“Extreme Levels” Of Herbicide Roundup Found In Food

12160 Info
by Joe

A new study led by scientists from the Arctic University of Norway has detected “extreme levels” of Roundup, the agricultural herbicide manufactured by Monsanto, in genetically engineered soy.

The study, coming out in June’s issue of Food Chemistry and available online, looked at 31 different soybean plants on Iowa farms and compared the accumulation of pesticides and herbicides on plants in three categories 1) genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” soy, 2) conventionally produced (not GE) soy, and 3) soy cultivated using organic practices. They found high levels of Roundup on 70 percent of genetically engineered soy plants.

Crop scientists have genetically engineered soy to survive blasts of Roundup so farmers can spray this chemical near crops to get rid of weeds. But some so-called “super weeds” resistant to Roundup have developed. In turn, some farmers use yet more Roundup to try to kill those hardy weeds. This leads to more Roundup chemicals being found on soybeans and ultimately in the food supply.

Who says when Roundup contamination can be considered “extreme?” Monsanto itself. In 1999, the chemical giant defined an “extreme level” of the herbicide as 5.6 milligrams per kilogram of plant weight.

Astonishingly, the Norwegian scientists found a whopping 9 milligrams of Roundup per kilogram, on average. What it boils down to is this: every time we eat GE soy we are taking a dose of Roundup with it. This is alarming, because Roundup has been found to be hazardous to human health and sometimes kills human cells. The authors conclude:

“This study demonstrated that Roundup Ready [GE]-soy may have high residue levels of glyphosate … and also that different agricultural practices may result in a markedly different nutritional composition of soybeans …. Lack of data on pesticide residues in major crop plants is a serious gap of knowledge with potential consequences for human and animal health.”
Other research has detected Roundup residues in animals and people.

A study led by German researchers found high concentrations of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, in the urine of dairy cows and humans. This study, published last January in the journal Environmental & Analytical Toxicology, concluded that “the presence of glyphosate residues in both humans and animals could haul the entire population towards numerous health hazards.”

Big Ag wants us to believe that there is no difference between GE and conventional crops, but mounting research tells us that just isn’t true.

Is It Time To Acknowledge Roundup Herbicide As A Contraceptive?

Natural Blaze
by Sayer Ji

How much longer will we deny the growing body of research linking Roundup to infertility before calling this chemical a contraceptive?

Following closely on the heels of the EPA’s decision to allow Roundup herbicide residues in your food at concentrations a million times higher than shown carcinogenic, a concerning new study published in the journal Free Radical Medicine & Biology implicates the herbicide, and its main ingredient glyphosate, in male infertility, at concentration ranges well within the EPA’s “safe level” for food.

Performed by Brazilian researchers, the study found acute Roundup exposure at low doses (36ppm, 0.036g/L) for 30 minutes induced cell death in Sertoli cells in prepubertal rat testis. Sertoli cells are known as “mother” or “nurse” cells within the testicles, as they are responsible for maintaining the health of sperm cells, and are required for normal male sexual development.

Roundup herbicide exposure was found to induce oxidative stress and to activate multiple-stress response pathways within affected cells, and was associated with an increase in intracellular calcium (Ca2+) concentration leading to Ca2+ overload, and cell death.

Thirty-minute incubation tests with glyphosate alone (36 ppm) also increased Ca2+ uptake, and both Roundup and glyphosate were observe to downregulate reduced glutathione levels. As glutathione is an antioxidant (electron donor) found within every cell in the human body, protecting it against oxidative stress, as well as maintaining a wide range of biochemical reactions such as DNA and protein synthesis and repair, amino acid transport, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid and enzyme activation, a dysregulation of glutathione can result in a wide range of adverse effects.

The researchers noted “Glyphosate has been described as an endocrine disruptor affecting the male reproductive system; however, the molecular basis of its toxicity remains to be clarified. We could propose that Roundup® toxicity, implicating in Ca2+ overload, cell signaling misregulation, stress response of the endoplasmic reticulum and/or depleted antioxidant defenses could contribute to Sertoli cell disruption of spermatogenesis that could impact male fertility.”

