Each day, I hear more disturbing news about Monsanto, the maker of Round-Up and the agricultural company that has been polluting the world with various poisons for decades with products such as Agent Orange and industrial coolants known as PCB's.

Monsano's advertising campaigns have convinced many people that Round-Up is safe, but the facts just don't support this.

The Women's Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) and CHOSE (Coalition for a Healthy Oakland School Environment), showed that chemicals such as Round-Up (glyphosate) can result in reproductive damage as well as damage to the kidney and liver, and some studies show a link between the chemical and cancer. (Chemical Injury Network, June 2001)

According to the National Audubon Society, of the roughly 672 million birds exposed to chemicals such as Round-Up in the United States each year, 10 percent - or 67 million - are killed.

While much of the controversy over Monsanto has centered on its products and technology, there have also always been concerns about the company's high level connections to the United States Government due to Monsanto's monetary contributions to important officials and the fact that for decades there has been a revolving door filled with people who worked within the USDA and the FDA, as well as for Monsanto.

For example, Don Rumsfeld, our previous Secretary of Defense, was president of Searle Pharmaceuticals, later owned by Monsanto.

William Ruckelshaus, a former chief administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) spent over 12 years as a member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation. He served under Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush.

And the list goes on and on and includes Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas who was a Monsanto lawyer.

President Obama announced on March 14th the creation of a White House Food Safety Working Group to improve and coordinate the governments approach to the nationwide food safety crisis. Unfortunately, included in President Obama's short-list of working group members is Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto executive who has a long history of lobbying for Monsanto and fast tracking Monsanto's controversial rBGH while at the Food and Drug Administration. And, Tom Vilsack is our new Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack was named the Biotech "Governor of the Year" and enjoyed numerous rides on Monsanto's corporate jet during his time in office and he became a schill for agribusiness biotech giants like Monsanto.

Currently, Monsanto is behind a Federal Government bill to stop all organic farming. Introduced by Rosa DeLauro, HR 875 is ultimately about one thing: defining ONLY Monsanto's GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) products as "safe."

The chairman of the committee that is hearing HR875 is Rep. Henry Waxman from California. He was one of several who allegedly accepted money from Searle to keep aspartame on the market. Searle later sold the patents and manufacturing rights for aspartame, the dangerous artificial sweetener, to Monsanto.

Monsanto's political power is obvious. In 1999, some of the nation's most prominent antitrust lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit against the Monsanto Company, accusing it of rushing genetically engineered seeds to the marketplace without properly testing them for safety and of forming an international cartel that conspired to control the world's market in corn and soybean seeds.

Ten years later, I just read that South African farmers suffered millions of dollars in lost income when 82,000 hectares of Monsanto's genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce hardly any kernels. The plants look lush and healthy from the outside, but there are no kernels on the cob.

And, I also just read that Monsanto is now suing the German Government to force them to grow Monsanto's GM corn.

My own family was nearly devastated due to Monsanto's ability and determination to manipulate the United States Government. Luckily, I realized what Monsanto was doing to us with their artificial sweetener, aspartame marketed under names such as NutraSweet, Equal, Equal Measure, Spoonful, Naturataste, Canderal, Benevia, E951, Nutrataste, Joe Sweet, Indulge, Hermesetas Gold (both ace-k and aspartame), Sanecta, and Tri-Sweet. (Crystal-Lite is a beverage mix that contains aspartame.)

I am upset by the mainstream media's lack of truth about aspartame, the artificial sweetener unfortunately approved by the FDA, thanks to political pressure from Don Rumsfeld and President Reagan.

Aspartame is one product that has possibly harmed more people around the world than any other, from babies in the womb to the elderly in nursing homes.

There are brilliant physicians such as H. J. Roberts, MD, Russell Blaylock, MD, Morando Soffritti, MD, Ralph Walton, MD, and John Olney, MD that understand the dangers of aspartame and they speak out clearly. However, the mainstream media ignores them.

As a result, insurance pays for many, many, many visits to doctors by people made ill by aspartame, but most doctors are clueless about the connection with the artificial sweetener and do not treat people properly. Huge amounts of time and money are wasted as a result.

Many years ago, my own daughter consulted a neurologist, and he told her that she had temporal lobe epilepsy. He began treating her with medication, but the medication didn't work, because the doctor was wrong in his diagnosis and he was treating her for a condition she didn't have! What she really had was Aspartame Poisoning/Toxicity!

We took our daughter to MIT where she had special studies on her brain, and the doctors confirmed that it was the NutraSweet (aspartame) that made her so sick. They said that she had been totally misdiagnosed by the neurologist and that she did not have temporal lobe epilepsy at all. The doctors who saw her were in the Clinical Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Our daughter is an incredibly bright girl whose college tuition was entirely funded by scholarships. She even won a Telluride Association Scholarship in competition with more than one million students from the entire US. And she was two years younger than the students with whom she competed.

Her serious problems from aspartame became an eye-opening event since aspartame nearly destroyed her. Drinking only one can a day, this brilliant girl developed intellectual deterioration, a drastic personality change, epileptic-type seizures, and she began to lose her vision in both eyes.

Numerous studies for three days on her brain and vision in Boston confirmed that it was the aspartame that had made her so sick. She stopped drinking it and she finally recovered.

