPA to finally ban these chemicals after years of needless delay. “Despite numerous attempts by the beekeeping industry and conservation organizations to persuade the EPA to ban clothianidin, the EPA has failed to protect the food supply for the American people.”

Without bees, which are now dying off at an alarming rate due to exposure to clothianidin and various other insecticides and fungicides, one third or more of the food supply will be destroyed, including at least 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables that rely on bees for pollination. This is why Dr. Neil Carman, Ph.D., scientific advisor to Sierra Club, has put out a call for the EPA to immediately ban the use of clothianidin and the other neonicotinoid insecticides for the sake of protecting the food supply from irreversible destruction.

U.S. EPA Enforces Antiquated Oil SPill Clean up Protocols

The outdated procedures cost Gulf Economy Billions in Losses

By Susan Aarde
The Real Agenda
January 23, 2012

23 Years of Denial

Much of what was being reported about in 2011 as the aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill has not covered an important point: Oil is still leakingi from the seabed floor BP well zone and millions of barrels are still submerged and residing in the water column–HOW WILL THE TOXIC GULF BE CLEANED UP

There are many ongoing blog and media reports about the aftermath from the spill and millions being spent on studies to find out how marine life, water and other mediums have been affected.  Further, as recent as Sept 13, 2011 reports on numerous sightings of new oil slicks in the vicinity of the original BP Spill are bringing attention back to the area. Lab tests showing it to be BP oil finally forced the admittance by the responsible oil company that it was their oil.  Sadly, none of this coverage brings to light the most crucial issue; continued use of dispersants which do not remediate the oil and hence do not relieve the continued toxic stress on the ecosystem with adverse economic and health effects to Gulf Coast residents. And this cycle of new oil surfacing and repeatedly spraying Corexit to disperse ithas proven to compound environmental damage for which BP and government agencies enforcing destructive protocols should be held financially accountable.

 The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admits there are “trade-offs” to using Corexit, however their explanation of these and why they favor its use on their website, are absurd.  (See EPA Link)

 The combined events of the BP Oil Spill and the application of this [outmoded] cleanup method (millions of gallons of Corexit(R)) resulted in high toxicity levels persisting in the GOM region until as recent as March 201lii – levels well above earlier official safety threshold standards set in 1999 which, for some unexplained reason, were raised by much higher percentiles within a few months after the beginning of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. [a means of blinding people from identifying potential public health and seafood contamination risks] .These toxicity levels are still adversely affecting human health and marine life in the region.  

EPA and other federal agency statements announcing the clean up was successful and assuring the public that seafood was safe to consume and that the environment  was safe to use  were clearly premature and misrepresentative to the public, suggesting ineffective clean-up protocols and potential negligence on the part of the EPA.  The most recent scientific data on this issue are fact-based, and those facts are now being reported inscientific literature.   

 More notably, BP had made formal requests to use bio remediation clean up technology to avoid these toxic trade-offs and initiated testing on a product called Oil Spill Eater IIiii (already approved and listed on EPA’s National Contingency Plan for Oil Spill Response) to replace Corexit.  BP’s request, along with those from gulf state officials, including Governor Jindal of Louisiana, were denied by EPA and Regional Response Team officials. The EPA denial letter cited science that erroneously grouped this ready-to-deploy, proven clean up product with “questionable” remediation products examined.  In a June 2010 EPA letter, BP’s official request was denied, (documentation relevant to this can be obtain upon request). Per Gulf Rescue Alliance sources BP’s Chief Council referenced that letter and stated in a recent meeting that their hands were tied where the use of bioremediation (OSE II ) was concerned – “BP is bound by it”—bound by the EPA mandate [to keep using Corexit]. Consequentially it is estimated that BP could have saved an estimated $36 billion in clean up costs if they had deployed the EPA approved alternative to Corexit. 

 Gulf Rescue Alliance (GRA) has voluminous documentation indicating the EPA arbitrarily blocked and continues to prevent the use of eco friendly bioremediation clean up technology in favor of Corexit despite ample science indicating it is fatally toxic to marine life and even humans. 

 Bottom line: Use of bioremediation could have saved BILLIONS in clean up costs and result in an end point to the disaster. (See Economic Comparison article) BP’s attempt to use an alternative is a significant point and the resultant damage caused by Corexit is proving to be quite concerning for escalating clean up costs. 

 We applaud Surfrider Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity for its recent action of filing suit against the EPA over the use of dispersants reinforcing the case that EPA oil spill cleanup response protocols are wholly inadequate. 

 While the EPA, NOAA and Coast Guard remain in denial and continue to roadblock the use of Bioremediation, perhaps this suit will open the door for permitting the deployment of safe and effective cleanup methods available and ready for use right now to stop the killing in the Gulf Waters.  And if one had no regard for the marine life and saving the ecosystem, possibly the continued threat of loss in BP Stock value will incite action. 

