Cumberland, Maine–(ENEWSPF)–February 22, 2011. While insisting he does not want to be an alarmist, one of the nation’s senior soil scientists is alerting the federal government to a newly discovered organism that may have the potential to cause infertility and spontaneous abortion in farm animals and, potentially, humans.
Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, believes the appearance and prevalence of the unnamed organism may be related to the nation’s over reliance on the weed killer known as Roundup. In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, obtained by SafeLawns, the professor is calling on the federal government to immediately rescind the Jan. 27th decision to allow genetically modified alfalfa to be released to farmers this spring.
“A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals and probably human beings,” wrote Huber in the letter, which is quoted here with his permission. “Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn — suggesting a link with the RR gene, or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!”
In a phone interview today, Huber said he was assured that the United States Department of Agriculture was taking his letter seriously — yet he remained deeply pessimistic that his warnings would ultimately lead to affirmative action.
“I believe we’ve reached the tipping point toward a potential disaster with the safety of our food supply,” he said. “The abuse, or call it over use if you will, of Roundup, is having profoundly bad consequences in the soil. We’ve seen that for years. The appearance of this new pathogen may be a signal that we’ve gone too far.”
Huber also admitted that he could be wrong about this pathogen’s link to Roundup, but said that much further study is needed for that final assessment. In the meantime, he said, it’s grossly irresponsible of the government to allow Roundup Ready alfalfa, which would bring the widespread spraying of Roundup to millions of more acres and introduce far more Roundup into the food supply.
“For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks,” wrote Huber in his letter to Vilsack. “Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of high-risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.”
Huber explained that the search for the new pathogen was instigated by the increase of cattle infertility and unexplained cases of spontaneous abortion in several western states in the past several years. The common denominator, he said, appears to be the prevalence of the new pathogen that can only be viewed at 36,000 times magnification. Fears were increased when this pathogen was also found in mothers who had recently miscarried.
“That suggests the potential that the pathogen entered the mother in the food supply,” said Huber today. “Could it be from contaminated plants or animals? We don’t know that answer yet, but surely more resources from the government need to be put into answering that question.”
And, in the meantime, any new additional uses of Roundup should be made illegal, according to Huber and his collaborators.
“The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income — sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn,” he said. “The pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines). Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.”
Huber, a retired military Colonel, closed his letter to Vilsack by imploring the government to commit the resources necessary to find definitive answers.
“It is urgent to examine whether the side effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is well documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. . . (The pathogen) deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.”
To receive an electronic copy of the letter, email [email protected]