# Is there any scientific basis for Proposition 37?

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MarneMath
You have to forgive if I misinterpet some of what you say. I have a mental issue with reading some intent or meaning. My train of thought was as follow: Galteeth seemed against the idea that only scientist or knowledgable people should decide what should be labeled on food. You come in saying those 'plebes' obviously are ignorant. My conclusion from that was that you believe policy should be left up to less ignorant folk. Thus my comment was that that may be true, but nevertheless reality is that they have the right to demand to know something.

I hope that makes sense.

Really? That's pretty broad. For example, perhaps I am interested in knowing the sodium content of a particular food because I am trying not to overdo it on sodium. I shouldn't be allowed to know how much sodium is in my food because.. why exactly? Something about me being too stupid to make decisions for myself? The truth is, "harmful" is not that specific a description. I could make the case that foods with high sugar content are harmful, but it's not the same thing as say , eating plutonium. Like so many things, degrees and context matter, and thinking that somebody in an ivory tower is the only one who should know what's in food cause those darn plebes just can't be trusted to decide things for themselves is exactly the sort of thing people get upset about when they talk about "elitist" scientists.

I think the knee-jerk anti-gmo stuff is silly, and I certainly don't support a law requiring labeling, but the idea of a label in and of itself doesn't bother me.
Many people have special medical needs so they need to look at what they are consuming e.g. low sodium etc. But, this has nothing to do with whether food is grown locally, organically, with/without fertilizers, or genetically.

It's fine if you want to put a label to justify why you are selling your product at uncompetitive (higher) prices. But, there's no reason to force the producers to put labels that can harm their revenues. These labels are only intended to raise profits not decrease.

I'm aware of two disputes in this area.

http://research.sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Final-Paper.pdf [Broken] claim a corrolation between tumors and genetically modified food. However it is not endorsed by the EPSA.

Furthermore also disputed is the link between the mysterious colony collapse disorder decimating honeybees and genetically modified crops. For instance here

So, the jury is still out, imo and it occurs that there could be some ideological, political, economical and ecological bias in the discussion

Ah yes, the Seralini study. It's been pretty thoroughly debunked already. This is what I mean by it has become its own pseudoscience. They had a predetermined conclusion, then they warped their methodology and manipulated their data so that the results said what they wanted it to say. This is the hallmark of a pseudoscience, it is precisely the same sort of nonsense we see in other pseudosciences like homeopathy.

The reason this is being made in a political issue is because their chosen winner, organic, cannot compete on its technological and economic merits. Making it into an irrational political discussion changes the situation in their favor.

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Ah yes, the Seralini study. It's been pretty thoroughly debunked already. This is what I mean by it has become its own pseudoscience. They had a predetermined conclusion, then they warped their methodology and manipulated their data so that the results said what they wanted it to say. This is the hallmark of a pseudoscience, it is precisely the same sort of nonsense we see in other pseudosciences like homeopathy.

The reason this is being made in a political issue is because their chosen winner, organic, cannot compete on its technological and economic merits. Making it into an irrational political discussion changes the situation in their favor.

I guess that this pseudoscience mechanism and the way how it is discussed (ie science versus fallacies) can be found in other scienciness as well. But I wonder about the current research to colony collapse disorder.[/url]

Monsanto Co. and other international conglomerates have raised $44.4 million to prevent California from being the first state to enact GMO food labels. In part, they contend that grocery bills will be more expensive if the measure wins.$44 milllion would have funded a lot of research showing that GMO is safe for humans.

The way it is now I just look at labels and grab anything that states "CONTAINS NO GMO"

http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Food-labeling-initiative-could-encourage-lawsuits-4005604.php#ixzz2BHgOERYy [Broken]

The odd thing is that Monsanto spent 4\$ million supporting the labeling of foods in the European market.

When Monsanto's genetically engineered crops first hit the overseas market and stirred up controversy in the European Union, the biotech and agrichemical giant told the British public that it supports the voluntary labeling of genetically engineered foods by retailers.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/1...food-labeling-in-the-uk-but-not-in-california

Personally when I read the label on a container of RoundUp and it says: "avoid contact with skin", I really am hesitant to think that even small amounts should be ingested.

Farmers A may use much more than farmer B. I have actually seen this happen, the guy didn't even bother to use a measuring container when mixing the Roundp in his spray tank.

