15 April 99

Table of Contents

Hispanic Girls Reach Puberty Later
Material Data Sheet on Aspartame
Leading geneticist urges GM caution
Why are we being force-fed?
GM warning for Third World
Monsanto's Ham Fists
Synthesis/Regeneration - A Magazine of Green Social Thought
Vegetables May Not Be So Good for You

Top NextFront Page

Date: 12 Apr 1999 12:03:57 -0500
From: joe cummins

Hispanic Girls Reach Puberty Later

by Laura Spinney, from the American Association for Cancer Research

In the first ever study of the onset of puberty among Hispanic girls in the US, American researchers have found that they develop later than their African-American counterparts. One possible explanation is that some component of their diet might be delaying puberty and shielding them from the harmful effects of estrogen for longer.

The findings were presented today by Mary Wolff of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York at the 90th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia, and they are relevant because early puberty is associated with increased risk of reproductive cancer. At menarche the female body is exposed to its own estrogen, and as estrogen is known to cause damage to DNA, early puberty means longer exposure and potentially more damage.

Wolff and her colleagues gathered data on the pubertal stages reached by 179 nine-year-old girls in New York City who fell into one of three ethnic categories:

  1. African-American,
  2. Hispanic or
  3. Caucasian.

"We chose nine-year-olds because any older would have been too late for the African-Americans, and any younger too early for the Hispanics," she says. They found that although obesity rates were similar among the African-Americans and Hispanics, the latter reached puberty later. 80% of the African-Americans had developed breasts by the age of nine, compared to only 45% of the Hispanics and 42% of the Caucasians. Yet obesity normally correlates with early onset of puberty.

According to Wolff, it is possible that the discrepancy could be explained by genetic factors. But a more intriguing possibility is that something in the Hispanic girls' diet is counteracting the effects of obesity and delaying puberty. In order to test this, the researchers asked the girls' questions about their diet using the Harvard Youth/Adolescent Questionnaire (YAQ). They also measured the concentration of phytestrogens in their urine. Phytestrogens are substances found in fruit and vegetables that mimic the effects of estrogen. "The body recognizes them as estrogen," says Sarah Hochman, one of the researchers, "But they don't have the same damaging effects." By binding to estrogen receptors, phytestrogens may displace the harmful hormone, thereby conferring some protection.

This was only a preliminary study, and the data are sketchy. For one thing, YAQ does not allow for the wide variety of tuberous vegetables consumed by the Hispanics of East Harlem - vegetables such as the apio, boniato, jicama and yam, which are rich in phytestrogens. So these may simply have gone unreported. Nevertheless, the Latinas reported a significantly greater intake of one particular family of phytestrogens, phytosterols, than either of the other two groups.

Whether they eat enough sweet potatoes to produce an anti-estrogenic effect is not clear, but the findings raise the provocative possibility that certain foods could mediate the health effects of obesity. And as Wolff points out, you only have to look at the National Cancer Institute's statistics to see that Hispanic women in the US have a significantly lower risk of breast cancer than their African-American or Caucasian counterparts.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 12 Apr 1999 14:17:44 -0500
From: Betty Martini

Material Data Sheet on Aspartame


The Effect
A fairly complete list of aspartame breakdown components

showing hazardous breakdown products and identifying DKP as a tumor agent.

CAS = Chemical Abstracts Service, registry number

CAS# 22839-47-0


From: Fisher original source no longer available

Check out the BREAKDOWN products!

MSDS Name: L-Aspartyl-l-phenylalanine methyl ester, 98%


The molecular formula of aspartame is C 14H18N 2O5
Company Identification:Acros Organics N.V.
Janssen Pharmaceuticalaan 3a
2440 Geel, Belgium
For information in North America, call:800-ACROS-01
For information in Europe, call:0032(0) 14575211
For emergencies in the US, call CHEMTREC:800-424-9300
For emergencies outside the US, call:0032(0) 14575299


CAS#Chemical Name%EINECS#


Appearance: Sweet white powder.
Target Organs: Skin.

