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Comment More fluoride in your food since 2004... (Score 1) 314

Another reason the feds may be lowering the fluoride standard is that we're getting more in our food recently. In 2004 and 2005, EPA registered sulfuryl fluoride for control of insect pests in harvested foods such as cereal grains, dried fruits, nuts, cocoa beans, etc. Sulfuryl fluoride breaks down to fluoride when it is applied and can leave fluoride residues on treated food. More info here:

Comment Similar experience with Nexus 4 and Android 4.3 (Score 1) 179

After installing the OTA update from 4.2.2 > 4.3 (August 2013), my Nexus 4 wouldn't boot. A quick scan of the interwebs found that lots of people had the same problem. I could load Cyanogenmod (based on 4.2.2) or the stock Google 4.2.2 image but other attempts to load 4.3 did not work. Eventually, I shipped back to Google and they gave me a new phone.

Comment And, Seralini's response... (Score 2) 341

Here's the Seralini team response to FCT. Basically, Seralini is challenging them to also retract the Monsanto study (e.g., Hammond et al. 2004):

Professor Seralini replies to FCT journal over study retraction

Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and his team have responded to the letter from A. Wallace Hayes, editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), telling Prof Séralini that he intended to retract his study on NK603 maize and Roundup.

Here’s the retraction notice from Elsevier, the publisher of FCT:
Response by Prof GE Seralini and colleagues to A. Wallace Hayes, editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology
28 Nov 2013

We, authors of the paper published in FCT more than one year ago on the effects of Roundup and a Roundup-tolerant GMO (Séralini et al., 2012), and having answered to critics in the same journal (Séralini et al., 2013), do not accept as scientifically sound the debate on the fact that these papers are inconclusive because of the rat strain or the number of rats used. We maintain our conclusions. We already published some answers to the same critics in your Journal, which have not been answered (Séralini et al., 2013).

Rat strain

The same strain is used by the US national toxicology program to study the carcinogenicity and the chronic toxicity of chemicals (King-Herbert et al., 2010). Sprague Dawley rats are used routinely in such studies for toxicological and tumour-inducing effects, including those 90-day studies by Monsanto as basis for the approval of NK603 maize and other GM crops (Sprague Dawley rats did not came from Harlan but from Charles-River) (Hammond et al., 2004; Hammond et al., 2006a; Hammond et al., 2006b).

A brief, quick and still preliminary literature search of peer-reviewed journals revealed that Sprague Dawley rats were used in 36-month studies by (Voss et al., 2005) or in 24-month studies by (Hack et al., 1995), (Minardi et al., 2002), (Klimisch et al., 1997), (Gamez et al., 2007).Some of these studies have been published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Number of rats, OECD guidelines

OECD guidelines (408 for 90 day study, 452 chronic toxicity and 453 combined carcinogenicity/chronic toxicity study) always asked for 20 animals per group (both in 1981 and 2009 guidelines) although the measurement of biochemical parameters can be performed on 10 rats, as indicated. We did not perform a carcinogenesis study, which would not have been adopted at first, but a long-term chronic full study, 10 rats are sufficient for that at a biochemical level according to norms and we have measured such a number of parameters! The disturbance of sexual hormones or other parameters are sufficient in themselves in our case to interpret a serious effect after one year. The OPLS-DA statistical method we published is one of the best adapted. For tumours and deaths, the chronology and number of tumours per animal have to be taken into account. Any sign should be regarded as important for a real risk study. Monsanto itself measured only 10 rats of the same strain per group on 20 to conclude that the same GM maize was safe after 3 months (Hammond et al., 2004).

The statistical analysis should not be done with historical data first, the comparison is falsified, thus 50 rats per group is useless

The use of historical data falsifies health risk assessments because the diet is contaminated by dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (Schecter et al., 1996), mercury (Weiss et al., 2005), cadmium and chromium among other heavy metals in a range of doses that altered mouse liver and lung gene expression and confounds genomic analyses (Kozul et al., 2008). They also contained pesticides or plasticizers released by cages or from water sources (Howdeshell et al., 2003). Historical data also come from rats potentially fed on GMOs, some animal pellets in the world do indicate that. All that corresponds to the contamination levels for which we have detected some effects in our treated rats versus appropriate controls.

