By Kim Robson:
A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, “Pesticides in Mississippi Air and Rain: A Comparison between 1995 and 2007,” published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, reveals that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and its toxic byproduct aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) were found in over 75% of the air and rain samples tested in Mississippi in 2007.
Researchers evaluated a number of pesticides currently in use through weekly composite air and rain sampling collected during the 1995 and 2007 growing seasons in the Mississippi Delta agricultural region. They discovered the following:
- Thirty-seven pesticides were detected in the air or rain samples in 2007. Twenty of these were present in both air and rain.
- Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate) was the predominant new herbicide detected in both air (86%) and rain (77%) in 2007, but was not measured in 1995.
- Seven pesticides in 1995 and five in 2007 were detected in more than half of both air and rain samples. Atrazine, metolachlor, and propanil were detected in more than half of the air and rain samples in both years.
- Total herbicide use in 2007 was dominated by glyphosate.
According to the report, Roundup herbicide represented 55% of the total herbicide use for 2007. That’s over 2 million kilograms of glyphosate used just in Mississippi, an amount researchers found “was not surprising,” given the high levels of glyphosate they found in air and water. When compared to the mere 147,000 kilograms used in 1995, that represents an 18-fold increase in glyphosate concentrations in air and water samples in those 12 years.
The researchers pointed out that “the highest concentrations occurred in April and May. However, there were detectable concentrations of glyphosate over the entire growing season, which is consistent with how glyphosate is used on GM crops, including for post-emergent weed control throughout the growing season.”
This long period of continuous exposure to a toxic product that has become almost ubiquitous adds to growing concern that Roundup represents an unavoidable physical and medical burden. Small daily environmental exposures, especially for the young, elderly, and immune-compromised, may be causing significant harm through their cumulative effects on the body. There also may be synergistic effects when combined with other toxins.
Okay, so how toxicologically important is this? We’re exposed to all sorts of chemicals daily, right? Well, not if we can help it. Let’s run the numbers: If you breathed that sampled air taken in the month of August 2007, you would be inhaling approximately 2.5 nanograms (billionths of a gram) of glyphosate per cubic meter of air. The average adult inhales approximately 11 cubic meters of air per day, which amounts to 27.5 nanograms of Roundup your loved ones are breathing every day. And that’s just the amount in the air.
Still, nanograms sound awfully small, right? Well, recent cell research has shown glyphosate acting as an endocrine disrupter, exhibiting estrogenic-like carcinogenicity, even in the parts-per-trillion range. All the more alarming, since inhaled toxins bypass the elaborate detoxification mechanisms of ingested toxins which must pass through the microbiome, intestinal lining, and liver before entering the bloodstream.
When we consider the presence of 37 other agrichemicals found alongside glyphosate in these samples, the interactions between them all become impossibly complex to study. These chemical combinations cause far more harm together than glyphosate alone. This is referred to as “synergistic toxicity.”
The study highlights just how much monocultured, genetically-modified (GM) farming has increased our daily exposure to chemicals, to the degree that even the very air we breathe and water we drink contain physiologically significant levels of glyphosate. There now exists a significant body of research demonstrating that glyphosate is much more toxic than was believed at the time of its FDA approval.
It also illustrates that the debate over GMOs is far more complex than simply “to label or not to label, and let the consumers vote with their wallets.” Not only are U.S. consumers not informed as to what is in their food with accurate and truthful ingredient labeling, but biopollution from GMOs is resulting in uncontrollable and irreversible changes in the environment. The environment is becoming saturated with the chemical fallout from Monsanto’s ever-expanding GM agricultural/agrichemical global farming network. Even if we could manage to avoid eating GM food, we’ll still have to face the adverse health effects from the air we breathe and water we drink.
Unless we move away from monocultured GM farming, even organic food will eventually end up being contaminated with these chemicals and transgenes because nothing natural lives in a vacuum — everything is interconnected.