Potential Health Effects

May cause eye irritation.
May cause skin irritation.
The toxicological properties of this substance have not been fully investigated.
May cause respiratory tract irritation.
Repeated exposure may cause sensitization dermatitis.


Flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower lids. Get medical aid.
Flush skin with plenty of soap and water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Get medical aid if irritation develops or persists.
Get medical aid. Wash mouth out with water.
Remove from exposure to fresh air immediately. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen.
Notes to Physician:
Treat symptomatically. None reported.


General Information:
As in any fire, wear a self-contained breathing apparatus in pressure-demand, MSHA/NIOSH (approved or equivalent), and full protective gear.
Extinguishing Media:
In case of fire use water spray, dry chemical, carbon dioxide, or chemical foam.
Autoignition Temperature:
Not available.
Flash Point:
Not available.
NFPA Rating:
Not published.
Explosion Limits
Lower: Not available.
Upper: Not available.


General Information:
Use proper personal protective equipment as indicated in Section 8.
Vacuum or sweep up material and place into a suitable disposal container.


Avoid breathing dust, vapor, mist, or gas. Avoid contact with skin and eyes.
Store in a tightly closed container. Store in a dry area. Refrigerator (approx 4_C).


Engineering Controls:
Facilities storing or utilizing this material should be equipped with an eyewash facility and a safety shower.

Exposure Limits

Chemical Name ACGIH NIOSHOSHA - Final PELs
none listednone listednone listed
OSHA Vacated PELs:
L-ASPARTYL-L-PHENYLALANINE METHYL ESTER,98%: No OSHA Vacated PELs are listed for this chemical.
Personal Protective Equipment
Wear chemical goggles.
Wear appropriate protective gloves to prevent skin exposure.
Wear a chemical apron.
A NIOSH/MSHA approved air purifying dust or mist respirator.


Physical State:Not available.
Appearance:Sweet white powder
Odor:Not available.
pH:Not available.
Vapor Pressure:Not available.
Vapor Density:Not available.
Evaporation Rate:Not available.
Viscosity:Not available.
Boiling Point:Not available.
Freezing/Melting Point:248.00 - 250
Decomposition Temperature:Not available. (See Anything above freezing??)
Solubility:sparingly soluble
Specific Gravity/Density:Not available.
Molecular Formula:MISDO
Molecular Weight:294.30


Chemical Stability:
Stable under normal temperatures and pressures.
Conditions to Avoid:
Not available.
Incompatibilities with Other Materials:
Strong oxidizing agents.
Hazardous Decomposition Products:
(See Methanol, Formaldehyde and DKP (tumor agent) Carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon dioxide.
Hazardous Polymerization:
Not available.


CAS# 22839-47-0: WM3407000
Not available.
Reproductive Effects:
orl-mus TDLo:4 g/kg (15-18 D preg) orl-gpg TDLo:32500 mg/kg (1-65 D preg) orl-wmn TDLo:3710 |g/kg



Dispose of in a manner consistent with federal, state, and local regulations.
RCRA D-Series Maximum Concentration of Contaminants: Not listed.
RCRA D-Series Chronic Toxicity Reference Levels: Not listed.
RCRA F-Series: Not listed.
RCRA P-Series: Not listed.
RCRA U-Series: Not listed.
Not listed as a material banned from land disposal according to RCRA.


US DOT No information available IMO No information available. IATA No information available. RID/ADR No information available. Canadian TDG No information available.


  1. Federal CAS# 22839-47-0 is listed on the TSCA inventory.
    1. TSCA
      Health & Safety Reporting List
      None of the chemicals are on the Health & Safety Reporting List.
      Chemical Test Rules
      None of the chemicals in this product are under a Chemical Test Rule.
      Section 12b
      None of the chemicals are listed under TSCA Section 12b.
      TSCA Significant New Use Rule
      None of the chemicals in this material have a SNUR under TSCA.
    2. SARA
      Section 302 (RQ)
      None of the chemicals in this material have an RQ.
      Section 302 (TPQ)
      None of the chemicals in this product have a TPQ.
      Section 313
      No chemicals are reportable under Section 313.
    3. Clean Air Act:
      • This material does not contain any hazardous air pollutants.
      • This material does not contain any Class 1 Ozone depletors.
      • This material does not contain any Class 2 Ozone depletors.
    4. Clean Water Act:
      • None of the chemicals in this product are listed as Hazardous Substances under the CWA.
      • None of the chemicals in this product are listed as Priority Pollutants under the CWA.
      • None of the chemicals in this product are listed as Toxic Pollutants under the CWA.
    5. OSHA:
      • None of the chemicals in this product are considered highly hazardous by OSHA.