2-year historical data mammary fibroadenoma rate from Charles River SD females ranged from 13 to 62% (Giknis, 2004). We obtain a lot less in our controls, the real comparators, a lot more in treated rats. This makes our results significant, like for deaths.

Double standards

A factual comparative analysis of the rat feeding trial by the Séralini’s group and the Monsanto trials clearly reveals that if the Séralini experiments are considered to be insufficient to demonstrate harm, logically, it must be the same for those carried out by Monsanto to prove safety. Basically, all previous studies finding adverse effects of GE crops have been treated by regulators with the attitude: only those studies showing adverse effects receive a rigorous evaluation of their experimental and statistical methods, while those that claim proof of safety are taken at face value. All studies that reported no adverse effects were accepted as proof of safety regardless of these manifest (but deemed irrelevant) deficiencies of their methods.

The review by (Snell et al., 2012) illustrates this issue. In the abstract, the authors state “Results from all the 24 studies [reviewed] do not suggest any health hazards [...]” – taking all those studies at face value. Yet in their review, the authors find numerous weaknesses of similar or greater severity [than those] raised for the Séralini group’s paper. For example, of the 24 studies they evaluated 16 (67% of all studies) did not mention using the isogenic line as control (interpreted as having not used them), many did not describe the methods in any detail, and according to the reviewers had other deficiencies too.

FCT should retract the Hammond et al. paper on Roundup tolerant maize for all these reasons, published for Monsanto’s authorization, or consider that each of these papers is part of the scientific debate.


Gamez, R., Noa, M., Mas, R., Mendoza, N., Pardo, B., Menendez, R., Perez, Y., Gonzalez, R.M., Gutierrez, A., Marrero, G., Goicochea, E., Garcia, H., Curveco, D., 2007. Long-term carcinogenicity of D-003, a mixture of high molecular weight acids from sugarcane wax, in Sprague Dawley rats: a 24 months study. Food Chem Toxicol 45, 2352-2358.

Giknis, M.L.A.a.C., C.B., 2004. Charles River Laboratories. Compilation of spontaneous neoplastic lesions and survival in Crl:CD (SD) rats from control groups.

Hack, R., Ebert, E., Leist, K.H., 1995. Chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies with the insecticide endosulfan in rats and mice. Food Chem Toxicol 33, 941-950.

Hammond, B., Dudek, R., Lemen, J., Nemeth, M., 2004. Results of a 13 week safety assurance study with rats fed grain from glyphosate tolerant corn. Food Chem Toxicol 42, 1003-1014.

Hammond, B., Lemen, J., Dudek, R., Ward, D., Jiang, C., Nemeth, M., Burns, J., 2006a. Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn rootworm-protected corn. Food Chem Toxicol 44, 147-160.

Hammond, B.G., Dudek, R., Lemen, J.K., Nemeth, M.A., 2006b. Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn borer-protected corn. Food Chem Toxicol 44, 1092-1099.

Howdeshell, K.L., Peterman, P.H., Judy, B.M., Taylor, J.A., Orazio, C.E., Ruhlen, R.L., Vom Saal, F.S., Welshons, W.V., 2003. Bisphenol A is released from used polycarbonate animal cages into water at room temperature. Environ Health Perspect 111, 1180-1187.

King-Herbert, A.P., Sills, R.C., Bucher, J.R., 2010. Commentary: update on animal models for NTP studies. Toxicol Pathol 38, 180-181.

Klimisch, H.J., Deckardt, K., Gembardt, C., Hildebrand, B., Kuttler, K., Roe, F.J., 1997. Long-term inhalation toxicity of N-vinylpyrrolidone-2 vapours. Studies in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 35, 1041-1060.

