Monsanto's Roundup / Glyphosate
Glyphosate Harvest: Monsanto’s Toxic RoundUp Sprayed on Crops RIGHT BEFORE Harvest
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is recognized as the world’s most widely used weed killer. What is not so well known is that farmers also use glyphosate on crops such as wheat, oats, edible beans and other crops right before harvest, raising concerns that the herbicide could get into food products.
Escalating Use of Probable Carcinogen
Glyphosate has come under increased scrutiny in the past year. Last year the World Health Organization’s cancer group, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified it as a probable carcinogen. The state of California has also moved to classify the herbicide as a probable carcinogen. A growing body of research is documenting health concerns of glyphosate as an endocrine disruptor and that it kills beneficial gut bacteria, damages the DNA in human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells and is linked to birth defects and reproductive problems in laboratory animals.
It’s pervasiveness is been becoming clear as it has been found in air, water and people. Glyphosate was detected in urine samples, and U.S. women had maximum glyphosate levels that were more than eight times higher than levels found in urine of Europeans. The chemical has also been suspected to be responsible for the bee colony collapse epidemic. The FDA has finally been forced to start publicizing research on the effects of glyphosate on bees due to pressure from independent researcher’s discoveries of glyphosate in all honey.
A recently published paper describes the escalating use of glyphosate: 18.9 billion pounds have been used globally since its introduction in 1974, making it the most widely and heavily applied weed-killer in the history of chemical agriculture. Significantly, 74 percent of all glyphosate sprayed on crops since the mid-1970s was applied in just the last 10 years, as cultivation of GMO corn and soybeans expanded in the U.S. and globally.
Glyphosate Used to Speed Up Wheat Harvest
Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., who published the paper on the mounting use of glyphosate, says the practice of spraying glyphosate on wheat prior to harvest, known as desiccating, began in Scotland in the 1980s.
“Farmers there often had trouble getting wheat and barley to dry evenly so they can start harvesting. So they came up with the idea to kill the crop (with glyphosate) one to two weeks before harvest to accelerate the drying down of the grain,” he said.
The pre-harvest use of glyphosate allows farmers to harvest crops as much as two weeks earlier than they normally would, an advantage in northern, colder regions.
The practice spread to wheat-growing areas of North America such as the upper Midwestern U.S. and Canadian provinces such as Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
“Desiccation is done primarily in years where conditions are wet and the crop is slow to dry down,” Joel Ransom, an agronomist at North Dakota State University, said.
Ransom says desiccating wheat with glyphosate has been a useful tool for farmers.
“It does help hasten dry down and controls grain weeds and other material that slows down the threshing practice,” he said. “It has an important role in areas where it’s wet.”
Ransom says the practice has increased in North Dakota, which is the leading wheat-producing state in the U.S., over the past 15 years due to wetter weather.
While more common in Upper Midwestern states where there is more moisture, desiccation is less likely to be done in drier wheat growing areas of Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington and Oregon.
All Conventional Farmers in Saskatchewan Desiccate Wheat
According to a wheat farmer in Saskatchewan, desiccating wheat with glyphosate is commonplace in his region. “I think every non-organic farmer in Saskatchewan uses glyphosate on most of their wheat acres every year,” the farmer speaking on condition of anonymity said.
He has concerns about the practice. “I think farmers need to realize that all of the chemicals we use are ‘bad’ to some extent,” he said. “Monsanto has done such an effective job marketing glyphosate as ‘safe’ and ‘biodegradable’ that farmers here still believe this even though such claims are false.”
The vast majority of farmers in Manitoba, Canada’s third largest wheat producing province, also use glyphosate on wheat, said Gerald Wiebe, a farmer and agricultural consultant. “I would estimate that 90 to 95 percent of wheat acres in Manitoba are sprayed pre-harvest with glyphosate; the exception would be in dry areas of the province where moisture levels at harvest time are not an issue,” he said.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy
According to Tom Ehrhardt, co-owner of Minnesota-based Albert Lea Seeds, sourcing grains not desiccated with glyphosate prior to harvest is a challenge.
“I have talked with millers of conventionally produced grain and they all agree it’s very difficult to source oats, wheat, flax and triticale, which have not been sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvest,” he said. “It’s a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ in the industry.”
Ehrhardt also says that crops grown to produce seed are not usually sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvest because this can damage seed germination.
Grain Millers, which has grain processing facilities in the U.S. and Canada, announced last year that it would not buy oats from Canada that had been desiccated with glyphosate. The company’s Canadian procurement manager, Terry Tyson, told Western Producer that glyphosate disrupts the natural maturing process and starch development, resulting in lower quality flakes and flour. He said the decision had nothing to do with health or safety concerns.
