A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 79-year-old man and his family, friends, and the characters that he has met along the way . . .

I spent the first 9 -1/2 years of my life, and many summers after that, growing up on a small vegetable farm in “South Jersey;” the southern part of the state of New Jersey.  We grew sweet corn; lots of it – and after my family opened two farmers markets we leased our 16 acres to a farmer who continued to grow sweet corn; lots more of it!  This is what an ear of sweet corn looked like in the ’40’s and 50’s and ’60’s:

It may not be pretty, but it sure as hell was sweet!  I cannot begin to image how one of today’s shoppers would react if he or she started to strip an ear of corn in the supermarket and discovered WORMS.  OMG!.  But that is the way almost every ear of corn that was pulled from a cornfield (anybodies cornfield) way back then looked like.  We pulled the corn, husked it, took out a sharp knife and cut out “the bad parts,” and delivered it to Aunt Mary!  She boiled it in a big pot of water for about 8 minutes, then put it on a big plate in the middle of the table (quite often, in the middle of the kitchen table).  We gathered around the table; grabbed ears of hot sweet corn (sometimes Golden Bantam; sometimes Silver Queen), slathered them with lots of butter and covered them with salt and pepper.  Sometimes that’s all we had, or wanted, for dinner.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE WORMS?  They were almost completely destroyed by PYRETHROIDS AND Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis – a GMO laden with protein. 

WHY?  Because Corn Earworms are ugly. scary, creepy little wiggly things that NOBODY, I mean absolutely NOBODY wants to find in the food they are about to buy and take home.  SO . . . here is what mankind did to the tastiest sweet corn that ever grew:

HE INVENTED PYRETHROIDS and sprayed the corn.  What are pyrethroids, you ask?  Well, read what is printed here and tell me what you think about them:

Pyrethroids and Health Effects

Pyrethroids have irritant and/or sensitizing properties. They are not easily absorbed through the skin, but are absorbed through the gut and pulmonary membrane. Tests of some pyrethroids on laboratory animals reveal striking neurotoxicity when administered by injection or orally. Systemic toxicity by inhalation and dermal absorption is low. The acute toxicity, calculated by LD50’s, ranges from low to high, depending on the specific formulation. Low toxicity is attributed to two factors: limited absorption of some pyrethroids, and rapid biodegradation by mammalian liver enzymes (ester hydrolysis and oxidation). Insects, without this liver function, exhibit greater susceptibility to the chemicals (Reigart et al., 1999).

Pyrethroids interfere with the ionic conductance of nerve membranes by prolonging the sodium current. This stimulates nerves to discharge repeatedly causing hyper-excitability in poisoned animals. The World Health Organization explains that synthetic pyrethroids are neuropoisons acting on the axons in the peripheral and central nervous systems by interacting with sodium channels in mammals and/or insects. The main systems for metabolism include breakage of the ester bond by esterase action and oxidation at various parts of the molecule. Induction of liver microsomal enzymes has also been observed (WHO, 1999).

Signs and symptoms of poisoning by pyrethroids may take several forms. Because of the similarities to crude pyrethrum, pyrethroids may act as dermal and respiratory allergens. Exposure to pyrethroids has resulted in contact dermatitis and asthma-like reactions. Persons, especially children, with a history of allergies or asthma are particularly sensitive, and a strong cross-reactivity with ragweed pollen has been recognized. Severe anaphylactic (allergic) reactions with peripheral vascular collapse and respiratory difficulty are rare. Other symptoms of acute toxicity due to inhalation include sneezing, nasal stuffiness, headache, nausea, incoordination, tremors, convulsions, facial flushing and swelling, and burning and itching sensations. The most severe poisonings have been reported in infants, who are not able to efficiently break down pyrethroids (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). With orally ingested doses, nervous symptoms may occur, which include excitation and convulsions leading to paralysis, accompanied by muscular fibrillation and diarrhea (ETN, Pyrethroids, 1994). Death in these cases is due to respiratory failure. Symptoms of acute exposure last about 2 days.

