Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides? | Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides? | Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology
How GMO Crops Impact Livestock and Human Health Worldwide
The Ultimate Guide to GMO Foods eBook – Mercola.com
One in three US households are now growing food, according to a special report from the National Gardening Association (NGA).1 This equates to about 42 million households with a food garden in 2013, a 17 percent increase from 2008.
Keeping a garden can improve your health by providing you with fresher, uncontaminated food, and cutting your grocery bill. NGA estimates that while the average US family spends $70 per year to plant a vegetable garden, they grow about $600 worth of produce – that’s a $530 return on your investment.2
The promise of garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and carrots is what initially draws many new gardeners in… but what keeps many involved is the intrinsically rewarding feeling of growing your own food.
You might be surprised at how much food you can grow from just a few packets of seeds. Even if you’re new to gardening, many of the foods that follow are relatively foolproof options that will deliver a robust harvest, sometimes in as little as a few weeks from planting.3
Keep in mind that even if you don’t have space in your backyard for a garden, you can grow vegetables in containers on your patio, balcony, or rooftop. Community gardens are also growing in popularity where you can rent a plot of soil to grow food for your family.
If this is your first garden, you might want to start out with just a few options from this list. You’ll probably need to experiment with different methods of planting, watering, building soil health, and controlling pests naturally, but as you gain confidence, and harvest the fruits of your labor, your garden (and your passion for gardening) will likely continue to grow.
If you’re not sure of which seeds to choose, check out my Heirloom Seed Kits for wonderful selections of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers that are non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented, in selections for both Northern and Southern climates.
Growing your own sprouts is quite easy, and you don’t need a whole lot of space either; they can even be grown indoors. Sprouts may be small, but they are packed with nutrition, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes that help protect against free radical damage.
Two of my personal favorites are sunflower seed and pea shoots—both of which are typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables. They’re also among the highest in protein. In addition, sunflower seeds contain healthy fats, essential fatty acids, and fiber—all of which are important for optimal health.
I used Ball jars when I first started sprouting seeds about 25 years ago, but I’ve since switched over to growing them in potting soil. With Ball jars you need to rinse them several times a day to prevent mold growth and it is a hassle to have them draining in the sink, taking up space.
Moreover, you need dozens of jars to produce the same amount of sprouts as just one flat tray. I didn’t have the time or patience for that, and you may not either. The choice is yours though. You can easily grow sprouts and shoots with or without soil.
My Sprout Doctor Starter Kit comes with what I consider to be three of the best sprouts to grow – sunflower shoots, broccoli sprouts, and pea shoots. When grown in soil, you can harvest your sprouts in about a week, and a pound of seeds will probably produce over 10 pounds of sprouts.
Sunflower shoots will give you the most volume for your effort and, in my opinion, have the best taste. In one 10×10 tray, you can harvest between one and two pounds of sunflower sprouts, which will last you about three days. You can store them in the fridge for about a week. Broccoli sprouts look and taste similar to alfalfa sprouts, which most people like.
They’re perfect for adding to salads, either in addition to or in lieu of salad greens, and sandwiches and are especially tasty in combination with fresh avocado. You can also add them to your vegetable juice or smoothies.
I’ve partnered with a company in a small town in Vermont that develops, breeds, and grows their own seeds, and is an industry leader in seed safety for sprouts and shoots.
All of my seeds are non-GMO, certified organic, and packed with nutrition. My starter kit makes it easy to grow your own sprouts in the comfort of your home, whenever you want. It provides everything you need, so all you have to do is grow and enjoy your sprouts.
2. Spinach and Loose-Leaf Lettuce
Early spring is a good time to plant spinach and other loose-leaf greens. The harvest is ready in just three to five weeks; simply cut off leaves here and there with scissors (don’t worry, they’ll grow back). Up to half of the nutrients in lettuce may be lost within two days of harvest, so growing your owns leads to a much more nutritious salad.
One cup of kale contains just around 30 calories but will provide you with seven times the daily recommended amount of vitamin K1, twice the amount of vitamin A and a day’s worth of vitamin C, plus antioxidants, minerals, and much more.
This leafy green also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases – plant-based omega-3 fats for building cell membranes, cancer-fighting sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol, and an impressive number of beneficial flavonoids.
Kale grows all season long, but its flavor gets sweeter after a frost. Impressively, kale can survive temperatures as low as 10° Fahrenheit, so be sure to keep it growing into the fall and winter. Kale is ready to harvest about a month after planting.
4. Rainbow Chard
Chard belongs to the chenopod food family, along with beets and spinach. It’s an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and A (in the form of beta-carotene) along with the minerals manganese and zinc. It’s a hearty plant that grows easily, and it makes a striking addition to your garden with its bright red stems.
Plus, chard degrades quickly during shipping, making it ideal to grow at home. Plant chard in early spring, and you’ll be able to harvest it all season long.
