Email from PennPIRG, 2/25/19. Sign petition to USDA here.
We shouldn’t have to worry about probable carcinogens in the food and drink that we buy.
But we detected glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup, in beer and wine. A new report by our sister organization, PennPIRG Education Fund, reveals that 19 out of 20 tested samples — including some organic beer and wine — contained detectable levels of this dangerous chemical.1
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not currently test food and drink for the presence of glyphosate. This is just irresponsible. Tell the USDA to test for glyphosate.
Roundup is dangerously overused. Enough glyphosate is used every year to spray nearly half a pound of this dangerous chemical on every single acre of cultivated land in the world.2
That makes exposure hard to avoid.
Scientists at the World Health Organization have linked glyphosate to cancer.3 It doesn’t belong in the things we eat and drink. But PennPIRG Education Fund detected levels of glyphosate in wine of up to 51 parts per billion.4
While these numbers are below the EPA’s risk tolerances for beverages, at least one previous scientific study found that as little as one part per trillion of glyphosate can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and disrupt the endocrine system.5 One part per trillion is an extremely small amount — equivalent to about one drop of glyphosate in a 43-foot-deep pool covering the area of a football field.6
In light of its probable health risks, the use of Roundup should be banned unless and until it is proven safe. But meanwhile, we can at least test for this dangerous chemical in the products that we eat and drink. Add your name today.
The fact that glyphosate was found in certified organic products shows that even best practices to avoid pesticide exposure on crops may not be enough to keep glyphosate out of our food. Because Roundup is used so ubiquitously, traces of glyphosate have been detected everywhere from breakfast cereal to ice cream.7,8
We simply shouldn’t have to worry that the things we eat and drink are exposing us to probable carcinogens. The USDA already tests for other kinds of pesticides in produce. Tell the USDA: Test for glyphosate on food and drink to protect consumers.
1. Kara Cook, “Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund, February 2019.
2. Charles Benbrook, “Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally,” Environmental Sciences Europe, February 2, 2016.
3. “IARC Monograph on Glyphosate,” International Agency for Research on Cancer / World Health Organization, January 3, 2016.
4. Kara Cook, “Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund, February 2019.
5. S. Thongpraikasong et al., “Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, September 2013.
6. Harriett S. Stubbs, “Parts per Million, Billion, Trillion,” Science Activities, July 30, 2010.
7. “Weed-killing chemical linked to cancer found in some children’s breakfast foods,” CBS News, August 15, 2018.
8. Stephanie Strom, “Traces of Controversial Herbicide Are Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream,” The New York Times, July 25, 2017.
Friends of the Earth, February 5, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Testing released today found store and name brand foods produced and sold by the top four U.S. food retailers, Kroger (NYSE:KR), Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Costco (NYSE:COST) and Albertsons — purchased in 15 cities across the country contain residues of toxic pesticides linked to a range of serious health and environmental problems.
The report found that oat cereals, apples, applesauce, spinach and pinto beans at the retailers contained detectable amounts of glyphosate, organophosphates and neonicotinoids. The average level of glyphosate found in cereal samples (360 parts per billion) was more than twice the level set by scientists at Environmental Working Group for lifetime cancer risk for children. The average level of glyphosate found in pinto beans (509 ppb) was more than 4.5 times the benchmark.*
“Toxic pesticides are showing up in what should be some of the healthiest and most affordable foods supermarkets sell,” said Kendra Klein, PhD, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth. “Children, farmworkers and rural communities are routinely exposed to multiple pesticides linked to cancer, learning disabilities and hormone disruption. This is unacceptable. We’re calling on food retailers to get toxic pesticides out of their supply chains and off store shelves and help make organic food available to all Americans.”
Findings of the food testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth are significant because of the ubiquity of toxic pesticides found in many different types of non-organic foods children eat on a daily basis. Findings include:
Glyphosate, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency, was found on 100% of oat cereal samples and 100% of pinto bean samples tested.
Organophosphates, which are so toxic to children’s developing brains that scientists have called for a complete ban, were found in 100% of applesauce samples, 61% of whole apples and 25% of spinach samples, at levels ranging from 0 to 3.31 nmol/g.
