Category Archives: Environment

12 Common Triggers Of Autoimmune Disease


Facts of Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune Diseases are something we are hearing more and more about. This is not only an ”American” or ”European” problem anymore. Prevalence has increased exponentially on a global level. Just consider how many times in the past few months you’ve heard a family member or friend complain about some of the symptoms in the infograph below? How many times did these people visit doctors, been referred to specialists, yet still failed to be properly diagnosed?

Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorder

Dr William Cole is an expert in the field and he recently wrote an article for MindBodyGreen about this global explosion of AID. He also explained how one can reverse the multiple symptoms an affected person experiences. In the article below he continues on the subject of AID by discussing 12 triggers of autoimmune disease.

Via MindBodyGreen

”Autoimmune conditions have grown rapidly the over past years, with more than 50 million Americans living with some sort of autoimmune disorder.……………………

………I want to go over the top triggers that can flare up an autoimmune response and cause devastating symptoms in the body.

From full-blown autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s, celiac or Hashimoto’s disease to common “autoimmune spectrum disorders” like acne, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s important to know what the potential “land mines” are that can turn on an inflammatory-immune response in your body:

1. Gluten

The infamous “G” word is a protein that’s found in wheat, barley, spelt, rye and other grains. This protein is linked in many different studies to an increase risk of autoimmunity…….

2. Gluten-free grains

Many people with autoimmune problems already avoid gluten, but still consume foods like corn, oats and rice. As well-intentioned as that decision may be, these grains can be just as damaging as gluten, or even more damaging…………………..

3. Quinoa

A favorite in the health community, pseudo-grains like quinoa are high in proteins called saponins which can damage the gut lining, causing an immune response in the body…………

4. Stress

Stress has many far-reaching effects on your health; one of them is your immune system. Research has found chronic mental stress to be a trigger for autoimmune diseases……………

5. Toxins

Our environment has been bombarded with toxins that were unknown 100 years ago. Studies have shown toxins play a rolein autoimmune cases such as autoimmune thyroiditis.

6. Sugar

It should be no surprise that sugar is on this list, but I’m not just talking about the stereotypical junk food………………….

7. Chocolate

This yummy food can cause a lot of damage to someone living with an autoimmune condition…………….

8. Dairy

Casein, the main protein found in milk and other dairy products, can be a trigger for runaway inflammation in the body………………

9. Nightshades

A plant group that consists of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, goji berries and some spices contains alkaloids in their skin which can cause an inflammatory response in the body………………

10. SIBO

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, occurs when normal bacteria of the microbiome grow from the large intestines where they belong into the small intestines.

11. Weakened microbiome

The majority of your immune system resides in what’s referred to as the microbiome. This highly sophisticated gut ecosystem consists of trillions of bacteria colonies……………….

12. Leaky gut syndrome

Functional medicine considers an increased permeability to the gut lining, or a “leaky gut,” a precursor to autoimmunity………………”

Please click here to read the full article by dr Cole on

Dr Cole also adds that he investigated cases of AID all around the world, ”customizing personalized plans for the individual.”

If you are still wondering what diseases can be considered autoimmune disorders, have a look at the table, compiled by The Richmond Institute, below. It lists some of the most common autoimmune diseases diagnosed by practitioners today.

List of AID's by Richmond Institute

Original article: 12 Common Triggers Of Autoimmune Disease by dr William Cole.



Why Allergies & Autoimmune Diseases Are Skyrocketing

Via @MindBodyGreen


Why Allergies & Autoimmune Diseases Are Skyrocketing

Autoimmune diseases and allergies occur when the immune system attacks the body, as is the case in food allergies, asthma and celiac disease.

But did you know that asthma, allergies and eczema are on the rise in Westernized countries? Or that food allergies more than tripled in the US over the course of a decade? And that developed countries are seeing a sharp increase in autoimmune and allergic diseases?

As just a couple examples of the prevalence of these issues, asthma affects nearly 37% of children in the United Kingdom, and type 1 diabetes rates have increased 23% over an eight-year period.

Isn’t this alarming?

What’s the cause? And, more importantly, what can we do?

Many experts are coming to believe that the underlying cause of the increase in these kinds of disease is the microbiome, your body’s collection of friendly bacteria, also called microflora.

What does that mean in plain terms? It means we’re being exposed to too FEW bacteria.

For example, a recent study found that that infants are much less likely to suffer from allergies if they’re exposed to household bacteria and allergens from rodents, cockroaches and cats during their first year of life.

