You hear it all of the time, “well if I could only go back and tell myself… [insert lesson here] …than everything would be different now.” Given that we grow and learn throughout life it only seems natural that we would come to understand things more clearly as we got to experience them first hand. The seemingly difficult part is that it usually isn’t until after we have gone through the hardship, challenge or frustrations of doing the opposite that we come to realize the so-called “better” way.
Before beginning with the list that I’ve come up with, I’d like to share the following precursors with you all:
- This list is one I have put together based on my own life. That being the case, some –or potentially even all –of these lessons may or may not be relatable to you. I encourage you to add as many of your own lessons as you can come up with in the comment section of the article.
- The purpose of this article is not to get us all caught up in the regret of what was or what could have been had we had done differently. Remember that everything that has happened to this point in life has played a perfect role in making you who you are today.
- Use this article as an instigator or reminder for creating change in your life right now. No matter who you are or what your situation is, one thing is true about all of us: in this lifetime we are never going to be younger than we are right now in this moment. Therefore, there will never be a better time to change things than right now, so why not?
- This list is not put together in order of importance or significance.
1) Just because your body can seemingly handle anything, doesn’t make it okay to eat anything that you want to. Fast foods, sugary snacks, frozen dinners and anything else of that nature that I happily consumed throughout my teenage years should not be a regular part of anyone’s diet. The fact that I consumed as much of it as I did and still am around today in a healthy state shows just how strong and resilient the human body can be. Now imagine how much stronger it would be if it never had to process those unhealthy choices in the first place. It’s not to say you can’t have them at all, but having them in moderation is probably your best bet.
2) The outside world is always more interesting than the video game one. As fun as many video games can be, they will never be more important than the outside world. There is an entire real universe to explore filled with real people to interact with, so why get so caught up in a created one? You can still play them, and I still do, but again moderation seems like the best approach.
3) Don’t take school so seriously. I know instinctively this tip may receive some really negative reactions but please hear me out and keep in mind that this tip is based on my experience and is included here because it is something I would like to tell my 13-year-old self. School can be a wonderful experience and an awesome opportunity to connect with so many other people in a fun environment of mutual learning. See school as just that, and not as a treacherous life and death environment where every grade, test and assignment plays a critical role in the life that you will live. Let’s be honest, aside from potentially the last 1-2 years of high school, there is little to no difference between barely passing and achieving straight A’s in grade school, either way you move on to the next step. Enjoy the school experience, put in some hard work for the sake of learning but don’t let it become the bane of your existence.
4) Tryout/ play for more sports teams and extracurricular groups. It wasn’t until my second last year of high school that I became comfortable enough with myself to tryout/ play for all of the extracurricular’s that I had interest in. Play and be a part of whatever interests you; the fear of being judged or made fun of is not worth holding yourself back. Badminton, ultimate frisbee and curling were an awesome world I’m glad I got to at least experience for 2 of my high school years.
5) Don’t let your friends dictate your opinion of something/ someone. Make your own decisions! Just because another person came to conclude something doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be the conclusion for everyone else. Rather than simply accept public opinion, explore it for yourself. Even if it only leads you to agree with the original assessment, at least you got to figure it out first hand. So go talk to that cute girl! Just because someone else finds her annoying doesn’t mean that you will (Sorry, probably got a little too personal there haha)
6) Before reacting to or creating drama, breathe! We play with overly dramatic situations all throughout life, but they always seem to come about that much more often throughout teenagehood. Rather than jumping on the opportunity to “start shit” take a second to breathe. It’s amazing what a really good deep breath can do, or in this case prevent you from doing. Let’s be honest, how much of the drama that we’ve been a part of has actually been warranted/ worth our time? Chances are if they made an episode about it on ‘Pretty Little Liars’ or ‘The O.C.’ it doesn’t really hold much substance.
7) Enjoy and harness your natural beauty. This probably more naturally applies to females with the overwhelming pressures to wear make-up at earlier ages but I felt it really applied to me as a male as well. Not in regards to make-up but with hair care products. Whether it was to spike my hair, tame it down or to create a faux-hawk it felt like everyday I was putting more and more stuff in my hair. As amazing and fun as makeup and hair gels can be –especially for special occasions –to make them a part of your daily routine starting from such a young age can’t be healthy for your skin. We’re all beautiful, so let’s try and enjoy that as much as possible.
