The petition for local governments to test local food for glyphosate is slowly gaining ground. As more people are joining up, I am getting more feedback on potential decision makers to enter into the petition. One such recent entry has been the minister of agriculture for the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
I was impressed by the promptness of the response, but not by its content. Passing the buck and sidestepping the demand to test local food for glyphosate and not depend on another branch of Government which is obviously not testing anything for the people – seems to be the preferred method used by politicians to tap dance around the burning necessity for letting the people know the quantity of glyphosate in their food, and to deal with it in anyway they like.
These answers are not considered to be depressing. It gives us knowledge of what to expect from the fence sitting governments. It also bolsters the notion that the petition is needed more as a tool to develop grassroots movement, where people pressure begins to trump corporate lobby, and clean food trumps toxic one.
Anyhow, I wished to preserve this piece of information, not only because it deserves to be in the general body of information attached to the petition, but also as a blog and perhaps a near future book of essays, on my experience as a food security activist, and the journey of trying to push back from the toxic avalanche we are all subjected to.
To a few scientist friends
I trouble you again in search of some truths or information from three reports that Health Canada (ministry of health, Canada) has published of studies on various harmful manmade environmental chemicals and how much of each has been found in humans. The studies started in 2007 for the first report, and ended with the publication of the third report in 2015.
Two of these three reports are available from Health Canada web site, and one is available by personal request made to Health Canada. I have all three of them and have been going over them repeatedly, to find if the Government considers Glyphosate to be a harmful environmental chemical (as a herbicide) and if Canadians have been tested for its presence in their body fluids.
I have found mention of other substances such as 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, Atrazine, Dicamba, and many many other pesticides and herbicides, as well as metals such as Uranium, Lead and Arsenic. But I failed to find a single mention of Glyphosate or RoundUp.
There are mentions of organophosphates, but I am unsure if it includes Glyphosate and how much of it has been found in humans.
Ultimately, I decided to pass the three reports, the first (2007-2009), the second (2009-2011) and the third (2012-2013, published 2015) to you for some help in finding if Glyphosate is at all represented in Health Canada’s ten year study on environmental chemicals and human exposure to them.
The three reports are:
I would very much appreciate if any of you can advise me if these three definitive reports by Health Canada on Canadian citizen’s exposure to environmental chemicals does or does not include Glyphosate.
I wished to also pass some of these to Nancy Swanson, but since she changed her email, I am out of touch with her. Perhaps one of you will pass this to her, in case she might offer to help.
The reason I ask this is – I intend to do something about it in case Health Canada has neglected to test Glyphosate in Canadians. I do not know yet what I would do, but that would depend on if and how much these reports have or have not covered Glyphosate.
By the way, the first and the second report covers the generic topic of “pesticide” and the third, the most recent one, does not.
I apologize again for troubling you all.
I do not know where else I could go.
Thanks and best wishes
For readers – please feel free to add your comment. If you have a Facebook account, you can use that to identify yourself. No anonymous posts please.
Apr 2, 2016 — To: The Mayor Ms Luis Jackson,
April 1st, 2016 (not a prank)
Subject : Test Glyphosate in Delta’s water, soil and food.
I write to you, yet again, regarding potential dangers linked with exposure to Glyphosate for residents of Delta, and what the municipality could do.
Delta has fertile lowlands and farms. Glyphosate is the most used chemical in Canadian food production. Besides, since our town is actually in the delta of the Fraser river, and comprises of tidal mudflats and lowlands, most runoff from farms, as well as from the upland forests go through our midst. Both these regions use glyphosate, in agriculture by farmers and aerially in hilly forests by logging corporations.
In spite of being the most used toxin in Canada and the planet for a generation, safety test records and data of this weed killer are kept hidden from Canadians, possibly illegally, to protect commercial interest of the promoter.
Legal precedence is already being set in some countries, where supreme court has overruled federal Governments about keeping safety documents hidden from the people. Apparently, commercial confidentiality agreements and intellectual property rights cannot trump public safety. So, if a corporation cannot divulge safety records of its product to the public, the product itself may not be approved by the Government either.