5. Bok Choy
Bok choy, which is also referred to as Chinese white cabbage, contains vitamins C and K, plus a higher concentration of beta-carotene and vitamin A than any other variety of cabbage. It also contains important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, all wrapped up in an extremely low-calorie package
Bok choy can be planted early spring through midsummer. Its leaves can be harvested when they’re about three inches tall, or you can wait until a head forms and harvest the whole plant at once.
Fresh herbs can make your meals pop, but they’re expensive to purchase in the store. Fortunately, it takes very little space or skill to grow your own. You can even grow them on a windowsill. Some basic herbs to start with include basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, thyme, and dill.
7. Cherry Tomatoes
While regular tomatoes are relatively easy to grow, they can be sensitive to different temperatures. Cherry tomatoes are even easier, and you’ll be rewarded with pint after pint of the fruits that taste far superior to store-bought versions (plus they’ll be free of pesticides and fertilizers).
Cherry tomatoes like a sunny spot to grow, and you’ll need to tie them to a supportive stick or tomato cage as they grow.
Cucumbers grow quickly and easily, and once you taste your homegrown version, you won’t want to go back to store-bought. These vines like to climb, so plant them near a trellis or fence, and put the seeds in only after the soil is warm.
Snap peas are another “vertical” grower, making them ideal when space is tight. Plant peas in early spring and plan to tie them to a small trellis for support when they start to get tall.
Don’t let carrots intimidate you just because they grow below ground – they’re quite hearty and easy to grow for beginners. The seeds may take a few weeks to sprout and the carrots are usually ready to harvest in 46 to 65 days. As Matthew Benson, author of Growing Beautiful Food and farmer of Stonegate Farm in New York, told TIME:4
“‘We know less about what’s going on under our feet than we do what goes on up in the cosmos,’ says Benson. ‘It’s so mysterious, all of these interesting relationships between roots and rhizomes and microbes and all these cellular chatter that goes on in the dirt.’ Pulling veggies from the soil can be very satisfying for a first time farmer.”
11. Edible Flowers
Edible flowers like nasturtium add color to your garden and can add intense flavor to your meals. Plus, nasturtium is known to naturally repel pests like whiteflies, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles. It takes about one to two weeks from planting for flowers to develop (simply snip the petals off for eating). These can even be grown indoors in pots.
The documentary Back to Eden was my first exposure to his work. I struggled for years seeking to unlock the puzzle of growing nutrient-dense food before I came across his recommendations—the simplicity and low cost of which really appealed to me. After studying his technique more carefully, I realized that using wood chips is probably the single best way to optimize soil microbiology with very little effort.
You can actually use virtually any organic material for mulch but wood chips seem to be one of the best, as they are concentrated sources of carbon that serve to feed the complex soil ecology. Typically, carbon is one of the nutrients that is far too low in the soil.
Additionally, by covering the soil around your plants and/or trees with mulch, you mimic what nature does naturally, and in so doing, you effortlessly maximize the health of the soil. Actually, the effortlessness comes after you do the hard work of moving the chips to where you need them to be. But once there, over time they work their magic and virtually eliminate the most concerning garden tasks, which is weeding, watering, and fertilizing.
Biochar is another great tool to help building your soil, the surface area of biochar is what gives it such great qualities when used in farming or gardening. The chips and leaves gradually break down and are digested and redigested by a wide variety of bacteria, fungi, and nematodes in the soil. Once the carbon can’t be digested anymore, it forms humates that last in the soil and provide a host of benefits that I will describe below.
Other gardeners till the wood chips into the ground, which is by far your worst option. It’s actually important to avoid tilling the earth as it tends to destroy soil microbes, especially the complex and delicate mycorrhizal fungi. When you use wood chips as ground cover, tilling becomes completely unnecessary.
A few short months after putting down a deep layer of wood chips, you will end up with lush fertile soil beneath the chips that will happily support whatever you choose to grow. It is important to never plant in the actual chips, you need to move the chips back and plant in the soil and then cover the plant to below the first leaves.
One major reason why most people don’t want to garden is they abhor weeding. Wood chips will radically reduce your weeding, probably by over 90 percent, and the weeds that do grow are easily pulled out by their roots so it becomes relatively effortless to keep the area clean.
Many parts of the country are also challenged with droughts and may not get more than 10-20 inches of water a year. Wood chips are the ideal solution, as they will eliminate water evaporation from the soil. Better yet, at night they will grab moisture from the air and release it into the soil in the day when the soil needs it.
Gardening can provide you with a variety of fruits and vegetables to feed your family, but it also gets you outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, helping your body produce much-needed vitamin D. It gets you moving, providing important exercise, and allows you to connect socially with other gardeners. It’s also good for your mental health.
