The pesticides and herbicides used to treat genetically-modified organisms (GMO) are showing up in significant amounts in rainwater, water wells, and even mothers’ breast milk, according to new research out of Brazil. Particularly among residents living near massive GMO monoculture operations, research reveals that 100 percent of women tested positive for at least one agrochemical in their breast milk, and cumulatively tested at agrochemical levels much higher than what is even permitted in cow’s milk.
In 2006, an airplane spraying accident contaminated the entire Brazilian city of Lucas do Rio Verde with untold levels of toxic agrochemicals. Residents of that city are already exposed to more than 35 gallons of agrochemicals in a year, but during that particular year, residents were exposed to even higher amounts. As a result, researchers decided to delve deeper into what the effects of that exposure have been on the population.
According to an investigation out of the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, a sampling of breast milk from 62 women revealed that all were contaminated with at least one dangerous agrochemical. Every single sample also tested positive for DDE, a metabolite of the infamous synthetic pesticide DDT, which has been banned in Brazil for over a decade. Other chemicals detected in the majority of samples included organochlorines, which are extremely toxic.
According to Danielly Palma, the primary researcher who worked on the study, 44 percent of the breast milk samples contained beta-endosulfan, an insecticide chemical known to damage the central nervous system, immune system, and respiratory system (http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/waste…). Thirty-seven percent of the samples tested positive for deltamethrin, another widely-used, highly-toxic insecticide known to cause severe prenatal damage (http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profile…).
Overall, the study illustrates clearly how pervasive industrial agriculture chemicals are in the environment and among populations. There is simply no denying that the massive spraying of GMO agrochemicals is affecting humans in very significant ways, and that GMOs are hardly the “green” breakthrough in agricultural technology that the biotechnology companies would have you think they are.
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