This may seem strange (and kind of gross), but for years scientists and researchers have hypothesized that the reason allergies and autoimmune diseases are on the rise is because we’re too clean. The “hygiene hypothesis” theorizes that too-clean environments promote allergies and asthma because there’s not enough exposure to various bacteria and allergens in early life.

By contrast, many less wealthy countries (who also tend to have more bacterial and parasitic problems) continue to have much lower rates of all allergic and autoimmune diseases.

Further evidence shows that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates, possibly due to their exposure to bacteria and other microbes.

Of course, the scientific community cannot make any concrete recommendations until further research is done to verify these findings — but I have a personal opinion (based on past science) that I want to share with you.

I think we need to INCREASE the amount of bacteria in our lives, rather than DECREASE.

And I don’t think we have to wait for scientific approval to try these things at home. These tips are especially helpful for those of you who have kids or are planning to get pregnant, but they apply to everyone.

1. Get dirty!

This is especially important for kids. For example, let kids play in dirt and climb a tree. My dream for schools across the world is to create a dirt area that’s protected from pesticides and fertilizers. They should play in this area, or garden, or just sit and read. Same goes for adults.

2. Don’t overclean.

Do you really need to use that antibacterial wipe? Do you really need to sanitize your hands? I practice and recommend that we use antibacterials when there’s an obvious risk of bacterial infections, or contact with bodily fluid or feces. I truly believe that the solution is NOT a sterile (bacteria free) world.

3. Use antibiotics judiciously.

Remember, MOST ear infections, sore throats and colds don’t require antibiotics. I personally stay away from antibiotics for me and my patients as much as possible.

4. Share your food.

Parents’ saliva is actually beneficial to a baby’s microbiome, so share food and water with your child! Of course, skip this practice if you’re sick, but in general it’s a good policy.

5. Check your vitamin D levels.

There’s good evidence that low vitamin D levels are correlated with immune system changes, including more allergies and autoimmune issues.

Your levels are increased by sunlight, foods and supplementation. You want your levels to be between 50-70 ng/ml, ideally.

6. Increase your good bacteria by using probiotics.

Before you run to the store for probiotic supplements, understand that natural probiotics in fermented foods are far superior to taking probiotic supplements.

We, and our children, need to reconnect with dirt. Get out of the house and get dirty. Our health depends on it.

So what do you think? Will you try these things? Any other ideas about how to get more good bacteria into your life?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

About the Author

Amy Shah, M.D. is a displaced New York native who pursued her medical training at Columbia University Medical Center in NY, Beth Israel Deaconness/Harvard Medical School, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Cornell University.

Her goal is to help you combine Eastern, Western, and Internet medicine to achieve a life, and body you love. Join her on her brand new website



Climate change will have broad psychological effects, report finds

@APA @ecoAmerica #MeighenSpeiser #ClimateChange #Environment #HealthImpact

Via Climate change will have broad psychological effects, report finds.

Climate change will have broad psychological effects, report finds

Stress, anxiety, PTSD among likely impacts to overall well-being


Climate change will have significant negative impacts on Americans’ health and psychological well-being, due to an increase in the frequency and severity of climate-related natural disasters and other climate-related changes in the environment and weather. Likely effects, which will increase as climate change’s physical impacts accelerate, include stress, anxiety, depression and a loss of community identity, says a new report from the American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica.

Climate change is also likely to result in an increase in post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions because of the rise in the number and severity of natural disasters, according to the report. Climate change could also lead to increased feelings of loss and helplessness if individuals and communities are forced to relocate.

“The striking thing is how these effects will permeate so many aspects of our daily lives,” said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. “The effects we are likely to see aren’t just trauma from experiencing natural disasters. We can also expect increases in long-term stress and anxiety from the aftermath of disasters, as well as increases in violence and crime rates as a result of higher temperatures or competition for scarce resources.”

The report, which was produced in collaboration with College of Wooster psychology professor Susan Clayton, PhD, Macalester College environmental studies professor Christie Manning, PhD, and ecoAmerica researcher Caroline Hodge, also recommends actions that individuals and communities can take to address the psychological impacts of climate change.

“There are a number of things communities can do to prepare for acute impacts of climate change — such as hurricanes and wildfires — as well as the slowly evolving changes like droughts that permanently and profoundly affect communities,” said Bob Perkowitz, president of ecoAmerica. “Virtually everything a community does to prepare for or help prevent climate change has co-benefits, like increased community cohesion, increased health and well-being, and risk reduction.”

