Iowa leads all states and most countries in corn growing, 93% of which is genetically modified (GMO) corn grown with increasingly greater amounts of Monsanto’s Roundup glyphosate and other herbicides. Iowa is also the Midwestern state with the highest incidence of cancer. Is there any link between Iowa’s amazing corn growing capacity and cancer, or is Iowa’s cancer rate only coincidental?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Iowa has the highest rates of cancer of any state in the Midwest. Consequently, or coincidentally, depending on your viewpoint, it should come as no surprise, or perhaps it’s only a matter of passing concern (and there is no causal link) that 97% of soybeans and 93% of corn grown in Iowa are genetically engineered and sprayed with massive amounts of pesticides and herbicides. These poisons sprayed on growing food fed to animals and humans include Monsanto’s Roundup, the main ingredient – glyphosate – of which the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has linked to causing cancer in humans.
Iowa GMO Corn King
Iowa doesn’t brag about its cancer rate, but it does brag about its corn production.
Iowacorn.org reports that in 2015 Iowa corn farmers grew 2.5 billion bushels of corn on 13 million acres of land. At 56 pounds per bushel, that’s more than 140 billion pounds of field corn. (Source: USDA March, 2016)
Iowa has been the king of corn for nearly two decades. The state produces more corn than any other, and more corn than most countries. Iowa grows about three times more corn than the entire country of Mexico.
Iowa’s GMO Corn Problem
Corn has been the top crop in Iowa for more than 150 years, but it wasn’t until GMO corn from Monsanto and other biotech companies took over the corn market that the state began to lead all others for cancer rates. Iowacorn.org says that state farmers don’t lack imagination for growing things; it’s just that, for several reasons, Iowa is the best place on earth to grow corn.
Corn grows well in Iowa because the state has a long and warm enough growing season for corn; enough rain for corn; deep, rich soils that suit corn growth; lots of homegrown livestock with waste that includes nutrients key to fertilizing corn fields; a wide variety of corn hybrids that do well in Iowa’s environment.
Iowacorn.org, an obvious promotional web site, makes no mention of the fact that 93% of Iowa corn is genetically modified – GMO – corn. That major oversight shows clearly that site tenders know that announcing your GMO percentages is not a good selling point.
Though Iowa has long been a leader in corn production, it has not always been a leader in cancer rates. It’s taking over the Midwestern state’s lead in cancer per capita can be shown to be in direct correlation to the introduction of GMO corn and soybeans. GMO pushers can dispute the parallels as mere coincidence, but people who live in Iowa and have seen local cancer rates skyrocket since the proliferation of GMO corn and soy might beg to differ. (GMO corn pushers are banking on the idea that most cancered people’s stories can be written off as merely “anecdotal.”)
American Farmers’ Cancer Trends
Meanwhile, from 1993-1997, before GMO corn and soy became the new “normal,” the National Cancer Institute recruited some 90,000 participants for a cancer study. Most of the participants in the ongoing study are either farmers or their wives; 52,000 farmers and 32,000 farmers’ wives. All were recruited in Iowa or North Carolina.
Participants classified as “private pesticide applicators” are farmers or nursery workers. The study also includes a small percentage of “commercial pesticide applicators” from Iowa who work for pest control companies or for businesses (such as warehouses or grain mills) that use pesticides regularly. Some 5,000 participants are commercial applicators.
Cancer Trends lower among Farmers
The National Cancer Institute notes that farmers in many countries, including the U.S., have lower overall death rates and cancer rates than the general population. The lower death rates among farmers for heart disease, cancers of the lung, esophagus, bladder, and colon, in particular, are thought to be at least partly due to lower smoking rates, though farmers are typically also physically active and are thought to consume healthy foods compared with most people.
non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Melanoma Higher among Farm Workers
When compared with the general population, however, rates for certain diseases that include some cancers appear to be higher among agricultural workers and farmers, according to the National Cancer Institute. That increase may be related to exposures common in farm work environments.
Farming communities, acording to the National Cancer Institute, experience higher rates of leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and soft tissue sarcoma, as well as cancers of the skin, lip, stomach, brain, and prostate. Farm workers with some of these types of cancers are beginning to file Monsanto Lawsuits because glyphosate has been linked with some of these cancers.
The National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, claims that no one set of risk factors explains these higher cancer rates, though it does admit, “[T]he range of environmental exposures in the farming community is of concern. Farmers, farm workers, and farm family members may be exposed to substances such as pesticides, engine exhausts, solvents, dusts, animal viruses, fertilizers, fuels, and specific microbes that may account for these elevated cancer rates.”
Research studies reported to date have not allowed researchers to sort through which factors may be linked to which cancer types, at least according to the National Cancer Institute, though that organization is increasingly funded by industry.