Health food advocates, scientists and environmental activists, have long warned about the implications of widespread chemical use, particularly the over-application of herbicides and pesticides on crops.
Those fears are now being confirmed, as science slowly begins to uncover the extent to which animals, humans and the environment have been contaminated with man-made, health-destroying chemicals.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and unsurprisingly, it’s now being detected in humans. Over the last two decades, 2.6 billion pounds of glyphosate have been applied to America’s farmland, and the consequences are severe.
Recently, we learned that glyphosate is making its way into German beer, a real travesty considering that the country has long prided itself on producing the world’s cleanest beer. Sadly, as many have predicted, organic foods are not immune to glyphosate, either.
Concerned about the way chemicals are harming public health, Moms Across America previously initiated glyphosate testing in water, urine, breast milk, Pediasure feeding tube liquid given to pediatric patients with cancer, baby formula and beverages.
But their latest testing involves wine from the North Coast region of California.
With the help of a former Monsanto genetic engineer, who has now turned against the seed giant, Moms Across America commissioned a lab in St. Louis, Mo. to test 10 wines, including organic and biodynamic wines, for glyphosate-based herbicides.
Biodynamic wine production differs from organic and sustainable agriculture in that it takes into account “the spiritual forces of the cosmos,” according to FoodAndwine.com. Though eccentric sounding, all that means is that growers link sowing and harvesting with phases of the moon or the position of the planets.
Wines from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino contain weed killer
The results, produced by Microbe Inotech Lab, showed that all 10 wines contained the weed killer, but wine produced conventionally (i.e. via chemical agriculture) had up to four times as much glyphosate.
“The highest level of glyphosate detected was up to 28.4 times higher than the other wines at 18.74 ppb from a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional, chemically farmed vineyard,” reports Moms Across America.
“The lowest level was from a biodynamic and organic vineyard, 2013 Syrah, which has never been sprayed according to the owner, with a level of .659 ppb. An organic wine from 2012 mixed red wine grapes, had 0.913 ppb of glyphosate.”
Glyphosate usage in California vineyards is rampant. Of the estimated 57,000 pounds used in Napa County, more than 50,000 of them were used on vineyards, according to data from the Calif. Department of Pesticide Registry.
The sampled wines were from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Breast cancer rates in those counties are 10 to 20 percent higher than the national average.
“The detection of the most widely used herbicide in the world in our wines, especially organic and biodynamic wines which pride themselves on being free of toxic chemicals, is a growing problem for the beverage industry.
“The contamination of glyphosate and co-formulants is a growing challenge for any manufacturer to maintain product purity using GMO and glyphosate based herbicide sprayed ingredients,” reports Moms Across America.
The effects of low level chemical exposure
Glyphosate detection is an indicator of the presence of its co-formulants, ingredients used to heighten the chemical’s effectiveness. These are known to become endocrine mimickers, and can be 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate alone, says Moms Across America.
The type or amount of co-formulant chemicals in wine was not tested. Their impacts on public health are largely unknown.
The glyphosate levels in the wines tested far below the recommended limit for drinking water; however, that limit was set more than two decades ago. The knowledge we have today about the way glyphosate affects the human body is far different than that was available when the Environmental Protection Agency set those limits in 1995.
It’s also important to understand that some chemicals are more harmful at lower levels, and glyphosate is believed to be one of them.
“According to recent studies, the presence of glyphosate in consumables is concerning in nanoparticles, or very tiny levels,” notes Moms Across America.
Glyphosate exposure has been linked to a host of health effects including its ability to increase breast cancer growth, destroy beneficial gut bacteria and human placental cells, cause kidney damage and changes in sex hormones, birth defects and miscarriages.
It’s also a deadly neurotoxin that is believed to increase antibiotic resistance – a phenomenon the World Health Organization warns “is one of the biggest threats to global healthy today.”