A systematic review examined the impact of gardens and outdoor spaces on the mental and physical well-being of people with dementia. The research suggested that garden use, whether it be watering plants, walking through a garden, or sitting in one, lead to decreased levels of agitation or anxiety among the patients.5
Researchers in the Netherlands have also found that gardening is one of the most potent stress-relieving activities there is.6 In their trial, two groups of people were asked to complete a stressful task; one group was then instructed to garden for half an hour while the other group was asked to read indoors for the same length of time.
Afterward, the gardening group reported a greater improvement in mood. Tests also revealed they had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who tried to relax by quiet reading.
According to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine, 80 percent of gardeners reported being “happy” and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67 percent of non-gardeners.7 Perhaps it’s no coincidence that gardeners are happier…
Mycobacterium vaccae is a type of bacteria commonly found in soil. Remarkably, this microbe has been found to “mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide.”8 It helps to stimulate serotonin production, helping to make you feel happier and more relaxed. No wonder so many people describe their garden as their “happy place.”
Humans want to believe we control our own destinies. If we exercise for 30 minutes every day, eat healthy, avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, meditate, and participate in the health trend du jour, it seems logical that we will live longer, be happier, and avoid diseases like cancer. Unfortunately, it seems fate is more chaotic than that. A new study published in Science suggests that most cancers are unavoidable. They’re caused more often by bad luck than anything else.
Mutation, which drives cancer, is actually totally normal. In fact, its the engine of evolution–if not for mutation, our genes wouldn’t make the random changes that once in a while end up giving us a new, important skill–like making enzymes that break down lactose, or resistance to disease. But often, those mutations get out of control. Cells divide and divide until they overpower the useful cells in our body and kill us. That’s what cancer is.
According to Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, many of these cancers are unavoidable. They’re just part of nature.
“We all agree that 40 percent of cancers are preventable,” Vogelstein said at a press conference. “The question is, what about the other cancers that aren’t known to be preventable?”
Vogelstein explained that each time a cell’s DNA is copied, mistakes are made. Most of these mistakes are harmless, and as noted above, some of them can even be beneficial. “But occasionally they occur in a cancer driver gene. That’s bad luck,” Vogelstein says. Several of these bad-luck mistakes can add up to a cancerous cell.
Their study sets out to determine how often these mistakes are preventable–whether by not smoking or maintaining a healthy weight–how often they are genetic, and how often they occur by chance. The answer may surprise people who have spent decades believing they can control the development of cancer in their bodies. According to the paper, 66% of cancerous mutations are random, 29% are preventable, and only 5% are genetic.
The numbers vary depending on the type of cancer. Lung cancer is indeed usually caused by cigarette smoke, while childhood cancer is often random. The authors hope that these statistics will help some parents feel less responsible for their children’s disease.
An earlier paper by the authors on the same topic stirred up controversy in the scientific community. Some feel that publicizing this viewpoint will make people less likely to follow advice about cancer prevention. This new study is likely to be even more controversial.
Of course, cancer science is incredibly complicated. Mutations are not the only thing that matter in driving cancer. Factors like hormones can also play a role in determining who the disease hits hardest. “We’re not saying the only thing that determines the seriousness of the cancer, or its aggressiveness, or its likelihood to cause the patient’s death, are these mutations,” Vogelstein told NPR. “We’re simply saying that they are necessary to get the cancer.”
Long-term exposure to pesticides has been linked to infertility, birth defects,1,2endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer, so it’s a common-sense conclusion that fewer pesticides in our food supply would result in improved health among the general population.
In fact, one of the strongest selling points for eating organic food is that it can significantly lower your exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals used in conventional agriculture, and this measure in and of itself may help protect your long-term health and/or improve any health conditions you may have.
Since organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, organic foods are, as a rule, less contaminated, and studies have confirmed that those who eat a primarily organic diet have fewer toxins in their system.
Sadly, the chemical technology industry wields great power — so great that our government has largely turned a blind eye to the obvious, which is that too many toxic chemicals, in too great amounts, are being allowed in the growing of food. As noted in the featured film, “From DDT to Glyphosate:”
“Just as was the case in the 1950s with DDT and tobacco, we are on the brink of disastrous damage to health worldwide. This short film begins to explain why, and what we can do.”
“From DDT to Glyphosate” is just half an hour long, yet it’s an excellent introduction to the dangers of pesticides.
Sadly, many are still unaware of just how many pesticides they’re exposed to on a daily basis via their food, so I urge you to help educate those you love by sharing this short film with your social networks.
In 1962, American biologist Rachel Carson wrote the groundbreaking book “Silent Spring,” in which she warned of the devastating environmental impacts of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane), suggesting the chemical may also have harmful effects on human health.
She rightfully questioned the logic and sanity of using such vast amounts of a chemical without knowing much about its ecological and human health impact.
Her book triggered a revolution in thinking that gave birth to the modern environmental movement, and the public outcry that resulted from her book eventually led to DDT being banned for agricultural use in the U.S. in 1972.
Unfortunately, DDT was simply replaced with other equally unsafe and untested chemicals. Today, we’re also exposed to even vaster amounts of pesticides, and a wider variety of them, which is why it’s so important to share this film with as many people as possible.