 While allowing Nalco Holding Company, the manufacturer of Corexit, to use up their existing stockpiles in the country, the UK has banned the product from further subsequent use. 

Footnotes:

i CEO OSEI Corporation:  I have been in contact with expert economists and have received a recent document that shows the spill is causing the Gulf states to lose revenues and property values of approximately $122 billion a year; and this number is extremely conservative.  It can easily be demonstrated that the ongoing spill is costing the Gulf states $500 billion a year in lost revenue, diminishing property values, other loss to all the peripheral associated businesses that have been economically damaged, and increased drain on the public health system from all of the people who are getting sick and those who will get sick in the future from exposure to the carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic elements in the dispersed oil.The economic numbers show the current loss; however, it is estimated through numerous reports that the spill has leaked approximately 2,000,000 gallons of oil a day and has never stopped. On several places on the Internet there is a video showing a third BP well where there is an enormous crater leaking oil. There are numerous ex BP oil spill responders that have stated there is a trench southwest of the well with 80 to 100 feet of oil laying in it, and, per University of Southern Florida scientists, we know there are several inches of oil laying on the Gulf’s continental shelf further endangering the U.S. Gulf state’s natural resources. What you have as of October 31, 2011 is approximately 1 billion gallons of oil spilled.  Some of the oil is going south to the trench and heading southwest towards Mexico with reports from Mexican officials of their shorelines being devastated by the ongoing DWH oil spill.  Some of the oil is coming ashore in the U.S., and enormous amounts of oil are in the water column destroying the marine life and fisheries.

iiSee Dangers of Corexit Documentation Sheet http://webzoom.freewebs.com/gulfrescuealliance/pressbriefing/DANGERS%20OF%20COREXIT%20SUMMARY.docx

iiia simple lay term description of how OSE II works “Emulating Mother Nature” should be read. The Earth Organization (TEO) (a non-profit) working on locating safe and effective clean up measures for the Gulf vetted all products on the EPA national contingency plan lists and by process of elimination using a set of precise, scientific guidelines concluded the most immediate, swift, and effective option open for cleaning up the spill–without adding further toxic effects or introducing non-indigenous microbes to the waters –was OSE II.  It was also the only company with current supplies and production capabilities to remediate a spill disaster of this magnitude.   TEO’s research and other independent science reviews such as one from the Dept of Interior conclude OSE II is capable of swiftly addressing and remediating 100% of any spill in any environment.

Susan Aarde is a contributor from the Gulf Rescue Alliance, an independent coalition comprised of concerned scientists, medical experts, attorneys, seafood and tourism industry professionals, oil industry advisors, civic and government leaders, non-profits and citizens.

Rand Paul: Environmental Extremists Run Government

by Sam Rolley
Personal Liberty
November 14, 2011

Republican Senator Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that President Barack Obama’s Administration has allowed environmental extremists to take over political decisions and kill jobs.

The Senator’s statements were made in regard to legislation he has proposed to roll back an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that penalizes States for allowing air pollution to drift into bordering States, according to The Hill.

Paul also questioned the American Lung Association’s suggestion that pollution is behind a rise in asthma and said the $5 million in funding it takes from the EPA each year might be influencing the results of its studies.

The Senator also said that the push for electric cars did not make much sense from an environmental standpoint because 50 percent of electricity in the U.S. is coal-produced.

“[I] am afraid what has happened is we have opened up the White House and this administration to environmental extremists, the kind of people who say, ‘Well the polar bears are drowning,’” he said.

Paul said that this is not the kind of extremism that he wants to see driving policy in the United States.

Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor Unstable, Fractured, Spilling Hydrocarbons

Oil and gas are still seeping unabated, says expert. Toxic leakage poses significant public health risks.

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
October 10, 2011

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has not gone away. In fact, it has grown exponentially since the main stream media stopped talking about it. According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, an organization composed of scientists, medical professionals and seafood industry professionals, among others, the problem cannot be simplified to the damage already caused by the oil spill. It is worse, much worse.

Pools of crude oil float on the surface of Gulf of Mexico waters at the site of the sunken BP/Transocean oil drill the Deepwater Horizon on April 27, 2010. Getty Images

The Real Agenda received exclusive information regarding the current state of the ongoing emergency in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest assessment performed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance reveals not only that the oil spill is still happening, but also that the Gulf of Mexico’s sea floor grew more unstable since the explosion in 2010. Additionally, analysis provided by experts like BK Lim, shows that the geohazards developed that derive from the rolling leakage of toxic matter, combined with the on-going use of the highly toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit will most likely result in the permanent decline of marine life, while posing out-of-control public health risks, just as it did after the Exxon Valdez spill where the same chemical dispersants were used resulting in a rapid decline of the marine life until, for example, the Herring industry completely collapsed and has never recovered since then.

