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Monsanto continues to insist that glyphosate, the active ingredient in their best-selling RoundUp pesticide, poses no risk to human health. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe their claims, however, and many experts believe it’s only a matter of time before glyphosate goes the way of Monsanto’s past creations (saccharine, PCBs, and Zyklon-B, just to name a few).

If you’ve been reading our articles for long, you’re probably no stranger to the case against glyphosate. This globally prevalent pesticide stands at the center of a sprawling and complex debate. The ethics of genetic modification, the disadvantages of monocrop agriculture, the politics of patenting and owning seeds (and the debt slavery that ensues for farmers in developing nations), the worldwide collapse of bee colonies, the precipitous rise in chronic and degenerative disease—all of these talking points lead inevitably back to Monsanto and their beloved glyphosate.

And yet even if we leave aside all of these hotly debated questions, there are two simple ones that still remain—questions that should be easy enough to answer. First question…

Does glyphosate pose risks to human health?

Unsurprisingly, Monsanto’s answer is no. Representatives from the company claim that the safety profile of glyphosate is assured by “decades of comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world.”

This statement was issued, by the way, in response to the World Health Organization’s classification of glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” Needless to say, when the WHO issues a proclamation about the toxicity of a substance, you can bet that it’s substantiated—and yet Monsanto has continued to fight, calling the classification a mere “allegation.”

Their case became even harder to trust in February of 2017, when a United States District Court judge ordered Monsanto to unseal a cache of incriminating documents. And incriminating is an understatement. Remember those “comprehensive safety reviews”? The unsealed documents revealed that Monsanto wrote its own research papers, then forged credentials to make it look like independent research. They also prevented a health review by the EPA, thanks to a mole within the agency, and even were tipped off about the WHO’s reclassification of glyphosate months before the official announcement (which gave them time to launch a smear campaign against the data).

You can read more about these unsealed documents here, but suffice it to say that Monsanto has nothing legitimate to offer that proves the safety of glyphosate.

Real research demonstrates worrying connections between glyphosate contamination and developmental disorders like autism[1] and ADHD, birth defects,[2] accelerated cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease,[3] celiac disease and other gastrointestinal issues,[4] chronic kidney disease, diabetes, depression, heart disease, liver disease, and cancer.

And the coup de grace: Monsanto’s own unsealed documents reveal evidence of acute toxicity. The company knew the risks that RoundUp poses, and therefore did whatever was necessary to bury the data and prevent further safety reviews.

A quick perusal of mainstream media will reveal that despite this mountain of data demonstrating the toxicity of glyphosate, the battle is far from over. Many sources simply deny that any research has ever linked glyphosate with disease etiology.

More commonly, pundits rely on the argument that glyphosate could be toxic, but we just don’t know. They claim that even the WHO’s classification means that the pesticide could cause cancer, but we just don’t know. Regardless, isn’t this a good enough reason to exercise more restraint? 1.6 billion kilograms of RoundUp pesticide have been applied since 1974 in the United States, and a staggering two thirds of this total have been applied in the last ten years alone.[5]

Advocates claim that no restraint is required, because glyphosate levels never exceed the point of toxicity in the human body. Which leads us to our second question…

Does glyphosate accumulate in the human body?

Once again, Monsanto and its supporters answer with a resounding no. They claim that glyphosate residues would never be able to build to toxic levels, because it’s designed to be biocompatible and biodegradable.

Yes, Monsanto actually says that their poison is biodegradable—in the glyphosate FAQ on their website, they claim that the pesticide “breaks down into naturally occurring compounds” as soon as it’s done killing weeds.[6]

Never mind the fact the environmental assays contradict this claim—let’s stay focused on human biology. Many studies over the years have conclusively demonstrated that glyphosate does bioaccumulate within the human body; it is not easily excreted or metabolized, and it most certainly does not break down into harmless compounds.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego recently released data from a long, comprehensive analysis of glyphosate levels in the human body. They collected urine samples from a large group of people between 1993 and 1996, and then again between 2014 and 2016.

What they found was rather shocking: glyphosate levels had increased an average of 500% over the twenty-year period, with some individuals exhibiting a 1,208% increase.[7] The glyphosate levels found during this study are 100 times higher than those linked with liver disease and other health problems.

So what’s your verdict?

Isn’t this data enough to give us pause? If you’re ready to act with caution when it comes to glyphosate, all you need to do is eat exclusively organic, get serious about detoxification practices, and join the movement to ban the use of glyphosate-containing pesticides.


References

[1] http://www.autismone.org/content/autism-explained-synergistic-poisoning-aluminum-and-glyphosate-stephanie-seneff

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241196/

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.med.nyu.edu/science/article/pii/S0300483X14000493

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044953/

[6] https://monsanto.com/company/media/statements/glyphosate-herbicide/

[7] https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2017-10-24-exposure-to-glyphosate-chemical-found-in-weed-killer-increased-over-23-years.aspx

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The safety of pesticides and other agrochemicals is still the subject of heated debate. Despite nearly indisputable evidence of their health risks, the use of these chemicals is more widespread than ever. An incredible 9.4 million tons of RoundUp pesticide have been sprayed onto fields since the product’s inception in 1974, making it the most-used agricultural chemical in history.[1]

Unsurprisingly, Bayer has adopted Monsanto’s long-held stance that their products pose no human health risks. Meanwhile, an entire class of pesticides (those which contain the chemical chlorpyrifos) was recently banned, demonstrating that regulatory agencies are beginning to understand the dangers of these chemicals. A California court even acknowledged the dangerous association between pesticide exposure and cancer development by ordering Bayer-Monsanto to pay $289 million to a man who alleged his cancer was caused by frequent use of RoundUp.