“Would Rather Not Eat a Loaf of Bread With Glyphosate In It”
Still, there are obvious concerns about glyphosate getting into food products.
“We are told these (glyphosate residues) are too small to matter but can we believe that?” the Saskatchewan farmer asked. “I think everyone, even farmers that use and love glyphosate, would rather not eat a loaf of bread with glyphosate in it.”
Wiebe shares similar concerns. “Consumers don’t realize when they buy wheat products like flour, cookies and bread they are getting glyphosate residues in those products,” he said. “It’s barbaric to put glyphosate in food a few days before you harvest it.”
Wiebe believes the use of glyphosate on wheat may be connected to the rise in celiac disease. “We’ve seen an explosion of gluten intolerance,” he said. “What’s really going on?”
“Can you imagine the public’s response if they knew that glyphosate is being sprayed on the oats in their Cheerios only weeks before it is manufactured?” Ehrhardt asked.
Residues of glyphosate have been found in wheat flour. Last year, Ransom reported to the U.S. Wheat Quality Council that tests on flour samples from the U.S. and Canada found that all had traces of glyphosate. However, Ransom said these were well below the maximum residue limits for glyphosate in wheat, which are 30 parts per million in the U.S.
Still, Ransom said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone repeated the test and found traces also.”
In response to mounting concerns over the escalating use of glyphosate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently said it would begin testing foods for glyphosate residues. But that promise has been dodged by the EPA.
Powerful Effect on Food System
Monsanto recommends spraying for not only wheat and oats. Glyphosate is used to desiccate a wide range of other crops including:
Benbrook says that a large portion of edible beans grown in Washington and Idaho are desiccated with glyphosate.
There are no statistics kept on the number of acres of wheat or other crops that are desiccated with glyphosate, according to Ransom.
While the pre-harvest use of glyphosate may account for a small amount of overall use of the herbicide, Benbrook says this still has a huge impact:
“It may be two percent of agriculture use, but well over 50 percent of dietary exposure.
“I don’t understand why Monsanto and the food industry don’t voluntarily end this practice. They know it contributes to high dietary exposure (of glyphosate).”
Wiebe sees the situation in dire terms.
“The most tragic thing is that industry is encouraging the use of glyphosate on wheat, farmers are using it, consumers are unaware of it and it’s having a powerful effect on the food system,”
Source : Health Freedom
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Roundup Red Alert! What you need to know about the pesticide poised to "push us all off of the cliff"
The USDA just approved another GMO crop dependent on dousings of the pesticide Roundup. Here's what scientists say everyone who eats needs to know about this not-so-benign chemical
By Leah Zerbe
Feb 3, 2011
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its decision to allow farmers who favor genetically engineered seeds to grow GMO alfalfa, also known as GE alfalfa, anywhere they'd like—even right up against a field of organic or non-GMO crops. Due to the very real risk that genes from GMO alfalfa will transfer to and contaminate the nation's organic and non-GMO alfalfa crops through cross pollenization, organic and conventional farming groups, dairies, consumer, and food safety groups have united to send a clear signal that a large portion of the population doesn't want GMO-laced food.
But aside from the dire consequences for agriculture and consumer choice regarding GMO contamination—most Americans don't want GMOs in the food chain—the approval of GMO alfalfa raises other serious human health concerns involving the pesticide Roundup (generic chemical name: glyphosate). The new GMO alfalfa has been genetically manipulated in labs to withstand heavy sprayings of Roundup (created by Monsanto, the developer of the GMO seeds), a chemical commonly marketed as "safe" and "biodegradable," but one that scientists are actually learning has unhealthy effects on the human body, livestock animals we eat, and crops themselves. In fact, France’s highest court recently found Monsanto guilty of false advertising for claiming Roundup to be biodegradable. In reality, it takes months, or even years, depending on soil conditions, to break down.
Millions of pounds of Roundup are dumped over and around food crops every year, and many people also use it to kill weeds in the yard or in household driveway and sidewalk cracks. No matter the route of exposure, science suggests we need to keep this chemical out of the food chain, not step up its use on more GMO crops.
Here's what everyone—mothers, fathers, farmers, grocers, and anyone who eats— needs to know about Roundup:
Most Americans are unknowingly eating Roundup every day.
