1998 News Listings
Study Confirms Fears of Genetic Pollution From
New study on the spread of genetically altered traits in plants confirms
fears of genetic pollution
Mentmore, 18 December 1997
With the publication of new research in Germany highlighting the dangers of
genetic engineering in agriculture, the Natural Law Party has repeated its
call for a complete ban on all genetically altered foods since they pose
great hazards for human health and the environment.
In the German state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), a detailed study by
the state's Ministry for Ecology has shown convincingly that herbicide
resistance that has been engineered into oilseed rape is transferred to
normal rape 200 metres away [see article at
According to London-based independent genetics scientist Dr Michael
Antoniou, "This is only the latest in a long list of field trials showing
that genetically engineered (GE) crops, once released, are totally
uncontainable. They will become a nightmare for conventional farmers to
control. For farmers who do not want to grow them, such as the organic
sector, these crops will be almost impossible to avoid."
Studies published in Denmark, as well as by the Scottish Crop Research
Institute, have also shown that GE oilseed rape readily cross pollinates,
not only with non-engineered rape but also with wild weedy relatives (such
as field mustard and radish). In these studies cross pollination was found
up to 2.5 kilometres away.
"This means that herbicide resistant weeds - so-called superweeds - will
rapidly appear and spread," Dr Antoniou said. "Once weeds have multiple
resistance genes, which may occur within just a few growing seasons, they
will be particularly difficult to control. This will result in greater
dependence and use of agrochemicals, rather than less, as is claimed by the
Dr Antoniou also pointed out that "volunteers" (plants which grow from seed
that has fallen from a crop at the time of harvesting) will also be
herbicide resistant. This will pose a great problem for farmers who usually
clear volunteers with herbicides before planting the next crop. Warning to
the British government Dr Geoffrey Clements, a physicist and leader of
the Natural Law Party in the UK, said that this information should be
noted by the British government ministers who are now considering
approving oilseed rape as the first GE crop to be grown commercially
in Britain from next spring. Oilseed rape is currently the fourth most
widely grown crop in Britain.
"The government must listen to the warnings and avoid being driven by
short-term commercial interests," Dr Clements said. "Genetic engineering is
a novel, untried, and very inexact science. Already there are numerous
indications of the potential for great damage to the environment and to
human health from genetically engineered foods."
Dr Clements said that in recent decades the promise of cheap power through
nuclear energy was soon dashed not only by the astronomical cost of dealing
with nuclear waste but also by the impracticality of storing
ever-increasing quantities of radioactive material. "Those problems will
seem insignificant compared to the aftermath of genetic pollution on this
planet which will result if the rush to exploit the short-term
profitability of GE crops is not curbed," he remarked.
Dr Clements congratulated the Ministry for Ecology in Niedersachsen, as
well as the Consumers' Association, Friends of the Earth and other groups
in the UK, who are bringing these issues to the awareness of the public. He
also praised The Guardian newspaper for its in-depth coverage of all the
issues in its Monday to Thursday editions this week.
"Every single survey has shown that wherever the public is well-informed
about the issues, the vast majority are opposed to genetically engineered
foods. Perfectly safe natural alternatives are readily available, and no
one believes the propaganda that GE crops are essential to help feed the
hungry or to secure food stocks for the future. In fact, if the GE
revolution is not halted and if the balance of Nature continues to be
disrupted, we could well see the worst famines and disease of all
More information on toxicity of genetically-engineered foods and
Roundup-ready crops can be found at:
Alternative Therapies Use Common in Treating Children With
and Without Cancer
In a study published in the December 1997 issue of Pediatrics, researchers
found that use of Alternative Therapies was used by 65% of children
cancer patients and 51% of children visiting a conventional medicine center
Alternative therapies consider were prayer (when used for healing), exercise,
spiritual healing, relaxation techniques, "other", medicinal herbs, massage therapy,
megavitamin therapy, imagery, folk remedies, energy healing, macrobiotic diet,
self-help group, homeopathy, biofeedback, chirpractic, acupuncture, and
hypnosis. Even when limiting the definition of "Alternative Therapy to
therapy provided by a practitioner (and thus excluding prayer for healing,
exercise and home remedies), 39% of the children in the non-cancer group
used Alternative Therapies.
58% of the cancer patients and 62.5% of the non-cancer patients did not give a
reason for using Alternative Therapies. Faith/Spiritual and Supplement to
Conventional Medicine were given as reasons some of the patients used Alternative
Therapies. Being dissatisfied with convention medicine was only cited as the
primary reason in 3 out of 161 cases.
One significant limitation of this study is that it did not count patients who
use primarily Alternative Therapies instead of visiting the conventional medicine
clinic. This is especially an issue for the non-cancer group because a growing
number of people go to a holistic md, homeopath, oriental medicine practitioner,
use home remedies, etc. for treating acute illnesses (such as childhood ear
infections). Not only would this raise the percentage using Alternative Therapies,
but the reasons for Alternative Therapy use may be significantly effected as well.
Text of the study can be found at
Therapeutic Touch and Progressive Muscle Relaxation Seen as
Useful to Reduce Pain in Elders With Degenerative Arthritis
In a 10-week trial comparing the effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch (TT) with
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) in elders with degenerative arthritis
researcher Susan Eckes Peck, Ph.D. found that both TT and PMR significantly
reduced baseline levels of pain and distress. 40 subjects received TT treatments
and 37 received PMR treatments. The reduction was nearly equal with PMR showing
slightly more pain and distress reduction than TT.
While this study did not compare TT or PMR to a control ("placebo") group, a number
of studies have already shown that PMR is effective in reducing pain and distress
in arthritis sufferers. Therefore, this study shows that TT treatment is nearly
as effective as PMR treatments.
The author points out that both TT and PMR can be used in "practice settings for
chronic conditions requiring multiple treatments." PMR can be taught to some
patients so that they can practice on their own. However, for patients not able
to practice PMR on their own or who have difficulty following through with
self-guided PMR, TT treatments by a practitioner can be helpful.
One must keep in mind that this study focused on TT and PMR only and did not
consider the benefits of concurrent changes in diet, lifestyle, or concurrent
holistic treatment programs. Such a holistic healing programs can be quite
helpful in curing arthritic conditions.
The study appeared in the Journal of Holistic Nursing, Volume 15, No. 2,
pages 176-198, June 1997.
Oprah's 'Mad Cow' Trial Starts Jan. 20 in Texas
A Jury Will Decide a Historic Test of 'Food Disparagement
Talk show host Oprah Winfrey and her guest Howard Lyman will be
in U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas on Jan. 20th defending their
free speech rights against a novel lawsuit brought by Texas cattlemen.