These events are landmarks in the fight against toxic agrochemicals, but we have a long way to go. Progress is being made far more slowly in places like Argentina, an early supporter of GE agriculture that now is struggling to break free of its devastating effects on human health and the environment.

How companies exploit Argentinian farmers

The Argentinian agricultural industry has long been dominated by genetically engineered crops and heavy agrochemical usage. These practices were first approved in 1996, at which time the Argentinian government took Monsanto’s safety studies at face value.

It has now come to light that Monsanto ghostwrote its own safety studies on glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp pesticide. Subsequent, independent studies, as well as voluminous anecdotal reports, have called the safety of glyphosate into question. The World Health Organization now classifies glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

Back in 1996, though, the GMO-agrochemical model simply seemed like a safe and prosperous one for Argentina to adopt. Monsanto’s commercials suggested that producing hardy, aesthetically pleasing crops and high yields would allow farmers to prosper, and that GE seeds and agrochemicals were the perfect tools for the job.

The commercials worked. Today, nearly 61.9 million acres of Argentinian land are planted with GE crops. Each and every year, farmers apply an astounding 300 million liters of RoundUp pesticide on their genetically modified soy, maize, cotton, corn, and tobacco (the most common crops in this region).

Such mass-scale farming has indeed brought more prosperity into the region, including up to 35% taxes on crop exports. But farming families have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of children born with severe defects and deformities, and they’re realizing they were lied to about glyphosate’s risks.

“Genetically modified children”

A new documentary film called Genetically Modified Children takes the viewer on a tour of Argentinian farming regions, where decades of agrochemical usage have led to shocking physical deformities and rare, life-threatening health conditions in children.

The story highlights the plight of tobacco farmers, who have become ensnared in a vicious cycle of industrial agriculture. Philip Morris, an American multinational tobacco company, exerts an enormous amount of control over the agriculture of Argentina’s Misiones Province. The company places unreasonable production standards on Argentinian farmers, who therefore must use more than 100 different agrochemicals (including glyphosate) to ensure a final product of pristine appearance. Otherwise, Philip Morris will simply pass over their crop yield and purchase from other farmers who present a more aesthetic product.

Because none of these farmers were told that glyphosate poses risks to human health, they’ve spent decades treating their crops without protecting themselves or their families from exposure. The results are heart-wrenching: the film shows children with severe deformities, epilepsy, hampered development of mental function and motor skills, multiple muscular atrophy, congenital microcephaly, and many other ailments stemming from genetic mutation. One child is even shown whose skin has no pores, and thus no ability to perspire—the results of a genetic incurable skin condition.

Many experts believe this disproportionate rate of birth defects demonstrates glyphosate’s genotoxicity, as both in vivo and in vitro animal studies have demonstrated.[2] Fearful of escalating health effects, farmers are doing their best to move their families away from chemical-laden farmland.

Many would like to detach from glyphosate use altogether, but this choice is not tenable for most of them, as the region lacks other avenues for generating income reliably. Tragically, the families most deeply affected by glyphosate are the ones least able to stop using it—they rely heavily on the income and social security provided by Philip Morris in order to tend to their children’s medical needs.

Help change this deplorable situation

The tide is beginning to turn, as evidenced by the victories discussed at this article’s outset. U.S. lawyers have begun to work on behalf of affected Argentinian families, but progress is slow, as agrobusinesses exert far-reaching political and economic power throughout the country.

In the meantime, you can do your part by boycotting companies who manufacture or encourage the use of genotoxic pesticides. This means avoiding the vast majority of conventionally grown produce and tobacco, as well as processed foods.

Watch Genetically Modified Children to learn more about Argentina’s agrochemical crisis, and to find out more about how you can help.

 


References

[1] https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0

[2] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf9606518

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Pesticide usage is an intensely polarizing issue. Many still tout the practice as an essential tool of agricultural efficiency, but mounting evidence suggests that the dangers of these chemicals may not be worth the perceived benefits!

The debate is especially heated around a pesticide chemical called glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp.

Commercial usage of glyphosate has been banned or restricted in at least fourteen countries already, due to the health risks that many believe the pesticide poses.[1] Chief among these risks is cancer—the World Health Organization ranks glyphosate as a Class 2A carcinogen (i.e. a “probable human carcinogen).

Monsanto maintains that numerous studies and scientific reviews “support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer.”[2] This is well-chosen and potentially misleading language, as nearly all medical studies are careful not to evoke causation, especially with a disease as complex as cancer. This does not, however, exonerate glyphosate as a strong contributing risk factor for cancer (this is implied in the WHO’s notion of a “probable human carcinogen”).

For a growing number of people, the connection between glyphosate and cancer isn’t so ambiguous. Over 5,000 lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto by individuals who claim that glyphosate exposure caused their cancer.

In August 2018, the first of these lawsuits to go to trial resulted in a major victory for those against pesticide use: a California jury found Monsanto liable, and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.

A milestone in the fight against pesticide toxicity

For years, the problem of pesticide toxicity appeared intractable to environmentalists and advocacy groups. Monsanto simply had all the money, power, and influence it needed to defeat regulatory attempts before they could even gain traction.

But a series of significant events has made it clear that Monsanto’s power over public opinion is eroding.

While the story is a complicated one, the tide arguably began to turn with the World Health Organization’s highly publicized reclassification of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Monsanto vehemently denied the validity of the classification, and even demanded that the WHO overturn it, to no avail. Suddenly, the possibility of glyphosate’s toxicity was no longer just a fringe idea, but one given serious credence by a globally respected organization.

