Roundup Information

I am frequently subjected to mild scoffing from my scientist/scientific friends, because I want GMOs to be labeled. They pooh-pooh me and say there is no evidence that GMOs are harmful. I argue that there is also no conclusive proof GMOs, either in total or by plant, are safe for human consumption. I also point out that, contrary to myth, there ARE studies showing harm resulting form eating GMO crops. There is scientific peer-reviewed evidence that GMO crops are harmful to animals and there is similar evidence that GMO crops are not harmful.

You would think scientists only had access to half the data on GMOs. When discussing the safety of eating GMO’s, scientists who support GMOs maintain that they:

“have established that the level of safety to consumers of current genetically engineered foods is likely to be equivalent to that of traditional foods. At present, no verifiable evidence of adverse health effects of BD foods has been reported, although the current passive reporting system probably would not detect minor or rare adverse effects or a moderate increase in effects with a high background incidence such as diarrhea.”

That’s great, except for part where they are wrong. The fact is that there IS verifiable evidence of adverse health effects. For one thing, “A study published in 2009found clear negative impact on liver and kidney function in rats consuming GM maize varieties for 90 days” (Key S, Ma JK, Drake PM. Genetically modified plants and human health. J R Soc Med 2008; 101(6): 290-8.) These are not anecdotal findings by fringe tree-huggers; these are peer-reviewed studies with replicable data. 

Moreover, all GMOs are not the same type of GMO and it may be that growing GMO crops are causing a “perfect storm” of effects based on clustered – not individual – data sets.  No one is really, really certain; there are simply not enough studies yet. Call me a bluff old traditionalist, but I would like the option of avoiding foods that have not be conclusively proven (not just “likely”) to be non-harmful.

However, there is one thing that we can be fairly sure about – the Monsanto created herbicide glyphosate, AKA Roundup,  is bad news.  GMO crops sold by Monsanto are modified to be “glyphosate resistant”, enabling farmers to spray hellish amounts on their fields yet only kill the weeds. The glyphosate sticks to the food and if you eat “conventional” food, then you get to eat a dollop of Roundup with every bite. Monsanto researchers assure us that Roundup is safe for humans, but non-Monsanto funded research indicated otherwise. In tests of the glyphosate, and not just the individual chemical composing glyphosate, researchers found that “Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested. Most importantly, 8 formulations out of 9 were up to one thousand times more toxic than their active principles. Our results challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake for pesticides because this norm is calculated from the toxicity of the active principle alone. Chronic tests on pesticides may not reflect relevant environmental exposures if only one ingredient of these mixtures is tested alone.”

Multiple studies have shown glyphosate’s ill-effects on animals. Just recently, yet another study has been added to the fold. When sows were given feed containing Roundup residue (i.e conventional feed) the rate of piglet malformations increased significantly. The authors of the study noted that this was not a fluke:

“The predominant uses of glyphosate are for stubble management, pre-sowing weed control and pre-harvest application (desiccation) [2]. Glyphosate is also used for weed control in fields of genetically modified (GM) crops like soybean, rapeseed, corn, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, etc, where it is directly applied to the plants [3]. The rapidly  growing problem of glyphosate-resistant weeds is reflected in a steady increase in the rate of glyphosate used on crops. Stems, leaves and beans of glyphosate resistant soy are contaminated with glyphosate. Moreover, because of the extensive use of glyphosate, it is frequently detected in water, rain and air [4,5]. Recently, glyphosate residues were tested in urine and different organs of dairy cows as well as in urine of hares, rabbits and humans in different concentrations [6]. Glyphosate and its commercial herbicides severely affect embryonic and placental cells, producing mitochondrial damage, necrosis and programmed cell death with doses far below the used agricultural concentrations. Paganelli et al. [7] found congenital malformations in chicken embryos with glyphosate at a concentration of 8-12 μM glyphosate in the injected side. The molecular phenotypes were correlated with a disruption of developmental mechanisms involving the neural crest, embryotic midline formation and cephalic patterning induced by the active principal of glyphosate not by the adjuvants due to impairment of retinoid signaling. The authors gave an overview of reports of malformations in children of families living few meters from where this herbicide was sprayed. The risk of malformation in human embryos is very high when their mothers are contaminated at 2 to 8 weeks of pregnancy. The detected glyphosate concentrations in organs, gut walls and meat of these piglets suspect correlation to glyphosate. Daruich and co-workers [8] concluded that glyphosate causes various disorders both in the parent female and in the progeny. Paternal exposure to glyphosate is recognized to be a cause of birth defects by pesticide mediated alterations of germ cells [9,10].”

