Translation

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Report: 81% of GM Crops Approved Without Adequate Safety Studies

© Natural Society
Natural Society | Nov 21, 2014 |Christina Sarich

thanks to biotech-government ties

What’s a recipe for environmental mayhem and the destruction of human health? The approval of genetically modified organisms by governments worldwide without any scientific safety studies. A new study published by the risk-assessment journal Environment International states that of the GM crops approved for planting and marketing globally, 81% were not studied for possible health and environmental safety risks.

Nevertheless, the biotech industry keeps touting GMO ‘benefits’ like a narcissistic madman on steroids. This chest beating continues – despite a complete lack of published, peer-reviewed research supporting the safety of genetically modified organisms.

The researchers of the risk-assessment study looked at GM crops engineered either for tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) or engineered to produce pesticides in their tissues due to the expression of cry1Ab or cry3Bb1 genes. Of all the bioengineering tricks up Monsanto and Syngenta’s sleeves, these are the most commonly used in commercial GM crops.

A whopping 47 GM crop varieties meet these conditions and have been given approval by agencies like the USDA, the FDA, and other regulatory bodies around the world.

When the researchers did a search for peer-reviewed studies on these crops prior to their approval so that they could tell if the agencies were relying on published vs. secret, industry-led studies, their findings were indeed telling.

The approval of these crops was based entirely on industry-biased data.

Only 18 peer-reviewed studies could be found which assessed the safety of any of the 47 GM crops that have been given a rubber stamp, and only 9 of the 47 crop varieties were studied. This means that the remaining 38 GMO varieties were approved with zero credible scientific evidence of their safety.

This is an incontrovertible piece of evidence that Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, Bayer, Cargill, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, and others have completely swayed government opinion about GMO safety based on manufactured to appease ‘experts.’ Experts who are supposed to assess the possible toxicity of any food or beverage we consume. This means that GMOs got the green light without safety assessments by independent scientists. No government-appointed shills should be making decisions about our food supply with such little risk assessment conducted.

The new study does suffer from one major limitation, however, since it looked only for published studies involving feeding rats the GM crop in question and then monitoring them for health effects. There are obviously other ways to conduct safety tests, but these were not conducted either.

Furthermore, these companies did indeed test their own crops and hid the results from regulators, even when they knew their toxic GMO products could cause serious health risks. The biotech industry has called these tests a ‘commercial secret’ even when they knowingly promote GMOs while they causes harm.

The pesticides and herbicides marketed to go hand-in-hand with GM crop sales are subject to the same ‘scrutiny’ as GMO crops themselves. A 2014 study in the journal BioScience found that the pesticide-approval process has been very similar.
Risk assessment is compromised when relatively few studies are used to determine impacts, particularly if most of the data used in an assessment are produced by a pesticide’s manufacturer, which constitutes a conflict of interest. Although manufacturers who directly profit from chemical sales should continue to bear the costs of testing, this can be accomplished without [conflicts of interest] by an independent party with no potential for financial gain from the outcome and with no direct ties to the manufacturer.”

Disturbing! The Gulf Stream now stalling in two broken areas


SOTT | Nov 20, 2014 | Gary Walton

Are we witnessing the Gulf Stream closing down? Is the cold November in the US just a precursor of what is to come?

A massive snowstorm has wreaked havoc in the north-eastern US and left seven people dead in upstate New York. After sweeping across the Great Lakes, the storm dumped 5ft (1.5m) of snow in the Buffalo area, with more forecast. The storm caused seven deaths there - one in a car crash, one trapped in a car and five from heart attacks.

Freezing temperatures were recorded across all 50 US states, including Florida and Hawaii, and there were more deaths elsewhere in the country.

New data from The Earth Wind Map and The NOAA Data Satellite both agree and are now showing the Gulf Stream is colder than average in not one area but two!

The huge section in the North Atlantic is still showing colder than average on both website's (see links above) but more alarming they are also both showing the Gulf itself is now colder than average and this was not the case last month.

Read more..

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Next Climate Phase

Suspicious0bservers | Nov 20, 2014


Climate Change: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...
Casey Article: http://www.newsmax.com/newswidget/dar...

DuPont Insecticide Plant where 4 Workers Died hadn’t been Inspected in 7 Years

Robert and Gilbert Tisnado
(photo: Tisnado family)
ALLGOV | Nov 19, 2014 | Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman

Four workers at a DuPont chemical plant in Texas died last weekend following a chemical leak. The industrial facility in La Porte hadn’t undergone federal safety inspections since 2007.

