The longer you live, the more apparent it becomes that man is his own worst enemy. Some, through greed, lust, or an overpowering need to control everything, present the world with danger through hidden agendas disguised as benefits. Others and this would be the majority, are so busy specializing or being entertained that they are totally unaware of what is really happening to them or around them. They have better things to do.

Failure to pay attention bears a price. What you don’t know can be harmful. Like this fact: it’s okay with the EPA if you ingest glyphosate, as long as it’s not a lethal dose.

The active ingredient in Monsanto’s non-selective weed killer Roundup is government-approved as an acceptable part of your daily diet. The stuff is in everything you eat and drink. Don’t breathe a sigh of relief because you’re only eating organic foods. You haven’t escaped. No one can.

Potomac Fish Tumors: 2006
Glyphosate – the most used herbicide in the world – is in the air, the soil, rain, snow, and the water supply. The Potomac River, the source of tap water for 3 million people, contains alarming levels of this chemical.[1] The ill-health of the fish in the Potomac has the EPA seriously concerned. Farm and residential runoff are causing large tumors in catfish and carp – the same results reported in glyphosate lab tests with rats. There is also gender-bending male bass in the river and the bay carrying eggs in their testicles.

Contamination is found in well and city water all over the place. On April 12, 2013, the U.S. Geological Service published a report that glyphosate had been found in 51 streams over a 9 state area of the Midwest – an increase from just a few years ago.[2] Both the active and degraded forms of this chemical are found in surface water, municipal water, well water and no doubt bottled water too. A situation that is increasing, and will continue to do so with higher agricultural use for no-till and Roundup Ready crop production, along with use for residential, commercial, municipal, and public land maintenance. Testing for glyphosate in wells is sporadic, but water departments do this every year.

Less Toxic Than Aspirin

In the 1980s regulations for the allowable residual levels in food crops for animals or humans was close to non-existent. Glyphosate was then deemed not harmful at 0.02 ppm on fruits, vegetables, and meats, but grains being a larger part of the human diet, they set at 0.01 ppm. The original list contained 50 crops consumed by animals and people. Roundup Ready soybeans came out in 1996 and the allowable levels went up the following year, as did the number of foods listed. These changes were just in time to welcome Roundup Ready canola and prepare for corn the following year. Levels were again increased in 2001 with over 100 foods and fodder crops now on the list. Sugar beets and alfalfa joined the glyphosate tolerant crop array in 2005.

Soybeans have had an allowable 20 ppm of glyphosate since 1996 – a major part of infant formulas and people’s diets. Some other alarming acceptable ppm: sunflower seeds – 85, molasses – 30, instant tea – 5, dried peas – 8… the list in the Federal Register is lengthy.[3] The ruling applies to ag producers, food manufacturers, and chemical companies alike.

As of May 1, 2013, they have once again increased the allowable levels of glyphosate on your plate.[4] Why would they do this? Simple. Monsanto petitioned for it. No one protested. There will be more glyphosate in your food effective immediately, at rates set by Monsanto to agree with those filed in their petition. The EPA did not request any second opinions.

Should you be concerned? Definitely. Glyphosate-herbicides aren’t as safe as they prefer you to believe. There are plenty of independent studies done outside the United States that have reported the dangers in medical and science journals. When it comes to the USDA, EPA, and FDA, the wording is more important than realities, and there’s a revolving door between the government, these organizations, and Monsanto.

Furthermore, if GMOs and Roundup Ready crops were truly so wonderful, there would not be such an issue identifying them on food labeling, and no labs wouldn’t have failed to report a high number of lab animal deaths, falsified data in reports, or been found guilty of tampering with glyphosate test records. The idea that non-GMO crops make food more expensive is ridiculous. Roundup Ready crops need more chemicals than standard varieties. Plus, the cost of production is higher, the seed is more expensive and cannot be saved, weeds are becoming immune to Roundup, and plant diseases have increased. That’s okay though, Monsanto sells a cure for every one of these issues.

The reason we have Roundup Ready crops is to guarantee that farmers buy Roundup brand weed-killer. Any other glyphosate-based herbicide will kill every plant because right along with the herbicide resistor, Roundup has something the knockoffs lack. It has nothing to do with feeding the world, it is all about corporate profit and global market monopolization

Monsanto has never conducted any testing that would provide the real results of humans having a continual exposure to Roundup or glyphosate, and consuming both from birth to old age. Findings reported are vague, and even use assumptions. Carcinogenic testing has never been carried out conclusively. The EPA states that “glyphosate presents a reasonable risk to human health.” If you’re going to risk your health, shouldn’t this be elective, not forced upon you? Nothing like being a lab rat in Monsanto’s world.

