Saturday, January 21, 2017

CONSUMER REVOLUTION #BUYCOTT #BANGMOS #BANGLYPHOSATE

Organic Consumers Association
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Ronnie’s Inauguration Day Message

Dear K,
Yesterday, Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.
Yesterday, we announced our #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution 2017-2020 platforms.
If Hillary Clinton had been the oneplacing her hand on a Bible yesterday, promising to protect the U.S. Constitution, we would be organizing a massive movement to change her positions on many issues, including war, Big Ag and GMOs.
If Bernie Sanders had taken the oath of office today, we would be celebrating his authenticity, and his solid track record (not just lip-service) of support for at least 90 percent of the issues we care about. Then we’d get to work on the other 10 percent—with hope and enthusiasm.
But yesterday, we witnessed the swearing in of a president who has signaled loud and clear his intent to maximize the profits of giant corporations—like Exxon Mobil, BP, and Monsanto and Bayer (whose merger he's set to approve)—on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes. Public and environmental health be damned.
Trump has appointed a slate of millionaire and billionaire corporate cronies to key, powerful positions, with orders to immediately set to work rolling back any regulations or policies that even hint at cutting into corporate profits. We will have an EPA Administrator, an Energy Secretary and a head of the CIA who largely reject the international scientific consensus that human behavior is a contributing factor to global warming.
We will have billionaire bankers running the U.S. Treasury Department and the American economy.
And yesterday we learned, not surprisingly, that the new USDA Secretary of Agriculture will be former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. Another millionaire climate-denier, Perdue is a cheerleader for the worst of the worst agribusiness corporations. Based on his history, Perdue will have no interest in protecting the interests of rural farmers, farm workers or consumers from the routine poisoning of our food, water and air by factory farms, pesticides and GMOs.
We have our work cut out for us in the coming months and years. As Frances Fox Piven, a professor of political science and sociology, recently wrote, we’ll need to keep signing petitions, but that won't be enough. We’ll need to, as she said, “throw sand in the gears of everything” just to protect the most basic of human rights.
With that in mind, we have developed two platforms that will guide our work, beginning immediately.
#Consumer Revolution 2017-2020

Overarching goal: Force corporations that sell consumer products, including food, clothing, drugs and personal care products, to respond to consumer demand for truthfully labeled products that have a positive impact on human health and are produced using regenerative processes and practices that not only prevent harm to human health and the environment but also measurably improve soils and combat global warming.
(1)    Move toward making organic, 100% grass-fed, and regenerative food and farming the norm, not just the 5-percent alternative in the marketplace, by doubling sales of organic to $80 billion by 2020, and by increasing sales of U.S. grass-fed meat and dairy, and organic and pastured poultry and pork by at least 400 percent by 2020.
(2)    Achieve a 50-percent reduction in sales of GMO food and animal feed by 2020, with the aim of driving GMO animal feed off the market.
(3)    Force major food brands and companies that fraudulently label their products as “natural,” “organic” or “GMO-free” to remove misleading labels and/or transition their products and production methods to organic and/or regenerative practices.
(4)    Increase market share for clothing made from organic cotton, wool and other natural fibers through a high-profile “Care What You Wear” campaign that encourages consumers to boycott GMO cotton and synthetic fibers.
#PoliticalRevolution 2017-2020
Overarching goal: Reform the current political process to create a democracy that works for all people, not just wealthy corporations and the 1%, by uniting the food, climate, economic and social justice, natural health and peace movements in a coordinated effort to support candidates, elected public officials and policies, at the local, state and federal levels, that support our common goals.
(1)    Support the candidates and elected officials endorsed by the post-Bernie Sanders movements, including “Brand New Congress” and “Our Revolution.”
(2)    Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support OCA’s #ConsumerRevolution platform
(3)    Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support the “Our Revolution” platform, with the addition of:
•    on climate: a focus on regenerative agriculture and soil carbon sequestration as a global warming solution, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy

•    on healthcare: a focus on "Medicare for all" that includes coverage for preventive, natural and alternative healthcare solutions