 

Clearly farm animals are effected by Roundup residue, but what about humans? Bad news there, I’m afraid. Studies have shown that “glyphosate was significantly higher in urine of humans with conventional feeding. Furthermore, chronically ill humans showed significantly higher glyphosate residues in urine than healthy population. The presence of glyphosate residues in both humans and animals could haul the entire population towards numerous health hazards, studying the impact of glyphosate residues on health is warranted and the global regulations for the use of glyphosate may have to be re-evaluated.” (Krüger et al., J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014, 4:2)

Mysteriously, almost all the studies showing glyphosate’s harmful effects have taken place outside the USA. These studies are NOT subject to attempted replication in the USA after publication. It is almost as if Monsanto controls what scientists are allowed to test. American scientists continue to insist that, based exclusively on published information in American scientific journals, that there is no evidence to suggest GMOs are harmful.

Huh.

Posted in are you kidding me with this shit?, health, irony set on "stun", shit I think y'all should know | 2 Comments

Not that TMNT

My daughters are going to be cute for Halloween. Lilo is dressing up as the Queen of Halloween. Stitch is going as a black cat, probably because she is aware she is adorable with a wee black nose and whiskers. Spock is going as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but NOT this one:

sexy TMNT

Those are the “sexy” TMNT costumes available. Seriously. I am not making this shit up.

OMG NO

Posted in are you kidding me with this shit?, daughters, Feminism, motherhood | Leave a comment

Baby Buddhist?

We took Baby Spock to the a Buddhist temple this morning for a tour and to talk to someone there. Why? Because the kid is freaking us out, that’s why.

Not only has she repeatedly questioned us on how we know that we are real, that we are not just part of someone’s story, that we might just think we are real (Buddhist much?) – she also spontaneously generated the concept of rebirth when she assured us that our little Yorkie would be “reborneded” in another dog’s body. She has also described God as a “blue light in her brain”. For shits and giggles I researched  the idea of God as a blue light in the brain and found multiple books that talked about the “blue pearl”, AKA the shining blue light you see in meditation when you become as one with God.

She has not picked this up in Sunday School.

While at the temple a Buddhist priest/nun/adherent took the time to talk and interact with Spock and show us around. Spock was well-behaved, but was acting “normal” and not saying anything profound. Frankly, this was unsurprising since about 99% of the time Spock is a smart-but-normal 4 year old kid.

Then the nice lady asked Spock what she wanted most. Spock told her she wanted 1) to never need to sleep again and 2) to make the voices in her brain be quiet so she could hear her brain. (WTF?) Upon further questioning, Spock told us that the voices were in her belly and they kept her from hearing her brain all the time. The nice lady told us that one of the things Buddhists are taught adepts can learn is to free themselves from the need for sleep. She also told us that “quieting” the mind was important in meditation.

Huh.

Spock also told her  that “good food” didn’t involve eating “living creatures”.

Again, huh.

Afterwards, the nice lady told us Spock was a great blessing for us (duh!) and that we should write down anything else ‘weird’ Spock says in the future. She then looked at Spock speculatively, shook her hand, and bowed us out of the temple.

I’ll let you know if Spock starts levitating or talking to animals or anything.

Posted in daughters, life as I know it, motherhood | 3 Comments

Anniversary Message From Sweet Babou

(Look what Sweet Babou left for me to find on my blog this morning!)

Alright Fokkerites, today’s blog post is being taken over by me, Sweet Babou, because as of today The Fokker and I have been married for 13 years. That seems like a long time, but honestly I feel like we just got married. And at the same time like we have always been married. I think there probably some sort of clinically diagnosable reason for this, but I prefer to think of it as evidence to back up the overall feeling that we “fit”…like Lego bricks, or Lincoln Logs, or two other things that fit nicely together without needing glue … there was a third thing I promise.

I would like, though, to share something with you good folks that you may not know about your beloved Fokker: Without her I am reduced to a rather pathetic puddle of pathos. I’m serious. I put on the brave face when she goes to take the girls to their grand parents and I’m staying home because I have to work, but within 4 hours I’m drinking wine out of a box, eating peanut butter directly from the jar, and all the while browsing the internet for increasingly shameful pornography. To say I fall apart is to drastically understate the true nature of what is going on. I’m surprised I can manage to actually convert oxygen to carbon-dioxide by the time she returns 3 days later to find the dishes undone, and the laundry mildewing in the washing machine.