The discharge of a poisonous gas, methyl mercaptan (pdf)—which is used in the production of the company’s popular insecticide, Lannate—killed the four employees and hospitalized a fifth. Two of those killed were brothers, Robert and Gilbert Tisnado. Gilbert’s widow, Michelle, has filed a million-dollar wrongful death suit against DuPont and the facility’s plant manager, Randall Clements.

DuPont released a statement saying that the workers had responded to a reported leak in a valve. It was later determined that the faulty valve had released about 100 pounds of the deadly gas into the air throughout the plant.

Inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration hadn’t checked the plant in seven years. At that time two serious violations for safe management of highly hazardous chemicals were issued. But the total in fines amounted to only $3,400.

DuPont was hit with tougher penalties by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after the agency found violations of hazardous waste management and air emissions standards. EPA fined the company $117,375, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The 600-acre plant, which manufactures pesticides and plastics, also has been cited by Texas regulators for repeatedly breaking state laws involving safety inspections, preventing pollution leaks and other concerns.
A team from the Chemical Safety Board was dispatched to the site to investigate the deaths in the recent incident. The agency previously investigated accidents at other DuPont plants, including two that were fatal.

'Unbelievable, Terrible': Forest Service OKs Fracking in Largest National Forest on East Coast

Fracking the George Washington National Forest will threaten
the water supply for over 5 million people living in and
around Washington D.C. (Photo: United States Forest Service)
Common Dreams | Nov 18, 2014 | Lauren McCauley

The President can protect the climate and public health, or he can continue to promote fracking. He cannot do both.'

Threatening the water supply for millions of Americans, the U.S. Forest Service has opened the doors for oil and gas companies to drill by fracking the largest national forest on the East Coast, the George Washington National Forest, according to an updated federal management plan released Tuesday.

Backtracking on an earlier plan to restrict fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which has been linked to dangerous levels of air and groundwater pollution, the Obama administration reportedly caved to industry pressure to permit such drilling of the Marcellus Shale within park perimeters.

"In the face of dire warnings from the world’s foremost climate scientists about the need to phase out fossil fuels by 2100 and an authoritative body of science demonstrating the health impacts faced by communities living near oil and gas development, this administration continues to promote an 'all of the above' energy policy rather than a swift transition to renewable energy," Bruce Baizel, energy program director for environmental nonprofit Earthworks, said in a press statement following the release of the new management plan.

"The President can protect the climate and public health, or he can continue to promote fracking," Baizel continued. "He cannot do both."

The Associated Press reports:
The U.S. Forest Service originally planned to ban fracking in the 1.1 million-acre George Washington National Forest, but energy companies cried foul after a draft of the plan was released in 2011. It would have been the first outright ban on the practice in a national forest.

"We think we've ended up in a much better place, which is we are allowing oil and gas drilling," Robert Bonnie, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's undersecretary for natural resources and environment, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
The George Washington National Forest spans the Appalachian mountain ridge in Virginia into West Virginia and boasts hardwood and pine forests as well as thousands of miles of streams and hundreds of species of birds and mammals.

Documentarian Josh Fox, whose film Gasland was one of the first to draw attention to the toxic drilling practice, said the rule change was "unbelievable, terrible news."

Scientific studies show that fracking, which releases shale gas and oil by injecting a slurry of water and unknown chemicals into the earth, causes significant groundwater contamination as well as dangerous levels of methane emissions, a highly potent greenhouse gas. The practice has also been linked to earthquakes, indicating that fracking has significant effect on the geology of the planet, according to researchers.

Environmental groups warn that drilling in the forest could pollute the rivers and streams that feed into the Potomac River, which provides drinking water for five million people and is Washington D.C.'s only source of water. Further, according to the USFS, the Forest is the largest federal landholding in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and is the direct source of drinking water for about 262,000 people in local communities in and around Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

According to the USFS, the new plan establishes a framework for potential development on roughly 180,000 acres of the Forest where federal leases or privately owned mineral rights exist but are currently not active.