Soon after, two class action lawsuits were filed against Monsanto on the basis of consumer fraud claims. On February 27, 2017, a judge presiding over one of the cases ordered Monsanto to unseal incriminating documents.

His words clearly reflect a sense of growing suspicion over Monsanto’s tendency toward deception: “I have a problem with Monsanto because…it is insisting that stuff should be filed under seal when it should not be filed under seal.” The documents revealed that Monsanto was tipped off about the WHO’s reclassification of glyphosate (and tried to stop it), that the EPA colluded with the company to prevent a health review of glyphosate, and that Monsanto ghostwrote its own studies and got experts to sign off on them.

The two class action lawsuits were later consolidated in the Missouri federal court, and were settled with  Monsanto agreeing to pay $21.5 million. While this was certainly a victory, it was more of a technical one. The settlement still didn’t draw a direct connection between RoundUp and cancer—instead, it focused on a labeling issue that misrepresented the value of the product being purchased.

This current cancer lawsuit sets a new precedent

The California lawsuit that came to a conclusion in August 2018 is an entirely different story. That suit was personal, not class action—a school groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson sued Monsanto, on the grounds that RoundUp caused his cancer.

The case was fast-tracked to trial, because of the severity of Mr. Johnson’s cancer (it was made clear that he may not live past 2020). As mentioned earlier, the jury ruled in favor of Mr. Johnson, and Monsanto was ordered to pay $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages. And perhaps even more importantly, the court found that Monsanto failed to warn Mr. Johnson about the cancer risk associated with glyphosate exposure.

This official acknowledgement of glyphosate’s cancer risk sets a new precedent for those advocating stricter regulation of pesticides (and for all of the individuals who have brought similar lawsuits against Monsanto). The anti-pesticide movement was further bolstered by the recent banning of chlorpyrifos-based pesticides, and Mr. Johnson’s victory provides even more leverage in the fight for safe and sustainable agriculture.

Monsanto appealed the jury’s ruling in favor of Mr. Johnson, but the California Supreme Court rejected the request on the basis of the state’s Proposition 65, which follows the WHO’s classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

Regardless of your stance on pesticides, it should be clear that these events are a step in the right direction. They affirm that the judicial system can help us move toward more transparent business practices—ones which, in the words of Mr. Johnson’s lawyer, “put consumer safety first over profits.”[3]

 


References

[1] https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/germany-13-other-countries-say-no-glyphosate-what-about-us

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/business/monsanto-roundup-cancer-trial.html

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/business/monsanto-roundup-cancer-trial.html

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Despite the prevalence of GMO foods, the FDA approval of GMO salmon (the first commercially available genetically engineered animal), and the pre-approval of Monsanto’s new generation of CRISPR-enabled GMOs, they remain as controversial as ever.

In the CRISPR article linked above, we covered some concerns that experts have about the basic safety of genetically modified foods. One study revealed that CRISPR-edited mice exhibited 1,500 “off-target” gene mutations. [1]

At the very least, this finding should remind us that there’s a great deal we don’t understand about gene modification—and that we should tread lightly. It’s also worrisome that this study was retracted a mere three days after Monsanto announced a massive investment in CRISPR-engineered foods.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to demonstrate the inherent dangers of genetic engineering. Until “off-target gene mutations” can be conclusively linked with long-term human health issues, it seems that Monsanto’s massive budget will continue to hold more sway.

As a result, the GMO debate has centered primarily around glyphosate-containing pesticides, which is used almost exclusively on GMO crops (for the simple reason that GMO seeds have been modified to resist the devastating effect glyphosate has on vegetation and insects).

Is glyphosate contributing to chronic illness?

In theory, it’s easier to demonstrate the dangers of glyphosate (as opposed to genetic modification in general), given that it’s a specific chemical with acute biological effects. Even this more straightforward approach has been met with opposition and criticism, though.

Let’s take a look at what we do know.

Animal studies have decidedly shown that a diet of GMO foods can lead to detrimental health effects. One study reported that when GMO foods made up just 33% of animals’ diets, 50% of the males and 70% of the females died prematurely.[2]

Another long-term toxicology study found that pigs fed GMO corn and soy experienced multiple organ damage, gastrointestinal damage and dysfunction, tumors, and birth defects.[3]

Yet another preliminary study revealed that hamsters fed GM soy completely lost the ability to have babies after only two generations—the study was never officially published (in part because of vicious backlash from the pro-GMO community), but was covered by Huffington Post.[4]

And let’s not forget that the original research into the toxicity of glyphosate—which led to the approval of RoundUp pesticide for commercial use—was ghostwritten by Monsanto (and credentialed academics were then paid to sign off on the bogus research). In a past article, we covered how this information didn’t even come to light until a court ordered Monsanto to unseal its documents in February of 2017.

Perhaps the most significant and targeted studies on the subject have been published by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff. Their work seeks to posit a direct connection between glyphosate toxicity and the modern rise in chronic illness.

In a series of studies entitled “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases,” they focus on evidence tying glyphosate toxicity with gut microbiome dysbiosis, which leads directly to celiac disease and other gastrointestinal ailments, and indirectly to a variety of chronic illnesses via chronic inflammation.[5]

Unsurprisingly, their work has been met with much criticism. Some opponents point to logical flaws in their arguments, and it’s certainly true that further research into the exact mechanisms involved are necessary. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember what motivated the inquiries of these researchers in the first place: growing concern over the correlation between glyphosate toxicity and chronic illness.

