Day 21 of 31-Day Series “Your Last Health Resolution”
I hate to even write this post honestly. It makes me sick to my stomach. Those of you who know me know my passion for justice. It drove me into serving as an officer in the Marine Corps. It drives me today.
The Associated Press just reported on Argentina’s growing health crisis. In the Santa Fe Province, the heart of Argentina’s soy country, cancer rates are two to four times the national average. Birth defects have quadrupled in the past decade in another area. Thyroid disorders and chronic respiratory illnesses have risen sharply. How has this happened? Doctors point to food toxicity via uncontrolled pesticide applications.
Argentine farmhand Fabian Tomasi refueled the pesticide in crop-dusters for a living. Now, at the ripe old age of 47, he can’t even use the restroom on his own. He’s near death from polyneuropathy, a neurological disorder that has left him frail and shriveled.
Last year Argentina made its first conviction for illegal spraying. Unfortunately, it could not restore the life of Sofia Gatica’s newborn who died of kidney failure due to exposure. In her neighborhood, 80% of children surveyed tested positive for traces of pesticide in their blood.
We used to think of Argentina as a bastion of open-range, grass-fed beef. But since opening their borders to Monsanto, an American agrochemical company famous for their Roundup brand of pesticides, health problems have compounded beyond control. You may have heard of Monsanto. They’ve been featured in numerous documentaries for their aggressive expansion policies (driving farmers out of business who refuse to use their genetically modified seed and associated pesticides).
What’s even more shocking? Broad pesticide application on food crops is “business as usual” in the U.S. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup pesticides, is also one of the world’s most popular weed killers. But On May 1, the Environmental Protection Agency gave Monsanto permission to use even heavier applications on food saying, “EPA has concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.”
But a study by Dr. Andres Carrasco at the University of Buenos Aires showed just a low dose of glyphosate into embryos caused spinal defects in frogs and chickens remarkably similar to ones found in humans in sprayed areas. And the growing body of evidence of birth defects, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer might suggest a closer look. The EPA’s conclusion that assessing risk is unnecessary is ignorant if not blatantly irresponsible.
Countries that have banned Monsanto now include Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South Australia, Russia, France, and Switzerland. Many countries also ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Too much evidence supports a closer examination of the effects of GMOs and associated pesticides. But with so many former employees of Monsanto leading the government’s top regulating agencies, it may never happen without a strong public appeal.
Since October is breast cancer awareness month, let’s look for more ways to prevent it, as well as numerous types of other cancers and illnesses. Buy as many certified organic products as you can. If you can’t afford to, make sure you buy organic produce listed in the “Dirty Dozen“. And make your voice heard when you can. Let your congresspeople know you want GMO labeling and more pesticide regulation.
Food toxicity can change everything for us and especially our children. Superbugs and superweeds now infest homogenous crops sprayed with pesticides. Our children face outrageously high risks for food allergies. The delicate balance of flora in our intestines can’t handle the onslaught of chemicals. Something has to change.