Pesticide Peril – not for the faint of heart

Germany’s flagship company, Bayer, is facing 18,400 lawsuits, predominantly from California whereby their subsidiary, Monsanto, has been cited for its toxic, cancer causing pesticide, glyphosate.   Bayer bought Monsanto for $63 billion one year ago and today Bayer’s total market value is less than what it paid for just Monsanto with it’s stock plummeting 50%. While Bayer claims that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the chemical, they are fast-tracking an alternative.

There are 26 countries that ban or restrict the use of Monsanto products including: Germany, China, India, France, Hungary, Austria, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg and Mexico.   The four largest pesticide companies in the world are: Syngenta, owned by China – the world leader of agro-chemicals, Bayer, headquartered in Germany, DOW, headquartered in Michigan, and BASF, also headquartered in Germany  (they purchased Monsanto’s seed division).

In the US alone 851 million pounds of pesticides are used annually.   90% of private wells sourced by groundwater contain pesticides. The contamination results in 14 million fish deaths, 67 million bird deaths and 20,000 new cancer patients each year.

The most prolific user of pesticides is China at 4 trillion pounds per year. Obviously their ban of Monsanto is purely a business decision and not an environmental one.

The top consumers in order of pounds: China, US, Argentina, Thailand, Brazil, Italy, France, Canada, Japan, and India.   The impact on the smaller countries is significantly more hazardous given the concentration levels.

Glyphosate is not the only banned chemical that is showing up in our food chain, paraquat and chlorpyrifos which are banned in the EU are a common supplement to Brazils exports including wheat, soy, cotton, dairy products, coffee, tea, eggs and beef. YUM!  But chlorpyrifo’s are the brainchild of DOW and used for insect control on citrus fruits, wheat, corn, cotton, soybeans and sugar beets in the US.   They are NOT banned in the US despite serious potential side effects including:  vomiting, stomach cramps, muscle twitching, tremors, weakness, loss of coordination, unconsciousness, loss of bladder control, convulsions, difficulty breathing, paralysis and of course – death.

Farmers have lobbied for the continued use claiming they stand to lose up to 70% of their crop if insects are not controlled – and there is no alternative product. But, while they claim there is no alternative, that would be a false argument given that organic farming utilizes just that – alternatives.   It is not that their are no alternatives, it is that the alternatives make them non-competitive in the mass market.

Sometimes alternatives may be a predator insect, as in butterflies eat aphids, but as we are well aware, the cost of alternative farming exceeds the mass market and the competition for the general public.

Notable elite such as Bill Gates et all, Buffet, Zuckerberg, those with the means, negate anything mass produced and eat only organic.   While they advocate the use of chemical laden foods for feeding the world, they are wholly repugnant at the thought of consuming such for themselves or their families.

Starbucks coffee is imported from Brazil and Columbia. The term Arabica on the package refers to a type of plant, not a place.  So when you are choking down that latte, or espresso, or French Roast, know that you are drinking a hefty dose of yummy pesticides aka Latin America.  Brazil is known to have the highest per capita consumption of pesticides.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, glyphosate causes cancer, most notably Hodgkins. Nerve damage is the other leading medical ailment associated with the chemical.

A California couple’s settlement award for glyphosate poisoning which was initially $2 billion was recently reduced to $87 million.   Still, given 18,400 separate lawsuits at an award rate of $80 million, that would amount to nearly $1.5 trillion.   At present, Bayer’s annual net is roughly $400 million, so that would wipe out all profits for about 4 years.

Agro companies, pharma companies, they have an agenda.   And it isn’t – health.  Let the buyer beware.  But let the buyer also be informed.

THE NETHERLANDS – A Sheep without a Shepherd

I remember when my father took me to Holland. I remember multi colored sails on boats floating sweetly on the waters. I remember white stone verandas and steps that led to pristine gardens, lush and green. I remember rolling hillsides that gently gave way to the fields of tulips, fruits and vegetables. It was somehow so perfect, so idyllic, and this remained in my mind’s eye.

But that time has past. The moons have risen and receded. And now this perfect picture has changed.

Holland is considered the most liberal country in the world with legalized prostitution, soft drugs and euthanasia, and a skew in the new religious preference to atheism and agnosticism. But they also have the 12th highest cancer rates in the world (Denmark has the highest). They have some of the highest rates of GMO agriculture, antibiotic use in animals, hormone use in animals and a birth rate that is declining. Since 1969 their birth rate has dropped from over 247,900 to 170,300 – 31%.

Could the shift to a world without morals and values also influence the desire to procreate? What happens when we no longer have right and wrong? What happens when we have no purpose?

With the opening up of euthanasia to include ‘individual choice’, one in eight deaths in The Netherlands can now be attributed to euthanasia and terminal sedation. People don’t want to live. In addition, a startling truth is unfolding. It is estimated that more than 650 babies are euthanized every year because the parents don’t want to raise a child that has some handicap. Where is the line?

Holland also embraces pornography. In addition, virtual child porn is legal. The result – The Netherlands has the highest rate of child porn of all the European nations.

GMO’S: Agriculture makes up the dominate export factoring in at about $81billion in 2014. Dairy farms make up 2/3 of all agriculture and if you have ever been downwind of those, well, it ain’t pretty. They also seriously pollute underground water and the soil. The picturesque windmills have been replaced with the metal ones like we have in the US. Bird flu is a serious issue given most farms are factory farms where they cram as many pigs, cows or chickens into the smallest space possible, because space is a limited factor. Disease is rampant. Antibiotic use became the norm, injected daily. Money was the objective and so creating the most, the fastest, was the object. Hormones were the all answer, widely used to promote greater ‘productivity’.

And it all worked in one manner. The Netherlands became the second largest agriculture exporter in the world next to the United States despite being just 2times the size of New Jersey.

But things started to collapse.

Antibiotic use in animals is being called to the mat as the number one reason that people around the world are becoming more and more resistant to the effects of antibiotics. Some countries consider this to be a global crisis. WHO has stated that if the use of hormones and antibiotics in animals is not stopped, even the most simple ailments like strep will no longer respond to any known antibiotic treatment.

Every year, 2 million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die as a result. Dozens of new, virulent bacteria have emerged over the years, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which causes more than 11,000 deaths in the United States each year. Consumer Reports found that 97% of the 316 chicken breasts it tested were tainted with potentially harmful bacteria, and about half harbored at least one multidrug-resistant bacteria.

“Animal welfare groups say conditions go beyond being morally objectionable and that the farming practice has become an incubator for disease. You have an industry focused on keeping the costs as low as possible, giving as little feed as possible. We don’t see animals as animals any longer, but as products.”

For years The Netherlands widely accepted the use of GMO’s, second to Spain. Of course this necessitated the ritual dumping of pesticides, glyphosates (roundup) to mitigate against pests. The nutrient value of a product is relative to the nutrient value of the soil. If the soil is contaminated, this will pass on to the crop. So, not only were crops absorbing the harmful effects of glyphosate, the soil values also broke down as certain types of soil bind with the glyphosate.

They have recently passed a law which will ban all use of glyphosate as of the beginning of 2016. In fact the majority of Europe has either partially banned GMO’s and Roundup, or fully. But is it too little, too late? Have they already destroyed the land?

It would appear that The Netherlands believes they have. They are one of the top land grabbers in Africa and Asia.

It’s not just the landscape and farming in The Netherlands that has changed. It is just a picture of what once was so, when I was child – and what is – now. It is a place where values seem to have been replaced with open rule. Where the lines of right and wrong have blurred. And where purpose is a lost sheep without a shepherd.