Glyphosate, a herbicide commonly used in agriculture, has become a contentious topic in recent years. Originally introduced by Monsanto in 1974, glyphosate quickly became the most widely used herbicide in the world due to its effectiveness in killing weeds. However, the glyphosate story is not a simple one. While it was introduced as a boon for farmers looking to keep their crops weed-free, it has also been linked to a variety of health and environmental problems.
For years, glyphosate was considered safe and harmless to humans and the environment. It was touted as a “miracle” chemical that would revolutionize agriculture and help feed the world. However, recent studies have linked glyphosate to a variety of health problems, including cancer, liver disease, and birth defects. In addition, glyphosate is harmful to wildlife, causing significant harm to bee populations and other pollinators.
Glyphosate has also contaminated our food system. Since its introduction, glyphosate use has skyrocketed, with many farmers using it as a pre-harvest desiccant, spraying it directly onto crops to speed up the drying process. As a result, glyphosate residue can be found in many of the foods we eat, including cereals, bread, and even baby food. A recent study found that glyphosate was present in nearly all of the samples of popular oat-based cereals and snacks tested. A recent biomonitoring study by UCSF identified glyphosate in 93% of individuals tested and in 60% of surface water in the Midwest. In some conditions, the herbicide has been found to persist in water and soil for up to a year.
According to As You Sow, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that glyphosate is “unlikely to be carcinogenic;” criticism of the EPA’s methods and integrity is growing. In making its determination that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic, the EPA did not consider the vast majority of academic science and failed to follow its guidelines, according to its advisory panel. Recently unsealed emails raise concerns about conflicts of interest within the highest levels of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.”
“As the use of glyphosate has skyrocketed, weeds have developed resistance, with half of U.S. farms reporting glyphosate-resistant “superweeds.” The response of the highly consolidated seed and pesticide industry has been the introduction of new GE crops that are engineered to be used with glyphosate as well as 2,4-D and dicamba. These herbicides are known to be more toxic and volatile than glyphosate. Monsanto, the firm that sells half of the world’s glyphosate, is strategically focused on continuing to sell GE crops that are to be used with herbicides. Now, the company has merged with Bayer, another major seed and pesticide company, which will further decrease competitiveness in the industry and provide greater synergy with the companies’ pesticide sales.”
The effects of glyphosate on human health are concerning. Numerous studies have linked glyphosate to cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer, and liver cancer. A 2015 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, meaning that there is strong evidence linking it to cancer in humans. In addition, glyphosate has been linked to other health problems, including liver disease, kidney disease, and birth defects.
The impact of glyphosate on the environment is also troubling. Glyphosate is harmful to many species of plants and animals, including bees and other pollinators. It has also been found to be toxic to fish and other aquatic life and can contaminate groundwater, seriously threatening drinking water supplies. In addition, glyphosate has been linked to soil degradation and reduced biodiversity.
So, what can we do to avoid consuming glyphosate? The first step is to choose organic foods whenever possible. Organic foods are not allowed to be treated with glyphosate, so they are a safer choice for those looking to avoid this chemical. In addition, it’s important to avoid processed foods that contain grains or other crops that may have been treated with glyphosate. Reading labels and choosing certified organic products labeled as “glyphosate-free” can help ensure you’re not unknowingly consuming glyphosate. Another option is to grow your own food. By growing your fruits and vegetables, you can ensure that they are not treated with glyphosate. In addition, it’s important to support policies that aim to reduce glyphosate use. This may include supporting organic farming practices and advocating for stricter regulations on the use of pesticides and herbicides. By working to reduce glyphosate use, we can help protect our health and the environment.
Avoiding the consumption of Glyphosate is not enough. Every one of us has been touched by this deadly chemical at some point. Is there a way we could detox ourselves or reduce the impact of it on our bodies? Unfortunately, complete detoxification may not happen. Glyphosate doesn’t leave your body very easily. However, we can consider offsetting some of the potential negative effects of the chemical. We have already established that eating Non-GMO food is necessary. Sweating the toxins out through workouts or sauna, drinking a lot of clean, filtered water, increasing fiber intake, and consuming sulfur-rich cruciferous vegetables, probiotic supplements, and liver-supporting supplements are crucial to detoxification.
Understanding the scope of glyphosate contamination in our food supply is critical to protecting public health, as more scientific evidence continues to link glyphosate with cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma. By demanding accountability and transparency from our food manufacturers, we can all do our bit to help improve food security, safety, and quality. If there is one thing you can choose to do to make the environment safe from Glyphosate this spring, consider boycotting the purchase of Roundup (a glyphosate heavy herbicide used for yards) from big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Sign petitions and spread awareness on this topic. Exercise your rights as a consumer by purchasing safe herbicides or homemade ones. Read more about the obvious dangers of chemical pesticides here.
Blog Image Credit: James Baltz on Unsplash
Written by Kritika Rao