Now, to be clear, I managed to live several years before we met, and achieved something which might be described as “existence”…had a job, a home (yes I owned a condo when I was in my early 20s), friends and the sort of social anxiety that meant that the 2000 census worker had to hide in the bushes and ambush (hey, is that where the word “ambush” comes from?) me on my way to work. I thought things were ok … I didn’t really date (social anxiety, remember) but I was busy working on what would turn out to be a long-term hobby as a workaholic. 

Then what happens? The Fokker. I didn’t know what hit me. And I can’t imagine what kind of sad, sorry state I would have been in without her. For starters I have a pretty strong feeling that my diabetes would have caught up with me by now, and not in a good way. But even beyond that I can tell you all with 100% certainty that everything I now consider “wonderful”, “right”, and “good” about my life is because of her. I didn’t really want children before we met. Crazy right? I was actually considering a life without the three most wonderful, brilliant and beautiful creatures that have ever existed. Looking back now on the “before time” it seems so shallow and meaningless.

So, on our 13th anniversary I would like to tell my beautiful, wonderful wife that because of her I am kinder, smarter, braver, more loving, and more loved than I could have ever been before. She’s pushed me beyond what I thought was possible, and has made dreams come true that I only bothered to dream about dreaming. I never could have imagined myself where I am today, and I never thought it would be possible to have the kind of love that we share with each other and with our precious little girls. I cannot possibly thank you in any way that would come close to demonstrating my gratitude for everything you have done for me. I’m honored and thrilled to spend another 13 years at your side. I can only imagine what we will create together in that time.

Love

Sweet Babou

Posted in I like this, dammit., life as I know it | 7 Comments

My Yorkie

I am sad because my Yorkie, Penfold, is dead. For the first time in 20+ years, there is no Yorkie in my home. This is a serious bummer.

Moreover, my Sweet Babou is sad because he and the wee Yorkie were particularly attached. They bonded over Penfold’s puppy antics. For example, Penfold’s main goal in life was to poop on rocks. Not gravel, mind you. He wanted to poop on BIG rocks. To crap on a boulder would have brought him joys untold. As it was, during walks Penfold would hold his poo until he could find the biggest available rock, and then hoist his butt up (sometimes over his head) in order to poop on said rock.

Penfold trying to poop on a rock

This brought my husband deep and profound mirth.

Penfold also like to run fast in the snow. He was a lazy little guy, often demanding that we carry him home from walkies. Yet when there was some fresh powder on the ground he turned into a canine Usain Bolt. His ears would stream out behind him like banners and he would zoom through the snow. Occasionally he would miscalculate and get himself stuck in a drift, necessitating a rescue. Then he would hare off again, apparently riding an invisible sled (Rosebud?) we couldn’t see.

The dog also HATED rain. He could not abide to have water fall on him from the sky. Whenever he had to do his business on a rainy day, he would make what we called the “sad llama” to denote his abhorrence of the whole thing. Seriously, he looked like this:

sad llama

Then he would come in and dry his face on the carpet. He didn’t mind the rest of him being wet, but damp facial fur was heinous in his opinion.

He also thought the TV set was a window. Due to our taste for nature programs, he thought meerkats and mongoose families lived outside. He studied them so intensely that he learned to stand up on his back legs just like they did. He would growl at the snakes during mongoose battles. He would whimper when baby meerkats were shown, because he wanted to sniff them so very badly.

Penfold was also yellow as a buttercup. He would bark at squirrels, but if one didn’t run he was terrified. I also saw him get served by a wren that hopped at him. He fled in terror from a wren. He was also afraid of his food dish.

We miss our little dog.

Posted in life as I know it | 4 Comments

Déjà vu?

The girls are on  fall break this week and I am not getting any writing done. Yeah, shocking I know. This week has not been great for all my thoughts going in neat rows, either. So the writing thing would have been moot anyway. However, I am getting a fair amount of closet cleaning/purging/organizing done because I can stop that on a dime and supervise small humans while doing it.

What has been weird is the bizarre obsession I have had about reincarnation lately.

Reincarnation, the transmigration and pre-existence of (at least some) souls, is one of the only post-life experiences we have any kind of scientific evidence for. The kind of scientific evidence that makes atheist scientists who are professional skeptics think, “Maybe this happens?”

When I was a lass, I resisted any concept of reincarnation at the time, to because my Baptist upbringing had assured me it was a big-ass sin to even THINK about reincarnation. Pure devil-magic, that. Later, when my Christian beliefs took a left turn into the Episcopal Church, I no longer assumed reincarnation theology was anti-Christian or “evil”. Eventually I learned that reincarnation was a big part of early Christian theology.

