Home / Be The Change / Hawaii Sees 10 Fold Increase in Birth Defects After Becoming GM Corn Testing Grounds

Hawaii Sees 10 Fold Increase in Birth Defects After Becoming GM Corn Testing Grounds


Waimea, HI – Doctors are sounding the alarm after noticing a disturbing trend happening in Waimea, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Over the past five years, the number of severe heart malformations has risen to more than ten times the national rate, according to an analysis by local physicians.

Pediatrician Carla Nelson, after seeing four of these defects in three years, is extremely concerned with the severe health anomalies manifesting in the local population.

Nelson, as well as a number of other local doctors, find themselves at the center of a growing controversy about whether the substantial increase in severe illness and birth defects in Waimea stem from the main cash crop on four of the six islands, genetically modified corn, which has been altered to resist pesticide.

Hawaii has historically been used as a testing ground for almost all GMO corn grown in the United States. Over 90% of GMO corn grown in the mainland U.S. was first developed in Hawaii, with the island of Kauai having the largest area used.

According to a report in The Guardian:

In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre (mostly herbicides, along with insecticides and fungicides) than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland, according to the most detailed study of the sector, by the Center for Food Safety.

That’s because they are precisely testing the strain’s resistance to herbicides that kill other plants. About a fourth of the total are called Restricted Use Pesticides because of their harmfulness. Just in Kauai, 18 tons – mostly atrazine, paraquat (both banned in Europe) and chlorpyrifos – were applied in 2012. The World Health Organization this year announced that glyphosate, sold as Roundup, the most common of the non-restricted herbicides, is “probably carcinogenic in humans”.

Waimea is a small town that lies directly downhill from the 12,000 acres of GMO test fields leased mainly from the state. Spraying takes place often, sometimes every couple of days. Residents have complained that when the wind blows downhill from the fields, the chemicals have caused headaches, vomiting, and stinging eyes.

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“Your eyes and lungs hurt, you feel dizzy and nauseous. It’s awful,” local middle school special education teacher Howard Hurst told the Guardian. “Here, 10% of the students get special-ed services, but the state average is 6.3%,” he says. “It’s hard to think the pesticides don’t play a role.”

To add insult to injury, Dow AgraSciences’ main lobbyist in Honolulu, until recently, actually ran the main hospital in town. Although only 1,700ft away from a Syngenta field, the hospital has never done any research into the effects of pesticides on its patients.

Hawaiians have attempted to reign in the industrial chemical/farming machine on four separate occasions over the past two years. On August 9 an estimated 10,000 people marched through Honolulu’s main tourist district to protest the collusion of big business and state putting profits over citizens’ health.

“The turnout and the number of groups marching showed how many people are very frustrated with the situation,” native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte said.

Hawaiians have also attempted to use a ballot initiative to force a moratorium on the planting of GMO crops, according to The Guardian:

In Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui and Molokai, both with large GMO corn fields, a group of residents calling themselves the Shaka Movement sidestepped the company-friendly council and launched a ballot initiative that called for a moratorium on all GMO farming until a full environmental impact statement is completed there.

The companies, primarily Monsanto, spent $7.2m on the campaign ($327.95 per “no” vote, reported to be the most expensive political campaign in Hawaii history) and still lost.

Again, they sued in federal court, and, a judge found that the Maui County initiative was preempted by federal law. Those rulings are also being appealed.

Even amidst strong public pressure, the chemical companies that grow the GMO corn have continued to refuse to disclose the chemicals they are using, as well as the specific amounts of each chemical being used. The industry and its political cronies have continually insisted that pesticides are safe.

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“We have not seen any credible source of statistical health information to support the claims,” said Bennette Misalucha, executive director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association in a written statement distributed by a publicist.

Nelson pointed out that American Academy of Pediatrics’ report, Pesticide Exposure in Children, found “an association between pesticides and adverse birth outcomes, including physical birth defects,” going on to note that local schools have twice been evacuated and kids sent to the hospital due to pesticide drift. “It’s hard to treat a child when you don’t know which chemical he’s been exposed to.”

Sidney Johnson, a pediatric surgeon at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children who oversees all children born in Hawaii with major birth defects says he’s noticed that the number of babies born here with their abdominal organs outside. This is a rare condition known as gastroschisis and has grown from three a year in the 1980s to about a dozen now, according to The Guardian.

Johnson and a team of medical students have been studying hospital records to determine if any of the parents of the infants with gastroschisis were residing near fields that were undergoing spraying during conception and early pregnancy.

“We have cleanest water and air in the world,” Johnson said. “You kind of wonder why this wasn’t done before,” he says. “Data from other states show there might be a link, and Hawaii might be the best place to prove it.”