This study adds to a growing body of research implicating Roundup herbicide in male infertility:

A 2007 study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that Roundup herbicide altered the structure of the testis and epididymal region (part of the tubular spermatic duct system), as well as the serum levels of testosterone and estradiol, in male ducks, leading the researchers to conclude that Roundup “…may cause disorder in the morphophysiology of the male genital system of animals.”

A 2010 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology revealed prepubertal exposure to commercial formulation of the herbicide glyphosate alters testosterone levels and testicular morphology, leading researchers to describe the herbicide as “a potent endocrine disruptor.”

A 2011 male rat study published in the Archives of Toxicology revealed maternal exposure to glyphosate disturbed the masculinization process and promoted behavioral changes and histological and endocrine problems in reproductive parameters.

A 2011 study published in the journal Toxicology In Vitro found a glyphosate-based herbicide induced necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. In the study, Roundup and glyphosate at concentrations as low as 1 part per million produced a testosterone decrease in sperm cells by 35%.
A more recent 2013 study in male rats published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Reproductive Safety found glyphosate (in combination with another pesticide) provoked severe oxidative stress in male testes, resulting in inhibited testosterone production and disrupted gonadotropin levels.

Given the growing body of research clearly revealing Roundup’s toxicity to the germline of animal species, the argument can be made that this chemical has contraceptive properties and therefore genocidal consequences. By directly affecting the biologically immortal cells within the testes, whose DNA contains over 3 billion years worth of information essential for there being a future for our species as a whole, Roundup should be considered an instrument of mass destruction. At the very least, the precautionary principle should be applied, and any chemical that signals the potential to disrupt or destroy our species’ germline cells, should be banned unless the manufacturer can prove beyond a reasonable doubt its safety to exposed populations.

For additional research on the wide spectrum of adverse health effects now linked to glyphosate-based herbicide formulations such as Roundup, view our research articles on GMOs, as well as view and download our free biomedical PDF on glyphosate/Roundup research:

PDF on the adverse health effects associated with glyphosate-based herbicide

Related: EPA Raises Glyphosate Concentrations on Food Crops

EPA to American People: ‘Let Them Eat Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Cake’

GreenMedInfo

The EPA, whose mission is to “to protect human health and the environment,” has approved Monsanto’s request to allow levels of glyphosate (Roundup) contamination in your food up to a million times higher than have been found carcinogenic.

If you haven’t already heard, it’s now official. Monsanto’s request to have the EPA raise allowable levels of its herbicide glyphosate in food you may soon be eating has been approved [see Final Rule]. Public commenting is also now closed, not that it was anything but a formality to begin with.

Here is the original registration application, lest detractors claim it was not Monsanto behind this bold move to legalize what an increasingly educated public considers a form of institutionalized mass poisoning:

1. EPA Registration Numbers: 524-421, 524-475, and 524-537. Docket ID Number: EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0132. Applicant: Monsanto Company, 1300 I Street NW., Suite 450 East, Washington, DC 20005. Active ingredient: Glyphosate. Product Type: Herbicide. Proposed Uses: Add wiper applicator use over the top to carrot and sweet potato, add preharvest use to oilseed crop group 20, add the use Teff (forage and hay), and conversion of the following old crop groups to the following new crop groups: Vegetable, bulb, group 3 to vegetable, bulb, group 3-07; vegetable, fruiting, group 8 to vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10; fruit, citrus, group 10 to fruit, citrus, group 10-10; fruit, pome, group 11 to fruit, pome, group 11-10; and berry group 13 to berry and small fruit, group 13-07. Contact: Erik Kraft, (703) 308-9358, email address: kraft.erik@epa.gov.

Notice above, the proposal includes “Add wiper applicator use over the top to carrot and sweet potato,” revealing that one reason why Monsanto wants tolerances on glyphosate raised is because this chemical will be applied directly not just to Roundup Ready plants but to non-GMO crops as well, virtually guaranteeing that unless you eat 100% USDA organic concentrations of grave concern will end up in your food and body.

How grave? The Food Poisoning Bulletin describes the new tolerances as follows:

Under the new regulation, forage and hay teff can contain up to 100 ppm (100,000 ppb) glyphosate; oilseed crops can contain up to 40 ppm (40,000 ppb) glyphosate, and root crops such as potatoes and beets can contain 6000 ppb glyphosate. Fruits can have concentrations from 200 ppb to 500 ppb glyphosate. These numbers are magnitudes higher than the levels some scientists believe are carcinogenic.