"The decision does not prohibit any specific technology for developing oil and gas resources, including hydraulic fracturing," the USFS press statement reads. However, according to the park service, any proposal to develop the existing leases will undergo further environmental analysis with opportunities for public comment.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Record breaking cold weather blankets U.S. - 85% surface area at or below freezing

© Weatherbell.com
SOTT | Nov 19, 2014 | Dr. Ryan Maue

Tuesday morning, America 'as a whole' awoke to the coldest it has been in November since 1976 -- 38 years ago. The Lower-48 or CONUS spatially average temperature plummeted overnight to only 19.4°F typical of mid-winter not November 18th! Data

An astounding 226-million Americans will experience at or below freezing temperatures (32°F) on Tuesday as well -- if you venture outdoors.

More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower-48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning. All 50-states saw at or below freezing temperatures on Tuesday.

Record lows from Idaho to Nebraska and Iowa south to Texas and east through the Great Lakes, the eastern 2/3 of the US will shatter decades-long and in some cases, century-long records. Temperatures east of the Rockies will be 20-40°F below climate normals.

Compared to normal, temperatures over the past several days have dropped off a cliff -- to 10°C below climate normal -- more anomalous than even during the polarvortex of early January. Anomaly Chart. November is shaping up to be a colder-than-normal month by a lot.

Read more..

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More Than 300 A Year: New Analysis Shows Devastating Impact of Pipeline Spills

A close-up of a leaking pipeline, stuffed with a
tree to stem the oil flow. (Photo: newmy51/cc/flickr)
Common Dreams | Nov 17, 2014 | Deirdre Fulton

'There’s no way to get around the fact that oil and gas pipelines are dangerous and have exacted a devastating toll on people and wildlife,' attorney says

Released one day before the U.S. Senate votes on the Keystone XL pipeline, a new analysis of federal records shows that in just the past year and four months, there have been 372 oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills, and other incidents, leading to 20 deaths, 117 injuries, and more than $256 million in damages.

The Center for Biological Diversity analysis is based on decades of records from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which maintains a database of all U.S. pipeline incidents that are classified as "significant"—those resulting in death or injury, damages more than $50,000, more than 5 barrels of highly volatile substances or 50 barrels of other liquid released, or where the liquid exploded or burned.

In total there have been more than 8,700 significant incidents with U.S. pipelines involving death, injury, and economic and environmental damage since 1986, the Center reports—more than 300 per year.

"There’s no way to get around the fact that oil and gas pipelines are dangerous and have exacted a devastating toll on people and wildlife. It’s appalling to see Congress seriously considering giving the green light to Keystone XL," said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Obama administration’s own analysis says Keystone XL will spill oil, so it’s really troubling to see politicians wanting to add to this dangerous legacy of failed pipelines."

The time-lapse video below includes every "significant pipeline" incident in the continental United States—along with their human and financial costs—from 1986 to Oct. 1, 2014. On average one significant pipeline incident occurs in the country every 30 hours, according to the data.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Climate Perception, Projection and Propaganda

Watts Up With That | Nov 17, 2014 | Dr. Tim Ball

A major reason why Al Gore’s deceptive use of the melting Arctic ice was so effective is because most people have little idea what the real world is like. They have no image of the Arctic Oceans, shape or size, partly because they effectively live in a two-dimensional world. That is not a problem for them or society until someone exploits it. Gore was part of a global political agenda that exploited it. It was an agenda that expanded H L Mencken’s comment about politics to a global scale.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
Now, it was less likely people would know it was imaginary.

People have no accurate image of the Arctic Ocean because of how they are born, nature, and educated, nurture. They are primarily a combination of nature/nurture that prioritizes what is necessary for individual survival. In addition, their inabilities are a result of several things, but primarily, a limited ability to grasp and imagine three dimensions. Their daily visual stimuli tell them it is a flat earth. As humans moved to expand their horizons, they were confronted with the challenge of producing two-dimensional maps that attempt to portray a three-dimensional world. I learned about all these limitations when teaching and running labs for students using weather maps, topographic maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery. It is why two-dimensional weather maps are adequate, but a forecaster needs to be able to visualize the third dimension depicted by isobars.

One of the most difficult ideas to explain to students about weather and climate is the Coriolis Effect. First, there is the challenge of it causing a change, so it appears logical to assume there is a force involved. As a result, people speak incorrectly of a Coriolis Force. Second, is the challenge of understanding a three-dimensional world, when our perceptions are essentially two-dimensional. Nowhere is this more evident than in map projections and people’s perceptions and understanding of the world.

