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The endocrine system regulates every function of the body. It consists of the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands, the pancreas, the ovaries and the testes, all linked to the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus is like the mainframe computer of the body sending signals to glands that provide instructions for creating hormones, which are the natural chemical messengers that tell your cells what to do. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.

The endocrine system is all about hormones and glands. As the body's chemical messengers, hormones transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another. Although many different hormones circulate throughout the bloodstream, each one affects only the cells that are genetically programmed to receive and respond to its message. Hormone levels can be influenced by factors such as stress, infection, and changes in the balance of fluid and minerals in blood.

While your nervous system uses electricity to orchestrate all sorts of things in the body, the endocrine system does even more through the wonder of chemicals.

Endocrine glands spew their hormones directly into your bloodstream. The various endocrine glands send the messenger chemicals via the bloodstream to different parts of the body where they bind to specific receptors that control cellular functions. One messenger hormone, estrogen, is secreted by the ovaries and plays a major part in the regulation of menstruation, fertility, pregnancy and fat cell activity.

Endocrine disruptors are chemical substances, primarily man-made synthetics, that interfere with the function of the endocrine system. These synthetics may be derived from petroleum or vegetable sources and are created for environmentally unfriendly industrial processes using toxic catalysts and reagents.

These chemicals mimic, block or disrupt the actions of human (and animal) hormones and, unexpectedly, do more damage at low levels of exposure than at high levels. These chemicals can also work in sinister yet subtle ways by disrupting the body's ability to produce adequate quantities of hormones or by interfering with the body's hormonal pathways.

These endocrine disruptors are affecting algae and other microscopic life, fish, whales and birds. Humans are exposed when they drink the water or eat contaminated fish.

Endocrine disruptors are stored in a body's fatty tissues and do not get flushed out with water. They accumulating over the years. It is now recognized that the dramatic increases of breast cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and thyroid cancer have been linked to exposure to environmental estrogens. In the past twenty-five years in the US, alone, thyroid cancer has increased more than 45%, with more women being affected than men, and has become the number one cancer in children under age twenty, many of whom suffered from fetal endocrine disruption exposures.

Of the 80,000 plus chemicals used in products, just a fraction were fully tested for toxicity, let alone for their hormone interference potential. Currently, toxicity tests required by the US and Canadian government do not evaluate endocrine disrupting effects.

In the ongoing fight of David (the general public) vs Goliath (GMO corporate citizens like Monsanto) the beautiful state of Vermont, the House of Representatives voted 114 to 30 in favor of a bill that calls for mandatory labeling of foods sold in Vermont that contain genetically engineered ingredients. It would also ban GMO-containing foods from being marketed as "natural" or "all natural." The same bill was passed by the state Senate by a vote of 26 to 2.

The Organic Consumers Association is calling this the first potential no-strings-attached GMO labeling law because it doesn't require other states to sign similar laws to force the law into effect. GMO-labeling laws passed in Connecticut and Maine do. That power in numbers strategy is designed to prevent lawsuits, but Vermont lawmakers believe they crafted a strong law. Nevertheless, the legislature did create a fund to help cover legal costs if they are sued over the right-to-know-what's-in-your-food law.

The law is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2016.

Depending on the poll, about 90 percent of consumers want genetically modified foods labeled. Regardless many processed companies and the corporations that sell transgenic seeds and agri-chemicals have spent hundreds of millions of dollars into defeating labeling initiatives. Monsanto, Dow, and other chemical companies persuaded voters in Washington and California to vote against labeling laws using scare tactics like telling people food prices will skyrocket, a claim that has been debunked. Monsanto and other chemical companies are now setting their sites stopping a GMO planting ban initiative in a single Oregon county. The state is expected to introduce a GMO labeling ballot initiative in November.

Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. It is a post emergent herbicide that is non-selective. Meaning it will kill all green plants that you apply it to including grass, broad leaf weeds and some woody plants.

Commercial glyphosate is composed of other chemicals all with the purpose of making the herbicide more easy to use. These products are generally not placed on the label. Estimates are that over 99% of the product is composed of these inert products, of which little research has been conducted.