According to the report, certain populations and communities will be especially vulnerable to mental health impacts. Studies have shown that women, children and the elderly are particularly at risk for serious and long-lasting psychological effects. And communities with poor infrastructure may experience worse physical — and consequent psychological — impacts.

The report outlines steps people and communities can take to buffer themselves against psychological and mental health impacts from climate-change related events. One recommendation is for city planners and health officials to put resources toward strengthening collaboration with existing community and social networks, like neighborhood or faith-based groups. These groups can serve as important sources of social support before, during and after disasters.

The report emphasizes that taking steps to prepare for these effects can lead to other benefits, such as stronger community cohesion and reduced disaster risk.

Perkowitz said he hopes the report will deepen public understanding of climate change, and help the communities around the U.S. understand what they need to do to respond. “Some of these psychological impacts are alarming,” he said. “But by carefully planning for these effects, and helping people understand what we can do to move toward climate solutions, we’ll be prepared to meet this challenge and make our country stronger as a result.”

Visit the ecoAmerica website to read the report.

Meighen Speiser can be contacted by email or by phone at (202) 457-1900.

About ecoAmerica

ecoAmerica grows the base of popular support for climate solutions in America with research-driven marketing, partnerships and national programs that connect with Americans’ core values to bring about and support change in personal and civic choices and behaviors. ecoAmerica’s flagship initiative is MomentUs, a new strategic organizing and communications initiative designed to build a game-changing increase in personal and institutional support for climate change solutions. Learn more at the ecoAmerica website.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

#Milkweed Is Essential for #MonarchButterflies Survival @mercola #environment


Click below to read original article by Dr Mercola.

Milkweed Is Essential for Monarch Butterflies’ Survival.


By Dr. Mercola

Each year in late summer and early fall, the monarch butterflies start their migration from the northern parts of the United States and Canada. Most of them fly down toward the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, but not all. Some take other routes, heading toward Florida instead, or the California coast.

At times their ultimate destination may be decided by wind patterns. These black and yellow butterflies can travel as far as 50-100 miles a day, and it can take them as long as two months to complete their southward trek.

Those who successfully make it down south will stay there over the winter, and then head back north again in the spring. As explained in the featured article:1

“During the journey north, monarchs produce four generations. So, a butterfly might get as far as Texas, for example, where it lays eggs and dies. The next generation might get as far as Kansas, the one after that, Minnesota.

In the fall, the migration south begins again. The butterflies in the fourth generation live eight or nine months and can make it as far south as Mexico.”

A large swath of this migratory path runs through the American Corn Belt, where most of the crops grown are now genetically engineered and heavily doused withRoundup. Earlier this year, a number of media reports brought attention to the urgent plight of the monarch butterfly, which is nearing extinction unless action is taken to protect critical plant life, and limits set on the use of toxic agricultural chemicals.

Migrating monarchs are truly amazing. It takes three generations for the migrating monarchs in Mexico to reach the upper US. Then the fourth generation flies back over 2000 miles back to Mexico to start the process all over again.

In 1996, migrating monarchs covered 45 acres of forest in central Mexico, each acre holding an estimated 25 million butterflies.2 In December 2013, the butterflies covered a mere 1.5 acres. In California, the monarch population has dropped by an estimated 80 percent over the past 15 years.3

Milkweed Is Essential for Monarch Survival

If you’re like most people, you might not realize that the monarch butterfly cannot survive without the ample presence of milkweed.4 This perennial plant is the onlyplant on which the monarch will lay its eggs. Once the larvae hatch, the caterpillar eats the plant. Without milkweed along its migratory path, the monarch simply cannot reproduce.

Tragically, a vast majority of the milkweed you’d normally find in fields across the US have been steadily eliminated as farmers have opted to grow genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy.

As more and more land is converted into GE crop fields, where everything except GE plants is killed off by toxic herbicides, important pollinators like bees and butterflies are being decimated. As reported by USA Today:5

“Monarchs are pollinators, which makes them important for plant reproduction. They also share habitat with small birds and animals, which feed larger birds and animals, Taylor said. Monarchs reflect ecosystem health and biodiversity.

