Natalie-Marie Hart Interviews Heather Callaghan about the March Against Monsanto
Natalie-Marie Hart Interviews Heather Callaghan
Natalie-Marie Hart Interviews Heather Callaghan about the environment
Natalie-Marie Hart Interviews Heather Callaghan about the March Against Monsanto
Natalie-Marie Hart Interviews Heather Callaghan
Natalie-Marie Hart Interviews Heather Callaghan about the environment
Gordon Edwards was born in Canada in 1940, and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1961 with a gold medal in Mathematics and Physics and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. In 1972, he obtained a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Queen’s University.
From 1970 to 1974, he was the editor of Survival magazine and in 1975 he co-founded the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and has been its president since 1978. Edwards has worked widely as a consultant on nuclear issues and has been qualified as a nuclear expert by courts in Canada and elsewhere.
Dr. Edwards has written articles and reports on radiation standards, radioactive wastes, uranium mining, nuclear proliferation, the economics of nuclear power, non-nuclear energy strategies. He has been featured on radio and television programs including David Suzuki’s The Nature of Things, Pierre Berton’s The Great Debate, and many others. He has worked as consultant for governmental bodies such as the Auditor General of Canada, the Select Committee on Ontario Hydro Affairs, and the Ontario Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning. In 2006, Edwards received the Nuclear-Free Future Award. He is a teacher of mathematics at Vanier College in Montreal.
This interview talks about the 69th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima which happened on August 6th 1945 and the bombing of Nagasaki which happened on August 9th 1945. We also talk about the movie the China Syndrome.
Interview about Fukushima with Dr. Gordon Edwards
The Bob Tuskin Show is a solution oriented collaborative effort featuring a team of independent journalists from around the world, led and directed by Bob Tuskin, who himself is a talk radio veteran and vocal activist both in his community and on the global stage. Talks about Chemtrails and bees dying off.
Here is Mariah Blake’s article:
Here is our interview:
Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg are a married couple of mixed cultural heritage. Laurie is Canadian, and Terry is American. From 1982 to 1992, Terry joined Laurie in Canada and during that time their two sons were born in a Calgary hospital. They moved to the Seattle area in 1992, and experienced the culture shock of switching from the worry-free health care system in Canada, to the complicated, expensive, and anxiety-provoking system in the United States. In making this documentary they learned that the story of the battle for national health care in both countries has been an adventure story, fraught with heroes and villains. And they learned how two neighbouring countries ended up taking such drastically different paths.
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
— Albert Einstein
By Natalie-Marie Hart
Bees have been slowly declining in number since 1972 . The drop in bee populations was traditionally called “fall dwindle disease”, which is cited here for the aid of future research; even though the word disease is not applicable. In 2006, a far more rapid bee population decline ensued. The problem was renamed to “colony collapse disorder”, or less frequently “honey bee depopulation syndrome”. Despite the various mentally-challenged naming conventions of this problem, it nevertheless is becoming a very serious problem for all of us. Prior to 2006, the gradual decline was attributed to a number of causes, including pesticide use and Varroa mites. By early 2007, the decline had reached new proportions. Bees simply disappeared, instead of dying in their hives. Large bee hives became miniature ghost towns, and there is still no official explanation for the disappearance of the bees.
“Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.”
— Spiegel Magazine (2007) 
Ask yourself how important are honeybees to the human diet? We do not even appreciate their hard work; they pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops, which make up 1/3 of everything we eat. Losing them could affect foods like apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers; it may threaten our beef and dairy industries if alfalfa is not available for feed. It is Mother Nature’s gift to us.
“The [Monsanto] study concluded that there was no evidence of a ‘toxic effect of Bt corn on healthy honeybee populations’. But when, by sheer chance, the bees used in the experiments were infested with a parasite, something eerie happened. According to the Jena study, a ‘significantly stronger decline in the number of bees’ occurred among the insects that had been fed a highly concentrated Bt. poison feed.”
— Spiegel Magazine
David Schuit a Canadian Honey Farmer runs Schuit’s Saugeen Honey near Elmwood, Ontario and is experiencing an overwhelming loss of 600 hives totalling nearly 40 million bees. This all happened when a nearby GMO cornfield was planted.
In an interview I did with David Schuit he told me about pesticides called neonicotinoids and other chemicals that are causing the death of the bees and his bees. I learned that Bayer CropScience and Syngenta create these chemicals as seeds. Genetically modified corn is one of the biggest causes for the death of the bees. These chemicals are being found in soil, plants, pollen and fructose corn syrup that is often fed to bees as cheap food to replace the honey. Many people do not even know that bees get thirsty too; when bees drink water droplets from treated plants they can die of neurotoxicity within 25 minutes.