There is no control of use on the farms. This leaves an uncontrolled variable. If Roundup and the RoundUp ready crops were in a small portion of the food supply, say just soybeans, as they were originally, it might be OK. What we have now is Roundup and Roundup ready in corn, soybeans, and alfalfa with more crops on the way.

As far as I can find out testing was only done on people who had consumed a single GMO crop.

When I mention roundup ready I am referring to a crop that has the genes from a microbe in the seed. This microbe prevents the roundup (herbicide) from killing the cash crop, yet it still kills weeds.

I will get a link later if necessary, but I am presuming that this is common knowledge by now.

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andre said:
I guess that this pseudoscience mechanism and the way how it is discussed (ie science versus fallacies) can be found in other scienciness as well. But I wonder about the current research to colony collapse disorder.[/url]

There have been some studies blaming GMO, but as far as I know it's not widely accepted. Generally I'm very skeptical of those kinds of studies given the political agenda that's usually behind them.

edward said:
Personally when I read the label on a container of RoundUp and it says: "avoid contact with skin", I really am hesitant to think that even small amounts should be ingested.

Farmers A may use much more than farmer B. I have actually seen this happen, the guy didn't even bother to use a measuring container when mixing the Roundp in his spray tank.

There is no control of use on the farms. This leaves an uncontrolled variable. If Roundup and the RoundUp ready crops were in a small portion of the food supply, say just soybeans, as they were originally, it might be OK. What we have now is Roundup and Roundup ready in corn, soybeans, and alfalfa with more crops on the way.

As far as I can find out testing was only done on people who had consumed a single GMO crop.

When I mention roundup ready I am referring to a crop that has the genes from a microbe in the seed. This microbe prevents the roundup (herbicide) from killing the cash crop, yet it still kills weeds.

I will get a link later if necessary, but I am presuming that this is common knowledge by now.

As far as herbicide toxicity goes, Round Up is a lot less harmful than what is conventionally used on farms today. Putting this into widespread use would do a lot to cut down on the ecological damage done by agricultural run off as well.

You'd think for that reason the environmental groups would be supportive, but sadly it's another example of environmentalism not really being about protecting the environment.

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chemisttree
Homework Helper
Gold Member
There is no control of use on the farms. This leaves an uncontrolled variable. If Roundup and the RoundUp ready crops were in a small portion of the food supply, say just soybeans, as they were originally, it might be OK. What we have now is Roundup and Roundup ready in corn, soybeans, and alfalfa with more crops on the way.

As far as I can find out testing was only done on people who had consumed a single GMO crop.

When I mention roundup ready I am referring to a crop that has the genes from a microbe in the seed. This microbe prevents the roundup (herbicide) from killing the cash crop, yet it still kills weeds.

I will get a link later if necessary, but I am presuming that this is common knowledge by now.

Here is a link from the EPA Factsheet for Glyphosate.

EPA conducted a dietary risk assessment for glyphosate based on a
worst-case risk scenario, that is, assuming that 100 percent of all possible
commodities/acreage were treated, and assuming that tolerance-level residues
remained in/on all treated commodities.
The Agency concluded that the
chronic dietary risk posed by glyphosate food uses is minimal.
A reference dose (RfD), or estimate of daily exposure that would not
cause adverse effects throughout a lifetime, of 2 mg/kg/day has been proposed
for glyphosate, based on the developmental toxicity studies described above.

A lifetime of 2mg/kg per day consumption of Glyphosate is a LOT more than residues in food would contain.

Argentum Vulpes
Personally when I read the label on a container of RoundUp and it says: "avoid contact with skin", I really am hesitant to think that even small amounts should be ingested.

Farmers A may use much more than farmer B. I have actually seen this happen, the guy didn't even bother to use a measuring container when mixing the Roundp in his spray tank.

There is no control of use on the farms. This leaves an uncontrolled variable. If Roundup and the RoundUp ready crops were in a small portion of the food supply, say just soybeans, as they were originally, it might be OK. What we have now is Roundup and Roundup ready in corn, soybeans, and alfalfa with more crops on the way.

I'd like to expand on what Aquitaine posted. Roundup (Glyphosate) is the most harless pesticide on the market today. Just look at the MSDS for it. If you want to be worried about a pesticide go freak out about 2,4-D, or Methyl Iodine.

