by Julie Fidler, Natural Society:
Birth defects are on the rise in Hawaii, leaving many to wonder if pesticides are to blame – including some pediatricians who are witnessing a spike in birth defects in babies.
In the town of Waimea, pediatrician Carla Nelson has seen at least 9 severe heart malformations in babies in the last five years, 10 times more than the national average. For the past three years, Nelson and other local doctors have found themselves at the center of a controversy over whether a cash crop of GM corn modified to withstand pesticides on four of the six main islands is the cause of an economic boom, or the source of the birth defects and illnesses. 
Hawaiians have attempted four times to rein in GMO manufacturers over the past two years, to no avail. On August 9, 10,000 people marched through Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist district, some of them holdings signs reading, “We Deserve the Right to Know: Stop Poisoning Paradise” and “Save Hawaii – Stop GMOs.” 
“The turnout and the number of groups marching showed how many people are very frustrated with the situation,” says native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte of the island of Molokai.
The small town of Waimea is home to about 200 people who work full-time for the four giant chemical companies that grow the GM corn on 12,000 leased acres. All of the crops are exported. Chemical companies Dow, Syngenta, and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticides per acre (primarily herbicides, along with pesticides and fungicides) than on ordinary cornfields on the U.S. mainland, the Center for Food Safety noted in a detailed study of the sector.
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