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Issue #11 April 14, 2003

By Organic Consumers Association
Organic news tidbits with an edge!

IN THIS ISSUE:
PESTICIDES CAUSING BRAIN DAMAGE
SOME QUOTES FOR THOSE OF US LOSING SANITY
ELITE TEAM OF SUPERBUGS TAKE ON GE TERRORISTS
LICE IN YOUR SALMON (FISH NICHE ITCH)
FUNKY FACTS
HAVING THE TERMINATOR AND THE EXORCIST FOR DINNER
NEW FEATURE!! FRIGGED-UP ADS (ONLY $9,875.32/week!)
JUNK FOOD CEOS TAKE ON PTA MEMBERS IN SCHOOLYARD BRAWL


PESTICIDES CAUSING BRAIN DAMAGE

A new study has drawn a direct connection between certain pesticides and brain damage. Funded by the Department of Defense (DOD), and recently published in the journal "Nature Genetics", a $1.5 million study has connected neurological disorders like Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Parkinson's Disease with organophosphates, a class of chemicals found in agricultural and household pesticides, as well as nerve gases like Sarin. Researchers found organophosphates inhibited the activity of a specific gene (neuropathy target esterase), whose trait lets the brain control body movement. Although the study was funded by the DOD to learn more about the role of organophosphates in chemical weapons, the research results also add to an ever-increasing body of scientific evidence that clearly shows what everyone should already know by now---pesticides are bad for your health. After all, where is the logic in spraying your food with the same chemicals with which you attack your enemies?

Read all about it: http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/gulfwar040903.cfm

SOME QUOTES FOR THOSE OF US LOSING SANITY

There is no great genius without some touch of madness. Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD), Epistles

Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. William Dement


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ELITE TEAM OF SUPERBUGS TAKE ON GE TERRORISTS

Startling new research has revealed that genetically modified crops, specially engineered to kill pests, actually cause bugs to grow faster. There are essentially two main types of genetically engineered crops: those that are designed for resistance to herbicides like Roundup, and those that are designed to create the toxin Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Bt is a naturally occurring bacterium that attacks many pests in the larval stage. It has been an important tool of organic gardeners and farmers, who have worried that the extreme overuse, caused by splicing Bt into every cell of GM plants, would cause insects to develop resistance. Now it looks like the situation may be even worse than that. New research - by scientists at Imperial College London and the Universidad Simon Rodrigues in Caracas, Venezuela - suggests that Bt crops, rather than controlling pests, can actually help them to thrive. They fed resistant larvae of the diamondback moth regular cabbage leaves and ones that had been treated with a Bt toxin. The larvae eating the treated leaves had a 56% higher growth rate. Giant pesticide resistant bugs---coming soon to a field near you. Read all about it: http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/pests040103.cfm


LICE IN YOUR SALMON (FISH NICHE ITCH)

The USDA has recently closed its public comment period on a new labeling practice that would require all salmon to be labeled as either wild-caught or fish-farmed. The labeling would also require listing country of origin. Environmentalists and concerned consumers are strong supporters, as it provides a means for making responsible choices when purchasing salmon. An example of unsustainable salmon management practices right now is occurring along the West Coast of Canada. A 2001 outbreak of sea lice in the fish farms there infected wild salmon that were migrating through those waters. The results put wild pink salmon on the brink of extinction. This year a similar outbreak is taking place at 27 fish farms run by Stolt Sea Farms and Heritage Aquaculture. If the companies would leave those fish pens empty as the wild salmon migrate through, a tragedy similar to that of 2001 could be avoided. Unfortunately both companies are refusing to do so.

TAKE ACTION: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/040303_pink_salmon.cfm


FUNKY FACTS

Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
A colony of bees have to fly almost fifty-five thousand miles and tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey. (Sources: Emerald Journals, Guinness 2003, Institute of Food Research)


HAVING THE TERMINATOR AND THE EXORCIST FOR DINNER

Remember the Terminator gene? The biotech companies have a much more euphemistic name for it, but that's how the general media has referred to plants genetically engineered to render their seeds sterile. The concept of the Terminator gene was so horrifying, biotech companies were forced to put it on the back-burner for a few years. But the ETC group has a new report out called "Terminator Technology: Five Years Later." ETC found that Terminator is far from dead. They also report on a new "Exorcist Technology," the biotech industry's recent attempt to develop GE crops that shed their foreign DNA before harvest, with the help of chemical inducers. The industry sees this as a means of silencing anti-GE critics, since the final products will not contain foreign DNA. But this would shift the burden to farmers; if gene flow is a problem, the farmer would be forced to apply a chemical to excise the offensive transgenes. (Guess who will own the chemical). "It's the newest bag of genetic tricks to fix the biotech industry's leaky genes and public relations problems," explains Hope Shand of ETC Group. ETC also says the biotech industry is "greenwashing" Terminator by promoting it as a biosafety tool. The group is concerned that if Terminator technology wins market acceptance under the guise of biosafety, it will eventually be used everywhere as a monopoly tool to prevent farmers from saving and re-using seed. Read all about it: http://www.organicconsumers.org/patent/suicideseeds.cfm


NEW FEATURE!! FRIGGED-UP ADS (ONLY $9,875.32/week!)

This is a new Organic Bytes Feature.
We'll highlight actual food related news headlines and ads, cuz we all need a good laugh.

"GAS CLOUD CLEARS OUT TACO BELL" (Headline of Austin Daily Herald)

"KELLOGG'S POT TARTS - $1.99 box" (Typo in Spring Valley Tribune ad)


JUNK FOOD CEOS TAKE ON PTA MEMBERS IN SCHOOLYARD BRAWL

Committees in both the House and Senate in the state of Washington killed "junk-food" bills after aggressive lobbying by soft drink and vending machine lobbyists. The bills would have required the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to research and draft a model policy on junkfood sales and marketing in schools. The coalition pushing the bills had the support of over 65 organizations in Washington, including the state PTA, the Teachers Federation, and the state Department of Health. Olympia School Board member Russ Lehman, said, "We fail our prime responsibility to our school children when we not only provide, but in fact attempt to profit from, the exact foods that we teach them are unhealthy." The OSPI has announced that it will go ahead and draft a model policy, with or without a mandate to do so. Read all about it: http://www.organicconsumers.org/school/washpop032503.cfm

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