  2. State

  3. International
    CAS# 22839-47-0 is listed on Canada's DSL/NDSL List.
    CAS# 22839-47-0 is not listed on Canada's Ingredient Disclosure List.
    European Labeling in Accordance with EC Directives
    Hazard Symbols: Not available.
    Risk Phrases:
    Safety Phrases:
    Exposure Limits:
    • OEL-AUSTRALIA:TWA 500 ppm (1185 mg/m3);STEL 1000 ppm.
    • OEL-AUSTRIA:TWA 750 ppm (1780 mg/m3).
    • OEL-BELGIUM:TWA 750 ppm (1780 mg/m3);STEL 1000 pp.
    • OEL-CZECHOSLOVAKIA:TWA 800 mg/m3;STEL 4000 mg/m3.
    • OEL-DENMARK:TWA 2 50 ppm (600 mg/m3).
    • OEL-FINLAND:TWA 500 ppm (1200 mg/m3);STEL 625 ppm (1500 mg/m3).
    • OEL-FRANCE:TWA 750 ppm (1800 mg/m3).
    • OEL-GERMANY:TWA 100 0 ppm (2400 mg/m3).
    • OEL-HUNGARY:TWA 600 mg/m3;STEL 1200 mg/m3.
    • OEL-INDIA:TWA 750 ppm (1780 mg/m3);STEL 1000 ppm (2375 mg/m3).
    • OEL-JAPAN:TWA 200 ppm (470 mg/m3).
    • OEL-THE NETHERLANDS:TWA 750 ppm (1780 mg/m3) JAN9 .
    • OEL-THE PHILIPPINES:TWA 1000 ppm (2400 mg/m3).
    • OEL-POLAND:TWA 200 mg /m3.
    • OEL-RUSSIA:TWA 200 ppm;STEL 200 mg/m3.
    • OEL-SWEDEN:TWA 250 ppm (60 0 mg/m3);STEL 500 ppm (1200 mg/m3).
    • OEL-SWITZERLAND:TWA 750 ppm (1780 mg/m3).
    • OEL-TURKEY:TWA 1000 ppm (2400 mg/m3).
    • OEL-UNITED KINGDOM:TWA 1 000 ppm (2400 mg/m3);STEL 1250 ppm.


Additional Information:
No additional information available.

MSDS Creation Date: 2/28/1995 Revision Date: 7/16/1996

The information above is believed to be accurate and represents the best information currently available to us. However, we make no warranty of merchantability or any other warranty, express or implied, with respect to such information, and we assume no liability resulting from its use. Users should make their own investigations to determine the suitability of the information for their particular purposes. In no way shall Fisher be liable for any claims, losses, or damages of any third party or for lost profits or any special, indirect, incidental, consequential or exemplary damages, howsoever arising, even if Fisher has been advised of the possibility of such damages.


Now... for the BREAKDOWN components of aspartame (perhaps NOT a complete list!) L-Aspartyl-l-phenylalanine methyl ester, 98%, aspartame CAS #22839-47-0 (a.k.a. Equal, NutraSweet, Spoonful, Benevia, Equal Measure, etc.) is composed of (at least) three things:
  1. aspartic acid, (around 40%) CAS # 56-84-8
  2. phenylalanine, (around 50%) CAS # 63-91-2
  3. methanol (wood alcohol) (10%) CAS # 67-56-1 is a WEB site by Dr. Dave Woodcock of the Chemistry Department at Okanagan University College, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. This page has aspartame listed with a formula of:

