A toxin that many of us are exposed to daily is glyphosate. Glyphosate is an herbicide, a weed killer, used on genetically modified soy and corn. It is also used as a drying agent for oats, wheat and barley – it kills them so that they can be harvested earlier. It is also used in parks and golf courses and has been found in water.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for exposure to glyphosate. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) did a study and found it in many breakfast cereals and snack bars. This means that many children are exposed to it daily. We can reduce the amount of glyphosate we are consuming by avoiding genetically modified soy and corn and making sure we only eat organic. I recommend reading EWG’s article and watching their video on glyphosate to learn more about it and EWG’s report on which breakfast cereals and snack bars have it.
Glyphosate is classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It has been linked with non-Hogkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, in multiple studies. Moreover, other pesticides have also been linked to adverse health effects. In fact, a study conducted in France found that out of almost 70,000 participants, those who ate organic foods had the lowest incidence of several types of cancers (including breast, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).
Glyphosate is also known to have anti-bacterial activity and it can affect the gut bacteria. The gut microbiome is the collection of bacteria in our gut that is correlated with virtually all of our body’s functions and has been associated with our immune system, has implications in obesity, and mental health, among other associations.
It’s important to know how to avoid this probable carcinogen. As a mom and a physician, I do not feel comfortable giving my kids cereal that is contaminated with glyphosate. The other point to keep in mind is that there are at least dozens of chemicals that we are exposed to daily (e.g., through food, water, personal care products, food packaging, children’s toys, etc.) and we still don’t have a full understanding of how these chemicals can act synergistically to promote disease. Until we have a better understanding of this, my philosophy is to avoid as many known toxins as possible. EWG is an excellent resource for this.