So after vehement denial of the dangers of glyphosate, the chemical in Round Up pesticide, it is clear that things have started to move on the reduction of Round Up use in Australia. This is great news, but this decision making has been left more to individual councils rather than a government stance to remove the product from shelves.
Recent court settlements in the US have really pushed officials to reconsider the safety of glyphosate use. Recent compensatory awards in the US have been some of the largest in American history, and yet Bayer, the manufacturer of Round Up continue to deny that the product causes harm.
The reason originally given for the safety of this product was that it interfered only with the Shikimate pathway, which is a metabolic pathway in plants, bacteria and other microorganisms. It was therefore deemed that humans did not have this pathway and therefore it was safe for them to use. Immediately, I hope your alarm bells are ringing! Of course we are not bacteria, but we house around 1.5 times more bacterial cells than human cells, in our microbiome. As our microbiome modulates our immunity, as well as so many other processes, it was pretty darned obvious that glyphosate would be very damaging to our health. In fact all the plaintiffs that have so far been granted massive compensation have cancers that are alleged to be caused by glyphosate use.
So apart from boycotting Round Up as your chosen pesticide, what else do you need to look out for?
1. Buy organic. This reduces the likelihood of glyphosate ingestion in all foods
2. Be wary of wheat products. Glyphosate is not just used as a pesticide, it is also used to desiccate or "dry out" wheat and other grains when harvested. Be aware of wheat laden products and be mindful that if they are not organic, they may have traces of glyphosate. This can include products such as medicines and supplements (vitamin C supplements are often made from wheat sources)
3. Do not assume that gluten free breads, pasta and baked goods are off the hook, they still contain other foods from crops also treated with glyphosate, eg. barley.
4. Be wary of cotton products. Cotton crops are also treated with glyphosate. This means that it can be present in clothes and underwear and has been found in tampons. You can buy organic versions.
5. Avoid all crops that are genetically modified. In Australia you can find the list of crops that are GM and what the modification imparts. Shockingly, many of the modifications give rise to glyphosate tolerance, which means the weeds will be killed when the crop is sprayed, but the crop is no affected. However, these "frankenfoods" are of unnatural origin and may already pose a risk to human health as they are genetically different to how these foods appear in nature. This means our bodies do not recognise them in the same way. The added threat of glyphosate makes this threat even worse. Click here for more details on which crops are GM and the effects of modification.
6. Lucerne is a hay grown for cattle feed and is genetically modified to be glyphosate resistant. Does this increase traces of glyphosate in meat? How could it not?
In summary remove all potential glyphosate from your life.......
stop using Round Up pesticide, use
Don't consume Non organic wheat, barley, canola, corn and soy.
Don't use Non organic cotton products, including cotton seed oil and tampons
Don't consume Non organic animal products.