In a letter dated 14 January, 2011 that was sent to Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Congressman John Shimkus Chairman Subcommittee on Environment and Economy,  BK Lim warned the congressmen and their committees about the current state of the sub-seabed in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). In the document, an in-depth assessment of the emergency was provided. It explains why action must be taken immediately. The evaluation of the emergency in the Gulf conducted by Mr. Lim appears credible and is based on his 30 years of experience analyzing the geologic structure of both dry land and underwater drilling sites for major oil industry companies and leading geohazards contractors such as Fugro Geodetic (M) Sdn Bhd, TL Geohydrographics Sdn Bhd, and RPS Energy Pty Ltd.

The vaporization of enormous amounts of methane hydrates on a scale not seen before, the release of stresses between the lower and upper crust resulting in the abnormal occurrences of low magnitude, shallow earthquakes adjacent to the New Madrid Fault, the sub-seabed underground erosion in the vicinity of the shelf edge undermining the slope stability with possible tsunami-generating, giant, submarine landslides,” said Mr. Lim.

As we now know, the BP explosion that cost the lives of 11 workers was not an accident, but negligence at best and a conspiracy at worst. The latest assessment from the Gulf Rescue Alliance seems to reinforce the fact that BP drilled into the Macondo well with questionable regard for the damage it would cause to the well itself, the sea floor and the marine environment down below.

“There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead, observed from the ROV videos, have been the direct result of indiscriminate drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recovery activities,” details the document sent to congressman Upton on January 14 of this year. The direct result of the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion was the massive destruction of life through miles of coastline. The less than adequate cleanup, which helped worsen the disaster, condemned the area to living with tons of toxic chemical dispersants that simply destroyed the eco systems and negatively affected the health of thousands of people who live nearby and millions of others who directly and indirectly depend on the fishing, tourism and natural beauty of the marine life, wildlife and environment.

A review of the documents and news articles during the days and weeks after the underwater explosion, clearly shows that BP was attempting to buy time with various delay tactics and was unwilling to reveal the truth and magnitude of the disaster. While BP was officially battling to kill well A their contractors and other vessels went about with other covert underwater operations, many of which did not seem to be in sync with the urgency of killing “a third undisclosed well which was gushing even more oil”. For example there was this video showing a ROV brushing of the name of another oil company from a new BOP brought into the vicinity of the Macondo wells. BP Clean off Co Logo on BOP – why? on 9 June 2010.Other videos showed oil gushing from craters on the seafloor and ROV activities (blasting (demolition?), cutting and removal of well casings on the seafloor and from a hole (another well?), dismantling BOP, grouting of seafloor tens to over hundreds of meters away from well A. How could a BOP be dangling for two weeks from 3 to 16 July while BP was showing to the world’s audience the killing and capping of supposedly the only spewing well A from June till 15 July?

In fact, in early media reports animated graphics suggested 3 different leaks locations. BP admitted initially 3 leaks but conveniently reduced to only 1 later; ignoring to explain the “why, when and how”. BP had maintained from the start they had drilled only 1 well. From my analysis in early Aug 2010 I concluded BP could not have drilled only 1 well. They must have drilled 3 wells to account for all the conflicting information. See media reports here.

Videos also confirmed that even as early as May to June, oil and gas were already spewing from the seafloor as far as 7 to over 20 miles from Well A. A satellite photo on 25 May suggests a good correlation between the seabed oil spewing and with the faults and Salt Domes.

Evidently, numerous Youtube video postings not only confirm that BP and multiple federal agencies who were on the scene were not revealing all to the public, but that unknown quantities of hydrocarbons were still leaking out from the reservoir at high pressure and seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed. “It is not possible to “cap” this oil,” reads Mr. Lim’s analysis. “Until a solution is found to seal these fissures, the hydrocarbons, including Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), will continue to leak uncontrollably”.

WHAT IS NOW HAPPENING BELOW THE GULF’S WATERS?

The document sent to congressman Fred Upton is accompanied by photos, videos and other documentation that support the concerns expressed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance. Just as a doctor with years of experience in viewing and analyzing x-rays can immediately see a fractured bone or other ailment when a laymen would not see it or understand it’s importance, Lim has years of experience in viewing underwater videos of oil and gas seepage and can quickly see and analyze what is occurring where a laymen would not pick up on it. In his letter, Lim describes what is occurring in a series of underwater videos taken by ROV’s around and near the wellhead.

In one of the videos, Well A, as it is known, appears to be releasing clouds of methane saturated seawater, gas bubbles of methane and re-crystallized methane crystals floating close to the seabed in the vicinity of the Macondo wellhead. On top of this, says the letter, it is also possible to see new fissures and a bulging seabed developing together with an already blown crater.

