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With the recent news that glyphosate residue has been found in many popular foods, the groundswell of protest continues to grow.
Now, a brand-new study reveals another grim milestone: an overwhelming majority (over 90 percent) of a group of pregnant women in Indiana were found to have detectable levels of glyphosate. The study, conducted by researchers at Indiana University, is the first American study designed to measure prenatal glyphosate exposure for the purposes of determining adverse effects on fetal development.
Disturbing study: Glyphosate exposure is associated with shorter gestations
The study, published last month in Environmental Health, involved a group of 71 pregnant women – all of whom lived in Central Indiana, in an area encompassing nine different counties that included rural, suburban and urban neighborhoods.
The women filled out questionnaires involving – among other things – water consumption, organic food intake, recent applications of glyphosate in the area, stress levels, smoking status, alcohol and caffeine consumption and use of corn and soy products.
Researchers then used liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry – acknowledged by scientists as the most reliable method for analyzing glyphosate residues – to analyze urine specimens for glyphosate levels.
What they found was shocking!
93 percent of the expectant mothers had detectable levels of glyphosate – meaning their urine contained at least 0.1 nanograms per milliliter of glyphosate (the threshold for detection). In fact, the average urinary glyphosate levels in the group hovered around 3.40 ng/mL.
Researchers noted that higher levels of glyphosate tended to occur in women who lived in rural areas, and in women who consumed more than 24 ounces of caffeinated beverages a day.
And that isn’t all they discovered. Even more frightening was the fact that the study provides direct evidence of an association between maternal glyphosate exposure and shortened pregnancies.
Although the team did not find evidence of lower birth weights, study leader Dr. Shahid Parvez noted that even slight reductions in pregnancy length can lead to lifelong adverse consequences. For example, shortening of gestation by as little as one week is associated with a potential reduction in lifetime cognitive achievement.
Researchers: Most exposure occurs through foods
An earlier German study had suggested that diet is the likely primary source of glyphosate exposure.
The results from the UI study appeared to reinforce that finding, with the team identifying GMO foods and caffeinated beverages as particularly likely to contribute to higher glyphosate levels.
Environmental exposure – inhaling contaminated air or dust – also played a role.
Hidden inside the troubling findings, however, was one nugget of good news.
Researchers had expected that the public water supply would be a source of exposure. But – to their surprise – none of the drinking water samples showed glyphosate residue, leading the team to theorize that the water-treatment process is successful in eliminating glyphosate.
Warning: Glyphosate residue is found in breakfast cereals, coffee – and baby food
Anyone up for starting the day off with a healthy dose of herbicide?
In November of 2016 a pair of non-profit food safety groups, “Food Democracy Now” and “The Detox Project,” published a list of foods with the highest glyphosate levels – a sort of “hall of shame.”
The breakfast cereal Cheerios led the pack, with 1,125.3 parts per billion – followed by other popular snacks, including Ritz crackers, Doritos, Oreos and Stacy’s Pita Chips. Other glyphosate-contaminated foods included coffee, tea and –most disturbingly – baby food.
David Murphy, executive director of “Food Democracy Now,” called the levels “alarming.”
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is used on over 70 different crops, including corn, wheat, oats, coffee beans, peas, lentils and soybeans.
The heaviest use of the herbicide occurs throughout the Great Plains states and the Midwest – an area also known as the Grain Belt. Farmers and growers use glyphosate throughout the growing season – not only as a weed killer but as a pre-harvest dessicant to dry out corn, soybean, peas, buckwheat, millet and other crops.
(Note: You can limit your own exposure to glyphosate by following an organic diet. USDA certified organic foods are produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMOs – and with an emphasis on conservation of soil and water).
Glyphosate linked with chronic life-threatening diseases
Monsanto, the agrochemical giant that produces Roundup, insists that “all labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health” – and continues to repeats this mantra ad nauseum. Both the USDA and the FDA, falling in line behind Monsanto, also deem glyphosate safe.
But many scientific researchers and agencies beg to differ. The International Agency for Cancer Research categorizes glyphosate as “2A,” meaning it is a “probable carcinogen.” The World Health Organization, which since 2011 has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic,” concurs.
And some scientists have spoken out boldly against glyphosate.
Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior researcher at MIT, says glyphosate disrupts the all-important health of the gut microbiome, interferes with the absorption of amino acids and disrupts the production of neurotransmitters. She calls the impact of glyphosate on human health “devastating,” and maintains that glyphosate exposure is linked to autism.
Molecular geneticist Dr. Michael Antoniou says it’s “urgent” that regulators at the EPA reconsider the allowed levels of glyphosate in America’s food.
And, a wide variety of environmental groups are calling on the federal government to conduct an investigation into the harmful effects of glyphosate on human health and the environment. There is also a call for a ban on the use of glyphosate as a dessicant.
But perhaps the most succinct and simple plea comes from David Murphy, of “Food Democracy Now.”
“Start putting the wellbeing of the American public above the profits of chemical companies like Monsanto,” Murphy urges.
Now, if only enough people in government could find the moral fortitude to listen. (we would all benefit)
Sources for this article include: