How extensive is the threat from weed killers

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Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the Monsanto Company's Roundup Ready range of weed killer products. It is a poison used in and on the plants we grow for food and animal feed. The important questions are how much is used, does it get into our bodies and how can it harm us?

In the United States, between 1974 and 2014, there's been a 250 fold increase in use from 0.4 million kilograms to 113 million kilograms. Today that use continues to increase. The increase is worldwide.

There are three major factors driving this increase: More and more genetically modified foods, and weeds that have adapted and are more resistant and thus require higher doses.The classic case is pigweed. It is increasingly glyphosate resistant. It can grow 3 inches a day, reaching heights of up to 7 feet. It has already invaded 90 million acres of American cropland. The response is to increase the dose.

The third factor is that besides it being used to grow crops it is also now used to kill some crops like peas, oats, wheat and barley. The goal is to spray the weed killer three to eight days prior to harvest to prevent sprouting. This puts glyphosate directly into the food supply.

Does it get into our bodies? Yes.

Testing by both private and public researchers show glyphosate residues in bagels, honey, oatmeal, eggs, flour, cookies, cereal and cereal bars, soy sauce, beer and infant formula."

An Indiana study that tested pregnant women and found that more than 90 percent had it in their urine. A 2015 U.S. study projected, from random testing, that 93 percent of the American public has glyphosate in their urine.

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A similar study in Europe showed 44 percent of city dwellers in 18 European countries had urine that contained glyphosate.

What's the danger to us?

Glyphosate is a threat and additives to enhance the toxicity by enabling it to penetrate into tissue is bad for adult consumption and worse for children. Children's capacity to detoxify and process chemicals is very limited and the effect of glyphosate on rapidly growing cells is potentially profoundly damaging."

In vitro human endocrine studies show that glyphosate augments the growth of breast cancer cells, it's toxic to human embryonic cells and placental cells, it promotes non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Another example is the recent explosion of what is now called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (cirrhosis) especially among children. Research at Oxford University and at the University of California at San Francisco, using glyphosate doses that were 437,500 times below the U.S. permitted levels provides for the first time a causative link between glyphosate and a serious disease.

Know what's in the food you buy and know the poisons being put on your lawns, gardens, school playgrounds and parks.

"Glyphosate is the DDT of the 21st century," said Dan Huber professor of plant pathology at Perdue University. "When future historians write about our time, and about our use of glyphosate, they're going to write about our willingness to sacrifice our children, and to jeopardize the very basis of our existence and the sustainability of our agriculture."

This article is provided as part of Healthy Environment-Healthy Kids, and ongoing educational project of Transition Town Manchester.


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