The image of the other child, with the back deformation, was taken by Dr Graciela Gomez.
Suffer the little children to come unto me indeed…
Argentina has become a giant experiment in farming genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready (RR) soy, engineered to be tolerant to Roundup, Monsanto’s formulation of the herbicide glyphosate. The Argentine government, eager to pull the country out of a deep economic recession in the 1990s, restructured its economy around GM soy grown for export, most of which goes to feed livestock in Europe. In 2009, GM soy was planted on 19 million hectares – over half of Argentina’s cultivated land – and sprayed with 200 million litres of glyphosate herbicide. Spraying is often carried out from the air, causing problems of drift.
In 2002, two years after the first big harvests of RR soy in the country, residents and doctors in soy producing areas began reporting serious health effects from glyphosate spraying, including high rates of birth defects as well as infertility, stillbirths, miscarriages, and cancers. Environmental effects include killed food crops and livestock and streams strewn with dead fish.
One of the first medical doctors to report problems from glyphosate spraying of GM soy was Dr Darío Gianfelici, from Cerrito, Entre Ríos, Argentina. According to Gianfelici, there are two levels of toxic effects from glyphosate: acute effects, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, respiratory problems, and skin rashes; and chronic effects, which take 10–20 years to show up. These include infertility and cancer.
Gianfelici said: “Our town experienced drastic changes before and after soy. I’ve seen people die from cancer at age 30. I have witnessed pregnancy problems and a significant increase in fertility problems. I have seen an increase in respiratory diseases, as has never been seen before. GM soy has been a death sentence for humans and for the environment. No money can compensate for the damage that has been caused – the contamination, the deaths, the cases of cancer and malformations.”
Reports of birth defects in glyphosate-sprayed areas of Argentina gained scientific credibility in 2009, when senior Argentine government scientist Prof. Andrés Carrasco went public with his research findings, fully published a year later, that glyphosate causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agricultural spraying. “The findings in the lab are compatible with malformations observed in humans exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy,” said Carrasco, “I suspect the toxicity classification of glyphosate is too low … in some cases this can be a powerful poison.”
At a recent conference, Carrasco, professor and director of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, University of Buenos Aires Medical School and lead researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), said a frequent result of malformations in human embryos is miscarriage. He said that it was now not unusual for women in GM soy producing regions of Argentina to have up to five miscarriages in a row.
The research findings of Carrasco and his colleagues were not welcomed by some sectors of government and industry. After he announced them, four people from Argentina’s crop protection trade association CASAFE were sent to try to search his laboratory and he was “seriously told off” by Lino Barrañao, Argentina’s science and technology minister.
Things took a violent turn in 2010, when an organized mob of thugs attacked people who gathered to hear Carrasco talk in La Leonesa, an agricultural town that has become a centre for activism against agrochemical spraying of soy and rice crops. Three people were seriously injured. Carrasco and a colleague shut themselves in a car and were surrounded by people making violent threats and beating the car for two hours. Witnesses said the attack was organized by local officials and a local rice producer to protect the economic interests behind local agro-industry and Amnesty International called for an investigation, into the event.
Again link to the pictures: http://www.amcmh.org/PagAMC/downloads/ads85.htm
Link to the full documented scientific report: http://www.reduas.fcm.unc.edu.ar/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/10/INGLES-Report-from-the-1st-National-Meeting-Of-Physicians-In-The-Crop-Sprayed-Towns.pdf (PDF Document)
For more information see HERE.
Image Credits: http://www.amcmh.org