A second video shows how the very rope that guides the surveying ROV disappears into a dense, darkish cloud of oily fluid. Lim’s document explains how grout materials and old drilling mud that were previously taken to higher altitudes by columns of gas in the water can be seen in the video falling back onto the sea floor. These columns of gas are coming from newly activated venting fissures formed due to sea floor instability and fragility. Viewers can also see re-crystallized methane which appears as transparent and light multicolor materials floating in the water.

The third video shows the “periodic expulsion of the gas through one of the fissures on the seabed. Like geysers, the escaping gas needs to accumulate beneath the top sediment cover until the built-up pressure exceeds the combined water-column and overburden pressure just before each periodic expulsion,” explains the report compiled by the Alliance. According to images obtained from a ROV video, there are pools of tar/oil sediment all over the seafloor which are the direct result of the oil spill.

Although it is very difficult, under the current circumstances, to obtain clear footage of what is going on at that depth, my extensive training and experience in analyzing these types of situations, combined with these footages and others which I have access to, provides proof that oil and gas are still seeping unabated from the uncontrolled leaking reservoir,” warns BK Lim on his letter sent to congressmen Upton and Shimkus on 14 January, 2011.

Independently collected video footage from places like Saint Louis Bay Beach, Pensacola Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and other places around the Gulf shows large amounts of fresh Corexit foam on the beach. As Corexit can only be used to sink fresh oil within the first couple of days of it coming up out of the ground, it is yet another indicator that there is an on-going attempt to sink fresh oil below the surface. Surficial bitumen layers (oil tarballs) that made it to the water surface as recently as September 6, due to storm surge are also coming up in massive amounts. According to sources close to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, on August 18, 2011, members of EcoRigs, went out and collected surface water samples that contained crude oil which they believed belonged to the ongoing BP oil spill. They also recorded video evidence of a heavy oil slick on Long Beach Mississippi. The water / oil samples were examined by independent laboratories and the first of those samples to return from the lab on the 28th of September confirmed their concerns: the oil was BP’s and from the Macondo reservoir.

Water sample analysis conducted independently by EcoRigs shows a positive correlation to BP’s oil spill samples. “The presence of fresh BP MC 252 crude oil in surface waters 2 to 14 months after the well was reported to have been capped suggests that crude oil from the BP DWH MC 252 field may have found new pathways to the seafloor.” The evaluations conducted also reveal that the toxic chemical Corexit is now being applied to the subsurface leak located 1500 meters beneath the ocean’s surface at the wellhead. This is done with the intention of further decomposing the oil so that the smaller particles do not make it to the surface and the continuing oil spill can be easily kept from the public eye.

ANOTHER MISHANDLED DISASTER

Just as with Katrina, more than a year into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Federal government has shown its ineptitude to adequately solving the consequences of a major disaster. In separate documents gathered by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, more revealing details are provided about how BP and the government handled the oil spill disaster. “The blown crater at the undisclosed 3rd well was spewing more than 100,000 barrels per day. (100,000 barrels estimate was based on the quantity of oil seen on the surface). Even worse the highly corrosive mix of brine, gas and oil ingresses into every crevices and permeable sections of the formation, creating new pathways to the seafloor,” says Mr. Lim. The Alliance subscribed to the standard industrial practice of conducting a detailed seafloor survey as immediately possible, to establish the extent of the seafloor damage following the well blowout. Just as an X-ray would help the surgeon in pin-pointing and planning the most appropriate surgical procedure, such a detailed seafloor and sub-seabed scan would most certainly provide the most strategic approach to stopping the release of hydrocarbons from the beleaguered well or wells. After ignoring repeated calls for such a seafloor survey since the blowout, BP and NOAA suddenly announced such a research survey using the NOAA Okeanos Explorer 15 months later. The only logical conclusion to this late survey is:

“A seafloor survey then (within the first few months) would reveal the ugly truths about the broken seafloor and precarious salt formation they were trying so hard to hide,” continued Mr. Lim. After more than a year of grouting, patching up and destroying all critical evidence in the seabed around the Macondo wells they (BP) were confident enough, the “modified seafloor” would not be incriminating to them. According to Mr. Lim, British Petroleum was very careful not to mention the fact they had drilled 3 wells. If this fact had come out, it would have caused a bomb and they could have been indicted for drilling without permission. “That is what they fear most,” says Lim. BP was also careful to isolate drilling crews away from each other, which according to Lim,  is against safety rules because drilling need to be briefed on hazardous and technical problems encountered at earlier drilling stages. Although BP may not have expected the three wells to blow up, this was an almost sure outcome due to the interconnected shallow gas formation (which was one of the main causes of their numerous problems). Further, after urgent requests for recommendations, a formal request was made to the Coast Guard on behalf of Constituent David Fakouri with the Louisiana Economic Foundation demanding seafloor survey and damage assessment be done with a 3rd party observer, but the request was denied.