The cattlemen allege that an April 16, 1996, Oprah Winfrey Show violated
a new Texas law forbidding 'food disparagement' when it aired a
discussion of human deaths from British mad cow disease and related risks
in the United States.
The offending program was in fact a serious, balanced debate
among representatives of the meat industry, government and consumers. To
read what Oprah and her guests said, see "Shut Up and Eat: Food
Censorship Arrives in America," a special report in the 2nd Quarter 1997
issue of PR Watch, which investigates industry efforts to censor public
debates. It is available on the world-wide web at
A nationally coordinated campaign by the food industry has
succeeded in enacting food disparagement laws in thirteen states. The
Oprah Winfrey trial will a crucial first test of the constitutionality of
the new laws.
Critics note that food disparagement laws undermine first
amendment rights by shifting the burden of proof to those who discuss or
investigate food issues. The laws enable industry to sue or intimidate
anyone who speaks or writes about mad cow disease, e.coli deaths,
salmonella poisoning, genetically engineered crops and animals, hormones,
antibiotics, factory farming, pesticides, toxins in fertilizers and other
PR Watch editors John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton view food
disparagement laws as a dangerous threat to public health, food safety,
free speech, open debate and the public's right-to-know. If someone as
popular and powerful as Oprah Winfrey can be muzzled by the meat
industry, what chance do 'typical' citizens and journalists have to fully
exercise their first amendment rights?
Stauber and Rampton are also authors of the new book, "Mad Cow
U.S.A.: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?" which examines in depth the
Oprah case and food disparagement laws. For more information, visit the
website of the Center for Media & Democracy at
Environmental Medicine Doctor on Trial
STARTLING EXAMPLES OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES BY THE COLLEGE
REVEALED DURING EMOTIONAL DAY OF TESTIMONY
TORONTO -- An emotional day of testimony by accused physician Jozef Krop, M.D. concluded
Thursday with startling evidence of illegal activities by the College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Ontario (CPSO). Clear examples of entrapment and deception were present in letters between
the College and its investigative team and between the College and patients of Dr. Krop. Defence
Counsel Morris Manning argued that the "totality of the circumstances" between 1989 and 1994
demonstrate that an abuse of process occurred in respect to the investigation, notice of a
discipline hearing and finally, the charges laid against Dr. Krop.
Despite attempts by the prosecution to obstruct every attempt to table evidence of abuse of
process, Mr. Manning introduced evidence to the discipline panel to show that: Dr. Krop was
purposefully deceived regarding the scope and seriousness of the investigation into his practice;
Dr. Krop was not informed that a prosecution was being prepared for a discipline hearing against
him; patients in Dr. Krop's seized charts were contacted under false pretences; and, that knowing
their case was weak, the College explored other illegal avenues to entrap Dr. Krop.
In a January 25, 1993 letter to Dr. D.K. MacFadden, the physician appointed by the College to
investigate Dr. Krop, College Prosecutor Richard Steinecke confirmed that a decision had
already been made by the College to prosecute Dr. Krop. Steinecke outlined a plan to entrap Dr.
Krop during interviews with Dr. MacFadden scheduled by the College in February and March
1993. Dr. Krop was not informed of the decision to prosecute him or that anything he said in
these interviews could be used against him in a disciplinary hearing, a basic right of due process
and common law. Dr. Krop described a friendly "colleague-to-colleague" relationship that was
fostered by Dr. MacFadden during these interviews to review six of the seized charts, where the
two physicians openly and amicably exchanged views.
Defence Counsel Manning argued that this environment of peer respect amounted to a dupe to
have Dr. Krop lower his defences. In fact, another letter introduced into evidence states: "...Dr.
MacFadden has re-interviewed Dr. Krop at my request to review potential defences that Dr. Krop
may have. We wanted to determine whether there is any substance to those defences so that Dr.
MacFadden would not be caught unaware on cross-examination..." (July 5, 1993, R. Steinecke
to L. Tunney). Dr. Krop testified that he only became aware that the College was planning to
bring him before a discipline panel in August 1994 and that he felt "totally shocked and
confused" when he received the Notice of Hearing. Dr. MacFadden was later withdrawn by the
prosecution as a witness.
In fact, four letters to the College from Dr. Krop's previous counsel throughout 1993 show his
impatience with the investigation and point out Dr. Krop's extensive cooperation and desire for
resolution. Unfortunately, none of those letters were answered.
Mr. Manning read another damning letter from the College in March 1994 to one of the six
patients in Dr. Krop's seized files. The letter claimed that the College was making inquiries into
some of its members who practice environmental medicine to evaluate their standards. The letter
identified the addressee as a former patient of one of the physicians being evaluated, and asked
the patient to contact the CPSO as soon as possible. The letter did not name any physicians nor
did it reference the prosecution or disciplinary action against any physician.
Mr. Manning argued that either the CPSO was truly making a general inquiry into the practice of
environmental medicine or that this letter was a deceptive approach to contacting a former patient
of Dr. Krop's, whose chart was in the possession of the CPSO (a fact hidden from the patient).
When asked, Dr. Krop was not aware of the College undertaking a formal review of other
environmental physicians to evaluate standards of medicine. Therefore, Mr. Manning argued, the
letter was a deception and the College had further abused the discipline process. The discipline
hearing panel refused to allow this letter into evidence.
A July 5, 1993 letter from College Prosecutor Steinecke to Leah Tunney stated that "the College
does not have a solid case at this point" and outlined various options to consider for further
entrapment. A suggestion by Steinecke to "search for a clear standard of practice violation"
seems to confirm Mr. Manning's claim at the outset of the hearing in 1995 that the College was
on a "fishing expedition." The letter also expressed the concern that the "case has a high negative
One shocking option Steinecke suggests to the Executive Committee is to "Establish in a
scientific study, the uselessness of the 'vega' machine and then tell Dr. Krop that he must stop
using it. Any subsequent use of the machine [by Dr. Krop] may then be worthy of discipline."
This is a clear example of the lengths to which the College is prepared to go -- even to initiating a
fraudulent scientific study -- to win its case against Dr. Krop
Dr. Krop was charged by the CPSO in 1995 with professional misconduct, failing to maintain
the standard of practice and incompetence. The charges were not based on patient complaints and
the testimony of more than seven weeks of hearings demonstrates that the entire case was aimed
at "dealing" with physicians who practice environmental medicine "once and for all" as stated in a
1989 CPSO internal memo by John Carlisle, Deputy Registrar. This case is vitally important to
the overall rights of physicians to practice safe and effective medicine and the rights of citizens to
choose the type of medicine they want.
This portion of Dr. Krop's discipline hearing met from January 19 to 22. It will resume on
Saturday and Sunday, January 24 and 25. By its conclusion, the hearing will have taken over 40
days at a cost to the College of $25,000 per hearing day. The costs to Dr. Krop, who is being
aided by fund-raising, are already over $500,000.