8) Be a leader. All new things in this world started with someone stepping outside of the box and deciding to create something different. Don’t be afraid to take the reigns on a new project/ idea. Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, the journey of trying to get there will more than likely be a heck of a lot more interesting than passively following someone else.
9) You will never have more time than you do right now. If the majority of us in the western world are blessed with one thing throughout our teenage years, it’s time. Rather than lofting in or accepting such regular states of boredom, seek fun and creative things to do with that time. We are never too young or old to make the best of some free time.
10) Life right now doesn’t suck as much as you think it does. Believe it or not, not having your driver’s license, not being the legal drinking age or not having a girlfriend/ boyfriend to fool around with are not viable reasons to conclude that life sucks. Life can suck just as easily even if you had all of those things and anything else you feel that you desire. Why? Because you aren’t finding peace in the now. Our minds are always going to want something more than what we currently have, so rather than getting caught up in the perpetual chase learn to love and live in this moment.
Be sure to add any of your own life lessons as a comment on this article, as well as if you agree or disagree with any of those that I mentioned. I look forward to reading your contributions!
Why We Need To Stop Bashing R. Kelly If We Want To Stop Teen Sexual Abuse & Pedophilia
- The Facts:
Singer superstar Robert Kelly has been charged with multiple accounts of child porn, rape, abuse, and running a sex cult where he kept several young women as sex slaves inside his home.
- Reflect On:
If we only react to crimes with judgement, anger, and hatred, do we ever give ourselves a chance to understand why this happens? If we don't take the time to do that, how can we ever stop it? Today, it's turned into an epidemic.
R. Kelly is a hot topic right now, as he’s been accused of raping minors, keeping minors locked up in his home for sexual purposes, and having inappropriate relationships with minors. We are talking about teenagers who ultimately are still just children. The testimony of many women and those close to him have illuminated what Kelly has done, although he still denies these claims. As a result of a recent docu-series on Lifetime called ‘Surviving R Kelly,’ he is being made fun of, judged, and hated on publicly by many within the industry as well as outside of it. On the surface, this is understandable given the crimes and atrocities he’s committed.
The star is known as a predator of teenage girls. When he was 27, he married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah at a secret ceremony in Chicago. Vibe magazine later discovered that they were able to change Aaliyah’s age on the wedding certificate listing herself as 18, even though she was only 15 at the time. The marriage was annulled in February 1995.
A girl by the name of Tiffany Hawkins sued R Kelly for the personal injuries and emotional distress she suffered during a three-year relationship with the star. In court documents, she said she began having sex with Kelly in 1991 when she was 15 and he was 24.
He has been charged with 21 counts of making child pornography involving intercourse, oral sex, urination, and other sexual acts. Chicago police accused him of videotaping each of these acts and enticing minors to participate in them.
Back in July 2017, a crowd gathered in Chicago as Timothy Savage told the world that he believed his 21-year-old daughter was being “held against her will” as part of an alleged sex cult led by R&B singer R Kelly.
As it turns out, she wasn’t the only one. Apparently, there were several women held captive as sex slaves in a home he owned.
The story made global news, and put the spotlight on the 51-year-old superstar’s private life – in particular, the rumours about his alleged sexual relationships with underage girls.
Savage claimed his daughter, Jocelyn, was part of an abusive sex cult, in which young girls were groomed and physically/sexually abused by Kelly.
R Kelly’s wife, ex-wife, and daughter have also been quite outspoken about his abusive behaviour, even more so now that so many people are gathering together and sharing their stories. When R. Kelly was making millions for record companies, it seemed to be swept under the rug. Along with these accusations also came many awards, fame, and notoriety.
It’s important to note that what we hear and what leaks out into the mainstream probably represents only a fraction of Kelly’s illegal activities. Many celebrities and members of the elite are often protected from the law, and many abused women and children may not feel comfortable coming forward.
How Should We React?
Amidst all of the judgement, anger, resentment and hatred towards R. Kelly, and any sexual predator, criminal, etc. for that matter, we often fail to address one of the most important questions: We forget to ask why and how.
There is no denying people have been hurt here, and it’s important to discuss what’s happened, but we must also discuss solutions. All we seem to do is judge, hate, and punish without asking why and how these things happen. It reminds me of how we operate prison systems in the western world. We claim to rehabilitate individuals, but really we just force them into incredibly poor conditions that often make their state of mind worse by the time of their release, and then we send them back out into society expecting that the past won’t repeat itself.
