BAB Letter in Support of the Maui GMO Moratorium

Watch live now GMO moratorium Maui Council meeting: Read BAB Pres. comments sent to Maui Council this morning:

Aloha Honorable Chair Hokama and Distinguished Maui Councilmembers,

I confirmed this morning again that the HDOA has only 5 pesticide inspectors statewide. This year in the legislature, we added 3 and we lost 4, despite promises of HDOA, the Governor and Kauai legislative delegates to address pesticide failures at the state level as a method to avoid the passage of Bill 2491. Just 7 of 72 cases on Kauai alone in 2011 and 2012 have been completed as only one person is assigned to process complaints. Our HDOA is absolutely not doing its’ job and has not been for years, hence the major pushes for protections at the home rule County level in order to protect citizens’ “life and health.” The state regulations should be a floor, not a ceiling for the Counties and the federal regulations are supposed to follow the same model. Please read the full articles linked.

Furthermore, the HDOA actions and leadership relies almost entirely on the opinion of the Hawaii Attorney General, who defers to the Federal government on nearly everything regarding GE and pesticides. Therefore, it is almost as if, we are missing our entire state-level regulation of agricultural GMOs and pesticides as our HDOA literally defers nearly all of their decision making to the positions of the federal government. The federal government, which as you can see, performs absolutely zero testing on pesticides, GMO crops or human safety studies in regards to both. Instead federal agencies rely primarily on studies performed by the companies applying for approval which a major conflict of interest and prime example of the highly concerning and numerous chemical+GMO company executives and lobbyists in key regulatory positions of the FDA, EPA and USDA.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture pesticide branch WOEFULLY UNDERSTAFFED and has been since budget cuts in 2008 and 2010.

“The state Department of Agriculture in Hawaii has only one employee assigned to review pesticide inspection reports and follow up on possible violations. And she says she hasn’t gotten around to reviewing most reports in several years so there’s been little if any action against pesticide misuse.

Since 2009, the department has suffered budget cuts that have stretched its pesticide oversight to the limit, its director says. There are only six pesticide inspectors in the state, including one on Kauai, where local officials are moving to take pesticide oversight into their own hands.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health has no program in place to regularly test for pesticide contamination in the soil, air, or water. The sole position on Kauai that is supposed to monitor dust under pesticide regulations has been vacant for more than a year.

The state Department of Agriculture in Hawaii has only one employee assigned to review pesticide inspection reports and follow up on possible violations. And she says she hasn’t gotten around to reviewing most reports in several years so there’s been little if any action against pesticide misuse.

Since 2009, the department has suffered budget cuts that have stretched its pesticide oversight to the limit, its director says. There are only six pesticide inspectors in the state, including one on Kauai, where local officials are moving to take pesticide oversight into their own hands.”

Really appreciated your intelligent questions today and am pleased to see that the clarification has been made, that the EPA does not only perform NO testing of pesticides, but uses the industries’ own studies and studies of companies applying for registration to “register,” not “approve.” The same is true with the USDA in regards to GMO foods, where approval for US food supply is founded on studies funded and provided by the companies applying for approval. This is done under the understanding that the USDA cannot afford to test GE crops, cannot possibly assess all the risks and are relying on the industry public relations success of assuring the public that GE crops are “substantially equivalent” to conventional crops despite their contradicting methodology of applying for and receiving patents for GE crops as entirely unique and clearly, substantially different and new life forms thus justifying the grant of patents for GE crops. Basically the companies talk out of both sides of their mouths, one to the public, one to the patent office.

Furthermore, “Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011, according to the report by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.”

Essentially, the Bt GMO crops provide minimal decrease in sprayed pesticides (while assuring EPA pesticide registered Bt GMO crops produce pesticides leading to human consumption of genetically engineered Bt toxin,) while the majority of GE crops are engineered to promote the sale of pesticides by chemical companies producing patented GE crops, thus increasing the amount of pesticides used overall. For the record’s sake, Dow Agroscience, parent company of Mycogen, is currently nearing final approval for 2,4-D herbicide resistant corn, which is an ingredient of the infamous Agent Orange. Already, at least 46 millions of 2,4-d herbicide is sprayed in the United States on an annual basis. Where do you think Dow was testing 2,4-d resistant corn? Their open air laboratory in the Hawaiian islands perhaps? We already know that Agent Orange was field tested in Kauai prior to use, and suspect that the islands have been used to prepare 2,4-d resistant corn but can not confirm many of the chem+GMO activities due to corporate resistance to public disclosure.