Kozul, C.D., Nomikos, A.P., Hampton, T.H., Warnke, L.A., Gosse, J.A., Davey, J.C., Thorpe, J.E., Jackson, B.P., Ihnat, M.A., Hamilton, J.W., 2008. Laboratory diet profoundly alters gene expression and confounds genomic analysis in mouse liver and lung. Chem Biol Interact 173, 129-140.

Minardi, F., Belpoggi, F., Soffritti, M., Ciliberti, A., Lauriola, M., Cattin, E., Maltoni, C., 2002. Results of long-term carcinogenicity bioassay on vinyl acetate monomer in Sprague-Dawley rats. Ann N Y Acad Sci 982, 106-122.

Séralini, G.E., Clair, E., Mesnage, R. Gress, S., Defarge, N. Malatesta, M. Hennequin, D. Spiroux de Vendômois, J. (2012) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chem. Tox. 50:4221-4231

Séralini, G.E., Mesnage, R., Defarge, N., Gress, S., Hennequin, D., Clair, E., Malatesta, M., Spiroux de Vendômois, J. (2013) Answers to critics: why there is a long term toxicity due to NK603 Roundup-tolerant genetically modied maize and to a Roundup herbicide. Food and Chem. Tox. 53:461-468

Schecter, A.J., Olson, J., Papke, O., 1996. Exposure of laboratory animals to polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans from commerical rodent chow. Chemosphere 32, 501-508.

Snell, C., Bernheim, A., Berge, J.B., Kuntz, M., Pascal, G., Paris, A., Ricroch, A.E., 2012. Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding trials: a literature review. Food Chem Toxicol 50, 1134-1148.

Voss, C., Zerban, H., Bannasch, P., Berger, M.R., 2005. Lifelong exposure to di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate induces tumors in liver and testes of Sprague-Dawley rats. Toxicology 206, 359-371.

Weiss, B., Stern, S., Cernichiari, E., Gelein, R., 2005. Methylmercury contamination of laboratory animal diets. Environ Health Perspect 113, 1120-1122.

Comment Meanwhile, at the European Parliament... (Score 1) 341

A member of the Academy of Sciences plans to publish a demolition of Séralini's critics, while Corinne Lepage MEP warns that issues about GMO safety will not go away.

Séralini and GMOs: A truly disturbing study
Sophie Fabrégat, 28 Nov 2013
GMWatch translation of French original at

The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology could retract the article Gilles Eric Séralini on NK603 maize and the Roundup, published in September 2012. This reopens the debate on the assessment of long-term risks of GMO plants.

During an emergency press conference in the European Parliament this Thursday, November 27 [GMW: should be 28], Gilles Eric Séralini, the author of the controversial study on the long-term risks of maize NK 603 and its associated herbicide, denounced the withdrawal by the journal of his article revealing the results of this study. Originally released in September 2012, this article was pointing to the toxicity to rats of transgenic maize NK603 and its associated herbicide, Roundup, both produced by Monsanto.

On Tuesday, November 26, the scientist received a letter signed by the chief editor of the magazine, asking him to withdraw his article. The reason? "No fraud or manipulation of data" were detected by the reviewers, but "the results presented are inconclusive and therefore do not reach the threshold of the publication".

Yet, says Professor Séralini, many exchanges took place before publication of his article, over several months. The editor recognizes that "the problem of the low number of animals had been identified during the initial peer-review process" but the article "still had merit despite its limitations". It was published, sparking intense controversy and heated debate between advocates and detractors. The scientific quality was the focus of discussions.

The journal gave in to pressure?

Why this reversal today? Due to pressure from industry, denounced in turn Joël Spiroux, President of Criigen (Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering); Corinne Lepage MEP; Paul Deheuvels, statistician member of the Academy of Sciences; and François Veillerette, President of Future Generations, who all came in support of the researcher. For Gilles-Eric Séralini, the demand addressed to him was related to "the arrival on FCT's editorial board of Richard Goodman, a biologist who worked for several years at Monsanto," between 1997 and 2004.