The toxicity of glyphosate alone is much less than the toxicity of commercial glyphosate used by consumers, due to the so-called “inert” ingredients in the commercial formulation. For example the surfactanct polyethoxylated tallowamine has an acute lethal dose three times that of glyphosate alone and destroys red blood cells. Yet toxicity studies used to regulate the product only examine the “active” ingredient only and not the formulation.

Examinations of the effects of Roundup™ on human lymphocytes have shown an increase in the frequency of sister chromatid exchanges, genetic exchanges during cell division resulting in point mutations. A 2008 scientific study has shown that Roundup formulations and metabolic products cause the death of human embryonic, placental, and umbilical cells in vitro, even at low concentrations. The effects were not proportional to the main active ingredient concentrations (glyphosate), but dependent on the nature of the adjuvants used in the Roundup formulation

Commercial Glyphosate Trade Names
Roundup
Buccaneer
Razor Pro
Genesis Extra II
Roundup Pro Concentrate
Rodeo
Aquaneat
Aquamaster
Non-target Damage

Glyphosate has been shown to kill beneficial insects including parasitoid wasps, lacewings and ladybugs. Other insect populations have been drastically reduced by glyphosate applications, which negatively impacts on birds and small insect-eating mammals. These changes in plant communities impact birds’ sources of food, shelter and nest support.

Glyphosate in its commercial form is 20 to 70 times more toxic to fish than glyphosate alone. It is also increasingly toxic at higher temperatures. This is significant when one considers that glyphosate is a defoliant and the lack of plant cover increases the temperature of waterways. Sublethal effects on fish include erratic swimming, gill damage, and changes in liver structure.

Glyphosate also impacts non-target plant species in several important ways. In low doses it decreases both the number of seeds germinating and the seedling weight as compared to untreated plants. It also affects the ability of bacteria located on the nodules of leguminous plants to perform nitrogen fixation, an essential process converting nitrogen from an unusable form to a compound that is able to be used by the plant. Studies have shown that at typically application rates, glyphosate inhibits up to 70% of nitrogen fixation.

Corn and soybeans, are some of the food crops that have been genetically modified with genes that convey resistance to the herbicide Roundup™. The subsequent development of resistance in some weed species is now emerging as a costly problem.

Early Symptoms of Glyphosate Poisoning

According to the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, early symptoms of glyphosate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms. Both organizations also advise that poisoning can occur by absorption through the skin or eye contact, therefore the area of absorption may also be irritated. The individual may develop a rash or an itchy, red patch where the chemical originally made contact. If ingested, the poisoning would mimic food poisoning and cause stomach cramps and possible throat irritation.

Acute symptoms of glyphosate exposure include, destruction of red blood cells, lung dysfunction, low blood pressure, kidney damage, erosion of gastrointestinal tract, dizziness, fever, and nausea.

Resources
In our food: a recent study found that Glyphosate residues in the main foods of the Western diet – sugar, wheat, and genetically modified corn and soy – inhibit critical enzymes in mammals [which] manifests slowly over time, as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.
Source: http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

A study done in Germany in 2012 found glyphosate in all of the urine samples it took from non-agricultural workers in Berlin, at levels 5-20 times the limit for drinking water.
Source: http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urin?lang=en

In humans: in June 2013, another study found traces of glyphosate in the urine samples of individuals across 18 countries in Europe.
Summary: http://gmoevidence.com/dr-hans-wolfgang-hoppe-glyphosate-found-in-human-... Original Study Report: http://gmoevidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/glyphosate_studyresult...

Glyphosate is a genotoxic endocrine disruptor to human cells and gut bacteria
Human Cells: http://www.barnstablecounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/gasnier-toxic...

Gut Bacteria: our gut bacteria was recently discovered to contain the very same metabolic pathway in plants that is being targeted and disrupted by Glyphosate—in direct opposition to Monsanto’s claims that the human body did not contain this pathway:
http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416 (watch a full video presentation on this topic).