For more information, contact: Rich Patterson firstname.lastname@example.org
Amalgam Fillings: Scientific Consensus Reached That Amalgams Fillings
May Cause Brain Damage and Other Damage in Children; Largest Class
Action Suit in Canada Set to Begin
On February, 19, 1998 a
concensus was reached amongst Sweden's
foremost experts on mercury amalgam fillings that mercury
from amalgam fillings may be cause damage to the brain, immune system,
and kidneys of many people. Damage to the fetus from the mercury
given of by the amalgam fillings of the mother was one of the major
concerns of the scientists. (It should be noted that in some cases
effects from mercury damage can be subtle and may not show up for
a number of years since mercury is a cumulative poison.) Sweden is
moving quickly to ban the use of mercury amalgam fillings. This
scientific consensus has been reached largely because of a number of
recent scientific studies implicating mercury amalgam fillings
in health problems.
On March 31, 1998 a
class action lawsuit will be filed in Canada
pertaining to the use of mercury amalgam fillings. It is expected to
be largest class action lawsuit in Canadian history. The reason for
this lawsuit is that the Canadian government knew that mercury amalgam
fillings represented a hazard to Canadian citizens but chose to hide that
- "Since 1976, Health Canada scientists have performed four risk
assessment studies on mercury dental amalgam exposure. All four studies
concluded a potential health risk to Canadian Dental Patients."
- "As early as August 31,1976, Dr. Pierre Blais (at that time an
employee of Health Canada, Medical Devices Bureau) raised
serious concerns about mercury exposure from dental
'silver/mercury fillings' in an internal government document.
Dr. Blais stated that 'the potential hazards with the product
[silver/mercury fillings] are so transparently obvious that we
[Government of Canada] cannot even appear to ignore it without
attracting ridicule...'. Yet ignore it they did for 20
years, even though 4 subsequent internal Health Canada documents
raised similar strong concerns! (Chawla & Karov: July 10, 1991;
Karov, May 5, 1993; Sinclair, July 15, 1994 and Richardson,
August 18, 1995.)"
- "Correspondence has been discovered between officials of Health
Canada and the Canadian Dental Association regarding the need to exempt
dental amalgam from the Medical Devices Act in order to protect the
manufacturers of amalgam. These facts were publicly exposed by the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on February 23, 1997. At that time
this assertion was verified by Health Canada. So far Health Canada has
not fulfilled it's obligation to the Canadian Public by regulating
mercury dental amalgam."
Most Canadian citizens may qualify for the class action lawsuit. In order
to find out more and sign up, please see the Canadians for Mercury Relief
Press Release. To find out more about the toxicity of and replacement
of mercury amalgam fillings, see the
Mercury Amalgam Web Page.
Drugs stores begin to sell herbs and doctors use herbal medicines
The MSNBC web site recently
reported that natural products such as herbal medicines can now be
found in many drug stores. The report goes on to state that healthcare
practitioners commonly use such products but often do not prescribe
them to their patients because they are not considered "standard care."
In order to find out how to properly use herbs medicinally, please see
the Readers' Top Ten Lists on the
Herbal Bookworm web page. This will help you locate the very best
Herbal Medicine references.
Journal of the American Medical Association Published Alternative
In the March 4, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical
Assocation (JAMA), there were three (3) articles and an Editor's Note
published in "Pulse," the Medical Student Section of JAMA. Given
the history of published attacks on and inaccurate articles about
alternative medicine, some may have expected more of the same. But
much to the surprise of this writer, the articles were fairly
well-researched and reasonably balanced.
The first article was "Homeopathy: Another Tool in the Bag" by Megan A.
Johnson of the George Washington University School of Medicine. The
article briefly outlined the principals of Homeopathy and discussed how
patients are diagnosed and treated. Obstacles to the acceptance of Homeopathy
were discussed including licensing laws in various states, inconsistency of
training, and insurance company reimbursement issues. The article ends with
statements to the effect that Homeopathy has the potential to be a useful
tool for a more complete therapy. It was a well-written article. However,
it may be some time before I recover from the shock of seeing a summary of
Homeopathy in the allopathic literature that didn't use the words "wacko",
"looney", "quack", or "con-artist". :-)
The second article entitled, "Alternative Medicine and the Conventional
Practitioner" was written by Dr. Wayne Jonas, Director of the NIH Office
of Alternative Medicine. The article consisted of an overview of the
current status and popularity of "Complimentary and Alternative
Medicine" (CAM), the role for the conventional practitioner in CAM,
medical education in CAM, and information related to the projects funded
by the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine. This was an excellent, albeit
short summary of CAM practice in the U.S. There are a couple of concerns
I have about this article, however. A significant number of "alternative
medicine" practitioners use "Holistic Medicine" in their practice.
"Holistic Medicine Is quite different than "Alternative Medicine" as seen
in the definations section
and the fundamentals section
of the Holistic Healing Web Page. In addition, some of the risks briefly
described in the article appear to be very rare, but that fact was not stated.
The final article was entitled, "Complementary Medicine in the Surgical Wards"
by Mehmet C. Oz, MD, Gerard C. Whitworth, RN, CCP, and Eric H. Liu from
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The article provide
a brief overview of the Complementary Medicine Program within the Cardiac
Surgery Department at Columbia University. The authors state that 40% of
the 1,400 cardiac care patients use these services per year. The modalities
offered by this program include: Music Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Nutrition,
Massage and Reflexology, Yoga, Aromatherapy, and Therapeutic Touch.
More than most other articles about alternative medicine which appear in
allopathic journals, it appears that these authors have acquired a basic
understanding of how to use various natural healing modalities on a clinical
basis. Some allopathic practitioners are under the impression that holistic
healing amounts to simply taking an herb or practicing yoga or using one of a
multitude of modalities. These practitioners have clearly begun to develop
experience combining appropriate modalities and healing fundamentals
into a healing program. Such abilities comes from having an open mind and
practical experience. One would hope that these physcians would continue
to refine their developing expertise with the above-mentioned modalities
and begin to incorporate other healing fundamentals and modalities into their
practice when needed.
One interesting quote from this article was, "In 1997, 10 extremely skeptical
patients found therapeutic touch [a type of energy healing] to be
remarkably helpful and have supported continued research and use of
this treatment." In is useful to note thatresearch has
already shown the potential benefits of therapeutic touch in the treatment of
Therapeutic Touch: Experts Detail Major Flaws in 9-Year-Old's
Science Project Published in the Journal of the American Medical
In the April, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
an aritcle based on a science project of a 9-year-old Emily Rosa student to
have "debunked" the very popular energy healing modality, Therapeutic Touch.
