Dr Mason addresses EFSA about the Seralini paper

—- Forwarded Message —–
From: R MASON <rosemary.mason01@btinternet.com>
To:dirk.detken@efsa.europa.eu” <dirk.detken@efsa.europa.eu>
Sent: Monday, 22 October 2012, 6:05
Subject: EFSA and the Seralini paper on rat tumours

Dirk Detken

Senior Attorney

European Food Safety Authority

Dear Mr Detken

I have been following the argument about the science and statistics of the Séralini study (on GM Roundup Ready Maize and rat tumours) between GM industry scientists and independent ones with mounting incredulity. I am not a toxicologist or a statistician. I am a medical doctor.

As Senior Attorney to EFSA, I presume that your CEO Ms Catherine Geslain-Lanuélle must, on occasions, take your advice. Perhaps you would like to point out to her the trail of disasters to human health and the environment that has followed the planting of GM maize and Roundup Ready® crops in both Latin America and the US since they were first grown in 1996. These statistics are real, not theoretical laboratory ones. Are these the disasters that she would want to see repeated in Europe? Does she want to reject outright the Séralini study on rats and continue to insist that 90 days testing is adequate for the registration of GM crops? The first rat tumours in Séralini’s study appeared in males at 4 months.

Latin America. In 2010, at a physician’s meeting in Cordoba, it was reported that the whole farming area in which GM crops had been grown (14 provinces in Argentina and one in Paraguay) there were increases in cancers, birth defects, reproductive and endocrine disorders. In Argentina, all children’s birth defects involving neurosurgical operations (neural tube defects) were treated in one hospital therefore they had complete statistics. Those coming from heavily-sprayed areas had a rate of birth defects 70 times greater than those in non-sprayed areas. There were also neurological developmental problems in children less than 1 year of age compared with non-sprayed areas.  Genetic tests showed DNA and genetic damage in those exposed to pesticides, compared with non-exposed. In Chaco Province the area sown with Roundup Ready® Soya increased from 100,000 ha in 1997 to 700,000 ha in 2008. Over the same period in Chaco province the congenital birth defects increased from 15 to 82/10,000. The introduction of transgenic biotechnology in 1996 accelerated the use of pesticides. In 1996, 98 million litres were used. In 2000 this increased to 145 million litres; in 2009 it was 292 million litres. By 2010 the total volume of herbicides, insecticides, acaricides, defoliants and other poisonous substances was more than 300 million litres. This was more than three times the amount before GM crops.  The individual figures for glyphosate were as follows. In 1996: 2 litres/ha had increased to 10-20 litres/ ha in 2009-2010. This was to battle with glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Prof Andrès Carrasco (an embryologist from Buenos Aires) and his teams in Argentina and Paraguay have just published a chapter in Advances in Molecular Toxicology in which the effects of these GM crops on humans and animal models, in terms of genotoxicity, teratogenicity, and cell damage is reviewed.

The USA Here is an extract from the US Kids’ Health Report October 2012 (attached): “Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt: pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.

  • Compelling evidence now links pesticide exposures with harms to the structure and functioning of the brain and nervous system. Neurotoxic pesticides are clearly implicated as contributors to the rising rates of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, widespread declines in IQ and other measures of cognitive function.
  • Pesticide exposure contributes to a number of increasingly common health outcomes for children, including cancer, birth defects and early puberty. Evidence of links to certain childhood cancers is particularly strong.”

Appendix B page 38 Top pesticides used in agriculture and at home (from US EPA 2007).

Table B-1“Most commonly used pesticide active ingredient in agriculture” and

Table B-2 “Most commonly used active ingredient at home”; listed by volume of use.

The pesticides identified are only the old ones (prior to 1991)

The majority of crops now sown in the US have systemic neonicotinoid insecticides applied to them, or are GMO herbicide-tolerant seeds which also have insecticides applied.  The neonicotinoid insecticides; imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, dinotefuran, thiacloprid, acetamiprid and all the GMO seeds are absent from the list.  (attached are maps of crops grown from imidacloprid-coated seed and thiamethoxam-coated seed in 2002, ten years ago).

The US pesticide figures don’t add up

On Table 4 page 27, Pesticide usage (in the US) in all market sectors in 2007 is stated to have been 857 million pounds of active ingredient.