Aspartame gives me classic migraine headaches. And, it causes a multitude of additional problems for others who consume it.

Dr. Richard J. Wurtman, neurophysiologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was one of the first people to realize the problems from aspartame. Dr. Wurtman told Congress that as an isolate it is neurotoxic and goes directly in the brain. It lowers the seizure threshold and depletes serotonin. I even have a letter from him regarding my own daughter.

Two years ago, I drove to New York City to Mount Sinai School of Medicine to watch Philip J. Landrigan, M.D. confer the third Irving J. Selikoff Award on Morando Soffritti, MD for "his outstanding contributions to the identification of environmental and industrial carcinogens and his promotion of independent scientific research." I also attended to hear Dr. Soffritti speak on "The carcinogenicity of aspartame: the lessons we still must learn."

Dr. Soffritti thoroughly discussed a second study on aspartame conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) that confirms the carcinogenicity of aspartame.

I met and spoke with Dr. Soffritti, and I was also able to speak for a long time with several Americans concerned about the use of aspartame, including Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician, who heads up the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai and who directs Mount Sinai's Center for Children's Health and the Enviroment and Dr. Myron Mehlman, whose specialty is Medical Neurology & Toxicology. These men are leading the effort to identify and prevent chemical toxicity in children and adults. They are visionaries.

Dr. Soffritti's new study suggests a danger to unborn babies and especially to children, including the newly identified risk of breast cancer as the child ages. He also believes that aspartame causes leukemia, lymphoma, and pelvis and kidney tumors. He said that his study should be a WAKE UP CALL to the FDA to seriously reconsider the use of aspartame. Dr. Soffritti expressed horror at the fact that aspartame is in soft drinks, chewing gum, candy, desserts, yogurt as well as in approximately 500 pharmaceuticals, in particular, syrups and antibiotics for children.

Sadly, the Food and Drug Administration continues to support the safety of aspartame because our government watchdog is industry's lapdog. The FDA totally ignores the toxicity, carcinogenicity and neurodegenerative disabilities caused by aspartame.

Remember that the modern Golden Rule is: He who hath the gold makes the rules!

For decades, Monsanto has been involved in an unbelievable number of lawsuits. Among them was one described in the Toronto Star, Sunday Ontario Edition on February 17, 2002, when residents of Anniston, Alabama, sought compensation from Monsanto for secretly poisoning them for decades.

"From 1935 to 1972, Monsanto manufactured polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at its Anniston plant. Documents show that Monsanto knew as early as the 1950s that PCBs were a toxic danger, but that the company skillfully hid that evidence from residents, all the while dumping PCB waste - sometimes more than 110 kilograms of it a day - into two huge unlined landfill sites."

The landfills leached PCBs, lead and mercury into Anniston's streams and soil.

"The EPA concluded that its tests, along with those conducted by Alabama agencies, 'have determined that the PCB contamination is attributable to the operations of the former Monsanto plant.'

Scientists confirm that PCBs can cause cancer, neurological disorders, reproductive problems, immune-system depression, developmental problems in children, liver damage and skin irritation.

Critics of the genetically modified food industry see the Anniston story as a cautionary tale, since Monsanto is one of the multinational corporations now asking the world to accept its word that GM food crops are safe."

"Donald Stewart, lawyer for the plaintiffs, told the jury it's clear Monsanto knew for decades about the problem it was causing - Harvard scientists linked PCBs to health hazards in the late 1930s - but did virtually nothing. Instead, he said, the company put "profits before safety."

Luckily for Monsanto, in 2000, it was able to sell the NutraSweet Company to J.W. Childs and Equal was sold to Merisant. Tokyo-based food and chemical maker Ajinomoto Co. also purchased part of the company. Undoubtedly, this was cleverly done to keep artificial sweetener lawsuits out of the courts and away from Monsanto's doors.

However, aspartame is still as much of a danger as it was when it was first marketed.

Just as Monsanto hid the dangers of PCBs, it skillfully hid the dangers of aspartame.

As a teacher, I am especially upset when students drink diet soda.

In addition to causing other serious health problems, aspartame can definitely have a subtle effect on cognitive functioning and can interfere with the concentration and attention skills of the students.

Most students realize that illegal drugs and smoking are bad for them, but many don't know anything about the hazards of aspartame. With all the media attention on obesity these days, Americans will start using even more "diet" products.

Yes, obesity is a serious problem!!! However, what upsets me even more is that people turn to artificial sweeteners in an attempt to lose weight or prevent weight gain.

Several important studies have shown that artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain!!! People who lose weight while consuming them are losing only because they have the determination to make proper food choices and to exercise.

Government statistics indicated that more than 2.2 million American teenagers experience major depression. The use of antidepressants is skyrocketing. Not always, but very often symptoms of depression are caused by aspartame. Aspartame greatly lowers the Serotonin Level, and, decreased brain serotonin has been associated with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal attempts, hostility and psychopathic states, as well as hallucinations and insomnia.

It is time for the world to understand that because the FDA was manipulated to say aspartame is "safe," most doctors don't notice "side-effects" from it when they are staring them in the eye. Everyone needs to learn how dangerous to health aspartame truly is!