Two decades after the advent of “RoundUp Ready” crops and their dominance in the agricultural marketplace, the evidence of their falsehoods abound: multiple studies have found significant levels of glyphosate in streams, soil, air, rainwater, and groundwater:
Wastewater: http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/glyphosate_wastewater.html
Rain and Streams: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2909
Groundwater: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22101424
Soil: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/124999079/Effects-of-Glyphosate-and-Foliar-A... (slideshow; see presentation here; view report here)
Atmosphere, Soil and Surface Water: http://environment.gov.ab.ca/info/library/6444.pdf
Mississippi and Iowa Streams: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2009AM/finalprogram/abstract_162346.htm
Mississippi Air and Rain: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24549493

According to the USGS, more than 88,000 tons of glyphosate were used in the United States in 2007, up from 11,000 tons in 1992. Since the advent of “super weeds,” the use of glyphosate (and other even stronger weed killers) has risen significantly.
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/31/us-glyphosate-pollution-idUSTR...

Superweeds: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html
International Database on Glycines (Glyphosate family): http://www.weedscience.com/summary/MOA.aspx?MOAID=12
Iowa State: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2011/0120hartzler.htm
University of Arkansas: http://bumperscollege.uark.edu/test_cses2012/1946.php
National Academy of Sciences Report: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12804

Three studies linking glyphosate exposure with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

2001: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/11/1155.long
2002: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12148884
2003: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1740618/

Recent study linking glyphosate exposure to kidney disease in multiple countries:
2014: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/news/sri-lanka,-kidney-disease-linked...

Glyphosate Detected in Pregnant Women: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22261298
EPA Study Outline and Schedule: http://pesticidetruths.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Reference-glyphosa...

Glyphosate causes DNA damage: Inhalation of glyphosate was observed to cause DNA damage after short exposure to concentrations that correspond to the 450-fold dilution of spraying most commonly used in agriculture:
Study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22331240

Additional Resources
1]Franz, J.E., M.K. Mao, and J.A. Sikorski. 1997. Glyphosate: A unique global herbicide. ACS Monograph 189. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society.

[2] Sawada, Y., et al. 1988. Probable toxicity of surface-active agent in commercial herbicide containing glyphosate. Lancet 1(8580):299.

[3] Tominack, R.L. et al. 1991. Taiwan National Poison Center: Survey of glyphosate-surfactant herbicide ingestions. Clin. Toxicol. 29(1):91-109.

[4] Talbot, A.R. et al. 1991. Acute poisoning with a glyphosate-surfactant herbicide (“Roundup”): A review of 93 cases. Human Exp. Toxicol. 10:1-8.

[5] Savitz, D.A. et al. 1997. Male pesticide exposure and pregnancy outcome. Am. J. Epidemiol. 146: 1025-1036.

[6] Vigfusson, N.V. and E.R. Vyse. 1980. The effect of the pesticides, Dexon, Captan, and Roundup on sister-chromatid exchanges in human lymphocytes in vitro. Mut. Res. 79:53-57.

[7] Bolognesi, C. et al. 1995. Mutagenicity testing of nine herbicides and pesticides currently used in agriculture. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 25:148-153.

[8] Hassan, S.A. et al. Results of the fourth joint pesticide testing programme carried out by the IOBC/WPRS working group “Pesticides and Beneficial Organisms”. J. Appl. Ent. 105:321-329.

[9] Santillo, D.J., D.M. Leslie, and P.W. Brown. 1989. Responses of small mammals and habitat to glyphosate application

[10] Folmar, L.C., H.O. Sanders, and A.M. Julin. 1979. Toxicity of the herbicide glyphosate and several of its formulations to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 33:355-361.

[11] Liong, P.C., W.P. Hamzah, and V. Murugan. 1988. Toxicity of some pesticides towards freshwater fishes. Malaysian Agric. J. 54(3):147-156.

[12] Neskovic, N.K. et al. 1996. Biochemical and histopathological effects of glyphosate on carp, Cyprinus carpio L. Bull. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 56:-295-302.

[13] Locke, D., J.A. Landivar, and D. Moseley. 1995. The effects of rate and timeing of glyphosate applications on defoliation efficiency, regrowth inhibition, lint yield, fiber quality and seed quality. Proc. Beltwide Cotton Conf. National Cotton Council of America: 1088-1090.

[14] Eberback, P.L. and L.A. Douglas 1983. Persistence of glyphosate in a sandy loam. Soil Biol. Biochem. 15(4):485-487.

In North America, we spend almost 90 percent of our food budget on processed food which contains a staggering number of artificial food additives, preservatives, colours and flavour enhancers. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest compiled a list of common food additives. There is a short description for each additive and a safety rating for each.