As the studies cited above demonstrate, there is sound evidence demonstrating that we should be concerned about glyphosate toxicity—yet critics continue to insist that there isn’t enough data to implicate glyphosate as a causal factor in chronic illnesses—and advocates of GMO crops and glyphosate are quick to leverage this supposed “missing data” in support of their multi-billion-dollar industry.

Play it safe (your health is worth it)

Regardless of your view on the subject, it’s clear that gut dysbiosis is on the rise, and that it is linked with many of the chronic illnesses mentioned above.

Despite what anyone may say about the need for more data, what we do know is that organic, pesticide-free produce does not undermine the health of the microbiome. This fact alone should be reason enough to choose organic foods, especially if you suffer from gut issues, inflammatory conditions, or other chronic illnesses.

Based on the evidence presented above, it seems highly unlikely that GMO foods and glyphosate will be vindicated as safe in the long-term—so why take the risk? Stick with a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, healthy fats, and clean protein sources.

If you need to heal existing gut issues (or just want to prevent them from developing in the first place), supplements can also be a helpful adjunct to healthy diet.  Choosing a probiotic supplement can be confusing, and some of the supplements might not even be what they say they are!

We like this Probiotic from PuraTHRIVE that uses a very specific, highly potent, targeted bacterial strain backed with a TON of scientific research.  This  high-strength strain, combined with a unique, protective delivery mechanism is one of the most powerful Probiotics on the market.

It is made with Lactoferrin: an iron-binding protein found in milk. Its unique affinity to iron allows it to bind closely to the nutrient.

The unique RcME Delivery Technology takes the power of Lactoferrin to SUPERCHARGE the bioavailability of the Probiotic.  Aside from that, it’s also an ANTIMICROBIAL, ANTI-PATHOGEN and ANTI-BACTERIAL compound that IMPROVES SURVIVAL RATES OF PROBIOTICS.

Learn more here

 

 


References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796662/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11890465

[3] https://www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/8106.pdf

[4] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

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It’s been a little while since we wrote about the toxins of modern living. Meanwhile, the world certainly isn’t getting any less toxic—our homes and belongings, the air we breathe, and the products we buy still pose potential risks to our health and well-being.

In past articles, we’ve outlined the dangerous toxins in a wide variety of everyday products, including clothing, cookware, cosmetics, deodorants, moisturizers, furniture, cleaning products, toothpaste, and more.   We’ve warned you about endocrine disruptors, toxic plastics and microbeads, and the tens of thousands of other toxic industrial chemicals with which modern life is saturated.

Let’s review some of the worst offenders (and how to avoid them). Thank you to Parasol for providing this excellent infographic!

Pesticides. We’ve written about the horrors of pesticides before. A staggering portion of the planet is now contaminated with glyphosate-containing pesticides like RoundUp, neonicotinoids, and other chemical concoctions that wreak havoc on the health of both the human body and the environment.[1]

Despite manufacturer assurances that there’s nothing harmful about pesticides, mounting evidence links pesticide contamination with cancer and a variety of other health problems, as well as collapsing bee colony populations.[2]

Pesticides are so prevalent that it can be difficult to avoid them—but you can minimize your exposure by always eating organic (you should especially avoid the “Dirty Dozen,” which are known to be the most highly pesticide-contaminated produce).  

Conventional cotton. Unfortunately, it’s not just food you need to be worried about when it comes to pesticide contamination. Cotton is one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops in the world—this means that these toxins end up in clothing made from conventional cotton, and are readily absorbed through the skin. And to make matters worse, some clothing has even been found to contain chlorine bleach, formaldehyde (that’s right, carcinogenic embalming fluid), and toxic plastics like perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).[3]

Once again, you can easily protect yourself by choosing clothing made with organic cotton and natural materials such as hemp, bamboo, cork, and wool. Also, avoid “wrinkle-free” clothing like the plague, as it’s been shown to contain even higher levels of toxic PFCs and formaldehyde.

Diapers and toxic toys. It’s especially tragic that even baby-care products can be terribly toxic (and babies are more developmentally sensitive to toxin exposure than adults, so it’s imperative that you take steps to keeps industrial toxins away from your children).

Conventional disposable diapers contain irritating, toxic dyes, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as xylene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and dipentene. These chemicals not only cause painful diaper rashes for your baby, but are also linked with cancer, developmental issues, and other worrying health problems.[4] Similarly, many cheaply made children’s toys contain brominated flame retardants (BFRs), arsenic, and other heavy-duty toxins that are bioaccumulative (which means they cumulatively build up in bone and tissue and cause various long-term health issues).

Luckily, there are plenty of conscious companies that now offer both reusable and disposable diapers made from safe and organic materials, as well as non-toxic toys.

Cleaning products. The vast majority of cleaning products are anything but clean—they’re filled with a vast array of corrosive and health-sapping chemicals. And in the vast majority of cases, these powerful toxins are not even necessary for keeping your house clean; there are plenty of food-safe materials that work just as well, such as vinegar, orange oil, and baking soda.

Check out this article for tips on making your own safe and effective cleaning products from common household ingredients. It’s way easier than you might think, but even if you’re not the DIY type, there are plenty of safe and eco-friendly cleaning products available for purchase (just make sure you check the ingredients before buying anything).

 Beauty care products. The proliferation of toxic chemicals in nearly all beauty care products is a huge problem. Toxins are easily absorbed through the skin each and every time we use such products—yet because toxic bioaccumulation only causes health problems after a long period of time, manufacturers continue to get away with denying the dangers of their products.

