By Dr. Mercola
Agricultural chemicals are progressively making their way into your body whether you try to avoid them or not, according to several recent studies in the U.S. and Canada. A prime offender is glyphosate, the main toxic ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. Glyphosate is both an herbicide and pesticide.
Multiple scientific findings suggest Monsanto and global regulatory bodies have been wrong about the lack of bioaccumulation of glyphosate-based agricultural chemicals.
If you are eating processed foods or foods from nearly any restaurant, odds are you’re getting loads of this toxin. And, if you are a pregnant woman, you may be passing them along to your unborn child via your baby’s placenta, umbilical cord, and in your breast milk. This is gravely concerning, as there is mounting scientific evidence that Roundup may be even more toxic than DDT.
As a result of the latest findings regarding bioaccumulation, testing commissioners have urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency to place a temporary ban on all use of glyphosate-based chemicals to protect public health, until more comprehensive testing is completed.
First Study To Confirm Glyphosate Levels In Breast Milk of American Moms
In the first ever testing for glyphosate in the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse found high levels in 30 percent of samples tested. This strongly suggests that glyphosate levels build in your body over time, despite claims to the contrary.
Breast-milk levels were found to be 76 to 166 ug/l, which is 760 to 1,600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides.
Those levels are, however, lower than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S., set by the EPA based on the now-ridiculous premise that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate. There are currently no regulatory limits for glyphosate in breast milk.
Glyphosate has also been found in Americans’ urine and drinking water. In those samples, levels were found to be more than 10 times higher than those tested in the EU in 2013. This is presumably due to the fact that the EU is now backing away from glyphosate use and genetically engineered crops, whereas the U.S. ignorantly races full-speed ahead.
When seeking to understand this study it is very important to note that many of the participants in this study were familiar with genetically modified foods and had been actively trying to avoid them for several months to two years — which makes the findings even more disheartening. However, it is encouraging that expectant moms who were actively eating only organic, non-genetically modified foods had lower levels of glyphosate in their breast milk.
In 2011, 250 million pounds of glyphosate were used in the U.S., and 1.3 billion pounds doused on fields worldwide. The EPA recently doubled the amount of glyphosate allowed in your food. Soybean oil is now allowed to contain a whopping 400 times the limit at which it can impact your health. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops.
World Genetically Modified Food Expert Says Glyphosate May Be ‘Even More Toxic Than DDT’
Dr. Don Huber is likely the leading genetically modified-food expert in the world, particularly in the area of toxicity. He is an award-winning, internationally recognized scientist and has been professor of plant pathology at Purdue University for the past 35 years. I strongly urge you to listen to my previous interview with Dr. Huber, at the top of this section, as well as Part 1 and Part 2 of this interview. This information will help you understand why genetically modified foods pose such a serious risk to your health.
Epidemiological patterns show there’s a rise in more than 30 human diseases in parallel with our increased usage of glyphosate and genetically modified foods. There are no peer-reviewed scientific papers establishing the safety of genetically engineered crops. There are, however, both clinical and peer-reviewed scientific papers showing the hazards of genetically modified foods, including harmful secondary effects.
What’s more, glyphosate isn’t just an herbicide-pesticide. It was originally patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, making them unavailable for your body. It is also patented as a potent antibiotic that can devastate human gut bacteria. Your gut flora is critical to the proper function of your immune system, and when this is disrupted, you can develop all sorts of health problems.
Bt Toxin Found In Umbilical Cords Of Pregnant Women
This is not the first time scientists have suggested that glyphosate may have damaging effects on your health and the health of your unborn baby. A 2011 Canadian study, published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, looked at the effects of fetal and maternal glyphosate exposure, with disturbing findings.
This was the first study to show the presence of circulating pesticides from genetically modified foods in women, both pregnant and non-pregnant. The study found Bt toxin in the bloodstreams of 93 percent of pregnant women tested, in both their circulating blood and placentas.
Among all women tested, 80 percent of the pregnant group tested positive for Bt toxin in their babies’ umbilical cords, and 69 percent of non-pregnant women tested positive for Bt toxin. Bt is an insecticide, short for “Bacillus thuringiensis.” Bt toxin makes crops toxic to pests, but the industry claims the toxin poses no danger to the environment or your health.
Their argument is the protein breaks down in your gut, but the fact that Bt toxin can be measured in your blood is certainly evidence this claim is simply not true. To add insult to injury, the EPA recently approved an exemption for Bt tolerance levels in genetically modified soy foods and feed.
Even though this exemption is specific to soy, similar exemptions have already been approved for corn, cotton, and other crops, paving the way for pesticide companies like Monsanto to incorporate as much as it wants into your food. Bt crops have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin is not broken down and cannot be washed off — you simply cannot avoid consuming it. It also has the ability to migrate to other crops, making contamination a serious concern.