In addition, Sri Lanka and Argentina studies regarding the toxicity of glyphosate have led to major legal restrictions and prohibitions of Roundup citing renal toxicity and numerous health maladies including widespread birth defects in residents abutting or engaging in GMO Roundup Ready soy production in Argentina and for farmers using Roundup in Sri Lanka. A recent University of Caen study linked the inert (inactive) ingredients of Roundup to. Excerpts from the Scientific American coverage include:
“But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.
The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” — the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.”
“…But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.
One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself – a finding the researchers call “astonishing.”
“One label requirement for Roundup is that it should not be used in or near freshwater to protect amphibians and other wildlife.”

Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling (Argentina study)

I am including a study showing the transfer of Bt toxins from GMO foods to the majority of blood of pregnant women, umbilical blood and non-pregnant women. It does not break down in the human body as suggested by the manufacturers of GMO Bt crops, which are registered as pesticides with the EPA but fed to US citizens without any type of labeling.

Furthermore, it should be noted that regardless of starvation problems in Africa, an proposed industry candidate for GMO crops allegedly “feeding the world,” has experienced a mixed rejection of GE crops due to health and environmental risks and that: “From 2002, GM crops have been offered as food aid. In Southern Africa, several countries have expressed concern about the use of GM crops as food aid, given the lack of clarity about their potential impacts. During the drought of 2002-03, several countries opted to reject GM food aid. In making their decisions, countries considered not only the immediate issue of food shortages and the overall implications of GM crops for human and environmental health, but also future directions in agriculture, the implications of private sector-led research, livelihood and development options, ethical issues and rights concerns (Mohamed- Katerere 2003). Similarly, public concerns are raised about the relationship between GM crops and sustainable agriculture. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM-Tanzania, PELUM-Kenya, and PELUM-Zimbabwe), Biowatch South Africa, and national consumer councils have all been key players.”

GMO crops do not “feed the world,” and to date in the US there are no commercially approved drought-resistant or yield increasing GMO crops. GE crops are primarily used for fuel and livestock feed.

A recent report in Cascadia Times suggested that GMO testing sites have made parts of Hawaii into some of the most toxic chemical environments in a comparison between all United States agriculture. Data suggests that use of some of the most toxic pesticides, are ten times the national average. It’s the multiple growing seasons. That’s why other communities can pass GMO and pesticide regulations without getting sued but they don’t want to let Hawaii go. Just like the sugar and the pineapple corporations. Medical doctors treating communities near fields are concerned that they are seeing elevated rates of serious illness, possibly including rare birth defects ten times the national average.

Fiji’s organic islands have business booming, and I propose this is the agricultural industry most residents would support, that would seriously boost our economy, provide stable, sustainable and safe jobs. I also believe that the pure and pristine environment visitors expect of Hawaii, would be best preserved heading in this direction:

Risk-benefit analysis v. precautionary principle. Europe is not willing to risk the health of their children, the stability of their agricultural crops, and the safety of their environment for Monsanto and Mycogen. The United States use the risk-benefit analysis which seems to assume the “risks” associated with GMO farming, underweight the benefits. For who? The US is one of the last several countries in the world allowing GMO crop production. It is on it’s way out because it’s not working and industry claims have already been disproven. This is one of the last places in the world allowing these companies to do this. The risks are on our communities and the benefits are for the minority population profiting through the chemical companies, and commercial enterprises such as Monsanto and Mycogen.

What makes GMOs seem “cheap” in the US is federal subsidies. Without them, there would be likely be no GMO industry in the US because it is not cost-effective or affordable. Patented seeds which must be re-purchased each growing season, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and the inability to save seed to re-plant remove while some crops require twice the water as conventional versions. It is easy to understand how the profits for farmers are redirected to GMO companies and place them in a dependent cycle with chemical corporations. In 2010 70% the US soy bean value was subdized by US tax dollars and 40% of the value paid, was from federal crop insurance subsidies. If 94% of US soy is GMO, and 40% of US soy had to be subsidized with crop insurance due to crop failure, how efficient is this and what does this say for the reality of GE crops? If you kicked out all of the federal subsidy crutches for GMO crops, this industry in the US would collapse on itself.