I have two different channels of communication ongoing with the Ottawa Government about this. One of them is an online petition through change.org for the Government to disclose all safety test documents, based on which it is supposed to have approved Glyphosate for use in Canadian agriculture and environment. Link : https://www.change.org/p/minister-of-health-canada-justin-trudeau-health-canada-prove-glyphosate-is-safe
The petition has generated a large number of follow up updates with input from scientists around the world and other notables, and has over 22,000 supporters, 98% from Canada. The volume of information on the petition has crossed a thousand pages, and MP Carla Qualtrough has agreed to see me so I can present all that to her and request her to hand deliver it to the minister in Health Canada, to either place the safety documents in public domain, or inform Canadians why they do not have a right to these safety documents, or perhaps arrange a debate on the floor of our parliament about if Canadian citizens have, or do not have, a right to see first hand, all safety test data on this herbicide that has been entering our food chain in ever increasing dose for a generation.
Meanwhile for the town of Delta, and perhaps many other towns where concerned Canadians have supported this petition, there are areas where our municipal governments could actively engage, at the bottom tier of our political system, to address this issue in the following manner:
Start having our food, water, and soil, tested for concentration of Glyphosate. This could not even be done just a few years ago since labs did not offer such services, especially about testing our food for Glyphosate. But this can easily be done today. Increasing number of accredited labs are offering a high quality service. And some of the labs are nearby, such as in Burnaby. This testing is legal, and reasonably easy to do for a Municipal corporation. The reason so many labs are now scrambling to offer this service, is because our Government has started a massive effort to test our food, but behind closed doors, more or less from the time World Health Organization decided to reclassify Glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
Start placing these test results online and available for any research student, scholar, scientist or concerned citizen to read, download and follow up on, should they so desire.
Inform all parties, such as farmers, or loggers or nature park managers, that samples will be drawn from their areas after application of the herbicide, or when its concentration is noted to be highest, and also in off season, to get an idea of seasonal variation, and to start tracking the toxic load in regions within Delta.
This data should be available to local hospitals and doctors, to check if reports of skin rashes, gastro-intestinal or auto-immune disorders, especially among children, seem to be following the rise and fall of prevalence of Glyphosate, in which case any research organization would now have some data to start working on, to investigate if some ailments might be linked to Glyphosate exposure. The municipality need not get involved in this research, but can easily and legally offer accumulated data. Why ? Because that aught to be our first line of defence against environment induced ill-health and it aught to be the duty of our town council to ensure the residents are protected from the most used and most controversial agriculture and environmental toxin in Canada.
This data should also be available to wildlife research scientists that are investigating sudden population decline, unexpected mass death, skewring of sex ration in newborns, or disappearance of creatures starting from bees, birds, amphibians, herbivores and even whales.
Invite volunteers to check if recommended limits of dose of glyphosate is followed by those authorized to use it, like farmers and loggers, or exceeded by anybody. I have reason to believe that application of Glyphosate is not supervised by anybody, even if the packaging warns that it is (or may be) relatively safe only if applied according to instructions and within the maximum recommended dosage limits. I believe a municipality has the right to allow citizen volunteers a right to check if such limits are maintained, even if the council cannot afford employing people to do so for them.
This is not the first time I have written to the Delta Corporation on Glyphosate and what I wished the town council to consider engaging in. This is unlikely to be my last. I wish the municipality would take this seriously.
This letter will likely be included in the petition asking Ottawa to place all safety data on Glyphosate in the public domain. The reason this letter, and others written to other politicians, will be included is that battling indiscriminate use of an untested (it remains untested as long as the tests are hidden from people) and potentially hazardous chemical will need to be challenged on multiple fronts and the people would need to engage in it directly, and apply pressure on the politicians. It is my hope that this update, which reaches all 22,000 supporters of the petition across Canada and beyond, will influence a few hundred others to also write to their respective town councils, MPs and MLAs. Even if a single politician or town ends up being the first in initiating a program to track our food, soil, water and environment for glyphosate concentration, that will amount to a kicking in of the door, a pathfinder, and a worthy achievement that others might follow.