Human adaptation of the third dimension is very much an intellectual, philosophical, and perceptual issue. The “Greek Miracle”, from approximately 700 to 400 BC, is embodied in the Parthenon. It wasn’t just the mathematical proportions, but also accommodation to a world seen by the curvature of the eye. The base of the Parthenon is not level, but raised in the center. If built level then, if viewed from either end, it would appear to dip in the middle.

Read more..

NASA map downplays sharp rise in meteor fireball impacts over last 20 years

SOTT | Nov 17, 2014 | Gary Boyle & Niall Bradley

© NASA/JPL
NASA's Near Earth Object (NEO) Program published a diagram a few days ago, showing 556 mapped comet/asteroid fragment impacts on Earth over the last 20 years (see above). NASA says it's based on data gathered from 1994-2013 on small asteroids impacting Earth's atmosphere to create 'fireballs, adding that "the sizes of yellow dots (daytime impacts) and blue dots (nighttime impacts) are proportional to the optical radiated energy of impacts measured in billions of Joules (GJ) of energy, and show the location of impacts from objects about 1 meter (3 feet) to almost 20 meters (60 feet) in size."

Note the random distribution of impacts around the globe. But note also what the map and accompanying NASA report do not indicate: the year-on-year distribution of those impact events over that 20-year period. This omission enables them to give the following misleading subheading to their report:
It happens all the time: small asteroids impact Earth's atmosphere
By not providing a year-on-year breakdown of the impacts, and by including their rather banal headline, NASA leaves us to assume that these events were more or less evenly distributed over those 20 years - on average, 27 fireball events of note in 2013 (556 total events/20 years). But we have serious doubts about this.

We know from the American Meteor Society that there were nearly 3,500 observed events in 2013 alone - and just in the US.

Read more..

Chlorpyrifos - cause of birth defects, mental impairment - sprayed on farms across the US

Lorsban is sprayed on a soccer pitch to
control grubs, 1987. Photo: srv007 via Flickr.
The Ecologist | Nov 15, 2014 | Janette D. Sherman

Dow's teratogenic pesticide chlorpyrifos is a human and environmental disaster, writes Janette D. Sherman. It causes serious, irreversible damage to the human foetus even at low concentrations that may be harmless to the mother, resulting in severely and permanently disabled and mentally damaged children. But it's still sprayed in vast quantities on America's farms. 

The recent number of articles in the popular press concerning loss of intellect among children exposed to chlorpyrifos is important in the case of this pesticide.

Although in-home use of chlorpyrifos was restricted in the US in 2000, it is widely used in agriculture, and is a serious risk to health and intellect for people working and living in proximity to fields. Detectable levels of chlorpyrifos detected in New York City children, raises the question of exposure via food.

Across the US we learn that students are doing poorly in school, often blaming the teachers and their unions.

Are teachers no longer competent to teach or have children been 'dumbed-down' by exposure to this neurotoxin?

The State of California is considering restriction on use, but is prepared for strong opposition from the pesticide and big agricultural industries.

FLK - 'Funny looking kid' syndrome

Back in the 'Dark Ages' - a mere 50 years ago - when I was a medical student and intern at Wayne State University, I rotated through Children's Hospital in Detroit. It was staffed by some of the most thoughtful and kind physician / professors I have ever met.

I attended a clinic named 'FLK' otherwise known as Funny Looking Kid clinic. There we saw children who had abnormal looking faces, abnormal body parts, and, often impaired intelligence.

Many of the children required complicated medical care, but I don't recall much discussion as to why they had these abnormalities that had dramatically cut short their futures and altered the lives of their families.

Realizing you have given birth to a child with birth defects is devastating - not only for the child, but for the family, and for society in general. If the child survives infancy, it means being 'different' and having to cope with disability, and with having to learn alternative ways to function.

For many families, it means 24/7 care of a child who can never live independently. For society the costs can be enormous - surgery (often multiple), medications, social services, special education, special equipment, then alternative living arrangements, if and when family cannot care for their child, now grown to a non-functional adult.

Chlorpyrifos - a potent neurotoxin

Although the neurotoxicity of pesticides has been known for decades, recently, several national magazines, have named the pesticide, chlorpyrifos, as an agent causing loss of intelligence, as well as birth defects and structural brain damage.

Dr. James Hamblin's article in March 2014 issue of The Atlantic, titled 'The Toxins that Threaten Our Brains' listed 12 commonly used chemicals, including chlorpyrifos, which is marketed as Dursban and Lorsban.

