Item 1 - OPEN DEBATE IS BIOTECH'S FUTURE
AVENTIS is the company of secret trials and steadfast refusal to answer questions and attend public meetings:
But now AVENTIS tells us openness and communication with the public are biotech's future!
Item 2 - SCIENTISTS SAY DDT INCREASES RISK OF EARLY BIRTH
The recent pro-GM UNDP report drew a parallel between what it saw as misplaced concerns over DDT and GMOs. Just as according to new research, "the benefits of mosquito-control programmes using DDT may need to be reassessed in the light of ... findings" which suggest "DDT use increases pre-term births, and by inference, infant mortality". And as noted by Ashish Kothari, the UNDP report, in any case, completely ignores "the growing incidence of resistance to this chemical, necessitating the use of more deadly chemicals, and [ignores] also the radically different, hygiene-based solutions to malaria that have been so successful in many countries."
Item 3 - CANOLA POPPING UP WHERE IT'S NOT WANTED
More on Canada's volunteer GM canola problem. Monsanto say the problem is almost non-existent but University of Manitoba agronomist Martin Entz "literally hundreds and hundreds" of fields are affected. "What we've embarked on here is a very big experiment. We're releasing these traits into the environment and we're assuming we're going to be able to contain them and we can't." Good though to see Monsanto forced for once to adopt a non-toxic strategy: "sending out a team to pull out the offending plants by hand". Who'd have thought...
Item 4 - Terminate the Terminators!
1. OPEN DEBATE IS BIOTECH'S FUTURE
July 13, 2001
Bangkok - Delegates at the final session today of the international meeting here on food safety were cited as agreeing that biotechnology needs openness more than anything else. Gabrielle Persley, scientific advisor to the World Bank and one of the rapporteurs at the meeting, New Biotechnology Food and Crops: Science, Safety and Society, was quoted as saying, "Data does not necessarily lead to dialogue in a linear fashion."
The final report from the meeting's two rapporteurs, who had worked through the night to deliver it on time this morning, reveals the disparate views of stakeholders from five continents. They represent a wide array of cultures, economies and politics, and also the diverse fields of public science, industrial biotech, farming, politics, ethics, and environmental concerns.
One of the most vocal proponents of openness was Clive Pegg, regional director of public and government affairs at Aventis CropScience, the Franco-German agrochemicals business. As one of only two speakers representing the biotech industry, Pegg called for the establishment of an unbiased, well-funded, public information program.
2. SCIENTISTS SAY DDT INCREASES RISK OF EARLY BIRTH
July 13, 2001
LONDON- Matthew Longnecker and his colleagues at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the United States were cited as saying today in a report in The Lancet medical journal that DDT, a pesticide that has been banned for decades in Europe and the United States, may be causing premature births in nations where it is used to control mosquito-borne diseases and that although the amounts people are exposed to during mosquito control programmes to beat diseases such as malaria are thought to be safe, scientists have shown it could be dangerous for pregnant women and their babies, adding, "Our findings suggest that DDT use increases pre-term births, and by inference, infant mortality." They added that the benefits of mosquito-control programmes using DDT may need to be reassessed in the light of their findings.
3. CANOLA POPPING UP WHERE IT'S NOT WANTED
July 12, 2001
The Western Producer
Volunteer canola -- mainly herbicide resistant varieties -- has been showing up in force in Manitoba fields this year, often in unexpected places. Manitoba Agriculture weed specialist Todd Andrews was quoted as saying, "Growers hadn't grown canola in that field for two, three or even four years, and all of a sudden there it was."
The story says there are even instances of herbicide resistant canola showing up in fields where it has never been grown. Problems have also been reported in areas of eastern Saskatchewan.
University of Manitoba agronomist Martin Entz was cited as saying this year's experience sends a clear warning signal that more research is needed into the long-term impact of herbicide tolerant plants, whether canola or wheat, adding, "What we've embarked on here is a very big experiment. We're releasing these traits into the environment and we're assuming we're going to be able to contain them and we can't."
While acknowledging that it's hard to get a good handle on the extent of the problem, he said "literally hundreds and hundreds" of fields are affected. Trish Jordan, a Monsanto official, was cited as saying the problem has been blown out of proportion, adding, "We've had probably less than 10 calls (from farmers) this year."
In two cases, the company has worked with the farmers to help deal with the problem, including sending out a team to pull out the offending plants by hand. The unwanted canola in Manitoba has been ascribed to a variety of factors, mainly a wet spring that encouraged early weed growth and prevented farmers from their usual pre-seeding weed control.
Contaminated seed, wind-blown pollen and seed transported by heavy rains and flooding water are also being blamed by researchers and affected farmers. The usual practice would be to use a phenoxy herbicide such as 2,4-D with Roundup in the spring burnoff. The problem is that leaves soil residue that hinders the stablishment of other broadleaf crops, like sunflowers, beans or flaxseed, effectively forcing the farmer to plant cereals. There are other chemical treatments, but they all represent a significant additional expense for the grower.
4 ISIS Report - July 13, 2001
Terminate the Terminators!
Terminator technology is a collection of genetic engineering tricks to make seeds sterile, so farmers cannot save and replant the seeds. The sole purpose of this technology, now owned by the big seed corporations in collusion with the US government, is to control seed production at source. It violates the basic human right of people to grow their food from saved seeds, and also introduce some of the most dangerous genes and constructs into crop-plants. This highly immoral and hazardous development must be stopped. All terminator crops that have been released commercially or undergoing field trials must be recalled and destroyed.
ISIS exposed the duplicity of biotech corporations that have been testing and growing terminator crops since 1990, while pretending that none has yet been produced. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins have written a primer explaining the technology in general terms (see "Terminator crops are here, ISIS exclusive" (http://www.i-sis.org/i-sisnews7-5.shtml) and "Killing fields near You", (http://www.i-sis.org/i-sisnews7-16.shtml) ISIS News 7/8). They have now written a sequel, which unravels several different versions of this deadly technology that have been patented (now available on ISIS website www.i-sis.org).
- USDA and Delta and Pineland Company patent US5925808: Control of plant gene expression.
- Syngenta (Zeneca) patent US 5808034: Plant gene construct comprising male flower specific promote[r].
- United States Patent 5,750,867: Plant Genetic Systems (now Aventis): Maintenance of male-sterile plants.
- United States Patent 5,633,441: Plant Genetic Systems (now Aventis): Plants with genetic female sterility
Read how lethal genes from bacteria are used to kill male or female-specific cells, how gene-constructs causing male-sterility in plants as well as female-sterility can spread via pollen, how some of the genes used are already known to cause largescale scrambling of mouse genomes. And how these genes and gene-constructs can spread, not just by cross-pollination to related species, but by gene hopping into unrelated species.
Please write to your government representatives and send them our papers.
Hard-bound copies of the relevant papers (with illustrations) are available. For each copy of the papers, please send self-addressed envelop and cheque for £20 (UK) or US$40 to: Sam Burcher, ISIS, Londonia House, 24 Old Gloucester St., London WC1N 3AL, UK. Bulk rates: 5 copies £18/$36 each, 10 copies or more, £15/$30.
Other collections available, please enquire.