Councilmember Couch and I discussed the Russian government’s rejection of GE crops briefly last night and here is the bill which considers GMO crop production by companies, elected officials allowing GE crops and individual disciplinary actions for illegal GMO usage or imporation, to be considered as terrorist threat in Russia. This bill is still being considered while a moratorium on GMO food imports, approvals and planting has already been established. The proposed penalties include a minimum 15 year prison sentence and a maximum of life in prison. Here are some news releases from a major news agency, the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia, ITAR-TASS:

“The bill also provides for fines for concealing or deliberate distortion of information about environmental impacts of GMOs. Thus, individuals will be punished by a fine ranging from 500 to 1,000 roubles (14.5-29 U.S. dollars), government officials – by a fine of 1,000-2,000 roubles, and legal entities – by a fine of 10,000-20,000 roubels.”

“We do not want to develop the production of genetically modified foods or to import them from other countries,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a congress of legislators from Russia’s rural communities on Saturday. “We are capable of feeding ourselves with normal, ordinary foods, and not genetically modified foodstuffs. If the Americans like to feed themselves with such foods, they are free to do so. We should not do that. We have enough arable land and opportunities to consume normal products.”

Russia’s national association of genetic security last year came out with a demand for banning the use of transgenic cultures in Russia’s territory for a period of ten years. Fundamental GMO studies will be carried out during that period and the effects on the human body established.

For your information, your Mayor Alan Arakawa just happened to publicly receive $1100 from Monsanto lobbyist Carol Reimann and Monsanto just weeks before signing that memorandum with them.

You are the last governing body in the state clear of Chemical and GMO funding from 2007-2013 and I have hope and faith in your integrity. Here are the Council analyses, I will leave it up to you to guess why the Honolulu City Council removed GMO labeling from the HSAC package despite unanimous support from neighbor island Councils (two years in a row):

Here are the chemical and GMO campaign contributions to the Hawaii state legislature form 2007-2013. You can draw your own conclusions as to why the Senate Agriculture Chair Nishihara, (who believes DDT is still safe and who taught Special Education for twenty years and does not believe in any link between pesticides and birth defects,) and our Senate Chair of Consumer Protection Rosalyn Baker, has fundraisers thrown for them by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA) lobbyist, Alicia Maluafiti. No increase in pesticide inspectors, regulation, disclosure, or GE food labeling has been able to get past the Senate Ag and CPN committees for years.

I urge you to read the United Nations 2013 Trade and Environment Review entitled, Wake up Before It is Too Late. It essentially states that if we do not immediately depart from high-external-input, petrochemical and heavy pesticide use monocultures such as the GMO farming methods, for small, “mosaic-like,” bio-diverse, sustainable, low-input, organic and natural farming methods, that the problems associated with pesticide/monoculture/GE farming (such as pesticide resistant “superweeds,” and “superbugs,”) will lead to massive global food shortages causing trade and economic disruption and even civil war over food:

(Wall Street Journal) China already has rejected billions of dollars of US corn due to GMO contamination:

Hundreds of millions lost for US farmers due to GMO contaminated soy and corn rejection by China:

Lending evidence to the prohibition of open air GE experimentation, even unapproved GM crops such as GM wheat field testing, has led to wheat contamination and cancellation of imports of US wheat:

Should you be interested in reading over 1500 studies regarding GE and related pesticides:

Colonel Dr. Don Huber of the Army Medical Intelligence Center and former consultant for Dow Chemical said, “Future historians may well look back and write about our time, not about how many pounds of pesticide we did or did not apply; but by how willing we were to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations based on false promises and flawed science, just to benefit the “bottom line” of a commercial enterprise.” Here are his expansive credentials:

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. I will continue to provide you with critical information we believe is relevant to your decision making. Thank you for your time.

Malama Pono,

Nomi Carmona
Babes Against Biotech
twitter: @babesagainstgmo
insta: Babes Against Biotech

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