Date Added to website 17th August 2015
Brazil's Cancer Institute links GMOs, massive glyphosate use and negative health effects
Comment: Hard on the heels of the IARC Report which designates glyphosate as a "probably human carcinogen", the National Cancer Institute of Brazil has produced a hard-hitting report which draws attention to the fact that the country is now the world's largest user of agrichemicals -- linked to the production of GMO spy in particular. Most of that soy is glyphosate-resistant, and the Report authors say that chronic exposure to pesticide active ingredients (in other words, glyphosate) are infertility, impotence, abortions, malformations, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, effects on the immune system, and cancer.
Of course, this finding is in tune with the findings in Argentina, and with the medical opinions now coming to the forefront of political debate. Recenttly, 30 000 health professionals belonging to the union of doctors and health professionals (FESPROSA) have come out in support of the WHO decision, claiming that glyphosate “not only causes cancer. It is also associated with increased spontaneous abortions, birth defects, skin diseases, and respiratory and neurological disease.” The statement continues: “Health authorities, including the National Ministry of Health and the political powers, can no longer look away. Agribusiness cannot keep growing at the expense of the health of the Argentine people. The 30,000 health professionals in Argentina in the FESPROSA ask that glyphosate is now prohibited in our country and that a debate on the necessary restructuring of agribusiness is opened, focusing on the application of technologies that do not endanger human life.”
Similarly, the Society of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology (SAHOP) issued a statement calling for an immediate ban of glyphosate fumigation, signed by the President of the Paediatric society Pedro Zubizarreta.
They objected to the massive use of toxic products being sprayed in ever increasing concentrations in combinations of both insecticides and herbicides, and being sold as "technological advancements". They also warned of storing the grains in plastic bags, which leaves grains teeming with aflatoxins, categorised by the WHO’s IARC as a known carcinogen since 1993. Glyphosate has already been previously linked to the growth of these fungi in scientific studies, along with many other crop diseases.
Successful protests in Argentina were also recently mobilised to prevent Dr Medardo Ávila Vázquez from losing his job after the agribusiness-funded university threatened to sanction him for conducting and disseminating studies showing the high levels of cancers affecting his region as a result of agrichemical spraying.
These protests are a tribute to his work in exposing the toxicity of glyphosate, as well as the groundswell of opposition to glyphosate spraying in the country despite support by the national government. Local residents are gaining strength to voice their concerns following the WHO news as well as the recent decision by the Ministry of Production in the province of Santa Fe to ban aerial spraying of 2,4-D within 6 km of residents, confirming the health risks of the chemical agricultural system that leaves children covered in chemical and dust particles as they walk to school.
and please watch this compassionate and terrifying video from the "sprayed communities" of Argentina:
Brazil’s National Cancer Institute names GM crops as cause of massive pesticide use
09 April 2015
After the WHO’s classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen”, Brazil’s cancer institute condemns GM crops for placing the country in the top ranking globally for pesticide consumption. Claire Robinson reports
The release of GM crops in Brazil has helped make it the largest consumer of agrochemicals in the world, according to a hard-hitting new report from Brazil’s National Cancer Institute José Alencar Gomes da Silva (INCA), part of the country’s Ministry of Health.
The report says that national consumption of agrochemicals is equivalent to 5.2 litres of agrochemicals per year for each inhabitant. Agrochemical sales increased from USD 2 billion in 2001 to 8.5 billion in 2011.
The report names GM crops as a key cause of the trend: “Importantly, the release of transgenic seeds in Brazil was one of the factors responsible for putting the country in first place in the ranking of agrochemical consumption – since the cultivation of these modified seeds requires the use of large quantities of these products.”
The report continues: “The cropping pattern with the intensive use of pesticides generates major harms, including environmental pollution and poisoning of workers and the population in general. Acute pesticide poisoning is the best known effect and affects especially those exposed in the workplace (occupational exposure). This is characterized by effects such as irritation of the skin and eyes, itching, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, spasms, breathing difficulties, seizures and death.
“Already chronic poisoning may affect the whole population, as this is due to multiple exposures to pesticides, that is, the presence of pesticide residues in food and the environment, usually at low doses. Adverse effects of chronic exposure to pesticides may appear long after the exposure, and so are difficult to correlate with the agent. Among the effects that can be associated with chronic exposure to pesticide active ingredients are infertility, impotence, abortions, malformations, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, effects on the immune system, and cancer.”
According to the report, the most recent results of the Analytical Program on Pesticide Residues of Brazil’s health agency ANVISA revealed samples with pesticide residues above the maximum permissible limit, as well as the presence of chemical substances not authorized for the food in question. It also noted the presence of pesticides that were in the process of being banned by ANVISA or that had never been registered in Brazil.
Regarding sources of exposure, the report says, “It is noteworthy that pesticide residues not only occur in fresh food, but also in many processed food products, such as cookies, chips, breads, breakfast cereals, lasagna, pizza and other ingredients that contain wheat, corn and soybeans, for example. Pesticide traces may still may be present in meat and milk of animals fed with these crops, due to the process of bioaccumulation.
“Therefore, the concern over pesticides must not mean a reduction in the consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are key foods in healthy eating and of great importance in preventing cancer. The main focus must be on combating the use of pesticides, which contaminate all vital resources, including food, soil, water, breastmilk and air. In addition, methods of cultivation free from pesticide use can produce fruits, vegetables and legumes such as beans, with the greatest anticancer potential.”
In 2012, the report states, INCA organized a seminar on pesticides and cancer in partnership with the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). The event brought together health professionals, researchers, farmers and consumers to discuss the risks to human health from exposure to pesticides, particularly its relationship with certain types of cancer. And in 2013, together with Fiocruz and Abrasco, INCA signed a declaration warning of the dangers of the pesticide market.
In that context, INCA says, the purpose of the new report is “to mark the position of the INCA against current pesticide use practices in Brazil and highlight the health risks, particularly with regard to the causes of cancer.” The report’s authors approvingly cite the recent verdict of the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency IARC that glyphosate herbicide is a “probable carcinogen”.
The report calls for stronger regulation of pesticides and for the development of agroecological alternatives to the dominant pesticide-dependent GMO agricultural model.
The report from INCA (in Portuguese) is here