If we continue to judge, make fun, and ‘bash,’ we simply reinforce the cycle and allow it to continue without ever getting to the root cause of it, thus prolonging the issue instead of stopping it. In essence, just as we must provide a loving space for victims to process their experiences, we must also create that space for perpetrators.
As much as people may not want to hear it, ask yourself the question: Are we really changing anything by holding so much hate and judgment toward perpetrators? What happens when those hated individuals enter into bad rehabilitation systems and are out of prison a mere 5 or 10 years later? We’re perpetuating a cycle of disconnection.
Flipping The Script
People like R. Kelly are ‘sick,’ in the same way murderers, other rapists, and criminals are ‘sick.’ The only response from society has been judgement, and the result of that judgement is jail time which largely benefits politicians and corporations. It’s a modern day example of slavery, and actually has nothing to do with rehabilitation and fostering understanding and compassion.
When it comes to sexually abusing children, those who participate in this type of activity have often been subjected to severe childhood trauma themselves. It could be sexual or something else. As a result, they grow up and repeat what they have been through or look for other unhealthy ways to cope as they struggle to fit into society. This is something that has not been addressed nor understood by all of those who are participating in what’s become known as ‘elite level sexual abuse.’
In the case of R. Kelly himself, most people probably don’t realize he is a victim of child sex abuse. He has detailed in his autobiography how he was raped when he was eight years old, which continued for years. His brother also recently gave an emotional interview detailing how both of them were repeatedly raped at very young ages by their older sister, starting from when they were about 6 years old. They were forced to perform sexual acts on her as well as have intercourse. (source)
Think about what this does to a child at that age. This is trauma, and his behaviour may be a result of this trauma. Further, the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R Kelly clearly shows Kelly tries incredibly hard to protect himself from getting hurt. This is likely part of why he is so controlling. As hard as it is to watch and hear, it seems like he attempts to control every aspect of his life so that he avoids getting hurt. Does it mean it’s right to do? Of course not, it simply shows the frame of mind he’s operating from, and understanding that helps us figure out how we can help R Kelly. If we don’t put aside our hatred and judgement in order to feel compassion for these individuals, we will never find a solution. If we refuse, we not only fail to help the perpetrator, but we end up further perpetuating the issue and creating more victims.
Another great example would be the Vatican. Take Cardinal George Pell, for example, who recently became the highest ranking Vatican official to ever be convicted of child sexual abuse. This is something, most likely, he grew up experiencing himself. To him, it could be ‘normal’ behaviour, even if that’s at the subconscious level. Many of these Cardinals have been in the church since they were children. Not long ago, decades worth of sexual abuse was reported in a choir that was led by the retired pope Benedict’s brother. In that specific case, there were approximately 600 members of a Catholic boys’ Dompatzen choir in Regenburg, Germany who where physically and sexual abused from 1946 to 1992. Georg Ratzinger, the former Pope’s Benedict’s brother, was the choir’s head from 1964 to 1994.
Without treatment, many of these children may grow up and abuse young children. And if they don’t leave the church, they could end up further perpetuating the cycle of sexual abuse within it.
Asking The Important Questions
What does hatred do? What does judgement do? What progress will we ever make by making fun of these people, labelling them as psychopaths, and locking them up? On the other hand, what will love do? What does understanding do? What progress would be made without judgement and punishment, but rather with understanding, openness, transparency, and communication? We may need to detain these people to stop them from hurting others, but we must think of better ways of approaching this than our current methodology.
Don’t believe me? Hear it from a victim of elite child sex trafficking. We just put out a 4-part interview series with Anneke Lucas on January 17th, where she describes in detail her involvement as a child in an elite Belgian pedophile ring, her remarkable escape, and her healing journey over the last couple decades.
In the interview, she explains how vital it is during the healing process to not feel like a ‘victim,’ and that you actually empower your abuser by taking the victim stance or by labelling them as ‘crazy satanic pedophiles.’ She learned to look at them from a different perspective. Eventually, she felt sorry for her perpetrators and realized that the abusers are in need of something society is not ready to provide them with: the opportunity to heal.
