Two years ago Vermont’s Governor signed a bill that said GMO foods should be labeled by July 1st 2016. This act puts a huge obstacle in the way of large scale agricultural practices in the U.S. The plan by Monsanto’s lobbyists and certain U.S. Senators is to enact a watered down Federal law that would trump any state GMO law. But with the clock ticking down to July 1st, so far it hasn’t gained enough support in the Senate. If the U.S. Senate fails to act, then all food with GMO ingredients will have to be labeled in Vermont or taken off the shelves.
Glyphosate, GMO’s and Monsanto
Glyphosate is an herbicide, and the U.S used about 300 million pounds of it last year. It’s the main ingredient in a product called Roundup made by Monsanto. Despite Monsanto’s and the EPA’s declarations of glyphosate’s safety, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, in March 2015 “determined that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans”.
Some GMO crops (genetically modified organisms) have glyphosate or other pesticides as part of the DNA of the seed, which makes the crop resistant to spraying. Those crops include cotton, canola, alfalfa, corn, beets, and soybeans. Presently, wheat isn’t a GMO food, but it is still sprayed with Roundup, and it is heavily sprayed just before harvest so that it kills the wheat plant triggering the plant to go to seed, to increase the yield of the crop. GMO crops, and wheat are regularly given to farm animals and this is another avenue for human contamination. In fact, 90% of the corn and soy in the U.S. are GMO. It shows up as corn syrup in bottled beverages and the soy lecithin in chocolate bars. Some believe that it is really glyphosate that is the trigger for the rise in gluten sensitivities.
Monsanto is the company that developed and introduced glyphosate in 1974, and GMO seeds in the 1990’s to avoid having glyphosate kill crops while being applied to kill weeds. Weeds have become resistant to glyphosate and each year more glyphosate needs to be used. As the financial success of Monsanto’s patented seeds has grown, so has its political influence and a reputation as a corporate bully. Monsanto consistently ranks among the most disliked corporations in America. There are a half a dozen documentaries that go into great detail about the upper hierarchy of Monsanto leaving to work at the EPA, FDA and various departments of government and then going back to work at Monsanto. With its small army of lawyers, Monsanto has aggressively sued small farmers that have unknowingly had GMO seeds growing on their property, and they have started a lawsuit against the state of Vermont! In India, farmers leveraged their farm to buy GMO seeds but a poor yield can yield devastating results; 250,000 Indian farmers committed suicide in the past 10 years with up to 85% related to seed debt.
Can we avoid Glyphosate?
Last year an organization called the Detox Project wanted to see just how widespread glyphosate contamination is. They invited individuals to send in urine samples and organized the first ever comprehensive and validated glyphosate testing at the University of California San Francisco. This was done after the EPA had raised the allowable level of glyphosate by a factor of 17! This is what they found: 93% of all Americans who submitted samples tested positive for glyphosate. Those living in the west and mid-west had higher levels of contamination and children showed the highest levels of all.
A U.S. Geological Survey found glyphosate (as well as its toxic degradation product AMPA) in 59% of soil and sediment samples. Even 10% of water in wastewater treatment plants was found to contain glyphosate (and 80% contained AMPA). This explains the presence of glyphosate in organic foods. It’s in the air, water and mothers breast milk. There is no escaping it.
Glyphosate in our bodies
According to Jeffrey Smith, and Stephanie Seneff PhD, and many other researchers, health problems come about through disruption of mitochondrial function in our liver by inhibiting the Cytochrome P450 enzymes that we use to detoxify substances in our bodies. Monsanto claims that glyphosate’s only action is on the shikimate pathway present in plants which isn’t present in humans. However, the shikimate pathway does affect the beneficial bacteria that makes up our microbiome and this is why its use has caused health problems in both animals and humans. This disruption prevents beneficial bacteria from making aromatic amino acids such as tryptophan and tyrosine which are precursors to the essential neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine respectively.
The onset of glyphosate closely parallels the rise in a number of health problems in the past few decades such as autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have also discovered that the breakdown or metabolism of glyphosate can cause problems by decreasing glutathione (a key antioxidant) and increasing glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter) in the body. Glyphosate intake also results in lowered sulfate levels by about a third in the body. This same ratio has been observed in the autistic population. A sobering study on cows in Denmark showed that glyphosate caused various levels of organ damage along with mineral deficiencies such as manganese, which is needed in our mitochondria.
Presently there are 38 countries that have banned GMOs and in April of this year, the European Parliament called for a ban on all private use of glyphosate as well as spraying around parks and playgrounds. In the next few weeks we will find out if the tiny state of Vermont has reigned in the corporate giant Monsanto and initiated a national change in food labeling laws that will at last start the conversation here in the U.S. about GMO’s and glyphosate that the rest of the world has been having for many years.
What you can do
You can decrease your glyphosate exposure by 90% by switching to an organic diet. There are also supplements that have an ability to detoxify toxins such as Chlorella. Taking baths with 1-2 cups (adult) or ½-1 cup (child) of Epsom salts can increase your sulfur levels. For some people getting sulfate from the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salts is more tolerable.
If you would like to test your glyphosate level check out this link: