The purpose of this blog site is to encourage deeper consideration on various issues looking at the source and relying on more than one opinion. Getting to the truth and doing right by the world. And I have an opportunity to now show you how that all plays out for me and many others in today’s over stimulation and most obvious lack of oversight, in the age of the internet news blog.
Over the last couple of weeks, my prior blog post has seen great readership and sharing, and has beaten many prior numbers held by other posts on this site. It has also stirred up a few not so happy defenders of the dreadful forestry operatives in this province. This topic is hot and bothersome right now, so I take no credit in being an instigator or even a great writer. The situation itself is the instigator, and I am so glad to see people looking at various perspectives and points of view on this topic. Digging deeper is what inspired this page. And it is the subject for this week’s blog.
A funny after effect of writing a blog is the a slight trepidation over how others may receive it, and excitement over having completed a piece on something important to me, getting my feelings out and shared clearly so that others can relate, and understand, appreciate the view from my seat. And then as well is the preparedness to defend, to those who may be offended or insulted, those defending the bad behaviour I am grumbling about, or others who just want to shut down a topic they find tedious and unimportant. Those are my favorites. They claim they do not care, but then go to the effort to try to undermine the effort you make. Any effort speaks volumes about how much they actually do care. People are allowed to disagree with me. I am okay with that. And I hope when they do, they can support their case. I am open to considering other perspectives.
In my blog, https://onenotsoboredhousewife.ca/2017/09/06/if-you-go-out-in-the-woods-today-youre-sure-of-a-big-surprise/ , I referenced the 2015 IARC report on glyphosate. That report has received unending criticism since 2015, and faces debate based on differing study results from various boards and research groups. And as I stated in that blog, it was proven that many (if not all) of those other studies had been funded by Monsanto, the perpetrator of all things Glyphosate. I took the time to make sure people knew that I knew there was a debate, but more importantly that that debate was based on biased and goal driven propaganda. I know better than to leave myself open to dealing with wasted criticism over minute details.
So, then comments came, mostly on the various shares over social media. Among them, many who agree we have an issue in the forests in Nova Scotia, who agree our species at risk are so because of our actions (and when I say our – I refer to humans, but more pointedly the industry and political will that influences and determines action). Then there were a very few who didn’t agree on one part of the article, just one, and so sloughed off the whole thing. And put it in writing. This disagreement, fortunately for me, was supported with an “article” that provided proof, that mine was not a valid perspective. So I looked at the proof, as I do happily with anything people use to convince me of their beliefs.
The article provided a big statement in its headline – “IARC Glyphosate Bombshell: Scientist who lead review of herbicide withheld data showing no cancer link”. Ouch, right? This article was recent, posted in June 2017. It accused a lead scientist of withholding data that would have impacted the IARC’s 2015 report immensely and cited another article and study as its source. This article was published on a site called Genetic Literacy Project. Sounds pretty intellectual, no? It is intended to sound official, scholarly, intellectual…. But it is, as was found out by this digger, engaged in goal orientated propaganda. I looked into GLP and found it was reported as being a GMO lobby group funded by… Monsanto. Shocker! (No, not really). The group is “run by its Executive Director, the infamous Jon Entine, the world’s leading biotech shill and character assassination operative.” (TruthWiki) “The Genetic Literacy Project knowingly and repeatedly publishes false information about GMOs in their never-ending attempt to brainwash consumers into thinking genetically modified food crops are not a major detriment to human health and the environment. The GLP website participates in revenge journalism and character assassination attempts for any person or group that criticizes GMOs and chemical agriculture practices.”
Reuters Investigates, an internationally acclaimed newsgroup, was his source. So I looked on their Reuters Investigates website to read the article they had published. They cited in turn “The Agricultural Health Study” and “The National Cancer Institute”. So I looked to their publications for further support for the Reuters Investigates article. Then it just got incredibly messy and much more concerning. And I got angry. This lobbyist, and somehow what I always thought was a well regarded news agency, are spewing absolute bullshit, that is, based on comments on my blog share, having a misguided influence on what the public are reading and believing to be true. They know most of us don’t go looking for the details in who is writing or providing these stories. They rely on it. And right here on a share of my article, was the evidence that they succeeded in making a few people believe them. Just by writing what they wanted people to think.