The exposures described in the Atlantic articles were urban, so we do not know exactly how widespread is this epidemic is, especially if we do not include agricultural areas such as in California, Hawaii and the mid-West..

That same month, The Nation published Susan Freinkel's articles 'Warning Signs: How Pesticides Harm the Young Brain' and '6 Ways to Avoid Eating Pesticide Residue'; and Lee Fang's 'The Pesticide Industry vs. Consumers: Not a Fair Fight'. All report adverse effects from exposure to Dursban and Lorsban.

Dr. Hamblin's article generously cites Drs. Philip Landrigan of Mt. Sinai in New York City and Philippe Grandjean of Harvard that a "'silent pandemic' of toxins has been damaging the brains of unborn children."

Dr. Landrigan chaired a 1998 meeting of the Collegium Ramazzini International Scientific Conference, held in Carpi, Italy. In attendance was Dr. Grandjean, whose research found "Methylmercury as a hazard to brain development." Dr. Richard Jackson, from the US CDC was also in attendance, as well as US governmental and university members.

At that Collegium Ramazzini International Scientific Conference, on October 25, 1998, I presented definitive data in my paper: 'Chlorpyrifos (Dursban) exposure and birth defects: report of 15 incidents, evaluation of 8 cases, theory of action, and medical and social aspects.'

This presentation followed my earlier publications beginning in 1994 wherein I reported damage to the unborn from the same pesticide.

The Ramazzini organization sent my paper to the European Journal of Oncology for publication. Since my paper reported birth defects, not cancer, the paper has received little notice, but the attendees, including the EPA, have known of the findings for 16 years.

Hawaii - awash with pesticides

Currently a new battle is occurring in Hawaii over the use of pesticides, especially by Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, BASF Plant Science, and Syngenta on the island of Kauai where giant seed companies develop Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other specialized seeds.

The pesticides used there include alachlor, atrazine, chlorpyrifos, methomyl, metalochlor, permethrin and paraquat.

Author Paul Koberstein from Cascadia Times estimates that annually, more than 2,000 pounds of chlorpyrifos are used per acre per year on Kauai, compared to less than 0.025 averages for the US Mainland.

In addition to Hawaii, areas in California include workers and families from the Imperial Valley and other intensive agricultural areas where pesticide use is extensive. Using the Koberstein data, annual use of chlorpyrifos in California is approximately 1500 pounds/ acre.

Neurological damage: before and after birth

Birth defects arise as a result of two mechanisms - damage to a gene, prior to fertilization, or damage to the growing cells of the fetus after life in the womb has begun.

Differing from genetic damage, such as occurs in Down syndrome or Trisomy-21, the latter damage results from exposure of the developing fetus to agents called teratogens.

For many years Mongolism was the name applied to children with growth delays, similar facial and hand features and intellectual deficits.

Chlorpyrifos is a unique pesticide. It is a combination of an organophosphate and a trichlorinatedpyridinol (TCP). TCP is not only the feedstock used in the manufacture of chlorpyrifos, but also a contaminant in the product, and a metabolic breakdown product that is known to cause central nervous system abnormalities (hydrocephaly and dilated brain ventricles), and other abnormalities (cleft palate, skull and vertebral abnormalities) in fetuses - as reported by Dow Chemical Co.

What exposure to Dursban can do

In March 1995, I was asked to fly to Arkansas to see a child whose mother had been exposed to the pesticide Dursban (chlorpyrifos) early in the pregnancy of her daughter.

Mrs S had been working in a bank when in mid-March, 1991, she noticed a man spraying the baseboards behind the station where she worked as a teller. She said she asked the man if was okay to be in the area since she was pregnant, and she said the man told her it was "perfectly safe".

She said the spraying had occurred around 4 PM, and that she worked at the bank until 6:30 PM, and when she went home that evening she had nausea and a "bit of headache". She said she returned to work the next day, felt nausea, but worked most of the day.

An electrical fire at the drive-in window followed the pesticide event, and a technician used of a fogger that sprayed a "citrus-like" chemical that was intended to deodorize the smoke odor. Mrs S said she worked at the bank until about April of that year, and then worked at a credit union until her daughter was born in September.

When Mrs S was about five months pregnant she had an ultrasound, which showed that her baby had enlarged ventricles in her brain. Further examination revealed absence of the septum pellucidum, a central portion of her brain. Mrs. S. had additional follow up at a university center as well as with her own physician that showed normal amniocentesis and normal chromosomes.

