Glyphosate, a toxic chemical found in popular weedkiller Roundup, is classed by the World Health Organization as a probable carcinogen. Roundup is commonly used across America in gardens, public parks and for agriculture – but studies have found that one of its ingredients – glyphosate – is dangerous to human health.
According to Ecowatch, glyphosate has been found to be toxic to human cells and associated with numerous diseases and health problems – from Alzheimer’s disease to birth defects and a range of cancers. Yet, despite concerns over exposure to this chemical and studies revealing that glyphosate is present in food and even water – glyphosate is often sprayed on crops just before their harvest.
What is glyphosate?
Glyphosate is a herbicide that is sprayed on crops to reduce the number of undesirable weeds that grow in agricultural fields, as stated by the National Pesticide Information Center. It is non-selective, meaning it is toxic to most plants. Glyphosate is therefore mostly used in combination with Genetically Engineered crops (GE crops) that have been designed to be resistant to this powerful chemical – such as GE corn and wheat.
Roundup is manufactured by giant agribusiness Monsanto, which also produces GE seeds that are able to withstand glyphosate exposure. Phys.org suggests that 88 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is GE, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and that the U.S. market is completely saturated with GE crops.
How does it affect health?
Our DNA is a complex and sensitive thing, composed of nucleic acid which is made up of adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. As reported by GMOEvidence.com, a scientific study of agricultural workers in Brazil who have been exposed to glyphosate showed that they have suffered both DNA damage and elevated levels of cell death as a result.
According to Ecowatch a study of children suffering with brain cancer revealed that if either parent had been exposed to Roundup in the two years before the child’s birth, the chances of that child developing brain cancer doubled. Meanwhile, an animal study of glyphosate exposure shows that glyphosate induces breast cancer cell growth by affecting estrogen receptors, leading to mammary tumors.
A survey of a farming community of 65,000 people in Argentina that is regularly utilizing Roundup, has revealed that cancer rates are two to four times higher than the national average, in particular with relation to breast, prostate and lung cancers.
The state of California has recently moved to classify the herbicide as a “probable carcinogen,” as reported by The Organic and Non-GMO Report.
However, in spite of all these facts, 74 percent of all glyphosate applications since the mid-1970s have happened in the last 10 years and its usage is growing.
Harvesting glyphosate-soaked crops
Glyphosate usage has doubled in the last five years according to GMOEvidence.com, and more than 185 million pounds of Roundup are sprayed on U.S. crops annually. Studies have found that it takes 57 parts per million for glyphosate to completely destroy human kidney cells – however agricultural levels of this chemical are often more than 200 times this amount.
Of particular concern is the use of glyphosate just before harvesting crops such as wheat – also known as desiccating. According to The Organic and Non-GMO Report this is done to completely kill the crop one to two weeks before the harvest, which aids with the drying out of the grain. This pre-harvest spraying means that the level of glyphosate on the wheat is far higher than necessary – or desirable.
In an interview with a Saskatchewan farmer reported on in The Organic and Non-GMO Report, the farmer explains that “consumers don’t realize when they buy wheat products like flour, cookies, and bread they are getting glyphosate residues in those products … It is barbaric to put glyphosate in food a few days before you harvest it.”
All the more reason to give the store-bought “cancer bread” a miss and bake your own bread at home using organic flour – giving you piece of mind that what you’re feeding your family is free of glyphosate.