Monsanto guilty verdict stands/damage award slashed

US Superior Court Judge, Suzanne Bolanos, has upheld the original ruling that Monsanto’s Roundup caused Dewayne Johnson’s cancer. She has, however, slashed the punitive damage award from $250 million to $39 million (plus $39 million compensatory damages). A new trial will only take place should Johnson’s solicitors reject the reduced damages. The news has rocked the share price of Bayer, Monsanto’s new parent company, which has dropped 8%. It remains to be seen how this will affect the future of glyphosate — or what new chemical might replace it.

Frankenstein crops in the EU

Despite not allowing the production of GM crops, the EU continues to allow their import for animal feed. The newest kid on the block seeking approval is a genetically engineered (GE) maize. Bred by Monsanto from five different GE plants it’s designed to produce six insecticides and be super-resistant to the herbicides glufosinate and glyphosate. As evidence of harm to not just human health, but insect life too, continues to stack up against the indiscriminate use of herbicides and pesticides, we remain advocates of whole food, minimally-processed, as nature-intended and organic if you can.

Eat more organic to reduce cancer risk

Eating higher amounts of organic food can reduce your risk of developing cancer by 25% according to a new study involving nearly 70,000 volunteers. The French researchers concluded, “Promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer”. Organic foods are less likely to contain residues of pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals associated with conventional agriculture. Even when participants of the study ate a lower quality diet, but still included organic food, they had a reduced risk of cancer. Organic food means food grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and other risk-related chemicals. It’s the way nature intended and therefore can only be better for human health. However, it’s also known to produce higher yields during droughts, be better for the environment and be more profitable than conventional farming in the long run.

Synthetic cannabis?

Growing cannabis could soon be a thing of the past. Boston based, Ginkgo Bioworks, in partnership with the Cronos Group, promises to produce the active ingredients in cannabis from genetically modified microorganisms. We await further information, but rarely have attempts to recreate the complexity of nature been successful in terms of health benefits without also creating significant risk.

Evidence mounts against water fluoridation

Fluoride is considered to be a safe addition to both drinking water and dental products. New research shows the dangers associated with ingestion of fluoride. The first of two studies published in Environmental International linked fluoride exposure coupled with iodine deficiency to thyroid disease, whilst the second linked higher levels of exposure to fluoride in pregnancy with an increased risk of ADHD in children. Researchers writing in the Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry, expressed concern over the risk to infants under six months old who are exposed to fluoride in water, stating that, consuming formula reconstituted with 0.7 ppm [fluoride] water, increased their risk of developing dental fluorosis. Another study identifies ten significant flaws in a US National Toxicology Program animal experiment to show how institutional bias can compromise scientific integrity. In a fifth study, researchers found twice the level of fluoride in the urine of pregnant women in areas where water is fluoridated compared to those where it isn’t. Once again mass medication of the water supply is shown to be a crude and potentially harmful delivery system. The dental caries justification for water fluoridation remains flimsy at best.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognised by the WHO

For the first time the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is to include a chapter on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Published by the World Health Organization (WHO), Chapter 26 will feature a traditional medicine classification system. This is good news for supporters of traditional medicine around the world, as well as for the Chinese government who have been vigorously promoting TCM in recent years. Despite its many opponents, the WHO’s decision reflects the desire of many citizens around the world to use traditional systems of medicine even though they exist outside current reductionist models of conventional healthcare.