‘Monarchs are symbolic of what’s happening on a larger scale,’ [founder and director of Monarch Watch, Chip] Taylor said. ‘You eliminate monarchs, and you eliminate everything else that shares that habitat.'”

homero aridjis

Monarch Decline and Changes in U.S. Agriculture Figures from EH Williams Feb 7. 2014.Decline in monarch overwintering area compared to rise in US acreage planted in corn and rise is usage of glyphosate herbicide. To compare these on a similar scale, the monarch hectares have been multiplied by five, and the glyphosate usage has been divided by two.

Data sources:

Is Your Garden Toxic?

The use of toxic chemicals is certainly not restricted to GE crop fields, and much can be done to protect critical pollinators from extinction by reevaluating the herbicides and pesticides used at home, at work, and around schools and public areas. For example, a pilot study published in 201367 revealed that more than half of garden plants attractive to bees sold at Lowe’s are pre-treated with neurotoxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids, which can be lethal to bees.

These insecticides can weaken the bee’s immune system to the point of failure, permitting secondary infections from parasites, mites, viruses, fungi, and bacteria to take hold. This is one theory explaining the phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), where entire hives die or disappear without a trace, all at once.

Neonicotinoid-treated plants sold at garden centers across the US include tomatoes, squash, salvia, and various flowering plants that are attractive to pollinators. This is no small concern when you consider that bees are absolutely critical for pollinating food crops, and they can collect nectar from miles around their hive. In urban areas, public and private gardens can certainly support or harm bee populations, and without bees, we stand to lose one-third of all fruits, nuts, and vegetables… at least 130 different crop varieties in all. Needless to say, avoiding pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate is important for your own health, too. According to Lisa Archer, director of the Food and Technology Program at Friends of the Earth:8

“Our investigation is the first to show that so called ‘bee-friendly’ garden plants contain pesticides that can poison bees, with no warning to gardeners. Bees are essential to our food system and they are dying at alarming rates. Neonic pesticides are a key part of the problem we can start to fix right now in our own backyards.”

This video may not be available in all countries.

Ending Glyphosate Use Is Critical for All Life on Planet Earth

Besides protecting the monarch butterfly, there are many other reasons to insist on the removal of glyphosate from agricultural use. The documented harmful effects of glyphosate extend not just to critical pollinating insects like bees and butterflies, but also to soil, plant, animal, and human health. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup is doing FAR more harm than anyone ever expected, and it’s time to put on the brakes before it’s too late.

On numerous occasions, I’ve stated that the differences between industrial farming and organic farming, using time-tested all-natural methods, are so vast that the foods produced by the former cannot be equated to the foods produced by the latter. Use of genetically engineered plants only deepens the many problems associated with conventional, chemical-heavy farming. The environmental effects are also 180 degrees opposed, as industrial farming contributes to every form of environmental devastation, while organic farming methods restore the environment and invigorate and support the ecosystem – of which humans are an integral part, I might add.

Many equate modern techniques with “progress,” when in fact most of our technological advancements are now threatening to destroy us right along with the planet as a whole… Think about this: nearly one BILLION pounds of Roundup is used each year for conventional crop production. Knowing what we now know about the toxicity of glyphosate (as well as glyphosate-based formulations that can be even more toxic than glyphosate alone), it’s quite clear we’re well on our way toward disaster.

Genetically engineered (GE) crops are typically the most heavily sprayed, as so-called Roundup Ready crops are designed to withstand otherwise lethal doses of this chemical. The contamination issue is yet another valid reason for avoiding conventionally-grown foods in general, and genetically engineered (GE) foods in particular. And since genetically engineered foods tend to contain far higher levels of contamination, it’s also another reason for labeling foods that contain GE ingredients.

Take Action to Protect Bees and Butterflies

Without doubt, we must take action to protect both bees and monarchs, and there are multiple ways you can do so. First, I urge you to sign the petition created by Friends of the Earth,9 asking the CEO of Lowe’s  to stop selling bee-killing pesticides and neonicotinoid-treated plants. Since this petition was first created, Home Depot has opened up to dialogue on this issue, while Lowe’s has remained resistant.