Why Breast-feeding Is Still the Healthiest Option
While all of this is disconcerting and worth considering, please don’t make the mistake of thinking your baby would be better off on infant formula than breast milk. I am in no way encouraging new mothers to stop breast-feeding. On the contrary, I hope you take the issue of breast-feeding seriously enough to take the necessary steps to avoid toxins like glyphosate to the greatest extent possible, in order to safeguard your most valuable food source, namely your breast milk. Besides, infant formula is likely to contain glyphosate residues at higher levels than those found in breast milk. …
Breast-feeding is really important for developing your baby’s immune system and development. Breast milk is a true Whole Food — it contains all the nutrients your baby needs. Studies have shown that breast-fed babies gain added protection against:
|Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)||Eczema||Respiratory and other types of infections|
|Heart disease||Obesity||Type 1 and type 2 diabetes|
|Bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease||Asthma and allergies||Necrotizing enterocolitis among premature babies|
The nutritional properties of breast milk are not only good for a newborn’s immune system; they are good for the brain. Breast-fed infants tend to have higher intelligence than formula-fed infants. This may be due to certain compounds found in breast milk, including omega-3 fatty acids. For instance, one study found that the verbal IQ of 7- and 8-year-old children who had been breastfed was about 10 points higher than those who were not.
Another 18-year study of more than 1,000 children found that those who were breast-fed had higher intelligence and greater academic achievement than children who were formula-fed as babies. It is interesting to note babies who are breast-fed naturally spend more time in what is known as the “quiet alert” state, which is not only soothing for parents but is also the state most conducive to the newborn’s learning.
You May Want To Send Monsanto A Thank-You-Note For Your Gluten Allergy
As Drs. Seneff and Samsel reveal in a recent study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, current glyphosate levels are probably the highest we’ve ever encountered, both in our environment and on our dinner plates. Their findings show two of the key problems caused by glyphosate in your body are nutritional deficiencies and systemic toxicity. The researchers propose that glyphosate is the most significant causal factor in today’s epidemic of gluten intolerance, including full-blown celiac disease.
Celiac disease and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe where an estimated 5 percent of the population now suffers from it. Drs. Seneff and Samsel mention the following as evidence of the connection between glyphosate and gluten allergies-intolerance:
- Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems reminiscent of celiac disease; celiac is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on these bacteria.
- Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment of the enzymes necessary for detoxifying environmental toxins and other biological processes, and glyphosate is known to inhibit these enzymes.
- Nutritional deficiencies seen in celiac disease (minerals, such as iron, cobalt, and copper, and amino acids, such as tryptophan, tyrosine, and methionine) can be attributed to glyphosate’s strong tendencies to chelate minerals and deplete amino acids.
- Both celiac disease and glyphosate exposure have been associated with an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Reproductive issues associated with celiac disease, such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects, can also be explained by glyphosate exposure.
Monsanto Attempting To Muzzle Independent Researchers
More than one study has now showed genetic material can jump from the plant kingdom to the animal kingdom and exert “predictably unpredictable” effects. In 2011, a Chinese study found mice take up ribonucleic acid (i.e., little pieces of genetic material) when they consume plants, and that RNA was found to influence gene expression in the mice — a phenomenon referred to as trans-kingdom gene regulation.
These findings and others have the different branches of industry in a conundrum. On one hand, the medical industry could benefit if these RNA molecules could produce effects that would help treat diseases – like, perhaps, lowering low-density lipoprotein or reducing inflammation. However, for Big Ag, trans-kingdom gene jumping is not good news, as they’ve been claiming genetically modified foods are safe because genetic material cannot pass from your gut into your bloodstream, then to various other cells where it can wreak havoc on your body. In other words, they like to deny the existence of this trans-kingdom gene regulation.
Private researchers are finding themselves caught in the middle. One such example is Vicki Vance, a professor at the University of South Carolina who has been doing private research in this area for many years. Vance is being hounded by phone calls from Monsanto. She believes Monsanto and other companies have a financial interest in discrediting the Chinese study (through her work), because it casts doubt on the safety of genetically modified foods, thereby threatening their bottom line. Vance says:
“I was really surprised Monsanto took the time and effort to try to squash my research because it’s such a contrast — I’m a little, old lady running a little lab in South Carolina. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I feel there’s an effort from a large company with a lot of money toward discrediting the work of this other group and keeping people from publishing their work.”
Converting Grasslands Into Cornfields Is Destroying Topsoil, Devastating Wildlife, and Worsening Pesticide Bioaccumulation
As severe as the threat of glyphosate-soaked foods is to your health, the threat to our environment may be even greater. Monoculture and the destructive agricultural practices required to raise genetically engineered crops ruin topsoil and rapidly turn grasslands into lifeless, barren expanses. We are moving closer to having no viable farmland with which to grow food for our ever-increasing population.
