Pesticides Put Global Food Production at Grave Risk, International Task Force Warns

Story at-a-glance 

Large-scale, chemical-based agriculture is posing a threat to the world’s food supply, an international task force warns, saying neonicotinoid insecticides must be phased out

Three-quarters of our food crops require pollinators, which are killed off by these insecticides. Worms and soil microorganisms are equally important for food production, and pesticides are taking a heavy toll on them, too

New research shows that living within a mile of pesticide-treated crops increases your chances of bearing children with autism by at least 60 percent

Proximity to fields treated with chlorpyrifos during the second trimester resulted in a 3.3 times greater risk of having an autistic child

Exposure to pyrethroids shortly prior to conception increased a woman’s risk of having an autistic child by 82 percent. Exposure during the third trimester increased the risk by 87 percent

As recently reported by The Guardian,1 an international team of scientists has concluded that pesticide regulations  have “failed to prevent poisoning of almost all habitats,” thereby putting  global food production at great risk.

Indeed, the insanity is such that you more or  less have to be a sociopath to insist on business as usual in light of the  ravaging harm agricultural chemicals are causing.

It’s a completely unsustainable model for  food production, as a toxic environment is not going to permit us to grow  anything but toxic food; and that’s if anything will grow at all! As noted in  the featured article:

“[C]reatures essential  to global food production – from bees to earthworms – are likely to be  suffering grave harm and the chemicals must be phased out.”

Task Force on Systemic Pesticides Issues Stern Warning

    The four-year long assessment,2 performed by 29 international researchers, focused on the environmental effects  of a class of systemic insecticides known as neonicotinoids.

Each year, farmers spend $2.6  billion (£1.53 billion) on the routine application of these insecticides. This  despite “a striking lack of evidence” that these chemicals actually increase  crop yields. According to Jean-Marc Bonmatin of the French National Centre for  Scientific Research (CNRS):3

“The evidence is very clear. We are  witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment  equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT.

Far from protecting food production, the  use of neonicotinoid insecticides is threatening the very infrastructure which  enables it.”

The infrastructure he’s referring  to are the pollinators, such as bees and butterflies,  without which three-quarters of our food crops cannot grow. Worms and microorganisms  in the soil are equally important for food production, and pesticides are  taking a heavy toll on them, too.

Besides harming the  infrastructure that makes food production possible, neonicotinoids also poison  every single creature, large or small, that feeds on the directly treated or indirectly  contaminated plant. The toxic fallout created by agricultural chemicals also  affects the human population.

The Pesticide-Autism Link

    Organophosphate pesticides are  known for their hazards to human health. Prenatal exposure, for example, has  already been linked to delayed brain development, reduced IQ, and attention  deficits.

I’ve also pointed out the  compelling links between agricultural  chemicals and autism, and new research (known as the CHARGE study4, 5)  shows that living within a mile of pesticide-treated crops increases your chances  of bearing children with autism. As reported by Scientific American:6

“The study of 970 children, born in  farm-rich areas of Northern California, is part of the largest project to date  that is exploring links between autism and environmental exposures. [It is] the  third project to link prenatal pesticide exposures to autism and related  disorders.

‘The weight of evidence is beginning to  suggest that mothers’ exposures during pregnancy may play a role in the  development of autism spectrum disorders,’ said Kim Harley, an environmental  health researcher at the University of California, Berkeley who was not  involved in the new study…

[C]hildren with mothers who lived less than one mile from fields treated  with organophosphate pesticides during pregnancy were about 60 percent more likely to have autism than children whose mothers did not live close to treated fields.” [Emphasis mine]

Is There Such a Thing as a Safe Toxin?

    The CHARGE study linked different pesticides  to different rates of risks, but across the board, the risk of autism was  significantly increased by close proximity to pesticide-treated fields.

  • Proximity  to fields treated with chlorpyrifos during the  second trimester resulted in a 3.3 times greater risk of having an autistic  child. (Chlorpyrifos is the most commonly applied organophosphate pesticide.  It’s banned for home garden use, due to health risks, but is still permitted in  farming)
  • Exposure to pyrethroids shortly  prior to conception increased a woman’s risk of having an autistic child by 82  percent
  • Exposure to pyrethroids during  the third trimester increased the risk by 87 percent
  • Carbamate  pesticides were associated with developmental delay but not autism

The results for exposure to pyrethroids are particularly noteworthy, as they’ve been promoted as a safer  alternative to older organophosphates. These findings clearly question such  claims! Previous animal studies have also suggested pyrethroids can cause neurological,  immune, and reproductive damage.

Other recent research has linked  the pesticide carbamate to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s  lymphoma, so the full impact of these chemicals go far beyond just one  potential health risk…

Other  noteworthy research is the recently published CHAMACOS  Study, which followed hundreds of pregnant women living in the agricultural  mecca of Salinas Valley, California. Here, mothers’ exposure to  organophosphates during pregnancy was associated with:

  • Shorter  duration of pregnancy
  • Poorer  neonatal reflexes
  • Lower IQ  and poorer cognitive functioning in children
  • Increased  risk of attention problems in children

Retracted GMO-Feeding Study Is Republished, Reigniting the Controversy

    While pesticides are mainstays of conventional  farming in general, genetically engineered (GE) crops receive far greater  amounts, and therefore pose an even greater risk to your health. One of the  most famous studies demonstrating the hazards of eating GE foods is the 2012 lifetime  feeding study by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini. It showed that Roundup Ready corn (NK603) caused shocking health effects,  including massive tumors and early death. Rats given the herbicide glyphosate  in their drinking water also developed large tumors.