This figure is at odds with the US EPA fact sheet published in January 2012 which says that: “approximately 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States”…

(The US billion has only nine ‘noughts’ whereas the UK billion has twelve).  Even so, there is a huge difference between the 5.1 (US billion) pounds in 2012 and the 857 million pounds that the EPA claimed were used in the 2007 figures for the Kids Health Report. Presumably by only putting in the weights applied for the older pesticides, they could be exonerated from blame for effects on humans, particularly during fetal life, in infancy and in childhood when their organs are at their most vulnerable to toxins. In that case, where were all the other pesticides (and GMOs) hiding?  The US EPA has a second list on which all these pesticides appear; the allegedly “reduced-risk pesticides” whose concentrations in surface or ground-water water are not being monitored by any of the environmental protections agencies.

EPA Fact sheet Jan 2012 goes on to state: “A challenge for EPA is to ensure that pest control and pesticide use become increasingly safer each year. To meet this challenge, EPA is promoting safer pesticides and reducing risks through the re-registration process. EPA is also expediting approval of safer, reduced-risk pesticides, and assessing more completely the potential risks of pesticide products, with special protections for infants and children.

The agrochemical industry has used the environment as a private experimental laboratory with no “special protections for infants and children”. In 2001 they introduced the neonicotinoid insecticides and applied them to seeds as well as in spray preparations. So they were excreted in pollen and nectar, thus killing bees. These lethal toxins act on mammalian acetylcholine nicotinic receptors in the human brain as well as on the brains of target insects.

In 1996, Monsanto’s GM herbicide-tolerant crops were forced upon the rural communities in Argentina, where farm workers and their families were living close to the fields. A pattern was slower to emerge in the US. Now, it has become obvious from research data what is happening, not only to children, but to adults as well. Pesticides are everywhere; they are in 74% of households in the US. They are at school, in playing fields, golf courses, amenity areas. They cross the placental barrier and are present in breast milk. GM residues are in our food and a recent study in Canada found Bt toxin in 80% of women and their unborn children tested.

Epigenetics. There are now many studies and conferences on the topic of epigenetics; gene changes caused by environmental exposure to chemicals.

The Faroes Statement: Human Health Effects of Developmental Exposure to Chemicals in Our Environment 2007

Extracts: The developing embryo and foetus are extraordinarily susceptible to perturbation of the intrauterine environment. Chemical exposures during prenatal and early postnatal life can bring about important effects on gene expression, which may predispose to disease during adolescence and adult life. Some environmental chemicals can alter gene expression by DNA methylation and chromatin remodelling. These epigenetic changes can cause lasting functional changes in specific organs and tissues and increased susceptibility to disease that may even affect successive generations.

Pesticides are the silent killers. No-one can see them; yet no insect or human can escape from them and their sinister effects. The incidence of birth defects and cancers will continue to increase. The industry has created a toxic environment that is now out of anyone’s control. The chemicals are so persistent that this pandemic has taken on a life of its own. In Indiana, clothianidin was found to be present in wild flowers from which the bees were feeding and in fields that hadn’t been sown for 2 years. Those who have been protecting the pesticides industry might hope to be protected in return. But there is no magic bullet to stop our children getting birth defects, neurobehavioural disorders, or childhood cancers. There is no magic bullet to prevent us or our relatives or colleagues from getting cancers or neurodegenerative disorders. A prospective study on vineyard workers in France (the Phytoner Study) was the first study to provide prospective data on farm workers in the Bordeaux area of France (1997-98 and 2001-03) suggested long-term cognitive effects of chronic exposure to pesticides and raised the issue of evolution towards dementia.  

In the UK the public has no idea. The public in the UK still has no idea about the hazards of neonicotinoid insecticides and GM Roundup Ready crops to human health and biodiversity. This is as a result of denial and suppression of information by government Civil Servants (Defra etc.), assisted by the BBC, the Science Media Centre and most of the mainstream newspapers.

Mr Detken, perhaps you could advise Ms Geslain Lanuélle to rethink EFSA’s rejection of the Seralini study. Sooner or later the industry will be exposed.

Yours sincerely

Rosemary Mason MB ChB FRCA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s