The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

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EPA Scientists Are Not Dumb

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Their political and industry bosses must have told them what to say. Action Alert!

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a draft report finding that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup weed killer—is not likely to cause cancer in humans.

This finding is preliminary, to be followed by the agency’s final review of glyphosate, which has been delayed until spring of 2017.

The EPA decided to address the potential cancer-causing effects of glyphosate after the United Nations’ International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced last year that the chemical was a “probable carcinogen.”

An “independent” panel of scientists will review the EPA’s report this month. But as our readers know, Monsanto and other biotech giants have so deeply corrupted the science of this issue that finding independent scientists would be a very tough challenge.

Industry and allied “experts” have no doubt pressed EPA for this report because of concern that the chemical might be banned worldwide. But the agency isn’t even addressing all the right questions. Recent research has found that Roundup and other herbicides are up to 1,000 times more toxic than just the headline ingredient itself.

In addition, cancer is just one of the several serious human health concerns with this toxic agent:

  • Glyphosate has been associated with epidemics of kidney failure killing farm workers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
  • We reported recently that glyphosate, because of its similarity in structure to glycine (an essential amino acid), is likely disrupting the synthesis of proteins in the human body, which can lead to all sorts of diseases and health problems.
  • The chemical may be responsible for abnormal rates of birth defects in Hawaii, which is considered “ground zero for experimentation with GE crops.”
  • Glyphosate also inhibits numerous physiological processes in plants including photosynthesis, mineral nutrition, and the synthesis of flavonoids—the compounds in blueberries, grapes, apples, and other fruits that make them healthy—meaning that we may not be getting the nutrients we need from plants that come into contact with the herbicide.
  • Strong evidence also suggests that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, i.e., a chemical than can interfere with our hormone system’s proper functioning. Apart from numerous animal and in vitro studies demonstrating the endocrine disrupting effects of glyphosate, other peer-reviewed research shows that glyphosate disrupts male reproductive functions—decreasing testosterone by as much as 35%.

Let’s also keep in mind that when the EPA okayed glyphosate again in 1993, it relied on the same toxicity studies Monsanto originally submitted. Most of them were done in the 1970s. Most, if not all of them, were done at the notorious Hazleton Laboratories (now Covance). This lab provided the tobacco industry with studies showing that second-hand smoke isn’t harmful to human health.  The list of alleged violations for this lab is long, and includes adding extra animals to experiments, not following scientific protocolsand secretly keeping extra animals off-site.  These, and other violations dating back decades, cast serious doubt on the validity of the toxicity studies done on glyphosate.

It is disappointing that the EPA appears to be covering up for Monsanto, but hardly surprising. Among US political leaders, only Bernie Sanders has not been co-opted by this industry. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have promoted it in return for political support.

Action Alert! Write to your elected officials and tell them to make sure the EPA addresses ALL the relevant questions about the safety of glyphosate. Please send your message immediately.

Take-Action

Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

Frankenbroccoli for Dinner?

FDA Tries to Run Out Clock on Bill to Help Dying Patients

 

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  • Robert Cruder

    The dose that is lethal to 50% of large mammals (LD50) is 3500 mg/kg equivalent to about one-half pound of pure glycophosphate in the average human with symptoms starting at about one ounce.

    Human exposure is in the range of low parts-per-billion which puts it at less than microgram-per-day range for a non-organic diet. Symptoms would start at more than 30 MILLION times the actual exposure.

    Glycine is a very common amino acid. It ranges from 20% of gelatin protein to 16% of legume protein with most people consuming thousands of milligrams per day not including supplements.
    Normal glycine intake of 10-20 grams per day is 10-20 MILLION times glycophosphate intake.

    The European Food Safety Authority and US Environmental Protection Agency found no evidence of toxicity, genetic or carcinogenic effects. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers it “probably carcinogenic in humans” but does not consider dosage or contrary studies. It also did not consider that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999 found far greater toxicity in the surfectant that is added when spraying similar herbicides.

    We have three issues. One is toxicity of the surfectant which can and should be pursued independent of the herbicide since it is used with everything that can be sprayed. The second is environmental effects of all herbicides since decrease in milkweed contributed to an 81% decline in monarchs.

    The third issue, toxicity of glycophosphate itself is scientifically a non-starter and harms the credibility of any person or organization raising it.