Should Delta Corporation have an interest in discussing this further, I shall be more than happy to attend.
Looking forward to a positive response,
With good wishes
Tony Mitra, 10891 Cherry Lane, Delta, BC, V4E 3L7, Canada
Mar 22, 2016 — Minister Carla Qualtrough has agreed to a 45 minutes meeting about this petition. I am in the process of gathering a small but potent group to to see the Minister.
Here is an email sent to a few, which explains the issue, and should serve as an update.
Here is an update on the Glyphosate issue along with a proposal, if one of you feel strongly enough to join me to meet our MP and minister Carla Qualtrough on April 1st afternoon in Delta BC.
In order to explain, I need to give the background.
Glyphosate is a toxic chemical that is the primary ingredient in the commercial weed killer brand named “RoundUp”. It is produced by Monsanto. It is by far the most used herbicide in Canadian agriculture, same as in USA and some other countries. Because it is used in agriculture, this chemical is expected to be in our food, and as such, is being found in various foods such as cereals, packaged food, milk, beef and poultry.
That Glyphosate is safe for us, is supposed to have been verified by Health Canada, before approving its use. In order to verify that, it is expected to see results of safety tests conducted on target animals exposed to this chemical. Health Canada says it has seen that, but in all the 30 years of its use in Canada (and 35 years in USA), no citizen of any country has been allowed to see these safety test data.
I have a communication ongoing with the Ministry of health, Ottawa, through Access To Information Act, demanding that the Government releases any and all safety tests it has seen that is supposed to indicate that Glyphosate is safe for animals, or give me the legal reason why it cannot show me these documents. The Government has acknowledged I have the right (as should any Canadian) to see the safety records, but is dragging its feel and finding excuses to delay the process, which started under the Harper Government and, far as I can tell, is continuing under the Trudeau Government.
Meanwhile, I have a separate online petition, asking the Canadian Govt to release all safety test documents on Glyphosate to the Canadian public. That petition has over 22,000 support signatures, 98% of whom are Canadian. Their comments, my follow up information and the list of all supporters would make over 500 pages of printed matter.
After having a string of email communication with Dr. Seralini of France, I am preparing to open a separate ‘Access To Information’ case with the Government of Canada, to check if it has at all seen any safety tests on the entire formulation of the herbicide “RoundUp” with all its ingredients, which, together, is suspected to be more dangerous than Glyphosate alone by an order of dimension, perhaps hundreds of times more dangerous.
Meanwhile, I wrote to Minister Carla Qualtrough recently about Glyphosate, about the fact that Canadians have not been able to verify if the chemical is safe, and that, according my understanding of the law (Carla is a lawyer), if the safety data of a product cannot be disclosed to the people, the product itself cannot be released either. I then asked her to grant me an audience of a half hour, where I may tell her about this petition and hand over the 500 odd page document with a request to her to consider taking that material to Ottawa and deliver it to the Minister of health, even on the floor of the parliament if need be, and ask her to either respond to the Canadian people’s demand to release the hitherto secret safety documents, or explain why Canadians do not deserve to see these safety records, or perhaps agree to a parliamentary debate over this issue.
I asked Minister Qualtrough to let me know in case she is unwilling to see me, so I can widen my search and find any MP, even an opposition one, who is willing to place this item on the floor of our Parliament for a general debate. I have reason to believe this chemical is also triggering a possible extinction of our flora and fauna through release over our forests from air, by logging companies.
I have been notified by the office of Minister Qualtrough, through email and two separate phone calls, that:
1) I may visit her office for 45 minutes on 1st April.
2) I may bring the 500 odd page document
3) I may bring a few like minded folks, if I wished.
That is the story.