Conventional make-up, shampoos and conditioners, moisturizers, lipstick, deodorants, and nearly every other common hygiene and beauty product are contaminated to some degree, so take great care in choosing which ones to purchase. You can even make your own beauty care products, cheaply and easily. In this article, we explain how you can replace a sizable portion of your beauty product repertoire with nothing but coconut oil.

Why it’s worth it to stay vigilant

It may seem overwhelming to have to think about all of these potential toxin sources—but it’s well worth the effort. The toxins in these products slowly (or not so slowly) undermine your health; the constant process of fending off toxins makes it dramatically more difficult for your body to resist disease and imbalance.

But by making a simple shift toward conscious, organic, chemical-free product brands (and by making your own self-care and home-care products whenever possible), you can give your body the helping hand it needs to stay strong, vibrant, and toxin-free.

 


References

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273122396007378

[2] http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1393

[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151023084508.htm

[4] http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/3/e450.full?sid=a13491bc-4318-4181-940b-d3d406ec7427

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Infographic source

The organic food movement was born from a genuine desire to heal the earth through regenerative agriculture practices and a proper relationship with food. Its intention was to provide a standard to which our nation’s food producers could be held—one that would foster healthy soil building, humane and sustainable animal husbandry, and nutrient-dense, health-promoting crops.

We’ve written before about the clear superiority of organic foods, and how switching from conventional to organic produce can clear pesticides and other toxins from the body at a miraculous pace.

We’ve also lamented the “watering down” of the organic certification, though, and how the “USDA Organic” stamp of approval is no longer a guarantee of quality and safety.

Organic grains and produce have been found to be contaminated with glyphosate and other toxic pesticides.

Some of these compromises in quality and safety are simply a product of unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. For example, organic grains and produce have been found to be contaminated with glyphosate and other toxic pesticides. In most cases, this isn’t because organic farmers are clandestinely using pesticides, but instead because nearby conventional farms enable cross-contamination via rainwater, irrigation, and wind.

In other cases, however, a much more blatant undermining of the organic standard is occurring.

Has the organic label been compromised?

Unfortunately, the problem of fake organics (not so affectionately called “fauxganics” by some organic activists) is not a new one. In a previous article, we discussed how fake organics make their way to the United States from China. In this case, conventionally grown crops, GMOs, and even highly contaminated products are intentionally snuck in under the banner of the organic seal. And because the United States outsources its certification approvals to certifiers in China, the violation is allowed to continue.

The dairy industry has also been in the business of pumping out fake organics for quite some time. Dairy mega-farms have been caught blatantly breaking the rules of their organic certification: keeping far more animals on the premises than is allowed, not allowing cows out to graze (and then advertising products as “organic grass-fed”), and even feeding cows the same toxic, grain-based diet as conventional milk cows.

The saddest part of this story is that the malpractice of these large companies is slipping right past USDA organic inspectors. Either inspectors are falling woefully short in the quality of their certifications, or they’re intentionally collaborating with farms by ignoring violations.

Another, more recent controversy is the flooding of organic markets with hydroponics—that is, produce grown indoors, with artificial lights, and without the use of soil.

In many ways, hydroponics operations are laudable. They’re incredibly space and energy-efficient, and thus could serve the world’s growing need for food production without the destructive and unwieldy practices of conventional agriculture.

Hydroponics could give the countless acres of soil depleted by monocrop agriculture a chance to rebuild. And because hydroponics happens indoors, there’s no need for pesticides, and yields don’t suffer (because they don’t use pesticides, organic farmers’ crop yields are usually smaller).

Despite these advantages, however, many organic activists insist that hydroponic produce does not belong under the organic banner. After all, organic agriculture is supposed to be about soil building, regeneration of natural ecosystems, and alignment with biological cycles—the soilless, indoor practice of hydroponics can’t claim to have much in common with this philosophy.

Because of its efficiency, hydroponic produce is much less expensive to grow. As a result, hydroponics are quickly replacing authentically organic produce in grocery stores. Again, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for hydroponics to be available, but they should be clearly differentiated from organically grown produce.

And one more word to the wise about hydroponics: Scotts Miracle-Gro, a longtime partner with Monsanto in the distribution of Roundup pesticide, is attempting to capture the hydroponics market by buying up companies that sell nutrients and growing lights. If you choose to buy hydroponics, always know your sources, and don’t unwittingly support Monsanto’s cronies.

Vote with your dollar

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose what kind of organic products deserve to be supported. No advocacy group or activism program can preserve the culture of organic food in its current form if public interest pushes for change. If enough consumers choose not to buy fauxganics, however, the market will have to respond.

Learn to be aware of what you’re buying—where it came from, how it was grown, and what assurances there are of it being authentically organic.

Fake organic dairy products are some of the easiest to spot, and the ethics behind them are unambiguously disgraceful, so avoid them at all costs. Tread carefully with any “organic” products that have been imported from China; in most cases, it’s easy enough to find a local (or least domestic) version of the product that’s more likely to be truly organic.

Make up your own mind about hydroponics, but remember that truly organic farmers—the ones rebuilding the earth’s soil and fostering positive relationships with natural ecosystems—could use your support too. Without them, there’s little standing in the way of the soil-destroying (and health-sapping) practices of conventional agriculture.

 


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Have you heard of the infamous Dirty Dozen?

This catchy name refers to the types of conventional produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published a corresponding list for a number of years, and their 2017 report is full of more frightening statistics than ever.

If you ever purchase conventional (non-organic) produce, you’d do well to steer clear of the Dirty Dozen. Instead, choose what the EWG calls their Clean Fifteen—the fifteen forms of produce with the smallest likelihood of pesticide contamination.