•    on living wage: a focus on raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour so that lower-income Americans can afford organic food
(4)    Organize local grassroots meet-ups and coalitions to run candidates, for local and state offices, who support our issues.
(5)    Oppose any candidates or policies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism and all forms of discrimination, whenever and wherever they arise.
(6)    Oppose any laws or illegal attempts to disenfranchise voters.
(7)    Support the decriminalization of drug use, including the legalization of marijuana, and oppose the war on drugs.
(8)    Combat climate change by promoting candidates and policies that advance regenerative food, farming and land use, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy, as solutions for achieving zero emissions, for reversing global warming by sequestering excess CO2 and greenhouse gases in soil and forests, and for addressing our public health, water and environmental crises.
Why do we need a revolution?
Our democracy is broken. Under the Trump Administration, we could witness the final collapse.
The handful of corporations that control our food, farming, energy and pharmaceutical industries have corrupted the marketplace to the point that it generates enormous profits for CEOs and shareholders at the expense of workers, consumer choice, human health and the environment.
Our political process no longer works for a majority of people in this country, much less for the future of the common good. The failure of this process can be traced to the disproportionate influence of corporations and the uber-wealthy (1%) on policymaking, either through direct lobbying or by using generous campaign contributions to buy the loyalty of incumbent and/or future politicians.
These systemic failures originated and are perpetuated from the top down. They will be corrected only by a bottom-up grassroots rejection of the status quo, by a critical mass of citizens who hold a new, more hopeful vision for a healthier, safer, more equitable future.
What can you do?
Today, I call on you personally to get involved in our consumer and political revolutions. OCA and our allies will be organizing as never before at the local and state levels, pulling together the energy and talents of people young and old, from environmental, social justice, peace—every movement that shares our vision.
We’ll need people who live in and understand the needs of rural communities. We’ll need city dwellers. We’ll need lawyers and accountants. Farmers and factory workers. Moms and Dads.
We will have to work together, for each other. Because it's clear that our elected officials will not be working for us.
It’s time to get out from behind our laptops and cell phones, to break out of our silos, to break the pattern of single-issue organizing.
Please follow our communications as we roll out critical new consumer and political campaigns. Please share our messages far and wide. Please attend the community meetings and house parties we will soon be organizing.
And if you can, please support our critical work with a donation today—or better yet, become a monthly donor. Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Ronnie Cummins
International Director



P.S. We are raising money for the Organic Consumers Fund (OCF), our 501(c)(4) lobbying arm. Contributions to OCF are not tax deductible. But OCF funding is critically needed for our political work. You can donate online, by mail or by phonedetails hereThank you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GLYPHOSATE CAUSES SERIOUS HEALTH DAMAGE - 3 NEW STUDIES

Three new papers have been released in the past 24 hours that link Roundup and glyphosate based herbicides to serious harm.
Roundup_household.jpeg
-January 9, 2016 a new study reveals that the weedkiller Roundup causes liver disease in rats after being exposed to doses lower than allowed by the EPA to be present on American food and feed crops. The story was published by Claire Robinson of GMWatch:
The study is the first ever to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmentally relevant dose and a serious disease.

Studies that show direct cause carry much more weight with the EPA and global regulatory agencies. This could very likely mean the end of Roundup and put a huge dent in GMO chemical farming.
The new peer-reviewed study, led by Dr. Michael Antoniou at King's College London, used cutting-edge profiling methods to describe the molecular composition of the livers of female rats fed an extremely low dose of Roundup weedkiller, which is based on the chemical glyphosate, over a 2-year period.
The dose of glyphosate from the Roundup administered was thousands of times below what is permitted by regulators worldwide.
You can read more about this study and two other studies that connect glyphosate based herbicides to thyroid here: Moms Across America article.

Thank you for continuing to share our information and create healthy communities!

Gratefully,
Zen and MAA Team

Moms Across America
http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/

Thursday, January 5, 2017

USDA-EPA: Glyphosate (RoundUp) A-OK for spraying 170+ Fruits, Veggies

Ingredient Glyphosate In Popular Weed Killer Causing Controversy

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

GMO CROPS STUDY: NOT EVEN CLOSE TO "SUBSTANTIAL EQUIVALENCE"

This is Big


Corn kernels


One of the biggest scams Monsanto perpetrated against consumers was getting its GMO crops declared “substantially equivalent” to non-GMO crops—a coup that allowed the biotech industry to unleash GMOs into the food system with no independent pre-market safety testing.