Alarming Results - GM Corn Fed Rats (Credit: AFP Photo / Criigen)

Like it or not – we’ve been eating and drinking residual Roundup, and genetically modified organisms for decades. The worst glyphosate accumulations will have taken place since the 1996 harvest of amalgamated soybeans. A number of glyphosate herbicides applied annually have tripled since 1997, and it’s not just Roundup. Monsanto’s patent ended in 2000, opening the doors for all ag chemical companies to produce their own version. See why it is so important that the world grows Roundup Ready crops?

A Jug of Magic Tricks

Farm and residential use of glyphosate herbicides now exceed 185 million pounds annually in the U.S. The worldwide tally in 2010 was 0.6 million metric tons – expected to hit 1.35 million metric tons by 2017.

It’s not all being used for killing weeds either. There is this practice called ‘crop desiccation’ recommended by Monsanto to get your harvest in earlier with the help of their miracle weed killer. How does that work? Spraying Roundup on grain fields at harvest time dries out plants so the seed is uniformly low in moisture content. The only grains farmers won’t do this with are barley and rye because it’s unsellable, breweries and distilleries will not accept it. However, just fine for food manufacturers, and it’s done to all other cereal crops.

Granted there are problems when a farmer’s grain has too high of a moisture level. Many are the field left standing late fall or early winter because the grain isn’t dry enough yet. This desiccation isn’t practiced with just Roundup Ready varieties. It doesn’t matter at this point that the plant will quickly die, it’s done its job. The purpose is to dry up the green matter, and getting the harvest to market takes precedence.

With the erratic weather seen globally, more and more farmers have turned to Roundup crop desiccation. Not only does this increase the use of chemicals, it leaves a fresh dose of glyphosate and POE destined – straight for your plate. What’s POE? Keep reading. The worst is yet to come.

Roundup More Toxic

There’s a lot more to be concerned over with the use of Roundup and rival brands of glyphosate-based herbicides than the active ingredient. Glyphosate is only 41% of the ingredients. Another 15% of the liquid is a surfactant or adjuvant. A surfactant or sticker is necessary to make sure that the glyphosate remains on the leaf surface to allow penetration for plant absorption. There are other surfactants that could be used, but most brands of glyphosate-based weed killer contain a chemical known as POE. Furthermore, the surfactant presence makes little sense as the label directions recommend you add a surfactant to the spray tank. Inexpensive liquid dishwashing soap does the trick, though farmers and most landscapers use Monsanto recommended chemical surfactant additives.

POEs are 3 times more toxic than glyphosate. Monsanto and the EPA do not address the POEA in Roundup, though it kills amphibians, beneficial insects (freshly dried), fish (10 ppm) and mycorrhizal fungi (1 ppm). This isn’t news to Monsanto, they’ve been aware of this stuff for years. They’ll sell you a chemical fix for each imbalance created by the stuff in that Roundup you sprayed, just as long as you don’t want to revive the frogs, the good bugs, or the fish.

There have been many studies and tests conducted on glyphosate over the years, and a number of tests on POE. However, this is incomplete toxicology, making accurate outcomes from exposure to a pesticide or other chemical product impossible. Testing of Roundup the product is rare, and the findings are that mixing these two chemicals together gives you a substance that is 3 times more toxic than either of them alone.

Roundup Is Temporary

Resident Evil
Monsanto claims that glyphosate breaks down within a couple of days. This is only a half-truth, a use of ‘preferred’ words. Glyphosate degrades quickly; sometimes in 3-5 days like the label says. However, it metabolizes into aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) with the same toxicity, which degrades far slower. Soil studies in forests and farmland in the U.S., Canada, and other countries show AMPA contamination remains up to 3 years after one application.

Glyphosate can also desorb – become highly mobile in fertilized soil, [5] leading to damage in plants not sprayed, along with runoff into wells, reservoirs, lakes, rivers and streams. Most Roundup use each year are farmland and landscaping applications. Annual glyphosate herbicide use tonnage does leach into other areas, and the volume entering the water could be phenomenal. Especially with early season and desiccation applications being done during wet seasons.

No regulations exist for testing residual glyphosate or POE before turning Roundup Ready or Roundup-treated harvests into food for human consumption. Furthermore, Monsanto orders, pays for and controls all ‘credible’ testing. Much discrediting of independent study results takes place. The chemical giant and the scientists on its dole prefer that you believe that Roundup is less toxic than aspirin, and perfectly harmless when applied properly. The truth is that the effects can be delayed up to 40 years.

New Toxicity Discoveries

Independent scientists, Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff of MIT, found that glyphosate is harmful to humans and animals, and present in sugar, soy, corn and wheat… it’s in everything we eat. How could it not be when over 80% of sugar beets, corn, soy and wheat grown are Roundup Ready varieties? Monsanto maintains that there is no way the chemical presents a health threat to humans and animals because mammals lack the shikimate pathway.

