Saying no to glyphosate in our food, environment – Advice Eating

As troubling research on the weed killer comes to light, more and more people are trying to avoid it

Of all the pesticides in our food supply today, glyphosate, the main active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide, is probably the most concerning for consumers.

Residues of the well-known weed killer have been discovered in a variety of staple foods sold in the best grocery stores, meaning we are all at risk of accidental exposure from the food we eat. Glyphosate has been at the center of a spate of lawsuits filed by people who used glyphosate products at work or on their lawn or garden for a long time and then developed cancer. However, research links glyphosate not only to cancer but also to other health issues, including reproductive issues, birth defects and gut health issues.

As consumers learn about glyphosate, the alarming rise in its use, and its risks, they increasingly want to know how to avoid glyphosate in the air they breathe and the food they eat. Some cities and countries are concerned enough about the health effects that they are taking action to ban or restrict the use of glyphosate on playgrounds, lawns and landscaping. There are also clever ways individuals can protect themselves when shopping, such as: B. Searching for foods with USDA Organic and Glyphosate Residue Free Certified labels.

Glyphosate and its dramatic rise

Glyphosate is the most widely used chemical herbicide in the history of food and agricultural production. It was patented by Monsanto Co. in 1974 and is now manufactured and sold in hundreds of products by many companies.

Its use skyrocketed after the introduction of herbicide-resistant, Roundup Ready genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as GMO corn and soy in 1996. A 2017 study found that Americans’ exposure to glyphosate has increased by about 500 percent since then.

But the weed killer isn’t just sprayed on GMO crops. It is also used as a pre-harvest drying agent for non-GMO crops such as wheat, barley, and oats.

It’s also important to understand that glyphosate isn’t just on the outside of plants — it’s absorbed by plants — and glyphosate contamination cannot be removed by washing or eliminated by boiling or baking.

The two government agencies responsible for regulating the safety of our food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), do not test food for glyphosate. But nongovernmental FDA-registered laboratory food tests found extremely high levels of glyphosate in some of America’s most famous food products, like Cheerios, Oreos, Doritos and Ritz crackers.

Additional testing detected the weed killer in a wide range of staple foods, including whole wheat bread, chickpeas and Quaker oats. The worst offending products have been found at top grocery stores like Hy-Vee, Whole Foods Market and Walmart. Alarmingly, 18 of the 26 non-GMO products tested contained glyphosate.

Cancer and congenital defects

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer told the World Health Organization that glyphosate likely causes cancer. Since then, thousands of people who used glyphosate-based herbicides and then developed cancer have filed lawsuits against Monsanto and Bayer AG, which Monsanto bought in 2018. In judgments against the company, Bayer/Monsanto has been forced to pay more than $10 billion in damages to gardeners, janitors and farmers suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I believe that glyphosate is the most dangerous environmental chemical we face today because of its unique mechanism of toxicity, its careless use, and its ubiquitous presence,” writes Stephanie Seneff, senior researcher at MIT, in her book Toxic Legacy. The scientific literature indicates that, according to Seneff, glyphosate “prepares the body to become a victim of cancer”.

But health concerns related to exposure to glyphosate go beyond cancer. An October 2020 review article in the journal Chemosphere found that glyphosate has eight out of ten key characteristics of an endocrine or hormonal disruptor. It has been found to disrupt thyroid hormone regulation, suppresses testosterone synthesis and inhibits an enzyme crucial in converting testosterone to estrogen.

Exposure to glyphosate has been linked to reproductive disorders, including birth defects in children and fertility problems in adults. A 2018 study in Environmental Health suggests that glyphosate may be linked to shorter pregnancies, which can adversely affect maternal health and increase the risk of infant mortality and learning difficulties as children develop.