Both Mr & Mrs S said that caring for the daughter A. has been a severe financial and emotional drain, sometimes requiring them to be up 72 hours to try to soothe A's crying. A. had surgery to repair her cleft lip when she was six months old, and repair of her cleft palate and left eyelid when she was a year old.

Both cleft lip and palate can now be repaired (in areas with skilled surgeon, and insurance or other funds) but until they are, the child has difficulty feeding and risks poor nutrition, upper respiratory and lung problems as a result of aspiration of food.

Additional diagnostic procedures indicated that A has a cleft left eye (failure of her eye to fuse during development), and she cannot blink her eye or move the left side of her face.

A was unable to sit up on her own by the time she was a year old, had to have food pureed until she was two, then her parents realized that when A neared her 4th birthday, she could not hear, when they began a program of sign language with the aid of a speech therapist.

A's brother B was born two years later, and is well, sleeping thought the night when he was two weeks of age.

I was given a tour of the bank where Mrs S worked by its' Senior Vice-President, and to minimize stress to A, I examined her in the office and presence of her pediatrician. I also accompanied her parents to their home where I could observe A at her home.

A was a small-boned child who walked with a wide-based, unsteady gait and who made audible sounds, but no language content. Her head was enlarged with hydrocephaly and a small bruise due to a recent, commonly occurring fall. Her abnormalities included the following, and were characteristic of findings in other children: low-set, tapering ears, wide-spaced nipples, and frequent infections.

This litany is not to horrify readers, but to bring to attention to the burdens imposed upon this child, her parents, and society as a whole. I evaluated seven more children, two families each having two children with similar, but more severe medical conditions.

Eight cases of severe retardation - and a single common cause

With the exception of child #1, the seven children were profoundly retarded, were diapered, could not speak, and required feeding.

I first met C & D in 1996, along with their parents and handsome, healthy older brother, at their attractive home on the West Coast. Both D (a girl) and C (a boy) were lying flat, diapered, mouths open, fists clenched, staring into space, and being fed by bottle. Even today, looking at the photographs reminds me what an enormous burden was dealt to that family.

Ultimately I evaluated eight children, and identified seven more, reported by Dow Chemical Co., the manufacturer, to EPA on November 2, 1994, with reporting delays of as long as seven years from when the corporation first learned of them.

I obtained the reports via a Freedom of Information request (FOI) from EPA. The reports were labeled with the revealing name: "DERBI" - or - "Dow Elanco Research Business Index."

When I saw seven more children, all of who looked like siblings, (much as Trisomy-21 or Down Syndrome children do) it became clear to me, that the cause was linked to Dursban, the pre-natal exposure common to each.

Among the Dursban-exposed children, all 8 had both brain and palate abnormalities, seven had widespread nipples and growth retardation, six had low vision or blindness and six had genital abnormalities, five had brain atrophy and external ear abnormalities, four children had absence of the corpus collosum that is the critical connection between the two hemispheres of the brain.

Chromosomal studies were normal in all 8 families. All families reported stress and enormous financial burden to care for their children.

In addition to the children with birth defects, I also evaluated a number of families and a group of adults who had been exposed at their work site. Of the workers, all 12 complained of headache, and three of dizziness.

Eight had findings of central nervous system damage, and six had peripheral nervous system damage. The patients reported upper respiratory and chest symptoms, as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and four had incontinence. The families also reported abnormalities and deaths in their household pets.

Dow knew in 1987, but waited five years to tell EPA

In February 1996, my deposition in the first case was taken by three groups of attorneys representing the defendants, two principally defending Dow Elanco. I was questioned for three 8-hour days. Ultimately a list of 565 exhibits was accumulated that included over 10,000 pages of materials that I supplied and relied upon for my opinion.

These materials included Dow documents and correspondence, EPA documents, legal depositions, basic embryology, biochemistry and toxicology of chlorpyrifos, medical records of other exposed children, patents, books, articles, etc, etc.

Chlorpyrifos was designed to be neurotoxic in action. It is an interesting pesticide, in that it has not only an organophosphate portion, but also it has three chlorine atoms attached to a pyridinol ring. This ring is trichloropyridinol (TCP), a significant hazard, because it is fat-soluble, and persistent, up to 18 years as claimed by Dow Chemical Co.