Without further ado, here’s the 2017 lists.

The Dirty Dozen (most contaminated first)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Celery
  7. Grapes
  8. Pears
  9. Cherries
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

The Clean Fifteen (cleanest first)

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Honeydew melons
  12. Kiwis
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

What does the EWG mean when they say “dirty” and “clean”?

To help us make sense of their data (and to incentivize us to take it to heart the next time we go grocery shopping), the Environmental Working Group also reports “Key Findings” in conjunction with their lists. Here’s their top points for 2017[1]:

  • “More than 98% of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.”
  • “A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides.”
  • “Spinach samples had, on average, twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.”
  • “Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest: only 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.”
  • “More than 80% of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions, and cabbage had no pesticide residues.”
  • “No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than four types of pesticide.”
  • “Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5 percent of the Clean Fifteen vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.”

You can read the EWG’s full report on 48 different common fruits and vegetables here.

Some things to consider

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that your best choice is always to avoid GMO produce altogether. As long as you exclusively purchase organic produce, you can be much more certain that any fruit or vegetable you purchase will be pesticide-free.

As we reported in a previous article, though, there is still a chance of pesticide contamination in organic produce. Thankfully, this occurrence is still somewhat rare, and it’s mostly because pesticides applied to neighboring GMO crops are carried by wind over to organic farms (not because organic farms are also using toxic pesticides).

For this reason, it’s imperative that we withdraw our support from GMO farming operations—otherwise, they will reach a point of prevalence that will make it difficult for any farmers or consumers to escape from pesticides.

Some would argue that our world is already dangerously saturated with poisonous pesticides. For example, a worrying laboratory test conducted by the University of California San Francisco found that 93% of urine submitted urine samples tested positive for glyphosate.[2]

Therefore, try not to see the Clean Fifteen as permission to purchase certain kinds of conventional produce. You may have noticed that the fruits and vegetables on the Clean Fifteen list all have husks, shells, or other protective mechanisms that prevent pesticides from being directly absorbed (as opposed to produce like strawberries from the Dirty Dozen list, which are porous and thus incredibly vulnerable to pesticide absorption).

Here’s the problem, though: anything that is conventionally grown has a dramatically higher chance of being genetically modified. By purchasing the Clean Fifteen, you may be protected from pesticide exposure, but you’re still supporting GMO agriculture—and thus worldwide pesticide contamination (along with a whole host of other horrors that accompany GMO agribusiness).

The Environmental Working Group understands that purchasing nothing but organic produce is perceived as cost-prohibitive for many people. Thus, their Clean Fifteen list is an attempt to reveal what kinds of produce aren’t acutely unhealthy for you, if and when you must purchase non-organic fruits and vegetables.

You might find, however, that buying organic isn’t as cost-prohibitive as you think. Organic produce may be a bit pricier than conventional, but it’s still cheaper than most processed and packaged foods (which aren’t as healthful anyway). By replacing packaged foods with more fresh produce, you can support organic farming and save money in the process.

Also, look up any coops or farmers markets in your area—coops often offer lower prices to their members, and farmers markets are usually cheaper too (because farmers can sell directly to consumers without stores operating as middlemen).

With a bit of education and forethought, you can protect yourself from exposure to toxic pesticides and support the farming industries who are regenerating rather than destroying our planet.

 


References

[1] https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

[2] https://detoxproject.org/1321-2/

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In the natural health community, Monsanto is already infamous. It’s widely acknowledged that Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship product, carries many dangers, and that Monsanto has worked hard to cover them up.

But the story is somewhat different in the world of mainstream medicine and media. Here, Monsanto is often taken at face value; it is widely accepted that Roundup is safe, and that Monsanto simply wishes to engineer new methods for producing bounteous quantities of food for everyone.

Monsanto has of course stuck to this story all along, insisting that there’s nothing harmful about their product. In the company’s words, “the allegation that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans is inconsistent with decades of comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world.” Even the Environmental Protection Agency supported this view, and most people believed it…until recently.

It just got harder to believe Monsanto’s lies

Let’s face it: no one wants to believe that corporations knowingly manufacture poisonous products that harm the environment and give us cancer, that such corporations tell bald-faced lies about these products in order to protect their bottom line, or that governmental agencies help protect these secrets.

It’s much easier simply to believe the official story until hard evidence arises. It all sounds like a conspiracy theory—that is, until a federal court releases documents demonstrating that all of these “allegations” are actually true.

The documents, unsealed as of February 27, 2017, are so incriminating that even mainstream media has grown to distrust Monsanto and its products—the New York Times and similar publications ran full stories about the controversy.

Here’s how the situation unfolded.

Health authorities, doctors, researchers, and citizens have been questioning Monsanto’s safety claims for years. Two years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a brand of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) as “a probable human carcinogen.” We covered this growing movement in past articles.

Despite Monsanto’s continuous denial of research and panel findings indicating the health risks of glyphosate, a class action lawsuit was launched against the company. Monsanto also denies that the company is even being sued—nevertheless, the suit is ongoing. It is currently comprised of individuals who have been exposed to Roundup and have been diagnosed with cancer.

Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco’s Northern District of California (a United States District Court) has presided over the case. Throughout the early stages of the litigation, Judge Chhabria became increasingly concerned over Monsanto’s secrecy.

His own words speak volumes: “I have a problem with Monsanto because…it is insisting that stuff should be filed under seal when it should not be filed under seal.” Despite Monsanto’s numerous attempts to block the release of documents, email communications, and other records, Judge Chhabria insisted that materials “relevant to the litigation…shouldn’t be under seal,” even if they are “embarrassing to Monsanto.”[1]

Embarrassing is an understatement. The documents reveal a number of noteworthy (and rather frightening) truths.