Co-authors of the article included Emily's parents who are members of the
National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) (an organization with a long
history of attacking Alternative Medicine and Therapeutic Touch) and Stephen
Barrett, MD of Quackwatch, Inc. The lead author of the study has stated
that Therapeutic Touch "is being promoted principally to have people tacitly
accept the premises of an occult religion known as Theosophy."
The student recruited Therapeutic Touch practitioners to see if they could
sense her energy field (with their eyes behind a screen) and then guess which
hand they were sensing. The practitioners were only successful in this
guessing-game 41% of the time, or less than what would be expected by mere
For a 9-year-old, it was a fairly impressive study. However, experts have
pointed out that this study does not even study Therapeutic Touch at all.
Not only does the study not look at the health effects of Therapeutic Touch
on patients, but several crucial techniques of Therapeutic Touch seen in clinical
practice were not built into the study. In addition, several key studies
showing positive effects from Therapeutic Touch were left out of the review
section of the study. A more detailed analysis of the study can be found in
the Official Response
from Healing Touch International.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this research is that the Journal
of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published it and then published an
editorial stating that Therapeutic Touch should not be used professionally.
It is possible that JAMA may need to seek a few Editors with expertise
in various aspects of Alternative Medicine in order to properly screen
such research in the future.
Organic Farming Show 15% Higher Gross Margins Than Farming With
Pesticides & Herbicides
15% Higher Gross Margins from Organic Farming.
Source Farmers Guardian (UK):
A study prepared by the Economic and Social Research Council of the United
Kingdom examined the socio-economic and environmental consequences of
converting to organic farming. It found that such a conversion would
bring long-term financial and environmental benefits. The research further
concluded the organic farmers can obtain gross margins of 15% higher than
farmers using pesticides and herbicides. The study was supported by the
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Natural
Enviromental Research Council.
Chronic, Low-Dose Exposure to Fluoride in Water Contributes to
Damage in Brain Tissue
A study published in Brain Research shows that rats drinking only 1 part per
million fluoride (NaF) in water had histologic lesions in their brain similar
to Alzheimer's disease and dementia. In addition, evidence was seen pointing
to possible damage to the blood brain barrier from extended fluoride exposure.
This study was the third in a series of papers published by Varner et al.
Brain Research Vol. 784 No. 12 p 284-298 (1998).
This study follows a 1995 study by Phyllis Mullenix which showed that
relatively low blood levels of fluoride in animals causes behavior
problems. The offspring of the pregnent rodents given fluoride suffered
from ADD-like hyperactivity. The young rodents given fluoride were
lethargic. Two subsequent epidemiological studies showed that children
exposed to fluoride had lower IQ's than those exposed to lower levels.
These recent studies and other research showing genetic damage, immunological
damage, cancer, increased hip fractures, increased susceptibility to repetitive
stress injury, no significant beneficial effects, etc., have very serious
implications for the health of the general population exposed to fluoride
from water (cooking, drinking), toothpaste, and tablets. Because of the
serious long-term damage that can occur from fluoride, over 1600 U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists, legal experts and others
from the National Federation of Federal Employees local 2050 voted unanimously
to oppose the use of fluoride in water.
scientific risk assessment symposium was held in June of
1988 to re-evaluation the potential damage from ingestion of fluoride compounds.
More information about fluoride and health effects can be found on the Holistic
Healing Web Page's Fluoride
Web Page and the extensive web page
Fluoride: Protected Pollutant or Panacea?.
Experimental Evidence Seen of Plant Meridian System
A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine in late
1997 provides evidence that plants may have a meridian system. Meridians
are channels or pathways in an organism where energy force (Qi) flows.
Specific points along meridians are used when placing acupuncture needles
to treat specific conditions. In this experiment, the use of acupuncture
needles on Kentucky pole bean plants had a significant effect on the
movement of shoots of the plant.
Electrodermal Testing Found Effective for Diagnosing Allergies
Researchers at the University Department of Medicine of the Southampton General
Hospital, England, conducted a randomized double-blind experiment to examine
the effectiveness of electrodermal testing for differentiating between allergic
and nonallergic substances.
In the first part of the experiment, 17 allergic patients were tested with
electrodermal testing to differentiate between allergens, dust mites and
histamine and nonallergens saline and water. The testing procedure was correct
82% of the time. In the section part of the experiment, 24 allergic patients
had electrodermal testing performed to discriminate between allergic and
nonallergic substances. The testing was accurate 96% of the time.
The researchers conclude that Electrodermal Testing is a "testing is a reliable
method of differentiating between allergic and nonallergic substances in the
context of our study." The study was published in J Altern Complement Med,
1997 Fall; 3 (3): 241-8.
Use of Alternative Medicine in Multiple Sclerosis Patients
In a study published in Germany in December 1997, 129 Multiple Sclerosis
patients were asked to fill out an anonymous questionairre about their use
of Alternative Medicine. The patients had been former inpatients "who had
multiple sclerosis diagnosed by typical clinical and laboratory findings."
Of the 129 patients, 82 (or 63.6%) have been using alternative therapies.
Some of the patients had used up to nine (9) different methods. The most
popular methods (in order of popularity) were found to be relaxation
therapies such as yoga (n=38), homeopathy (n=35), herbalism (n=32), and
diet therapy (n=21). Most of the patients felt that alternative treatment
was having a positive effect, but they did not inform their general
practitioner or neurologist about it. The study was published in
Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr, 1997 Dec; 65 (12): 555-61.
Study Shows Use of Natural Healing Treatments Growing in Popularity
A new nationwide survey in the U.S. by Landmark Healthcare, Inc. has found
that approximately 42% of Americans used Alternative Medicine in the last year.
The survey included interviews with 1,500 randomly-sampled adults who had some form
of health insurance or health care plan.
Other findings include:
- 33% of consumers believe that Alternative Care demand will be strong. 38%
of consumers believe that Alternative Care demand will be moderate.
- 40% of respondants say that their attitude toward Alternative Care has become
more positive and only 2% have said that their attitude has become more
- 77% of respondants believe that access to Alternative Care is either somewhat
important or very important when choosing a health care plan.
- Herbal Therapy, Chiropractic, and Massage Therapy topped the list of popular
treatments. Homeopathy, Yoga and Acupressure were also fairly popular.