Sexual abuse has been an issue deeply ingrained in society for centuries, and it’s in part because society fails to respond with compassion. We do the exact opposite of that. We make fun of, vilify, point fingers, punish, and kill criminals. We do not rehabilitate and we do not give a chance for ‘lost souls’ to connect to the light that exists within them, that light that exists within all of us. There is no talk of past trauma and healing, and this is one of the biggest problems when it comes to alleviating various crimes including sexual abuse and pedophilia.
These people have nobody to talk to, their always running and hiding and never addressing the root cause of their problems. As a result, many people experience pain and trauma, and the cycle continues.
Tylenol Damages The Brains of Children, Research Reveals
- The Facts:
Tylenol has a wide range of toxic side effects you should be aware of, especially if you are pregnant or use it with your children. Article written by William Parker, Ph.D for Greenmedinfo.com, published here with permission.
- Reflect On:
Why do we keep taking Tylenol and other over-the-counter drugs when it's unquestionable that they do more harm than good? Why don't we ever look into healthy ways to alleviate our symptoms?
A number of non-peer-reviewed articles have been written and published on the web claiming that there is literally nothing to fear from acetaminophen during pregnancy. There are two types of articles that fall into this category. First, reputable watchdog organizations have weighed in on the issue, declaring acetaminophen use during pregnancy and during childhood to be proven safe. In particular, the National Health Service of the UK and the Center for Accountability in Science have both strongly criticized the Spanish study from 2016 showing a link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and ADHD/autism.
The second type of article is generally written by a science writer working for an organization that runs a website. Often quoting one to three experts who claim that is perfectly safe and that pregnant women and families should not be concerned, many of these articles are published by reputable sources that are generally trustworthy. Typically, an expert is being asked to comment on one particular publication showing a link between acetaminophen use (usually during pregnancy) and some sort of neuropsychiatric problem (autism, lowered IQ, hyperactivity, and/or social/behavioral problems, depending on the study). There are several important things to consider when evaluating these articles:
1. There are a number of University Professors who have studied the use of acetaminophen on the developing brain and who are keenly aware of the potential dangers. A partial list of these individuals is provided below.
2. Being an expert in acetaminophen neurotoxicity during development means that considerable time has been invested in studying the issue. Any true expert in this issue will be aware of basic facts regarding acetaminophen neurotoxicity. These facts include the following:
(a) Studies in animal models (both in mice and in rats) demonstrate that acetaminophen use during a sensitive period of brain development causes long-term alterations in the brain and is manifested as problems with social function.
(b) Margaret McCarthy, Chair of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland, has worked out the probable mechanism by which acetaminophen-induced brain damage occurs. Her research team has found that the male brain is considerably more sensitive to acetaminophen than the female brain, possibly accounting for the gender bias in autism.
(c) There are (as of January 2017) a total of 8 published studies evaluating the long terms effects on children of acetaminophen use during pregnancy or during childhood. Two of these (one in 2014, one in 2016) were published in JAMA Pediatrics, one of the most highly respected pediatric journals. All studies point toward acetaminophen use being associated with long-term problems with neurological function. Each study design has included some attempt to control for indication. In all studies, acetaminophen use rather than indication has been identified as the key factor associated with cognitive problems. A formal meta-analysis is not currently possible because of the varied outcome measures and study designs, but all 8 studies point in the same direction: Acetaminophen is neurotoxic to the developing brain. The studies are not “cherry picked”, selecting only those which find an effect. All studies point toward a neurotoxic effect of acetaminophen in the developing brain.
(d) Acetaminophen substantially alters brain chemistry and temporarily impairs awareness of social issues in adult humans.
(e) Testing of acetaminophen safety in children did not include any evaluation of brain function, and no long-term studies were ever conducted. The primary manufacturer of acetaminophen in the US acknowledges that the drug has never been shown to be safe for brain development when used during pregnancy or in childhood. All safety tests were performed with the assumption that any side effects would be acute in nature (e.g., bleeding or acute organ damage). This assumption was based on observations made with acetaminophen in adults and with aspirin in children. It was not based on any experience with acetaminophen use in children.
3. Having prescribed tens of thousands of doses of acetaminophen does not make anyone an expert on the neurotoxicity of acetaminophen, any more than eating thousands of pounds of chips makes somebody an expert in the effects of an inflammatory diet. Credentials and certifications that allow physicians to prescribe acetaminophen do not make them experts, and elevated positions in the medical community do not qualify anybody as an expert on the effects of acetaminophen. If somebody does not know those basic facts listed above, then they are not an expert on the neurotoxicity of acetaminophen. Usually, the experts will have published one or more peer-reviewed manuscripts on the topic. Those are the people to ask when an expert is needed.