The recent seafloor survey went on to have totally different emphasis and priorities. This led geohazards expert BK Lim to conclude as follows:

The vessel’s track history seemed to suggest higher emphasis in the south-western edges of the Biloxi Dome, the southern edged of Whiting Dome and generally south of the Macondo prospects. While there may yet be geologically valid reasons for the emphasis south of the Macondo wells, the shelf edges 6 to 8 km north-west of Macondo Wells and the badly eroded north-western edges of Whiting Dome should at least be surveyed with some grid-lines (see areas P1 and P2).

BP’s vessels had been observed working for quite some time in both areas. The 22 mile long underwater plume (first denied by BP and later confirmed by many independent research cruises), was suspected to have originated from the cracks in the seafloor at these locations. By avoiding these critical areas, can the present survey investigation be truly objective and independent in investigating the truth of the Macondo Blowout?

Almost all the oil sightings are north of the Macondo wells, not south. Why did the survey deliberately (?) avoid the shelf edges north of Macondo. In March 2011, new oil spills were suspected to have come from “leaks in the seabed” north of the Matherhorn field. The shelf edges bordering the Mississippi-Alabama Shelf, appear pretty fractured with large crevices and in potential danger of sliding into gigantic submarine landslides. Submarine landslides are more effective in generating tsunami than quakes without significant landslides. Both the 2011 Japan and 2004 Sumatra Quakes had giant tsunamis due to the accompanying large submarine mass displacement.”

During the first few weeks of the disaster, there was a struggle within BP between thosewho wanted to come clean about the reality of the situation and another group that wanted to cover it up. Apparently the latter group managed to win the struggle and they decided to use the well with the least of the problems (the first and shallowest, Well A, which was drilled to about 5,000 feet below mudline) to be the one staged for the world media as the “show capping” of an oil spill. The third and bigger leak at Well 3, which the late Matt Simmons kept asserting was “the deepest well that reached the Macondo oil resevoir”, was kept out of the public limelight.

A confidential source informed The Real Agenda that credible scientific evidence has been gathered giving high probability to allegations that oil is, in fact, still leaking and that inadequate oil spill response protocols were employed by the EPA, Coast Guard and other officials at Federal and State levels throughout the disaster. According to the source, the compilation of the scientific evidence is not just an edict of worrisome errors but criminal negligence resulting in a worsened tragedy throughout the Gulf States and Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem resulting in serious human health consequences—with EPA being at the head of that mismanagement.

The source further reports that between May 2010 and March 2011 long after the reported capping of the BP well in July of 2010 the average toxicity levels in the Gulf Region waters from Texas to Florida were persisting at unsafe levels and that, in some cases, they were thousands of times higher than EPA established safety threshold levels. It was during this same period of time that federal government agencies put out propaganda saying everything on the Gulf of Mexico was safe, including seafood, air and sea water.

It has been alleged that NOAA’s testing methods were flawed resulting in the “all is safe now in the Gulf” proclamation by responsible agencies. A separate concern is the fact that BP has a $500 million fund paying for continuing studies on the after effects of the spill and use of Corexit leading to concerns by independent scientists over the transparency and availability of this information to the public. Scientists under BP or government contracts conducting studies are not permitted to publicize or discuss any of their data until delivered to their employers. With some of these studies estimated to take several years, the public won’t know the truth until years later.

On September 13, 2011 new oil was seen close to where the original BP oil explosion occurred. Due to the fact the EPA insists on using Corexit as the only possible solution to the problem, the most important issue up to this point -the dire consequences of using Corexit- are not being addressed. Corexit not only contaminates the Gulf of Mexico and the human populations established throughout, but also is ineffective remediating the core problem: cleaning the Gulf waters as fast as possible. The only thing Corexit has proven is its effectiveness to pollute the waters and the Gulf as a whole. Why then does the EPA and the federal government insist on using it? It is interesting to note that none of the official statements by either the EPA or the oil companies state that Corexit cleans up the waters. They do, however, repeatedly state that Corexit is “effective”, which misleads the public into thinking that Corexit is cleaning up the waters. What Corexit is effective at is sinking it below the surface where it is difficult to see and quantify just how much is there, and breaking it up into small particles and spreading the contamination far and wide making the potential problems of toxic exposure to both humans and all the flora and fauna exponentially worse.

EPA ENFORCES ANTIQUATED OIL SPILL CLEAN UP PROTOCOLS

On its website, the EPA mildly agrees that using Corexit as a tool to clean the Gulf has “trade offs”. The question is, where are the positives? The oil is not being cleaned, but the waters and the complete ecosystem are being contaminated. Given the Federal Government’s line of action, it seems the task at hand is to make things worse, instead of better. Even after BP requested to test on the DWH oil already-proven, effective, non-toxic alternative oil spill cleanup technologies the EPA refused to allow those alternative technologies to be utilized.