The scientist scans the arguments of the publisher. The strain and the number of rats used in the two-year study are insufficient? Yet these are the same rats used by Monsanto to prove the safety of its products, Séralini replies. He goes even further, stating that an article presenting the results of a study demonstrating the safety of Monsanto NK603 were published in 2004 by the magazine, while the data of the study are "fraudulent", since the reference groups [ie control groups] are fed with seeds contaminated by GMOs and pesticides," he says.

The statistician Paul Deheuvels says that he is surprised "that on the one hand this study is rejected, while the criticisms that are made could be made to the original study of Monsanto since Séralini copied the structure of this experiment". This member of the Academy of Sciences [Deheuvels] announced the publication, by the end of the year, of an article demolishing point by point the criticisms leveled at the team of Professor Séralini. For him, this study is "truly innovative. The data are very significant. This is a pilot study which must be confirmed or refuted. But given the significance of the data, I doubt it will be overturned."

For an assessment of long-term risks of GMOs

Finally, François Veillerette recalled that there are no studies on the chronic effects of GMOs and pesticides. "The Séralini study is the only one that has addressed the issue. Indeed, the long-term effects of these products are not known."

This analysis was also part of the findings of the national agency of public health (ANSES) and the High Council of Biotechnology (HCB) (16864) -- [findings which were] shared by the authorities because in the process, France and the European Commission both announced the launch of long-term studies on the health effects of GMO consumption.

"The publication of Professor Séralini asks the right questions about the long term toxicity of GMOs and Roundup. Withdrawing it from the publication will not make these issues disappear," concludes Corinne Lepage.

Comment ENSSER comments on retraction... (Score 1) 341

ENSSER (European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility)
Comments on the Retraction of the Séralini et al. 2012 Study

Journal's retraction of rat feeding paper is a travesty of science and looks like a bow to industry

Elsevier's journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has retracted the paper by Prof. Gilles-Eric Séralini's group which found severe toxic effects (including liver congestions and necrosis and kidney nephropathies), increased tumor rates and higher mortality in rats fed Monsanto's genetically modified NK603 maize and/or the associated herbicide Roundup[1]. The arguments of
the journal's editor for the retraction, however, violate not only the criteria for retraction to which the journal itself subscribes, but any standards of good science. Worse, the names of the reviewers who came to the conclusion that the paper should be retracted, have not been published. Since the retraction is a wish of many people with links to the GM industry, the suspicion arises that it is a bow of science to industry. ENSSER points out, therefore, that this retraction is a severe blow to the credibility and independence of science, indeed a travesty of science.

Inconclusive results claimed as reason for withdrawal

Elsevier, the publisher of Food and Chemical Toxicology, has published a statement[2] saying that the journal's editor-in-chief, Dr. A. Wallace Hayes, "found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data". The statement mentions only a single reason for the retraction, namely that "the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive". According to Hayes, the low number of rats and the tumour susceptibility of the rat strain used do not allow definitive conclusions. Now there are guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing, set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)[3]. Inconclusiveness of research results is not one of the grounds for retraction contained in these guidelines. The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology is a member of COPE[4]. 'Conclusive' results are rare in science, and certainly not to be decided by one editor and a secret team of persons using undisclosed criteria and methods. Independent science would cease to
exist if this were to be an accepted mode of procedure.