Grassland soil is rich, and almost anything can be grown there. Grasslands once covered a quarter of the Earth, but many have now been turned into large commercial crop operations. Only 5 percent of the original prairie in the United States remains. A study published in February 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that between 2006 and 2011, farmers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa — the Western Corn Belt — had plowed up 1.3 million acres of native grassland in order to plant corn and soybeans. In just four years, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota lost an area of wetlands the size of Rhode Island.
Grasslands, and the wetlands that tend to go along with them, are among the most important ecosystems on the planet. They contain disproportionately high numbers of plant and animal species. In fact, more than one-third of U.S. endangered species live exclusively in wetlands. The Nature Conservancy has called grasslands the world’s most imperiled ecosystem. Once grasslands and prairies have been destroyed, they are virtually impossible to bring back. Grasslands also play a direct role in reducing pollution from glyphosate and other environmental toxins. According to The American Prospect:
“Grasslands provide a range of critical ‘ecosystems services,’ soaking up rain and snowmelt and slowly releasing water in drier seasons, thereby reducing flooding and erosion and improving water quality by filtering out fertilizers and pesticides that run off farmland. Fewer wetlands mean more chemicals making their way into local waterways and ultimately ending up in the area in the Gulf of Mexico known as the Dead Zone, where nutrient pollution has made it challenging for marine life to survive.”
Turning grasslands into croplands has also resulted in widespread loss of wildlife habitat. Compared to grasslands, cropland provides few or no resources for breeding birds. In fact, a recent study found that pesticides are the leading cause of declining grasslands-bird populations.
Bees and monarch butterflies are also taking a serious hit as glyphosate wipes out just about every plant that makes honey production possible, as well as killing off milkweed, the monarch’s sole food and breeding source. Federal policies that support an unhealthy and unsustainable food system are largely to blame for the changing face of our Western prairies.
Mike Pompeo’s DARK Days in Congress
One Congressional Representative has been goat-roped by the food and biotech industry (his donors include General Mills and Koch Brothers) into introducing legislation to block state genetically engineered-labeling laws. Maybe the fact that two states have already passed genetically engineered-labeling bills and another 30 states are poised to consider them, has the industry scrambling for new allies. Most Americans want to know what’s in their food — and 64 nations already require genetically modified foods be labeled.
Kansas Representative Mike Pompeo has introduced a bill, dubbed by opponents as the “DARK Act,” or “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act,” because it aims to keep you in the dark about whether or not your food contains genetically engineered ingredients. The bill would allow companies to voluntarily disclose whether their foods contain genetically engineered ingredients — which is pretty laughable, as companies have always had that choice. But guess how many have opted to do so? That’s right: zero! The DARK bill would allow foods labeled “natural” to contain genetically engineered ingredients and prevent the Food and Drug Administration from requiring mandatory labeling.
The number and variety of genetically modified foods reaching grocery store shelves is accelerating, and these foods are making it to market without proper testing or labeling. It’s time to take action now!
We’re Donating Our Sales Today to Help Fight the Spread of Genetically Modified Crops in Jackson County, Ore.
A ballot measure to prohibit genetically modified crops in Jackson County, Ore., has been introduced by organic farmers, who are afraid genetically modified sugar beets will taint their organic crops through cross-pollination. Jackson County is a major source of genetically modified sugar-beet seeds, which are used to produce a significant portion of the commercial sugar-beet seed used across the United States.
The measure will appear before Jackson County voters on a May 20 primary ballot – so if you live in this area, please get out and vote. In the meantime, the sugar industry and other agribusiness giants have come out in droves to try to defeat the measure. Already, the opposition has donated tens of thousands of dollars to mount a pro-genetically modified-food campaign:
- Monsanto: $183,294
- DuPont Pioneer: $129,647
- Syngenta: $75,000
- Bayer: $22,353
- BASF: $22,353
- Dow AgroSciences: $22,353
The Center for Food Safety reported that, in all, opponents of the measure have donated $799,000.
To date, the organic farmers supporting the genetically modified ban have raised roughly $100,000 in funds to defeat this corporate opposition. So, as you can see, we want to help them get started.
With your help, we’ve already raised $15,000. You can donate to this fund, and rest assured, we’ll donate as well. In fact, a portion of all sales on our site will go directly toward funding a $10,000 donation to Measure 15-119 against genetically modified crops in Jackson County. If you’ve been meaning to make a purchase, today is the day to do so to help make a difference through this crucial campaign.
If genetically modified crops are banned in Jackson County, it could be a turning point for the U.S., with other regions soon following suit. You can also make a donation directly to Vote YES on Measure 15-119.
And, as always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically modified foods and to share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Remember: Unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains genetically modified ingredients if it contains soy, corn, or sugar from sugar beets.