Dr. Joseph Mercola published an article in his blog on Dec. 11, 2014 titled GMO’s and CFAO’s Drive Disease Statistics and Destroy Communities. Mercola’s article focuses on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, and confined feed animal operations (CFAOs). Congress and the Supreme Court have repeatedly put corporate profits ahead of public health and safety. The end result is that business has bought the right to withhold information on our food, and poison us through contaminating the food, air and water we consume. Businesses have done this through lobbying and campaign financing of Congress.
There are several industry associations that have lobbied Congress to prevent the disclosure of GMO food labeling, blocked the disclosure of toxic chemicals in fracking fluids, subsidized corn production to produce high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), weakened environmental protection, and allowed usage of antibiotics in healthy animals.
If there is a question on why you should care about any of this, the answers are found in the growing statistics on cancer, lung diseases, proliferation of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria like MRSA, increases in autism, and the increase in diabetes and obesity in the US.
Congress has enabled companies to literally poison all citizens while denying the right to know about the contents of the food, air and water that we all consume. The trade organizations consider lobbying and contributions by their political action committees (PACs) as a highly profitable investment in putting their economic well being about the health of the public.
The Supreme Court has decided that the purchase of Congressional influence is a free speech issue. Restrictions on individuals and PAC contributions have been eliminated for PACs and drastically raised for individuals. Congress members depend upon these contributions to remain in office, and they consistently put the interests of their major contributors over your right to know what is impacting your health. Lobbyists, industry associations and the mega-wealthy have bought the right to poison you by buying Congress.
The CDC has publicly acknowledged that there is a direct link in the use of antibiotics in CAFOs to the increase in antibiotic resistance bacteria. The CDC estimates over 23,000 deaths and over $20 billion dollars of health costs occur per year can be attributed to antibiotic resistant infections. It is estimated that 30 million pounds of antibiotics are used in CAFOs per year in the production of meat and poultry. One of the government recommendations to handle this issue includes the creation of more powerful antibiotics.
Tom Frieden, the Director of the CDC, summarized the problems of overuse of antibiotics by CFAOs.
While antibiotics are an essential part of the health care we receive, the vast majority of anti-microbials are used for industrial animal agriculture — around four times the amount used in human medicine.
Creating more powerful antibiotics is not the solution to combating antibiotic resistant diseases. The CAFOs need to be monitored and restricted from using antibiotics and growth hormones in otherwise healthy animals. Animals need more space and better sanitary conditions to remain healthy. Humans need foods that are not genetically modified or contaminated with antibiotics.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent legislation requiring food packaging to list the presence of GMO products used directly in prepared foods, or indirectly as feed for meat and other food products. Given that over 80% of corn and 90% of soybeans are GMO products, you can rest assured that you are eating GMO containing foods every day. The headquarters of the GMA is conveniently located in Washington, DC.
The natural gas industry has gained court protection from disclosing the contents of fracking fluids on the basis of disclosing trade secrets. It is no secret that these chemicals are highly toxic, and they are being pumped into the earth into injection wells. The aquifers that supply much of the drinking water in the US are adjacent to the injection wells.
Eventually deep injection well waste is going to migrate into aquifers and permanently pollute the aquifers. Ohio is a major dumping ground for fracking fluids and other environmental wastes from surrounding states because Ohio regulations are “more lenient” than those in these states. Ohio has become the cesspool for fracking fluids and other industrial waste. The American Petroleum Institute is the industry lobbyist, and located in Washington, DC.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has been highly effective in lobbying Congress in several areas. There are corn subsidies that promote planting higher acreage of corn. The corn is 80% GMO. The corn gets fed to meat animals. Corn is used to make ethanol, with ethanol subsidized by lower taxes and investment credits. Corn is used to make high fructose corn syrup. The CDC has now published documentation of the causal link of HFCS to diabetes and obesity, which the NCGA is disputing.
The NCGA is located in Chesterfield, MO. Their webpage provides convenient access to the elected federal and state officials by merely typing in your zip code. You may want to consider using the contact information to elected officials to respond to health issues identified in this article.
Additional information is contained in Dr. Mercola’s article on the impact of CFAOs and GMOs on health. As discussed above, the issues are much broader than just these two areas.
Unless citizens work to make Congress actually follow the Constitution and work in the public interest, the status quo is maintained. We need to make information access on health issues and campaign financing national issues. If the members of Congress are serving their own interests and those of corporate associations, we need to vote them out. Senator Rob Portman and all of the Ohio Representatives in Congress are up for reelection in 2016.