Neonicotinoids, which the European Union has banned due to robust science linking the chemicals to bee die-offs and which have been linked to endocrine disruption and autism spectrum disorder, were found in 80% of spinach and 73% of applesauce samples ranging from 0 to 0.14 nmol/g….
read more at Friends of the Earth
from Food First
Glyphosate is everywhere: in our food, in our water, in our soils.
After her best selling film and book, The World according to Monsanto, award-winning journalist Marie-Monique Robin presents her newest documentary, Roundup Facing Its Judges, covering the devastating impact of glyphosate-based herbicides used around the world. Roundup Facing Its Judges brings us the voices of the workers, farmers, and communities at the forefront of glyphosate exposure to demonstrate the scale of one of the greatest environmental and health scandals in modern history. Filmed throughout the International Monsanto Tribunal held in The Hague, you will also hear from scientists, lawyers, and doctors who reveal evidence of glyphosate’s dangers while also exposing the consequences of agribusiness’ power over our global food system….
read more, view trailer, order book at Food First. Image from trailer:
Glyphosate targets undesired weeds—as well as honeybees
The most widely sprayed herbicide in the world kills honeybees, according to a new report.
Glyphosate, an herbicide and active ingredient in Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) Roundup weed killer, targets enzymes long assumed to be found only in plants. The product is advertised as being innocuous to wildlife. But some bacteria also use this enzyme, including a microbiome found in the intestines of most bees. When pollinators come in contact with glyphosate, the chemical reduces this gut bacteria, leaving bees vulnerable to pathogens and premature death.
“The bee itself has no molecular targets from glyphosate,” Nancy Moran, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin and a coauthor of the study, told Environmental Health News. “But its gut bacteria do have targets.”
Moran and other scientists liken glyphosate exposure to taking too many antibiotics—and upsetting the balance of good bacteria that supports immunity and digestion….
read more at Sierra
from Friends of the Earth, 10/4/18
The USDA tests our food for pesticides to make sure it’s safe for us to eat. But it’s not testing for glyphosate — a.k.a. Monsanto’s Roundup®.
The California Supreme Court recently affirmed that glyphosate is dangerous to humans. The World Health Organization named it as a probable carcinogen. And the EU and Canada are already testing for it in food.
The USDA is dragging its feet on protecting us from this toxic pesticide. We need your help to change that!
The science is clear. Roundup® is terrible for people and the planet. It’s used to douse our food, including common crops like soy and wheat. This toxic pesticide is ending up on our plates and in our bodies.
The amount of Roundup® being used each year has increased significantly. Use jumped from only 11 million pounds in 1987 to nearly 300 million pounds in 2016.
That means Roundup® is sneaking into our food in increasingly dangerous ways. This summer, new tests revealed glyphosate in cereal and granola bars commonly eaten by kids….
read more details and sign here.
by Carey Gillam, The Guardian, 8/11/18
It was a verdict heard around the world. In a stunning blow to one of the world’s largest seed and chemical companies, jurors in San Francisco have told Monsanto it must pay $289m in damages to a man dying of cancer which he claims was caused by exposure to its herbicides.
Monsanto, which became a unit of Bayer AG in June, has spent decades convincing consumers, farmers, politicians and regulators to ignore mounting evidence linking its glyphosate-based herbicides to cancer and other health problems. The company has employed a range of tactics – some drawn from the same playbook used by the tobacco industry in defending the safety of cigarettes – to suppress and manipulate scientific literature, harass journalists and scientists who did not parrot the company’s propaganda, and arm-twist and collude with regulators. Indeed, one of Monsanto’s lead defense attorneys in the San Francisco case was George Lombardi, whose resumé boasts of his work defending big tobacco.
Now, in this one case, through the suffering of one man, Monsanto’s secretive strategies have been laid bare for the world to see. Monsanto was undone by the words of its own scientists, the damning truth illuminated through the company’s emails, internal strategy reports and other communications.
The jury’s verdict found not only that Monsanto’s Roundup and related glyphosate-based brands presented a substantial danger to people using them, but that there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Monsanto’s officials acted with “malice or oppression” in failing to adequately warn of the risks….
read more at The Guardian
Petition from MoveOn
To be delivered to Frank C. Pugh, President, National School Boards Association, All National School Boards Association Board Members
As the organization representing the top decision-makers at U.S. school districts, you have a responsibility to millions of parents and school children to protect children from harm.
