Glyphosate infusion into the world

October 2016
Photo Creative Commons
Glyphosate herbicide usage has got so out of control, it seems to have taken on a life of its own.

Most of the livestock which provide us with our meat, dairy and eggs are fed maize, soya and cotton seed. Most of these three crops are liberally sprayed with glyphosate because they've been genetically transformed to accumulate this weedkiller.

Livestock aren't the only animals eating GM crops. Bees can forage over several miles, and monocultures of GM maize, soya, cotton, and oilseed rape in flower provide a bees' banquet. Hardly surprising then that American honey is ubiquitously contaminated with the herbicide.
Glyphosate in animal feed is there by design, but that doesn't explain why it's turning up in human food too. Tests reported earlier this year showed detectable levels of the herbicide in oatmeal, bagels, coffee creamer and 10 out of 24 breakfast cereals. This contamination could be a result of non-GM crops treated to speed withering prior to harvest.

Less easy to explain is the detection of glyphosate in organic products where the use of any chemicals is forbidden. Yet 'organic' bagels and bread were contaminated, glyphosate levels in some 'organic cage-free' eggs were higher than regulators allow, and 'organic mountain honey' has measurable levels of the herbicide.

Where this contamination could be coming from is a mystery, but organic fields and pastures are as subject to spray drift from careless neighbours as any other areas, and the herbicide can persist in the soil for more than 20 years after the obligatory organic conversion time.

And drink? Most potable water is treated remove phosphates which will generally remove glyphosate at the same time. But Germans were recently shocked to discover their beer is unaccountably laced with the herbicide [1]. In America, ten out of ten wine samples tested positive for glyphosate. These included organic and biodynamic wine samples although at much lower levels. Vines will be killed if sprayed with glyphosate, but it's common to spray the ground on either side of them, inevitably contaminating the stems. The herbicide could also be seeping through to the vine roots from the sprayed areas so close by.

Concerns have already been raised by science that, although glyphosate penetration directly into the skin is low, the amounts absorbed increase with exposure time, and compromised skin has impaired resistance to the chemical [2]. No one seems to have tested how vulnerable to glyphosate ingress the membranes of intimate areas might be. The last place you'd want to find the herbicide is in gauze dressings and swabs, panty-liners, tampons and sanitary pads. All these products are in protracted close contact with the body surfaces and all have tested positive for glyphosate or its metabolite, 'AMPA'.

The manufacturers of feminine hygiene products insist their products are "proven safe" and that they use "only materials respecting all the safety criteria". However, since glyphosate was declared "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 [3], their proofs and criteria may be out of date.

With all that glyphosate in food, drink and just about anything cotton, it's no surprise that in tests (not, of course carried out by regulators), 93% of Americans and 43.9% of Europeans were found to have the herbicide in their urine. Contaminated Americans were, on average, excreting three times the glyphosate recorded in Europeans, and American children had the highest levels of all.

The US Food and Drug Administration has been taking steps for many years to proactively address consumer concerns about pesticide residues. Its Total Diet Study, on-going since 1961, monitors 800 contaminants and nutrients in the American diet in 280 kinds of foods and beverages from around the country four times a year. Until earlier this year, it steadfastly avoided testing for glyphosate because it was considered so safe [4], but has now relented.


Yes folks, another regulatory don't-look-don't-see policy to keep the biotech industry afloat and GM crops in the ground, no matter what the cost to public health. The result is that "100% American" now means 100% glyphosate-contaminated, "100% natural" now means glyphosate-contaminated because there's nothing else to be found, and "100% pure" now means, for example, pure honey plus pure glyphosate.

Since there's no doubt you're being exposed to a probable carcinogen, you have every reason and right to demand it is removed from your food and environment. At the same time, consider demanding that it isn't replaced by another, even more toxic, herbicide [5].

[1] GLYPHOSATE-FEST - April 2016
[5] SPOTLIGHT ONSPRAY-DRIFT - September 2016

  • Carey Gillam, Private Tests Show Cancer-Linked Herbicide in Breakfast Foods; FDA mum on its assessments, The Huffington Post, 19.04.16
  • Carey Gillam, FDA Finds Monsanto's Weedkiller in U.S. Honey, The Huffington Post, 15.09.16
  • Dr. Mercola, Not Even Your Organic Wine Is Safe From Monsanto,, 12.04.16
  • Tampons, sanitary pads, and sterile gauze contaminated with probable carcinogen glyphosate, The Detox Project,, 21.10.15
  • Paul Wright, Organic panty liners recalled for containing traces of weedkiller found in Monsanto products,, 25.02.16
  • UCSF Presentation Reveals Glyphosate contamination in People Across America, Organic Consumers Association, 25.05.16

1 comment:

  1. I would like to know how many Scottish farmers feed their animals soya or corn, because if they do it is almost certain they are GMO crops imported from the US or Argentina. Most if not all (I hope all) farmers on Orkney do not use these feeds and feed their animals home grown silage and barley. I have heard of some Orkney farmers using glyphosate as a dessicator. This practice should be banned. If animal feed contains glyphosate inevitably it will end up in our bodies.


Thanks for your comment. All comments are moderated before they are published.