Glyphosate is used primarily on genetically modified crops and can be a factor in the increased prevalence of chronic health conditions, including intestinal cells dysfunction related to neural, thyroid and autoimmune conditions. If you are eating any type of processed or refined foods then you are being exposed to glyphosate.

The World Health Organization and its cancer research branch, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (known as IARC) has noted that glyphosate should be classified as 2A according to their possible carcinogenicity, which means this product is “probably carcinogenic to humans” especially in agricultural exposures according to these organizations. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has classified Roundup and its main compound glyphosate as E for carcinogenicity, meaning it does not pose a risk for cancer whatsoever, but people concerned about their safety, well-being, and nutrition are not so sure. In the United States, there are 73.1 million acres used up and destined for GE crops to which the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given the thumbs up to use Roundup. Glyphosate was the most used herbicide in the United States in 2007 with 180 to 185 million pounds applied.

It is virtually in everything.

The USDA and the EPA, dedicated to assessing and controlling levels of residues of the pesticide permitted in food and allowed levels of tolerance to be increased for commodities such as oilseeds, berries, citrus fruits, root and bulb vegetables and more by this department in 2013 (revise this text, something is missing about or after the “more”). This in request of its producer, Monsanto. Monsanto has been trying to raise tolerance levels of glyphosate since 1996 as noted by the EPA and official documents released with petitions by the seed company, achieving their purpose until 2013. Less than 50 years in the business and this company has already made several attempts to raise tolerance levels in humans in order to increase sales.

“Probably” not carcinogenic is not enough.

People have been growing more concerned about these types of claims which might allow companies in the food industry to continue raising these levels as long as health and food authorities allow them and classify them as safe. Increases in tolerance levels allowed have been of great concern by people looking for foods which are wholesome, natural and do not pose any kind of risk to their health. Although glyphosate has not been officially linked to cancer, uncertainty has never been a good way of living.

Many regulatory authorities and scholarly reviews have evaluated its potential risk and have consistently classified it as safe and even allowed levels to go up without concern for the consumers and their right to information. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has published toxicology reviews since 2013 in which they have claimed “ the available data is contradictory and far from being convincing” while people are getting sick and concerns about the residues in our foods and their potential health risks have been increasing for the past years. There is great awareness being raised by consumers about herbicide companies’ “special agendas” concerning the information published about the safety of this chemical, including risks for cancer like non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A meta-analysis from 2014 has identified a risk for this type of cancer in agricultural workers manipulating and being exposed on a daily basis to Roundup crops in the food industry, information that has not been widely announced.

Then there's the talk about manganese, an often overlooked yet crucial nutrient required in small amounts by our organism. A recent study on cows that were fed GMO RoundUp ready feed revealed a severe depletion of manganese in these animals. A deficiency of this mineral has an association with gut dysbiosis or microbial imbalance in our gut; this has been linked to conditions and diseases of our nervous system, such as autism or Alzheimer´s which have been on the rise for the past few decades as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although this study was not done with humans, we can already see where the tendency is going. This information and more come out on a daily basis and have been raising questions about the safety of the use of this herbicide.

This information and more has been raising doubts about the safety of the use of this herbicide.

For a company such as Monsanto the IARC assessment claiming possible links to cancer in people directly exposed to glyphosate through agricultural practices might be bad news. Their 15.9 billion annual sales might be affected by these claims since RoundUp is one of its best-selling products. Monsanto has a history of rejecting research claiming information being cherry-picked to fit negative results and attack them.

So why would this probable carcinogen label matter to us? Well, roundup is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the U.S. and even though we might not live near a corn or soybean field such as the ones being analyzed, chances are that you are being exposed to Roundup found in water and food on an everyday basis.

We live in a country where precaution is not used as the main principle, instead, government agencies ask whether a given chemical has been proven and is completely certain to cause damage. The job of the FDA should be of seeking prevention instead of damage control. If a chemical has not been known to cause damage, we should not wait until people do become sick. Protection from possible danger apparently is not part of the FDA, USDA, IARC and the WHO´s agenda. The international call for reevaluating the safety of this herbicide has been so far ignored and instead, there has been continued gambling on different mixes of the same herbicides with synergistic effects still unexplored. Safety, unfortunately, does not seem to be a top priority. Rather,it seems like there is a blank space for a disease for you to write your name on it.

We, as consumers should be in charge of our health and if the food industry has not been able to feed us through 100% organic (the natural way), pesticide-free foods guaranteed not to contain chemical, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and more, there should at least be truthful information for the selection and safety of the ones used and consumed by us. It is imperative that organizations and agencies in charge of our health start doing their job of monitoring glyphosate residues in our foods, reevaluating tolerance levels and finding other ways to feed all 320 million of us in the best manner and without any economic or political interests involved. And, this can only happen when consumers like you and me get involved, from opposing against being part of human experiments to helping raise awareness.

Lucia Chavez, CN

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