4. It is tempting to point accusing fingers at physicians who say that acetaminophen is safe when they literally have no grasp whatsoever of the relevant scientific literature. However, this would be a mistake. I have tracked down a few of these individuals who were quoted in a very public format, and one individual, in particular, didn’t even remember having made a comment on the topic. The most likely explanation is that a reporter asked them if acetaminophen was safe, and their response based on their training (not on the knowledge of the literature) was that it is safe. After all, if they didn’t think it was safe, they would not be administering it dozens of times per day. So, if a reporter asks a physician if something is safe, and they provide their knowledge based on what they have been taught and how they practice, then it is hard to blame them. The reporter didn’t ask them to spend days or even weeks reviewing the literature in detail, but rather assumed that any physician administering something dozens of times per day would know the literature. (This is a false assumption. No physician has the time to study all current literature on every drug they administer.) So, in a nutshell, a tragic propagation of incorrect information is occurring despite the best of intentions of all parties involved.
5. Unless an organization such as the National Health Service has the time to review a topic thoroughly, they should remain silent on an issue. It took a team of us two years to put together our summary of the evidence, both direct and circumstantial, regarding the potential neurotoxicity of acetaminophen during development. It took the NHS only days to publish their recent criticism of the 2016 Spanish study. Offering questionable criticisms of a single paper without reviewing the literature to see how that publication fits into the big picture is a disservice to the public being served.
6. Reading the published quotes from many “experts” who exonerate acetaminophen, it is apparent that the logic falls into one of two categories.
(a) Everybody is doing it, so it must be OK.
(b) This single study is not perfect, so no change in practice should be made.
Neither of these criticisms is logically sound, of course. These two criticisms are often combined and were, in fact, part of the critical comments directed toward the first paper showing that acetaminophen probably has substantial neurotoxicity during development (published in 2008 by Steve Shultz). Further, the evaluation of study weaknesses is usually skewed and not entirely valid. Since the idea that acetaminophen is safe is being embraced, then any merit in the paper is often undermined to make the case. This is certainly true of the published (peer reviewed) criticisms of the 2008 Shultz paper.
7. Many on-line sources support the view that acetaminophen can be very dangerous to the developing brain. Probably the most reliable source, the FDA, is remaining silent on the topic until something more definitive is done. The FDA knows that this is extremely urgent, but unfortunately, our FDA is not linked well (in a practical manner) with our NIH, and thus they can’t dictate research priorities.
8. Here is a list (not comprehensive) of experts regarding the neurotoxicity of acetaminophen during brain development.
a) First, I’ll thank the wonderful team of individuals who helped put together our comprehensive review on this topic. Shu Lin, a professor with me in Duke’s Surgery Department, is a very dear and long-time friend of mine who has supported me through countless projects over the past 22 years. Staci Bilbo, director for research on Autism at Harvard, is a friend and collaborator who has helped me understand what causes inflammation and the role of inflammation in brain dysfunction. Chi Dang Hornik, a pediatric pharmacist at Duke, contributed greatly to our understanding of the frequency of acetaminophen administration and the available formulations of the drug. Many thanks to Martha Herbert. As a Harvard professor and clinician, she has a great appreciation for the clinical data obtained from patients with autism. Cindy Nevison, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, rounds out our team, providing critical information about the epidemiology of autism. (Thanks also to our interns (Rasika Rao and Lauren Gentry) and research analyst (Zoie Holzknecht) who were a tremendous help in compiling information and preparing that information for publication.)
b) Margaret McCarthy, chair of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland, it the most knowledgeable person I know regarding the biochemistry of the human brain and how that is affected by acetaminophen and other drugs in that class.
c) Chittaranjan Andrade, Chair of Psychopharmacology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India, has written a peer reviewed paper on the topic of acetaminophen induced brain damage. He nicely summarized a number of studies looking at the connection between acetaminophen and neurological damage. His final conclusion is that the drug is probably more associated with ADHD than autism, but the conclusion was limited to exposure during pregnancy and his work was conducted before some critical studies were published in 2016.