Researchers are also concerned about glyphosate’s effects on gut health. A 2020 review of glyphosate’s effects on the gut microbiome concludes that glyphosate residues in food could cause dysbiosis – an imbalance of microbes, including bacteria and fungi, in the gut – as opportunistic pathogens are more resistant to glyphosate than health-protective beneficial ones bacteria .

The paper continues: “Glyphosate may be a key environmental trigger in the etiology of several disease states associated with dysbiosis, including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Exposure to glyphosate can also have mental health consequences, including anxiety and depression, through changes in the gut microbiome.”

Movements against glyphosate

As people understand the scale and seriousness of the glyphosate problem, more and more people are taking effective measures to protect themselves against the herbicide. For example, after hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens joined the Environmental Working Group’s campaign to eliminate glyphosate from our food, Kellogg’s announced plans to phase out pre-harvest glyphosate use on all of its crops by the end of 2025.

Efforts by grassroots activists have also led to a movement of countries and cities to ban glyphosate. Many countries have banned or imposed restrictions on the use of glyphosate, according to Baum Hedlund, a US law firm representing hundreds of plaintiffs suing Bayer/Monsanto for allegedly causing their cancer.

There are also several cities in the United States that have banned the use of glyphosate, including Portland, Maine, and Miami. More than 150 cities have adopted non-toxic, organic land management policies that do not include the use of glyphosate and other synthetic pesticides. Top cities transitioning to using pesticide-free practices include Irvine, California, New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Dubuque, Iowa, according to Beyond Pesticides, which provides pesticide-free education and community support.

Countries restricting or banning glyphosate

  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bermudas
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Kuwait
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Oman
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Scotland
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam

How to avoid glyphosate

On an individual basis, simple changes in grocery shopping can protect you from glyphosate and other toxic chemicals. Buy certified organic food or buy real food grown by local farmers who you know don’t use glyphosate or other synthetic pesticides. For added protection when shopping in stores, look for products with the Glyphosate Residue Free seal. To motivate yourself to make these changes, keep reminding yourself that if you simply remove dangerous substances, the body has an amazing ability to heal itself.

Look to these food labels for protection

To avoid glyphosate in and on the foods you buy, pay attention to these labels.

USDA organic

By law, glyphosate and other synthetic chemical pesticides, along with synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and GMOs, cannot be used in the production of certified organic crops. Although glyphosate is ubiquitous in our environment and can be carried to organic crops by wind or rain, research shows that people who eat mostly organic food have significantly less glyphosate in their urine than people who consume mostly conventional foods.

Regeneratively organic certified

Companies that have products that meet Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) certification standards must first hold USDA organic certification, which means the plants are not sprayed with glyphosate. ROC then adds other criteria to ensure soil health, pasture-based animal welfare and social fairness for farm workers.

Products bearing the Regenerative Organic Certified label include Dr. Bronner’s Regenerative Organic Coconut Oil; Nature’s Way Oats; Patagonia Provisions Organic Regenerative Fruit Snacks; and Lotus Foods brown and white basmati rice. Learn more about this certification at Regenorganic.org.

Free from glyphosate residues

Products labeled “Glyphosate Residue Free” do not contain glyphosate, meaning they are at the lower limit of detection for the chemical in laboratories, 10 parts per billion. Products are tested at least three times a year by an accredited laboratory, providing additional assurance against glyphosate exposure in foods consumers buy.

According to Henry Rowlands, director of The Detox Project, an organization that introduced the food label in 2018 to provide transparency in the food industry, particularly around pesticides, this certification is one of the fastest growing in the United States.

More than 70 food and supplement brands and 1,500 products have been certified, including Chosen Foods oils and mayonnaise, Califia Farms non-dairy milk alternatives, Nutiva oils and seeds, White Leaf baby food, Once Upon a Farm baby food and children’s snacks, Kettle & Fire Bone broth and soups, Soozy’s grain-free baked goods, Jovial Foods cereals, Uncle Matt’s juices and MegaFood nutritional supplements. You can find out more about the products with this label at detoxprogect.org.

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