It was recently revealed that these chemical companies, unlike farmers, are allowed to operate under an antiquated decades-old Environmental Protection Agency permit. This permit was grandfathered in from the days of sugar plantations when the amounts and toxicities were significantly lower, and which allowed for toxic chemicals to be discharged into water. Tellingly the state of Hawaii has asked for a federal exemption to allow these companies to continue to not comply with modern standards.

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The ominous reality of collusion between these mega-corporations and the political class in Hawaii has seemingly left the citizens of the state with virtually no ability to safeguard their children’s health. We tread dangerously close to corporate fascism when profits are put above the health of the people.

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on BenSwann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPress News and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.

  • This is so false!

    • Logic, reason and evidence usually help…

    • The Free Thought Project.com So all things this page doesn’t posses?? =^)

    • Is that suppose to be your argument Paul Garrett Covey?

      Try logic, reason and evidence before making silly assertions 😉

    • Paul troll detected

    • The Free Thought Project is starting to lose all credibility with me with this sudden swell of anti-gmo nonsense. I’m sure next they’ll start attacking vaccines.

    • Reston Eilers this crap group tells me to put up facts to support my side. I don’t have too because they put up articles that prove in plane English my side. He put up one that said we been eating GMOS since 1994. So I said see so how come no probs with them. Its like medicine, sure some are bad but does that mean you don’t use any medicine because one is bad? Fuck no you still take your meds

    • I saw. I read the exchange.

    • Reston Eilers don’t be a dumbass.

    • You are a slave FYI. Smarten up will ya!

    • Roxanne you have to contribute to society to be brainwashed

    • The article raises concerns about the use of pesticides, not GM crops per se. Why doesn’t your title reflect the content.

      “Health concerns raised over use of potentially harmful pesticides.” Would be a more accurate title.

    • Bufty Calhoun don’t even try with these fools I went in circles with these people. They don’t read and just spout off where sounds good to them. They don’t even know what GMOs are.

    • Fair enough.

  • just because you can modify a plant to be something different, doesn’t mean you should…. no more than deciding to see what happens if you decide to run a gasoline powered engine on different fuels other than gasoline…… some may do no damage, others may destroy the engine or severely limit the life of certain components…..just like the fuel that our bodies have been designed to process…. certain food modifications will be detrimental

    • Dude cross breeding different strains of corn is genetic modification. There was no corn like you see today in fields. It was smaller, multi colored kernels. Then through selection and cross breeding gave us what we have today

    • selective cross pollination still retained the same basic organic structure of the food itself…. that part never changed, until Monsanto decided that genetic material that never would have made it into the plant by cross pollination was suddenly a good idea….

    • Selective breeding is the process of developing a plant or animal based on selecting desirable characteristics of the parent. For example, saving seed for replanting from plants within a crop that have shown to be particularly robust; or breeding a white dog with a black patch over its eye via two parents that have the same trait.

      Humanity has been tinkering with selective breeding for thousands of years. Often it’s been beneficial and has led to many of the food sources we have today. However, it can really only go so far – within species or very closely related species.

      Interbreeding between totally different species just doesn’t and can’t happen with traditional selective breeding techniques – and it doesn’t happen in nature either. It never has as far as I know and perhaps there is a very good reason for it.

      The way that species evolve in nature is through natural selection (the survival of the fittest) or through mutation – where an abnormal trait is introduced by “mistake” which proves to be beneficial to that plant or animal and that mutation is passed on, becoming dominant.


      GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Usually it’s just shortened to GM when mentioned in relation to food. This is where the genes from one species can be introduced into an entirely different species through human intervention.

      For example, taking a gene from a jellyfish and inserting into the zebrafish genome created the “glofish” – fish that glow in the dark which are now being sold on the market.

      Another example is genes from a bacteria inserted into food crops so that the crop can create it’s own insecticide. These plants and animals are also known as “transgenic”.

  • This not okay! If this makes you sick to your stomach, please ‘Like’ + Share + Comment! (y)

    • Its not real

    • Aaron Knight Got a link to disprove it? Or should we just believe some random guy on the internet simply because he says so…

      Once again Aaron, Logic, reason, evidence.. make an argument, not an assertion


    • Then why in the corn belt where GM crops have been grown for years upon years has no problems.

    • Oh really genius?


      Google magic might make you smart!

    • Your the one making the assertion, the burden of prop is on you, free thought.

      Correlation is NOT causality.

  • Severely doubt this. I hope some fact checking was done before posting this. Otherwise I’m gone.

    • What is stopping you from applying yourself to ‘fact check?’

    • I’m not the one that posted it.

    • Really? Damn, thanks for pointing that out. You are the one trying to make a point that it’s possibly invalid. So, once again, what is stopping you from applying yourself to do some research?

