Are you worried about chemicals in your foods? According to the frightening results of a new study, you should be worried.
Independent tests on several popular American food products found that many samples contained residue levels of a weed killer named glyphosate.
The tests were led by non-profit organizations like Food Democracy Now and The Detox Project. The companies released a report this past Monday about their findings titled “Glyphosate: Unsafe On Any Plate – Food Testing Results and Scientific Reasons for Concern”.
The report describes how glyphosate, a type of herbicide, was found on cookies, crackers, popular cold cereals, chips, and other food products routinely consumed by American children and adults.
Tests were completed at Anresco, a US FDA-registered laboratory, which used chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to verify the results. This testing method is “widely considered by the scientific community and regulators as the most reliable for analyzing glyphosate residues”, according to a report from EcoWatch.
The FDA Never Tested for Glyphosate Until This Year
The FDA has been under scrutiny for its efforts to combat herbicide in foods. The FDA regularly tests other foods for herbicide residue. However, it wasn’t until earlier in 2016 that the FDA decided to test foods for glyphosate.
Oddly enough, the FDA suspended its glyphosate residue testing last week.
Is Glyphosate Really that Bad for You?
Inevitably, trace amounts of some chemicals are going to end up in food – even if you eat it directly from nature in the middle of a forest in Siberia or some other remote place.
So is glyphosate really that bad?
Well, it’s been under the spotlight for over a year. We can trace the attention on glyphosate back to when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the herbicide as a Group 2A carcinogen.
In layman’s terms, that means glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”, or cancer-causing compound.
Why was that classification a big deal?
Well, glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide. It’s also the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and hundreds of similar products.
You can view a map of estimated glyphosate use across America here. That map comes courtesy of Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project’s report. As you can see, glyphosate usage is widespread.
As we speak, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a risk assessment for glyphosate to determine whether or not future use of the herbicide should be limited.
To be clear, the world’s largest health organization has classified this chemical as a probably cancer-causing compound in humans. That’s why people are freaking out that there’s glyphosate residue in their foods.
Which Popular Foods Contain Glyphosate?
Anresco tested 29 foods that you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Glyphosate residues were found in all of the following foods:
-General Mills’ Cheerios (containing 1,125.3 parts per billion)
-Ritz Crackers (270.24 ppb)
-Kashi Soft-Baked Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies (275.57 ppb)
-Other foods with mixed ppb readings included Kellogg’s Special K, Triscuit Crackers, Doritos, Oreos, and Stacy’s Pita Chips
-Certain baby foods have been found to contain glyphosate residue
How does glyphosate end up in these foods? Well, it’s sprayed on a wide variety of conventional crops before harvesting, including wheat, oats, and barley along with a range of fruits and vegetables The EPA reports that glyphosate plays a crucial role in the production of at least 70 food crops.
Food companies have not yet responded to the news.
What PPB Dosage is Required to Cause Health Problems in Humans?
The US EPA has set a maximum residue limit, or MRL, for most commodities (like corn and soybeans). These limits vary between pesticides and herbicides, and they also vary between commodities.
However, the EPA may have to revise their limits after research shows that Roundup can cause liver and kidney damage in rats at only 0.05 ppb, while levels as low as 10 ppb can have toxic effects on the livers of fish. When you look at the ppb ratings above, it’s easy to see why there’s cause for alarm.
America’s Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for Glyphosate is Higher than Most Other Countries
US regulators are also under fire for setting an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for glyphosate that’s much too high – at least compared to other countries.
The US has set the ADI for glyphosate at 1.75mg per kg of bodyweight per day, while the European Union’s ADI is 0.3.
The ADI is designed to be 100 times lower than levels demonstrated to cause no effect in animal testing. Many people are wondering how the US and EU came up with such drastically different numbers.
Is the EPA Bought By the Agrichemical Industry?
America is one of the few democracies in the world that allows money to play such a blatant and crucial role in its policy-making. That’s why environmental organizations around the world are criticizing America’s policymakers for being bought off by the agrichemical industry – which is why America’s limits (and acceptable pesticides) are so different from those used in the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, these same organizations are calling for a permanent ban on the use of glyphosate. Stay tuned for more information on this pressing herbicide issue as we move forward.