Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives

Shocking. Life-Changing.

You won't look at food the same way again.

You probably never thought about it but we, all humans on earth, are now, unwittingly, part of the second largest human experiment ever conducted.

The first largest human experiment ever conducted on human populations is the huge use of toxic chemical farming that started after World War II when the chemical companies that developed chemical warfare wanted to find other uses for their chemicals. They discovered the vast untapped market of farming where they could dump their chemicals for "better living." We now know the vast impacts on global systems of poisoning the air, water, and soil that this chemical farming has reaped. The supposed goal of increasing yields to feed the world could have been accomplished with Organic farming while supporting the health of our environment.

Now the second largest experiment ever conducted on human populations is the rapid and vast use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). This is pervasive throughout the U.S. Fortunately, many countries in Europe are fighting back, at least for now.

The movie Genetic Roulette exposes the dirt behind Big-Biotech's Big failed experiment: creating, growing, and serving GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) in our food supply. You may also see the terms GM (Genetically Modified) and GE (Genetically Engineered) food.

Genetic Roulette—The Gamble of Our Lives was just awarded the Top Transformational Film of 2012 by AwareGuide! More than 15,000 people from 50 countries voted for 30 films, including three on this year's Academy Award shortlist. But Genetic Roulette was the "clear winner" by a wide margin.

This honor is the second award for Genetic Roulette, which also won 2012 Movie of the Year by the Solari Report. In celebration of all those who voted (and whose lives were transformed by the movie), there is a free screening through February 10, 2013.

The Institute for Responsible Technology produced the movie Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives. They, lead by Jeffrey Smith, an expert on GMOs in our food supply, are the leading organization telling the truth about GMOs and fighting to get them out of our food supply.

The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population. The key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make avoiding GMOs much easier.

Please choose healthier non-GMO brands, tell others about GMOs so they can do the same, and join the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network. Together we can quickly reclaim a non-GMO food supply.

On the Institiute for Responsible Technology's web site you'll find the following information and much more:

GMO Dangers: Genetically modified foods…Are they safe?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think so. The Academy reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.

65 Health Risks of GM Foods

Click the link above to read detailed evidence of the health risks of GM foods from each of the sections summarized below.
The following is a summary of the 65 Health Risks Presented in the movie Genetic Roulette by Jeffrey Smith.
Part 1: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
Section 1: Evidence of reactions in animals and humans
Section 2: Gene insertion disrupts the DNA and can create unpredictable health problems
Section 3: The protein produced by the inserted gene may create problems
Section 4: The foreign protein may be different than what is intended
Section 5: Transfer of genes to gut bacteria, internal organs, or viruses
Section 6: GM crops may increase environmental toxins & bioaccumulate toxins in the food chain
Section 7: Other types of GM foods carry risks
Section 8: Risks are greater for children and newborns

10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

You'll find more details on each of the following items by clicking the link above.
1. GMOs are unhealthy.
2. GMOs contaminate forever.
3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
6. The biotech industry uses "tobacco science" to claim product safety.
7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
8. GMOs harm the environment.
9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.

Here's a GMO Health Risks brochure as a pdf file of 2 pages that you can print and show to family and friends.

Go to the Non-GMO Shopping Guide web site for downloadable and printable guides to help you shop for non-GMO foods.

GMOInside.org lets you discover which foods contain GMOs. You will be shocked to see how extensive is the reach of GMOs in our food supply. This has all happened without proper food safety testing. New research is showing that GMOs just may not be safe at all and they may cause the opposite of their supposed goals of feeding the hungry and reducing pesticide use.

According to the Center for Food Safety:
"Currently, up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). According to industry, up to 95% of sugar beets are now GE. It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients."

 The latest figures from the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) show the following for 2012:
88% of corn is GE; 93% of soybeans is GE; 94% of cotton is GE.

One connection between food and textiles is in cotton. As stated above, 94% of cotton is GE. Approximately half the cotton is used for textiles and the other half is cottonseed oil for food and whole cottonseed and cottonseed meal for feed for livestock, dairy cattle, and poultry. Therefore, supporting Organic Cotton promotes its use for both textiles for Organic cotton bedding and Organic cotton clothing as well as Organic food.

The Center for Food Safety also explain six of the Myths and Realities of GE Crops.

Here's a list of the Top 20 Foods and Products That Have Been Genetically Modified from the Seattle Organic Restaurants website.

Green America shows a list of 9 Food Ingredients to Watch for GMOs.

Europe far surpasses the U.S. in its movements to ban GMOs. A good website to keep updated on what is happening there is GENET, European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering. (NGO is Non-Governmental Organization.)

