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Advocacy Group Demands Monsanto Retract Ridiculous Comments on WHO Glyphosate Report
In response to the World Health Organization’s decision to classify the weed-killer glyphosate as a “probably carcinogenic to humans,” Monsanto’s top executive pulled out the rhetorical machine guns, launching an all-out attack against the prestigious international health agency and its scientists.
“It’s unfortunate that junk science and this kind of mischief can create so much confusion for consumers,” said Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s chairman and CEO, during a call with investors.
Grant was referring to the unanimous conclusion reached by 17 of the world’s leading cancer experts who reviewed hundreds of government and independent studies of the potential health risks from exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide, marketed as RoundUp.
Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and herself a nationally-recognized expert on pesticides and human health, described in great detail the process the scientists went through in deciding to elevate the cancer assessment of the crop chemical to “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
“Mr. Grant and Monsanto should immediately retract these ridiculous comments and instead turn their attention to the potential risks their product poses to customers, farm workers and the millions of others who are exposed to glyphosate," said Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group. “A good start would be to fund an independent testing program for glyphosate in air in the Midwest—including towns and cities—during the Roundup saturation-spray season. We’d be happy to help the company design and execute a plan to expand on the U.S. Geological Survey work that found its weed-killer everywhere—air, water, even rainfall—in the areas where it is heavily used.”
Cook added, “Mr. Grant and his investors may need a refresher into Monsanto’s history of mischief and misdeeds that have caused immeasurable harm to people and the environment. Does Anniston, Alabama ring a bell? Monsanto is in the pantheon of chemical companies with a long rap sheet of environmental and public health harm and deception.”
In the May 2008 edition of Vanity Fair, journalists Donald Bartlett and James Steele documented a multitude of transgressions by the seed and pesticide giant in a blistering investigative report. They wrote:
The Monsanto Company has never been one of America’s friendliest corporate citizens. Given Monsanto’s current dominance in the field of bioengineering, it’s worth looking at the company’s own DNA. The future of the company may lie in seeds, but the seeds of the company lie in chemicals. Communities around the world are still reaping the environmental consequences of Monsanto’s origins.
These are just a few more highlights of Monsanto’s history of bad behavior:
- ’65-’72: Monsanto contractors illegally dumped tons of toxic chemicals in landfills across the United Kingdom. Subsequent groundwater tests by British government researchers found components of Agent Orange, dioxins and PCBs.
- ’03: Monsanto's cottonseed subsidiary in India employs children: “Around 17,000 children work for Monsanto and their Indian subsidiary Mahyco. These children get no education, earn less than 40 Eurocents ... a day and are exposed to poisonous pesticides like Endosulphan during their work.”
- ’05: Monsanto paid $1.5 million in fines for bribing a top official of the Indonesian government in an effort to sidestep environmental and safety assessments of the company’s genetically engineered corn.
- Monsanto hid decades of PCB contamination in the community of Anniston, Ala., where the company urged local farmers to use soil it knew to be contaminated with PCBs.
- In January 2001, journalist Michael Grunwald documented Monsanto’s deception of Anniston’s residents in a report for The Washington Post:
Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills. And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents—many emblazoned with warnings such as “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy”—show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.
In 1966, Monsanto managers discovered that fish submerged in that creek turned belly-up within 10 seconds, spurting blood and shedding skin as if dunked into boiling water. They told no one. In 1969, they found fish in another creek with 7,500 times the legal PCB levels. They decided “there is little object in going to expensive extremes in limiting discharges.”
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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