I am in the process of getting a wide-ranging but small group, to come with me. I write this to you to ask if any one person (sorry, no more room) among you might feel passionate enough to accompany me.
have two noted persons that agreed to visit Delta and join me. One is Dr. Thierry Vrain, who should need no introduction here.
The other is Kenneth Young, Canadian Military veteran, advisor on chemical defoliant to Canadian and many other international institutions, Canadian Veteran Advocacy group, and strong advocate on speaker on permanent damage done to veterans through exposure to toxins starting from Agent Orange, and going on to Glyphosate. He has spoken three times at March against Monsanto events in Downtown Vancouver along with me and Thierry, and travels widely across Canada and overseas on this issue. Currently in Ottawa meeting with a Government sponsored committee to contribute in the consultation on possible policy changes needed to deal with toxic exposure and pesticides. He agreed to come to Delta on his own and join me on April 1st in this meeting and lend his voice as needed.
I also have some nature lover and passionate Delta residents wishing to join me for the meeting.
In summary, the primary object of the meeting is to highlight legality of releasing a chemical into our food web while hiding its safety record from the people, and if Canadian citizens have or do not have a right to demand public release of these documents, the volume of which I am advised by Health Canada to go beyond 130,000 pages, all of them kept secret for over a generation.
So, if there is someone here that wishes to join up, let me know. We are in the talking process to figure out how to manage the 45 minutes and who might talk on what. We are also planning a lunch or something on April 1st in Delta, prior to the meeting to iron out any issue and to present a cohesive front.
Thanks and best wishes
Material towards the online petition on public demand for disclosure of safety documents have gone so large that I am contemplating converting it all into a future e-Book for record keeping.
Meanwhile, a new blog might me done on the people that are preparing to join me for the meeting. Who they are and what they might do, etc. I will work on this next week.
Sending a physical mail to my MP and cabinet minister Carla Qualtrough.
It involves disclosure of safety documents on Glyphosate/RoundUp that the ministry of health in Ottawa is supposed to have studied before approval of its use in Canadian agriculture. The safety documents remain outside reach of the Canadian people.
My letter is to request her to grant me a meeting at her constituency office in our home town of Delta, BC, so I could speak to her face to face on this issue, and hand deliver to her the 500 odd pages of documents from my petition, covering over 22,000 signatories, with their comments as well as all updates from me including comments from noted scientists that have worked on this chemical.
If allowed an audience with her, I aim to express my view, and ask her to carry those documents and hand deliver to the minister of health on the floor of the parliament, and request the ministry to respond to my request that the safety data be made available to the people of Canada.
Should she decline to see me, or declines to carry the documents or present it to the ministry of health, I shall then consider myself within my rights to seek another member of parliament, further afield from my riding, including someone in the opposition, who is willing to take the matter to the floor on our parliament, and request an open debate on the topic.
A copy of this mail has also been sent by email to hon. Carla Qualtrough.
To: Honourable Minister Carla Qualtrough
From : Tony Mitra, resident of Delta, BC
Dated: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Subject: Safety of RoundUp herbicide, the most used toxin in Canadian agriculture
I have been involved in trying to bring to light possible toxic effects of widespread use of Monsanto’s herbicide RoundUp, with “glyphosate” as its active ingredient. It is my belief that this chemical is more dangerous in our environment that even DDT was back in the 1960s when it got banned.
However without going into details of that, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the safety test data of this product has been kept hidden from the Canadian people, on grounds that the information is proprietary and confidential. It is my belief that if the safety data of a product cannot be disclosed to the people, then the product itself should not be released either.
I have had some positive exchange with the previous Government over this issue, but it did not go far enough. I now have two different correspondence ongoing with the present Canadian Government. One is a “Access to information act” request for Health Canada to disclose to me all raw test data it has so far seen, before approving the use of Glyphosate in Canadian agriculture. I am told that there are over 130,000 pages of such data, but the Government needs to correspond with the groups that did the safety test to check if those data can be divulged to me.