David Schuit queen bees are dying and are being replaced every few months instead of every few years. These honey farmers are losing their livelihood because the honeybees are dying.
David Schuit in an interview:
Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions…
OMAFRA [Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food Rural Affairs] tells me to have faith.
Well, I think it’s criminal what is happening, and it’s hard to have faith if it doesn’t look like they are going to do anything anyway.
The province of Ontario seems to be sitting there and allowing for GMO crops to destroy our environment. We are losing a wonderful industry that Mother Nature gave us honey. They do not care if insects die off. It is all about money and profits. It has gone to far now and they do not care what happens to the environment and the people. We are going to see GMO crops being planted this year. How much more can we take of this greed it’s winning and the environment is losing a battle. We are being affected just as much as the animals and insecticides around us.
1. Honey Bee Die-Off Alarms Beekeepers, Crop Growers And Researchers
2. Collapsing Colonies: Are GM Crops Killing Bees?
By Anita Hofschneider
Seed companies and their allies have raised nearly $8 million to defeat a Maui County voter initiative that seeks to temporarily ban GMO farming, according to reports filed with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission on Monday.
The money raised is along the lines of how much seed companies have been spending to battle GMO-related ballot initiatives across the country, but is unheard-of in Hawaii politics.
“This is historic,” said Tony Baldomero, associate director of the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission. “This is the highest (amount raised) that I have ever seen since I have been here, by any candidate committee, ballot issue committee, non-candidate committee, even super PAC.”
Maui County’s ballot initiative seeks to impose a temporary moratorium on growing genetically engineered seeds until the county conducts a public health and environmental study of its impact.
The bill is the latest county measure seeking to crack down on Hawaii’s $243 million seed industry, which has been the target of growing activism statewide by residents who are worried about the consequences of pesticides sprayed on genetically modified crops.
According to campaign spending data detailing expenditures from Aug. 10 to Oct. 20 this year, a group called Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban has spent more than $6.3 million to defeat the Maui County initiative.
That’s nearly 10 percent of the $64.4 million that all Hawaii political candidates have spent on campaigns according to data from the Campaign Spending Commission that covers Nov. 8, 2006 to Aug. 9, 2014.
The group still had $1.5 million available as of Oct. 20.
Although the organization bills itself as a citizens group, the vast majority of its money comes from global seed companies Monsanto and DowAgroSciences, which have businesses on Maui and Molokai that would be affected by the measure.
In contrast, supporters of the ballot initiative spent a paltry $82,807.21 — or about 1.3 percent that opponents have spent — and have less than $6,500 left.
Campaign spending records show that Monsanto, the leading global producer of seed crops, has donated more than $5 million to Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban.
Monsanto, which brought in more than $14 billion in revenue last year, farms about 3,000 acres in Maui County and employs more than 500 workers.
Dow AgroSciences gave over $1.7 million to the political action committee. The company’s subsidiary, Mycogen Seeds, employs 100 people and farms about 400 acres on Molokai, one of three islands in Maui County.
The rest of the funding came from Washington, D.C.-based Council for Biotechnology Information and another group led by Bennette Misalucha, the executive director for the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, a trade group for seed companies including Monsanto.
The $7.9 million raised to defeat the Maui County initiative rivals the seed companies’ fundraising efforts in Oregon and Colorado, where residents are set to vote on bills that would require labeling on food products with genetically modified ingredients.
Anti-labeling groups, which have received major donations from seed companies like Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, have reportedly raisedat least $11 million in Colorado and more than $16 million in Oregon.
But the fundraising is historic in Hawaii, where the most any candidate has raised is $6.7 million by Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle in 2006, Baldomero said.
He couldn’t think of any county or statewide ballot initiatives that have even come close to the Maui County ballot initiative.
The amount of money that Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban has raised comes out to more than $90 per registered voter in Maui County, which has a population of just 160,000.
The money raised even exceeds the $4.1 million spent by Pacific Resource Partnership in 2012. The super PAC waged one of the most notorious political campaigns in recent Hawaii history that successfully defeated mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano and helped put Mayor Kirk Caldwell in office.
Carmille Lim, an advocate for open government who leads Common Cause Hawaii, said the high contributions are part of a trend of out-of-state groups and money seeking to influence local elections.
“It’s really concerning when you have outside groups outweighing the voices of the people and changing the dynamic of the issues that affect the specific counties and individual districts,” Lim said.
Even though the initiative is on Maui, Citizens Against the Maui County Ballot Initiative has been advertising statewide on TV stations, radio stations and in print.
The group has run a barrage of misleading ads that allege the ballot initiative would shut down all farming operations while increasing pesticide use.
Reports filed with the Federal Communications Commission show that so far, the group has contracts for more than $1.3 million worth of TV spots.