Seralini’s  study was retracted by the publisher in December  2013, just over a year after its publication. According to the publisher, Reed  Elsevier, the study “did not meet scientific standards.” While no errors or  misrepresentation of data were found, the study had too small a sample size to  make any definite conclusion about health effects, they said. In short, it was  retracted because its findings were “inconclusive.”

This was a first, and Elsevier’s  actions were widely criticized. After all, tons of studies have inconclusive  findings—and none of them have ever been retracted for that reason alone. Inconclusive  findings are in fact NOT a valid ground for retraction. This in and of itself  speaks volumes about the length to which the chemical technology industry will  go to in order to suppress evidence of harm.

Now, the study has been republished, thereby reigniting the controversy over its findings. This  time, it was published in the far lesser-known journal Environmental Sciences Europe.7, 8 It also includes more extensive data, compared to its first publication. Not  surprisingly, the study has again come under attack, and for the same reasons  as before.9 While the media war will undoubtedly continue on over the veracity and  dependability of Seralini’s study, let’s not forget that there are many other studies that support the  notion that GE foods pose a hazard to your health—both due to the genetic  alteration of the plant, and due to  the elevated contamination with pesticides.

Who Do You Trust with Your Health and Your Children’s Future?

    When you take a broad view of the landscape  that is genetically engineered foods, it becomes quite clear that the chemical  technology industry—which is responsible for the development of these  chemical-hungry seeds—is doing everything in its power to maintain control over  the market. This includes skewering research that pokes holes in their safety  claims, and throwing tens of millions of dollars into fighting GE labeling.

Remember, just last year they were caught  red-handed in a money  laundering scheme designed to hide the identities of the companies  contributing funds to the anti-labeling campaign in Washington State. Since  when does illegal activity equate to trustworthiness? Consider that,  dear reader, the next time you read a venomous pro-industry article attacking  the latest evidence of GMO harm.

Washington State Is Moving Ahead to Keep Industry Lobby Accountable  for Its Crimes

    With regards to the illegal activities that  took place during the Washington State I-522 GMO labeling campaign, the  proverbial chickens are now coming home to roost… Sure, the industry narrowly  eeked out a win through their illegal scheme, but they were caught, and  millions of Americans now know which  companies are willing to cross the lines of morality and integrity into  deceit and outright illegality. Now, they may be forced to pay Washington State  $30 million in fines for breaking the state’s campaign financing laws. As  reported by the Cornucopia Institute:10

“A Thurston County judge… rejected efforts by the Grocery  Manufacturers Association to squelch a lawsuit in which state Attorney  General (AG) Bob Ferguson accuses the Washington, D.C.-based lobby of  laundering millions of dollars in last fall’s campaign…

The case has  produced a fascinating trail of documents from within the big food-industry  lobby. Agribusiness and food manufacturers spent more than $47 million in 2012  to narrowly defeat a California ballot proposition to require labeling of  genetically modified foods. Anticipating  additional battles, specifically in Washington, the association set out to, in  its words, ‘scope out a funding mechanism while better shielding individual  companies from attack for providing funding’ to defeat ballot measures…

Judge Christine Schaller rejected the association’s  motion to dismiss the lawsuit… Five corporations donated $14 million-plus to defeat the [Washington]  measure: The agribusiness giant Monsanto spent $5.4 million; Dupont put in $3.9  million; Pepsico donated $2.5 million; and Nestle and Coca-Cola put up $1.5  million apiece.

As is typically the case, the industry campaign set up a  front group. A woman was put in place as titular spokesperson. The real work  was done by a consulting firm that has been running corporate campaigns against  initiatives for nearly 40 years, Winner & Mandabach, based in Beverly  Hills, California. It blanketed the airwaves with TV spots featuring Washington  citizens…”

Ironically, and most tellingly, of the more than  $20 million collected for the anti-labeling campaign, only a measly $600 dollars,  yes, six hundred, no extra zeroes, came from residents within Washington State!  The state’s campaign laws actually require that a political committee filing with the Public Disclosure Commission must  show that at least 10 Washington citizens donated a minimum of $10 each… They  couldn’t even satisfy that legal  requirement, and it was the only provision in the state’s law that Judge  Schaller ended up throwing out.

I recently named the GMA “the most evil corporation on the planet,” considering the fact that it consists primarily of pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers who are going to great lengths to violate some of your most basic rights—just to ensure that subsidized, genetically engineered and chemical-dependent, highly processed junk food remains the status quo.

The insanity has gone far enough. It’s time to unite and fight back, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. To learn more about this boycott, and the traitor brands that are included, please visit I also encourage you to donate to the Organic Consumers Fund. Your donation will help fight the GMA lawsuit in Vermont, and also help win the GMO labeling ballot initiative in Oregon in November.

Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference. By boycotting GMA member Traitor Brands, you can help level the playing field, and help take back control of our food supply. And as always, continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and share what you’ve learned with family and friends.



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