by Joseph Mercola
March 22, 2016
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in
Monsanto's Roundup herbicide,
recently earned the ominous title of the most heavily-used
agricultural chemical of all time. 1
In fact, an analysis showed that farmers sprayed enough glyphosate
in 2014 to apply 0.8 pounds of the chemical to every acre of
cultivated cropland in the U.S., and nearly 0.5 a pound of
glyphosate to all cropland worldwide.
As you might suspect, when you use this much of a chemical, it
doesn't simply stay on the fields.
Laboratory testing commissioned
by the organizations
Moms Across America and
revealed that glyphosate is now showing up virtually everywhere.
'Gift' to Newborns
The analysis revealed glyphosate in levels of 76 μg/L to 166 μg/L in
women's breast milk.
As reported by
The Detox Project, this
is 760 to 1,600 times higher than the EU-permitted level in drinking
water (although it's lower than the U.S. maximum contaminant level
for glyphosate, which is 700 μg/L.) 2
This dose of glyphosate in breastfed babies' every meal is only the
beginning. An in vitro study designed to simulate human exposures
also found that glyphosate crosses the placental barrier. In the
study, 15 percent of the administered glyphosate reached the fetal
Angelika Hilbeck, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Institute of
Integrative Biology in Zurich, told The Detox Project: 3
"If confirmed in a full
investigation, it seems that glyphosate has become a ubiquitous
chemical in terms of presence and persistence.
This data also offers a first indication of potential
accumulation in the human body, giving newborns a substantial
dose of synthetic chemicals as a 'gift' for their start into
life, with unknown consequences.
This is reckless and irresponsible conduct in a democratic
society, which still has a living memory of previous reckless
chemical contaminations, such
Found in Blood and Urine Samples
The analysis revealed glyphosate in additional samples as well,
including the blood of non-pregnant Canadian women.
Their average level was 73.6 μg/L, which
is similar to the concentration found to have endocrine-disrupting
effects in vitro.
Further, glyphosate was also detected in urine samples, and U.S.
women had maximum glyphosate levels that were more than eight times
higher than levels found in urine of Europeans.
Where is the glyphosate exposure coming from?
It's likely coming
from food (although it could be in water as well). We don't know
exactly how much glyphosate may be in your food because the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not test for it.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced in
February 2016 that it would begin testing foods for glyphosate,
however, which will help to quantify just how much glyphosate
Americans are consuming.
For now, the analysis suggests that eating non-organic, genetically
engineered (GE) foods (the prime candidates for Roundup spraying) is
associated with higher glyphosate levels in your body.
The Detox Project explained: 4
"Glyphosate levels have been found
to be significantly higher in urine of humans who ate
non-organic food, compared with those who ate mostly organic
Chronically ill people showed significantly higher glyphosate residues in their urine than healthy people.
In a separate detailed analysis, glyphosate was found in the
urine of cows, humans, and rabbits.
Cows kept in a GM-free area had
significantly lower glyphosate concentrations in urine than cows
in conventional livestock systems."
Contaminating Air and Water
Glyphosate and its degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA),
were detected in more than 75 percent of air and rain samples
collected during the 2007 growing season in the Mississippi Delta
agricultural region. 5
This could be even higher now, as since 1996 the use of glyphosate
has risen nearly 15-fold. 6 The testing
commissioned by Moms Across America also found glyphosate in 13 of
21 U.S. drinking water samples tested. 7
They contained glyphosate levels between 0.085 ug/l and 0.33 ug/l,
which is only slightly below the EU maximum allowed level for
glyphosate in drinking water of 0.1 ug/l. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) standard for glyphosate in U.S. water
supplies is 0.7 ppm.
Further, a 2012 analysis used a magnetic particle immunoassay to
test for the presence of glyphosate in roughly 140 samples of
groundwater from Catalonia, Spain.
The analysis found that glyphosate was
present above the limit of quantification in 41 percent of the
This suggests the chemical does not break down rapidly in the
environment, as its manufacturer claims, and instead it might be
accumulating (both in the environment and in people).
Groundwater, which is water from rain, lakes, streams or other
bodies of water that soaks into soil and bedrock, can easily become
contaminated when chemicals in the soil with low biodegradability
and high mobility empty into it.
When groundwater is used as a drinking water source, this
contamination poses a risk to animals, plants and humans alike.
Sprayed on Some Crops Right Before Harvest
In northern, colder regions, farmers of wheat and barley must wait
for their crops to dry out prior to harvest.