The second is an online petition, for Prime Minister and Minister of Health to disclose all safety data on Glyphosate and help prove to the people of Canada that the substance is safe. It is my belief that the product is damaging for humans as well as a wide swath of living organisms, and that is one of the reasons the data is being kept away from public scrutiny. Over 22,000 people have signed into that petition – over 98% of whom are Canadians. The updates on that petition, the supporting material, comments and names of signatories would go into several hundred pages of printed matter.
I write this letter to request you to grant me a visit where I could meet you at your Delta office, along with some more like minded Delta residents, in order to express our concern directly to you and to request you to carry the hundreds of pages of the petition data to the Minister of Health, in Ottawa.
Should you be disinclined to speak with us on this issue, I would appreciate if I could be notified accordingly, so I can start looking for Members of Parliament further away from Delta, in search of someone who might wish to take this to Ottawa.
I so wish that you would find time to see us, even if Pesticides and Health is not under your care, because status of our eco-system, biodiversity, and health of our children’s future should be everybody’s concern.
Rosemary Samson is a British Scientist. I came to know more about her from her article in Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, this year, the heading of which is in the image below. Clicking on the image should take you to the article itself.
I knew we were in a phase on a major mass extinction. Still, it was both depressing and chilling, to face facts as Rosemary articulated. It forces us to look at the world afresh, and stop accepting business as usual model of existence for our human race. We were hurtling towards a cliff, and it is wholly man made, or more specifically, made by the GDP addicted technologically savvy corporate driven economic model of human development.
Subsequently, I got to speak with her, and even had her read out a section of Tagore’s “Robbery of the soil”, which, a century down the line, still appears so relevant on a global scale.
Anyhow, she did sign my petition, requesting the Canadian Government to disclose to the people what direct safety test data it has seen that indicates glyphosate (RoundUp herbicide) may be good for agriculture. You can find the petition by clicking on the image below.
And since she signed the petition, she started getting emails of my updates. Fast forward to an incidence where one of the persons that signed the petition had an uncomplimentary comment to make about qualifications of Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff and essentially question the wisdom behind the petition. This is a time proven tactic of the pro-Monsanto lobby shills, to divert from the topic at hand, and try to insult scientists or people that are objecting to the chemical onslaught on Canada through large scale toxicity and endocrine disruption. And me being me, I made an update touching on the subject of Anthony Samsel speaking to me about the sealed Monsanto safety test documents on Glyphosate, first part of which can be seen here:
And that prompted a letter from Rosemary Mason. She said:
Dear TonyGood that you have got Anthony Samsel on board!You might be interested in this new document I have just sent to the medical worthies in the UK…who as you can see are promoting the corporations.I am not sure that you are aware that EFSA has approved glyphosate…it claims it has no effects on human health or the environment. But in Chapter 3 on human health page 56, and Chapter 4 Loss of Biodiversity and chemicals in the environment page 72, I am disputing this.We haven’t a hope of winning unless we get the press in the UK to publish, but it becomes increasingly unlikely.This is my last document!Warm regards for Christmas.Rosemary
Her open letter to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of UK can be read by clicking on the image below:
And of course, Rosemary was referring to the last of the papers on Glyphosate so far published by Samsel/Seneff team : Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases IV: cancer and related pathologies, published in Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry 15 (2015) 121–159 Received 5 August 2015; accepted 24 August 2015
. That can be read in full by clicking the image below:
My thanks go to Rosemary Mason of UK. I also hope that the British, and indeed the Europeans, will show sanity and courage in the face of unprecedented pressure from US trade, industry and Government lobby, and will act to save their own land, eco-system and people first, and American commercial interest later.
I received an email, from the Ministry of Health, British Columbia, in response to my below letter. It is disappointing, and appears to shirk responsibility of health concerns relating to Glyphosate.
My letter to the ministry had , two basic items, a question and a suggestion.The question was if the BC Govt had conducted any test of food grown in BC for presence of Glyphosate, and if so, to make the results public.