First, a little history on substantial equivalence:

The concept of ‘Substantial Equivalence’ was first introduced in 1993 by the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD), an international economic and trade organisation, not a public health body. The principle states that if a new food is found to be substantially equivalent to an already existing food product, it can be treated the same way as the existing product with respect to safety. This concept has greatly benefited the trade of GM produce, allowing it to effectively bypass regulatory requirements that would apply to novel food and other products including novel chemical compounds, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and food additives, all of which require a range of toxicological tests and can be subject to legal limitations on safe consumption/intake.

Independent (as in not on the biotech industry’s payroll) scientists who have previously argued that GMO foods are not substantially equivalent to non-GMO foods have been dissed and discredited by Monsanto.

Now there’s a new peer-reviewed study led by Dr. Michael Antoniou at King’s College London, that once again suggests that GMO foods—at least a specific variety of Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready GMO corn—are nowhere near to being “equivalent” to non-GMO foods.

And what makes this Roundup-Ready corn “different,” say the authors of the most recent study, has serious implications for your health.


Read ‘New Study Shows Major Molecular Differences between GMO and Non-GMO Corn’

Read the study


SOURCE:  https://www.organicconsumers.org/newsletter/organic-bytes-535/big?utm_content=buffer2a14d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

WILL GIPSA ENFORCE FAIR MEAT PRODUCTION RULES?

GIPSA Rules, Designed to Protect Farmers, Released by USDA After 95-Year Wait

On December 14, 2016, 95 years after Congress passed the Packers and Stockyards Act - a law designed to end abusive practices in the meatpacking industry - the USDA has released a set of rules that will finally make key parts of the law enforceable. The three rules published, one interim final rule and two proposed rules, will provide protections against unfair, abusive and anticompetitive practices for contract farmers working in the poultry and livestock industry.

A System that Hurts Farmers

One of the proposed rules will address issues related to the tournament pricing system used in poultry industry by meatpackers to control contract farmers and pay them unfairly. Even though contract farmers are often promised a minimum base pay by the meatpackers that they have contracts with, the farmers often find that their income actually depends on how big their chickens are in relation chickens raised by other farmers. Theoretically this system is supposed to create competition between farmers and incentivize them to raise the biggest, healthiest birds, but in reality the system is used to reward some farmers and punish others that speak out against the system - a system that ends up entirely benefitting the meatpacking industry and hurting the farmers.
According to Christopher Leonard's 2014 book The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business, there's no price or contract transparency in the tournament system, and meatpackers use it to turn farmers against one another. It's also common for producers performing in the lower half of the tournament to lose their contracts after three or four consecutive low rankings. The first proposed rule will help stop some of the worst aspects of this tournament system by identifying and stopping retaliatory practices against farmers like giving them sick chicks to raise or low quality food to use on their farms.
The second proposed rule defines criteria for what would amount to unjustified preference for one farmer over another, and it also defines unfair practices against farmers. However, under the rule, meat and poultry companies will reserve the right to claim a reasonable business justification for their actions in the case that a complaint is brought against them.
The interim final rule will affirmatively establish the USDA's long time position that it is not necessary for a farmer to demonstrate that an unfair practice harms the entire livestock market to prove a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act. Such overly broad interpretations have put family farmers at a disadvantage for decades when pursuing their rights under the Act.
All three rules are subject to a 60 day public comment period that will begin as soon as the rules are published in the Federal Register.

What is GIPSA?

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is the US Department of Agriculture's agency that markets livestock, poultry, meat, cereals, oilseeds and related agricultural products, and promotes fair and competitive trading practices for the overall benefit of consumers and American agriculture.
GIPSA's Packers and Stockyards Program (P&SP) promotes fair business practices and competitive environments to market livestock, meat and poultry. The P&SP evolved from the Packers and Stockyards Administration, which was established in 1921 under the Packers and Stockyards Act. The organization was founded to regulate livestock marketing activities at public stockyards and the operations of meat packers and live poultry dealers. Through its oversight activities, including monitoring programs, reviews and investigations, P&SP fosters fair competition, provides payment protection and guards against deceptive and fraudulent trade practices that affect the movement and price of meat animals and their products. P&SP's work protects consumers and members of the livestock, meat and poultry industries.

Why Is Enforcing GIPSA Rules Important for Farmers?