Plants and people or mammals are decidedly different, but glyphosate attacks and destroys the bacteria and enzymes inside humans and animals, disrupting the natural mechanisms in the gut. It is also not true that the body evacuates all the ingested residues… only 97.5% of it. One percent gets deposited in bones via the bloodstream, and over time it builds up. So where does the other 1.5% inside your body go?

Glyphosate disrupts the order of things internally, and in humans and animals this is ‘the pathway to modern disease.’ Samsel’s study has linked the active ingredient in food to depression, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, liver diseases, obesity, digestive issues, and cancer, among others.[6] Samsel determined that the glyphosate that doesn’t vacate the human body hangs in the gut causing all kinds of problems.

Independent testing results by the Semineli group at University of Caen in France published in a peer review paper in the Toxicology journal that proves that glyphosate herbicides are highly toxic, as well as killing cells in both animal and humans.[7] Not the active, but the inert ingredients. All pesticides contain an adjuvant or surfactant that helps the active ingredient stick to leaves so it is effective. In Roundup and its replication brands of broad spectrum herbicides, they use POE adjuvants. The surfactant presents 15% of the formula and is found to cause placental damage at only 1-3 ppm – the allowable levels approved for the food system.[8] The effects increased the longer the cells were in contact with Roundup. Most fruits and vegetables are allowed to contain 2-3 ppm of glyphosate by regulation, and right along with it, POE is present.

Semineli tested fourteen brands of these herbicides, and all of them were highly toxic. Naturally, Monsanto and the entire chemical industry has been well aware of POEs’ toxicity since at least the late 1980s when scientists in Japan found it was lethal to fish. Incidentally, there are forms of glyphosate herbicide made by Monsanto approved for use in water to control aquatic weeds. Some of them also contain a POE and do kill fish when used as directed.

Another study conducted in Quebec during 2011 and published in the Reproductive Toxicology journal found that glyphosate and the Bt toxin (Cry1Ab toxin) used in creating Roundup Ready corn seed were present in fetal and maternal blood, as well as that of women who were not pregnant. They discovered that the Bt-toxin damages the unborn babies’ kidneys and combined with Roundup, it can delay apoptosis and promote kidney cancer.[9] Roundup Ready corn is in all processed foods. Wherever you see hydrogenated corn syrup in the ingredients, Bt-toxin will be in it too.

Food Labeling Laws

Is it any wonder why Monsanto spent $45 million to defeat Proposal 37 in California? Similar extravagant protests will erupt anywhere consumers demand that proper food labeling is on everything. If more people were aware of everything that is wrong with the food they’re eating, no amount of money would convince them to blindly go along with corporate desires. But they aren’t paying attention. They’re unaware that what you really need to know won’t be aired on the evening news.

Add the still unknown outcome of growing Monsanto’s GM crops near real food, organic crops, and natural areas. Aside from the environment, biodiversity, and natural or heirloom plant type preservation, being forced to consume genetically engineered foods for many years will no doubt present us with experiences we could all have done without. Testing is incomplete, inconclusive, and now deemed worthless, and GM crops do not increase yields either. With the signing of the Monsanto Protection Act, not even the legal system can protect us from them.

The only goal here is profit and power, not the cure for hunger or helping farmers. There is no shortage of food, though there is a gross economic imbalance that disallows many the means to purchase food. Remember DDT, Agent Orange, aspartame, rBGH, and PCBs? More is sure to follow, and the only thing it will sustain is corporate profit.

Ignorance is only temporary bliss. There’s a lot more to know. Read the documents referenced in this article, and the other resources listed below. Don’t stop there, Google has more.

FOOTNOTES
[1] http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/edcs_bass_nests.html
[2] http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/glyphosate02.html
[3] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2012-title40-vol25/pdf/CFR-2012-title40-vol25-sec180-364.pdf
[4] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-01/pdf/2013-10316.pdf
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18576216
[6] http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416/pdf
[7] http://gmoseralini.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2012.-Mesnage-et-al.-Ethoxylated-adjuvants-of-glyphosate-based-herbicides-are-active-principles-of-human-cell-toxicity.pdf
[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257596/
[9] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623811000566

OTHER RESOURCES
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/14/us-usa-gmo-report-idUSBRE94D0IL20130514
http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/glyphosate.cfm
http://www.egeis.org/cd-info/WRC-report-UC7374-July-2007-Removal-of-glyphosate-and-AMPA-by-water-treatment.pdf
http://www.rag.org.au/modifiedfoods/rounduphealthissues.htm
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300483X12003459
http://www.ensser.org/democratising-science-decision-making/ensser-comments-on-seralini-study/
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512008149
http://www.alternet.org/activism/exposed-monsantos-chemical-war-against-indigenous-hawaiians
http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/52-2013/14654-roundup-more-toxic-than-officially-declared-new-study

Tammy Clayton

Content crafter and Senior Editor at Garden Culture Magazine
Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home. (Some feel she's got a perennial obsession, others say the problem is tomato plants.)

If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.