More details about the Landmark Healthcare study can be found on their web site
Investigative Journalists Report on Potential Carcinogen in Non-Organic
Dairy Created with the use of Monsanto's artificial hormone rBGH. Suit filed
Against Florida-based TV station for Blocking Broadcast of Story
Investigative reporters Steve Wilson and Jane Akre filed suit against FOX-owned
WTVT Channel 13 in Tampa, Florida for firing them after they refused to broadcast
false and slanted stories about Monsanto's genetically-manipulated dairy cow hormone,
rBGH. The reporters also claim that the TV station refused to broadcast the rBGH story
for more than one year and may never broadcast the story. The TV station denies
There is growing scientific evidence of potential increased breast, colon, and
prostate cancer risk from the use of non-organic dairy foods made by injecting cows
with Monsanto's rBGH hormone. A
Cancer Preventiion Coalition press release outlines the way dairy from rBGH-injected
cows may speed human cancer growth. Other scientific information can be found on the
rBGH web page. Since Monsanto has fought
labelling, the safest way to avoid contaminated dairy is to shop for organic dairy.
The reporters have put together a web page related to their rBGH story and the lawsuit
at http://www.foxBGHsuit.com/. Included on
their excellent web page is
text of their intended broadcast which discusses not only rBGH risks, but the other
key aspects of the story. In addition, the web page includes news clips, FAQs, and
links to sources of information on this and related issues.
FDA Orders Destruction of Stevia Books: Book Burning Lives at the FDA
On May 20, 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
ordered the destuction of 2,500 books about the herbal sweetener
stevia. A small company in Arlington Texas, Stevita, Co., was
visited by the FDA and forced to stop selling stevia and books
that mention that stevia can be used as a sweetener.
The Stevia Story by Linda & Bill Bonvie and Donna Gates was
amongst the popular stevia books which came under FDA attack.
According to the FDA order, "The presence of these publications
renders stevia adulterated and unsafe for public consumption."
Some have now questioned whether the FDA is now promoting "book
burning" as a way to attack herbal products.
Stevia is widely-used as a no-calorie herbal sweetener -- a
replacement for sugar and for the more toxic artificial sweeteners
such as aspartame/neotame (NutraSweet). Stevia has been used for
centuries without adverse reactions and it is said to be particularly
helpful for diabetics. Extensive independent laboratory studies have
shown no danger from stevia use.
The use of stevia as a sweetener is common in Japan, Korea,
and South America. Because people are getting off of artificial
sweeteners, stevia's popularity is growing rapidly in the United
States. However, the FDA continues to try prevent stevia from being
used as a sweetener with actions that many assume are intended to
protect Monsanto, the manufacturer of aspartame/neotame.
There are many companies selling high-quality stevia products.
A listing of a selection of those vendors can be found on the
"Healthier Sweetener Resource List" at:
The above-mentioned web page includes detailed scientific and general
information about stevia.
Information about the book, The Stevia Story can be found at:
The Stevita Co. web page can be found at:
Information about the toxicity of aspartame (NutraSweet), sucralose
and acesulfame-k can be found on the Aspartame (NutraSweet) Toxicity
Information Center web page at:
1st "No-GE" (non-genetically engineered) Product in US
Here's an exciting email from Judy Kew in Austin (about one page of formatted
Hain's Bearitos Corn Chips bears a white circle saying "NO Genetically
A red ring around it says "PURE FOOD" at the top of the ring and at the
bottom. The label is at the bottom right of the front of the package. A bear
with a red kerchief and a cup appears to be pointing out the label.
On the back is a smaller version along with more information: "WHAT OUR PURE
FOOD SYMBOL MEANS TO YOU
This is our assurance to you that Bearitos Tortilla Chips do not contain
ingredients that have been genetically engineered. Although GEOs, genetically
engineered organisms, may have been part of our meals for the past 20 years,
we believe that those food products need to be labeled so that consumers may
make a choice. For a pamphlet about GEOs, please send a SASE to: Hain GEO
Info, P.O. Box 48006, Gardena, CA 90248
I saw this at the Westbrae / Hain booth at a Natural Health Food Conference
last weekend and made a very big deal about it. One of the men in charge said
they were working with Mothers For Natural Law and that they used to use corn
oil to fry their organic corn chips. So they switched to expeller pressed
oleic safflower oil in order to be non-GE. (As you may know, organic
processed foods can have up to 5% non-organic ingredients, so, though the corn
is organic, the oil most chip manufacturers use is not organic.)
He gave me a package (they were delicious -- probably fresher than chips I get
in stores) and I took it around to some of the booths that could easily
qualify for the label. Everyone of them got excited about it. The show was
closing for the day so I wasn't able to hit too many. One small Mom and Pop
manufacturer (of Joy Soy drinks) from Tennessee spoke with Jane Martin at the
Mothers for Natural Law booth then and there.
It turns out that the founder of MNL, Laura Ticcati, had appointments set up
for that evening and the next day with many others. One was the distributor
(with "Rainbow" in its name) of some great organic products, such as Santa
Cruz (which makes organic soda pop and juices), and an incredible baby food
that literally has nothing in it but the organic vegetable or fruit.
(Santa Cruz organic pop is a favorite of mine, because until I found them
there was no pop I would drink. I stopped drinking Blue Sky when it began
using high fructose corn syrup, which is doubly genetically engineered -- 1)
the corn in the corn syrup, 2) "high fructose" means that genetically
engineered enzymes were used.)
One of the Mothers for Natural Law's thrusts has been to work with
manufacturers to become non-GE by helping them to source non-GE ingredients,
which is one of manufacturers' biggest problems. (I think another problem is
that they have to build new equipment because the GE stuff remains in the old
equipment.) So, we need to support and congratulate the companies that make
the effort to be non-GE.
Several big name Natural Food companies have signed on with the Mothers to
become non-GE. And the first supplement company, NOW, has recently joined in
Getting a supplement company to be non-GE will be a daunting task because, I
believe, there are no non-GE alternatives to the GE enzymes and processing
agents that supplement manufacturers use. I have heard that there is one
company that manufacturers their own supplements and may not be GE -- Hanna
Kroeger's products out of Boulder, CO. If anyone knows of any others, I am
sure the Mothers and the rest of us would like to know about them.
The names of the companies who have signed on may be at the Mother's new
website, along with sourcing information:
First Ever Organic Cotton Directory Now Available
Subject: Organic Cotton Directory Available
July 16, 1998
GREENFIELD, MA-The Organic Trade Association's Fiber
Council, in collaboration with the Pesticide Action Network,
is offering the first-ever Organic Cotton Directory--a
comprehensive guide for organic cotton companies and their
products. More than 125 companies listed offer an exciting
range of organic cotton products for men, women, children and
infants: apparel, sportswear, undergarments, sleep wear,
personal hygiene items, tampons, diapers, bed and bath linens,
sheets, toys and much more! Indexes ensure quick access to
every day organic cotton products and the companies that sell
The Directory contains listings and complete contact
information for organic cotton growers, brokers, mills,
manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers providing a
complete networking tool for the growing organic cotton
industry. The Directory also includes hard-to-find information
on the organic cotton market, world acreage and the
environmental and human health problems associated with
conventional cotton production.