Consider this: the very same companies that developed chemical warfare weapons during World War II simply transitioned into agriculture after the war, and many of the same warfare chemicals are now sprayed on our food.
The notion that these chemicals are good for humans, the environment and the business of agriculture is a fabricated one.
As noted in the film, 80 percent of genetically engineered (GE) crops are designed to withstand herbicide application; most often glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Monsanto’s Roundup. As a result, we’re ingesting far greater quantities of pesticides than ever before.
The question is, where’s the breaking point? There’s reason to believe we may have crossed the threshold already. Health statistics suggest the average toxic burden has become too great for children and adults alike, and toxins in our food appear to play a primary role.
According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,3 founding president of Bastyr University, the first fully accredited multidisciplinary university of natural medicine and the first National Institutes of Health-funded center for alternative medicine research, toxins in the modern food supply are now “a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.”
A recent report4,5 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics6(FIGO), which represents OB-GYNs in 125 countries, warns that chemical exposures, including pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction.
This task force warns that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals is such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them — especially those seeking to get pregnant, pregnant women and young children.
Even extremely low-level pesticide exposure has been found to considerably increase the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. According to Michael Antoniou, Ph.D., a British geneticist interviewed in the film, “as a cocktail, I believe [pesticides] has converted our food supply into a slow poison.”
The film shows how increases in global glyphosate use closely parallel increases in infertility, thyroid disorders, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, stroke and many other chronic diseases. Alas, the U.S. government does not acknowledge such a connection.
As noted by Claire Robinson, managing editor of GMWatch and author of the excellent book “GMO Myths and Truths,” while we do have a regulatory system, that system is grossly inadequate, as it doesn’t evaluate all the possible health and environmental effects of any given chemical.
The chemical industry also has a very strong lobby, and revolving doors between industry and the regulatory agencies in the U.S. have allowed for industry to largely dictate its own rules. Robinson also correctly notes that it is in fact chemical companies that are producing GE seeds.
This is an important point to remember. They’re not true agricultural firms. They’re chemical companies that have simply found another way to boost sales, and to believe they’re doing it out of altruism would be naïve.
Antoniou has conducted tests revealing that ultra-low doses of Roundup administered to rats in drinking water produce liver and kidney damage over the long term. And these doses are thousands of times lower than what regulators say is completely safe for consumption.
Another recent study found Roundup adversely affects the development of female rats’ uteruses, increasing the risk for both infertility and uterine cancer. As reported by The Ecologist:9
“Doctors and scientists have noted high rates of miscarriage — sometimes called ‘spontaneous abortion’ — in women living in regions of Argentina where GM Roundup Ready soy is grown and sprayed with glyphosate herbicides. The new study may shed light on this phenomenon.
The dose of herbicide found to disrupt uterine development in the rats was 2 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day, based on the U.S. ‘reference dose’ of pure glyphosate that regulators deem safe to consume every day of our lives for a lifetime.”
So why is no action taken to protect human health? It really boils down to the fact that without Roundup and other pesticides, the GE seed business would collapse and chemical technology companies, with their vast resources and revolving doors into government regulatory agencies, have managed to deceive everyone into thinking there’s no problem.
Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds (about 3.5 billion kilograms) of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing as developed nations are steadily transitioning over to chemical-based agriculture in a misguided and misinformed effort to increase yield and lower cost.10
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), Bangladesh and Thailand have quadrupled their pesticide use since the early 1990s. Ghana, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso have increased use by 1,000 percent, and Argentina’s use has risen 815 percent.11,12
The U.S. is still leading the charge when it comes to pesticide use, followed by Brazil, which is a top exporter of soybeans, corn and cotton. More than one-third of the 260 million gallons of pesticides used in Brazil each year is applied to soybeans. Cotton and citrus receive the greatest amounts, however.
But boosting yields with chemicals come at a cost. According to a 2012 analysis of FAO data, each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use.
Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory when you consider the health ramifications associated with pesticide exposure and the environmental effects, which include destruction of soil and non-target plant life, pollution of waterways and the decimation of crucial pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Depending on the specific chemical being used, agricultural chemicals are typically associated with their own specific side effects:
Glyphosate, which is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, was reclassified as a Class 2A “probable carcinogen” just last year by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO).
While the IARC stopped short of a stronger cancer classification for glyphosate, there’s ample evidence showing it is quite “definitely” carcinogenic.13 A research scientist and consultant who investigates agricultural chemicals in the food supply, Anthony Samsel, Ph.D., even claims to have uncovered evidence showing Monsanto has known glyphosate promotes cancer since 1981.
