Glyphosate, known commercially as Roundup, is a herbicide that has been sold by Monsanto to farmers since 1974. While this product was originally deemed safe for human exposure, there have been studies and media reports in recent years that portray otherwise. This has led to a public outcry and a panic among parents, especially.
“The EPA has calculated that 1-to-2-year-old children are likely to have the highest exposure, at a level 2x greater than California’s No Significant Risk Level and 230x EWG’s health benchmark.” The Environmental Working Group
A Brief History
When Glyphosate was first introduced to farmers, the product was merely sprayed upon the weeds themselves, or the fields prior to planting crops. In 1996, however, Monsanto introduced genetically modified plants that were hardy enough to withstand the chemicals. This would give them the opportunity to sell more of the product–and that, they did.
Once the gmo crops arrived on the market, sales were boosted tenfold.
In 2015 it was announced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that Glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
One study, published in 2008 by Swedish researchers, found that exposure to glyphosate tripled the risk of a subtype of non-Hodgkin called small lymphocytic lymphoma.
Other Health Issues
Aside from cancer, glyphosate has been associated with a number of other serious health issues, such as kidney disease, reproductive problems, liver damage and birth defects.
Decrease in Nutritional Content
Glyphosate also interferes with the ability of a plant to take in nutrients from its soil. As a patented chelating agent, it binds with nutrients in the soil, then preventing the plants from absorbing much of the nutritional value.
Negatively affects Gut Health
Glyphosate also acts as an antibiotic that can kill bacteria in the soil, and in our own guts. Each of these are invaluable to plant and human health.
Foods to watch out for
The Obvious Grains
It’s a no-brainer to start by avoiding the food products created from the very crops that farmers spray with glyphosate. They include:
- Instant Oats
- Oats Breakfast Cereals
- Snack Bars
- Whole Oats
When EWG performed their testing on breakfast cereals earlier this year, nearly all of those tested contained more than 160 parts per billion of glyphosate. This is the percentage at which the chemical is considered harmful.
Following is the list of products that EWG found to measure well above the “acceptable” portions of glyphosate:
- Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch (833 ppb)
- Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Maple Brown Sugar (566 ppb)
- Nature Valley Granola Cups, Almond Butter (529 ppb)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios (400 ppb)
- Nature Valley Baked Oat Bites (389 ppb)
- Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats and Honey (320 ppb)
- Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Peanut Butter (312 ppb)
- Nature Valley Granola Cups, Peanut Butter Chocolate (297 ppb)
- Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars, Dark Chocolate Cherry (275 ppb)
- Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats n Dark Chocolate (261 ppb)
- Multi Grain Cheerios (216 ppb)
- Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares, Blueberry (206 ppb)
- Fiber One Oatmeal Raisin Soft-Baked Cookies (204 ppb)
- Nature Valley Granola Peanut Butter Creamy & Crunchy (198 ppb)
- Nature Valley Biscuits with Almond Butter (194 ppb)
Other Glyphosate Hiding Places
Some of the other product categories that have been seen in news headlines in recent years because they were found to contain alarming amounts of glyphosate include:
Orange Juice – Tropicana, Minute Maid, Stater Bros, Signature Farm and Kirkland all tested positive for glyphosate
Glyphosate levels in o.j. tend to be much lower than that in grain products. However, the current American diet is already high in glyphosate-laden foods like wheat, sugar, oatmeal, soy, and corn. Therefore, one glass of juice can easily push levels over what scientists believe the body can handle.
Wine & Beer – The Public Interest Research Group tested 20 beers and wines, concluding that 95% of them contained at least traces of glyphosates.
Meat & Dairy – This glyphosate source may throw you for a loop because it isn’t a crop; however, livestock is typically fed grains that have been sprayed with the herbicide. Their consumption of glyphosate products leads to an accumulation of the chemical in the bone marrow, in particular.
How to Avoid it
Choose Organic & Non-gmo
Glyphosate is a big reason behind why choosing organic foods is so important.
Think about it. Glyphosate is programmed to kill anything that has not been genetically modified to endure its exposure. We are not GMOs ourselves, obviously; so even if this herbicide doesn’t end up killing us, how could chronic exposure possibly have no negative effect?
No, certified USDA organic and non-gmo verified foods are not guaranteed to be completely free of glyphosate. Trace amounts have been found in some of these products due to being transported through the air from conventional farms. That said, they are a heck of a lot better and worth the extra expense.
Other Ways to Contribute
- Buy local from farmers’ markets, csas and the like
- Grow your own food
- Filter your water using a system that tackles pesticides, like The Berkey
- Sign the petition to get glyphosate out of our food! *ends July 5th @ midnight
- Talk to your park and school boards about taking Roundup out of their lawn maintenance
- And use more natural methods of maintaining your own lawn
How to Detox
Studies show that glyphosate bioaccumulates in bone marrow, so in reality any amount ingested is unacceptable. There is even evidence that we pass it along to our unborn babies.
Concerned about all the glyphosate that may have already accumulated in your body? Don’t fret! Following are supplements that have been shown to decrease amounts of glyphosate in human urine:
- Fulvic and humic acids
- Activated charcoal
- Bentonite clay
- Sauerkraut juice
- Dandelion root and leaf
- Alder buckthorn
- Milk Thistle
- Burdock root
- Greater celandine
Another worthwhile detox method is using an infrared sauna to sweat out the toxins.
Due to the harm that glyphosate does to the gut lining, it is also recommended to up your intake of probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut and kombucha.
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