Are we starting to come full circle to the reality that we can no longer trust big agriculture or our food industry for responsible policies and procurement? Last month the EPA let Monsanto raise the allowable concentrations of glyphosate on food crops, animal feed, and edible oils. The new regulation lets farmers use more of the chemical, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. Oilseed crops such as canola, soy, sunflower, flax and peanuts can now contain up to 40,000 parts per billion (ppb) glyphosate which is almost 60 times the minimum containment level for drinking water which even the EPA admits causes organ damage and reproductive effects.
Glyphosate is an herbicide produced and marketed by Monsanto Corporation, the agrochemical and biotechnology giant. Monsanto claims that glyphosate is safe and has successfully lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency to raise the residue limits of this toxic chemical.
But independent scientists disagree with Monsanto: several recently published peer-reviewed studies point to serious health impacts from exposure to this toxic herbicide.
Glyphosate has been shown in several recent studies to be an endocrine disruptor. According to the National Institutes of Health, endocrine disruptors could have long-term effects on public health, especially reproductive health. And the “dose makes the poison” rule does not apply to endocrine disruptors, which wreak havoc on our bodies at low doses.
Even a quick search for scientific publications on glyphosate demonstrates its toxicity and carcinogenicity:
Glyphosate Induces Human Breast Cancer Cell Growth
Technical Factsheet on: GLYPHOSATE
The Incompetence of the EPA
There are hundreds more. Despite the above studies, the EPA has classified glyphosate as a Class D carcinogen, which under that designation means it either does not cause cancer in human beings or that its cancer-causing potential is unknown. The 2009 study above conducted at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research found that glyphosate “has tumor promoting potential in skin carcinogenesis.” AnEPA Fact Sheet that is part of the Safe Drinking Water Act states that glyphosate can cause lung congestion after acute exposure above the minimum containment level (MCL) of 0.7 mg/L. That is the equivalent of 0.7 ppm (or 700 ppb). In addition, the EPA says that long term exposure to glyphosate above the MCL causes kidney damage and reproductive effects.
Under the new regulation, forage and hay teff can contain up to 100 ppm (100,000 ppb) glyphosate; oilseed crops can contain up to 40 ppm (40,000 ppb) glyphosate, and root crops such as potatoes and beets can contain 6000 ppb glyphosate. Fruits can have concentrations from 200 ppb to 500 ppb glyphosate. These numbers are magnitudes higher than the levels some scientists believe are carcinogenic.
Forage is plant material (mainly plant leaves and stems) eaten by grazing livestock many who provide the food industry with meat and milk products. The new regulation means livestock can consume forage exposed to more than 142 times above the MCL of drinking water. Oil seed crops such as canola, soy, sunflower, flax and peanuts can contain more than 57 times MCL. Potatoes, beets and other root crops more than 8 times MCL.
Soybeans and sunflowers are usually grown as row crops; flax and canola are solid seeded. Weeds around these crops are controlled by cultivation in the row crops; by crop rotation in solid-seeded crops; and by extensive use of glyphosate. Diseases and pests are then controlled by using fungicides and insecticides. The end result is a toxic saturation of poisons in all of the above.
Roundup herbicide may also be the most important factor in development of autism and other chronic disease. Glyphosate does induce disease and is a “textbook example of exogenous semiotic entropy.” Glyphosate inhibits detoxification of xenobiotics and interferes with cytochrome P450 enzymes, which enhances the damaging effects of other chemical residues and toxins, and very slowly damages cellular systems in the body through inflammation. Residues of glyphosate are found in sugar, corn, soy, and wheat, some of the main components of the Western diet.
One such study, published in the journal Ecotoxicology, found that glyphosate is toxic to water fleas (Daphnia magna) at minuscule levels that are well within the levels expected to be found in the environment.
According to regulators, glyphosate is thought to be practically nontoxic to aquatic invertebrates. The water flea is a widely accepted model for environmental toxicity, so this study throws serious doubt on glyphosate’s classification as environmentally safe.
When it comes to the EPA, as with most government agencies serving public health and safety, there is a serious lapse in judgement, professional responsibility, competence, credibility and most of all logic in their public service as regulators. Putting your trust and health in such inept and incapable agencies will most certainly lead you down the wrong path in your wellness journey.
Bottom line is stay away from all oilseed crops grown in the US, especially canola and soy which are also both genetically modified as well. If you can purchase organic root, fruits and vegetables, you will be one step ahead of this madness.
Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.