Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Glyphosate in Our Breakfast Cereal-Should We Be Concerned?
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Local elk have yet to weigh in on the glysophate debate—it would be interesting to know if they register as much sensitivity as goats. But they don’t seem picky when it comes to eating whatever Sun Valley residents have in their yards.
 
Monday, April 15, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

We’ve all seen the headlines: “The Weedkiller in our Food is Killing Us.” “Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine.” “Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells”

Big Chief Organic’s Bill Pereira has seen them and they worry him.

The Bellevue man stood up Thursday night at a Policy Pub on “The Future of Food” held in Ketchum and listed some of the countries and cities taking steps to ban glyphosate.

“Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Vietnam, Scotland…” he rattled off. “Tucson, Ariz., Berkeley and Long Beach, Calif. …”

Then he asked whether the Sun Valley Institute might initiate a ban on glyphosate in Blaine County.

Such a ban would have to go beyond one county to have much effect, cautioned Fred Brossy of Ernie’s Organics. Its use is so ubiquitous it’s even showing up in organic foods, he added.

Indeed, glyphosate—found in Roundup—is the world’s most used herbicide. More than 18.9 billion pounds of the stuff has been used worldwide since a chemist with Monsanto registered it as a broad-spectrum herbicide in 1974.

“That’s a lot of chemical,” says Don Morishita, a professor of weed science and superintendent of the University of Idaho Kimberly Research and Extension Center. “So, it’s not surprising residues are showing up in our food.”

Various studies have purported that glyphosate contributes to Alzheimer’s, autism, diabetes, depression, heart disease, colitis, gluten intolerance, Parkinson’s Disease, obesity and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, among other things.

But Morishita cautions that the herbicide may not be the bogeyman everyone is making it out to be.

Morishita told about 75 landscapers, ranchers and others attending the Annual Spring Landscape & Weed Management Workshop sponsored by the ERC, Wood River Land Trust and Blaine County last week that the scathing headlines are only part of the story.

Put in perspective, the lethal dose of glyphosate for people is 5,600 parts per million. In contrast, the lethal dose for Vitamin D is 10 parts per million;  acetaminophen, 1,944 parts per million; baking soda, 4,220 parts per million; sugar, 30,000 parts per million; orange juice, 12,000 parts per million, and salt, 3,000 parts per million.

“For me, a 175-pound man, I would need to drink 28 ounces of Roundup to get a lethal dose,” said Morishita.

Hairdressers and barbers are at greater risk from the products they use than those using glyphosate, said Morishita. So are those consuming hot beverages over 149 degrees Fahrenheit.

Glyphosate presents the same cancer risk as red meat, coffee, wine, burning wood, working the graveyard shift and the emissions from frying, according to scientific groupings, he added.

Alcoholic beverages, wood and leather dust, diesel engine exhaust, processed meat, outdoor air pollution, solar radiation and even tamoxifen, which is used to treat breast cancer, pose a higher risk, according to those groupings.

As for the beer in those glyphosate studies? China’s Tsingtao Beer contains 49.7 parts per billion of glysophate; Coors Light, 31.1 parts per billion, and Stella Artois Cidre, 9.1 parts per billion. No glyphosate was found in Peak Organic IPA.

Sutter Home Merlot contained just over 50 parts per billion, while organic wines tested contained just a few parts per billion.

You would have to drink 140 bottles of beer a day, even with the Chinese beer, to exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines on the amount of glyphosate you can safely consume, Morishita said.

Morishita cautioned attendees to take a closer look at the studies making headlines.

For instance, the incidence of thyroid cancer parallels the rise in the use of on corn and soybeans. Ditto for renal disease, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. But, deaths from prostate cancer have decreased as the use of glyphosate has gone up. And autism diagnoses have increased as organic food sales have increased.

“This shows how we can misuse correlations,” Morishita said.

The National Institutes of Health launched an Agricultural Health Study in the 1990s to see whether  pesticides cause illness. The study surveyed 57,310 pesticide applicators, 44,932 of whom used glyphosate.

The study showed no association between the use of glyphosate and overall cancer rates, including Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

But a University of Washington study used data from that study to conclude that 2.8 percent of those who used the most glyphosate developed cancer—an .8 percent increase over the others.

“Glyphosate Weed Killers Increase Cancer Risk by 41%,” said the headlines.

Those findings were criticized by the Genetic Literacy Project in February 2019, which noted that researchers had taken a small sampling and indicated that its conclusions were applicable to everyone.

Morishita said he hasn’t found conclusive evidence that glyphosate is a carcinogen. An epidemiologist at Boise State University who is embarking on a new study says the biggest concern right now is how many places it’s showing up, indicating that it would be helpful to limit its use.

“It’s still important to treat it and other pesticides with care for personal safety,” Morishita said. “I live in Twin Falls and I cringe when I drive down the street and see someone wearing flip flops and shorts squirting Roundup. I rarely recommend it to homeowners because it kills everything. But, if you use it, follow the label and wear protective clothing!”

MORE GLYPHOSATE FINDINGS OFFERED BY DON MORISHITA:

  • Far less glyphosate is used west of the Rocky Mountains. The highest uses are in the cotton belt along the Mississippi River, in Florida and in the farm states just south of the Great Lakes.
  • Glyphosate was tested on rats and mice with variable results. Goats are more sensitive than either.
  • It’s a myth that glyphosate kills microorganisms in the soil. Glyphosate has a half-life that ranges from a few days to nine months depending on the soil and environment. It has been known to become inactive when it comes into contact with the soil.
  • Some weeds have grown resistant to glyphosate, but Morishita said he hasn’t seen any of those in Idaho. That’s in part because Idaho farmers do a good job of rotating crops contrasted with areas in the Midwest and South where farmers plant corn every year or, perhaps, corn, then cotton, then corn, then cotton.
  • Glyphosate doesn’t accumulate in the body—the kidneys excrete it.
  • Glyphosate does contribute to manganese deficiency in soybeans, but it has not caused a micro-nutrient deficiency in sugar beets, corn or alfalfa.

WANT A THOUGHTFUL WEBSITE FOCUSING ON HEALTH?

Try www.sciencebasedmedicine.org.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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