As for dumping chemical into a tank without measuring it that is a fairly standard practice under certan conditions. Lets say that the chemical needs to be sprayed at x ppm, and the concentrate to be diluted to that ratio is 5 gal concentrate per 500 gal of water. If you have a 5 gal bottle and a 500 gal sprayer do you need to break out measuring cups? Farmers are careful with their chemicals, if you aren't there is a very good chance that you can lose your applicator license. Without that you can't buy agricultural chemicals, and buying consumer chemicals off the shelf will break you, if you can even find the chemical you need.

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There have been some studies blaming GMO, but as far as I know it's not widely accepted. Generally I'm very skeptical of those kinds of studies given the political agenda that's usually behind them.

And the financial backing given the otherside of the studies. I just think that I have the right to know non natural substances are in the food I eat. This is about a label not a ban.

As far as herbicide toxicity goes, Round Up is a lot less harmful than what is conventionally used on farms today. Putting this into widespread use would do a lot to cut down on the ecological damage done by agricultural run off as well.

You'd think for that reason the environmental groups would be supportive, but sadly it's another example of environmentalism not really being about protecting the environment.

It is in wide spread use and has been for years. Monsanto's patent on Roundup expired in 2010 after being extended once. Now the market is flooded with generics. This is bad news and bad news. Glyphosate is now cheaper meaning more will be used. The generics are being produced in China.

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I'd like to expand on what Aquitaine posted. Roundup (Glyphosate) is the most harless pesticide on the market today. Just look at the MSDS for it. If you want to be worried about a pesticide go freak out about 2,4-D, or Methyl Iodine.

As for dumping chemical into a tank without measuring it that is a fairly standard practice under certan conditions. Lets say that the chemical needs to be sprayed at x ppm, and the concentrate to be diluted to that ratio is 5 gal concentrate per 500 gal of water. If you have a 5 gal bottle and a 500 gal sprayer do you need to break out measuring cups? Farmers are careful with their chemicals, if you aren't there is a very good chance that you can lose your applicator license. Without that you can't buy agricultural chemicals, and buying consumer chemicals off the shelf will break you, if you can even find the chemical you need.

I am aware of how it is mixed. It is mixed in ounces per gallon of water.

Actually it is a herbicide not a pesticide, yet bringing up pesticides;

DDT was harmless, then chlordane was harmless, then dieldren was harmless, then malathion was safe. They were all supposedly harmless when they were approved for the market.

I would prefer to err on the side of caution especially when it comes to children.

Glyphosate Found in Mississippi River Basin

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2909

Then again the OP is about putting a label on a food product not a ban of the chemicals or the GMO.

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russ_watters
Mentor
DDT was harmless, then chlordane was harmless, then dieldren was harmless, then malathion was safe. They were all supposedly harmless when they were approved for the market.
So is water. I guess based on the fact that people say water is harmless but we know that people are often wrong, we can assume water is poisonous, right?

And the financial backing given the otherside of the studies. I just think that I have the right to know non natural substances are in the food I eat. This is about a label not a ban.

The studies of the other side have to follow strict guidelines regarding their methodology and data submission. They wouldn't get regulatory approval otherwise.

This isn't explicitly a ban but it might as well be given that it's being done in conjunction with alarmist propaganda on a gullible and scientifically illiterate populace. Just look at how they ate up that Saralini study.

DDT was harmless, then chlordane was harmless, then dieldren was harmless, then malathion was safe. They were all supposedly harmless when they were approved for the market.

DDT was harmless when compared with the alternatives at the time, which was typhoid, malaria, etc. In fact before it was banned it practically wiped out malaria in several places in Africa. Here in the first world we have the option of using less harmful but more expensive alternatives, in many parts of the third world that isn't an option.

But even so today our regulatory standards are much tighter than they were 60 years ago.

It is in wide spread use and has been for years. Monsanto's patent on Roundup expired in 2010 after being extended once. Now the market is flooded with generics. This is bad news and bad news. Glyphosate is now cheaper meaning more will be used. The generics are being produced in China.

So you're saying it's bad that we use it so much now and that it's bad we will use more even though that potentially means getting us off of more toxic herbicides?

Glyphosate Found in Mississippi River Basin

It's breakdown isn't instantaneous. It's used more now than it was in 1992, therefore more of it would end up in the environment from run off.

So is water. I guess based on the fact that people say water is harmless but we know that people are often wrong, we can assume water is poisonous, right?

Oh come on Russ you are twisting my words. All of those pesticides were originally considered safe. They were all eventually banned. Has water been banned?

Here is a link from the EPA Factsheet for Glyphosate.

That EPA fact sheet is dated 1993.