That makes the Maui County initiative among the top 20 most expensive ballot measures in the nation for spending on TV advertising, according to an analysis of statewide ballot initiatives by the Center for Public Integrity.
According to its campaign spending report, Citizens Against the Maui County Ballot Initiative paid $4.2 million to Target Enterprises LLC, a California-based company that manages advertising campaigns.
The group also spent more than half a million dollars sending direct mail, as well as more than $250,000 for research on public opinion. Other notable costs include more than $80,000 in legal fees and $30,730 for printing signs and sign-waving activities.
Over $12,000 was also spent on canvassing, in addition to more than $3,000 for canvassing software. The organization’s spokesman Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez declined to comment on how many people are canvassing and how much they’re getting paid.
John Hart, a communication professor at the Hawaii Pacific University, thinks that the statewide advertising could confuse some voters who may not live on Maui, and lead some to reject a statewide ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to provide more funding for agricultural businesses.
Proponents of that initiative are clearly concerned as well — their most recent mailers state “Not related to the Maui GMO initiative” in large block letters.
“It is a phenomenal amount of money for a county initiative,” Hart said.
Given how much money is being raised to defeat the Maui County ballot measure, advocates for the bill are overwhelmingly outspent.
So far, they’ve amassed just over $89,000, and used nearly all of it.
The national nonprofit Center for Food Safety’s political action committee received and spent about $15,100, mostly on radio ads and print advertising.
Another $14,000 was raised by a group called Maui United that is run by Autumn Ness, a self-employed resident of Kihei, Maui.
The biggest political action committee supporting the ballot initiative is Maui Citizen’s Initiative for a Temporary Moratorium on GMO Crop Cultivation, which received more than $60,000 and spent more than $55,000 on advertising in TV, print and radio, as well as mailers.
The PAC was started by members of the SHAKA Movement, the organization that successfully gathered more than 9,000 signatures to get the bill on the ballot.
The SHAKA Movement also raised $70,000 through a crowdsourcing campaign called “Help Hawaii End GMO & Openair Chemical Experiments.”
Mark Sheehan, spokesman for SHAKA Movement, said the group did not note that money in its campaign spending disclosure because it was used by the nonprofit for educational activities separate from the Maui County ballot initiative.
Even if the money was included in the report, the group is still woefully behind. The organization hasn’t given up hope — it’s hosting an “ohana body prayer service” this weekend, complete with drummers, juices and crystal magic in return for a $12 “love donation.” But Sheehan is worried that the initiative will fail.
“This is the latest and most dramatic example of how corporations run these islands,” he said.
A new law will place restrictions on scientists with clear knowledge on GMO dangers, and create room for experts with overt financial ties to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries affected by EPA regulations. H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, is an earthquake rumbling through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board.
This means that the EPA can no longer be advised on their own research regarding GMOs or pharmaceutical drugs like antibiotics or vaccines. Can you say circular reasoning, or insular logic? This ‘reform’ means industry-appointed experts will determine what is ‘safe’ and what is not safe for the public, and that the scientists with the most knowledge about the risks pertaining to GMOs and pharmaceuticals will be gagged.
As usual, is the classic political bait and switch, being touted as a means for ‘more transparency.’ But the White House, which threatened to veto the bill, said it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.”
As the Lindsay Abrams points out:
“. . . the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn’t clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research.”
This also means that while Monsanto hides the toxicity results on RoundUp Ready GMO crops and experts call GMO testing woefully inadequate, we now have yet another layer of bureaucracy to protect Big Biotech. With all the anti-science claims made by biotech toward individuals and non-profits who claim GMOs are not safe, this is the exact pot calling the kettle black.
“In other words,” says Union of Concerned Scientists director Andrew A. Rosenberg in an editorial for RollCall, “academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.”
If there was ever a question that our government has been completely infiltrated by extremely questionable interests, let it be known that the stakes have just been raised.
What do we know about uranium? Well, uranium is the heaviest naturally occurring element on earth. It is a metal, like all other metals, except that it had no commercial value before the mid-twentieth century. Until the last fifty years it was produced only as a byproduct. Thus the entire history of the mining of uranium has taken place during my lifetime. Moreover, a great deal of it has occurred in my homeland, Canada, which was the first country to produce and process uranium as such.
The first uranium processed by Canada was used to produce nuclear explosives for the atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Indeed, the beginning of the nuclear weapons program marked the beginning of the uranium industry. By 1956, uranium had become the fourth most important export from Canada, after pulp, lumber and wheat; and every ounce of it was used to produce A-bombs and H-bombs for the American — and, to a lesser extent, the British — nuclear weapons programs. It was the only use uranium had at that time.