Glyphosate is most heavily applied on GE corn, soybeans and sugar beets, but it’s also commonly used to desiccate conventional (non-GMO but non-organic) wheat and protect other conventional crops from weeds. Disturbingly, glyphosate and Roundup may actually be even worse than DDT, having been linked to an ever-growing array of health effects, including the following:14,15
|Nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, 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 foodborne 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|
|Increased antibiotic resistance||Increased cancer risk.16,17,18,19 Since the IARC’s determination, agricultural personnel have begun suing Monsanto over past glyphosate exposure, claiming it played a role in their bone cancer and leukemia20,21|
Some of the studies implicating glyphosate as a serious hazard to animals and humans go back many years, yet in July 2013, right in the midst of mounting questions about glyphosate’s safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) went ahead and raised the allowable limits of glyphosate in both food and feed crops.22,23
Allowable levels in oilseed crops such as flax, soybean and canola were doubled, from 20 parts per million (ppm) to 40 ppm — just 10 ppm below the level at which Roundup may cause cell death, according to research24 published in 2011.
Permissible glyphosate levels in many other foods were raised to 15 to 25 times from previous levels. Root and tuber vegetables, with the exception of sugar, got one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. The level for sweet potatoes was raised to 3 ppm.
It’s important to remember that the allowable levels of glyphosate have been significantly raised, because IF the U.S. government does implement glyphosate testing for food, as indicated by the EPA in April 2015,25 then assurances that levels are “within safe limits” may have little to no real value.
Also, while the dangers of glyphosate are becoming more widely recognized, many fail to realize that the Roundup formulation used on crops is even more toxic than glyphosate in isolation. Research reveals the surfactants in the formula synergistically increase glyphosate’s toxicity, even though these ingredients are considered “inert” and therefore of no major consequence.
Recent follow-up research26,27 by Gilles-Éric Séralini, Ph.D. — whose initial lifetime feeding study revealed massive tumor growth and early death — shows that long-term exposure to even ultra-low amounts of Roundup may cause tumors, along with liver and kidney damage in rats.
Many have gotten so used to the idea that pesticides are a necessity they give little credence to the idea that chemicals are notactually needed. As reported by Ensia, a magazine showcasing solutions to the Earth’s biggest environmental challenges:28
“‘How much is too much?’ is a question with which Jules Pretty, a professor at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, is constantly grappling. What’s encouraging is the growing evidence that farmers can lower their dependence on pesticides while maintaining agricultural production, sometimes by employing techniques that date back thousands of years.29
Over the past 25 years, Pretty has been studying sustainable agriculture practices30 around the world. He has shown that there’s growing proof that integrated pest management (IPM) — a strategy that uses alternative, diversified and historic agronomic practices to control pests — can help reduce pesticide use in a variety of farming systems.
In 2015, Pretty and colleagues published a meta-analysis31 of 85 field sites in 24 countries in Asia and Africa that employed IPM techniques and reduced pesticide use while boosting crop yields. Some eliminated pesticides entirely by using techniques such as crop rotation and pheromone traps to capture pests, says Pretty.
‘Thirty percent of the crop systems were able to transition to zero pesticides,’ Pretty says. Not only that, but surprisingly, he says, ‘the innovations around sustainability are happening in the poorer countries: Bangladesh, India and countries in Africa. We really could be holding these up as beacons.'”
According to Pretty, a key strategy to lower dependence on pesticides is “farmer field schools,” which allow farmers to experiment with various techniques and see the results for themselves. This has already proven far more effective than trying to persuade or force farmers to alter their techniques.
Once they’ve seen the results with their own eyes, most are more than willing to implement pesticide-free methods, and to share their experience with others. He’s convinced that “if enough farmers in enough developing countries can become convinced of the benefits of sustainable farming practices like IPM, the world’s reliance on pesticides can be lowered,” Ensia writes.
I encourage you to share “From DDT to Glyphosate” with everyone you know. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or share it via e-mail. It’s really crucial for everyone to understand that a large portion of our poor health is due to toxic exposures via food.
Everyone can be harmed by pesticides, but if you’re a woman of childbearing age or have young children, taking steps to reduce your exposure is especially important. Ideally, all of the food you and your family eat would be organic. That said, not everyone has access to a wide variety of organic produce, and it can sometimes be costlier than buying conventional.
One way to save some money while still lowering your pesticide exposure is to purchase certain organic items, and “settling” for others that are conventionally grown, based on how heavily each given crop is typically treated with pesticides.
Animal products, like meat, butter, milk and eggs are the most important to buy organic, since animal products tend to bioaccumulate toxins from their pesticide-laced feed, concentrating them to far higher concentrations than are typically present in vegetables.
Please bear this in mind, because if the new Roberts-Stabenow bill (S. 2609) for a national GMO labeling standard gets passed, meat, poultry and egg products will be exempt from any GMO disclosure requirements, even if the animals were fed GE feed and/or the product contains other GE ingredients, such as GE high-fructose corn syrup.
So you simply have to remember that in order to avoid GE ingredients and pesticides, you need to purchase organic, 100 percent grass-fed animal products.