New strategies adopted by the apparel industry, such as
blending organic with conventional cotton, are stimulating a
renewed demand for organic cotton, which is currently at an
all-time high. Acreage estimates for the 1998 organic cotton
crop are up by 11% to more than 10,000 acres. Organic cotton
farmers use natural farming methods such as crop rotations,
cover crops and compost to build soil fertility and beneficial
insects to manage pests. By choosing organic cotton,
consumers can make a difference in how cotton is grown in
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the business
association representing the organic industry in the United
States and Canada. OTA's 750 members include growers,
processors, shippers, retailers, certification organizations,
and others involved in the business of producing and selling
organic products. The Organic Trade Association's Fiber
Council (OFC) represents all sectors within the organic fiber
industry, including organic cotton farmers, manufacturers,
wholesalers and retailers involved in the organic fiber
industry. Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is an international
organization working to replace toxic pesticides with
ecologically-sound alternatives. PAN promotes organic cotton
by generating consumer awareness around pesticide use in
cotton and its impact on human health and the environment.
Cost & Ordering Information
Non-OTA members: $15, plus $3 shipping and handling
(Massachusetts residents add $0.75 sales tax). Shipping and
handling for Western Europe is $6, Australia $6.50, Canada
OTA members: $10, plus $3 shipping and handling
(Massachusetts residents add $0.50 sales tax). Same
international s&h rates.
MSG Sprayed on Crops
CONTACT: Jack L. Samuels
MSG SPRAYED ON CROPS
July 22, 1998 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been asked
to rescind a recent action that allows processed free glutamic acid (MSG) to
be sprayed on vegetation, including growing fruits and vegetables. In a
separate letter, dated July 22, 1998, Auxein Corporation, Lansing, Michigan,
has been asked to withdraw their product, Auxigro WP Plant Metabolic Primer
(Auxigro), from the market immediately, and to notify farmers to stop using
Auxigro, which contains approximately 30% MSG, may be sprayed, at times by
airplane, on crops of snap beans, lettuce, peanuts, tomatoes, and potatoes.
It's use will soon be expanded to other crops, unless it's use is stopped.
It is acknowledged that sprayed fruits and vegetables that come to market may
contain residual amounts of free glutamic acid. There is no reason to believe
that the product will not also affect groundwater and drinking water.
Concern was expressed by the Truth in Labeling Campaign (TLC) and its
president, Jack L. Samuels, that the MSG residual on treated fruits and
vegetables poses a danger to humans, farm animals, and wild life. TLC is a
nonprofit organization concerned with undisclosed use of MSG in food.
According to Samuels "The millions of humans who suffer adverse reactions to
processed free glutamic acid (MSG), particularly those who suffer life-
threatening and/or debilitating reactions, and who react to minute amounts of
the substance, may be exposed daily to undeclared amounts of the very
substance that can kill or debilitate them."
The EPA's action has exempted glutamic acid from the requirement of a
tolerance on all raw agricultural commodities, allowing the amount of MSG
residue on fruits and vegetables to be unlimited (Sec. 180.1187 - Code of
Federal Regulations) .
MSG is known to trigger migraine headache, tachycardia, arrhythmia, seizures,
asthma, nausea and vomiting, hives, skin rash, anxiety attacks, depression and
much, much more in people who have become sensitive to it. It causes gross
obesity and learning disorders in laboratory animals that ingest it when
young. You can read about what it is, what it does, and where it's hidden IN
food on our Web site: http://www.truthinlabeling.org But now that spraying
MSG ON agricultural products as they grow has been approved, ANY fresh food
may have some residual MSG on it, and processed food made from fresh fruit or
vegetables may have MSG in it, too. Baby food, largely free of MSG since
the late 1970's, will now have MSG in it. Processed food will now have more
MSG in it than it did before. And there may be MSG residue on every tomato,
cucumber, strawberry, leaf of lettuce, or peanut that you eat, as well as on
every other fresh fruit, grain or vegetable.
We think you should be concerned. This is a new EPA (U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency) approval, effective February 6, 1998. We are asking that
the approval be rescinded. Being told by the EPA that it is OUR
responsibility to demonstrate that residue from spraying MSG on produce while
it's growing is a potential health hazard, and interpreting that to mean that
the EPA will not look into the matter without extreme pressure, we have
provided them more than sufficient material to demonstrate the MSG places
humans at risk. We have also written to the producer, Auxein Corporation,
informing them that their product is potentially toxic, and asking them to
withdraw it from the market.
But if no one but Jack Samuels lets the EPA know they don't want MSG sprayed
on food, the approval won't be rescinded. And unless the producers, who must
see millions of dollars in profits down the road, really didn't know the
product is harmful, or is scared silly by the threat of potential law suits,
they might not be the least bit concerned. Whether or not you think that you,
your parents, your children, your grandchildren or your animals (where
reactions are most often manifested as skin rash) are sensitive to MSG, we
can't believe that anyone would want it sprayed on their food while it's
If you think it's wrong to spray MSG on fruit and vegetable crops, please
register your concern by contacting Dr. Lynn Goldman at the EPA at the address
or numbers below; by forwarding a copy of this e-mail to everyone you know;
and by sending a copy of the press release to each of your local papers.
(Advertisers and boards of directors of the larger papers seem to discourage
articles that criticize MSG.) Dr. Goldman can be reached as follows:
Lynn Goldman, M.D.
Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail c/o Douglas Parsons:
Olestra Hazards Seen in Independent Research
A independent study of ingestion of the new artificial fat, olestra (sucrose
polyester), was completed in Cambridge, England. Almost one-third (1/3) of
the volunteers experienced significant bowel problems after three months of
normal use. In addition, the volunteers experienced a profound drop in the
blood levels of six carotenoids measured. Carotenoids are believed to protect
against cancer and other diseases. In addition, the volunteers experienced
a drop in Vitamin E levels. If these effects are seen after only three months
of olestra use, the long-range consequences of perhaps increased cancers or
damage to the bowel is a major concern.
The study raises the isssue of the importance of completely independent
research. The results of this independent research differ markedly from
studies funded by the manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble. The results also seem
to reflect the seriousness of the adverse reactions reported by the general
Further details about olestra can be found on the
CSPI web page.
Medical Center Allows Complementary Healers into Operator Rooms
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire allow a Reiki
(energy healing) practitioner to accompany a patient into the operating room
during a surgical laparoscopic procedure. Specific requirements were met to
allow this visit, including (but not limited to) the signing of waivers and
The procedure went fine. The patient didn't require any post-operative pain
medication. She was grateful that she could have the procedure done at a place
with open-minded practitioners and where she could get her needs met. At a
two-week phone followup, the patient expressed her pleasure at the outcome
and attributed the successful outcome to the care and the Reiki practitioner.
