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- Pilot study shows build-up of glyphosate herbicide in Mothers' bodies
- Urine testing shows glyphosate levels over 10 times higher than in Europe
- Initial testing shows Monsanto and Global regulatory bodies are wrong regarding bio-accumulation of glyphosate, leading to serious public health concerns
- Testing commissioners urge USDA and EPA to place temporary ban on all use of Glyphosate-based herbicides to protect public health, until further more comprehensive testing of glyphosate in breast milk is completed.
In the first ever testing on glyphosate herbicide in the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse have found 'high' levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested. The shocking results point to glyphosate levels building up in women's bodies over a period of time, which has until now been refuted by both global regulatory authorities and the biotech industry.
The levels found in the breast milk testing of 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides. They are however less than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S., which was decided upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on the now seemingly false premise that glyphosate was not bio-accumulative.
Glyphosate-containing herbicides are the top-selling herbicides in the world and are sold under trademarks such as Monsanto's 'Roundup'. Monsanto's sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).
The glyphosate testing (1) commissioned by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse also analyzed 35 urine samples and 21 drinking water samples from across the US and found levels in urine that were over 10 times higher than those found in a similar survey done in the EU by Friends of the Earth Europe in 2013.
The initial testing that has been completed at Microbe Inotech Labs, St. Louis, Missouri, is not meant to be a full scientific study. Instead it was set up to inspire and initiate full peer-reviewed scientific studies on glyphosate, by regulatory bodies and independent scientists worldwide.
The initial testing was done using ELISA tests and due to a high minimum detection level in breast milk and urine, it is possible that even those samples which tested negative contained 'worrying' levels of glyphosate.
Moms Across America Founder and Director, Zen Honeycutt, stated Monday, "When I was told by several doctors and labs that I could not test my own or my children's urine for the most widely used herbicide in the world over a year ago, I became determined to find a way. Parents and citizens deserve the ability to be able to take care of themselves and their families by finding out if herbicides could be impacting their health. The purpose of this glyphosate testing project is to shed light upon the presence of glyphosate in our water, children's bodies and mother's breast milk, hopefully inspiring further scientific studies to support the world in being a healthy, safe place to live.
"The mothers tested are mostly familiar with GMOs and glyphosate. Most of them have been trying to avoid GMOs and glyphosate for several months to two years, so the levels of mothers who are not aware of GMOs and glyphosate may be much higher," Honeycutt concluded.
High Glyphosate Levels – Danger for Infants?
There is currently no regulatory limit for the amount of glyphosate in breast milk anywhere in the world. However, the EPA has set a legally enforceable maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate of 700 ug/l in drinking water, which is 7,000 times higher than the MCL in Europe.
Monsanto and regulatory bodies worldwide have based all of their regulations on the assumption that glyphosate is not bio-accumulative. Senior Monsanto scientist, Dan Goldstein, even recently stated (2), "If ingested, glyphosate is excreted rapidly, does not accumulate in body fat or tissues, and does not undergo metabolism in humans. Rather, it is excreted unchanged in the urine."
The discovery of levels of glyphosate in breast milk that are much higher than any reported results for urine samples is a source of concern to both the general public and government regulators worldwide, as the data suggests that glyphosate is bio-accumulative; building up in people's bodies over a period of time.
Earth Open Source Research Director Claire Robinson said, "Regulators and industry always say it is the dose that makes the poison, and even the increasing levels of glyphosate currently found in food and feed and the environment are not a problem. However, that argument only holds true if glyphosate doesn't build up in the human body and is excreted as fast as we take it in. These breast milk results suggest glyphosate may bio-accumulate. That means that our body tissues might be exposed to higher levels than the so-called safe levels set by regulators. So the regulations are not protecting us."
From a total of 10 samples sent in by Mothers from states across the U.S., 3 women had detectable levels of glyphosate in their breast milk. The highest glyphosate level was detected in a mother from Florida (166 ug/l) and the other two mothers with 'positive' results were from Virginia (76 ug/l) and Oregon (99 ug/l).
Dr Angelika Hilbeck, senior scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology in Zurich, stated, "If confirmed in a full investigation, it seems that glyphosate has become a ubiquitous chemical in terms of presence and persistence. This data also offers a first indication of potential accumulation in the human body, giving newborns a substantial dose of synthetic chemicals as a 'gift' for their start into life, with unknown consequences. This is reckless and irresponsible conduct in a democratic society, which still has a living memory of previous reckless chemical contaminations, such as DDT. It seems we either did not learn, or we have forgotten, our lessons from Rachel Carson! (3)"
Jessica M. from Virginia, one of the mothers who tested positive for glyphosate in her breast milk, said, "It is frightening to see any glyphosate in my body, especially in my breast milk that will then contaminate my son's growing body. It's particularly upsetting to test positive for glyphosate because I go to great lengths to eat organic and GMO free. I do not consume any meats or seafood and only very rarely eat dairy. This really shows me, and should show others, just how pervasive this toxin is in our food system."
Honeycutt added, "Moms Across America feels very strongly that breast milk should still be the number one choice for mothers and certainly preferred over GMO soy formula ingredients. We just urge all mothers to eat as organic as possible, especially avoiding meat, dairy, oils and grains that are sprayed with glyphosate at harvest as a drying agent."
"What we have found encouraging is that the women who have been eating organic and non-GMO very strictly, for several months to two years, did not find detectable levels of glyphosate in their breast milk."