    • Don’t bother with the plebs who are incapable of research. They need to be spoonfed their information and opinions.

  • GM corn is grown all over and no problems. Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kansas Oklahoma, Iowa. Retards believe anything. Dumb asses. GM corn, soy beans have been grown for years its just now hitting news. They have been modifying crops through all kinds of ways since man started farming. Natural selection and cross breeding are genetic modification.

    • Someone doesn’t understand what genetically modified organisms are. Maybe before calling others “retards” you should do just a hair of research.

    • Shhh, cut it out with your facts and logic. Those aren’t welcome here =^)

    • This literally took me 20 seconds to google


      Apply yourselves children

    • Yeah it says what I said GMO’s/ GM are the same thing as CROSSBREEDING and selection just the process to achieve GMO is different. Just like selection and CROSSBREEDING are different processes to get a GMO. IN THE END THEY ALL ARE GMO’s

    • So much information at our fingertips, and people are still dumb.

    • idiot its not the same,

    • So inserting new genes into fruits and vegetables has been happening for years? Dude, you are confused… slow down, STOP commenting on things you don’t understand and RESEARCH

      Maybe pictures are easier for you

    • Anyone can find the answer THEY want online. Doesn’t mean it’s the definitive correct answer.

    • snap….. we found the same info…….

    • Yes thank you John Dowlen it means a genetically modified organisms. There are tons of GMO’s all around us. But the processes to achieve the GMO may differ

    • Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994

      The first application of genetically modified organisms in food production and were approved in 1988 by the US Food and Drug Administration.

      Genetically engineered organisms are generated and tested in the laboratory for desired qualities. The most common modification is to add one or more genes to an organism’s genome. Less commonly, genes are removed or their expression is increased or silenced or the number of copies of a gene is increased or decreased.


    • That pic is breeding not CROSSBREEDING. You guys are remedial. CROSSBREEDING causes a hybrid. Of two different things

    • been through all this bull before get a life and stop the depopulation scams.

    • Yes thanks free your mind project. You just proved me right GMOS JAVE BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS 1988- 1994

    • If GM corn breeds with regular corn, the new corn will be GM and you will owe Monsanto for having a GM crop.

    • Aaron Knight you’re an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. You’re highly (mis)educated. Lol

    • The questions are, is there truly an inordinate increase in heart defects in children born in that are, and if so, what is the cause? Ascertain the answer to both and let the facts fall where they may. Also selective may be classified as GMO, but it’s certainly not the same as having kernels of corn infused with pesticides. I think everyone can agree with that. Lastly, don’t forget all the pesticides that are being sprayed. It seems that too has been forgotten in this thread.

    • Pesticides aren’t infused they are applied Randall Werner. Take it from a farm boy. They were genetically modifying corn for higher yields for like 20 years

    • Lol you do realize there two types of GMOs right? This is comical

    • Ashton Haggitt their are many ways of genetically modifying an organism. Anything that changes the DNA of an organism is GM. crossbreeding selection inbreeding gene splicing. So Ashton Haggitt you don’t know shit. This comical you have no clue what your talking about.

    • Says the guy who has absolutely no clue as to what he is talking about^ Notice he hasn’t provided one link to back up his assertions, yet keeps insisting his opinion is right

    • go suck on some BT corn.

    • Lol this is hilarious. You really need to read a lot. But i suppose we should just take your word for it. After all you said you worked on a farm. I lived on Mars and can tell you how terraform it. See how easy it is say something with no evidence online? If you would kindly back up your claims, you wouldn’t feel the need to be so defensive. No clue huh? Lmfaooo wait till I’m off work kid. I’ll drop link after link and government document after document. Meanwhile, while you sit in your moms basement jacking off to your unyielding knowledge of all things pertaining to GMO’s, I’ll wait for you to drop one study that wasn’t done in under a year time frame by scientists who are paid by monsanto and other corporate entities.

    • Here I used your article to prove GMOS HAVE BEEN USED 1994.

      Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994

      The first application of genetically modified organisms in food production and were approved in 1988 by the US Food and Drug Administration.

      Genetically engineered organisms are generated and tested in the laboratory for desired qualities. The most common modification is to add one or more genes to an organism’s genome. Less commonly, genes are removed or their expression is increased or silenced or the number of copies of a gene is increased or decreased.


    • Dumb fuck

    • Ashton Haggitt that article was originally posted by free your mind project and it’s says GMO has been used since 1994

    • The Free Thought Project.com Aaron Knight corn surely has been modified over time ~ what you are failing to see is that Monsanto has done it so they can use their pesticide Roundup… that is what is killing people and animals screwing up their DNA and changing us in a big way,

    • Dennis Petrak I do know that. But people are confusing all GMOS as harmful. Just Monsanto is causing problems so it’s not GMO’S as a problem its the pesticides.