Indeed, only last month, a new study found that glyphosate has ‘xenoestrogen’ properties and stimulated breast cancer proliferation in the parts per trillion range – that would be six orders of magnitude lower levels than presently receiving the EPA’s Monsanto-friendly stamp of approval. So how does the EPA address the potential for carcinogenicity in section 3 of their Exposure Assessment? They state their position as follows:

“EPA has concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.”

According to this ruthless logic, since the EPA designates itself a higher authority than the independent scientific evidence clearly signaling glyphosate’s carcinogenicity (view the toxicological data yourself here), it requires no safety testing. Let the exposed populations eat Roundup Ready cake and fester in an epidemic of cancers, as it turns a self-blinded eye to the problem.

The EPA has just made such a mockery of its own mission statement, which is “to protect human health and the environment,” that one wonders why they have not already declared themselves a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto.

The obvious reason why Monsanto and its ‘EPA cheerleading division’ successfully raised the tolerances of glyphosate in your food, is because the contamination is getting so bad they had no other choice. Either limits are raised, or Monsanto breaks the law (by contaminating our food and poisoning us beyond the “acceptable level of harm” already determined by the EPA) and the EPA is shown to be completely impotent to enforce anything resembling its mission statement.

But despite Monsanto’s latest apparent success, a growing grassroots movement comprised of millions of concerned citizens is defiantly expressing their own form of “glyphosate-resistance,” armed with a growing body of published toxicological data linking the glyphosate herbicide to over 30 health problems. This movement is mirrored poetically by the “super weeds” emerging throughout the Roundup Ready monocultured farmland of the world. In both cases, the center of real power is shifting away from Monsanto back to the people who are realizing that unless they retake back control over their food, they will be coerced and poisoned into a form of biological slavery the likes of which this world has never seen before, and if it manifests fully, will likely never recover from.

See PDF on the adverse health effects associated with glyphosate-based herbicide 

Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds

Mother Jones
By Tom Philpott

Last year’s drought took a big bite out of the two most prodigious US crops, corn and soy. But it apparently didn’t slow down the spread of weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), used on crops engineered by Monsanto to resist it. More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the US is now genetically modified to withstand glyphosate.

Back in 2011, such weeds were already spreading fast. “Monsanto’s ‘Superweeds’ Gallop Through Midwest,” declared the headline of a post I wrote then. What’s the word you use when an already-galloping horse speeds up? Because that’s what’s happening. Let’s try this: “Monsanto’s ‘Superweeds’ Stampede Through Midwest.”

That pretty much describes the situation last year, according to a new report from the agribusiness research consultancy Stratus. Since the 2010 growing season, the group has been polling “thousands of US farmers” across 31 states about herbicide resistance. Here’s what they found in the 2012 season:

Superweeds: First they gallop, then they roar. Graph: Stratus

• Nearly half (49 percent) of all US farmers surveyed said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm in 2012, up from 34 percent of farmers in 2011.

• Resistance is still worst in the South. For example, 92 percent of growers in Georgia said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds.

• But the mid-South and Midwest states are catching up. From 2011 to 2012 the acres with resistance almost doubled in Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana.

• It’s spreading at a faster pace each year: Total resistant acres increased by 25 percent in 2011 and 51 percent in 2012.
• And the problem is getting more complicated. More and more farms have at least two resistant species on their farm. In 2010 that was just 12 percent of farms, but two short years later 27 percent had more than one.

So where do farmers go from here? Well, Monsanto and its peers would like them to try out “next generation” herbicide-resistant seeds—that is, crops engineered to resist not just Roundup, but also other, more toxic herbicides, like 2,4-D and Dicamba. Trouble is, such an escalation in the chemical war on weeds will likely only lead to more prolific, and more super, superweeds, along with a sharp increase in herbicide use. That’s the message of a peer-reviewed 2011 paper by a team of Penn State University researchers led by David A. Mortensen. (I discussed their paper in a post last year.)