One of the most highly regarded products suggested by scientists and environmental and conservation groups is Oil Spill Eater II, which is not only approved by the EPA, but also listed as part of an official list of products for oil spill cleanup, called the National Contingency Plan (or NCP List) that have been tested and approved as workable for emergencies like the one now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, BP’s requests to use Oil Spill Eater II were denied by the EPA and regional federally controlled response team officials. The Real Agenda additionally received documents showing formal requests were made by the Governor of Louisiana Mississippi and Alabama to use or conduct trials on OSE II in their states. In June 2010, the EPA sent a letter to Louisiana Governor Jindal denying the use of bioremediation methods for the DWH oil. Per documents obtained by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, the letter had a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements in it, and showed a surprising lack of understanding of the natural process that mother nature follows to clean up an oil spill. This effectively took off the table all but one of the non-toxic products on the NCP list for use in the Gulf of Mexico blowout. The only non-toxic product which did not fit under the detailed description of why the EPA stated that bioremediation would have only limited value, unwittingly made the case for the immediate use of OSE II. When this was pointed out to the EPA in a subsequent letter by OSEI, the company that manufactures and distributes OSE II, the EPA ignored the letter. BP America’s Chief Counsel stated in a conference call with the OSEI Corporation, in September of 2011 that BP was not able to use OSE II to treat the oil disaster because “BP is bound by the government’s decision” —bound by the EPA mandate [to keep using Corexit]. Consequently, it is estimated by sources outside of BP that BP could “have saved an estimated $36 billion in clean up costs if they had deployed the EPA approved alternative to Corexit. Gulf Rescue Alliance members state that it is in possession of voluminous documentation that indicates the EPA arbitrarily blocks any attempt to use environmentally friendly methods to clean the Gulf and instead prefers to use Corexit with no regard for the marine life and public’s health from the now proven to be fatally toxic chemical dispersant.

The use of friendlier technologies could not have only saved the Gulf’s ecosystem in the earlier stages of the disaster, but it would have also reduced the costs of the clean-up process for both the federal government and BP itself and prevented untold damage. Instead, the disaster in the Gulf continues to endanger everything and everyone as the toxic contamination spreads, and the costs of the clean-up process -which are now estimated in the tens of billions of dollars- continue to skyrocket.

Given the EPA’s decision not to help resolve the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, community organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed lawsuitsthat ask the EPA to conduct long-term studies that evaluate the impacts of Corexit on the environment and endangered species. It is expected that these lawsuits will act as a wake-up call to the EPA, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard, which appear to have made a conscious effort to block all alternatives directed towards the use of OSE II or any other environmentally friendly and truly effective technologies or techniques to clean the Gulf swiftly and effectively.

Luis R. Miranda is a Journalist with 15 years of experience. He is the founder and editor of The Real Agenda. Learn  more about Luis here.


GM Toxic Chemicals found in pregnant women and fetuses

By Jeffrey Smith
May 29, 2011

When U.S. regulators approved Monsanto’s genetically modified “Bt” corn, they knew it would add a deadly poison into our food supply. That’s what it was designed to do. The corn’s DNA is equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that produces the Bt-toxin. It’s a pesticide; it breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.

But Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) swore up and down that it was only insects that would be hurt. The Bt-toxin, they claimed, would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and not have any impact on all of us trusting corn-eating consumers.

Oops. A study just proved them wrong.

Doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found the corn’s Bt-toxin in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women. (i)(Specifically, the toxin was identified in 93% of 30 pregnant women, 80% of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67% of 39 non-pregnant women.) The study has been accepted for publication in the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology.

According to the UK Daily Mail, this study, which “appears to blow a hole in” safety claims, “has triggered calls for a ban on imports and a total overhaul of the safety regime for genetically modified (GM) crops and food.” Organizations from England to New Zealand are now calling for investigations and for GM crops to be halted due to the serious implications of this finding.

Links to allergies, auto-immune disease, and other disorders

There’s already plenty of evidence that the Bt-toxin produced in GM corn and cotton plants is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. The fact that it flows through our blood supply, and that is passes through the placenta into fetuses, may help explain the rise in many disorders in the US since Bt crop varieties were first introduced in 1996.

In government-sponsored research in Italy (ii), mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses. Their elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, for example, are typically associated with allergies and infections. The mice had an increase in cytokines, which are associated with “allergic and inflammatory responses.” The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer (see chart).

Elevated interleukins Associations
IL-6 Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer (multiple myeloma and prostate cancer)
IL-13 Allergy, allergic rhinitis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
MIP-1b Autoimmune disease and colitis.
IL-12p70 Inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis

The young mice in the study also had elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases. The Bt corn that was fed to these mice, MON 810, produced the same Bt-toxin that was found in the blood of women and fetuses.

When rats were fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, their immune systems were also activated, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells. These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of toxicity in the liver and kidneys. (iii)

Natural Bt is dangerous

Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for years. But they spray it on plants, where it washes off and biodegrades in sunlight. The GM version is built-in; every plant cell has its own spray bottle. The toxin doesn’t wash off; it’s consumed. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray; is designed to be even more toxic; and has properties of known allergens—it actually fails the World Health Organization’s allergen screening tests. (iv)

The biotech companies ignore the substantial difference between the GM toxin and the natural bacteria version, and boldly claim that since the natural spray has a history of safe use in agriculture, it’s therefore OK to put the poison directly into our food. But even this claim of safe use of Bt spray ignores peer-reviewed studies showing just the opposite.

When natural Bt-toxin was fed to mice, they had tissue damage, immune responses as powerful as cholera toxinv, and even started reacting to other foods that were formerly harmless. (vi) Farm workers exposed to Bt also showed immune responses.(vii) The EPA’s own expert Scientific Advisory Panel said that these mouse and farm worker studies “suggest that Bt proteins could act as antigenic and allergenic sources.” (viii) But the EPA ignored the warnings. They also overlooked studies (ix) showing that about 500 people in Washington state and Vancouver showed allergic and flu-like symptoms when they were exposed to the spray when it was used to kill gypsy moths.

Bt cotton linked to human allergies, animal deaths

Indian farm workers are suffering from rashes and itching and other symptoms after coming into contact with Bt cotton.

Now thousands of Indian farm laborers are suffering from the same allergic and flu-like symptoms as those in the Pacific Northwest simply from handling genetically engineered cotton plants that produce Bt-toxin. According to reports and records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, as well as numerous investigative reports and case studies, workers are struggling with constant itching and rashes; some take antihistamines every day in order to go to work.

It gets worse.

When they allow livestock to graze on the Bt cotton plants after harvest, thousands of sheep, goats, and buffalo died. Numerous others got sick. I visited one village where for seven to eight years they allowed their buffalo to graze on natural cotton plants without incident. But on January 3rd, 2008, they allowed their 13 buffalo to graze on Bt cotton plants for the first time. After just one day’s exposure, all died. The village also lost 26 goats and sheep.

One small study in Andhra Pradesh reported that all six sheep that grazed on Bt cotton plants died within a month, while the three controls fed natural cotton plants showed no adverse symptoms.

Living pesticide factories inside us?

Getting back to the Bt-toxin now circulating in the blood of North American adults and newborns—how did it get there? The study authors speculate that it was consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class. They even suggest that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn—as most livestock are.

All thirteen buffalo of a small Indian village died after grazing for a single day on Bt cotton plants.

I’d like to speculate on another possible source. But I warn you, it’s not pretty.

The only human feeding study every published on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was conducted on Roundup Ready soybeans. Here’s their back story: Scientists found bacteria growing in a chemical waste dump near their factory, surviving the presence of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The herbicide normally kills bacteria, but this organism had some special gene that allowed it to survive. So Monsanto scientists figured, “Let’s put it into the food supply!”

By forcing that genes from that bacterium into soybean plants’ DNA, the plants then survive an otherwise deadly dose of Roundup herbicide—hence the name Roundup Ready.

In the human study (x), some of the subjects were found to have Roundup Ready gut bacteria! This means that sometime in the past, from eating one or more meals of GM soybeans, the gene that had been discovered in the chemical waste dump and forced into the soy, had transferred into the DNA of bacteria living inside their intestines—and continued to function. That means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have dangerous GM proteins produced continuously inside of us.

When the results of the study emerged, the funding from the pro-GMO UK government mysteriously dried up, so they were not able to see if the same type of gene transfer happens with Bt genes from, say, corn chips. If it does, it means that eating Bt corn might turn our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories—continually manufacturing Bt-toxin from within our digestive systems.

I don’t know of a test that can confirm that this is happening, but the Canada study may be showing the results—where Bt-toxins are found in the blood of a very high percentage of people.

If the “living pesticide factory” hypothesis is correct, we might speculate even further. Bt-toxin breaks open the stomach of insects. Could it similarly be damaging the integrity of our digestive tracts? The biotech companies insist that Bt-toxin doesn’t bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals, and therefore humans. But here too they ignore peer-reviewed published evidence showing that Bt-toxin does bind with mouse small intestines and with intestinal tissue from rhesus monkeys. (xi) In the former study, they even found “changes in the electrophysiological properties” of the organ after the Bt-toxin came into contact. (xii)

If Bt-toxins were causing leaky gut syndrome in newborns, the passage of undigested foods and toxins into the blood from the intestines could be devastating. Scientists speculate that it may lead to autoimmune diseases and food allergies. Furthermore, since the blood-brain barrier is not developed in newborns, toxins may enter the brain causing serious cognitive problems. Some healthcare practitioners and scientists are convinced that this is the apparent mechanism for autism.