Séralini paper a chronic toxicity study, not a full-scale carcinogenicity study

Most notably, Séralini and his co-authors did not draw any definitive conclusions in the paper in the first place; they simply reported their observations and phrased their conclusions carefully, cognizant of their uncertainties. This is because the paper is a chronic toxicity study and not a full-scale carcinogenicity study, which would require a higher number of rats. The authors did not intend to look specifically for tumours, but still found increased tumour rates. Secondly, both of Hayes's arguments (the number of rats and their tumour susceptibility) were considered by the peer reviewers of the journal, who decided they formed no objection to publication. Thirdly, these two arguments have been discussed at length in the journal following the publication of the paper and have been refuted by the authors of the paper and other experts. Higher numbers of animals are only required in this type of safety studies to avoid missing toxic effects (a 'false negative' result), but the study found pronounced toxic effects and a first indication of possible carcinogenic effects. The Sprague-Dawley strain of rat which was used, is the commonly used standard for this type of research. For these reasons, the statistical significance of the biochemical data was endorsed by statistics experts. The biochemical data confirm the toxic effects such as those on liver and kidney, which are serious enough by themselves. The tumours and mortality rates are observations which need to be confirmed by a specific carcinogenicity study with higher numbers of rats; in view of public food safety, it is not wise to simply ignore them. Unpleasant results should be checked, not ignored. And the toxic effects other than tumours and mortality are well-founded.

Who did the reevaluation?

Even more worrying than the lack of good grounds for the retraction is the fact that the journal's editor-in-chief has not revealed who the reviewers were who helped him to come to the conclusion that the paper should be retracted; nor has he revealed the criteria and methodology of their reevaluation, which overruled the earlier conclusion of the original peer-review which supported publication. In a case like this, where many of those who denounced the study have long-standing, well-documented links to the GM industry and, therefore, a clear interest in having the results of the study discredited, such lack of transparency about how this potential decision was reached is inexcusable, unscientific and unacceptable. It raises the suspicion that the retraction is a favour to the interested industry, notably Monsanto.

ENSSER promotes independent critical discourse

It is part of ENSSER's mission to promote the critical discourse, particularly in Europe, on new technologies and their impacts. As scientific and technological advances are increasingly driven by private interest, disinterested independent health and environmental safety information often lags behind. Uncertainty is inherent to science, as is the debate between
conflicting explanations of findings. Openness of this debate and independent research to find the truth are crucial prerequisites for the survival of independent science. This holds true in particular for the technology of genetically modified crops, where the safety studies done by the producers for authorisation of the crops are all too often not published at all because of business confidentiality of the data and may not hold up to an independent peer-review. These studies, not only the independent ones like Séralini's, should be subject to debate. The public have a right to be informed of anything related to the safety of their food.

In short, the decision to retract Séralini's paper is a flagrant abuse of science and a blow to its credibility and independence. It is damaging for the reputation of both the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and its publisher Elsevier. It will decrease public trust in science. And it will not succeed in eliminating critical independent science from public view and scrutiny. Such days and times are definitively over. Prof. Séralini's findings stand today more than before, as even this secret review found that there is nothing wrong with either technicalities, conduct or transparency of the data – the foundations on which independent science rests. The conclusiveness of their data will be decided by future independent science, not by a secret circle of people.



[1] Séralini, G.-E., Clair, E., Mesnage, R., Gress, S., Defarge, N., Malatesta, M., Hennequin, D., de Vendômois, J.S.: Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize, Food and Chemical Toxicology 50 (11), pp. 4221-4231 (2012)




Comment Re:Cycling not the Answer (Score 1) 947

Umm, actually I've done all those things. On a regular basis. Commuting all year long in Michigan (down to -5 F) and in California where it regularly gets > 100 F. Rain is not a problem. It's really not that hard, in fact you'd be surprised how many people are able to ride in what you consider impossible weather. It's simply a matter of dressing properly and using some common sense. Americans are soft, spoiled by car-centric thinking...

Comment GE food labeling news... (Score 3, Informative) 128

TFA mentions that Washington state has a ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods. Perhaps more importantly, Connecticut just passed a labeling law (

The Connecticut bill includes a crucial requirement: the labeling requirement won’t actually go into effect until similar legislation is passed by at least four other states, one of which borders Connecticut.