Beyond animal foods, the pesticide load of different fruits and vegetables can vary greatly. Last year, Consumer Reports analyzed 12 years of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Pesticide Data Program to determine the risk categories (from very low to very high) for different types of produce.32
Because children are especially vulnerable to the effects of environmental chemicals, including pesticides, they based the risk assessment on a 3.5-year-old child. They recommend buying organic for any produce that came back in the medium or higher risk categories, which left the following foods as examples of those you should always try to buy organic, due to their elevated pesticide load.
|Sweet bell peppers||Hot peppers|
GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs, or genetically “engineered” (GE) foods, help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I’ve stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.
The FDA cleared the way for GE (Genetically Engineered) Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption. Thanks to added language in the federal spending bill, the product will require special labeling so at least consumers will have the ability to identify the GE salmon in stores. However, it’s imperative ALL GE foods be labeled, which is currently still being denied.
The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to start taking action now. I urge you to share this article with friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity. Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these corporate giants. So please, fight for your right to know what’s in your food and help support the GMO labeling movement by making a donation today.
March 23, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — Alarming reports have surfaced alleging that a leak containing information from 47 hard drives and 600 million pages has been passed along to US officials.
The leak is said to indicate systemic criminal spying on 156 judges and even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In addition to this, as many as four other whistleblowers may have come forward or are in the process of coming forward, and more are expected to follow suit. The additional leaks could potentially contain information involving human trafficking, drug running, and organ harvesting.
Yesterday’s leak to House Intel Committee Chair Nunes, which is the latest leak we know of, pertains to systemic spying of a criminal nature.
According to reports summarizing the content of the leak, spying was performed illegally by functionaries within the apparatus of the State that is not subject to the formal political process expressed by the consent of the governed.
(What many call the “deep state.”)
According to a letter drafted by former federal prosecutor Larry Klayman, the leak was first attempted nearly two years ago, but it was buried and the public never found out.
Thus the whistleblower decided to deliver it directly to US officials involved in the current hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael S. Rogers, which resumes Tuesday (March 28th).
Now, pausing for a moment and thinking critically about this, it’s always possible that this whistleblower is pulling an elaborate hoax and lying about the information he has with the intention to make those who believe it appear unreliable.
Larry Klayman and House Intel Committee Chair Nunes apparently have grounds for believing the whistleblower is telling the truth, however, and they are thought to have passed along the data to President Trump himself.
Klayman released an alert summarizing the nature of the content. (He has added separately that this is just “the tip of the iceberg.”)
One of the highlights is as follows:
“[Whistleblower] left the NSA and CIA with 47 hard drives and 600 million pages of information, much of which is classified, and sought to come forward legally as a whistleblower to appropriate government entities, including congressional committees, to expose that the agencies were engaged for years in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, again including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump…”
Here is the document drafted by Larry Klaman in its entirety:
Aside from the leak Klayman describes, more whistleblowers are thought to be coming forward with potentially incriminating information involving drug running, organ harvesting, and human trafficking.
As many as four whistleblowers may have mobilized since yesterday’s leak to Nunes, by some estimates.
George Webb, a seasoned investigator and analyst with well placed sources, states that actions and events in connection with the Awan brothers are “accumulating like a tidal wave.”
In coordination with yesterday’s events and others he has called upon all remaining whistleblowers to now come forward.
In the video below he explains that the traditional legal channels for whistleblowers have been compromised and all leaks should be made directly to the White House hereafter. (Start around the 7:00 mark if you want to cut to the part about whistleblowers.)
Watch the vido. URL:https://youtu.be/uGfHPyiBaMQ
Whom can you trust when it comes to feeding your baby right? Beyond breast milk, making the right choice can be more than a little tricky. Even some organic brands of infant formula have been found to peddle less than ideal products.
Most recently, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) sued The Honest Company, co-founded by popular actress Jessica Alba in 2012, claiming 11 of the listed 40 ingredients in its organic infant formula are synthetic substances that are not permitted in organic products.”1,2,3,4,5
Other unapproved ingredients are ascorbyl palmitate, choline bitartrate, synthetic beta-carotene, biotin, dl-alpha tocopherol, inositol and phytonadione.
According to the OCA’s lawsuit, these 11 ingredients are not included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National List of Allowed Substances for organics,6 and violate the California Organic Products Act of 2003.
The organization also notes that while several of these ingredients have never been assessed for safety in human foods or infant formula, some are even “federally regulated as hazardous compounds.”
According to The Honest Company, the allegations are “without merit,” noting its formula has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meets all safety and nutritional standards, and has been certified USDA Organic by an independent third party in accordance with the National Organic Program.
It’s worth noting though that while infant formulas must meet federal nutrient requirements, the FDA does not actually approve infant formulas before they’re marketed.7 In fact, no agency is tasked with this responsibility. The assurance of safety comes from the manufacturer alone.
