75 Percent of Rain and Air Samples Contain Roundup Pesticide
Concerned about the presence of pesticides in your food? That’s nothing. It turns out pesticides are just about everywhere at this point. According to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, Roundup herbicide, the weed killer of choice of food giant Monsanto, is present in most air and rainfall. Mmmmmm, poison.
As Green Med Info reports, research to be printed in the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal discovered that traces of Roundup were found in more than 75% of air and rain samples tested in Mississippi. In other words, good luck breathing or drinking water without being exposed to toxic chemicals.
This news is obviously alarming to health-conscious individuals. Smart consumers who have been careful to select organic food to avoid such poisons are actually just as susceptible to contamination in other ways. The fact that Monsanto’s business practice is so pervasive that is impacting the majority of the environment should make this a major issue, yet the company’s clout and ability to mass-produce large quantities of food will probably protect it from having to accept responsibility for the consequences of Roundup.
In recent years, Roundup has been found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Moreover, the prevalent Roundup use has led certain weeds and pest to build up immunity to the toxins. Sadly, Monsanto’s solution is to spray more and stronger pesticides to take out these more advanced crop foes. As a result, we’re trapped in a dangerous cycle that can’t possibly end well.
The health effects of Roundup cannot be understated. Research has linked exposure to the pesticide to Parkinson’s disease and cancers. Laboratory rats that eat Monsanto’s GMO food get tumors and die faster than rats that eat other food. Most children in Argentina where Roundup is used in high concentrations have been found to be in poor health, with 80 percent showing signs of the toxins in their bloodstreams.
Roundup is not alone in threatening public health in this manner. This particular study, as well as others, also identified plenty of other pesticides in the air and water. Unfortunately, these various toxins become more harmful in conjunction with each other.
While we may blame GMO foods for the proliferation of Roundup, it’s become so acceptable from a governmental standpoint that it is even used to kill weeds in Central Park.
Since we can’t exactly give up breathing and drinking, this problem is one that society will have to address as a matter of public safety. Spraying Roundup may have short term economic benefits for one of the world’s largest corporations, but the potential dangers to all living creatures cannot be ignored.
On the heels of recent bee declines, another iconic pollinator, the monarch butterfly, is in serious trouble. Last month, the New York Times reported that the number of monarchs arriving at their ancient overwintering grounds in Mexico has reached the lowest level on record.i
The monarch butterfly’s sharp decline has been linked to massive increases in the planting of GMO crops engineered to tolerate huge doses of Monsanto’s Roundup™ herbicide. These herbicide-tolerant “Roundup Ready” crops have encouraged farmers to use ever-increasing amounts of this weed killer -- virtually wiping out milkweed, the only food young monarchs eat.ii
Over the last decade, the amount of U.S. crops genetically engineered to withstand massive applications of Monsanto’s patented Roundup™ herbicide grew to comprise 83 percent of all corn and 93 percent of soybeans.iii As a result, the use of Roundup skyrocketed and has virtually wiped out the milkweed that once grew among our farm fields.
Monarchs, like bees, are a “canary in the coal mine.” This iconic species is only the tip of the iceberg -- a wide variety of pollinators and other insects, including many that benefit farmers, are also rapidly disappearing, along with the birds, mammals and other predators that feed on them.
Monarchs are the latest and most visible victims of the chemical-intensive, corporate-controlled, GMO-dominated industrial agriculture system that is harming not only these majestic pollinators, but also the health of people and the environment around the world.
For the monarchs,
Lisa Archer and Dana Perls,
Food and Technology program, Friends of the Earth
i. Wines, Michael. “Migration of Monarch Butterflies Shrinks Again Under Inhospitable Conditions,” The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/us/monarch-butterflies-falter-under-extreme-weather.html
ii. Pleasants, J. M. and Oberhauser, K. S. (2013), Milkweed loss in agricultural fields because of herbicide use: effect on the monarch butterfly population. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 6: 135–144. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4598.2012.00196.x
iii. "Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.," United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption
In the Midwest, It's Monarchs Versus Monsanto
The Natural Resources Defense Council is petitioning the EPA to review its glyphosate rules to save the butterflies.
