Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Companies popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7 2017, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday. Monsanto vowed to continue its legal fight against the designation, required under a state law known as Proposition 65, and called the decision “unwarranted on the basis of science and the law.” The listing is the latest legal setback for the seeds and chemicals company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is “probably carcinogenic” in a controversial ruling in 2015. Monsanto continues to deny it even after analysis revealed glyphosate in levels of 76 μg/L to 166 μg/L in women’s breast milk. As reported by The Detox Project, this is 760 to 1,600 times higher than the EU-permitted level in drinking water (although it’s lower than the U.S. maximum contaminant level for glyphosate, which is 700 μg/L.)2 This dose of glyphosate in breastfed babies’ every meal is only the beginning. An in vitro study designed to simulate human exposures also found that glyphosate crosses the placental barrier. In the study, 15 percent of the administered glyphosate reached the fetal compartment. Angelika Hilbeck, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology in Zurich, told The Detox Project:3
“If confirmed in a full investigation, it seems that glyphosate has become a ubiquitous chemical in terms of presence and persistence.
This data also offers a first indication of potential accumulation in the human body, giving newborns a substantial dose of synthetic chemicals as a ‘gift’ for their start into life, with unknown consequences.
This is reckless and irresponsible conduct in a democratic society, which still has a living memory of previous reckless chemical contaminations, such as DDT.”
Tests by the Organic Consumers Association found 93 percent of Americans have glyphosate in their urine, making food testing and stricter regulations all the more pressing an issue. Unfortunately, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture had promised to begin testing food for residues of glyphosate as of April 1 2017, the agency quietly canceled the plan. Meanwhile, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports finding glyphosate residues in 30 percent of grains sampled, with excessive levels occurring in nearly 4 percent of samples The U.S. also has much higher maximum safe average daily intake levels for glyphosate than the European Union (EU) — 1.75 milligrams per kilo per day (mg/kg/day) compared to 0.3 mg/kg/day. Ditto for the maximum residue level in drinking water. The U.S. allows 700 ppb whereas the EU allows only 0.05 ppb. Be aware that desiccated crops tend to be particularly high in glyphosate. Desiccation is the process where the crop is doused with glyphosate just before harvest to increase yield. This includes non-GMO oats, wheat, garbanzo beans and lentils. According to Health Research Institute Laboratories, these foods can contain glyphosate levels exceeding 1,000 ppb, and people who eat organic oats have half the glyphosate levels than those who eat non-organic oats on a regular basis..
Glyphosate Is Contaminating Air and Water
Glyphosate and its degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), were detected in more than 75 percent of air and rain samples collected during the 2007 growing season in the Mississippi Delta agricultural region. This could be even higher now, as since 1996 the use of glyphosate has risen nearly 15-fold. The testing commissioned by Moms Across America also found glyphosate in 13 of 21 U.S. drinking water samples tested. They contained glyphosate levels between 0.085 ug/l and 0.33 ug/l, which is only slightly below the EU maximum allowed level for glyphosate in drinking water of 0.1 ug/l. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for glyphosate in U.S. water supplies is 0.7 ppm. Further, a 2012 analysis used a magnetic particle immunoassay to test for the presence of glyphosate in roughly 140 samples of groundwater from Catalonia, Spain. The analysis found that glyphosate was present above the limit of quantification in 41 percent of the samples. This suggests the chemical does not break down rapidly in the environment, as its manufacturer claims, and instead it might be accumulating (both in the environment and in people). Groundwater, which is water from rain, lakes, streams or other bodies of water that soaks into soil and bedrock, can easily become contaminated when chemicals in the soil with low biodegradability and high mobility empty into it. When groundwater is used as a drinking water source, this contamination poses a risk to animals, plants and humans alike.
How to Avoid Pesticides in Your Food
Your best bet for minimizing health risks from pesticide exposure is to avoid them in the first place, by eating organic as much as possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your home or apartment. I recommend local farmers markets as a great way to get fresh organic seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you know you have been exposed to pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may also help your body break down pesticides. So including fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and pickles in your diet may also be a wise strategy to help detox the pesticides that do enter your body. One of the benefits of eating organic is that the foods will be free of GE ingredients — and this is key to avoiding exposure to toxic glyphosate. Eating locally-produced organic food will not only support your family’s health, it will also protect the environment from harmful chemical pollutants and the inadvertent spread of genetically engineered seeds and chemical-resistant weeds and pests.