In March 2015 The World Health Organization designated the herbicide glyphosate, widely used on GMO crops, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This prompted the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to call on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require mandatory GMO labeling.
The new classification is based on research on human exposure in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden as well as animal studies that found “convincing evidence” that the chemical caused cancer in lab animals. EWG also encouraged Congress to reject what has become known as the DARK act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) which would preempt state GMO labeling laws and restrict the FDA to mandate GMO labeling requirements.
According to memos in accessible archives of the EPA, Monsanto was fully aware of the potential for glyphosate to cause cancer in mammals as early as 1981 – which, of course, means the EPA also knew. They stated as such in 1985 but under pressure from Monsanto reversed its decision in 1991.
Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, first registered for use in the U.S. in 1974, which is applied to the leaves of plants to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses. While glyphosate is the main ingredient in “Roundup” – the most popular herbicide of all time, it is also the main ingredient in Dow’s xxxxxxxxxxx and over 750 other products for sale in the U.S.
Crop seeds are genetically engineered (GE) to withstand glyphosate use. At least 90% of corn, soy, and cotton crops grown in the United States are modified to be either resistant to pests or tolerant to herbicides. Consequently herbicide use has escalated. Between 1996 and 2011 Roundup use on crops increased by 527 million pounds.
Now weeds are becoming tolerant requiring even more glyphosate use as well as the growing use of even stronger herbicides like 2-4-D. By the way, glyphosate and 2-4-D were the components of Agent Orange that highly toxic and later banned defoliant used in the Vietnam War.
Of course not all of the chemicals are on the plants. The ground is covered in it and irrigation and rain wash it into lakes, streams, and groundwater. It is sprayed on crops so it floats, and drifts, on the breeze. At this point 70%-90% of rainwater samples have tested positive.
What Can You Do?
Bear with me. I know this seems pretty hopeless. The planet is being soaked in toxic chemicals and it seems there is no escape. What can a person do? I wouldn’t tell you all this without giving you some positive information and steps you can take to protect yourself and take back your food supply and your health.
The USDA and FDA won’t test your food for it. The EPA or your local water company won’t test your water your doctor won’t test for it. However, as of April 2015 thanks to a joint project of Organic Consumers Association and Feed the World you can order a glyphosate testing kit of your own. This allows you to test your drinking water or see if glyphosate is present in your breast milk or urine. There is more information about kits, including how to order, on the Organic Consumers website.
Limit Your Exposure
You can limit your exposure to glyphosate by choosing certified organic foods. At the very least choose organic for the top glyphosate offenders. Seek out local organic farmers in your farmers markets and ask a few questions so you can be assured the food is not GMO. You can start your own organic garden and plant non-GMO or heirloom seed.
Make Better Food Choices
Choose whole foods. 80% of processed foods in the United States contain GE food sources, which means they’ve been soaked in glyphosate. (Not to mention the ill effects of the genetic alterations themselves.) Some GMO free ALTERNATIVES are out there and you can also look for the Non-GMO Project labels.
There is Scientific Reason to Hope
If you are still feeling defeatist and wonder if all this is worth it take a look at this video highlighting a study conducted by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute. The video chronicled what happens when a family switched from eating pesticide-sprayed food to eating only organic food, for 2 weeks. The results were amazing.
It’s never too late to take back your food and your health