And such novel seeds won’t be available in the 2013 growing season anyway. None have made it through the US Department of Agriculture’s registration process. The USDA was widely expected to award final approval on Dow’s 2,4-D/Roundup-resistant corn during the Christmas break, but didn’t. The agency hasn’t stated the reason it hasn’t decided on the product, known as Enlist, but the nondecision effectively delays its introduction until 2014 at the earliest, as Dow acknowledged last month. Reuters reporter Carey Gillam noted that the USDA’ delay comes amid “opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials” to the new product, and that these opponents have “bombarded Dow and US regulators with an array of concerns” about it.

So industrial-scale corn and soy farmers will likely have to muddle along, responding in the same way that they have been for years, which is by upping their herbicide use in hopes of controlling the rogue weeds, as Washington State University’s Charles Benbrook showed in a recent paper (my post on it here). That means significant economic losses for farmers—according to Penn State’s Mortensen, grappling with glyphosate resistance was already costing farmers nearly $1 billion per year in 2011. It will also likely mean a jump in toxic herbicides entering streams, messing with frogs and polluting people’s drinking water.

For a good idea of what’s in store, check out this piece in the trade mag Corn & Soy Digest on “Managing Herbicide-Resistant weeds.” Here’s the key bit—note that “burndown” means a complete flattening of all vegetation in a field with a broad-spectrum herbicide such as paraquat, an infamously toxic weed killer that’s been banned in 32 countries, including those of the European Union:

For those with a known resistance problem, it’s not uncommon to see them use a fall burndown plus a residual herbicide, a spring burndown before planting, another at planting including another residual herbicide, and two or more in-season herbicide applications. “If you can catch the resistant weeds early enough, paraquat does a good job of controlling them. But once Palmer amaranth [a common glyphosate-tolerant weed] gets 6 ft. tall, you can’t put on enough paraquat to kill it,” [one weed-control expert] says.

But of course there’s another way. In a 2012 study I’ll never tire of citing, Iowa State University researchers found that if farmers simply diversified their crop rotations, which typically consist of corn one year and soy the next, year after year, to include a “small grain” crop (e.g. oats) as well as offseason cover crops, weeds (including Roundup-resistant ones) can be suppressed with dramatically less fertilizer use—a factor of between 6 and 10 less. And much less herbicide means much less poison entering streams—”potential aquatic toxicity was 200 times less in the longer rotations” than in the regular corn-soy regime, the study authors note. So, despite what the seed giants and the conventional weed specialists insist, there are other ways to respond to the accelerating scourge of “superweeds” than throwing more—and ever-more toxic—chemicals at them.

Pesticide Use Increases as GMO Technology Backfires

Live in the Now
by Mary West

The GMO nightmare continues to unfurl, as the crop technology designed to reduce the need for pesticides has backfired. Farmers’ heavy adoption of these modified crops has sparked an increase in “superweeds” and hard-to-kill insects, creating the need to use more toxic herbicides.

Proponents of GMOs have alleged that these crops are a vital tool for weaning farmers off of toxic pesticides, but this claim has been resoundingly refuted by a recent study published in Environmental Science Europe. Chuck Benbrook, a researcher for Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, found that GMO use has led to a “monsoon in herbicides.” Not only have these crops necessitated the need for higher applications of Roundup, Monsanto’s herbicide, but the problem has also forced farmers to use older herbicides that have more harmful effects, says Benbrook.

Statistics demolish Monsanto’s claim that GMOs reduce the need for herbicides.

The magnitude of the increase in pesticide use is illustrated by the statistics of the study. In the period between 1996, when the use of Roundup-ready crops began, and 2011, herbicide use increased by 527 million pounds, equating to 11 percent.

During the first few years of the use of Roudup-ready crops, these GMOs actually fulfilled Monsanto’s promise of reducing the need for herbicides: they reduced the use of these chemicals by 2 percent between 1996 and 1999. This advantage, however, was short-lived. After this period, weeds started developing resistance to Roundup, which led to farmers’ increasing their application of this herbicide by 21 percent, evidenced by a 19 million spike in its use, Benbrook tells The Guardian. The stepped up use of Roundup eliminated the weak weeds, which gave the resistant weeds, or “superweeds,” the opportunity to proliferate and take over.