Today, Canada remains the world’s largest producer and exporter of uranium, ostensibly for peaceful purposes; that is, as fuel for civilian nuclear reactors. Canada is also one of the very few countries in the world in which uranium mining is currently expanding. In the province of Saskatchewan, there are environmental assessment hearings going on now, this year, having to do with the potential opening of five new uranium mines. This, despite the fact that the price of uranium is lower today than it has ever been. The price has been falling steadily for more than fifteen years, and is now at an all-time low.
I hope that those attending this conference will write to the Prime Minister of Canada (c/o House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0A6) and to the Premier of Saskatchewan (c/o Saskatchewan Legislature, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) asking them not to continue the expansion of this industry. Why? Because uranium is the deadliest metal on earth. As you will see, the scientific evidence fully bears out this conclusion. I would now like to explain why.
Both the commercial value and the dangers of uranium are based on two extra-ordinary characteristics which it possesses. First of all, uranium is radioactive. Secondly, uranium is fissionable. These are two quite different properties, however, and they should not be confused.
The phenomenon of radioactivity was accidentally discovered in 1896 when Henri Becquerel put a rock in a drawer. The rock contained uranium, and the drawer contained a photographic plate, which was well-wrapped and shielded from the light. Some weeks later, when Becquerel unwrapped and developed the plate, he found rays of light on the photograph emanating exactly from the point of contact where the rock had been resting on it. Being a scientist, he was astounded. He could think of no possible way in which an inert rock could spontaneously be releasing energy — especially such a penetrating form of energy. Moreover, the energy release had taken place in total darkness, in the absence of any external stimulation — there was no chemical reaction, no exposure to sunlight, nor anything else. Becquerel had discovered radioactivity.
Marie Curie decided to pursue the mystery further. She got some uranium ore from the Erz mountains, not very far from here. She chemically separated the uranium from the rest of the crushed rock (she had to crush the rock and dissolve it in acid to get the uranium out, which is what we still do today in mining uranium) and she found that even after the uranium had been removed, the crushed rock remained very radioactive — much more so than the uranium itself. Here was a mystery indeed. Why is it that eighty-five percent of the radioactivity stays behind in the crushed rock?
Starting with many tons of rock, Madame Curie proceeded to separate out all the chemical elements she knew. It was painstaking work. Finally she was left with a small beaker of concentrated, highly radioactive liquid. By evaporating the water, she felt sure she would discover whatever was causing this intense radioactivity. But when the liquid was evaporated, the beaker was, apparently, completely empty. She was deeply disappointed. She couldn’t fathom what had gone wrong. But when she returned to the laboratory late at night, she found the beaker glowing brightly in the dark, and she realized that it wasn’t empty after all. In this way, Marie Curie discovered two new elements: radium and polonium. We now know these are inevitable byproducts of uranium.
By 1906, all the basic facts of radioactivity were known, except for the central mystery as to “why”; this we do not understand. Indeed, science doesn’t really understand why anything is the way it is. All science can do is describe how things behave. Science tells us, for example, that all material things are made up of tiny atoms. The atoms found in most substances are remarkably stable, but in the case of radioactive materials, the atoms are unstable.
Consider the water in this glass. It is made up of stable atoms. Pure water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, and these atoms are, as far as science can determine, eternal and unchangeable. The very same atoms of hydrogen and oxygen that are in this glass of water were around, in some other combinations, in the days of the dinosaurs.
But radioactive substances have unstable atoms which can and will explode microscopically, and when they do, they give off a burst of energy. This process is called “radioactive disintegration” or “radioactive decay”. When radioactive atoms explode, they give off highly energetic charged particles of two types: alpha and beta. These are particles, they’re not invisible rays. They are like pieces of shrapnel from an explosion. And this microscopic shrapnel does great damage because of the high energy of the particles which are given off.
When a radioactive atom explodes, that atom is changed permanently into a new substance. And radium turns out to be one of the results of exploding uranium atoms. So wherever you find uranium on the earth, you will always find radium with it because it is one of about a dozen so-called “decay products” of uranium.
To be more precise, when uranium disintegrates it turns into a substance called protactinium, which is also radioactive. And when that disintegrates it turns into a substance named thorium, which is likewise radioactive. When thorium disintegrates it turns into radium; when radium disintegrates it turns into radon gas. And when radon gas atoms disintegrate, they turn into what are called the “radon daughters”, or “radon progeny”, of which there are about half a dozen radioactive materials, including polonium.
Finally, in this progression, you end up with a stable substance, which in itself is highly toxic: lead. But because the radioactivity of the other materials is so much more dangerous than this toxic heavy metal, people don’t even talk about the lead at the end of the chain. They think that once all the radioactivity is gone, what’s left is perfectly safe. It isn’t — but the lead that remains is just a whole lot less dangerous than the radioactive materials that produced it.
So all the radioactive decay products of uranium remain in the crushed rock when uranium is separated from the ore. That’s why Marie Curie found most of the radioactivity left behind in the residues, including all the radium and all the polonium.