Source: AORN Journal (March 1998, Vol. 67, No. 3, Pg. 674-675).
Acupuncture Appears to be Effective in Treating Dental Pain
A review in the British Dental Journal 16 controlled human trials of acupuncture
for the treatment of dental pain were analyzed. Out of the 16 trials, 12 showed
benefits of acupuncture and 4 showed no positive results.
Eight (8) of the 16 trials were blinded and randomized in an attempt to produce
more conclusive results. Seven (7) of these trials showed that acupuncture
reduces dental pain.
The data suggest that acupuncture "is effective in alleviating pain either
during dental operations, following surgery or during experimentally induced
dental pain in human volunteers." The researchers call for further investigations
to determine the "optimal acupuncture technique and its relative efficacy
compared with conventional methods of analgesia.
Source: British Dental Journal, Vol. 184, No. 9, Pg. 443-447, 1998.
Acupuncture Reduces Childbirth Pain and Duration of Labor
A group of 90 pregnent women were given acupunture treatment. A control group
of 90 pregnent women were not given acupuncture. The experiment was conducted
to see if acupuncture reduced the need for pain medication during childbirth.
58% of the women given acupuncture managed their deliveries without the need
for pain medications, while only 13% of the women not given acupuncture were
able to avoid pain medication. This demonstrates that acupuncture treatment
significantly reduces the need for pain medications during childbirth.
94% of the women given acupuncture said that they would consider using
acupuncture in future deliveries.
A group of 40 women given prenatal acupuncture treatment were match with 40
women not given this treatment to see if acupuncture reduces the duration
of labor. The acupuncture-treated women had an average shorter duration of
labor of 138.8 minutes. There was no reduction seen in the incidence of
maternal birth injuries (e.g., episiotomy) because of acupuncture. The
researchers conclude that they "found that prenatal acupuncture treatment
significantly reduced the duration of labor and may be proposed as a
valuable tool in prenatal preparation.
Source: Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol. 92, No. 2, Pg. 245-248.
Secret Canadian Govt. Study Reveals Serious Faults With Research of
Monsanto's Genetically-Engineered Bovine Growth Hormone Given to Dairy
Numerous reports have come out warning about serious potential dangers from
long-term exposure to milk produced from cows given Monsanto's rBGH. A
scientist used recent research on prostate and breast cancer to show that
long-term exposure to milk from rBGH-treated cows may speed the growths of
these cancers. (See
http://www.holisticmed.com/bgh/prostate.html.) Other reviews:
2 and a
from a retired cancer researcher points to the same conclusion.
It was recently discovered that five scientists in Canada were being strongly
pressured into approving the use of rBGH in dairy cows. (rBGH was banned in
Canada and there is a moratorium in Europe.) The five scientists prepared
a report on rBGH which was subsequently hidden from public view and not
released to the Canadian Senate.
At the heart of this report is evidence that the FDA misrepresented the results
of an important test for human safety. The FDA scientists stated that
"no toxicological effects [from BGH] were found" in the test animals. But when
these scientists analyzed the data they found that the animals suffered from
throid cysts and infiltration in the prostate and had antibody responses to
the rBGH. It is of note that these responses were seen in short-term studies.
No long-term studies were conducted.
Secret Government Report:
Chinese Medicine Patients in U.S. Satisfied With Treatment
Chinese medicine is growing in popularity and
offers an important alternative or complement to biomedical
care, but little is known of who uses it or why they
purchase it. This article reports the first in-depth, large-
scale (n = 575) survey of United States acupuncture users.
An anonymous mixed quantitative-qualitative survey
questionnaire assessed user demographics, Chinese medicine
modalities used, complaints, response to care, other health-
care used, and satisfaction with care in six general-service
clinics in five states.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
The user demographic picture was of mid-age, well-educated, employed,
mid-income patients. They sought care for a wide variety of
conditions; top uses were for relief of musculoskeletal
dysfunction, mood care, and wellness care. A large majority
reported "disappearance" or "improvement" of symptoms,
improved quality of life, and reduced use of selected
measures including prescription drugs and surgery.
Respondents reported utilizing a wide array of practices in
addition to Chinese medicine, while also expressing
extremely high satisfaction with Chinese medicine care. The
evidence indicates that these respondents behave as astute
consumers within a plural health care system. Part II (in
press) details reasons given for satisfaction and situates
respondent attitudes within a larger sociocultural
Source: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,
998 Spring; 4 (1): 17-27
Fibromyalgia Patients Show Improvement From Mind-Body Treatment
In a pilot study, 28 fibromylagia patients were given eight (8) weekly, 2-1/2
hour mind-body sessions. The sessions consisted of "an educational
component focusing on the mind-body connection, a portion
focusing on relaxation response mechanisms (primarily
mindfulness meditation techniques), and a qigong movement
therapy session." The patients experienced a "significant reduction
in pain, fatigue, and sleeplessness; and improved function,
mood state, and general health...."
Source: Altern Ther Health Med, 1998 Mar; 4 (2): 67-70
Acupuncture an Effective Treatment for Chronic Painful Peripheral
Neuropathy in Diabetics
Forty-four diabetic patients with chronic painful peripheral neuropathy
underwent a series of 6 acupunture treatments over a period of 10 weeks.
Twenty-nine (63%) of the patients were already taking drugs for the neuropathy.
There were 34 patients (77%) showing significant improvement from the
acupuncture treatment. During a followup period of 18-52 weeks, 67% of these
patients were able to stop or reduce their medications. Eight (8) patients
required followup acupunture treatment. Seven (7) patients had their symptoms
clear up completely. The authors conclude that "These data suggest
that acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy for the
long-term management of painful diabetic neuropathy...."
Source: Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 1998 Feb; 39 (2): 115-21
Acupunture Helps Weight Loss
In a study published in the Australian Family Physician Journal, 60 overweight
people were divided into a test group and a control group. A device intended
to stimulate two appetite-related ear acupuncture points was given the test
group. The control group used the device on the thumb where no relevant
acupuncture points exist. 95% of the test group using acupuncture noticed a
suppression of appetite while none of the control group notice appetite changes.
Mean weight loss was significantly higher in the acupuncture group. The
authors conclude that "Frequent stimulation of specific auricular
acupuncture points is an effective method of appetite suppression which
leads to weight loss."
Source: Aust Fam Physician, 1998 Jul; 27 Suppl 2 S73-7
Patients Satisfied with Results of Homeopathic Treatment
104 subjects completed a questionnaire and then underwent a diagnosis
from a Homeopath. There were followup interviews at 1 month and 4 months
and a followup questionnaire. 77 subjects completed the study.