Here is the result of newer studies. It isn't the glyphosate that is so toxic it is the surfactant POEA used in the product.

Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.

One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself – a finding the researchers call “astonishing.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=weed-whacking-herbicide-p

chemisttree
Homework Helper
Gold Member
No, what they are really saying is that Roundup is as safe as soap. Good luck trying to sell the hysteria...

Ben Niehoff
Gold Member
I agree that Prop 37 is on shaky ground, scientifically, at least with regards to health issues.

However, I am for Prop 37 due to broader issues. Someone earlier in the thread mentioned the issue with patented crops, and farmers being exploited by companies such as Monsanto who engineer these crops. Evo shut this person down for being off-topic, but if the topic is Prop 37, then I disagree.

As a consumer, I don't want to support the notion of patenting an organism, deliberately designing it to be infertile, or suing farmers who grow it even accidentally. In order to make informed choices regarding the products I buy, I want those products to be labelled as to their origin and constituents.

The health issue may be a red herring, but I still want to know whether a given food item contains GMO ingredients, so that I can exercise my freedom not to support that industry. As far as I can tell, the current laws on "Organic" labelling are also not about health issues, but merely about allowing consumers to make informed choices.

I also think ingredient labelling should be mandatory on alcoholic drinks, but that's another battle entirely.

Evo
Mentor
This is why my can of tuna says "warning: may contain tuna".

This is why my can of tuna says "warning: may contain tuna".

And a bit of mercury.:yuck:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/january/food/mercury-in-tuna/overview/index.htm [Broken]

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Evo
Mentor
And a bit of mercury.:yuck:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/january/food/mercury-in-tuna/overview/index.htm [Broken]
No mention of mercury, but it's chunk light, less mercury than white albacore, which I never eat, it's too dry.

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Averagesupernova
Gold Member
I am aware of how it is mixed. It is mixed in ounces per gallon of water.

Apparently you are not. It's use is spec'd in ounces per acre. 20 to 30 oz is common. The amount of water used is not so specific. 8 to 15 gallons per acre of water is common. It will depend slightly on the type and size of sprayer. The nozzles used will somewhat govern how much water per acre is used. Small nozzles require less gallons per acre since to drive the machine at a reasonable speed the pressure has to be increased in order to get the amount required out the nozzle. This higher pressure can lead to alot of fog coming off of the machine which causes higher probability of it drifting to where it does not belong. Naturally spraying less gallons of water is desirable since more ground is covered between fills.
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But, it can get to the point of having to drive too fast with larger nozzles. For the nozzle to work correctly the pressure has to maintain a minimum and in order to get the proper amount out the nozzle the pressure has to be dropped on a large nozzle otherwise too much will be sprayed.
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No matter what amount of water is chosen, naturally in order to maintain the proper rate of active chemical the same amount must be sprayed out throughout the entire tank.
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There are also machines that use chemical injection. This method directly injects the pure active chemical (Roundup for this discussion) into the plumbing using a metering pump.
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Roundup is also labeled for a maximum amount per acre per year. This is a pretty high amount compared to what is typically sprayed.
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Whatever you claim to have seen may seem sloppy but I doubt it was. I think there is more to it than what you saw.

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Apparently you are not. It's use is spec'd in ounces per acre. 20 to 30 oz is common. The amount of water used is not so specific. 8 to 15 gallons per acre of water is common. It will depend slightly on the type and size of sprayer. The nozzles used will somewhat govern how much water per acre is used. Small nozzles require less gallons per acre since to drive the machine at a reasonable speed the pressure has to be increased in order to get the amount required out the nozzle. This higher pressure can lead to alot of fog coming off of the machine which causes higher probability of it drifting to where it does not belong. Naturally spraying less gallons of water is desirable since more ground is covered between fills.
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But, it can get to the point of having to drive too fast with larger nozzles. For the nozzle to work correctly the pressure has to maintain a minimum and in order to get the proper amount out the nozzle the pressure has to be dropped on a large nozzle otherwise too much will be sprayed.
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No matter what amount of water is chosen, naturally in order to maintain the proper rate of active chemical the same amount must be sprayed out throughout the entire tank.
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There are also machines that use chemical injection. This method directly injects the pure active chemical (Roundup for this discussion) into the plumbing using a metering pump.
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Roundup is also labeled for a maximum amount per acre per year. This is a pretty high amount compared to what is typically sprayed.
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Whatever you claim to have seen may seem sloppy but I doubt it was. I think there is more to it than what you saw.