So what's wrong with a bit of flavour enhancement? When it comes to commercial food, its so dangerous your health and the health of your children may be suffering as a consequence. A carefully designed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal The Lancet may have finally shifted the tide. It concluded that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate – found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings – do cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distracted.

The seven ingredients tested in the study included:
• Sodium benzoate (E211)
• Sunset yellow (E110)
• Quinoline yellow (E104)
• Carmoisine (E122)
• Tartrazine (E102)
• Ponceau 4R (E124)
• Allura red AC (E129)

The results of this study have already prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue an immediate advisory to parents, warning them to limit their children's intake of additives if they notice an effect on behavior. Read the labels on food products and find out what is in the foods you buy.

Additives to Avoid
1. Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite)
This is a preservative, coloring, and flavoring commonly added to bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. Studies have linked eating it to various types of cancer.
2. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are used to preserve common household foods. They are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. They are oxidants, which form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
3. Propyl Gallate
Another preservative, often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. It is sometimes found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Animals studies have suggested that it could be linked to cancer.
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and restaurant food. It can cause headaches and nausea, and animal studies link it to damaged nerve cells in the brains of infant mice.
5. Trans Fats
Trans fats are proven to cause heart disease. Restaurant food, especially fast food chains, often serve foods laden with trans fats.
6. Aspartame
Aspartame, also known by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal, is a sweetener found in so-called diet foods such as low-calorie desserts, gelatins, drink mixes, and soft drinks. It may cause cancer or neurological problems, such as dizziness or hallucinations.
7. Acesulfame-K
This is a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts. There is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant, and some studies show the additive may cause cancer in rats.
8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
Five food colorings still on the market are linked with cancer in animal testing. Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, has been linked to bladder cancer. The widely used yellow 6, added to beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy, has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.
9. Olestra
Olestra, a synthetic fat found in some potato chip brands, can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gas. Olestra also inhibits healthy vitamin absorption from fat-soluble carotenoids that are found in fruits and vegetables.
10. Potassium Bromate
Potassium bromate is used as an additive to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls. It is known to cause cancer in animals, and even small amounts in bread can create a risk for humans.
11. White Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Watch out for foods with added sweeteners such as baked goods, cereals, crackers, sauces and many other processed foods. It is unsafe for your health, and promotes bad nutrition. HFCS is the number one source of calories in North America. The accumulated scientific evidence demonstrates it causes far more damage than white sugar.
12. Sodium Chloride
A dash of sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, can bring flavor to your meal. But too much salt can be dangerous for your health, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. However, unprocessed salts, like unrefined sea salts and Himalayan salt can be an important part of a healthy diet.

If you ever doubted the power of one consider this. The world's largest beverage-maker, Coca-Cola, plans to remove a controversial ingredient from some of its US and Canada drink brands by the end of this year, following an online petition.

Brominated vegetable oil or BVO is used as a stabiliser in fruit-flavoured drinks to help prevent ingredients from separating. Medical researchers at the Mayo Clinic state excessive consumption of soft drinks containing BVO has been linked to negative health effects, including reports of memory loss and skin and nerve problems.

Coca-Cola's decision to remove BVO from its drink reflects a growing move among companies to reconsider certain practices due to public pressure. The campaign against the use of BVO was begun by Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager from Mississippi, who questioned why the ingredient was being used in drinks targeted at health-conscious athletes. Thousands of people have since signed her online petition on Change.org to have BVO removed from drinks.

Currently, BVO, is found in Coca-Cola fruit and sports drinks such as Fanta and Powerade. In Japan and the European Union, the use of BVO as a food additive is not allowed and Coca-Cola's rival Pepsi has plans to remove the ingredient from its entire product portfolio. BVO was dropped from the US Food and Drug Administration's "Generally Recognised as Safe" list of food ingredients in 1970. However, drinks companies in the US and Canada are allowed to use BVO at up to 15 parts per million.

The term “genetically modified organism” (GMO) occurs when genetic material has been changed in a way that does not occur naturally. It can also can be referred to as genetically engineered (GE) or transgenic.