C14H 18N2O5
(item 553 of 610) and if any interested party has the "CHIME" 3D molecule viewer the aspartame MDL can be viewed at: In addition, DORway has a "CHIME" page with lots of good information at:

(NOTE: For those who use Netscape Navigator 3.1 or better, and who would like to view molecules in 3D and "stereo", in several formats, with the ability to rotate them to any angle... get and install the plug-in from: (two dimensional representation)

The Effect

The phenylalanine breaks down into diketopiperazine (DKP), a known tumor agent, and it is the reason for the FDA mandated "PHENYLKETONURICS: Contains phenylalanine" (PKU) warning label. Diketopiperazine was also the major empediment to approval noted in the Searle "Helling" memo

The methanol (with no natural antidote of Ethanol) breaks down in-solution (diet coke, whatever) into formaldehyde. The human liver also breaks down free methanol from any solution into formaldehyde. The body has difficulty eliminating formaldehyde so it combines some of it with water and stores it in the fat (and this is called "weight gain"). What is not stored in the fat is further converted to formic acid (same thing as ant sting poison). So, with each swig EACH user gets a micro-dose of three poisons, two of which (formaldehyde and formic acid) are known carcinogens... along with that side-order of DKP, the tumor agent. A science report done on a case of diet cokes, that were evaluated by a reputable food laboratory, proved the methanol -> formaldehyde conversions, even in the unopened container cooling off in the refrigerator, and the phenylalanine to DKP conversion. The damage/problems caused by the use of aspartame are noted in the FDA's own compiled list of 92 symptoms of aspartame poisoning>

A fairly complete list of aspartame breakdown components

from the aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol is as follows:
  1. Formaldehyde (embalming fluid) CAS # 50-00-0 CH2O
  2. Formic Acid (ant poison) CAS # 64-18-6 CH2O2
  3. Beta Aspartame **
  4. Aspartylphenylalanine **
  5. Aspartylphenylalanine amide **
  6. Tyrosine CAS # 60-18-4 C9H11NO3
  7. L-Dopa **
  8. Dopamine **
  9. Norepinephrine **
  10. Epinephrine **
  11. Phenylethylamine CAS # 64-04-0
  12. Phenylpyruvate **
  13. Phenylactic acid **
  14. Phenylacetic acid CAS # 103-82-2
  15. Diketopiperazine (DKP) CAS # 106-57-0
** means: No page for item at:
CAS = Chemical Abstracts Service, registry number

More information available at: Most of these 91 symptoms are noted on the page. Perhaps the phrase that best applies is that "ASPARTAME is a Pandora's box of chameleon-like toxins and tumor agents that have 92 FDA acknowledged ways to ruin your life, death being one of them".

OK! Now check out some of those breakdown componets!

  1. METHYL ALCOHOL 67-56-1 Methanol
  2. FORMALDEHYDE, 37% SOLUTION 50-00-0 syn. FORMALIN Formaldehyde

(Oh... and as yet we have not looked into DkP (diketopiperazine) the tumor agent!)

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 13 Apr 1999 03:20:04 -0500
From: Jon

From NGIN:

As Norfolk faces the prospect of an 18-acre GM trial on a commercially useless crop a leading geneticist says he does not think the field trials planned to test the safety of GM crops are "really rigorous enough". He goes on to say: "A tiny accident, one gene leaking out, can have massive consequences."

Leading geneticist urges GM caution

Prof. Steve Jones is concerned about GM crops

By Environment Correspondent Alex Kirby BBC online: BBC News
Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK

A leading UK scientist says he thinks genes from genetically-modified (GM) crops will inevitably escape into other plants.

He is Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College, London.

In Leviathan, a TV programme to be shown on BBC Two on 14 April, Professor Jones looks at the creation 80 years ago of the original hybrid crops.

And in an interview with BBC News Online, he explains his concerns over GM crops today.

"People may be worried that GM food is not safe to eat. I think that's unlikely. But if it were true, we could easily find out.

"It's straightforward science. But evolution is not like that."

