You've probably heard about the couple that won a $2 billion lawsuit against Monsanto because they both got non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after regularly using Round Up (which contains a pesticide called glyphosate). Two other people have won suits for around $80MM for the same cancer developing after long-term use.
So, let's dig into this for a moment.
Maybe you have a bottle of Round Up in the garage. And you think, it's probably ok, because you don't use it all the time like the folks in these Monsanto cases. And you don't put it on anything you would eat!
True, less exposure to anything that is potentially toxic would mean less risk. But do you want any risk?
I don't. I also don't want to support companies like Monsanto.
The problem is, even if every one of us throws out our Round Up and similar pesticides, we're not even coming close to getting glyphosate out of our lives.
Why? Because it's all over the food we eat.
The biggest offenders: wheat, corn, soy, and canola plants.
These crops are modified (in the case of wheat) or genetically modified (in the case of corn, soy, and canola). They are all engineered to be able to withstand glyphosate, which they must use more and more of over time, as the bugs and weeds become resistant to it.
Additionally, glyphosate is often sprayed on wheat (and oats too) before it is harvested because it kills the wheat and helps it dry out more quickly so they can harvest it more quickly.
Glyphosate-based pesticides are also used on other crops.
We can rinse these foods, but pesticides don't readily rinse off. And some research points to it getting embedded into the tissues of plants. You can't see it, but it's there.
If that's not bad enough, glyphosate also kills organisms in the soil, which further deplete it and make it harder for our plants to get nutrients.
While the government has deemed glyphosate safe, the W.H.O.'s cancer research arm and the state of California have classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
It is also a known endocrine disruptor (meaning that it interferes with hormone production) and is linked to birth defects and reproductive problems in animals (in fairness, this has not been proven to be the case in humans).
But perhaps the biggest problem with ingesting pesticides is what it does to our gut.
Studies have shown that even low doses of glyphosate have a profound effect on the abundance and diversity of bacteria in the human gut, and even more so on kids before they hit puberty. In mice, this same effect in the gut has shown to cause depression and anxiety.
The ecosystem within our gut (called the gut microbiome) is the most important component of our immune system. These bacteria in our intestinal tract help us derive nutrients from our food, they help us create hormones and neurotransmitters. When they suffer, our health suffers.
Did you know the most common foods people are sensitive to are wheat, corn, soy, and dairy? Given that dairy cows primarily dine on grains like wheat, soy, and corn -- ask yourself, what do these things have in common? I am not sure if there is a connection. But I sure have wondered if our bodies are creating these sensitivities to get us to stop ingesting pesticides and killing the very important eco-system within us.
Maybe part of the reason most people feel so good when they get off of gluten is that they are also removing a source of glyphosates.
So, what can you do to avoid consuming pesticides?
Avoid modified foods that we know are commonly sprayed with glyphosate like wheat, corn, soy, canola, oats, sorghum.
When you avoid wheat, you'll also avoid bromates used to bleach flour as well synthetic folic acid (which I'll devote another post to soon). When you avoid wheat and other grains, you'll also avoid the molds that commonly grow then when they are stored in silos. Bonus! Because I don't love eating mold either.
For veggies, buy organic when you can. Google the Dirty Dozen for a list of fruits and veggies that are most likely to be sprayed and the clean fifteen, which are considered more ok to buy non-organic.
Use natural oils like Neem on plants or ask your local garden shop for a natural, non-toxic solution. Or pull them out by hand!
We have great power to vote with our wallets. Let's vote for not poisoning ourselves and our planet by coating our food with pesticides. Let's support the farmers who use natural methods to keep their crops healthy, even if it costs a little more. The cost to our health when we don't is far greater.