Another way to make your voice heard is by signing the Center for Food Safety’s petition, urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and President Obama to protect the monarchs’ breeding habitat by halting the approval of Monsanto Roundup Ready™ and other glyphosate-resistant and pesticide-promoting genetically engineered crops. As noted by the Los Angeles Times:10

“Since federal glyphosate rules were last updated a decade ago, its use has spiked tenfold to 182 million pounds a year, largely due to the introduction and popularity of corn and soybeans genetically modified to resist the herbicide…  The tenfold increase in the amount of glyphosate being used corresponds with huge losses of milkweed and the staggering decline of the monarch,” Sylvia Fallon, an NRDC senior scientist, said in an interview. ‘We are seeking new safeguards desperately needed to allow enough milkweed to grow… The good news is that butterflies are resilient and can rebound quickly… All they need is milkweed on which to lay their eggs.'”

Donate Today!

How to Promote Bee and Butterfly Populations from Home

To avoid harming bees and other helpful pollinators that visit your garden, swap out toxic pesticide and lawn chemicals for organic weed and pest control alternatives. Better yet, get rid of your lawn altogether and plant an edible organic garden. Both flower and vegetable gardens provide good honey bee habitats. It’s also recommended to keep a small basin of fresh water in your garden or backyard, as bees actually do get thirsty.

Whatever you choose to grow, please avoid purchasing pesticide-treated plants. Ideally, you’ll want to grow your own pollinator-friendly plants from organic, untreated seed, but if you opt to purchase starter plants, make sure to ask whether or not they’ve been pre-treated with pesticides. To help boost monarch populations specifically, make sure you provide them with a place to reproduce by growing some milkweed in your garden. To get you started, I’m giving away free milkweed seeds with every order placed in my online store, starting today until the seeds run out.

Keep in mind that you also help protect the welfare of honey bees11 every time you shop organic. This way, you can actually “vote” for less pesticides and herbicides with each and every meal you make. Taking bee preservation yet another step further, try your hand at becoming an amateur beekeeper. Having a hive in your garden requires only about an hour of your time per week, benefits your local ecosystem, and you can enjoy your own honey. Even city dwellers are now becoming adept smalltime beekeepers! For more information about bee preservation, the following organizations are a good place to start.

  • Pesticide Action Network Bee Campaign12
  • The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees13
  • American Beekeeping Federation14
  • Help the Honey Bees15

Roundup in Food: Are You Eating This Toxic Contaminant? @mercola #roundup #toxins #contaminant #health #wellbeing

Via http://www.mercola.comRoundup in Food: Are You Eating This Toxic Contaminant?.

Written by Dr. Mercola

In 2009, a French court found Monsanto guilty of lying; falsely advertising itsRoundup herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean.”

We’re now starting to understand just how false such statements are. For example, last summer, a groundbreaking study revealed a previously unknown mechanism of harm from glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

The research showed that glyphosate residues, found in most processed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GE sugar beets, corn, and soy, “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.”

More recently, a Norwegian study published in Food Technology1 found that genetically engineered (GE) soy contains high levels of glyphosate, along with a poorer nutritional profile, leading the researchers to question its quality and safety.

Evidence also suggests glyphosate may be a key player in Argentina’s growing health problems, where birth defects and cancer rates have skyrocketed among GE corn and soya farming communities.

If You Eat Processed Food, You’re Eating Glyphosate

While nearly one billion pounds of glyphosate is doused on both conventional and GE crops worldwide each year, GE crops receive the heaviest amounts. It’s important to realize that processed foods undoubtedly expose you to this toxic contamination, courtesy of the soy and vegetable oil used.2

Ditto for meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as soy is a staple of conventional livestock feed. As noted in the featured article by Rodale News:3

“That herbicide-laced soy winds up in thousands of nonorganic packaged foods and in animal feed for livestock like pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys.

Why is this happening? Genetically engineered crops are manipulated in a way that could never occur in nature so plants like corn, soy, canola, cotton, and sugar beets can withstand high doses of glyphosate-containing herbicides that would normally kill them. The result? Roundup in food that people and farm animals eat.”

Beware: Glyphosate Is a Systemic Contaminant

It’s quite crucial to understand that glyphosate contamination is systemic, meaning it is present in every cell of the plant, from root to tip. It’s not just an issue of topical contamination, as with many other agricultural chemicals sprayed on crops.

Normally, you need to thoroughly wash your produce to remove topical residues, but you simply cannot remove glyphosate from your produce. And neither can food and animal feed manufacturers who use GE ingredients in their products.

This is a major reason for avoiding processed foods, over and beyond the fact that processed foods are less healthy for you from a nutritional standpoint.

Making matters worse, while evidence is piling up showing the hazards of glyphosate on human health, farmers are ramping up their usage of the chemical due to the proliferation of resistant weeds, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently raised the allowable levels of glyphosate in food by significant amounts.4, 5

Allowable levels in oilseed crops such as soy were doubled, from 20 ppm to 40 ppm just lasts summer. It also raised the levels of permissible glyphosate contamination in other foods—many of which were raised to 15-25 times previous levels.

GE Soy Is NOT ‘Substantially Equivalent’ to Non-GE Soy, Researchers Say

The Norwegian study in question investigated contamination levels and nutritional contents of three varieties of Iowa-grown soybeans:6 Roundup Ready soybeans; non-GE, conventional soybeans grown using Roundup herbicide; and organic soybeans, grown without agricultural chemicals.

On average GE soy contained 11.9 parts per million (ppm) of glyphosate. The highest residue level found was 20.1 ppm. Meanwhile, no residues of either kind were found in the conventional non-GE and organic varieties. (Similar results were found in a 2012 nutritional analysis of GE corn, which was found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to none in non-GMO corn.)

Such revelations have serious implications for Americans who eat an average of 193 pounds of genetically engineered foods each year.7 In an article for The Ecologist,8 two of the researchers point out that these levels are actually double, or more, of what Monsanto itself has referred to as “extreme levels:”

“All of the individual samples of GM-soy contained residues of both glyphosate and AMPA, on average 9.0 mg/kg. This amount is greater than is typical for many vitamins.

Monsanto (manufacturer of glyphosate) has claimed that residues of glyphosate in GM soy are lower than in conventional soybeans, where glyphosate residues have been measured up to 16-17 mg/kg (Monsanto 1999).

These residues, found in non-GM plants, likely must have been due to the practice of spraying before harvest (for desiccation).

Another claim of Monsanto’s has been that residue levels of up to 5.6 mg/kg in GM-soy represent ‘…extreme levels, and far higher than those typically found.’ (Monsanto 1999).” [Emphasis mine]

The researchers also found nutritional differences between the three types of soy. Compared to conventionally grown non-GE and GE soy, organic soybeans contained higher levels of protein and zinc, and lower levels of omega-6. According to the authors:9 “This study rejects that GM soy is ‘substantially equivalent’ to non-GM soybeans.”

Toxicity of Roundup Has Been Vastly Underestimated

The Norwegian researchers also point out that the potential toxicity of Roundup has likely been vastly underestimated, as toxicity cannot be attributed solely to the active ingredient, glyphosate.

“When regulatory agencies assess pesticides for safety they invariably test only the claimed active ingredient. Nevertheless, these do not necessarily represent realistic conditions since in practice it is the full, formulated herbicide (there are many Roundup formulations) that is used in the field.Thus, it is relevant to consider, not only the active ingredient, in this case glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA, but also the other compounds present in the herbicide formulation since these enhance toxicity,” they write.10

So, when you see “inert” or “inactive ingredients” listed on the label of a pesticide or herbicide, please understand that all this means is that those ingredients will not harm pests or weeds. This is how federal law classifies “inert” pesticide ingredients.11 It does NOT mean that those ingredients are not harmful to YOU, your children, or your pets.

Indeed, one 2012 study12 revealed that inert ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other added substances are anything but “inactive.” They can, and oftentimes do, contribute to a product’s toxicity in a synergistic manner—even if non-toxic in isolation. Certain adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides were also found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity,” adding to the hazards inherent with glyphosate. It’s well worth noting that, according to the researchers, this cell damage and/or cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control.

They also suspect that Roundup might cause miscarriages and abnormal fetal development by interfering with hormone production13 — problems that have skyrocketed in Argentina, following the introduction of GE soy. A toxic combination of Roundup and fertilizers has also been blamed for tens of thousands of deaths among farmers in Sri Lanka, India, and Central America’s Pacific coastline (El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica).

Birth Malformation Skyrocketing in Agricultural Centers of Argentina

As noted in the featured BBC radio report14 above, Argentina has become one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of GE soy and corn, and along with it, the country has experienced an explosion of miscarriages, fertility problems, and abnormal fetal development. In the province of Chaco, birth defects have quadrupled in the decade following the introduction of GE crops.15

“[T]here is unease across the nation’s vast GM belt, especially about health. In the northern province of Chaco, the minister of Public Health wants an independent commission to investigate cases of cancer and the incidence of children born with disabilities,” BBC reports.16 “Pressly interviews the University of Buenos Aires Dr. Andres Carrasco, who published a study in 2010 showing that glyphosate can cause birth defects in animal embryos.