Inherently unpredictable

Professor Jones says it is impossible to predict what evolution will do, and draws a parallel between GM foods and antibiotics.

"If you had said in the 1940s that penicillin would be completely useless in parts of the world within 50 years, people would have thought you were mad.

"But you would have been right. Evolution picked up a gene and changed it, and now the bacteria are resistant to penicillin.

"We are doing more or less the same with genetically manipulated plants. Those genes are going to get out into other plants. Everybody knows that.

"And we have no idea what is going to happen."

The prospect haunts Professor Jones. What would happen, for instance, if a gene that conferred resistance against insects escaped?

"Suddenly we have no insects. With no insects you have no ecology, no ecosystem, no pollinators, no flowers, God knows what.

"Now this probably will not happen. But it certainly might. With GM plants, we are doing something new. We are moving genes around to where they've never been before.

"And we don't seem to be considering the possibility that evolution may take advantage of those genes, as it has done previously, in ways that we don't like."

More rigour needed

He does not think the field trials planned to test the safety of GM crops are "really rigorous enough".

"A tiny accident, one gene leaking out, can have massive consequences.

"Too much attention is being paid to a non-problem - are GM foods poisonous? They almost certainly ain't.

"But we have to be sure what we are doing before we go ahead, and I think we're going ahead far too soon."

BBC Two's Leviathan will be shown at 19h30 BST (18h30 GMT) on Wednesday, 14 April.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 13 Apr 1999 10:36:48 -0500
From: MichaelP

Subject: Legal control lost over our food and health

Why are we being force-fed?

by James Erlichman, GUARDIAN(London) -- Tuesday April 13, 1999

America's victory in the banana war shows free trade has lost us legal control over our food and health, writes James Erlichman

Last week it was bananas. In a month's time it will be beef. A few weeks after that we may be told what milk we can buy. The legal struggle over who controls our food supply has already been lost.

When the World Trade Organisation ruled last week that the United States had won its protracted banana trade battle with the EU, attention understandably focused on the plight of small ex-colonial producer, the Winward Islands, which Britain had sought to protect. Next came concern for Scottish cashmere and Italian cheese producers who are threatened by the #120 million worth of punitive tariffs which the WTO has awarded to the US to compensate it for the lost earnings of its big banana plantation companies.

But, according to legal experts, we should be looking to the future to grasp just how comprehensively control over food, health and the environment has been ceded to the WTO and the unelected forces that control it. 'Legal power in these and other areas shifted back in the early 1990s with few ordinary people actually noticing,' says Geert Van Calster, a member of the Brussels Bar and a consultant to SJ Berwin & Co, the London-based law firm which specialises in international trade.

The WTO was born four years ago out of the Uruguay round of the old GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) negotiations. According to Van Calster, Britain and most other countries signed up to the agreement at a time when belief in the virtues of free trade exceeded concerns about food safety, health, animal welfare and environmental damage.

And if the WTO has powers to grant the United States #120 million in damages over bananas, then imagine the scope of its power on bigger issues, such as the trade in genetically modified food.

In June, the World Trade Organisation's so-called expert food panel (known as Codex Alimentarius) is expected to rule that the genetically engineered milk-yield booster, BST, poses no threat to human health. Never mind that two scientific committees of the European Commission have raised grave doubts about its safety and want to see the EU moratorium kept in place. Monsanto, the US company which owns BST, will now have a powerful legal lever to overturn any objections from EU governments and citizens.

Even before that, a certain collision is expected on May 13. That is when the WTO has told the European Union that it must lift its 10-year blockade on American beef that has been treated with growth-boosting hormones.

In theory, the WTO's complex rules balance the virtues of free trade against the need to protect people and the planet. 'The problem is that in practice they don't,' says lawyer Peter Stevenson, legal director of the pressure-group Compassion in World Farming. The nub of the issue, he says, is the founding principle of GATT and the WTO: the belief that free trade will reduce the risk of war and make the world wealthy through international capitalism, a principle enshrined in rules which forbid trade discrimination on the basis of any 'process and production methods'. This rule stops a lazy, outmoded producer from blocking imports from an efficient country which has invested in the latest machinery. That seems fine. 'But it would also stop a country which has adopted only free-range methods from blocking imports of battery-farmed eggs,' says Stevenson.

