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BRIEFING PAPER No.10

URGENT APPEAL TO ALL GOVERNEMNTS TO REVOKE THE MARKET APPROVAL OF MONSANTO'S RR-SOYBEAN


We the undersigned scientists ask all governments to use whatever methods are available to them to bar from their markets on grounds of injury to public health Monsanto's genetically engineered Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans. In the case of the European Union, of course, we urge the individual governments to invoke Article 16 (Directive 90/220).

We make this appeal on the following bases:

1) There is clear scientific evidence that application of glyphosate can increase the level of plant estrogens. This has been shown for the bean Vicia faba by German researchers (Sandermann and Wellmann, 1988, in Biosafety, p.285-292, ed: German Ministry of Research and Technology). Soya belongs to the same plant family (legumes) as these beans.

2) Plant estrogens are known to affect mammals including humans.

3) Feeding experiments were done on cows with transgenic and ordinary soybeans by Monsanto. A sttistically significant difference in the daily milk fat production between the test groups was found. Those fed transgenic RR-soybeans produced more fat per day than those fed ordinary soya. All test groups had the same intake of soya per day (Hammond et al, Journal of Nutrition, 1996). We conclude that this is an indication indication of a substantial difference between the transgenic and the non-transgenic soybean.

4) Monsanto's application for market approval provided no data on estrogen levels of RR-soybeans sprayed with glyphosate. All data provided on the concentration level of different compounds in RR-soybeans was derived from unsprayed beans. Despite the lack of information on sprayed beans, RR-soybeans were approved. And sprayed beans have since entered the food chain.

We are concerned that the increased milk fat production by cows fed RR-soybeans may be a direct consequence of higher estrogen levels in those soybeans. Growing numbers of children are dependent on soy-milk due to allergic reactions to cow's milk. Young children are especially susceptible to elavated levels of estrogen. Thus, there is a clear and serious health issue at hand.

There is urgent need for further and independent scientific investigation. In adherence to the precautionary principle, until these investigations are completed, RR-soybeans should no longer be allowed to enter the food chain.

Dr Brian Goodwin, UK
Dr Mae Wan-Ho, UK
Dr Hartmut Meyer, Germany
Dr Peter Saunders, UK
Dr Vandana Shiva, India
Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher, UK
Dr Beatrix Tappeser, Germany
Christine von Weizacker, Germany

Montreal, 13 October 1997

Third Meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

 


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