The genetically engineered seeds that are destined to be in our food, have their DNA artifically altered in the laboratory using genes from bacteria or viruses to create plant breeds that do not occur in Nature. Most of the GMO seeds are genetically manipulated to either produce their own pesticides inside the cells of the plant (systemic) or it is engineered to withstand heavy doses of chemical pesticides in order to survive in the field. As a result, GMOs are implicated in ecological and environmental issues the collapse of biodiversity and the disappearance of pollinators.

Roundup, the chemical sprayed on most GMOs, has been linked to cancer, DNA damage, premature births, ADHD and the permutation of the endocrine pathways which can lead to obesity, heart problems, circulation issues and diabetes. Yet, the U.S. EPA has raised the allowable levels of glphyosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, in our food.

GMO ingredients have never been adequately tested for long-term impacts on public health despite hitting the market in 1996.

The transgenic food industry  has led to one of the most persistent debates about mandatory labelling. How can consumers make a conscious choice if they can’t understand the components that are in the food they are about to purchase or how these mysterious ingredients may affect your health or the health of your family.

A strong movement of opposition to genetic engineering in agriculture has developed throughout the world. The movement has led to a moratorium in the EU toward imported genetically modified (GM) products, as well as to acts of open opposition. In the United States opposition to transgenic crops and mandatory labeling is also mounting.

Unlike most other developed countries—such as the 15 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China—the U.S. and Canada has no laws requiring labeling of GE foods. Yet polls have repeatedly shown that the overwhelming majority of citizens in these two countries believe GE foods should be labeled. Health Canada, which shares responsibility with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for food labelling policies, does allow food makers to voluntarily mention whether their foods contain GM ingredients but these 'standards' are not effective.

The agrochemical industry is valued at over $42 billion and operates with impunity while over 355,000 people die from pesticide poisoning every year, and hundreds of thousands more are made ill. In addition, pesticide corporations have put livelihoods and jobs in jeopardy, including, farmers, beekeepers and fishermen.

In polls taken in the U.S. and Canada, over 80% of participants want food containing GMO ingredients labeled. Consumers have a right to know what they are eating, but it’s increasingly evident that we’re not getting any help in that regard from our regulators. So it’s up to us to know what to look for so we can make informed purchasing decisions. Avoiding GE ingredients isn’t easy and once you make the transition from purchasing food without transgenic ingredients, you’ll be surprised how much of it is on grocery shelves and in your kitchen. Estimates indicate that more than 75 percent of the food in supermarkets is genetically engineered or contains transgenic ingredients and that doesn’t include meat products.

The most reliable way to avoid transgenic ingredients in your food is to be on the lookout for the four most common transgenic ingredients:

Field corn and corn-derived ingredients:
The U.S. is the world’s largest corn producer. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year, American farmers planted more corn than any other crop, covering 95 million acres. (USDA 2013a). Almost 90 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered (USDA 2013b). Most of the transgenic crop is cultivated for animal feed, but nearly 12 percent is processed into corn flour, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, masa, corn meal and corn oil. All of those transgenic products end up in foods consumed by humans (EPA 2013). Assume that when these ingredients are listed on the food labels of processed food, they are genetically engineered. Be on the lookout for GMO sweet corn or table grown in both Canada and the US. It’s making its way into grocery stores and farmers markets and it doesn’t have to be labelled.

Soybeans and soybean-derived ingredients:
Soybeans are the second most planted American crop, covering more than 76 million acres last year (USDA 2013a). Almost 93 percent of soybeans grown in that country has been genetically engineered (USDA 2013b). Soybean-based products and soybean-derived ingredients are common on supermarket shelves. Assume processed food products that contain soy proteins, soybean oil, soy milk, soy flour, soy sauce, tofu or soy lecithin are transgenic unless they are certified organic or GE-free.

Sugar:
Roughly 55 percent of the sugar produced in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, 95 percent of which have been genetically engineered (USDA 2013c). If a product label does not specify that it has been made with “pure cane” sugar, chances are very likely that the sugar is genetically engineered beet sugar.

Vegetable Oils:
Assume that vegetable oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil and corn oil are genetically engineered. Nearly 90 percent of American oilseed production is soybeans, of which almost 100 percent is genetically engineered (USDA 2013b). The remaining 10 percent of oilseed crops are cottonseed, sunflower seed, canola, rapeseed, and peanut. Canola and cottonseed oil are primarily from transgenic crops. More than 90 percent of corn oil is derived from genetically engineered corn.