Have you ever mixed up a tank of something and tried to get it to cover a specifically designated area? I always end up with not quite enough or with some left over.

As you mentioned only recent technology has allowed the injection of roundup using electronics to measure movement. Roundup has been around a loooong time.

I didn't mention that this was many years ago when I observed directly. A lot has changed but in a way nothing has changed. To kill some weeds it takes as much as five times the concentration of roundup.

As long as you arent using any references I won't either.

The whole thing with Monsanto and Roudup is moot. Their patent has expired. Generic glyphosate is being made in china and is underpricing Monsanto to the point that Monsanto is loosing money on the product.

As I have previously mention the thread is about lables on products sold to the public not a ban on the chemicals.

As far as I am concerned there is reason to doubt the safety of the product. Most of the safety studies were done in the 1990's, with approval studies done in the 1970's

The two below are much more recent.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=weed-whacking-herbicide-p

http://www.pitt.edu/~relyea/Site/Roundup.html [Broken]

The GMO plants aren't killed when sprayed of course but they do retain glyphosate all the way to the dinner table.

There are also recent studies showing runoff into waterways can be toxic to aquatic life.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag248

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Averagesupernova
Gold Member
edward:

As for if I have ever mixed up something to cover a given amount of area. Yes, all the time. Your comment about metering pure roundup in has merit. Yes, that technology as far as I know is not that old. BUT, flow controls in general have been around for a long time. I will elaborate:
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The first flow control was a pressure gauge and a speedometer. Or if no speedometer existed the operator used a wristwatch and a known distance to calculate speed. Knowing the property of the nozzles the operator knew how much was being applied by watching the pressure gauge. Of course this sytem had several drawbacks. One was that pressure is not a direct indication of how much is going out the nozzles. For one thing a plugged nozzle or filter will cause an increase in pressure without an increase in the amount applied. This approach was automated with a speed sensor and a pressure transducer but the same drawbacks were present as in doing it manually.
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Next came the flowmeter. I don't know how long this has been around but I would estimate at least 20 to 25 years in the chemical application industry. This is a large improvement. The correct amount of chemical and water has to be mixed up like I described in my last post but the process of controlling rate is automated. If nozzles or filters are plugged it makes no difference in the total flow. It is usually indicated by an increase in pressure. A leaky hose or something of this nature will be indicated by a drop in pressure.
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Chemical injection uses the same technology as the flowmeter system to spray out the desired amount of water but also uses the metering pump as I described.
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So what happens if there is mix left in the tank? No problem, just go spray it out over what has already been covered at a significantly reduced rate. What is on the label gives a good guidline on how to do this since as I said before most chemicals have a maximum amount per acre per year allowed.
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A little more thought to the operator you saw 'just guessing'. Alot of the time if you spray out 10% less for instance than what the label specs it doesn't matter. The size of the weed, temperature, type of weed, etc. all make a diffierence in the rate used. Cutting rate is a very common practice. So if I know that dumping in 5 gallons into the tank is the most I need to do the job, and meets regulations and I have a container that I know holds NO more than 5 gallons, whats the problem with getting it close?
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You mention that what you saw was a long time ago. My guess is that if it were long ago enough that there was no automatic rate controller the error in speed and pressure caused more inaccuracies than a close guess on the amount dumped in. I'm not sure if you can even say it was a guess since alot of containers have graduations on the sides to determine how much is in them.
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Concerning the 5 times rate comment: I too have found something bought at the hardware store takes ALOT more than what they say it takes. I have not found this spraying crops with Roundup. If it were the case, anyone with an ounce of sense would switch to a different chemical.

Averagesupernova
Gold Member
I seriously doubt Monsanto is losing money on Roundup. Even if they are they can just raise the price of the seed. Roundup ready seed and Roundup are a package deal.

I seriously doubt Monsanto is losing money on Roundup. Even if they are they can just raise the price of the seed. Roundup ready seed and Roundup are a package deal.

You might want to think that one over.

Monsanto Co. MON +1.77%cut its earnings forecast Thursday for the second time in seven weeks, as it slashed prices of its Roundup herbicide, largely putting to pasture the onetime cash cow that funded the company's push into crop biotechnology in the 1990s.

The St. Louis agribusiness giant, already struggling with a backlash by farmers against the premiums it charges for genetically modified seeds, is cutting prices for its once high-flying weed-killer franchise to near the levels of generic versions flooding into the U.S. from China.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704269204575270522340058234.html