It’s Time to Clean Our PlatesJuly 25, 2011 July 25, 2011
In America, where obesity rates continue to increase, it is hard for me to tell anyone to clear their plate – unless I am confident that it is full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains! But, I have no problem urging people to clean their plates, or more specifically, opt for cleaner foods to put on them!
It goes without saying that I’d push for everyone to opt for clean, minimally processed, low sugar, low sodium, unrefined foods that include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, etc. But, this is about more than that. It’s about pushing the government to clean up its act when it comes to the production of our food.
It’s about time that, we, as a society, greatly curtail, and, eventually, eliminate, the use of synthetic, man-made herbicides and pesticides – which continue to be utilized in obscene quantities in both the agricultural and non-agricultural markets. In fact, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are found in virtually all corn and soy products unless they are organically grown, yet another reason to purchase organic food whenever possible.
That government agencies would think that the use of more than 5.2 billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides each year would have no impact on human health is greatly near-sighted and short minded. Levels of many of these synthetic chemicals are measurable in human tissue at birth as well as in breast milk of mothers who are trying to opt for a healthy, natural, clean way to feed their babies. These chemicals are linked to the rise in chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, learning disabilities, thyroid and hormone dysregulation, autoimmune disease and many of the inflammatory illnesses that we are seeing more and more in society. They’ve also been found to uncouple mitochondrial phosphorylation causing mitochondrial dysfunction, to stimulate autoimmunity and to increase inflammatory pathways.
The toll on human health and disease of these chemicals is probably more far-reaching than industry has led us to believe. In fact, a comprehensive review of existing data released this month by Earth Open Source, an organization that uses open-source collaboration to advance sustainable food production, suggests that industry regulators in Europe have known for years that the herbicide, glyphosate, causes birth defects in the embryos of laboratory animals, and, that by 1993, the herbicide industry, including the original makers of Roundup, knew that visceral anomalies such as dilation of the heart could occur in rabbits at low and medium-sized doses. The report further suggests that since 2002, regulators with the European Commission have known that glyphosate causes developmental malformations in lab animals. Even so, the commission’s health and consumer division published a final review of glyphosate in 2002 that approved its use in Europe for the next 10 years.
It’s maddening – especially knowing that much of this ingestion of chemicals is coming from the consumption of otherwise healthy foods like apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce and kale/collard greens. These fruits and vegetables are known as the “dirty dozen,” meaning they are the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and they most important to buy organic.
It’s time we DEMAND that additional independent studies be conducted to demonstrate the real safety of any pesticides or herbicides which affect our air, our food, our water and our future.
It’s time to seek more natural and safe solutions and put an end to this colossal human experiment that has been going on for decades at the expense of our health and the health of our future generations.
Until then, I encourage everyone to keep it clean – try to buy organic versions of the items on the “dirty dozen” list, when possible. When it is not, opt for fruits and vegetables that are grown with the use of less pesticides – as listed on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) list of “Clean 15.” These include asparagus, avocado, watermelon, mangoes, onions, sweet corn and pineapple, to name a few. According to the EWG, consumers who choose five servings of fruits and vegetables a day from this list rather than from the “Dirty Dozen” can lower their concentration of pesticides they consume by 92 percent and will also eat fewer types of pesticides, including Bt-Toxin, which has been in the news lately because of a recent study that has “blown” holes in the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety claims around corn grown using this substance.
The study, conducted by doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found that genetically-modified “Bt” corn (corn grown using the Bt-toxin, a pesticide boasting a gene from soil bacteria that breaks open the stomach of certain insects, killing them instantly, thus protecting the corn crop) is – contrary to safety claims made by the EPA and the pesticide’s developer, Monsanto – harmful, very harmful, to humans.
The study, which has been accepted for publication in Reproductive Toxicology, found the corn’s Bt-toxin present in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women. (Specifically, the toxin was identified in 93% of 30 pregnant women, 80% of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67% of 39 non-pregnant women.) Bt-Toxin has been linked to allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, MS, cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and colitis. And that is the short list.
It is sad that we have to rely on lists to tell us which healthy food choice is, well, healthy. And that we cannot always rely on government agencies to be honest and keep our best interests at heart. Hopefully, though, with our collective voices, we can put pressure on the powers that be to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their constituents – both of today and tomorrow.
Dr. Allan Magaziner is one of the nation’s leading authorities on nutrition, preventive medicine and environmental illness. He is the founder and director of the Magaziner Center for Wellness in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where he has treated dozens of patients with ailments resulting from exposure to herbicides and pesticide using medical detoxification. To find out more, contact the Magaziner Center at 856-424-8222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.