TCP also forms the body of trichlophenoxyacetic acid, part of Agent Orange, also linked to birth defects and cancer. In a war that ended in 1975, Agent Orange continues as a risk to the Vietnamese, and to military troops that were stationed there.

According to multiple Dow documents, TCP is the feedstock for production of chlopryrifos, a contaminant in the product, and a metabolic breakdown product. TCP has been demonstrated to cause central nervous system anomalies (hydrocephaly and dilated brain ventricles) as well as cleft palate, skull and vertebral abnormalities in the fetus at doses nontoxic to the mother, similar to the defects seen in affected children.

That TCP caused birth defects was known by Dow in 1987, but not reported to EPA until five years later in 1992.

TCP is used to manufacture chlorpyrifos, and as such, comes under regulation of Section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), rather than the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Control Act (FIFRA.) Though there was regulatory difference, TSCA states very clearly:

"Any person who manufactures, processes or distributed in commerce a chemical substance or mixture, or who obtains information which reasonable supports the conclusion that such substance or mixture presents a substantial risk of injure to heath or the environment, shall immediately inform the Administrator of such information."

From 1976 to 1982, I was a member of a 16 person Advisory Committee to the EPA for TSCA, Chairman of the Risk-Benefit Assessment Group from 1977 to 1979, and a member of the Carcinogen Policy Sub-group from 1977 to 1981.

It was clear that risks and benefits do no accrue to the same party. In the case of chlorpyrifos, the risks are to the unaware public, and the benefits to the corporation.

EPA whitewashing

Although the EPA stopped home use of Dursban in 2000, Lorsban is widely used in agriculture, on ornamentals, and places where women, the unborn and children are exposed. For many, this exposure is without their knowledge or consent. How is this allowed to happen?

Is it successful advertising, recommendations from country and state agricultural agents, an inept or politically adept EPA? Such as when on September 11, 2001, the then administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency and former governor of New Jersey Christie Whitman said on September 13, 2001,

"EPA is greatly relieved to have learned that there appears to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City."

Barely a week later, on 18th September, she was quoted in an EPA press release as saying: "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, DC that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink."

In 2008, the US EPA named Dow as an Energy Star Partner of the Year for excellence in energy management and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Dow's fleet of skilled lawyers have managed to save Dow from liability, when they achieved a reversal of a $925 million judgment for the contamination of the area around Rocky Flats, the Colorado facility that produced plutonium triggers for hydrogen bombs. And, a lawsuit filed by Vietnamese, damaged by Agent Orange against Dow and Monsanto was dismissed.

Dow is a multinational corporation and the third largest chemical manufacturer in the world, with earnings more than $57 billion in 2013. In addition to the manufacture of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and genetically modified seeds, Dow also manufactures multiple plastics, polystyrene, polyurethane, synthetic rubber, biphenyl-A as well as many other chemicals.

What are the chances that the use of Lorsban will be curtailed in the agricultural areas of Hawaii, California and elsewhere? Given what we know of the financial strength of the Dow Corporation, the weakness of the EPA, and our paid-for Congress, it does not look promising.

The burden of brain damage

If the top corporate officials were required to care for one of these severely brain-damaged children for a week, would it change their minds about the ethics of manufacturing chlorpyrifos for corporate profit?

There is not a teacher who can teach brain-damaged children to read and do math, which raises the larger question being proposed: are children's lack of learning due to poor teachers, or to subtle brain damage?

If children are being damaged to various degrees, profoundly in the situation of the 15 children sited in my research, to 'mild' learning and/or behavioral problems, ranging from decreased IQ, Aspergers, hyperactivity, autism, etc., how much is attributable to exposure to pesticides such as Dursban / Lorsban?

If we blame poor teaching, and teachers' unions, but don't stop the use of brain-damaging pesticides, where does that leave our US society as a source of creativity and intellect in this world?



Author's note: All of my chlorpyrifos / Dursban documents have been accepted and will be archived at the National Library of Medicine, along with my other scientific, medical and legal research.

Janette D. Sherman, M. D. is the author of 'Life's Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer and Chemical Exposure and Disease', and is a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology. She edited the book 'Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature', written by A. V. Yablokov, V. B., Nesterenko and A. V. Nesterenko, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009. Her primary interest is the prevention of illness through public education. She can be reached at toxdoc.js@verizon.net and www.janettesherman.com.

This article is an edited version of one originally published on CounterPunch.