The subjects had a wide variety of complaints which were mostly chronic health
conditions such as "respiratory, gastrointestinal, and female reproductive
problems." Approx. 80% noted unsuccessful treatment from previous
allopathic treatment. After homeopathic treatment, only 29% showed no improvement
from their primary complaint. Patients were satisfied with the homeopathic
treatment regardless of the outcome.
Source: Altern Ther Health Med, 1998 Mar; 4 (2): 60-5
Acupunture Use by General Practitioners in Australia
To ascertain the extent of the use of
acupuncture and the characteristics of general practitioners
Secondary analysis of 1996 Health Insurance Commission data on
claims by all non-specialist medical practitioners for Medicare
Benefits Schedule items for an attendance where acupuncture was
performed by a medical practitioner.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Use of acupuncture by general practitioners
and the practitioners' sex, age, place of primary medical
qualification, and the socioeconomic disadvantage index of the
15.1% of general practitioners claimed for acupuncture. Acupuncture
was more likely to be provided by male practitioners, by those aged
35-54 years, and by practitioners who have an overseas primary medical
qualification. The socioeconomic index of the practice did
not significantly affect the number of claims for
Acupuncture is used by about one in seven general practitioners.
Its use is associated with middle-aged practitioners, who presumably
have more clinical experience. This level of use by experienced doctors
suggests that a critical review of the appropriate role of
acupuncture in general practice should be considered.
The authors also noted that "alternative treatments are used by
16% of GPs [General Practitioners] in Britain and Canada, and by 30%
in New Zealand."
Source: Medical Journal of Australia, 1998, Vol. 169, Pg. 197-200.
Homeopathic Remedy As Effective as Drug in Treating Vertigo
A randomized, double-blind trial was conducted to compare the effectiveness
of the homeopathic remedy, Vertigoheel, Heel Inc, Albuquerque, NM versus
the drug betahistine hydrochloride when treating vertigo. 105 patients from
15 treatment centers in Germany completed the 6-week treatment period.
The authors noted the following results, "Both homeopathic and conventional
treatments showed a clinically relevant reduction in the
mean frequency, duration, and intensity of the vertigo
attacks. The therapeutic equivalence of the homeopathic
remedy and betahistine was established statistically."
It is important to note that homeopathic treatment is often thought to be
even more effective when an individualized remedy is determined (unlike
what was done in this study). Links to more information about homeopathy
and help finding a Classical Homeopath can be found
Organic Farming Reduces Greenhouse Gasses & Global Warming
In a 15-year study at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, experts
compared the effects of using organic fertilizers versus the use of chemical
fertilizers. Plants grown with organic fertilizers release less carbon dioxide
(CO2), a gas that contributes to climate changes. The researchers admit that
organic farming, by itself, cannot solve the global warming crises.
The researchers also found that organic farming used 50 percent less
energy than farming with chemical fertilizers.
Non-Organic Soybean Products May Have High Levels of Herbicide Residues
The consumer organization GeneEthics sent a letter to the Australian and New Zealand
Food Authority (ANZFA) challenging Monsanto's request to raise the allowable
Roundup Herbicide residue levels by 200 times the current level (from
.1mg/kg to 20 mg/kg). Roundup herbicide is used on Monsanto's genetically
engineered Roundup-Ready soybeans. Genetically-engineered soy is then sold
in the U.S. and other parts of the world as part of non-organic products
such as soy-based infant formula.
The consumer organization had the following to say about Monsanto's
application to raise the limits on Roundup herbicide use:
These crops contain a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis
which makes an insecticidal toxin. Made in every cell of the plant, the
toxin creates powerful pressures for the insects to become tolerant of the
toxin. The toxin has no history of safe use in the animal and human food
supplies and its long term impacts are unknown.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup is metabolised by bacteria in
the soil, however different soil conditions generate different glyphosate
persistence times. For example the breakdown of glyphosate in sandy soils
is very slow. There was "significant decreases in nodule numbers and root
weights of subclover planted 120 days after the application of the
The glyphosate eventually leaves the soil but the metabolites of glyphosate
are converted further in the soil to form formaldehyde, a nasty and
carcinogenic chemical which is extremely unfriendly to crops and humans. At
low levels of exposure formaldehyde is toxic to the nervous system, a
sensitising agent and carcinogen. 2, 3
Glyphosate is readily converted to N-nitrosoglyphosate in the human stomach
by reaction with nitrite in saliva . Although N-nitrosoglyphosate has not
been tested for carcinogenicity, 120 N-nitroso compounds have been and 75%
had carcinogenic potential with tumours observed in all organs and tissues.
Studies have shown that the carcinogenic effectiveness of the chemicals
increased when applied in small doses over long periods rather than as
Glyphosate is not the only ingredient in Roundup. It also contains POEA
which is a class of compounds that have been shown to cause
gastrointestinal and central nervous system effects and damage to red blood
cells. In analysis of Roundup poisoning cases doctors attributed the
severe symptoms to POEA rather than glyphosate.5
Roundup also has a negative effect on the Environment. A West Australian
EPA Report in 1995 indicated " certain Australian species of frog are
significantly more sensitive to Roundup formulation 360 than to glyphosate
on its own and that tadpoles are far more sensitive than adult frogs. The
study carried out in response to major frog dieoff in Western Australia
showed that glyphosate and its formulations can be acutely toxic at
recommended levels." 6
The drift of herbicide spray during application is of major concern.
Caroline Cox reports in The Journal of Pesticide Form 1995 that "Glyphosate
is classified as an eye irritant by the EPA, with effects lasting up to
seven days and is also a skin irritant". The article also reports that
"between 14 and 78% of glyphosate applied as ground sprays moves off-site.
Seedling mortality has been demonstrated at 20 metres downwind when using a
tractor-mounted sprayer. Sensitive species were killed at 40 metres.
Glyphosate residues have been measured 400 metres downwind from ground
applications. Helicopter and light aircraft applications have been
demonstrated to have significantly higher drift statistics."7
Monsanto's applications should be rejected by ANZFA and other regulatory
Recently, an urgent warning
was issued by scientists at the Third Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on Biosafety.
They implored all governments to use whatever means they can to ban Monsanto's
genetically-engineered "Roundup-Ready" soybeans.
"Dramatic scientific evidence has revealed that the application of glyphosate
(such as the herbicide Roundup) increased the level of plant estrogens of bean
crops. Plant estrogens are known to affect mammals including humans. The
signatories to the appeal, including Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher, UK Geneticist,
stated: "Young children are especially susceptible to elevated levels of estrogen.
Thus there is a clear and serious health issue at hand.'"
Consumers can avoid soy products and soy ingredients made with Roundup-Ready
soybeans by insisting upon purchasing product which organic soy ingredients.
Your local health food store often has a select of organic soy products.