In 1996, orange-and-black-winged monarch butterflies dotted 45 acres of forest in Mexico—the equivalent of 34 football fields. That year saw the largest-ever migration of the insects between the woods of the Sierra Madre and stretches of the United States and Canada. The same year, Monsanto released its first Roundup Ready crop, soybeans, which drastically altered the way farmers could apply herbicides across the Midwest—an important breeding ground for the butterflies.
The population in Mexico covered just 1.65 acres this winter, and that precipitous drop over the past 18 years has environmentalists increasingly worried about corn and soy that’s been genetically modified to withstand glyphosate, the herbicide Monsanto markets as Roundup, and the fate of a plant called milkweed. The weed is the only place where monarchs lay their eggs, and the near eradication of milkweed from agricultural land at the hands of glyphosate-spraying farmers is widely believed to be the reason for the plummeting butterfly numbers.
Now the Natural Resources Defense Council is petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to review its rules for glyphosate use to save the monarchs.
“Their precipitous loss signals a warning about the unintended consequences of our industrial agricultural practices,” Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist at NRDC, said in a release. “We need to act quickly to ensure that future generations will also be able to experience the wonder of the monarch’s migration.”
A 2012 study published by The Royal Entomological Society’s Insect Conservation and Diversity journal found that the amount of milkweed growing in Iowa farm fields declined by 81 percent between 1999 and 2010.
“Given the established dominance of glyphosate-tolerant crop plants and widespread use of glyphosate herbicide, the virtual disappearance of milkweeds from agricultural fields is inevitable,” the study reads. With that loss of habitat, monarchs will never reach their previous numbers, and the authors point out that the new lower populations will be more vulnerable to extreme weather and deforestation at various points along their migration route.
Yet the decline in milkweed growing in Iowa’s woods and ditches and backyards was far less in the same time period: 31 percent over 11 years. It’s on such areas, where crops yields aren’t threatened by milkweed, that the NRDC petition is largely focused. The group is asking the EPA to block the use of herbicides along highways and power-line rights of way, to introduce glyphosate-free zones around farm fields, and to create other habitats where the plant can flourish.
Pulling apart milkweed pods and releasing the cotton-like fluff inside, setting the seeds floating off in the breeze, was just as much a part of my Iowa childhood as watching monarchs flit around the backyard. The corn and soy that dominate there and throughout the Midwest should be able to make way so that the butterflies and the plants that sustain them can remain a part of the landscape.
WOW, this is SHOCKING. When will people wake up and minimize the use of chimicals.
Is it gluten or is it glyphosate?
February 18, 2014
New evidence points to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as the culprit in the rise of gluten intolerance, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. A study just published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Toxicology (Vol. 6(4): 159–184 ) by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff explains how the nearly ubiquitous use of glyphosate as a crop desiccant is entering our food chain and making us ill.
Pre-harvest application of glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980 and its use as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest has since become routine. It is now used on all grain crops, rice, seeds, dried beans and peas, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and sugar beets. According to the Pulse Growers Association in Canada (legume growers), “Desiccants are used worldwide by growers who are producing crops that require 'drying down' to create uniformity of plant material at harvest. These products may also assist in pre-harvest weed control. In Canada, products such as diquat (Reglone) and glyphosate (Roundup) have been used as desiccants in pulse crops in the past, and there are new products on the way. ”
The percentage of the total acreage of wheat in the US treated with glyphosate in 1998 and 2012 is shown in Table 1 (slide show).
Samsel & Seneff state that in 2004 glyphosate was used to treat 13% of the wheat in the UK and by 2006, 94% of UK growers used glyphosate on 40% of cereal and 80% of oilseed crops for weed control or harvest management. According to a 2012 report on glyphosate residues in food in the UK, residues as high as 1.1 parts per million [ppm] were detected in whole wheat flour. Lesser residues were detected in a wide range of breads. Residues of 0.6 ppm were found in dried lentils and peas, 2.7 ppm in dried beans, and 11 ppm in dried chickpeas.