Also note that 37 labeling proposals have been introduced in 21 states so far this year.


Did the Spamhaus DDoS Really Slow Down Global Internet Access? 70

CowboyRobot writes "Despite the headlines, the big denial of service attack may not have slowed the Internet after all. The argument against the original claim include the fact that reports of Internet users seeing slowdowns came not from service providers, but the DDoS mitigation service CloudFlare, which signed up Spamhaus as a customer last week. Also, multiple service providers and Internet watchers have now publicly stated that while the DDoS attacks against Spamhaus could theoretically have led to slowdowns, they've seen no evidence that this occurred for general Internet users. And while some users may have noticed a slowdown, the undersea cable cuts discovered by Egyptian sailors had more of an impact than the DDoS."
The Internet

Ship Anchor, Not Sabotaging Divers, Possibly Responsible For Outage 43

Nerval's Lobster writes "This week, Egypt caught three men in the process of severing an undersea fiber-optic cable. But Telecom Egypt executive manager Mohammed el-Nawawi told the private TV network CBC that the reason for the region's slowdowns was not the alleged saboteurs — it was damage previously caused by a ship. On March 22, cable provider Seacom reported a cut in its Mediterranean cable connecting Southern and Eastern Africa, the Middle East and Asia to Europe; it later suggested that the most likely cause of the incident was a ship anchor, and that traffic was being routed around the cut, through other providers. But repairs to the cable took longer than expected, with the Seacom CEO announcing March 23 that the physical capability to connect additional capacity to services in Europe was "neither adequate nor stable enough," and that it was competing with other providers. The repairs continued through March 27, after faults were found on the restoration system; that same day, Seacom denied that the outage could have been the work of the Egyptian divers, but said that the true cause won't be known for weeks. 'We think it is unlikely that the damage to our system was caused by sabotage,' the CEO wrote in a statement. 'The reasons for this are the specific location, distance from shore, much greater depth, the presence of a large anchored vessel on the fault site which appears to be the cause of the damage and other characteristics of the event.'"

Comment Don't waste time driving to work (Score 2) 635

Weighed myself this morning and am the same as I was in college (ca. 1980). I ride a bike to work every day, all year long. 35 miles (58 km) round trip. It takes about an hour longer than driving. So, I get two hours workout for an hour's time. Yeah, I live in California but I rode all year long in Michigan and Colorado. You just need to dress right...

Comment Re:Labelled = Banned (Score 1) 334

Besides, knowing California, the law will probably require a prominent label that says, "Warning: This product contains genetically modified food. Some genetically modified food is known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm."

Not necessarily.

In California, the state requires Proposition 65 warning labels on anything that is known to cause cancer ( You see these warnings everywhere you go here -- on buildings, gas stations, etc. Everyone just ignores them. Otherwise, you'd basically have to stay home. Labeling genetically engineered food may turn out to have the same effect. If you see the warning on practically every food label are you going to quit eating? Of course, you could shop at a natural food store or buy organic but will the average Joe or Jane go to that trouble?

Comment Re:This stuff is in your GMO food (Score 1) 128

RoundUp, last I checked, was an herbicide, not a pesticide.

Actually herbicides are a class of pesticides formulated to kill weeds. Pesticides are a broad category of "economic poisons" which kill pests. Other kinds of pesticides include:

insecticides (insects)
fungicides (fungus, typically plant diseases)
nematicides (nematodes)
rodenticides (rodents)

Comment Re:In Other words... (Score 4, Informative) 128

> We have a hypothesis so we want people to panic and give us funding so we can actually see if there is a direct relationship
> between Colony Collapse Disorder

If you have been following the colony collapse story, you would already know that many entomologists suspect neonicotinoids as a possible part of the problem. Since pollination is a huge deal for agriculture, a lot of people really want to know the answer to CCD so it's not necessary to conjure up weird hypotheses to get funding. If you read any of the articles, you would also know that respected entomologists reviewing the papers thought they were well done.

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