Well, how did the story of uranium progress? Because uranium was less radioactive than its daughter products, it was not valued commercially. But radium was. And radium began to be used principally for two purposes. One was to burn cancerous growths. I should tell you that both Henri Becquerel and Marie Curie suffered grievous burns which were very difficult to heal and which left permanent scars just as a result of handling radium. Other scientists got the idea that if they embedded a needle containing radium inside a cancerous tumor, it would burn the cancer — and indeed it did. That was the beginning of cancer therapy using radiation, wherein the harmful effects of atomic radiation are directed against cancerous cells instead of healthy cells. Of course, atomic radiation does similar damage to healthy cells.
Now, the other main use for radium was as a luminous paint, because of the glow-in-the-dark phenomenon that Marie Curie had observed. Believe it or not, the price of uranium in the 1920s was $100,000 a gram — and this is using dollars of the twenties! It was a very expensive commodity, but only very little was needed for any given purpose. Some of it was used to make luminous paint, with which they would paint dials so they could be read even in the dark.
Now the young women who painted these things began to get sick. This was first reported by an American dentist called Blum, who said that he had some very young women — 19 years old, 18 years old, 20 years old — coming into his dentistry office. Their teeth were falling out, their gums were badly infected and bleeding profusely, they were anemic, their bones were soft, and in some cases their jawbones had spontaneously fractured. Some of them died of severe anemia.
The only thing these women had in common was that they worked in a radium dial painting factory in New Jersey. Blum called this phenomenon “radium jaw”. A few years later, the women who had recovered from these symptoms started developing problems in the rest of their skeleton. They suffered weakening of the bone, spontaneous fractures of the hip and of other bones, and growths — tumors, some of which were cancerous — in the bones themselves. Now, bone cancer is such an exceedingly rare disease, that there was little doubt that this cancer was caused by exposure to radium.
It was discovered that simply by wetting the tip of the brush in order to get a nice clean figure on the dials, these women were ingesting minute quantities of radium. And that was sufficient to cause all these symptoms. When autopsies were performed on the corpses of these women, doctors discovered that in their entire skeleton there were only a few micrograms of radium. This quantity was so small, that no conventional chemical analysis could detect it. Nevertheless, this tiny amount of radium had distributed itself so thoroughly through their skeleton, that you could take a picture of any one of their bones just by laying it on a photographic plate in a dark room, It is called an auto-radiograph — that is, an x-ray picture with no x-ray machine.
So this was our first introduction to the harmful effects of even minute quantities of such substances. By the way, many of the women who survived this phase of the assault later on developed cancers of the head — cancer of the sinuses, cancer of the soft palate, and other types of head cancers. We now know how these were caused. Remember, radium is radioactive — even inside the body. As I told you earlier, when radium atoms disintegrate, they turn into radon gas. So radon gas was being produced inside the bodies of these women. In fact, one test for radium contamination is to check a person’s exhaled breath and see if it has radon gas in it; if it does, that person must have radium in his or her body. In the case of the radium dial painters, the radon gas was being produced in the bones, dissolved in the blood, and pumped by the heart up to the head where it collected in the sinus and other cavities. And there it was irradiating the delicate living tissues and causing head cancers.
Now, it so happens that for hundreds of years, going back to the 15th century, there had been reports that miners working in the Erz mountains had been dying at a tremendous rate from some unknown lung diseases. We’re talking here about 75 percent mortality in some cases. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the principal disease was diagnosed and found to be lung cancer. At that time, lung cancer was virtually unknown among the surrounding population; yet these miners were experiencing in some cases up to 50 percent lung cancer mortality. The other lung ailments were not lung cancer, but other types of debilitating lung damage.
By the 1930s it had been established that this epidemic of lung cancer and other lung diseases was caused by breathing radioactive materials in the atmosphere of the mine. In animal experiments, radon gas was identified as the main killer.
Uranium finally acquired commercial value in 1942, when we discovered that we could make atomic bombs with it. Only then did we start mining uranium for itself and not as a byproduct of something else. A few years earlier, in 1938, it was discovered that uranium is not only radioactive, it is also fissionable, which makes it unique among all naturally occurring radioactive materials. When uranium atoms undergo the fission process, large amounts of energy are released. Unlike the process of radioactive decay, which cannot be turned on and off, nuclear fission can be controlled. The energy release caused by fission can be speeded up, slowed down, started or stopped. It can be used to destroy cities in the form of nuclear weapons, or to boil water inside a nuclear reactor.
Suddenly, uranium was in demand. We sent miners into the mines in North America at a permissible level of radiation exposure which was comparable to the levels that those miners in the Erz mountains had been getting back in the 19th century. And of course, the results were entirely predictable: an epidemic of lung cancer and other lung diseases. One has to ask therefore: Why were these consequences not predicted and prevented?