The FDA does conduct yearly inspections of infant formula manufacturers, and conducts sample testing, but only if the FDA decides a formula poses a risk to health will they step in to demand a product recall. So the whole “FDA approved” notion doesn’t really amount to much.
The Honest Company has become a $1.7 billion success, selling a variety of “green” products. Alas, this is not the first time the company’s all natural and organic wares have come under fire for being less than honest.
Two other lawsuits have been filed over the past year, accusing the company of using synthetic and toxic ingredients in its all natural cleaning products, soaps, and diapers, and selling a 30 SPF sunscreen that doesn’t work.8,9
The OCA has also filed suit against Hain Celestial Group over false labeling and violating the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The products specified in the lawsuit include Earth’s Best organic infant formulas and organic toddler formula.
In addition to sodium selenite, many of Earth’s Best organic products also contain nucleotides, taurine, l-carnitine, ascorbyl palmitate, synthetic beta-carotene, and lutein.
According to the complaint, all of these ingredients were rejected for use in organic infant formula by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). In an OCA press release, international director Ronnie Cummins states:
“As consumers, these mothers must rely on truthful labeling in order to make the best choices for feeding their infants and toddlers.
Our job as a consumer advocacy group is to call out and hold accountable companies like The Honest Co. and Hain Celestial when they knowingly and intentionally mislead consumers.
OCA has long been a defender of organic standards, which means also defending the organic label. Our goal with this lawsuit is to force these companies to either comply with USDA organic standards or stop calling their products ‘organic.'”
Make no mistake: the best baby food is breast milk from a healthy mother. However, there are babies in situations where a good substitute is called for: adopted and orphaned babies, babies born to mothers with serious health problems, and babies whose mothers do not produce enough milk (a rare but real problem).
Contrary to popular belief (which has been created through decades of advertising), commercial infant formulas leave a lot to be desired, and is by no means an ideal substitute to breast milk. As noted by the Weston A. Price Foundation, infant formula:11
•Lacks many key substances for healthy growth and development, such as cholesterol and lipase (enzymes that break down and digest fats).
As noted in the article: “Breast milk is not just food but ‘represents a most sophisticated signaling system of mammalian evolution promoting a regulatory network for species-specific, postnatal growth and metabolic programming.’
Scientists studying the ‘message’ in mother’s milk see it as nothing less than a program for life.”
•Primarily consists of sugar (typically corn syrup) or lactose, dried skim milk, and refined vegetable oils (which may be genetically engineered unless labeled 100 percent USDA organic). According to GMOinside.org, Similac, Enfamil, and Nestle all use GMO ingredients in their infant formulas.12
•Is very calorie-dense, and contains twice as much protein as breast milk, which may promote insulin resistance and obesity. In fact, many infant formulas have as much sugar as a can of soda.
This fructose has none of the benefits of the natural sugars found in breast milk (see below). Rather it comes with a long list of adverse metabolic effects, raising your child’s risk for obesity, diabetes,13 and related health problems, both in the short and long term.14
•Has been found to be contaminated with a number of hazardous components, including but not limited to perchlorate (a component of rocket fuel), phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA, a known endocrine disrupter), melamine, dioxin, heavy metals, and arsenic. One 2012 study15 found that 2 of 17 infant formulas tested that listed organic brown rice syrup on the label contained elevated levels of arsenic.
One had an arsenic concentration six times higher than the U.S. federal limit of 10 parts per billion for drinking water. Over 20 infant formula recalls have occurred since 1980 involving unsafe ingredients, pathogenic contaminations, foreign substances such as glass, insufficient nutrient content, and more.
•Can contain a number of problematic additives, including iron, synthetic omega-3/omega-6 oils DHA/ARA, carrageenan, and synthetic folic acid.
When using infant formula you also have to be especially concerned about the quality of the water you use to mix with the formula. Many if not most areas across the U.S. has some level of water contamination, and the contaminants can range from pesticides and flame retardants to drugs and heavy metals, just to name a few. Installing a high quality water filter is a prudent investment, especially if you have young children.
Also be sure to avoid using fluoridated water in the formula. And NEVER feed your baby soy based formula, as it can contain dangerously high concentrations of manganese and estrogenic compounds. As noted by Weston A. Price:16
“‘Formula-fed babies are sicker, sick more often, and are more likely to die in infancy or childhood… [B]ottle-fed infants were fourteen times more likely to be hospitalized than breast-fed infants. Compared to breastfed babies, formula-fed babies have a doubled overall infant death risk, and four-fold risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Bottle-fed infants and children have more frequent and more severe upper respiratory infections…They have more diarrhea, more gastrointestinal infections and constipation. Formula-fed babies suffer more jaw misalignment and are more likely to need orthodontic work as they get older.
Speech problems are more likely to develop because of weak facial muscles and tongue thrust problems which develop among bottle-fed babies. Formula-fed babies tend to become mouth breathers who snore and develop sleep apnea. Formula-fed infants also tend to have more dental decay — so-called “baby bottle caries” when habitually put to bed with a bottle — along with periodontal disease and TMJ problems.”