Rather than wait an additional two weeks or so for this to happen
naturally, farmers realized they could spray the plants with
glyphosate, killing the crop and accelerating their drying (a
process known as desiccating).
Desiccating wheat with glyphosate is particularly common in years
with wet weather and has been increasing in North Dakota and Upper
Midwestern states in the U.S., as well as in areas of Canada and
Scotland (where the process first began).
One Canadian farmer told EcoWatch:
"I think every non-organic farmer in
Saskatchewan uses glyphosate on most of their wheat acres every
year… I think farmers need to realize that all of the chemicals
we use are 'bad' to some extent…
Monsanto has done such an effective job marketing glyphosate as
'safe' and 'biodegradable' that farmers here still believe this
even though such claims are false."
What this means is that even non-GE
foods are likely to be contaminated with glyphosate, and possibly
even more so because they're being sprayed just weeks prior to being
made into your cereal, bread, cookies and the like.
Many Crops Are
Desiccated With Glyphosate, a 'Barbaric' Process
Along with wheat and oats, other crops that are commonly desiccated
with glyphosate include:
||Rye and buckwheat
No one is keeping track of how many
crops are being desiccated with glyphosate; those in the industry
have described it as a "don't ask, don't tell policy."
Others have described spraying crops with glyphosate just days
before harvest "barbaric."
Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., a researcher
involved in the recent study showing glyphosate use is increasing,
9 told EcoWatch: 10
"It may be two percent of
agriculture use, but well over 50 percent of dietary exposure… I
don't understand why Monsanto and the food industry don't
voluntarily end this practice.
They know it contributes to high
dietary exposure (of glyphosate)."
Puts Off Decision to Renew Use of Glyphosate
European Commission leaders met in early March 2016 to vote on
whether to renew a 15-year license for glyphosate, which is set to
expire in June.
The decision has been tabled for now
amid mounting opposition. More than 180,000 Europeans signed a
petition calling for glyphosate to be banned. They cited the
International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) determination
that glyphosate is a "probable carcinogen" (Class 2A).
This determination was based on evidence showing the popular weed
killer can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and lung cancer in humans,
along with "convincing evidence" it can also cause cancer in
The opposition comes amidst another new report that found
75 percent of the German population has glyphosate residue in their
The majority of those tested had levels that were five times higher
than the legal limit of drinking water, while one-third had levels
that were between 10 and 42 times higher than the legal limit.
A study of glyphosate residues by the
Munich Environmental Institute also found glyphosate in 14
best-selling German beers. 12
In a Twitter conversation with Monsanto, TriplePundit said they
hoped to gain a,
"constructive conversation" and
"build some bridges with an organization that has a lot of power
and opportunity to do good." 13
In the conversation, Monsanto's CEO
Grant claimed the company's position on GMO labeling may be
"The myth is that we're against
labeling. The reality is we would support some kind of federal
standard. We would support something that covers the country,
that helps consumers.
Our concern has been the danger of a
state-by-state labeling approach that resulted in confusion and
As TriplePundit reported, however, it's
no "myth" that Monsanto is against such labeling: 14
"This statement is somewhat at odds
with Monsanto's website, last updated in 2013:
'We oppose mandatory labeling of
food and ingredients developed from GM seeds in the absence
of any demonstrated risks, as it could be interpreted as a
warning or imply that food products containing these
ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or
Spends Millions to Prevent GMO Labeling Initiatives
Monsanto has spent millions to defeat GMO labeling initiatives, so
you won't know which foods contain their
In 2013, the company donated nearly $5
million to the anti-labeling campaign in Washington State, and in
2012 they donated more than $7 million to help defeat California's
In total, Monsanto has spent at least
$22 million in lobbying against state-level GMO labeling
Together with the food and industrial agriculture industries,
biotechnology companies like Monsanto spent more than $101 million
on lobbying to avert GMO labeling and preempt state rights, and that
was in 2015 alone. 16
They may feel defeat is near, as such lobbying efforts have risen
sharply. For instance, these industries spent $66 million on such
lobbying efforts in 2014 and just over $25 million in 2013.
They are trying to HIDE the presence of
genetically engineered ingredients and are pulling out ALL the stops
to do so.