The answer is, in part, that the scientists refused to believe that such a small amount of radon gas could cause such a huge increase in cancer. As it turns out, the scientists were wrong. One of the basic things they overlooked, is that if you take a sample of radon gas — right now, if I filled a tube with radon gas in front of your eyes, and measured the radiation in that tube — within three hours, the level of radioactivity would increase by a factor of about five. Why?
As the radon atoms disintegrate, they produce other radioactive substances. And so, in fact, you have a multiplication of new radioactive materials which weren’t there to begin with. This is one of the things the scientists overlooked. So that when the miners go into a mine where the radon has been collecting for several hours, it’s five times as radioactive as radon in the laboratory. And those other substances — the radon daughters — are extremely dangerous. The worst of the radon daughters, by the way, is a substance called polonium — the same polonium that Marie Curie discovered so many years ago. Recent scientific evidence shows that polonium is, in many circumstances, at least as toxic as plutonium, and in some cases more toxic.
Now, what is that property that made uranium commercially valuable? It’s called fissionability. More precisely, uranium is called a “fissile” material. Let me explain what that means.
Yes, uranium atoms are radioactive, and so they will disintegrate if you just leave them alone; but what happens if you poke them? What happens if you bombard uranium atoms with tiny particles called neutrons? It turns out that in that case, you can force a much more violent disintegration of the atom, which is called fission. When fission occurs, the uranium atom doesn’t just disintegrate, it actually breaks apart into two or three large chunks. In the process it gives off some extra neutrons, and it also gives off about 400 times as much energy as is produced by a radioactive disintegration event.
Now, the fact that fission is triggered by a neutron makes it quite different from normal radioactivity. Radioactivity is not triggered, and therefore science does not know how to control it. We have no mechanism for speeding up, slowing down, starting or stopping radioactivity. That’s why radioactive wastes are such a problem. But with fission, we can start it, stop it, and control it, just by maintaining control over the extra neutrons that are produced at each stage. Starting with just one neutron, we can split one uranium atom, and the extra neutrons can go on to split two more uranium atoms, giving even more neutrons which can then split four atoms, which can then split eight atoms, and so on. In this way, forty quintillion uranium atoms can be split with only sixty generations of splittings, all triggered by a single neutron. [A quintillion is a billion billion, or a million million million.] This whole “chain reaction”, as it is called, takes place in less than a thousandth of a second. That is really what constitutes the atomic bomb.
You may now realize that all of the radioactive materials which escape from an atomic bomb when it explodes, are basically the broken bits of uranium atoms. These are new radioactive materials, called “fission products”, which are created by the splitting of uranium atoms. There are hundreds of them. They all have different names, and different chemical and biologically properties. Most of them did not exist in nature before the advent of nuclear technology.
You see, uranium travels in many disguises. In every sample of uranium ore, one finds radium — but radium is, in a certain sense, just a transformation of uranium. Speaking loosely, one could say that it is a disguised form of uranium. It is just one of the many elements in the chain of decay. Similarly with polonium. Similarly with radon gas. These are all just different manifestations of uranium, so to speak, resulting from radioactive decay.
And similarly with the fallout from atomic bombs; all those radioactive materials which are released by nuclear explosions — such as iodine-131, strontium-90, cesium-137, krypton-85, and all the rest — they are all broken bits of uranium atoms. They are additional disguises for uranium, resulting from nuclear fission.
The radioactive poisons that were released from the Chernobyl reactor are also broken bits of uranium atoms. Incidentally, 80 percent of the total radiation dose delivered by the Chernobyl accident worldwide was caused by the escape of just a couple of kilograms of radioactive materials from the damaged nuclear plant. It doesn’t take much…. To this day, the sheep in Wales are unsuitable for human consumption because of contamination by one particular by-product of the Chernobyl accident called cesium-137. But every atom of cesium-137 from Chernobyl started out as an atom of uranium.
These radioactive materials, which are called fission products — the ones in the bomb fallout and which in nuclear reactors — should not be confused with the other radioactive materials I told you about earlier, which are the decay products of uranium. The decay products of uranium are due to radioactive disintegration. They are about two dozen in number, and they occur in nature because uranium does. When you talk about fission products, however, you are dealing with completely different substances. They are created only inside nuclear weapons or nuclear reactors. They are the leftover pieces of uranium atoms which have been violently broken apart by the fission process. There are over 300 of them altogether, when you consider that — being radioactive — each of the fission products also has its own decay products!
And so this one material, uranium, is responsible for introducing into the human environment a tremendously large range of radioactive materials which are all very inimical to biological organisms. These are not invisible rays, they are materials. They get into our water, our food, and the air we breathe. They’re exactly like other materials except for the fact that they’re radioactive.