    • Aaron Knight now if you’d take some time to understand that the GMO’s are also doing patents on the process, then if you happen to accidentally grow even a small amount of their patented product you can be sued and your whole life ripped from you by these claim jumping assholes… stop defending them.

    • Dennis Petrak GMOs are everywhere and have been for over 20 years. Your falling into false propaganda. Its like medicines, some are bad. But by your thinking all medicine should be banned.

    • You are missing the point. Its not that they are all bad– its just how Monsanto is modifying them and forcing the fact through laws that say you must buy only their seed stocks. And they can’t be held responsible for any problems caused by such seeds.

    • It’s not so much about GM stuff. It’s more about other products from Monsanto, like their larvacide, that they use to control insects.

    • Keep sucking on that Monsanto swill. They will not allow their products to be independently tested by any researchers. Why do you think they do that? They know a lot more about the dangers of their products than anyone else.

    • Jim Knock no company allows research on a patented technology. You’ve seen the shit with Apple phones. Same fucking thing different product.

    • The Free Thought Project.com Your own linked article says it’s a result of living downwind of the pesticides sprayed on the crops, which is, of course, completely believable. And yet, your headline tries to blame GM corn for the birth defects. Are you being deliberately untruthful, or did you not understand the (relatively simple) details of the issue?

    • They don’t even know how to read.

    • Brandon Swords your so fucking dumb. You didn’t even read article its about pesticides not GMO’S. GMOS have been around and used for years this whole thing is about pesticides. The corn you see in fields all over American is a GMO. Corn in the 1500s looked nothing like today. The corn has been genetically modified through CROSSBREEDING, selective process, and gene splicing since 1988-1994.

  • Open your eyes to the beauty around you. Open your mind to the wonders of life. Open your heart to those who love you. And always be true to yourself. – Donna Davis

  • I don’t believe even they grow corn in Hawaii

  • List Of Myths You Always Believed That Are Not True

  • Welcome to our fascist totalitarian surveillance security police state, where corporate oligarchies and financial criminal syndicates control our government.

  • Wow! I had no idea the Zita virus had made it to Hawaii already.

  • duuh, it’s global warming

  • Move along folks, nothing to see here.

  • Yu think??

  • The Democrats did it, and have been doing it for years.

  • It’s the pesticides..

  • Hmmm, maybe thats the reason no one wants our American food anymore, give the CEO a bonus an a lifetime supply of GM corn

  • “the truth is out there….”

  • I think it’s important to stress the link is between excessive pesticide use and birth defects. The GM corn is not the problem.

  • Yikes!


  • Fake

  • Proof of Monsanto POISIONING the people….AGAIN/STILL

  • Why is the guy in a white suite???

  • Get them out of there!

  • Jessica Frye

  • And they blame it on the mosquitos.

  • GMO now also means inserting pesticide DNA, and other organisms DNA, into existing food sources, like fish DNA into GMO tomatos, causing allergic reactions, no way to tell what long term effects will be!

  • BAN ALL GMO’S. If our corrupt government won’t stop it then let good AMERICAN’S stop it. BY ANY MEAN’S NECESSARY. Hopefully by fire. BURN EM UP AMERICA.

  • Oddly enough…the Z virus has a small outbreak there now. I believe they are blaming the Z virus to mislead us all.

  • of course it has… stop GM everything.

  • GM crops were developed to sue I’ve massive applications of chemicals. The precautionary principal in terms or human health was quickly abandoned on the altar of corporate profits

  • How convenient……a confined population left to suffer birth defects from pesticide & herbicide testing on GMO corn. Two studies for the price of one. LAB RATS comes to mind. Hawaiians are literally fighting for their lives & their future children, yet the audacity of billion dollar Corporations uses the courts to do their bidding. What EVIL men do for profit………

  • dangerously close?

  • Thank you Monsanto

  • get rid of santo :(:(

  • Thalidomide anyone

  • Over the centuries, the tulip fields of Holland have become extremely toxic.

  • Monsanto shat it’s nest, covering severe pesticide effects with, mosquitoes, hoping to sell and apply yet more larvicide, if they want a war, they picked one now, with most intelligent people who even give damn, bring it on. And stay away from New Zealand, with your TPPA Trojan Horse, we do not trust you, and never will

  • Aldevan Baniwa

  • This site didn’t even read article. Its about Monsanto pesticides. Not GMO’S. GMOS HAVE BEEN USED SINCE 1994. No problems. This place is faulty and just spreads paranoia. No facts to support them and when they do put up facts they are to dumb to read it. They put up facts to disprove me and all their facts supported me and made them look like sheep in the heard following leader to the butchers block.

  • o don’t tell me, monsanto at work again ?