The medical community is witnessing a rapid rise in the deterioration of human digestive health not only in adults, but in kids. Food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease has skyrocketed by as much as 40% in the last decade and intestinal permeability, more commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome, is also on the rise. Although the disorder is something of a medical mystery, this serious digestive disorder compromises the stomach lining (epithelium) making it so porous that damaging bacteria and endotoxins can leak through. As the incursion becomes chronic, our immune systems weaken ultimately triggering chronic inflammation which may leave the door wide open for any one of the autoimmune diseases that are currently on the rise: irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Alzheimer’s 20 and most recently Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Systemic in the processed food we eat, two separate and potentially dangerous factors co-exist and studies indicate both may be affecting our well-being and that of our children. Roughly 85 percent of all genetically engineered plants are herbicide-tolerant and are sprayed with high levels of glyphosate which accumulates in the growth points of the crop. Glyphosate immobilizes nutrients and destroys the beneficial micoflora in the gut which can trigger chronic inflammation.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory examined more than 300 studies on the herbicide and conclude that “the negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.” Stephanie Seneff, PhD, coauthor of the study, says that when the delicate beneficial microflora like bacillus and lactobacillus are wiped out, harmful pathogens like Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, and E. coli can survive leaving the body vulnerable. Interestingly, when researchers studied the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, they discovered that the honeybees left in the hive were mineral deficient as well. Somehow two fundamental digestive components honeybees have in common with humans have vanished. Without Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium the majority of the adult and unborn honeybee population were left susceptible to a chronic disease that is now destroying their species.

BT toxins are also systemic in the cellular structure of the transgenic plant. Since the toxin has become part of our regular dietary intake, it’s showing up in human blood and we now know it can pass from mother to child. Advocates claim BT toxins pose no danger when in the blood, but, these crops are virtually untested.

Independent research already shows that BT toxins have ill effects on laboratory animals, producing a potent immune response. Advocates of agriculture biotechnology maintain BT toxins attack structures in the insect gut that aren’t present in humans. But specific receptors called cadherins, to which the BT toxin adheres to in insects, are present in humans. To date, eighty different types of cadherins have been identified and sequenced in humans but there are many more that haven’t yet been sequenced. Cadherins play an important role during fetal development in cell adhesion (binding cells within tissue together), neural development and the brain’s temporal patterns of expression. After birth, they continue to be vital to cell maintenance.

Today, there is no hard evidence that links meat protein fed BT grains and digestive health. Long term feeding studies are expensive and distressingly there is too much vested interest to encourage impartial exploration. But while the debate that links BT toxins and glyphosate to digestive health and chronic inflammation continues, independent science is hard at work demonstrating the safety claims of transgenic agriculture may have been overstated.

The average person eats 200 pounds of beef, pork, poultry and fish per capita per year. Two out of every three farm animals in the world are factory farmed meaning the vast majority of the 50 billion animals that are processed to meet this demand have one thing in common. Just before slaughter, they are ‘fattened up’ using a transgenic cuisine made from BT grains peppered with a healthy dose of glyphosate, antibiotics and an array of other questionable chemicals including the drug Ractopamine, a growth additive that’s been banned almost everywhere except USA and Canada. Brazil’s University of Brasilia demonstrated that contrary to industry claims, BT toxins are much more toxic to mammals than previously thought and at much lower levels. They also demonstrated the toxin bioaccumulates not only in the environment, but in fatty tissue which could pose a direct threat to human health. Dr. Monika Krueger at Leipzig University shows that a mere tenth of a part per million of glyphosate is all that it takes to kill human Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus faecalis. Yet, in the face of all this independent scientific evidence, the EPA in the US has doubled the health levels of glyphosate allowed in food.

The danger of transgenic food whether boxed or slaughtered is not that the consumer suffers an acute onset of disease; it’s the concentrated amounts consumed overtime that may be causing the damage, just like the deadly effects of cigarette smoking. Considering BT crops and glyphosate have tainted over 70% of the food products on the shelf and in the vast majority of meat protein in the refrigeration aisles, we’re swallowing the controversial duo at every meal. We owe it to our children to stop shovelling billions of dollars into subsidies and research for chemical agriculture and start investing in the research that will help safeguard their future.