Roundup is systemic, meaning it's taken up inside the plants exposed to it. Using veggie washes on your produce may remove some surface pesticides, but Roundup is likely in the actual vegetable, grain, fruit, or nut if it's sprayed on a field before plants are grown, or if it's sprayed around fruit and nut trees. “It’s the most abused chemical we’ve ever had in agriculture,” says veteran plant pathologist Don Huber, PhD, professor emeritus of Purdue University. “We’re using chemical quantities we never would have imagined in the past.”
GMO "Roundup Ready" crops, like most of the soy and corn grown in this country and used in the majority of non-organic foods, tend to contain higher concentrations of Roundup. That's because farmers are having to use two to five times more of the chemical than a normal herbicide application, to kill weeds growing resistant to the overused chemical. (Note — GMOs, as well as Roundup and other toxic synthetic chemical pesticides, are banned in certified organic farming.)
Roundup creates conditions for estrogenic toxin and neurotoxin buildup in food—and in us.
Huber, one of the world's top researchers of glyphosate, says we're in "epidemic mode" right now in terms of plant diseases induced by Roundup use. These plant diseases could affect humans and livestock eating the diseased plants, too. As Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, points out, some of the fungi that thrive on glyphosate produce harmful toxins that can enter the food chain, either in human food or animal feed. Smith cites a UN Food and Agriculture Organization report that links one such fungus, Fusarium, in the food chain to certain cancers, a blood disorder, and infertility in animals. Smith says USDA researchers have found a 500 percent increase in Fusarium root infection when glyphosate is used on Roundup Ready soybeans. (This toxin can also appear in corn, wheat, and other crops.) "Like glyphosate, Fusarium toxins accumulate in our bodies, too," says Huber.
And when looking at all of the possible negative effects of Roundup, Huber says the repercussions of introducing Roundup Ready technology to another crop, like alfalfa, could be disastrous. "If indications hold true, we're set up for the greatest disaster that this country or the world has ever seen, that will dwarf any major famine or drought that has ever been recorded," says Huber. He believes going through with the newly-approved GMO alfalfa plantings will "push us off of the cliff" in terms of irreversible damage to the food supply. It would be impossible, he says, to reverse widespread GMO contamination, particularly in a perennial crop like alfalfa, which also grows feral along roadsides and yards.
Roundup weakens plants and kills soil.
Huber and other plant pathologists have linked the use, or as Huber likes to say "abuse," of Roundup to more than 40 plant diseases. Glyphosate binds to vital nutrients in the soil, inhibiting a plant's uptake of micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, and zinc that are necessary for human and livestock survival. Roundup also wipes out beneficial soil microorganisms in addition to promoting toxins that stave off plant prosperity. Huber says Roundup doesn't directly kill the plant; rather, similar to the AIDS virus in humans, it creates conditions that make the plant susceptible to other diseases.
Roundup kills human cells.
In 2009, a study published in the journal Chemical Resarch in Toxicology outlined Roundup's ability to kill human umbilical cord vein, embryonic kidney, and placental cells in concentrations typically found in food or livestock feed. This study was important because it found the entire Roundup formulation (the stuff actually sprayed on food and in our yards), was more damaging than the active ingredient glyphosate itself. In other words, the so-called "inert" ingredients in Roundup apparently make it more deadly. Those other ingredients, such as surfactants, allow the pesticide material to cross barriers that would otherwise protect living tissue from it. “The pesticide ingredients bypass the liver, where they would normally be cleaned out,” explains Warren Porter, PhD, professor of environmental toxicology at the University of Madison-Wisconsin.
Roundup may make us infertile.
We hear a lot about harmful estrogen-like chemicals in household products, but Roundup, Porter explains, may increase exposure to male hormones. Studies in monkeys have found that glyphosate exposure in utero disrupts the enzymatic activity of hormone-regulating aromatase. This can create higher levels of male hormones like testosterone in women, a main symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women in the U.S., and many women spend thousands of dollars on fertility treatments to conceive.
Roundup is creating superweeds that break farm equipment and promote the use of even more toxic pesticides.
Just like bacteria become resistant to drugs when we overuse medicine, weeds grow resistant to overused chemicals. "More use of Roundup is going to lead to more resistant weeds, which will then mean you'll start to use more and more glyphosate, and then move on to more toxic chemicals," explains Michael Hansen, PhD, a senior scientist at the nonprofit Consumer Union. "We've already seen this before with Roundup Ready soybean crops in this country."
Roundup is wrecking not just our food, but our water, too.
A study published online in 2009 in the journal Ecotoxicology discovered that Roundup runoff throws off the natural balance of microflora in the water, and turns clear water cloudy. That means Roundup exposure might not be limited to food, but could also taint drinking supplies, too.
Source : GMWatch
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