We Have a Right to Know - Support JustLabelIt.org

The debate over labeling genetically modified organisms still continues in the U.S. while many countries have banned GMOs and more than 40 countries across the globe have required GMO labeling.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Q&A: Is There Something Inherently Unsustainable About Clothes Made From Non-Organic Crops And Fabrics? After All Cotton Is "Natural" Isn't It?

There's a lot of intentional confusion created in the marketplace by companies that don't want to go to the effort or expense of making their products truly environmentally friendly for people and the planet by getting organic certification.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of greenwashing going on, where a company uses the word "natural" to make a product seem eco-friendly. However, while consumers perceive the word to be synonymous with "goodness," it actually has no official definition or government standards associated with it.

It attracts attention. Natural is good, unnatural is bad. These are the reasons it's used. There is really nothing "natural" about non-organic food or clothing. The word "natural" does not mean that a product lacks toxicity.

On the other hand, "Certified Organic" according to the USDA NOP (U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program) is a true, specifically defined standard for what constitutes an organically grown crop whether for food or textiles (fabrics, clothing, bedding, towels, etc).

GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a true, specifically defined standard for textiles to define an organically grown crop and an organic and non-toxic manufacturing process including social responsibility (fair labor) standards.

Let's Be Accurate, Call It "Non-organic" Instead of "Natural"


I prefer the word "non-organic" instead of "natural"
in order to be very clear that there is no certification applied to food and textiles unless they are "certified organic." In the U.S., the word "organic" by itself cannot legally be applied to food or textiles unless they are "certified organic" according to the USDA NOP.

Let's see what "natural", that is "non-organic", cotton may look like. Non-organic cotton is one of the top crops for its use of insecticides. The typical spraying application results in volatile organic compounds released into the air, contributing to green house gases. Additionally, such spraying harms the health of the soil and pollutes ground water, lakes, and streams.

Five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. (cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluralin) are known cancer causing chemicals. All nine are classified by the U.S. EPA as Category I and IIĆ¢€” the most dangerous chemicals. Depending on the practices involved, it can take up to a pound of such chemicals to grow the cotton for one pair of pants and a shirt.

Not only do these chemicals pollute the air, water, and soil but they're also retained in the crops as they're grown. In addition, other chemicals are added to the mix during the manufacturing processes. Most people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) can't wear non-organic clothing. It literally affects their health.

Organic crops are grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic matter and crop rotation are used to build stronger, more nutrient rich soil which retains water more efficiently than non-organic farming. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming.

Non-organic wool also uses substantial chemicals which may be unhealthy. In organic sheep production, sheep must be fed 100% organically-grown feed and forage (pastures). The use of synthetic hormones, vaccinations, and genetic engineering is prohibited, as is the use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external, and on pastures).

There are two key distinctions in organic livestock management. First is the elimination of "dipping," a method of controlling external parasites in which sheep are submerged in pools containing organophosphate-based parasiticides. Studies have indicated that prolonged exposure to sheep dip pesticides cause changes in the nervous system of humans. (Imagine how the sheep feel about this process!) Moreover, disposal and "runoff" of dips can contaminate ground water supplies.

Secondly, in order to maintain their certification, organic livestock producers cannot exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land, thus preventing the devastating effects of overgrazing.

I think this provides a pretty good idea of the distinctions between "natural" and "organic." Some entities have tried to discredit organic certification but that's only done because they don't want to spend the effort and cost involved in cleaning up their act.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Global Organic Textile Standard - Video

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the world's leading organic textile standard and is the most inclusive organic standard in the world. It includes both the farming and manufacturing processes as well as ecological and social criteria.

GOTS is accepted by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) whereas the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) Organic standard only includes farm operations.

The following video is a brief overview of GOTS.



Reference: Global Organic Textile Standard video from KainaMedia.

The following is "must know" information on Label Grades taken from the GOTS website:

Only textiles produced and certified according to the provisions of the standard can carry the GOTS label.
The standard provides for a subdivision into two label-grades:

Label grade 1: 'organic'
= 95% certified organic fibres, = 5 % non-organic natural or synthetic fibres

Label grade 2: 'made with X% organic'
= 70% certified organic fibres, = 30 % non organic fibres, but a maximum of 10% synthetic fibres (up to 25% for socks, leggings and sportswear)

The only differentiation for subdivision is the minimum percentage of 'organic' material in the final product. This is analogous to leading organic regulations in the food market, such as USDA/NOP. The remaining balance (up to 5% or 30% respectively) may be composed of non-organic fibres, including defined regenerated and synthetic fibres (25% at most for socks, leggings and sportswear and 10% for all other textile products). Blending conventional and organic fibres of the same type in the same product is not permitted.
If raw fibres with the certified status 'organic - in conversion' are used instead of certified 'organic’ fibres, the corresponding label grades are 'organic - in conversion' or 'made with x% organic - in conversion materials'.

Read a general description of the Global Organic Textile Standard.