Since the 1970s, the meatpacking industry has consolidated and vertically integrated rapidly as small firms have left the industry. In the beef, pork and poultry industries, the top four companies control 85, 74 and 50 percent of the markets respectively. Today, the slaughterhouses that are left are in the hands of just a few corporations who often own not only the meat processing facility but also many of the chickens and hogs they're slaughtering through unfair contract agreements with livestock and poultry producers. Greater consolidation in the meat industry means more power for the handful of meat packers left, which allows companies to charge whatever price they want for meat, eating away at farmers' incomes and hurting rural economies.
In response to this problem, Congress, as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, directed USDA to write rules to enforce key provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act, a 1921 law designed to prohibit meat packers from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices, manipulating prices, creating a monopoly or illegally conspiring. The Act also forbids stockyards from dealing in the livestock they handled. In 2010, the USDA issued proposed rules to help the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) enforce the law, and since that time, lobbyists from big meat and poultry corporations have kept the rules tied up through legislative riders to the annual agriculture appropriations bills.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

GMOs: UNSAFE ON ANY PLATE


What To Do About GMOs in the Trump Era


GMOs - take action
A special guest post from Institute for Responsible Technology founder Jeffrey Smith
Editors note: The vast majority of corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, and sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified (GMOs). Monsanto and its allies claim that GMO crops reduce pesticide useincrease yields, reduce water consumption, and offer foods that are more tasty and more nutritious. But in the nearly 25 years since GM crops first came on the market, studies have found that they have led to higher pesticide use, and no meaningful improvement in flavornutritionyield or water consumption. Instead, what they’ve created are plants that are engineered to withstand massive dosing of toxic herbicides, and plants that function as living pesticide factories. Monsanto’s Bt. corn, for example, is actually registered with the EPA as a pesticide. Many credible scientists have significant concerns about the safety of these crops for human and animal consumption. And the environmental impacts are documented, and alarming.
Perhaps you, like I, had high hopes for a more enlightened approach to GMOs when President Obama came into office. During his 2008 campaign, he had publicly called for labeling and good science. And boy did we need good science, especially when it came to informing US policy makers.
During the Reagan years, Vice President George HW Bush visited Monsanto headquarters and was recorded on video offering them help with getting their products through the government. “We’re in the de-reg business,” he told them.
When he became president, we realized the extent to which that was true. His Vice President, Dan Quayle, was put in charge of a high-level Competitiveness Council, charged with reducing US export deficits. For some reason, they believed that introducing GMOs would increase US exports and US domination in the trade of food. So on May 26th, 1992, in the Indian Treaty room in the White House, Vice President Quayle announced that they would avoid the unnecessary regulations and treat GMOs just like other foods. Three days later, the FDA policy was unveiled, claiming that “the agency is not aware of any information showing that the foods created by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.” On that basis, not a single safety study was required, and GMOs could go on the market without any labeling requirement.
Years later, when 44,000 FDA documents were forced to the public domain because of a lawsuit spearheaded by Steven Druker and the Alliance for Bio integrity, we learned that the entire policy was based on a fraudulent premise. Not only had the scientists working at the FDA come to a very different conclusion, warning about unique health dangers and recommending extensive tests, but the person in charge of GMO policy at the FDA was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, and later their vice president.
The Clinton administration continued to cheerlead for Monsanto. Dan Glickman, the administration’s Secretary of agriculture, took a road trip trying to convince Europeans to accept American GMO exports. At one point, Glickman veered from his prepared script and indicated that he thought GMOs should be labeled. He later commented, “when I opened my mouth in the Clinton administration I got slapped around a little bit by not only the industry, but also some of the people even in the administration.” He even wondered if he might get fired. A revealing quote from Glickman, which probably applies to all of the administrations so far, is worth a read:
“What I saw generically on the pro-biotech side was the attitude that the technology was good and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and clothe the naked. And there was a lot of money that had been invested in this, and if you’re against it, you’re Luddites, you’re stupid. There was rhetoric like that even here in this department. You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view on some of the issues being raised. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric that everybody else around here spouted; it was written into my speeches.”
Europe didn’t accept Glickman’s pitch on GMOs, but the pressure on other countries was stepped up during the George W. Bush years. The State Department took the lead, and, based on extensive exposés by WikiLeaks, we now know that they were in many ways functioning as a marketing arm for Monsanto and the biotech industry. They promoted pro-biotech speeches, media coverage, training, and pressure around the world.
Did all this change with Obama? Actually, if anything it may have gotten worse. The State Department’s promotion of GMOs picked up, Obama walked back on his campaign promise to implement GMO labeling, and, in fact, he reappointed Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s VP, as the US Food Czar.
He also placed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as Secretary of agriculture. Vilsack had previously been the biotech Governor of the Year. Numerous other appointees were taken from the biotech industry or their lobbyists. And when it came to GMO policy, their position was even more extreme.
The USDA chose to use a very narrow definition of its regulatory scope and jurisdiction over GMOs, and thereby allow now a whole class of GMOs to be deployed without any consideration or oversight by the government. They have allowed the industry to do their own environmental assessments. They approved genetically modified salmon (not yet commercialized). The FDA gave the green light to genetically engineered mosquitoes. And in spite of papers written by their own scientists in the USDA and EPA pointing out that the regulation was insufficient to guard against the potential dangers, the administration approved apples and potatoes equipped with double stranded RNA (dsRNA) technology. Some experts fear that this technology may have the capacity to reprogram the DNA of those of us who consume it.