Article 20 of the GATT agreement allows a country to ban imports on the grounds that 'public morals or animal health' are threatened. But only if such a ban is absolutely 'necessary'. 'Necessary' does not mean necessary to protect people and animals. It means 'necessary' in the sense that all other legal avenues have been explored and exhausted.

Even the US has fallen foul of this, trying to block the import of tuna and shrimp when nets also snared dolphin and sea turtles. Both times it was overruled by the WTO disputes procedure on the grounds that other legal avenues were not exhausted, and that existing conservation treaties did not necessarily include the species in question. 'If a measure designed to save a species from extinction cannot survive a WTO challenge, it's hard to believe any animal protection measure will ever be acceptable to the WTO,' says Stevenson.

A few years ago, Tim Lang, now professor of food policy at Thames Valley University, led an investigation into decision-making on food at the WTO. It revealed that the Codex Alimentarius is heavily influenced by the delegates from transnational corporations who pack its decision-making panels.

'If and when the EU moves to ban GM soya or any other genetically engineered food you can be virtually certain that American companies will swiftly force the US government to challenge any embargo under WTO rules,' said Professor Lang.

The Americans, it can be argued, are simply using international law t look after their own interests. But don't be too smug - Agriculture Minister Nick Brown has just voiced his support for American hormone-reared beef, while Blair has been remarkably keen to defend GM foods, despite fierce public opposition. 'The reason is simple,' says a source at the Ministry of Agriculture. 'British industry may have failed at many things, but it is first-rate in the bio-sciences - drugs and GM foods. We have to back our commercial winners, and we will use the World Trade Organisation, just like the Americans do, to profit from its rulings.'

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. ***

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 14 Apr 1999 19:12:29 -0500

GM warning for Third World

By Clare Short, BBC News 14 April 1999, UK Politics

Calling for international conventions on GM foods

International Development Secretary Clare Short has warned that multi-national companies could force genetically-modified food onto Third World countries.

Ms Short told MPs "There is a danger that major companies will misuse their power to force this technology onto countries unknowingly - either in importing food that's the product of such technology or seed."

The remedy to this potential problem, Ms Short said, was an "agreement on a biosafety protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity".

Ms Short was responding to a question from Labour MP Dr Lynne Jones. She expressed concerned that local farmers may be ignorant of possible risks when offered GM crops.

This could make it difficult for them to turn down such products.

Dr Jones asked: "How confident are you that they will continue to have that power, given the might of the multi-national companies, possibly backed up the World Trade Organisation?"

Ms Short said "countries need the capacity to understand the pros and cons, to manage the process and diminish the risk".

She then took other government departments to task for failing to mention the needs of the developing world in a statement of government policy.

This "serious omission" would be addressed in a forthcoming policy statement she said.

Ms Short added: "It did take a little robust movement within Whitehall to remind other government departments of the important interests of developing countries, which of course is one of the major duties of my department."

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 15 Apr 1999 13:20:05 -0500

The St. Louis Post Dispatch printed this editorial just after receiveing a fax copy of the article from the The Independent. (Compliments of STL activists!)

Monsanto's Ham Fists

The St. Louis Post Dispatch
Posted: Thursday, April 15, 1999 | 8:23 a.m.

Monsanto Co. is using draconian laws and ham fists in Britain to try to suppress environmentalists' opposition to its genetically modified crops.

Last December, the activist group Genetix Snowball printed its "Handbook for Action," detailing the location of Monsanto test plots and suggesting civil disobedience. The pamphlet was sent to about 650 people, including Prince Charles and Prime Minister Tony Blair. Monsanto wants the names and addresses of everyone who got a copy. It plans to send each person a warning: If they incite or take action against Monsanto they could be charged as a "co-conspirator."