Statistics revealing a 24 percent increase in pesticide use between 2009 through 2010 show the problem is only getting worse. Benbrook relates to The Guardian that by this time the problem of resistant weeds had fully kicked in, resulting in the use of greater volumes of Roundup as well as more toxic herbicides such as 2,4-D, a component of the infamous Agent Orange.

What about Bt seeds, the other main biotech product?

Resistance problems leading to pesticide increases are not limited to Roundup-ready crops but also include the other primary biotech product – Bt seeds. These seeds have been engineered to contain a gene present in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that is toxic to insects. This product’s purported benefit is that it will take care of the insect problem, but has it worked?

Although it initially reduced the need for insecticides, the resistance problem developed by Roundup-ready crops has now begun to manifest in these crops as well. Just as weeds acquired resistance to Roundup, so also rootworm, the biggest pest of corn, is showing signs of resistance to the Bt technology. In areas of the Midwest where these crops have been popular, agricultural experts are advising farmers to spray other insecticides because the Bt trait is failing.

Greater use of chemicals translates into more health hazards.

The harmful effects of pesticides, including Roundup, are not confined to weeds and inserts. Studies show they increase health risks in people and animals exposed to them through food and water. Experts say the use of more chemicals leads to more health hazards. Benbrook aptly characterizes the GMO problem as a “slowly unfolding train wreck.”

Research: Roundup Herbicide Toxicity Vastly Underestimated

GreenMedInfo
by Sayer Ji

Glyphosate, the most well-known ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has recently been the focus of an intense debate over whether or not it is dangerous, even carcinogenic, to those exposed to it through food and the environment.

Monsanto, the original creator and patent-holder of glyphosate, and of the most famous glyphosate formulation Roundup, has funded research denying the emerging glyphosate-cancer link, but the latest (and only known) long-term feeding study from an industry independent research group out of France indicates that the transgenic material within Roundup-Ready Monsanto corn, as well as Roundup itself, are highly carcinogenic, and should be banned to protect the millions who are already consuming it on a daily basis.

Glyphosate, however, is only one dimension of a complex toxicological problem. What is often overlooked is the role of adjuvants in glyphosate formulations like Roundup, which while being labeled “inert” or “non-active,” are in no way neutral, and which amplify glyphosate toxicity far beyond what toxicological risk assessments presently are designed to ascertain.

Glyphosate-Formulations Dramatically More Toxic Than Glyphosate Alone

Back in Feb. of 2012, the journal Archives of Toxicology published a shocking study showing that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.[i] This effect could not have been anticipated from the known toxicological effects of glyphosate alone. The likely explanation is that the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine within Roundup dramatically enhances the absorption of glyphosate into exposed human cells and tissue.

If this is true, it speaks to a fundamental problem associated with toxicological risk assessments of agrichemicals (and novel manmade chemicals in general), namely, these assessments do not take into account the reality of synergistic toxicologies, i.e. the amplification of harm associated with multiple chemical exposures occurring simultaneously.

“Inactive Ingredients” In Herbicide Formulations Are Actively Poisoning Us

But adjuvants in glyphosate formulations do not just increase the toxicity of glyphosate — they are themselves highly toxic. Indeed, a study published in the journal Toxicology September, 2011 titled “Ethoxylated adjuvants of glyphosate-based herbicides are active principles of human cell toxicity,” found 24 hour exposures on liver, embryonic and placental cell lines at concentrations as low as 1 ppm – a dose well within “acceptable” environmental and occupational doses – resulted in negative effects on cellular respiration and membrane integrity.[ii] The authors reported their findings as such:

Altogether, these results challenge the establishment of guidance values such as the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate, when these are mostly based on a long term in vivo test of glyphosate alone. Since pesticides are always used with adjuvants that could change their toxicity, the necessity to assess their whole formulations as mixtures becomes obvious. This challenges the concept of active principle of pesticides for non-target species.

What the consumer of GM-contaminated food must understand is that glyphosate, and the many insufficiently tested “inactive” ingredients sprayed on these foods, enter the body and have real, adverse effects that are cumulative, even if mostly subclinical. The only way we can be sure to reduce our exposure to these agrichemicals is through consciously refraining from consuming them. And how do we do that? Get the stuff labeled, and give the consumer a choice not to eat it.

Please lend your support to California’s Proposition 37, and vote with your fork as well, by buying only organic food, whenever possible.