Monsanto was tipped off about the WHO’s classification of glyphosate. Email communications found in the documents revealed that Jess Rowland, a deputy division director at the EPA, warned Monsanto months before the World Health Organization announced its re-classification of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen,” thus allowing the company to launch a huge attack against the finding before it was even public knowledge.

The EPA colluded with Monsanto to prevent a health review of glyphosate. Because of the WHO’s finding, the Department of Health and Human Services began to plan for its own independent review of glyphosate. The court released emails also show that Jess Rowland (the EPA deputy) promised to stop the review in its tracks—and sure enough, it never occurred.

Monsanto wrote its own research papers and forged credentials. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the court documents also suggest that Monsanto decided to ghostwrite its own research and pay credentialed academics to put their names on the papers. The company (as well as the academics who were mentioned by name) obviously denied the allegation, but the language used in the unsealed email correspondences is pretty clear. A Monsanto executive named William F. Heydens stated the following in one email: “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak.” He even referenced previous times that Monsanto had taken exactly this route.

Can Monsanto weather this public relations nightmare?

You would think that these revelations would be enough to destroy Monsanto’s public image, and thus their ongoing campaign to monopolize food production, poison the environment, and jeopardize our health.

But once again, people want to believe that Monsanto is telling the truth when they deny all of the allegations above.

It’s going to take time for public opinion to turn, especially as long as Monsanto has nearly unlimited power and resources at its disposal—but this litigation is a huge step in the right direction. You can follow its progress here.

 


References

[1] https://monsantoroundupclassactionlawsuit.com/?gclid=CNaik8a6z9MCFYkCaQodMnEDsA

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monsanto-evil

Industrial society has not been kind to our planet. The greed of capitalism, politics, and power dynamics have all but conquered the world, leaving a wake of environmental degradation, sickness, and suffering. The future doesn’t look very bright.

The ecological recklessness of our world’s corporatocracy is tragic, sick, and insupportable—but this doesn’t mean that every large commercial entity is willfully acting in an evil and malicious way. More often than not, ignorance and incompetence are to blame, more so than malevolent conspiracy.

But there ARE Companies for which greed-fueled, destructive decisions are the rule rather than the exception, and which seem to have nearly no redeeming qualities.

Perhaps the prominent example of this breed of company is Monsanto, an entity routinely referred to as “the world’s most evil corporation.”

In making this statement, it’s imperative that you look at the facts and make your own decisions. The rallying cry of natural health and earth-friendly communities everywhere is that Monsanto products should be boycotted without exception.

Read through this primer on the company’s history, and you’ll probably understand why.

A long line of profitable poisons

Monsanto is most well-known for its glyphosate-containing pesticide RoundUp—currently the most widely used pesticide in the world—as well as their genetically modified seeds and agricultural products. But the company’s foray into the world of GMO agribusiness is only its most recent controversial product line.

Here’s some examples of some of their other past (and current) projects.

Sweeteners (and military meddling)
Monsanto got their start manufacturing saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low) for Coca-Cola. Despite the fact that their own internal studies demonstrated that it’s massively toxic (and despite being sued by the government for covering up this information), they proceeded to saturate the market with this poisonous sweetener.[1]

The same goes for aspartame, a later “innovation” that actually was originally developed as a chemical weapon. And if that’s not bad enough, they introduced their new poison to the world in partnership with I. G. Farben, the infamous corporation that produced Zyklon-B for the gas chambers of World War II.

During WWII, they were also running the uranium research that was used to build the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project.[2]

Home care products
Through another shady partnership with G. D. Searle (known for its falsified studies and deep political ties), Monsanto expanded into widespread distribution of a suite of toxic home care products that had been developed over decades—including detergents, soaps, and industrial cleaning products.

The environment is still suffering from the introduction of all these products into society, and we’re still struggling as a culture to break our addiction to these miracle home products of the past. Luckily, it’s just as easy to make your own non-toxic versions.

PCB’s
This era of the company’s history also saw the creation of PCB’s, which were hailed as “wonder chemicals” with “limited applications,” but which have now been banned after fifty years of use, and are widely considered “one of the greatest chemical threats on the planet.”[3]

It’s hard to deny the facts: there just seem to be no moral boundaries that Monsanto isn’t willing to cross in the pursuit of profits and power.

Pathological lies

It would be much easier to maintain a shred a trust in Monsanto if they admitted when research reveals toxicity with their products, or at least admitted wrongdoing (and showed remorse) for past products that have been proven beyond any shadow of doubt to be harmful.

But of course, Monsanto continues to claim that none of its current offerings are toxic—just like they did with all of their past monstrosities, including those that are now banned (like PCB’s and dioxin). They’ve routinely dodged investigations, denied allegations, and weaseled their way out of lawsuits throughout their entire history, never fessing up to any wrongdoing or oversight.

The Monsanto website even features a Myths about Monsanto section called “Just Plain False,” where representatives “debunk” all the horrible accusations leveled against the company. For example, they deny any evidence suggesting that GMO foods are unsafe, that Monsanto sells “terminator seeds” that become sterile after one generation, and even that the company has “undue” influence in government.[4]

Volumes could be written about each and every one of these claims—but suffice it to say that there’s ample evidence demonstrating that Monsanto is lying.