It was a sad day when I told my young granddaughter that she couldn't have the ice cream she wanted because the ingredients were 'not good'. We were on a lovely summer-day stroll and we both were craving ice cream. I asked the vendor what type of sugar they used. They couldn't answer the question. So then I asked to see the ingredient list and they couldn't supply that either. So we passed on the purchase and went on the hunt for organic ice cream or at the very least ice cream that was made with recognizable ingredients. Needless to say it was a very long walk.

Ultimately we did find some and to celebrate we had 'doubles'. As we licked the scrumptious organic strawberry cream and the exquisite peanut butter and chocolate, we had an interesting conversation about what ice cream was and how did 'the ice cream store' get it. We asked the salesperson that question and we got us a peek into the vendor's on-premises ice-cream making facility. Very cool and very yummy samples.

Happily organic ice cream will soon be only as far away as the corner store. Ben and Jerry's, the iconic ice cream maker, just announced that it will transform all of its 50 flavors to non-genetically modified ingredients and Fair Trade certification. To meet the non-GMO and Fair Trade standards, Ben & Jerry's had to find new sources for some 110 ingredients that go into their wonderful chunky flavours. But before we get weepy-eyed as we embrace another large corporation who is making the move to non-GMO food its good to understand perspective.

This move puts Ben & Jerry's back in the good graces of a growing GMO-opposition movement. Just two years ago, Ben & Jerry's parent company Unilever spent more than $450,000 to try to defeat the California GMO labeling ballot initiative. Ben & Jerry's took heat for it from their customer base who are GMO opponents. Less than a year later, Ben & Jerry's announced plans to go non-GMO.

Ahhh the power of consumerism.

'We now eat food grown by unnatural processes which make use of a host of chemical substances: hormones, antibiotics, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides - of which residues are to be found in nearly all the food commercially available today.' Edward Goldsmith, The Ecologist, Vol 30 No 7, October 2000

Although toxicologists are able to investigate single substances quite efficiently, they have no basic methods for analyzing complex mixtures of toxic substances and the 'cocktail' effect of the mixture of several hundred synthetic chemicals that each one of us carries in our body.

According to the EWG's Body Burden website, there are 80,000 chemicals in commerce. The site states, "No one is ever exposed to a single chemical, but to a chemical soup, the ingredients of which may interact to cause unpredictable health effects."

There are only a few studies that evaluate the combined effects of food additives. One 2006 study published in Toxicology Science concludes that the combination of several common additives appears to have a neurotoxic effect. "Although the use of single food additives at their regulated concentrations is believed to be relatively safe in terms of neuronal development, their combined effects remain unclear." Of the four additives examined, only one is banned in the US, while the rest remain in the foods on our grocery store shelves. A 2000 study, looked at the combination of four major food additives or a mixture of six typical artificial food colours and found indications of toxicity in both.

Perhaps the most alarming study comes from a 1976 Journal of Food Science. Young rats were fed a low-fiber diet along with sodium cyclamate, FD&C Red No. 2, and polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate individually and in combination. While the study found that any one of the three food additives given individually had little negative effect, the combination of all three additives resulted in weight loss and the death of all test animals within 14 days. Sodium cyclamate is an artificial sweetener banned in the U.S., but FD&C Red No. 2, a food dye, and polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate, an emulsifier, are still in regular use in the food supply, according to the FDA's website.

And it's not just food. A number of additional toxins also enter our systems from other industrial sources often in the form of phthalate plasticizers and parabens -- both of which are used in personal care products, some medications, and even foods and food preservation. The vast majority of us use some form of shampoo, soap, lotion, and antiperspirant every day, and these toxins are absorbed through the skin.

Chemicals used in all of these industrial products are big business and food corporations are once again some of the biggest offenders. Many own shares in some of the largest personal care companies in the world. For example, Nestlé owns 30 percent of the world's largest cosmetic and beauty company L'Oreal. They use cheap, industrial ingredients to maintain their enormous profit margins.

Our governments are not being proactive. Using the precautionary approach when purchasing food and personal care products is the only solution currently available. Read the label - your body will thank you.