The Hawaiian island of Molokai, a natural paradise and haven for traditional Hawaiian culture, may no longer claim “unspoiled paradise” as its moniker, now that biotech giant Monsanto has moved in. The internationally reviled corporation has cleared 2,000 acres of Molokai land for its genetically modified Bt corn crops and is dousing it with a spectrum of highly toxic chemicals that are not just contaminating the land, but sickening the island’s 7,500 residents in the process.
Monsanto, situated on the southern shore in Ho’olehua, came to the island promising good jobs and a better quality of life. But instead it has turned islanders into unwitting lab rats in its controversial quest to develop genetically altered plants and highly toxic pesticides. Reporter Tami Canal wrote in The Anti-Media:
When the pesticides are sprayed, workers wear head-to-toe protective gear, including respirators. Nearby residents are not provided with such equipment and have no option but to breathe in the toxic dust that comes from the fields. Americans are crying out for help, but the politicians refuse to listen. The desperate pleas go unheard because of insidious collusion – in the government, in the media, and in the biotech industry. No one wants to believe that in this day and age, someone wouldn’t stop Monsanto.
Subsequently, islanders have been afflicted with asthma, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases in growing numbers. Monsanto engineers the genes in plants such as corn to make them resistant to massive doses of pesticides. The number of chemicals the islanders have been exposed to since Monsanto moved in is troubling. While the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies glyphosate, the key chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup, as a low-toxicity chemical, recent evidence has shown the use of accessory chemicals in Monsanto’s glyphosate formulations are extremely toxic.
These extra chemicals, added to enhance the effects of glyphosate, have been linked to severe eye irritation, skin disorders, respiratory distress, lung tissue damage, swelling and inflammation, rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, cell damage, pulmonary edema, liver and kidney damage, leukemia and other cancers, central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal erosion and disease, miscarriage, birth defects, and a spectrum of diseases affecting mental health.
This corporation’s influence in government is so strong that it has even been allowed to write its own federal law – the Monsanto Protection Act – which was signed into law in March 2003. This law, despite any health concerns that could arise in the future, effectively bars federal courts from stopping the planting and sale of genetically modified seeds and crops. That sort of law should never be passed by any legislative body whose members value human life. Hopefully, something can be done to stop what this powerful corporation is doing in Hawaii. It’s shameful to say the least.
Sources: The Anti-Media, International Business Times, Huffington Post, Organic Consumers Association, and Capital Press
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