d) Henrik Viberg is a professor in the Department of Organismal Biology at Uppsala University in Sweden. He has studied how exposure of mice to acetaminophen during development can cause long term brain damage.
e) In 2015, a group of scientists working with Laurence de Fays at the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products in Brussels acknowledged the clinical studies and the studies in animal models which indicated that acetaminophen could be dangerous to the developing fetus, but concluded that paracetamol is “still to be considered safe in pregnancy”. At the same time, they state that “additional carefully designed studies are necessary to confirm or disprove the association (between acetaminophen and brain damage to children)”, and that “care should be taken to avoid raising poorly founded concerns among pregnant females”. We very strongly agree with the conclusion that more studies are needed, but very strongly disagree with the conclusion that women should be kept in the dark about the matter. It is important to point out that several more studies have come out since Laurence de Fays’ report. One of those is a 2016 manuscript in JAMA Pediatrics(see the next expert), a highly reputable peer reviewed journal, which addresses the concerns raised by de Fays, so it is possible that de Fays’ group may now have a different opinion.
f) A team of scientists and doctors working with Evie Stergiakouli at the University of Bristol analyzed data from a prospective birth cohort, and concluded that “children exposed to acetaminophen prenatally are at increased risk of multiple behavioral difficulties”. They found considerable evidence indicating that the association was not due to the confounding factors that concerned de Fays’ group (previous expert).
g) Jordi Julvez at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, Spain worked with a team of a dozen clinicians and scientists to publish their 2016 study linking acetaminophen with autism and ADHD.
h) Amany A. Abdin, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Tanta University, Egypt, wrote a review of the acetaminophen/autism connection and published it in the journal Biochemistry and Pharmacology: Open Access. Her conclusion in 2013 was that the drug is not safe and that the acetaminophen/autism connection should receive attention.
i) The original paper that identified a connection between neuropsychiatric disorders and acetaminophen was published by Steve Shultz while at the University of California at San Diego. Coauthors on the paper included Hillary Klonoff-Cohen, currently an Endowed Professor and Director of the MPH program at the University of Illinois.
j) Four scientists, including research scientist Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen and professors Hedvig Nordeng and Eivind Ystrom in the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Oslo, coauthored a study showing a connection between adverse neurodevelopment and acetaminophen use during pregnancy.
k) Jorn Olsen, Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA, published one of the more recent papers (2016) showing a connection between autism and acetaminophen use during pregnancy.
l) Five professors (John M. D. Thompson, Karen E. Waldie, Clare R. Wall, Rinky Murphy, and Edwin A. Mitchell) from four different departments at The University of Auckland published their findings in PLOSone in 2014 which “strengthen the contention that acetaminophen exposure in pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD-like behaviours. Our study also supports earlier claims that findings are specific to acetaminophen.”
For evidence-based research on the dangers of acetaminophen, visit the GreenMedInfo.com Research Dashboard.\
Read their related article on Tylenol:
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William Parker is an Associate Professor at Duke University, where he has worked in the Department of Surgery since 1993. William is currently investigating a number of issues associated with inflammation and Western society, including vitamin D deficiency, heart disease and alteration of the symbionts of the human body (“biota alteration”). He has been interested in “natural” immune function for some time, which has led him down a path that includes the first studies of immune function in wild rats and the discovery of the function of the human appendix.
European Union Approval of Glyphosate Found To Be Based On Plagiarized Science From Monsanto
- The Facts:
Glyphosate, an active ingredient within Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, was recently re-licensed and approved by the European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto.
- Reflect On:
With so much science showing it's harmful to humans and the environment, and the fact that several dozen countries have made it illegal, why is it still approved in the UK, Canada, and US? Among a few other places.
It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to glyphosate, an active ingredient used in Monsanto’s infamous ‘Roundup herbicide,’ a product that’s illegal in many countries (not including Canada and the United States). For a number of years, these countries have been citing the devastating health and environmental effects of Roundup herbicide, namely regarding glyphosate. Sri Lanka, for example, completely banned the product because of it’s link to deadly kidney disease, whereas many other countries have cited its carcinogenic effects. The science is quite clear, and it’s been coming out for decades. Fernando Manas, Ph.D. at the National University of Rio Cuarto in Argentina, outlines how “There is evidence of high levels of genetic damage in people of Marcos Juarez (Argentina), which may result from unintentional exposure to pesticides.” (source)
Nobody can really argue against why glyphosate shouldn’t be approved anywhere in the world, especially when you take a look at the science. Glyphosate recently made headlines, as the case regarding school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit claiming that glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. There are thousands upon thousands of similar pending cases. Any jury that reviews all of the scientific evidence will not be able to rule otherwise, and Johnson’s case was a great example that showed glyphosate caused his cancer.
