We are all aware of GMOs and pesticides in our food. But it has other, less-noticeable ways of causing harm. Glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world. It has been associated with a host of human and livestock health issues including birth defects, reproductive problems, carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and internal organ toxicity, as well as lethality to frogs and harm toglyphosate soil and aquatic ecosystems. Because of this, the contamination of water supplies with glyphosate, which is extremely water soluble, should be a very big concern.

Groundwater is water located under the Earth’s surface and supplies wells, aquifers and streams and makes up approximately 70 % of the world’s fresh water supply. As rivers and lakes tend to be supported by groundwater, much of the water we use for agriculture, industry and drinking water is either groundwater or has been groundwater at some point in the water cycle. Groundwater has recently been shown to be contaminated with glyphosate. A study published in 2011 found that of 140 groundwater samples taken from Catalonia, Spain, 41 % of them had glyphosate levels above the limit of detection; contrary to the claim by Monsanto that the herbicide biodegrades rapidly in the environment. Perhaps their definition of “rapidly” differs from everyone else’s. Monsanto’s study on Roundup, for example, showed that 28 days after application, only 2% of their herbicide had broken down. They nonetheless advertised the weed killer as “biodegradable,” “leaves the soil clean,” and “respects the environment.” These statements were declared false and illegal by judges in both the US and France. The company was forced to remove “biodegradable” from the label and pay a fine.  The highest detected level in groundwater reached 2.5 mg/L, which is above the already controversially high 0.1mg/L and 0.7mg/L drinking water limits in place (in the EU and US respectively). Catalonia is a region that does not even grow glyphosate-tolerant GM crops that have been directly linked to increased glyphosate use in the US.

This is very bad news.

Smaller studies in the US and Canada show widespread contamination. Two studies were conducted by The US Geological Survey in 2002. They first tested 51 streams in nine Midwestern states, during three runoff events: after the application of pre-emergence herbicides, after the application of post-emergence herbicides, and during harvest season. Glyphosate was detected at or above 0.1 mg/L in 35 % of pre-emergence, 40 % of post-emergence, and 31 % of harvest season samples, with a maximum concentration of 8.7 mg/L. The second study found that, out of 53 streams in all, over a third in the Midwest US state of Kansas  were contaminated with glyphosate, while two-thirds were contaminated with a glyphosate metabolite AMPA (2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid). A study of urban streams in King County, Washington, US found all tested streams had glyphosate. They also documented was glyphosate contamination in 60-100% of air and rain samples tested; suggesting that glyphosate exposure is omnipresent in the US. The concentrations detected ranged from <0.1 to 2.5µg/L in air and rain samples. Glyphosate usage has only increased since then. More bad news.

There are no legal standards in place anywhere in the world on safe levels of Bt toxins in drinking water, although the EPA acknowledges that humans may well be exposed to the toxin via food or drinking water. They conclude that as Bt toxins pose no health problems to humans, ingestion of the toxin is therefore of no concern. However, independent review of the literature showed otherwise. Bt toxins are implicated human health complications including allergenicity and other immune reactions, skin and eye problems, as well as internal organ toxicity in feeding trials on animals and in vitro studies of toxicity and lethality to human kidney cells, even at low doses. Environmental/non-human concerns include effects on soil microorganisms and off-target beneficial insects such as bees, caddis flies and Daphnia magna.

Analysis of the streams and water columns in Midwestern US, where an estimated 91% of streams are located within 500 meters of corn fields, found that 23% of water column sites and 13% of stream sites had detectable levels of the Bt Cry1Ab protein 6 months after harvest. Furthermore, 86% of stream sites contained Bt corn detritus. A similar study conducted in Canada found cry1Ab DNA as far away as 80 miles from the nearest Bt maize field, suggesting that it travels long distances through the water. Looking at the presence of the cry1Ab DNA, they found it persisted for 21 and 40 days in surface water and sediment. Sediment-associated cry1Ab gene from Bt corn tended to decrease with distance from the Bt corn field. The ability of DNA to bind to clay substances increases its half-life and increases the risk of horizontal gene transfer. Horizontal gene transfer and recombination is the main route for generating new pathogens and spreading antibiotic and drug resistance. If genetic engineering does nothing else, it greatly facilitates horizontal gene transfer and recombination. Persistence of Bt toxin DNA in our water systems is a very serious concern.

What does all this mean to you? It means that they cannot keep us from being poisoned by this garbage in some way or another. GMOs must be stopped now before it is too late.

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