Entine is also affiliated with the American Council on Science and Health, another lobby group for GMOs and Herbicides and Pesticides. American Council on Health and Science…… When you hear or read that name, you think doctors, scientists and research labs right? They claim to be a consumer educator and have in the past defended DDTs, asbestos and Agent Orange (Monsanto’s opening act in poisoning the planet). DEFENDED them. Do you call that education? This group garners its funding from industry, primarily food, drug and chemical companies that have a vested interest in supporting the group’s message.
Ok. So with this information, I considered the article, which accused the IARC scientist of withholding information. Dirty tricks to act like a reporter sharing his wealth of knowledge, while secretly being a hired goon to use his “news” site to slander someone reporting on scientific findings. But then I thought about the supporting articles and sources this Entine fellow and Reuters had cited.
The article cited by GLP, and its being from Reuters, sounds extremely reliable. That was a grave disappointment. And going further into the reliability of the sources cited by Reuters led me to read up on how others regard Reuters. Well, Reuters has got a great reputation overall, but when they have been wrong, they have been dreadfully wrong on things, raked over the coals for it, and articles and think pieces have been written about their errors. The best description I was able to find was that they have their corporate pressures and biases. As they all do. I can accept that to a degree, but they cited some groups that would seem to be on the up and up…. so I checked them too.
Both Reuters Investigates and GLP cited The National Cancer Institute (who employs the lead IARC Scientist in the Glyphosate study) and quoted the group as having stated that the study on glyphosate was too long to publish and that was the only reason it has never been seen. They did not tell you that the NCI study supported and contributed to the IARC assessment. GLP stated that it was disregarded, even hidden or suppressed by the IARC lead scientist, but…. I read off the National Cancer Institute page an article about the work by their Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) being used by the IARC in their findings on Glyphosate. “Data from large case-control and cohort studies, including the Agricultural Health Study, from DCEG investigators that showed increased risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (De Roos, 2003; Alavanja, 2014), and cancers of the lung (Beane Freeman, 2005; Jones, in press) and prostate (Koutros, 2013) made important contributions to these evaluations.” Glyphosate is included in their list of integrated chemicals as a possible human carcinogen.
The Agricultural Health Study, the “undisclosed” study that was supposed to diminish any fault in Glyphosate, cites the chemical repeatedly in possible concurrence with a barrage of illnesses, updated repeatedly and more concerning all the time. Studies and reports completed in 1993-1997 and updated since 2005, with reference to cancers, state “risks” and occurrences were of concern to be studied further and it was implied varying exposures created varying risks. Glyphosate was linked in multiple pages to neurological issues, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and hearing loss. Several of these reports have been updated in 2017. In the end too, the Agricultural Health Study is ongoing. Many of the reported results from the study also related simply to pesticides and further effort would be necessary to pinpoint the exact culprits. This study was far from a clearance letter for the infamous Glyphosate.
The misreporting of the results as having cleared glyphosate of all possible carcinogenic issues, started as a blatant misrepresentation of fact, by someone paid to defend the chemical at all costs. It then was repeatedly shared by multiple news sources and has exacerbated the discussion and responsible action by governments and muddied the waters on essential policy change. And its presence in the pubic reach, has impacted their understanding of the IARC report that was intending to create a second look phase.
Hundreds, or thousands, of reports and articles are written about this chemical and its varying uses. Hundreds of lawsuits and judicial conferences are being held to consider the public risks. Its presence in everything from feminine hygiene products to baby food to fruits and vegetables, to human urine, is a concern. For us here in Nova Scotia, one of its uses is just a piece in a much larger concern, because anything that kills trees and bushes is impacting our environment and therefore our health, our wildlife and our futures. No matter what you think about the IARC Report, or who you want to listen to when thinking about impacts to humans, we have a problem. The deforestation of our province, the conversion of multi-cultural forests to pulp farms, the eradication of natural habitats. If you are willing to waste time looking for an article that says I am wrong, try wasting just a little more on finding out who you think your information is provided by.
While there are questions, whether the IARC report is right or not, there is an international precept, that is intended to protect the human race from things that may cause them harm. It is the Precautionary Principle. It denotes a duty to prevent harm, when it is within our power to do so, even when all the evidence is not in. This principle has been codified in several international treaties to which Canada is a signatory. Just because nothing says for absolute sure this is bad, does not mean we should just keep on using it. If there are questions, they need answers.
And we will never know the answers, unless we dig a little deeper.
I would also like to add that my blog article was about the destruction of animal habitats and the varied methods used to do so. This GLP article did not and cannot refute the issue of destruction of our forest, when clear cutting and glyphosate are used for that exact purpose.