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Lone Star Green

Placenta shampoos, BPA, and Monsanto's genetic empire

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Still, should we choose to make the change, regulation could rid the world of BPA in a matter of years. What takes its place is another matter.

But there is another form of pollution that we may never be able to shake. Genetically modified crops — corn, soy, canola, among them — can quickly infect traditional crops, breeding their way through the food supply although the potential health consequences of GMOs are still poorly understood. It's this unwelcome spread that a consortium of organic and traditional farms had sought to check via a lawsuit against Monsanto, a notoriously litigious GMO developer that controls a quarter of the world's seed market. (Remember that love of tinkering I mentioned before?) The suit was joined by roughly 300,000 growers, including Lubbock organic cotton grower LaRhea Pepper, whose cotton is used in a popular line of feminine care products. Though the case was thrown out last Friday, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association is expected to appeal.

And Dr. Tiwary, now at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, is still researching and warning about rampant hormones in the environment. "What I'm worried about now is people using transdermal estrogen products by prescription. Even though it is a prescription product, if she produces a baby then [the child] has the side effect of estrogen: premature sexual development and long-term effects that are pretty scary, maybe related to breast cancer or some other forms of cancer. We don't know."

Given the potential ramifications of all that we don't know, an easy point to rally around is the precautionary principle that seeks to reform manufacturing through a proposed Safe Chemicals Act. Instead of putting the burden of proof on all of us to show that a chemical — or a genetically modified seed — is hazardous after the fact, make the manufacturer show it is safe before it's on the shelf at Target or H-E-B or in our fields.

A movement to force the FDA to label genetically engineered foods as is required in many other counties has gained traction in the States (justlabelit.org). Sign on and get your "No GMO" posterboard ready for Saturday's International Women's Day March. It may be a plastic age, but woman and children are still not disposable commodities. •

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