What's really lurking in your oatmeal? Learn about toxic herbicides in this post where we reveal the dangers of glyphosate (the #1 herbicide used in the world) and what you can do to protect your health, your family and our ecosystem from harm.
This post is sponsored by MegaFood®️. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
Today, we're talking about herbicides. Sexy topic, I know.
But, the journalist in me is committed to uncovering and sharing the truth; that's really what the heart and soul of R+R is all about.
To be honest, sometimes I can feel a little helpless as I learn about all the toxicity that exists in our world. Of course I can opt to purchase healthy brands for me and my family, and continue to share my knowledge here at R+R, but it can be hard to know what actions to take to really make the kind of difference that the world is so desperately needing to see.
That's why I'm excited about this post, because there's a simple, actionable step we can all take to make our world a healthier place. What is it? Read on, my friends!
What are herbicides?
Herbicides are used to kill weeds and other undesirable plants. They're primarily synthetic chemicals manufactured for use in the agriculture, industrial, ornamental horticulture, and turf industries.
Some herbicides you may have heard of before include Paraquat, atrazine and Agent Orange (perhaps the most infamous of them all, used during the Vietnam War and now shown to have numerous detrimental health effects).
What is glyphosate?
Glyphosate is the number one herbicide used globally, a large portion of which is used in the US food system (source). It’s the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto, and is used as a desiccant allowing food and/or crops to be harvested quickly. Glyphosate kills the crop, drying it out so that it can be harvested sooner than if the plant were allowed to die naturally.
This process increases the likelihood that consumers will be directly exposed to the herbicide through the foods we eat, even after processing.
Note: if you're not buying organic produce, you're more than likely consuming glyphosate and/or other harmful herbicides. But even then, you're not 100% safe (see below!)
OK so why should you care? It's time to play one of my favorite games: Did you know…
- Glyphosate has been classified as “probably carcinogenic in humans” and is linked to lymphoma by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer.
- Research has also shown that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it interferes with the proper functioning and production of hormones.
- Endangerment and extinction of species (especially birds and insects) are among the greatest risks of herbicide use.
- Some herbicides increase the risk of birth defects and, when inhaled, respiratory damage.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has relaxed its rules about what it considers a safe level of glyphosate; fifteen times more glyphosate is allowed on corn grain now than in 1995. The EPA also allows Big Ag companies to spray 300 times more glyphosate on oats and other grains compared to what was legal in 1993!
- Infants are now exposed to levels of glyphosate considered unsafe in 1985.
- In a recent scientific study, unsafe levels of glyphosate were present in the #1 best-selling breakfast cereal in the US, Cheerios (among other popular breakfasts like Quaker Oats, Nature Valley granola bars, Lucky Charms and more).
- Each year, more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate is sprayed on American crops, primarily on GMO corn and soybeans.
- Increasingly, glyphosate is also sprayed just before harvest on non-GMO wheat, barley, oats and beans.
- A growing number of countries are restricting (like China) or planning an outright ban (like France) on this dangerous chemical.
One of the scariest parts? Just because you're eating organic doesn't mean you're totally safe from exposure, either.
How does glyphosate get into organic foods? It could come from glyphosate drifting from nearby fields of conventionally grown crops, or by cross-contamination during processing at a facility that also handles non-organic crops.
What you can do to help
MegaFood–together with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and several other food and nutrition brands including Ben & Jerry’s, MOM's Organic Market, Stonyfield Farm, Nature's Path Foods and Natural Grocers–has petitioned the EPA to ban the use of glyphosate as a desiccant before harvest.
Want to join in? Sign the public petition here to protect our families and our food from toxins.
Time will tell if the EPA will hear our plea. In the meantime, be sure you're supporting companies and buying products not exposed to dangerous herbicides and toxic chemicals.
When it comes to vitamins and supplements, MegaFood is the first brand to have their entire line Certified Glyphosate Residue Free by The Detox Project. This quite literally means that they guarantee their premium supplements are tested and free of residue from glyphosate.
When you buy supplements from MegaFood, not only are you giving your body quality nutrition you can count on to be safe, but you're supporting a brand that's working to change laws and advocate for organic and regenerative agriculture for a more sustainable future.
What brands do you support that are making a difference for a healthier future? Let us know in the comments below! (And don't forget to sign the petition here!)