Glyphosate has a number of devastating biological effects beyond
being a probable carcinogen, including the following:
as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients
and alters the nutritional composition of
the treated crop
Disruption of the
biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these
are essential amino acids not produced in
your body that must be supplied via your
Increased toxin exposure
(this includes high levels of glyphosate and
formaldehyde in the food itself)
Impairment of sulfate
transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate
Systemic toxicity - a side
effect of extreme disruption of microbial
function throughout your body; beneficial
microbes in particular, allowing for
overgrowth of pathogens
Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in
gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut, and
food allergies such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging
effects of other food-borne chemical
residues and environmental toxins as a
result of glyphosate shutting down the
function of detoxifying enzymes
Creation of ammonia (a
byproduct created when certain microbes
break down glyphosate), which can lead to
brain inflammation associated with autism
and Alzheimer's disease
How to Avoid
Pesticides in Your Food
Your best bet for minimizing health risks from pesticide exposure is
to avoid them in the first place, by eating organic as much as
possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your
home or apartment.
If you know you have been exposed to
pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation
kimchi may also help your body break down pesticides.
fermented foods like kimchi in your diet may also be a
wise strategy to help detox the pesticides that do enter your body.
One of the benefits of eating organic is that the foods will be free
of GE ingredients - and this is key to avoiding exposure to toxic
Following are some great resources to
obtain wholesome organic food.
Eating locally-produced organic food will not only support your
family's health, it will also protect the environment from harmful
chemical pollutants and the inadvertent spread of genetically
engineered seeds and chemical-resistant weeds and pests.
SAD NEWS -
House Passes DARK Act Compromise
The House passed a compromise to the
DARK Act that will force food
distributors to disclose the presence of genetically engineered (GE)
ingredients with a smartphone scan code.
Obama has signed
the bill that removes states' rights for labeling GMOs.
The bill is full of loopholes, which may
allow genetically modified ingredients to slip through unannounced.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), aka GE foods, are live
organisms whose genetic components have been artificially
manipulated in a laboratory setting through creating unstable
combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and even viral genes that do
not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is "safe and
beneficial," and that it advances the agricultural industry. They
also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and
sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe
For years, I've stated the belief that
GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic
engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is
touted to be.
The FDA cleared the way for GE Atlantic salmon to be farmed for
Thanks to added language in the federal spending
bill, the product will require special labeling so at least
consumers will have the ability to identify the GE salmon in stores.
However, it's imperative ALL GE foods be labeled clearly without a smartphone scan code because
not everyone owns a smartphone.
The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to
start taking action now. I urge you to share this article with
friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and
put an end to the absurdity.
When you see the QR code or so-called Smart Label on a food product,
pass it by.
Products bearing the Grocery Manufacturer's
Association's (GMA) Smart Label mark are in all likelihood filled
with pesticides and/or GMO ingredients.
The GMA's 300-plus members include chemical technology companies, GE
seed and food and beverage companies.
...are just some of the heavy-hitters in this powerful industry group,
which has showed no qualms about doing whatever it takes to protect
the interest of its members.
Don't waste your time searching through their website, which may or
may not contain the information you're looking for. If they insist
on wasting your time and making your shopping difficult, why reward
them with a purchase?
A little known fact is that the GMA actually owns the "Smart Label"
trademark that Congress has accepted as a so-called "compromise" to
on-package GMO labeling, and that's another reason why I believe the
Smart Label mark is the mark of those with something to hide, such
Will you financially support a corrupt, toxic and unsustainable food
system, or a healthy, regenerative one?
There are many options
available besides big-brand processed foods that are part of the "GMA's
verified ring of deception."
Shop at local farms and farmers markets
Only buy products marked either "USDA 100 percent Organic"
(which by law cannot contain GMOs), "100 percent Grass-Fed" or
If you have a smartphone and you don't mind using it, download
the OCA's Buycott app to quickly and easily identify the
thousands of proprietary brands belonging to GMA members, so you
can avoid them, as well as identify the names of ethical brands
that deserve your patronage
Last but not least, encourage good companies to reject QR codes
and to be transparent and clear with their labeling. This will
eventually ensure that all GMO foods can easily be identified by
the GMA's "verified ring of deception" mark that is the Smart
Campbell's, Mars, Kellogg's, ConAgra and General Mills all vowed
to voluntarily comply with Vermont's GMO labeling law by
labeling all of their foods sold across the U.S. Will their
plans change now that the law has been passed by Congress and
signed by the President?
That remains to be seen, but if you
like these companies, I would encourage you to reach out to them
and ask them to remain steadfast in their promise.