How are these products approved? It comes as a result of corrupt regulatory agencies here in Canada as well as within the US, specifically the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The list of examples is very long when it comes to corruption and government connections to corporations like Monsanto. This is the only way these products get approved, it’s not science, it’s simply lobbying efforts and shady politics.
“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014), article ID 179691
EU regulators recently decided to relicense glyphosate, and it came based on an assessment that was plagiarized from industry reports. It’s quite backwards that for years, health regulators have been relying on the scientific reports from the company that manufactures these products, instead of seeking out independent scientific studies.
A group of MEPs decides to commission an investigation into claims that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (bFr) copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies.
As the Guardian points out:
The study’s findings have been released hours before a parliamentary vote on tightening independent scrutiny of the pesticides approvals process. The authors said they found “clear evidence of BfR’s deliberate pretence of an independent assessment, whereas in reality the authority was only echoing the industry applicant’s assessment. Molly ScottCato, a Green MEP, said the scale of alleged plagiarism by the BfR authors shown by the new paper was “extremely alarming.”
Molly Scott Cato, a member of European Parliament, went on to tell the Guardian:
“This helps explain why the World Health Organization assessment on glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen was so at odds with EU assessors, who awarded this toxic pesticide a clean bill of health, brushing off warnings of its dangers.”
The study found plagiarism in half of the chapters assessing published studies on the health risk, which means that half of the science came directly from Monsanto themselves, because the plagiarism was of industry science. And what does the industry do? Jane Goodall, although referencing GMOs, hammers home the point:
As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals – and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science. They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that GMOs were safe. (source)
This quote came from a book written by Lawyer Steven Druker, who sued the FDA and uncovered documents showing how the agency manipulated the science and corrupted scientists in order to get GMOs approved. You can read more about that in detail here.
The same thing goes for glyphosate.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) based its recommendation that glyphosate was safe for public use on the BfR’s assessment.
According to the EFSA, “The report does not provide any new scientific information that calls into question the assessment and conclusions of glyphosate. EFSA stands firmly behind the integrity of its risk assessment process and its conclusions on glyphosate.”
Jo Lewis, the Soil Associations policy director told the Guardian:
“It is unacceptable that pesticide-industry studies receive greater recognition than scientific peer-reviewed open literature in regulatory decision-making. Whilst this paper focuses on the US EPA, similar criticisms have been made of EU decisions and we fear that outside the EU, pressure to approve pesticides will increase.”
Again, it’s weird how this is even a debate. This has been known for a very long time, and we’ve seen similar happenings with DDT in the past.
“Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.” – October 2012 report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) (source)(source)
Keep in mind that the use of glyphosate has skyrocketed, a 1500% increase from 1995 to 2005 was seen, and 100 million pounds of this stuff is used every year on more than a billion acres in the United States alone.
It’s found in our food, our beverages, our favourite snacks, etc.
It’s even been found in the breast milk of mothers, and in urine samples of people across Europe. (source)
The main toxic effects of glyphosate as identified by MIT’s Dr. Stephanie Seneff include:
- Kills beneficial gut bacteria and allows pathogens to overgrow
- Interferes with function of cytochrome p450 (CYP enzymes)
- Chelates important minerals (iron, cobalt, manganese, etc)
- Interferes with synthesis of aromatic amino acids and methionine – leads to shortages in critical neurotransmitters and folate
- Disrupts sulfate synthesis and sulfate transport
Need I write more?
At the end of the day, despite the power these corporations hold over government regulatory agencies, it’s human beings that are actually spraying this stuff. This is why change needs to occur at an individual level. One day, no human will agree to spray or use Roundup herbicide, because our lives literally depend on it. We’re simply being used as tools by these corporations, and they profit off our ignorance. Our own consciousness is being used against us. The lies and the scientific fraud that occur in order to get these products on the market actually convince people that they are safe. It’s still hard for some people to accept let alone entertain the idea that our regulatory agencies would ever knowingly do something to harm us.
This is why awareness is so important, and why we must do our own research.
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