In light of the latest evidence that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, the National School Board Association must do these two things:
One, issue a formal policy statement advising all school districts to end the use of Roundup and all toxic agro-chemicals on school grounds.
Two, issue a formal policy statement advising all school districts to revamp their school lunch programs by transitioning to certified organic foods, in order to avoid serving foods contaminated with glyphosate and other pesticides.
On August 10, 2018, a jury awarded $289.2 million to Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper whose job required him to spray Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller on school properties.
Mr. Johnson is terminally ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer linked to the use of Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers.
In the case of Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Co, Johnson’s lawyers argued that Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller caused Mr. Johnson’s cancer. They also presented evidence that Monsanto had known for decades that Roundup could cause cancer, but that company officials intentionally failed to warn consumers about that risk.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Cancer Research classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a “probable” human carcinogen.
On August 15, five days after the verdict in Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Co., California’s Supreme Court rejected Monsanto’s challenge to the state’s decision to list glyphosate as a potential carcinogen under the California’s Proposition 65, a law requiring the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.
In the U.S., more than 26 million pounds of Roundup are sprayed every year on school grounds, public playgrounds and gardens.
Recent testing reveals that glyphosate is present in a multitude of common conventionally grown foods, including those served in school cafeterias.
Toxic poisons have no place in U.S. schools, either on playgrounds or in cafeteria food. Please act immediately to rid schools of Roundup and other toxic chemicals.
Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist, “Weed Killer in $289 Million Cancer Verdict Found in Oat Cereal and Granola Bars,” Environmental Working Group, 8/15/18
By Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist
Popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars come with a hefty dose of the weed-killing poison in Roundup, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG.
Glyphosate, an herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization, was found in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. Almost three-fourths of those samples had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. About one-third of 16 samples made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, all at levels well below EWG’s health benchmark.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer that is the most heavily used pesticide in the U.S. Last week, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a man dying of cancer, which he says was caused by his repeated exposure to large quantities of Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers while working as a school groundskeeper.
EWG tested more than a dozen brands of oat-based foods to give Americans information about dietary exposures that government regulators are keeping secret. In April, internal emails obtained by the nonprofit US Right to Know revealed that the Food and Drug Administration has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and has found “a fair amount,” but the FDA has not released its findings….
Keep reading and see list of oat products with glyphosate content at Environmental Working Group. Short version: avoid non-organic oat products, especially Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and Cheerios.
This article by Stacy Malkan, Huffington Post, 11/28/2017, is pretty shocking even by today’s standards. Some highlights:
Watch out for the Independent Women’s Forum, which despite its name is a front for right-wing causes supported by the Koch Brothers.
“Women can also benefit by ignoring “alarmist” concerns about toxic chemicals, according to an IWF lecture series sponsored by Monsanto.
“Moms who insist on organic food are arrogant, snobby “helicopter parents” who “need to be in control of everything when it comes to their kids, even the way food is grown and treated,” according to Julie Gunlock, director of IWF’s “Culture of Alarmism” project…”
One study cited shows that: “Glyphosate is a clear case of ‘regulatory capture’ by a corporation acting in its own financial interest while serious questions about public health remain in limbo. The record suggests that in 44 years—through eight presidential administrations—EPA management has never attempted to correct the problem. Indeed, the pesticide industry touts its forward-looking, modern technologies as it strives to keep its own research in the closet, and relies on questionable assumptions and outdated methods in regulatory toxicology.”
“The $800 billion chemical industry lavishes money on politicians and lobbies its way out of effective regulation. This has always been a problem, but now the Trump administration has gone so far as to choose chemical industry lobbyists to oversee environmental protections,” according to Nicholas Kristof.
The article presents many more examples of chemical industry malfeasance often covered up by its propaganda arms, sometimes with government collusion, but fortunately revealed by dedicated journalists and researchers.
The bottom line is no surprise: we must exercise constant vigilance and remain informed observers to protect ourselves and others.