Tag Archives: Roundup

The Free Market of Cancer

A recurrent theme here at Now Think About That for a Second is that of business and industry using government to impose bad things on us good people. Here’s a couple more examples of why the free market isn’t ‘free’ or working for we the people.

The National Institutes of Health publishes a report every couple of years letting us know what new carcinogens (cancer causing agents) have been found, as well as  more evidence of existing carcinogens in our environment. It’s called the Report on Carcinogens.

Who could be against that?

Well, for starters, the American Chemistry Council, a lobby representing Big Chem companies like Dow, DuPont and Exxon/Mobil.  They’ve pulled the strings of their GOP buddies in Congress to not only squelch the last report, but also to pay for another one to research just the unwanted claims and insist that no other report is produced (paid for) until the special report is finished. One estimate is that we could go four years before the next report can be issued.

Why the uproar?

Formaldehyde and Styrene.

Formaldehyde is in too many home products to list. Carpets, glues, particle boards, insulation, plywood, paneling… our homes, where we eat and sleep and raise our children, are literally steeped in formaldehyde.

Don’t think you can move into a tent to get away, because formaldehyde is also in many of our personal care items, like nail polishes, soap, shampoos, toothpaste… and baby wipes.

Styrene is the key ingredient in take out cups and containers, and is also found in plastic and fiberglass and insulation and boats. Most people get their biggest styrene dose from smoking cigarettes.

The new report makes it pretty clear that these two are cancer heavies. Formaldehyde was given ‘known carcinogen’ status, while Styrene was ranked ‘reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen’.

And those companies are really ticked off about it.

Not in the “Holy cow, formaldehyde is dangerous and we have to find something safe to use!” kind of way, but rather in the ‘Don’t let people know, it’ll affect our profits!” kind of way.

That’s why, rather than recall products, or promise new and improved research on safer products, the response from the industry is to bury the information, to knowingly cause more cancers in us consumers in order to pad their bottom line. It’s what they did to our parent’s generation with asbestos.

GOP members of Congress are doing their part to protect the cancer market and it’s ‘job creators’ from any government regulations that would protect us ‘job doers’ at the cost of a few points of profit.  They bury the information, cast doubts on the science, and load up the House Science Committee with science challenged people like Todd Akin and Michelle Bachmann.

There’s nothing ‘free’ about that kind of market.

A similar game is being played with our health by the GMO industry. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are all the rage these days, primarily because of the profits that can be made by the Big Chem and Big Ag companies.

When I first heard of GMO’s, I played down the fears, thinking that farmers and gardeners have been playing with plant genetics since someone first planted a garden. You can’t get through high school without learning that Gregor Mendel had a pea garden and selectively bred many different pea characteristics. He was using the slow method of breeding to change genetic makeup. I see it as progress that we can now breed drought tolerance, or early/late frost tolerance, or resistance to blight into our farm plants and vegetables

Today, scientists can do that quickly. That and much, much more.

Like inserting a foreign gene (not from a pea) into a pea (or corn, or soy) and giving it resistance to RoundUp.

RoundUp? The weed killer?

That’s right, there are GMO’s being grown and sold to the public that have foreign genes designed to give the plant industrial strength, so that it may be grown on the biggest plot possible with the most automation. Where cultivators used to weed between rows, we can just spray it all from above with RoundUp now, and add to the bottom line.

Since GMO’s are new, and not much work has been done proving the safety of each modified gene, some enlightened groups have asked for a moratorium on their use.

California has Prop 37 on this year’s ballot. Prop 37 would require that any food containing GMO’s and sold to the public be labeled as containing GMO’s. They’re not asking to stop, only to let us know what brands contain a GMO so we can make a choice.  That seems fair to me, and consistent with free market principles.

Guess who is pouring millions of dollars into California in an effort to defeat Prop 37?  The Big Six Pesticide companies.

First, I’m against any effort to hide what goes into the stuff I buy for my family to eat and drink. I’m ok if Colonel Sanders and Coke have secret flavor ingredients. I’m not ok if my corn on the cob has RoundUp inside and they don’t want to tell me. If you have to hide what goes into your product, I don’t want it.

Secondly, I’ve always found it interesting to see how the sides line up on any certain issue. When the billionaires all line up on one side, I can usually tell that I’m for the other one. Same with chemicals.

When the top poison manufacturers in the world line up against us knowing what’s in our food and drink … that’s a big sign telling me something is not right.  Maybe I saw Soylent Green at too young an age…

I saw one study that showed that eating food that was genetically modified for RoundUp resistance caused more cancers than the non GMO, and as many cancers in mice as eating RoundUp itself. Granted, it was a single, relatively small study, and not at all definitive from a scientific standpoint.

From a practical standpoint, however, it’s a big smoking gun.

Republicans believe in “getting the government out of the way” of business. They tell us that business and industry will self regulate, will protect us the consumer and the earth our home out of the goodness of their hearts. That’s what they tell us, and what they want us to believe.

Their actions say more. Their actions tell us they believe that leukemia in our children is an acceptable risk, that the breast cancer that took my Mom is nobody’s fault, that the profit margins of the industry that most contributes to re-election  ranks highest in priority, regardless of the danger to consumers. That’s why they want to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They think that what we don’t know can’t hurt us, so they do everything they can to hide truth from the people.

That’s not a free market. That’s a manipulated one.

One that is killing us.