Thus, if Bt genes were colonizing the bacteria living in the digestive tract of North Americans, we might see an increase in gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and childhood learning disorders—since 1996 when Bt crops came on the market. Physicians have told me that they indeed are seeing such an increase.

The discovery of Bt-toxin in our blood does not confirm all this speculation, but it does provide food for thought. And hopefully, that food is non-GMO.

Our Institute for Responsible Technology joins other organizations worldwide calling for an immediate ban on GM food crops, and the commencement of rigorous independent scientific research on the safety of GMOs in general, and Bt-toxin in particular.

Sources:

Jeffrey M. Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, author of the #1 international bestselling book on GMOs, Seeds of Deception, and of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. To avoid GMOs, which is the advice of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, visit www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.

i Aris A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reprod Toxicol (2011), doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.02.004 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338670

ii Finamore A, Roselli M, Britti S, Monastra G, Ambra R, Turrini A and Mengheri E. (2008). Intestinal and peripheral immune response to MON810 maize ingestion in weaning and old mice. J Agric Food Chem, 16 November 2008

iii Seralini GE, Cellier D, Spiroux de Vendomois J. 2007, “New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified maize reveals signs of hepatorenal toxicity”. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2007;52:596-602; and Vendômois, JS, François Roullier, Dominique Cellier and Gilles-Eric Séralini. 2009, “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health” . International Journal of Biological Sciences 2009; 5(7):706-726

iv Gendel, “The use of amino acid sequence alignments to assess potential allergenicity of proteins used in genetically modified foods,” Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 42 (1998), 45–62. See also: G. A. Kleter and A. A. C. M. Peijnenburg, “Screening of transgenic proteins expressed in transgenic food crops for the presence of short amino acid sequences indentical to potential, IgE-binding linear epitopes of allergens,” BMC Structural Biology 2 (2002): 8–19; H. P. J. M. Noteborn, “Assessment of the Stability to Digestion and Bioavailability of the LYS Mutant Cry9C Protein from Bacillus thuringiensis serovar tolworthi,” Unpublished study submitted to the EPA by AgrEvo, EPA MRID No. 447343-05 (1998); and H. P. J. M. Noteborn et al, “Safety Assessment of the Bacillus thuringiensis Insecticidal Crystal Protein CRYIA(b) Expressed in Transgenic Tomatoes,” in Genetically modified foods: safety issues, American Chemical Society Symposium Series 605, eds. K.H. Engel et al., (Washington, DC, 1995): 134–47.
Bt protein failed to break down quickly in a simulated digestive solution. In fact, it left fragments that were typically the size of allergens. The Bt also failed the heat stability test, and had shared 9–12 amino acid sequences of vitellogenin, an egg yolk allergen.

v Vazquez et al, “Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal antibody responses in mice,” 1897–1912; Vazquez et al, “Characterization of the mucosal and systemic immune response induced by Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis HD 73 in mice,” Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 33 (2000): 147–155; See also L. Moreno-Fierros, N. Garcia, R. Lopez-Revilla, R. I. Vazquez-Padron, “Intranasal, rectal and intraperitoneal immunization with protoxin Cry1Ac from Bacillus thuringiensis induces compartmentalized serum, intestinal, vaginal, and pulmonary immune responses in Balb/c mice,” Microbes and Infection 2 (2000): 885–90.

vi Vazquez et al, “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac protoxin is a potent systemic and mucosal adjuvant,” Scandanavian Journal ofImmunology 49 (1999): 578–584. See also Vazquez-Padron et al., 147 (2000).

vii I.L. Bernstein et al, “Immune responses in farm workers after exposure to Bacillus thuringiensis pesticides,” Environmental Health Perspectives 107, no. 7(1999): 575–582.

viii EPA Scientific Advisory Panel, “Bt Plant-Pesticides Risk and Benefits Assessments,” March 12, 2001: 76.

ix Washington State Department of Health, “Report of health surveillance activities: Asian gypsy moth control program,” (Olympia, WA: Washington State Dept. of Health, 1993); and M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,” Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852.

x Netherwood, T. (2004) “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract”. Nature Biotechnology, 22, 204-209.

xi Noteborn et al, “Safety Assessment of the Bacillus thuringiensis Insecticidal Crystal Protein CRYIA(b) Expressed in Transgenic Tomatoes,” 134–47.

xii Vazquez et al, “Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis sp. kurstaki HD73 binds to surface proteins in the mouse small intestine,” 54–58.

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