Despite multiple letters and documents submitted in protest, just last July the EPA raised the maximum allowable residues of glyphosate in our food, most likely to accommodate levels already present. Allowed levels for various crops where desiccants are routinely used are shown in Table 2 (slide show).
In 2009 Gasnier et al. published an article in the journal Toxicology citing evidence that glyphosate-based herbicides are endocrine disruptors in human cells. They reported toxic effects to liver cells “at 5 ppm, and the first endocrine disrupting actions at 0.5 ppm.”
Samsel & Seneff have meticulously researched the known (published) effects of glyphosate along with the known (published) pathologies associated with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome. They have identified chemical and biological pathways where glyphosate can be the cause. These are: disruption of the gut bacteria; breakdown in the junctions of the intestinal wall; depletion of vital minerals, vitamins and nutrients; and impairment of cytochrome enzymes that aid the liver in detoxifying environmental toxins, thus multiplying the deleterious effect of other environmental toxins to which we are exposed in increasing amounts.
The increase in the amount of glyphosate applied to wheat correlates with the rise of celiac disease, peritonitis, and deaths due to intestinal infection (see slide show). Samsel and Seneff argue that the increases in these diseases not only have an environmental factor, but not all patient's symptoms are alleviated by eliminating gluten from the diet, which points to another cause.
I haven't had a chance to read the entire paper yet but here's a link to a pdf of it:
Protect Monarchs From Pesticides and GMOs
that could explain why all of a sudden all of my friends are saying they have celiac disease. i kept thinking they were nuts but maybe they are not. i mean they could eat this stuff and have for years and centuries and now all of a sudden they cant
The sad and terrible thing is that these mega corporations make Billions in profits while poisoning us, our environment and our wildlife, the land we depend on, the air we breathe and water we drink and our food sources. Worse, we let them!
Monsanto Company (MON - Analyst Report), an agricultural products manufacturer, has recently announced a quarterly dividend hike. The company will be utilizing its free cash to boost stakeholders’ returns.
The company raised its quarterly dividend by 14.7% to 43 cents (or $1.72 annually) from 37.5 cents a share (or $1.50 annually). The increased dividend will be paid on Oct 25, 2013, to shareholders of record as of Oct 4. This is the fourth dividend hike by Monsanto since 2010, which has resulted in a cumulative increase of roughly 60%.
Monsanto last hiked its quarterly dividend to 37.5 cents from 30 cents in Aug 2012, reflecting an increase of 25%.
Monsanto has been rigorously taking steps to increase shareholders’ values. In June this year, the company announced a $2.0 billion share repurchase program, spread over three years.
The company’s commitment toward increasing shareholders’ returns reflects its free cash flow-generating capability, sound liquidity position and defined future prospects.
Monsanto boasts a strong balance sheet, with cash and cash equivalents of $2.9 billion, exiting the third quarter of fiscal 2013. The company expects to generate high cash flow of $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion for full fiscal 2013.
Looking ahead, the company remains confident of its growth potential, suggesting enhanced value for shareholders.
We expect Monsanto to benefit from the rise in the corn seed portfolio pricing in fiscal 2014, leading to higher revenues.
Monsanto currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
I am 100% convinced, now that I've formed an allergy to products containing wheat, that my prolific use of Roundup throughout the years of keeping the perfect manicured landscape at homes I've owned, that Roundup was at fault.
I read a study just this week linking the use of Roundup to wheat allergies and the rise thereof.
All of the pesticides we use here in the VI, Roundup included, which is sold at Home Depot stores runs into our bays and ocean.
It booggles the mind that these corporations like Monsanto would continue to put profit$ over people's health and the health of our fragile eco-system and planet. Eventually they'll end up killing off their own shareholders and us in the process.