The article goes into great depth on the many problems associated with commercial infant formula, and the broad gulf of difference between formula and breast milk. So what’s the answer if you cannot breastfeed? While some may be anxious about the prospect of making homemade infant formula, it may actually be your safest option, as you’ll know exactly what you put in there. Here’s one recipe for homemade formula created by the Weston Price Foundation, which I believe is sound.
Breast milk from a healthy mother contains hundreds of substances, some that cannot be imitated, and over 100 different types of fats alone. A woman’s breast milk also goes through a number of changes over time, providing the child with highly personalized nutrition. Colostrum, a highly nutritious special milk which is expressed for the first couple of days after giving birth, is quickly and easily digestible, whereas more mature breast milk contains a long list of vitamins and minerals, and higher amounts of fat.
And, while breast milk does contain sugars, they bear no resemblance to processed corn syrup! For example, breast milk contains about 150 different oligosaccharides; complex chains of sugars that are completely unique to human milk.
These sugars are not actually digested; rather, they feed healthy microbes in the baby’s digestive system. We now know that gut health plays an enormous role in overall health, and breast milk really “primes” your baby’s gut and promotes the colonization of a healthy microbiome.
Breast milk also contains a variety of nutrient growth factors17 and antibodies (immune molecules), which provide the baby with natural immunity to illnesses to which the mother is immune. This is why breastfed babies tend to have far fewer colds than formula fed babies.
Moreover, when a newborn is exposed to a pathogen, he or she will transfer it back to the mother while nursing. The mother will then make antibodies to that particular germ and transfer them back to the baby at the next feeding, thereby speeding up the recovery process and promoting future immunity toward the organism, should it be encountered again.
In the short-term, nursing helps a woman shed that extra “baby weight” she put on during pregnancy. That alone is reason enough to breastfeed for many women, but the benefits go far beyond that. For example, recent research18,19 suggests breastfeeding may reduce a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.
Of the women who lactated for one month or less, 17 percent had atherosclerotic plaques two decades later. Among those who breastfed for 10 months or longer, less than 11 percent were found to have such plaques 20 years later. One reason for this is because pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s cardiovascular system, raising the risk for cardiovascular disease, but lactation helps restore a mother’s biological systems to a pre-pregnancy state. Other studies20 have also shown breastfeeding benefits the mother by:
|Enhancing maternal behavior through increased release of oxytocin, a hormone referred to as the “love hormone,” or “bonding hormone”||Acting as a natural birth control, as it suppresses ovulation, making pregnancy less likely||Reducing diabetic mothers’ need for insulin, as lactation lowers glucose levels naturally|
|Reducing the risk of women with gestational diabetes from becoming lifelong diabetics.
In one recent study,21 a woman’s risk of progressing from gestational diabetes to type-2 diabetes was inversely associated with length and intensity of breastfeeding
|Reducing your risk of endometrial-, ovarian- and breast cancers, including hormone receptor negative tumors,22which are a very aggressive form of breast cancer||Reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome|
The food you feed your baby during those first years can have a tremendous impact on your child’s development and long-term health, and I strongly encourage all mothers to breastfeed exclusively for at least six months or longer. The shaming of breastfeeding mothers is an absolute travesty, as we’re talking about crucial nutrition here. It’s a bizarre and unnatural mindset, and I hope women everywhere will stand up for their rights to breastfeed.
Begin nursing as soon after birth as possible, as your baby’s sucking instinct will be very strong at that time, giving you the best chance of success. Nursing moms also need to drink plenty of water and seek optimal nutrition while nursing. Newborns need to nurse at least once every two hours, for about 15 minutes or so on each side, but most do not adhere to any kind of strict schedule and feedings can vary in length.
It is this frequent nursing that stimulates your breasts to produce increasing amounts of milk to keep up with demand. (This is also why supplementing with formula can be detrimental to your milk supply.)
It can be a good idea to begin planning for successful breastfeeding before your baby is even born. La Leche League23 is a fantastic resource to contact for help whether you want to prepare beforehand or find you’re having trouble breastfeeding once your baby is born. Also find out whether your hospital of choice offers breastfeeding classes and lactation consultants who can help you. If it doesn’t, you may want to select a hospital that offers greater support.
If for whatever reason you’re unable to breastfeed, or you have adopted your newborn, you may want to consider using donated breast milk. Like the Weston A. Price Foundation, I do not recommend using human milk banks though, as the milk has to undergo pasteurization. An alternative may be to work with a physician or pediatrician who is willing to help you find a safe milk donor, and who will be involved in a screening process to ensure the milk is safe.
If you’re unable to breastfeed or find a safe source of breast milk, your next best bet is to make your own infant formula. I recommend avoiding commercial infant formulas as much as possible, including organic brands. Most are simply too high in refined sugar for optimal health, and lack many vital immune-boosting nutrients.