Endocrine Disruption and Breast Cancer

Many pyrethroids have also been linked to disruption of the endocrine system, which can adversely affect reproduction and sexual development, interfere with the immune system and increase chances of breast cancer. Pyrethroids contain human-made, or xenoestrogens, which can increase the amount of estrogen in the body (Garey et al., 1998). When tested, certain pyrethroids demonstrate significant estrogenicity and increase the levels of estrogen in breast cancer cells (Go et al., 1999). Because increased cell division enhances the chances for the formation of a malignant tumor in the breast, artificial hormones, like those found in pyrethroids, may increase breast cancer risk (PCBR, 1996). Some pyrethroids are classified by EPA as class C (possible human) carcinogens.

Pyrethroids and the Environment

While the development of the synthetic pyrethroids was heralded with claims of selective toxicity to insects, both pyrethroids and pyrethrins are extremely toxic to aquatic organisms, including fish such as the bluegill and lake trout, with LC50 values less than 1.0 parts per billion. These levels are similar to those for mosquito, blackfly and tsetse fly larvae, often the actual target of the pyrethroid application. Lobster, shrimp, mayfly nymphs and zooplankton are the most susceptible non-target aquatic organisms (Mueller-Beilschmidt, 1990). The nonlethal effects of pyrethroids on fish include damage to the gills and behavioral changes.

Pyrethroids are moderately toxic to birds, with most LD50 values greater than 1000 mg/kg. Birds can also be indirectly affected by pyrethroids, because of the threat to their food supply. Waterfowl and small insectivorous birds are the most susceptible (Mueller-Beilschmidt, 1990). Because pyrethroids are toxic to all insects, both beneficial insects and pests are affected by pyrethroid applications. In some cases, predator insects may be susceptible to a lower dose than the pest, disrupting the predator-prey relationship. 

https://www.beyondpesticides.org/infoservices/pesticidefactsheets/toxic/pyrethroid.php

 And, since the Pyrethroids did not completely eliminate those yukky little worms that were shaking up the supermarket shoppers, man then created “Bt” or Bacillus thuringiensis.”  Sound better?  Then read all about Bt here:

Bt Crops Could be Monsanto’s Greatest Failure

This failure of Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the US, with billions of dollars at stake, because not only is Bt corn producing resistant “super-pests,” researchers have also found that the Bt toxin can indeed wreak havoc on human health.

Monsanto and the EPA swore that the GM corn would only harm insects. The Bt toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers, they claimed. But, once again, Monsanto’s claims turned out to be false. In 2011, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:8

  • 93 percent of pregnant women tested
  • 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies
  • 67 percent of non-pregnant women

The study authors speculated that the Bt toxin was likely consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that GM corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup, corn oil and other corn products. They also suggested that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are.

These shocking results also raise the frightening possibility that eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a sort of “living pesticide factory”… essentially manufacturing Bt toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis through the transference of the Bt-producing gene to your gut bacteria.

Is GM Bt Toxin in Your Body Right Now?

If you eat processed foods with any regularity, it’s highly likely that, you do have Bt toxin in your body. Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for many years, and biotech companies have therefore claimed that Bt-toxin has a “history of safe use in agriculture.” But there’s a major difference between spraying it on plants, where it biodegrades in sunlight and can be carefully washed off, and genetically altering the plant to produce it internally.

Remember this: the GMO Bt toxin is not sprayed on the plant, the plant is genetically altered to produce it in EVERY cell in the plant. It is simply impossible to wash off. And if you eat any GMO Bt crops, such as corn or cottonseed oil, you will most definitely have this toxin enter your body. Remember, it was never designed to be in your body and there have been no studies performed that confirm its safety in this setting.

Bt crops have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin cannot be washed off. You simply cannot avoid consuming it. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray. If Bt genes are indeed capable of transferring horizontally to the bacteria colonizing the human digestive tract, scientists believe it could reasonably result in:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Food allergies
  • Childhood learning disorders

Already, there’s plenty of other evidence showing that the Bt toxin produced in GM corn (and cotton plants) is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy, mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:9

  • Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
  • An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease to MS and cancer
  • Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis and connective tissue diseases

Rats fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes and white blood cells.10 These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver and kidney toxicity.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/10/monsanto-bt-corn.aspx

DARE YOU ASK “WHAT’S NEXT?”

Photo taken from www.pioneer.com

Photo taken from http://www.pioneer.com

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