The company had previously gotten a court injunction against protesters. Such heavy-handed tactics can only reinforce the company's image abroad as a corporate bully and create more resistance in the public's mind. "The collection and retention of names and addresses of people by Monsanto is very worrying for us," John Wadham, of the British civil rights group Liberty, told the London Times. "These could be people who have merely read a book and are in subsequent danger of being caught up in court proceedings."

Last year, Monsanto won an injunction against five members of Genetix Snowball who had pulled up 200 genetically engineered plants at a test plot in England. The injunction also covered the group's press secretary, who hadn't uprooted any plants. He was listed as a "co-conspirator" for inciting the public to break the law.

Monsanto has the right to protect its property from vandalism. Vandalism is ugly, but so is threatening and intimidating protesters. One has to wonder when Monsanto's board of directors will awaken from its bad dream: its public relations strategy is a shambles, is costing the shareholders millions if not billions of dollars and is raising even greater public fear of genetically modified foods.

Perhaps the company should take a tip from Genetix Snowball, which may be losing on the legal front but faring far better in the public relations war. When digging up bioengineered crops, the group's handbook advises: Decorate your spade to look friendly. Avoid tools like scythes. Threats, lawsuits and ham fists will cost them more than a few billable hours.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 15 Apr 1999 13:39:01 -0500

Synthesis/Regeneration - A Magazine of Green Social Thought

A Magazine of Green Social Thought
c/o WD Press, P.O. Box 24115, St. Louis MO 63130
314-727-8554 (evenings, weekends)

April, 1999

Dear Green or greenish friend,

Synthesis/Regeneration 19 will be back from the printer in time for Earth Day. Focusing on "The Political Economy of Genetic Engineering," S/R 19 is a companion issue to S/R 18, which had sections on "Introduction to Biotech," "Artificial Foods and Human Health," "Ecological Balance and Biological Integrity" and "Control of Information."

As usual, rates are:

1-4 copies, $3.95 each;
5-9 copies, $3.00 each;
10+ copies, $2.00 each.

We can also send 20 or more copies of S/R 19 (& S/R 18, in any combination) for $1.50 each. For priority mail orders and orders outside of the US, we will also have to bill for postage. If you need to receive S/R 19 by Apr 24, WE WILL HAVE TO BILL FOR PRIORITY MAIL. Please make checks to "WD Press" and mail to P.O. Box 24115, St. Louis MO 63130.

The issue of genetic engineering is first and foremost an issue of multinational corporations' attempting to reshape society's relationship with nature by recasting those sectors of the economy that concern our most basic biological needs: food and health. The most obvious manifestations of this effort are their willingness to contaminate the food supply, destroy ecosystems, and drive hundreds of millions of farmers off of the land. To hide what they are doing, their PR departments throw up the smokescreen of claiming to "feed the world." They then do everything in their power to suppress criticism, and even discussion, of their actions.

Both S/R 18 and S/R 19 provide activists with the information they need to combat corporate propaganda. The collection is perhaps the most extensive description of legislative initiatives and direct actions in print, with contributions by Green Party organizers in the European Parliament, Ireland, Italy, US, Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Subscriptions to S/R (4 issues) are $15 (additional postage if outside US).

In solidarity,

Don Fitz, Editor, Synthesis/Regeneration
Spring, 1999


Corporate Control of Food Production

2 Genetic Engineering and World Hunger Sarah Sexton & Nicholas Hildyard maintain that more than enough food is already being produced.

5 The Plunder of Nature Vandana Shiva opposes the piracy of knowledge from other societies or from Nature herself.

9 Opposition to Monsanto's Suicide Seeds Hope Shand explains the increasingly vulnerability of farmers.

14 Family Farmers Warn of Dangers of GE Crops Bill Christison objects to corporate bosses having unlimited access to government officials.

15 Do GE Crops Really Produce a Higher Yield? Charles Benbrook documents that GE soybeans produce 4-6% less.

Ethical and Legal Issues of Biotechnology

17 Playing God or Work of the Devil: Human Patenting Julie Narimatsu & Michael Dorsey question whether human body parts should be the property of other human beings.