Because here’s the thing: the company has a long history of not only toxin production, but also propaganda and whitewashing. When they partnered with Disneyland in the 1950’s to build an exhibit called “The House of the Future,” they openly claimed that all the house’s materials were completely biodegradable, even though it was built entirely out of toxic and enduring plastics (which they knew very well are anything but biodegradable).

So what do you think?

Believe it or not, this primer still barely scratches the surface of Monsanto’s toxic endeavors over the years—and it accounts even less for the rampant cronyism and political maneuvering that the company uses to get whatever it wants, whenever it wants.

So should you boycott Monsanto products and projects? The choice is yours, but here’s our personal decision: to whatever degree possible, we’re steering clear of anything with which this frightening and powerful company has ever been involved. The world deserves better.

 


References

[1] http://www.naturalnews.com/054760_Monsanto_Dirty_Dozen_chemicals.html

[2] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-complete-history-of-monsanto-the-worlds-most-evil-corporation/5387964

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/myths-about-monsanto.aspx

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monsanto-poison

By now, you’re most likely familiar with glyphosate, the poison in best-selling pesticides that’s quickly making its way into every nook and cranny of our planet…including your body.

Last year, an organization called the Detox Project launched an initiative to discover just how widespread glyphosate contamination really 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.

What they found was terrifying: 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.

And it gets worse. The project was orchestrated in conjunction with the Organic Consumers Organization, which means it’s safe to assume that a good percentage of its participants regularly consume organic food products. And most people who would choose to participate in such a study are probably conscientious consumers anyways, regardless of whether or not they’re affiliated with this organization.

This means that even organic food isn’t safe from glyphosate. As we discussed in another article, testing of organic grains (especially from Montana, North Dakota, and Canada) found them to be nearly as high in glyphosate as conventional grains.

There’s many possible reasons for this contamination, each scarier than the last: some organic farmers still use glyphosate-containing pesticides in late season, and this practice isn’t even technically illegal according to the less-than-ideal standards of the USDA and EPA (in fact, in recent years, the EPA actually raised the allowable level of pesticides in food products).

And perhaps worst of all, some experts even believe that environmental glyphosate pollution has reached such a high level that organic crops are bound to be contaminated by rainwater and irrigation.

Are we sure that glyphosate is bad for you?

It’s worth noting that widespread glyphosate contamination is only worrisome to the degree that the chemical is actually bad for our bodies and our planet.

If you’re still skeptical about the evidence against glyphosate, though, know this: Experts around the around the world agree that glyphosate poses significant health risks. The World Health Organization considers it a “probable human carcinogen.” Monsanto’s own internal reports (which they went to considerable efforts to hide from the public) show that they’ve known about its toxicity from the very beginning.[1]

Independent research has linked glyphosate toxicity with a wide range of health conditions, including ADHD, birth defects,[2] Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline,[3] autism,[4] celiac disease and other gastrointestinal issues,[5] chronic kidney disease,[6] depression, diabetes,[7] heart disease, liver disease, a wide range of cancers,[8] and many others. Researchers have even found a strong correlation between frequency of general illness and glyphosate blood levels.[9]

And those are just the conditions that have been specifically studied. The deeper they dig, the more researchers worry that glyphosate plays a role in nearly every major health issue of our time.

The fight continues

It’s no longer a matter of “proving” the risks of glyphosate—the task before us now is to make public policy reflect the established fact of its toxicity.

A flurry of anti-Monsanto movements and organizations are leading the charge, and many governments and regulatory bodies around the world are heeding the call. Its use is now banned or severely restricted in the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka, and banned for personal gardening use in France. Germany, Brazil, and Argentina are considering legislative bans, and more countries are gearing up to follow suit. The state of California is rolling out plans to label glyphosate-containing commercial products as carcinogens.

Meanwhile, Monsanto continues to deny vehemently that RoundUp poses any environmental or health risks. This denialism is particularly shocking given the recent release of 15,000 pages of Monsanto’s “sealed” documents, which display in great detail the results of the company’s own research into glyphosate. The files reveal decades of meticulous research demonstrating that glyphosate (even in ultra-low doses) causes cancers and dysfunctions of all kinds in mammals, voluminous studies showing that glyphosate does not biodegrade (and instead bio-accumulates very easily in nearly every kind of mammalian cell), and even incontrovertible evidence that Monsanto tried to dilute and falsify this data.

Sadly, this massive scandal shows that even overwhelming scientific evidence is not enough to remove poisons from commercial circulation. The hope is that Monsanto will one day be tried and brought to justice for their falsification of data and knowing endangerment of everyone on the planet.

In the meantime, though, it’s up to us to tell regulatory agencies that we won’t tolerate the use of RoundUp in our country anymore. Particular pressure needs to be applied to the EPA, which seems to be getting progressively deeper into the pocket of Monsanto—you can start by signing this petition put together by the Organic Consumers Organization.

Eliminating glyphosate from our food chain (and thus from our planetary ecosystem) is one of the most important and far-reaching actions we can take…and regulatory agencies aren’t going to get the job done unless we make our voices heard. Get involved—your health and the health of future generations depends on it!

 


References 

[1] https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-sealed-documents-reveal-truth-behind-roundups-toxicological-dangers

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241196/

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.med.nyu.edu/science/article/pii/S0300483X14000493

[4] http://www.autismone.org/content/autism-explained-synergistic-poisoning-aluminum-and-glyphosate-stephanie-seneff

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/

[6] http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/2/2125

[7] http://www.gmoevidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/GlyModern-diseaseSamsel-Seneff-13-1.pdf

[8] http://archive.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/10/agrochemical_spraying_in_argen.html

[9] http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-residues-in-animals-and-humans-2161-0525.1000210.pdf

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