As recently discussed on Dr. Mercola’s website (http://articles.mercola.com), glyphosate (Round Up) use continues to grow. Some have hypothesized that Round Up is the cause of the rapid increase in the number of people who cannot tolerate wheat, a major component of the US diet. Readers may recall that the main reason for having GMO crops is so that they can survive the application of the herbicide (plant killer) Round Up, used to control weeds. How can Round Up poisoning be the cause of wheat intolerance when there is no GMO wheat in commerce? This is made possible to the rapidly increasing use of Round Up as a harvesting aide. Round up makes plants die quickly and when the wheat plants die, the wheat seeds are more easily harvested. In other words, Round Up is sprayed only days before harvesting.
Thanks to the efforts of various public interest groups, many people are now aware that most US corn and soy are genetically engineered, as are many other crops. Although many people now avoid corn and soy products, corn and soy are major components of animal feed and animals tend to accumulate toxins, thereby providing much higher concentrations in their flesh. Are those who avoid foods made with corn and soy savvy enough to avoid meat products from animals fed with corn and soy? Who is able to identify the other crops that are being replaced by GMO cousins without considerable effort?
What contains wheat? Most breads, cakes, cookies, pasta, breakfast cereals, pizza crusts, pie crusts, crackers, breaded foods, and ice cream cones. One way to avoid wheat in these foods is to buy the more expensive gluten-free products. One might expect whole wheat products (which contain the outer portion of the seed) to contain more Round Up than the refined wheat. Another way to avoid Round Up is to buy only organic products. Organic farms do not use Round Up in any stage of production, though they may use some “natural” pesticides so the “organic” label does not necessarily mean toxin-free. Investigate who really owns the company that you patronize and whether they have contributed millions to fight GMO labeling. That will provide some clues as to overall safety of their products and may influence your decision to patronize them.
Another herbicide is getting increase attention. Agent Orange, also manufactured by Monsanto (though commonly attributed to Dow Chemical) will now compete with Round Up for the GMO market. Because Agent Orange also kills vegetation quickly, it could be substituted for Round Up in wheat production.
What are the consequences of consuming these things? In the case of Round Up, effects observed to date include reproductive problems, kidney and liver damage, and cancer, cardiovascular effects, gastrointestinal effects, nerve damage, and respiratory problems. (see www.organicconsumers.org) It has been difficult to gather information because it is difficult to measure the Round Up once it is released. In the case of Agent Orange, effects include birth defects such as cleft palate and grotesque deformities serious enough to cause still birth, cancers (lungs, larynx, and prostate), and skin problems (orange eruptions being one of them). (http://en.wikipedia.org).
What can consumers do? In the short term, do not use pesticides in your own garden. Avoid things containing wheat, corn, and soy, as well as low-priced animal products. Buy organic. Grow your own organic food. Write to your representatives in Congress. Support organizations that are supporting GMO labeling at the state level. While labeling is not a complete solution to a problem that should never have occurred in the first place, at least it gives consumers a reasonable chance to avoid poisoning themselves.