New DIY testing shows your body burden of glyphosate

April 24, 2015 by Staff Reporter

The recent announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) that glyphosate – the most widely used herbicide in the world – is a probable human carcinogen has provoked real concern amongst citizens throughout the world. And so it should.

The evidence suggests that to some extend we are all carrying this ubiquitous pesticide in our bodies. One study conducted in Germany found very high concentrations of glyphosate in every urine sample tested. The amount of glyphosate found in the urine was 5 to 20 times the limit established for drinking water.

Another study found that animals and humans who consume GM foods have extremely high levels of glyphosate in their urine. What’s more, chronically sick people were found to have higher levels than healthy people. As if to underscore the point, the study also found that those who eat primarily organic foods, and animals that are given non-GM feed, have lower levels of glyphosate in their urine.

Yet another study of people’s blood in 18 different countries found that exposure to so-called safe levels of glyphosate had a small but significant negative effects on red blood cells.

Unlike the GM crops that are increasingly adulterating our food supply our bodies are simply not ‘Roundup Ready’.

Animals harmed too

Animals eating glyphosate are also at risk.

In Denmark deformities, sickness and death rates dropped when farmer Ib Pedersen took glyphosate ridden feed away from his pigs.

In another 2013 study in Denmark all cows investigated at eight Danish dairy farms had glyphosate in their urine. Blood testing revealed that the glyphosate was toxic to the normal metabolism of cows.

In addition, the researchers found that levels of the essential trace minerals cobalt and manganese were “much too low in all animals for proper function and immune response (in comparison with reference levels)”.

They speculated that this was a result of glyphosate’s strong chelating (binding) effect on cobalt and manganese in the soil, making these minerals unavailable to plants and, thus to the animals that eat them. Indeed concerns about glyphosate’s effects on the soil and the environment are growing.

Cobalt deficiency in animals can lead to appetite loss, poor growth, wasting, failure to thrive and eventual death, while manganese deficiency can cause birth defects, notably skeletal deformities, and stillborn foetuses.

US Mums taking action

Traces of glyphosate have been found in the breastmilk and urine of American mothers, as well as in their drinking water. The levels in breastmilk in the 2014 survey were worryingly high – around 1,600 times higher than what is allowable in European drinking water. Passed on to babies through breastmilk, or the water used to make formula, this could represent an unacceptable risk to infant health since glyphosate is a suspected hormone disrupter.

Now a unique new project launched in the US this week will allow women in the US and elsewhere to check if there is glyphosate in their urine and water – and soon breastmilk.

According to Henry Rowlands, Director of the Feed the World project, which is sponsoring the testing:

“Glyphosate is the backbone of our current agricultural system that supplies us with toxic food, water and air. We aim to ban glyphosate by allowing the public to inform themselves about what levels of glyphosate are found in their own and their family’s bodies. Feed The World will also give a platform to profitable, agriculture alternatives that allow farmers, businesses and governments to change direction towards a better non-toxic future for our children.”

Breastfeeding still vital

The laboratory doing the testing will eventually offer testing of breastmilk.Should a woman’s test results come back positive this may provoke some to question whether they should continue to breastfeed. The answer is an overwhelming “Yes.” The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be over-stated and switching to formula – even if your local water supply does not have glyphosate in it – it is unlikely to be beneficial because a) formula milk simply does not contain the multiple benefits of breastmilk, and b) the ingredients in formula may come from GM sources and may themselves be adulterated with glyphosate.

If your breastmilk contains glyphosate, changing your diet can help enormously. GMOs are used mainly to produce cheap ingredients for processed foods such as fats and oils and high fructose corn syrup as well as a host of additives and binders. Choosing more fruits, vegetables and wholefoods and organic where your budget permits, as well as cooking from scratch can go a  long way to ‘cleaning up’ your breastmilk and indeed the diet of your entire family.

The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) has much more good information on the importance of breastfeeeding even in – and perhaps especially – in a toxic world.

A Women’s and Children’s Bill of Rights

The validated glyphosate testing method, which is more sensitive than the testing used by the US mums in 2014, and will allow the general public to find out with certainty what levels of glyphosate are found in their bodies and in their tap water.

NGOs and mother bloggers from across the U.S. including the Organic Consumers Association and Mamavation – both signatories to our Letter From America – have already signed up to promote the testing.

The Feed the World project also includes a Women and Children’s Bill of Rights, due to be presented to the US Senate in October calling for a phasing-out and total ban on the sales of glyphosate-based herbicides before the end of 2018. 

In the UK Margaret of Mar, 31st Countess of Mar, member of the House of Lords and long-time campaigner against environmental toxins, stated;

“It is to the women of the world that we must turn if future generations are to be able to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Glyphosate is known to probably cause cancers and other life threatening medical conditions and yet it is to be found everywhere. As individuals we cannot know whether or not we or our children are affected. This remarkable project will enable the women of the world to discover whether glyphosate is in our bodies or water supply; to learn how to avoid further exposures and, finally, to join together to show that we will no longer tolerate glyphosate in our food, water, air.”

Dr. Michael Antoniou, a Molecular Geneticist in London concludes:

“With increasing evidence that glyphosate may be toxic at very low doses through mechanisms such as disruption of endocrine (hormone) systems that in turn can lead to serious illness in all age groups, it is becoming ever more imperative to obtain wide-scale information on the levels of this substance in the human population at large.”