We don’t know much about incoming President Trump’s opinion of GMOs. We do know that he doesn’t support labeling foods made with GMOs. And judging from his agribusiness-friendly cabinet appointments, we anticipate that his administration will continue if not expand on decades of US policy promoting the use of biotechnology in agriculture.
Trump has also tapped Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the head of the CIA. Pompeo was Monsanto’s man on the Hill. He authored what became known as the DARK (Deny Americans’ Right to Know) act. With labeling laws enacted by Vermont, and just barely defeated in statewide votes in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, the biotech industry was desperate to eliminate states’ rights for labeling of GMOs. That’s where the DARK act came in. Eventually also passed by the Senate and made into law, the “DARK Act” eliminates the ability for states to require labeling of GMOs. It gives the appearance of providing its own labeling requirement, but a careful review of the wording demonstrates that it could easily be interpreted by Trump administration to be nothing more than a “voluntary” measure that essentially lets the industrialized food industry do as it pleases.
With labeling largely off the table, and a history of all recent presidential administrations marching in lockstep with the biotech industry, what should the strategy be in the Trump era? For those of us who want safe food, and who don’t want to see Monsanto and the biotech industry dominate our agricultural systems or our dinner plates – what’s next?
I’ve been at the forefront of the movement for responsible technology for nearly two decades, and I learned a long time ago that politics is not stable. This was clearly illustrated some years ago when the Polish government flew me over to give a press conference with the minister of environment. I praised the country’s strong non-GMO position. One week later, that government was voted out of office and a more pro-GMO government took its place.
While in Bangkok, I forwarded materials to the government just before they voted to prevent all GMO field trials in the country. One week later, a new government took over, and reversed the decision – allowing field trials on government land.
In addition to being unstable, the policy of a government is often irrelevant to the actual GMO situation on the ground. For example, few people realize that the European Commission is actually pro-GMO, as is the European Food Safety Authority. There is no law prohibiting the import of genetically engineered foods into the European Union. However, many European food companies refuse to use products that contain GMOs. These companies committed long ago to consumers that they would not use GMOs because there was a general sense among European consumers that GMOs were not safe.
You can trace this back to 1999, when over 700 articles were written in just one month in the UK alone about GMOs. The firestorm followed the lifting of the gag order on a scientist, Arpad Pusztai, who had quite accidentally discovered that GMOs might be dangerous. His highly provocative research had led him to the conclusion that GMO crops may have been responsible for massive damage to the health of rats in just 10 days.
Within 10 weeks of the gag order being lifted, on April 27, 1999, Unilever publicly committed to stop using GMOs in its European brands. The next day Nestlé’s followed suit. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the food industry capitulated — in Europe.
But Project Censored described the whole Pusztai affair as one of the 10 most underreported events of the year in United States. The US mainstream media left most Americans in the dark, and the same companies that removed GMOs for Europeans continued to feed the Americans the stuff that our friends overseas had rejected.
Keenly aware that in the world of GMOs, the customer is King (and more often Queen) the strategy we have undertaken at the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) has been to affect the market through behavior-change messaging.
It’s working!
Depending on which survey you read, the average American now has concerns about the health dangers of GMOs. This has initiated a corresponding cleanout of GMOs by the food industry starting with the natural products sector, and now extending to mainstream food products.
Nestlé’s advertises on television that its coffee creamer is non-GMO. Dannon that its animal feed for dairy cows will be non-GMO within three years. Chipotle has non-GMO signs in their restaurants. Non-GMO Project Verified is the fastest growing label in the natural products industry, representing $19.2 billion in annual sales and more than 39,000 verified products.
And nearly every major food company has products or even product lines that are non-GMO or about to be.
Millions of moms shop supermarket aisles looking for non-GMO and organic products. Social media circulates stories of dramatic health recoveries following the switch to organic and non-GMO. And thousands of patients all over the US are being instructed by their physicians to make the change.
I truly believe that a tipping point is underway in the United States. But so too is the well-organized pushback by the biotech industry. Calling in all their favors, Monsanto’s minions have inspired headlines and even front-page coverage in NewsweekNational Geographic, and many other news outlets. Even a cursory analysis of the arguments reveal that they are often simply the circulation of promotional rhetoric that has been shown to be vacant time and time again. For example, we continue to hear claims repeated that GMOs increase yields, reduce pesticides, and provide more healthful foods, even though each of these points has been authoritatively disproven.
At this point in time, it is my belief that the way we can be most effective in standing for safe and responsible GMO policy is to continue to move the marketplace. As in Europe, that will be the stable basis for a safe, non-GMO food supply.
At the Institute for Responsible Technology, this will be our 2017 strategy:
  1. Finish the tipping point for direct ingredients of GMOs, focusing primarily on moms. Also reach out to those suffering from the diseases (and those who treat them) that we believe are linked to GMOs (and the Roundup weed killer sprayed on most GMO plants).
  2. Implement a strategy to extend the tipping point to include animal feed, which is actually where the majority of GMO crops are being consumed.
  3. Export the successful model used in United States around the world, to generate a global tipping point. Our food supply is global. GMOs anywhere on the planet can spread both in the food supply, and potentially the environment — irreversibly.
If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution to this global effort, which we believe will produce powerful behavior-change campaigns in the US and around the world, and will help secure a non-GMO food supply for this and future generations, click here to make a contribution now.
Step-by-step, we’ll keep standing for and working for a safe and healthy food supply for all. Thanks for your partnership in this food revolution.
Safe eating.
Source: https://foodrevolution.org/blog/food-politics/gmos-trump-take-action/