Pressly asks Carrasco — what should have happened after you published your paper? ‘Very easy,’ Carrasco says. ‘The governments in Argentina — they should call for a moratorium.’ ‘But you then call the whole of the model into question — what does that mean for Argentina’s economy?’ Pressly asks. ‘What about if we are poisoning our people?’ Carrasco asks.”

More than 18 million hectares in Argentina are covered by GE soy, on which more than 300 million liters of pesticides are sprayed. In the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by soy plantations, the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average, courtesy of glyphosate. According to Dr. Medardo Vasquez, a neonatal specialist at the Children’s Hospital in Cordoba, featured in the documentary film People and Power — Argentina: The Bad Seeds:

“I see new-born infants, many of whom are malformed. I have to tell parents that their children are dying because of these agricultural methods. In some areas in Argentina the primary cause of death for children less than one year old is malformations.”

When Food Is Poison…

What the biotech industry, spearheaded by Monsanto, has managed to do is turn food into poison… quite literally, and in more ways than one. Glyphosate, which we now know systemically contaminates the plant and cannot be washed off, has a number of devastating biological effects, including the following:

Nutritional deficiencies, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity—a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut, and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease

Some researchers now believe glyphosate may very well be one of the most important factors in the development of a wide variety of modern diseases and conditions, including but not limited to:

Autism Gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis, and Crohn’s disease Obesity
Allergies Cardiovascular disease Depression
Cancer Infertility Alzheimer’s disease
Parkinson’s disease Multiple sclerosis ALS and more

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from This Systemic Poison

If this isn’t reason enough to become an avid label reader to avoid corn, soy, or sugar beet ingredients, I don’t know what is. Ideally, you’d be best off opting for products bearing the USDA 100% organic label when buying processed foods in order to avoid exposure to agricultural chemicals, which certainly are not limited to Roundup. Don’t make the mistake of confusing the“natural” label with organic standards, however. The “natural” label is not based on any standards and is frequently misused by sellers of GE products.

Growers and manufacturers of organic products bearing the USDA seal, on the other hand, have to meet the strictest standards of any of the currently available organic labels. My personal recommendation is to forgo processed fare altogether. Pick up a good cookbook, and start cooking from scratch using whole organic ingredients instead. This really is the key to optimal health. Meats need to be grass-fed or pastured to make sure the animals were not fed GE corn or soy feed. You’d also be wise to stop using Roundup around your home, where children and pets can come into contact with it simply by walking across the area.

Biological Farming Is the Way Out of This Mess

Last year, I interviewed Dr. Elaine Ingham, an internationally recognized expert on the benefits of sustainable soil science. According to Dr. Ingham and other soil experts, a key component of successful agriculture lies in having the appropriate microbial life in the soil. This includes beneficial species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and earthworms—all of which contribute to plant growth in a number of different ways. The real nutrition plants require is actually derived from these beneficial microorganisms in the soil, which take the mineral material in the soil and convert it into a plant-available form. Without these microbes plants are unable to achieve their maximum genetic potential, which is one of the reasons I am not a fan of hydroponics as it that is really growing with chemicals and no microbes.

Chemical agriculture is an invention that has now been proven unsustainable, and we must make the appropriate changes if we want our descendants to survive on this planet—the situation is becoming that dire. Chemical technology companies have infiltrated and taken over agriculture, and it’s an extremely profitable business. But it’s quite literally making our food toxic; not to mention the fact that agricultural chemicals are also rendering water supplies undrinkable and unsuitable for marine life.

Supporting your local organic farmer is therefore critical both for the environment and your family’s health. Another alternative is to start growing some of your own. Sprouts are an excellent place to start if you’re new to gardening. Adding them to your salad, for example, can significantly boost the nutritional content of your meal. I also encourage you to support any and all state GE labeling initiatives. The chemical biotechnology industry has profited through secrecy long enough; it’s time for them to label their wares. Researchers are saying GE foods are NOT equivalent to non-GE foods; scientific testing bears that out, and we have a right to know what’s what when shopping.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

The food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State–to prevent you from knowing what’s in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference. By boycotting GMA member Traitor Brands, you can help level the playing field, and help take back control of our food supply.

I-522 poster

I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beets, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.

[+] Sources and References