20 Beware the Violence Initiative Project Mitchel Cohen challenges research backing genetic racism.

24 Will Human Genes Be Spliced into Food for People? Don Fitz sees human genes going into food with no discussion.

27 Toward a Meaningful Moratorium on GMOs Steve Emmott notes that five European Union states are limiting GMO releases.

29 Global Trade and Biodiversity in Conflict GRAIN and the Gaia Foundation examine conflicts between the privatization of biodiversity and efforts to empower communities.

Global Organizing

33 Eating with Conscience Howard Lyman fought government attempts to bastardize organic standards.

36 First the Seed Brian Tokar thinks sale of seeds offers a focus for GE work.

37 Keeping Monsanto's Fake Corn Out of Maine Nancy Oden forced Monsanto to back down.

38 Government/Industry Collusion Must End Joan Russow wants a complete ban on GE foods and crops.

39 St. Louis Biodevastation Declaration for Banning Genetically Engineered Foods and Crops

42 GE Actions of the Irish Green Party Paula Giles reports that elected Greens have eroded the more extreme ambitions of industry.

44 Italian Greens Address Altered Foods Lorenzo Colacicchi wants labels to list ingredients and procedures.

45 New Zealand Green Party Policy on Safe Food These Greens want half of produce to be certified organic by 2020.

47 Smart Farmers Burn Monsanto's GE Cotton Roberto Verzola records reactions to illegal GE experiments in India.

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Date: 15 Apr 1999 15:14:36 -0500
From: joe cummins
Subject: Soybeans may cause leukemia

A report from the cancer research meeting (AACR) April 14

Vegetables May Not Be So Good for You

by Amy Thompson

Dr. Julie A. Ross, of the University of Minnesota, reported that 70% of infant leukemias involve a genetic translocation occurs during and may be linked to topoisomerase II inhibitors found naturally in soybeans, fruits, vegetables and other common foods.

This finding was surprising to say the least, and runs counter-intuitively to another body of research that finds vegetables such as soy beans may have a protective role in cancer. Ross acknowledges the benefits but believes we should think deeply about all their effects. "I donit want to be out there saying fruits and vegetables are a bad thing," says Ross, "but we need to rethink the pathways before we say that this is always good and this is always bad for you."

Ross didnit start out chasing topoisomerase II inhibitors, but rather stumbled across them. The same 11q23 genetic translocation that they found in infant leukemias also showed up in a specific adult group of acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs). Some adults that had been treated with epipodophyllotoxin, a topoisomerase II inhibitor, during cancer chemotherapy were developing AML with the exact same translocation as in these infant leukemias. So Ross made the connection between the two cancers and asked the question: are there natural topoisomerase II inhibitors out there that could be affecting pregnancy?

It turns out that there are indeed many natural sources of topoisomerase II inhibitors. They are found in some vegetables, fruits, soybeans, tea, cocoa, wine, caffeine, and soybeans. Interestingly, in certain Asian countries where soybean consumption is high, like China and Japan, there are very high rates of infant and adult AML.

Ross and her colleagues were interested enough in this link to go back and re-interview women who had participated in studies of infant leukemias many years ago. She re-interviewed mothers of infants who had developed leukemia as well as controls who had had healthy infants. All were asked about their diet during pregnancy. Ross classified the women into low, medium, and high consumers of foods containing topoisomerase II inhibitors. While very little correlation was found in diets of mothers and all types of infant cancers, in the small group of women who had infants with AML, high consumption was associated with a 10-fold risk.

The number of women with AML infants was small, and the study relied on the womenis memories of their eating habits as long as 8 years previously. But a 10-fold increase is a startling finding, so Ross and her colleagues are planning another study. In this national study, which will include 250 pairs of AML and normal infants, Ross will try to clarify the relationship between diet and this form of leukemia. Itis likely to be a complicated relationship, and Ross cautions that genetic phenotype will probably play a crucial role.

But Ross believes that it is still a good idea to eat your vegetables. In fact, she hypothesizes that vitamins in vegetables and fruit may have a protective effect against these inhibitors. But itis possible that even with veggies, there can be "too much of a good thing".