Friday, December 23, 2016

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS IN FOOD A GLOBAL HEATH CRISIS

Let’s Stop the Manipulation of Science

Around a hundred scientists ask Europe and the international community to act against endocrine disrupting chemicals. They condemn the use of strategies for manufacturing doubt employed by industries in the climate change battle.

LE MONDE |  • Mis à jour le 



For decades now, science has come under attack whenever its discoveries raised questions about commercial activities and vested interests. Scientific evidence has been willfully distorted by individuals denying the science and actors sponsored by industry interests creating the false impression of a controversy. This manufacturing of doubt has delayed protective actions, with dangerous consequences for the health of people and the environment.
Vous pouvez également lire cette tribune en français en cliquant ici

The “manufacturers of doubt” work across several areas, including the tobacco and petrochemical industries, and the agro-chemical sector. The petrochemical industry alone is the source of thousands of toxic chemicals and contributes to the massive increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide that drives climate change.

The battle for climate protection entered a new era with the 2015 Paris Agreement, bitterly opposed by skeptics despite widespread consensus among climate scientists committed to working for the public interest. A similar battle is raging over the need to reduce exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals. The European Commission is about to implement the first regulation for endocrine disruptors in the world. While many other governments have also expressed concern about endocrine disruptors, regulations for these chemicals are missing altogether.

What are the objectives and new requirements of ISO 14001:2015? Get your organization informed and trained to be ready for the transition.

Never before have we faced a higher burden of hormonal diseases, such as cancers of the breast, testes, ovaries and prostate, compromised brain development, diabetes, obesity, non-descending testes, malformations of the penis, and poor semen quality. The overwhelming majority of scientists actively engaged in researching the causes of these worrying health trends agree that several factors are involved, among them chemicals capable of interfering with our hormone systems.

Several learned scientific societies have pointed out that these chemicals, called endocrine disruptors, pose a global health threat. Among them are flame retardants in furniture and electronic equipment, plasticisers in plastic items and in personal care products, and pesticides found as residues in our food. They can interfere with normal hormones during critical periods of development, in pregnancy or in puberty, when our bodies are particularly sensitive.