Take, for instance, radioactive iodine. It behaves just like ordinary iodine, which is not radioactive. Why is there iodine in our table salt? Well, it’s one of the few examples of preventative medicine we have. The iodine, when it’s eaten in the table salt, goes to the thyroid gland, and there it helps to prevent a disease of the thyroid gland called “goiter”. Radioactive iodine does exactly the same thing. If a child or an adult gets radioactive iodine in the diet, the radioactive iodine goes to the thyroid too, and it also helps to prevent goiter. But while it’s there, the atoms explode, and the shrapnel rips through the cells of the body, and in the process breaks thousands of chemical bonds randomly.
It’s like throwing a grenade into a computer. The probability of getting an improvement in a computer by throwing a grenade into it is very small, and similarly with radiation events and human cells. Now, the cells that die are really no problem, as long as not too many of them die. They can be replaced. The ones that are particularly dangerous are the ones that survive. Those damaged cells can develop into cancers. You can also have damage to germ cells — eggs and sperm — leading to genetically damaged children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.
As Alice Stewart mentioned in her talk, there are two categories of human illness that everyone agrees can be caused by exposure to atomic radiation even at very low levels. They are (1) cancers of all kinds, and also (2) genetic mutations — which can be caused right down to the lowest levels of radiation exposure. Most scientists believe that these harmful effects are linearly related to the dose, so that if the dose is doubled, the number of cancers and genetic defects will also be doubled, and if the dose is cut in half, only half as many cancers and genetic defects will be seen. It is important to realize that if a damaging dose is spread out among a very large population, so that each individual receives only a very small portion of the total dose, the number of cancers and genetic defects is in no way diminished. Thus, in the case of radioactive pollution, dilution is no solution at all.
However, there is one other effect of radiation at low levels which wasn’t mentioned in the previous talk, and I would like to just mention it here. It has now been confirmed by the scientific community — only in recent years, by the way — that mental retardation is caused by radiation exposure in the womb. This type of biological damage also seems to be linear, that is, proportional to dose, right down to the lowest levels of exposure. There doesn’t seem to be any cut-off point. And so we have now discovered yet a third category of documented and scientifically accepted harmful effects of radiation and that is mental retardation in children who were irradiated while still in the womb.
Now, if I could just wrap up, I have to tell you something extremely important. The title of my talk was “Known facts and hidden dangers”. I’ve told you a bit about the known facts. Now for at least one of the hidden dangers.
When we extract uranium from the ground, we dig up the rock, we crush it and we leave behind this finely pulverized material — it’s like flour. In Canada we have 200 million tons of this radioactive waste, called uranium tailings. As Marie Curie observed, 85 percent of the radioactivity in the ore remains behind in that crushed rock. How long will it be there? Well, it turns out that the effective half-life of this radioactivity is 80,000 years. That means in 80,000 years there will be half as much radioactivity in these tailings as there is today.
You know, that dwarfs the entire prehistory of the Salzburg region which goes way back to ancient, ancient times. Even archaeological remains date back no further than 80,000 years. We don’t have any records of human existence going back that far. That’s the half-life of this material.
And as these tailings are left on the surface of the earth, they are blown by the wind, they are washed by the rain into the water systems, and they inevitably spread. Once the mining companies close down, who is going to look after this material forever? How does anyone, in fact, guard 200 million tons of radioactive sand safely forever, and keep it out of the environment?
In addition, as the tailings are sitting there on the surface, they are continually generating radon gas. Radon is about eight times heavier than air, so it stays close to the ground. It’ll travel 1,000 miles in just a few days in a light breeze. And as it drifts along, it deposits on the vegetation below the radon daughters, which are the radioactive byproducts that I told you about, including polonium. So that you actually get radon daughters in animals, fish and plants thousands of miles away from where the uranium mining is done. It’s a mechanism for pumping radioactivity into the environment for millennia to come, and this is one of the hidden dangers.
All uranium ends up as either nuclear weapons or highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactors. That’s the destiny of all the uranium that’s mined. And in the process of mining the uranium we liberate these naturally occurring radioactive substances, which are among the most harmful materials known to science. Couple this with the thought that nuclear technology never was a solution to any human problem. Nuclear weapons do not bring about a sane world, and nuclear power is not a viable answer to our energy problems. We don’t even need it for electricity. All you need for conventional electricity generation is to spin a wheel, and there’s many ways of doing it: water power, wind power, geothermal power, etc. In addition, there are other methods for producing electricity directly: solar photovoltaics, fuel cells, and so on. What we have here, in the case of nuclear power, from the very beginning, is a technology in search of an application.
So, I think that we as a human community have to come to grips with this problem and say to ourselves and to others that enough is enough. We do not want to permanently increase our radiation levels on this planet. We have enough problems already.
