Glyphosate is the most widely-used herbicide in the world. Patented in the 1970s by the Monsanto Corporation, glyphosate is the active weed-killing ingredient in the trademarked product, Roundup. Roundup’s popularity skyrocketed in the mid-1990s after Monsanto developed “Roundup-Ready Crops,” the majority of which are genetically-modified (GMO) soybean and corn that can withstand glyphosate.
Twenty years ago, the patent on glyphosate expired. As a result, several brands of weed killer added glyphosate to their herbicidal products. Examples include: Eraser Max Herbicide, Agrisel Gly Pho-Sel, Rodeo Herbicide, Alligare, Remuda, and Aqua Star, to name a few out of the 19 glyphosate products listed on Do-It-Yourself Pest Control.
Glyphosate is a controversial ingredient. Over 125,000 lawsuits have been filed by groundskeepers, landscapers, gardeners and farmers who allege that the herbicide causes cancer. Thus far, the first three lawsuits that have gone to trial have all resulted in wins for the plaintiffs, with millions of dollars awarded in damages. Recently, Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, has settled thousands of Roundup lawsuits, setting aside over $10 billion for the bulk of the lawsuits. Within days, Bayer is expected to announce a revised plan to settle future Roundup lawsuits.
Despite the massive mass tort litigation and the fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” Roundup and other glyphosate-based products are widely available for purchase in the U.S. That’s because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
The jury is still out (no pun intended) on whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. But because of the media attention on Roundup lawsuits, more people are becoming aware of the potential dangers of glyphosate. The herbicide is pervasive in the U.S. food supply. Unfortunately, washing your produce under the sink will not remove glyphosate residue. The best thing to do to limit your exposure to the synthetic chemical compound is avoiding or limit your intake of the these foods:
According to the Center For Food Safety, up to 92% of U.S. corn is genetically engineered (GE), which means it is resistant to glyphosate and as such, contains the potentially-toxic chemical. If you really want to be diligent about limiting your exposure to glyphosate, make sure to read food labels. Many ingredients contain corn and corn derivatives such as corn oil, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, and dextrose.
Center For Food Safety estimates that 94% of soybeans are GMO. But it’s not just soy sauce and soybeans that you have to watch out for. Many processed baked goods such as cookies and crackers contain soybean oil or soy flour. In addition, WebMD lists these soy-containing foods: canned broth and soup; cereal; energy and cereal bars; low-fat peanut butter; processed deli meat; vegetable oil; Worcestershire sauce.
Do you eat at restaurants frequently? If so, you’re likely consuming a fair share of glyphosate. Cooks and chefs use canola oil and soy oil more than any other cooking oil. Roughly 80% of canola oil (which is derived from the rapeseed plant) is genetically-modified, and can thus withstand glyphosate exposure. Organic, expeller-pressed, non-GMO canola oil is more expensive but likely contains less glyphosate particles.
Non-organic wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, millet, and rye all contain glyphosate. Even organic grains may contain the herbicide, however, organic grains (as well as produce) is likely to contain less of it than GMO foodstuffs.
Many fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides contain glyphosate. Although organic produce is not superior in nutrition to non-organic produce, it likely contains less glyphosate, if any at all. Potatoes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops. Although potatoes are tubers, meaning they grow underground, they are typically sprayed with pesticides after harvesting. Potatoes also act as sponges for any fungicides sprayed on the soil.
HUMMUS & CHICKPEAS
Recently, the Environmental Working Group released a report that reveals many popular brands of hummus contain high amounts of glyphosate. As with other food categories, organic hummus tested lower in glyphosate residue.
PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING ELSE
If you eat chips and apples, drink almond milk, and chew gum, you’re likely being exposed to glyphosate. An overwhelming majority of the foods sold in supermarkets contain the herbicide. Packaged/heavily-processed foods contain cottonseed or soybean oil, both of which are relatively high in glyphosate.
According to WeedKillerCrisis.com, eating garlic, onions, probiotic foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar) and the trace mineral, manganese, may help prevent the potentially-harmful effects of glyphosate.