Thus, when I first had the “Dream”, which has occurred more than once and is surreal in its lucidity and is indelibly imprinted in my brain like no other dream before or since, I tried to dismiss it as just a dream. Later I came to wonder if it was a past-life memory. I still wonder. The Dream is short and is as follows:

I am afraid, but almost resigned. I am trying to run up a sand dune on a beach. I hear booms and fireworks but they seem ‘distant’ because my heartbeat & breathing is so loud in my ears. I am holding something but don’t look down to see what. I am wearing heavy footwear so running in sand is really hard. I feel almost disoriented, if that makes any sense. I don’t really know what I am doing, as if it doesn’t feel real but *I* know it is real. Then I feel a very light “punch” on my chest and I feel like something ‘peels away’; like I just dropped an extremely heavy backpack. I am light and not afraid anymore, and I turn to see what I dropped. There is a body in the sand behind me. It is a young black man, very dark complexioned, wearing a WWII army uniform. His eyes are open. I ‘realize’ he was/is me.

Sometimes, in the dream I’ll “know” other things. I know I hate red clay dirt and HATE having work in it when the sun is high. I know I feel different and slightly alienated from the rest of my family. I know I look at movie posters but don’t get to see the movies. I know I like to read but don’t get to much and people think I am weird for it. I know I feel envy of pretty white girls who don’t have to work. Not bitter envy; more of a longing for that kind of life. I know my grandmother is raising me. My father is alive but works far away. My mother isn’t dead but I haven’t seen or heard from her since I was a baby and I don’t really care that much. I know I feel bad about the fact I don’t feel bad about my mother.

Weird, huh?

Does anyone else have a weird dream or feeling about someone that ‘might’ have been? 

Posted in I've been thinking too much | 4 Comments

Look at this Baby Elephant!!!

Motherhood. There seems to be a certain, shall we say, commonality to it across species.

When this baby elephant falls on his but, his mother and “aunt” rush to his aid and then start, for lack of a better way of describing it, kissing the boo-boo and making it better. Moreover, the trumpeting calls sound exactly like they are saying, “Oh Sweetie! Do ‘oo fall down? Did it hurt its widdle bottom?” Then they lead the baby to an easier path and give him cuddles and he gets some milk for extra comfort.

This is precisely what happened whenever one of my toddlers tripped. Same reactions, same noises, same worried trunk curls.

Moreover, motherhood and nurturing doesn’t fiddle-faddle about with whether or not a baby “might” be hers; a baby’s cry will attract mothers that aren’t of the same species. I have several friends who have no, and I mean NO, plans to become parents. Nonetheless, let their cat mew or their dog whimper and they do the same kind of run-over-to-comfort stuff I do with my human babies. That drive to protect helpless little things runs deep, y’all

Not that daddies don’t have the imperative to save babies, too. A seriously pissed off elephant, a “tusker” (large bull elephant) that had killed three adults over the previous year, saved a baby girl’s life when he heard her crying. The bull elephant was attacking the house but stopped when he heard the baby. “The child’s father, Dipak Mahato, said they were having dinner around 8pm when they suddenly heard a “cracking sound” and then a huge crash from the bedroom. “We ran over and were shocked to see the wall in pieces and a tusker standing over our baby. She was crying and there were huge chunks of the wall lying all around and on the cot,” he said. “The tusker started moving away but when our child started crying again, it returned and used its trunk to remove the debris.”

This is far from the first time an animal has saved a human baby. Frankly, I love animal-saves-baby stories. Here are some that will warm the cockles of your heart:

A 2-year-old male pit bull named Ace woke his deaf teenage owner and saved him from a house fire.

Speaking of pit bulls, a pit bull named Ruger (perfect name) saves his owner and her toddler from a violent home invasion.

Not to mention a German Shepherd named Jade was praised for saving a newborn’s life after the infant was abandoned in a park in Birmingham, England.

A black Lab named Jet saved a baby from a speeding car.

Yet another black Lab named Bear saved a baby from drowning.

Thank God, an abandoned newborn was rescued by a Thai Bangkaew named Pui.

It isn’t just dogs, either.  A parrot squawked his brains out summoning help for a choking toddler.

Dolphins have been recorded helping humans before, and one named Flippo saved a boy drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

A grizzly bear wanted to snack on a horse and it’s 8 year old human rider, but Tonk the big-ass horse leading the trail ride made the grizzly reconsider its options.

Cats are just as capable as defending their human young as dogs, as Tara the cat proved after saving a four-year-old from a dog attack.

Then, of course, we circle back to elephants when a pachyderm used her own body to shield and save an 8 yr old girl from the 2004 tsunami in Thailand.

I am seriously considering becoming a vegetarian again.

Posted in I like this, dammit. | 4 Comments