In the age of rapid marketing campaigns, viral slogans and mass multimedia, companies have reinvented and deepened their consumer reach. Indeed, companies are now able to tout their products and services to consumers in ways limited only by imagination. Even political candidates have jumped on the band wagon with brand Obama winning ‘Marketer of the year’ in 2008. Where is it all leading? Have we reached advertising burnout? Have our minds reached full saturation with ads, slogans and clever tag-lines?
GMO Food: Great Products No One Knows Where To Buy
Nowadays, quick searches of the Internet will unknowingly attract a battalion of advertisements rushing towards you like mosquitoes on a humid summer evening. These ads are typically composed of companies eager to show off their stuff, not caring if they annoy you with their pop-up ads or targeted email advertising. Every company has their emblem or logo plastered over products and packaging like mini billboards showing off their newborn creations like proud mothers and fathers.
So why are GMO manufacturers some of the first sectors in history that don’t market to the consumer? Furthermore, we have (for the first time in the history of marketing) these same companies fighting (and taking major legal action) at all costs to keep their name and product information off the packaging. In fact, these manufacturers don’t even want their products in the public eye.
Basic marketing classes across the country are feverishly attempting to rewrite their college textbooks to include such underhanded tactics. Professors are struggling to answer students’ questions regarding the purpose of such practices. Even big tobacco plastered their name and products all over the world with devilish glee. The US population as a whole is left with one big question mark. Logic and basic marketing principles be damned; the GMO companies attempting to own and patent nature forge ahead with the best product that no one knows where to buy, how to find, or what it really is.
So how are Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and other GMO peddlers making all of this money to continue to constantly expand aggressively across the world? The business model is becoming clear:
Step 1: Create a market no one knows about
Step 2: Allow no competition
Step 3: Protect your monopoly through legal action and buy up your competition
It’s clear now that we, the public, must be supporting a large part of this GMO food. Why else would multi-millions be spent by GMO food manufacturers in California, Oregon and Colorado to defeat a simple label on the package that their product is in? I say to Monsanto et al., “Be proud of your products and tout their benefits.” After all, long-term independent studies show they are okay for us to eat…right?
The battle lines were drawn long ago from the brave whistleblowers and teachers like Don Huber, Dr. Joseph Mercola, and many others that were ahead of the curve in warning of the upcoming fight. Now we are at the crossroads. We are facing our generation’s big tobacco companies who are devious, underhanded, and possess deep pockets to lobby in the shadows of Congress and the halls of the White House. Yet, unlike the tobacco companies who lied to us in the past, GMO manufacturers have revealed an overarching hand to impact our children and their children’s health. Would it have been fair if your grandfather’s smoking habit was still damaging your children, grandchildren, and so on? This is potentially what we are facing having long been proposed by leading voices and now confirmed by studies.
Unlike generations of cigarette smokers past, scores of other countries have made it clear that they want nothing to do with our unlabeled GMO food. In addition, regulations have been passed forbidding many types of GMO crops to be grown in a large collection of aware countries. Where big tobacco knew no borders, GMO food is a disease incubated in the United States and tested on their population. Yet now it appears that the population has had enough. The outcome of the recent voting measures in Colorado and Oregon is now of little significance. Many companies see the writing on the wall and are jumping ship in the name of bottom-line profit, market share and integrity. All of which will be remembered by a consumer base that is hyper-informed and increasing their knowledge base at Ethernet speeds. What took decades in the past to shed light on and dislodge big tobacco companies is now taking years with GMO companies. In the near future it is possible to see almost real-time rejection of dishonest companies, practices and labeling.
This is not simple rhetoric, this is a warning to corporations that we will give no quarter to those among you that drag your feet at our requests. In the information age of sound bites and limited attention spans, we will continue to surprise you with our long, sharp memories of your abuse, lies and legal attacks on farmers, companies and entire states (Vermont). So in closing, a message to GMO manufacturers & big corporations: On your way to battlefield Oregon/Colorado, know that you have already lost. Your last-gasp efforts to buy up competition to your monopoly have also failed. Communities have you checkmated at every turn. We are rapidly decentralizing, growing our own food, and taking back our power. Your time is at hand and history will not be kind to you.
Even though we’ve lost some battles, we are winning the war. You may not be aware of it but there is a clear demand at stores for non-GMO products that exceeds the demand for ‘organic’ products. Within literally two years, we have changed the consciousness of the public to understand that non-GMO is more important than organic. – Dr. Joseph Mercola (October 31st interview)
Jefferey Jaxen is an independant journalist, writer, and researcher. Focusing on personal empowerment and alternative health, his work reveals a sharp eye to capture the moment in these rapidly changing times. You can find his latest research, information, and personal writings at his website: www.jeffereyjaxen.com.