Monday, November 14, 2016

Glyphosate (Roundup) Update: Consumer Testing Reveals High Levels (Unsafe?) of Glyphosate in Cheerios (+ More)

While you may be overwhelmed (as I have been) by news from the election this week, there's important news on the glyphosate front this month from three different angles: consumer testing of glyphosate in commonly sold foods, a farm worker study on pesticides and the oral micro biome, and the EPA's recent suspension of glyphosate testing. In today's post, I'll cover the first in that list. 


Huffington Post article by Carey Gillam published today showcases the new study from the Detox Project and Food Democracy Now, released this week, that shows how much glyphosate is contained in popular foods like Cheerios, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Ritz Crackers and - yes - John Stewart's favorite target, the orange-colored, corn-based crispy snacks known as Doritos. You can find news coverage on Sustainable Pulse.

For the full report (which I highly recommend reading and which is the source for the graphics in this post), click here.

You may recall that Moms Across America released preliminary glyphosate test results on 10 bottles of wine earlier this year, showing they contained from 1 to 28 ppb of glyphosate. 

The levels in the current food products study are, overall, much, much higher, ranging from 8 ppb to a high of 1,124 ppb. (It's worth noting that the San Francisco lab the food study used is valid to 5 ppb; the St. Louis lab the wine study used goes down to 1 ppb in sensitivity and is the lab that USDA glyphosate researcher Robert Kremer routinely used over his 17 years of glyphosate research.)

The reason that the food product levels of glyphosate are so much higher is twofold. One is that wheat, oats, and corn fields are now often routinely sprayed with glyphosate (in Roundup) at harvest time as a desiccant, in order to dry out crops. The second is that GMO crops are pummeled with glyphosate - that's the reason they were created - to withstand use of massive amounts of herbicides.

If you want to totally geek out on the best studies to date on dosages and impacts, here's the chart for you. It lists the various studies on allowable daily intake (ADI) from various peer-reviewed research studies.

But to put it in simpler terms, here's what the EU thinks is safe (today) and here's what the US (via the EPA) has set as allowable levels. 

The latest new science calls for a much lower intake than either of these current levels. Scientists who have conducted the latest animal studies are now calling for an intake level that is 12 times lower than the levels in Europe. That is 70 times lower than the current US level.

What this means for wine producers: the public is becoming more glyphosate-aware. Future food studies are going to be released, testing a much broader array of products as citizen activists pick up the ball that the EPA has dropped on glyphosate testing. The Detox Project, with help from UCSF scientists, is currently documenting the levels of glyphosate found in people's urine. 

With a subject as personal as this - what is ingested directly into individuals' intestines - this issue is not going to go away quickly and quietly. The wine industry needs to wake up and address its own glyphosate issues. Consumers may soon find themselves seeking glyphosate free food and wine, and wondering who to go to for the healthiest choices.

Note: For those who are wondering, organic producers do not use glyphosate. 

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