In an open letter to President Barak Obama published Wednesday by the Huffington Post, Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people was compared to the government supported, widespread use of chemicals from companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, and Dow. The letter was penned by CEO and chairman of Rodale, Inc., Maria Rodale, who believes her position, “as the CEO of the world's leading health-and-wellness publisher and the granddaughter of the founder of the organic movement in America,” makes her “uniquely qualified” to make the comparison.
Rodale’s letter opens with the chilling comparison, “Syria has undoubtedly used chemical weapons on its own people. Maybe it was the government; maybe it was the opposition; maybe you know for sure. But here's what I know for sure: We are no better. We have been using chemical weapons on our own children -- and ourselves -- for decades, the chemical weapons we use in agriculture to win the war on pests, weeds, and the false need for ever greater yields. While the effects of these "legal" chemical weapons might not be immediate and direct, they are no less deadly. And you, Mr. President, have had an unprecedented opportunity to stop it, but you haven't. You haven't. In fact, you have encouraged it. And I am supremely disappointed in that.”
Environmentalists and health enthusiasts have been raising concern for years that chemical giants like Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, Bayer Crops Sciences, among others are poisoning our children and our environment. Rodale notes that it is the government that continues to support and even, encourage the widespread use of dangerous chemicals, stating “Just because their bodies aren't lined up wrapped in sheets on the front pages of the newspapers around the world doesn't mean it's not true.”
Glyphosate commonly marketed as Roundup and manufactured by Monsanto is the most frequently used herbicide on both cropland and common-use areas of the world since its introduction in the 1970s. For years the chemical industry claimed there were no adverse side effects to the widespread use of glyphosate but more recent studies have found, “[Glyphosate] residues are found in the main foods of the Western diet, comprised primarily of sugar, corn, soy and wheat. Glyphosate inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology, one of which is to detoxify xenobiotics. Thus, glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body." Is the slow, gradual poisoning of a people worse than immediate death?
Perhaps the United States needs reminded of the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and the horrible effects still being felt by generations of Americans and their offspring.
It seems Rodale may not be far fetched in her comparison of Syria's use of weapons of mass destruction to the widespread use of chemicals sanctioned by the United States.