It is not possible to deal with this growing disease burden by providing better medical treatments, partly because there is no treatment, partly because the health effects are irreparable. We also have limited options to reduce our personal exposures by avoiding certain consumer items. Most endocrine disruptors reach our bodies via food that is contaminated with these chemicals.

A key option for stemming the rise of hormonal diseases is by preventing chemical exposures through more effective regulation. But plans to draw up such regulations in the European Union (EU) are opposed vigorously by scientists with strong links to industrial interests, leading to the appearance of a lack of scientific consensus where no scientific controversy exists. The same strategy was used by the tobacco industry, and it has contaminated the debate, confused the public and undermined efforts by politicians and decision makers to develop and adopt more effective regulations.

Both the debates on climate change and endocrine disruptors have suffered from the distortion of the evidence by industrially sponsored actors.

Many scientists believe that their objectivity and neutrality might be undermined if we publicly express views on political issues and engage in political debates. It would indeed be worrying if any of our political opinions clouded our scientific judgment. But it is those who deny the science who are allowing their politics to cloud their judgment. The result is irreparable harm. The obfuscation of science regarding tobacco cost tens of millions of lives. We should not make this same mistake again.

We believe it is no longer acceptable to remain silent. As scientists we have an obligation to participate in the debate and to inform the public.

We see it as our responsibility to express the implications of our work for society and for future generations and to draw attention to the serious risks we face. The stakes are high, and political action to stem exposures to endocrine disruptors and to the consequences of greenhouse gases emissions is urgently needed.

As endocrine disruption and climate change scientists we have joined forces because many of the actions needed to reduce the burden of endocrine disruptors will also help in the fight against climate change. Most man-made chemicals are derived from fossil fuel by-products manufactured by the petrochemical industry. In reducing the amounts of oil refining we will also diminish the production of by-products that drive plastics and plasticizers. These chemicals compromise male reproductive health and contribute to cancer risks. By reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and encouraging alternative energies we will not only drive down greenhouse gases but also restrict the emissions of mercury. Mercury is a contaminant of coal and, through emissions into the air and accumulation in fish, reaches our bodies and compromises brain development.

Although many governments have expressed the political will to deal with greenhouse gases, the translation of scientific knowledge about climate change into effective policy has been blocked, in part through the use of disinformation to confuse the public and our leaders. Governments are already late.

It is important that we do not repeat these mistakes for endocrine disruptors, and learn from the experiences of climate scientists and the public health community.

The European Commission has the opportunity to decide on regulatory instruments for endocrine disruptors that will set new standards worldwide and protect us from ill-effects. However, we are concerned that the regulatory options proposed by the European Commission fall well short of what is needed to protect us and future generations. They set a level of proof for the identification of endocrine disruptors much higher than for other hazardous substances, such as cancer-causing substances – in practice, this will make it very difficult for any substance to be recognized as an endocrine disruptor in the EU.

Urgent action in both policy areas is needed. We therefore call for the development and implementation of effective measures that address both endocrine disrupting chemicals and climate change in a coordinated fashion. An effective way of achieving this would be by creating an organization within the United Nations with the same international standing and charge as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This body would review the science to be used by decision makers in the public interest and would protect our science from the influence of vested interests.

We owe this to the generations that have to live in the future.

The primatory signatories of this article are : Andreas Kortenkamp, Brunel University (UK); Barbara Demeneix, CNRS/Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (France); Rémy Slama, Inserm, University Grenoble-Alpes (France); Edouard Bard, Collège de France (France); Ake Bergman, Swetox Research Center (Sweden); Paul R. Ehrlich, Stanford University (USA); Philippe Grandjean, Harvard Chan School of Public Health (USA); Michael Mann, Penn State University (USA); John P. Myers, Carnegie Mellon University (USA); Naomi Oreskes, Harvard University, Cambridge (USA); Eric Rignot, University of California (USA); Niels Eric Skakkebaek, Rigshospitalet (Denmark); Thomas Stocker, University of Bern (Switzerland); Kevin Trenberth, National Centre for Atmospheric Research (USA); Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium); Carl Wunsch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA); R. Thomas Zoeller, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (USA).
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