- The question was if the BC Govt had conducted any test of food grown in BC for presence of Glyphosate, and if so, to make the results public.
- The suggestion was – if it had not tested any food, to put forward a scheme to start testing local grown food for presence of glyphosate, and again, to make that information available to the public.
I cannot copy paste the response here or anywhere, since it comes with a warning, that this email was intended for me only, and any distribution, copy or disclosure by any one else is prohibited.
However, I suppose I can still write my impression of what the letter says.
First, it avoids giving direct answers to either of the two points above. What is says in essence, are as follows:
- That the ministry is watching WHO announcement on carcinogenecity of glyphosate with great interest.
- Health Canada is responsible for food safety
- PMRA has published its re-evaluation of Glyphosate this year, and has considered glyphosate is unlikely to affect health if used according to label directions.
- The letter provides various links to Govt documents relating to i) glyphosate re-evaluation, ii) pesticide product evaluation database, iii) maximum residue limit for pesticides etc.
- The email ends with a suggestion that, although I am in contact with the federal Govt, I might consider contacting PMRA directly, and provides their email address.
It might have been more honest for BC Health Ministry to simply answer my question directly, such as:
A) No we have never tested food for glyphosate,
B) No we do not intend to test food for glyphosate even if labs are now available, since we believe this is Ottawa’s matter.
I decided to update the blog with this information, and then consider what next we might do.
Here are sample letters sent to two wings of the Government of British Columbia, Canada – the ministries of Health, and Agriculture, asking them to either disclose results of locally grown or sold food they have already tested for glyphosate, or, if they have not, to engage in a systematic effort to stat testing now, and to make the results available to the public
I am enclosing this sample letter so that people from other provinces and even states south of the border could consider writing to their respective local governments, and for people in our province of British Columbia could send the same or their own version of appeal to our Ministers, demanding that the government start testing our food, and to keep the people advised on results.
The first is to learn if the British Columbia Government has tested food grown in BC, and/or sold in BC, for presence of Glyphosate. If it has, and if the results are available online for public, I request you to direct me there. If the results are not available, I request you to make them available to me.
The second part is a suggestion, in case the BC Government has never checked for Glyphosate in our food system. May I then request you to set up a system so that crops grown in BC as well as food sold in our stores be checked and catalogued periodically for presence of glyphosate, and the results be made available to the consumers. I am willing to assist you in this work should you so require.
I enclose a recently published fourth part of a series of science papers published in peer reviewed journals by two independent scientists from the US that do not take any support from the biotech industry. The paper covers their analysis of links between glyphosate and a number of diseases including cancer.
Link to Samsel’s paper : Glyphosate, pathways to modern disease, part IV
Here is a letter sent by Rose Stevens to the Manitoba Minister of Health, Ms Sharon Blady:
To: Minister Sharon Blady
Government of Manitoba, Ministry of Health
Minister Sharon Blady,
Subject: Glyphosate and it ‘ s presence in MB food system
I am a citizen and a resident of Manitoba.
I am concerned about possible links between glyphosate (in RoundUp and other brand herbicides) in our agriculture, and ill-health, as well as lack of information on which food contains how much of it. You are aware of a rising number of papers showing possible link between glyphosate and various illnesses, as well as World Health Organization reclassifying glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. I am still waiting for that meeting with yourself, Dr Thierry Vrain and myself, but have not heard back from your office in months. This subject will make a very interesting issue during the up coming provincial elections in 2016.
My reason for writing to you is two fold.
The first is to learn if the Manitoba governement has tested food grown in MB, and/or sold in MB, for presence of Glyphosate. If it has, and if the results are available online for public, I request you to direct me there. If the results are not available, I request you to make them available to me.
The second part is a suggestion, in case the Manitoba Government has never checked for Glyphosate in our food system,may I then request you to set up a system so that crops grown in Manitoba as well as food sold in our stores be checked and catalogued periodically for presence of glyphosate, and the results be made available to the consumers. I am willing to assist you in this work should you so require.
My collaegue, Tony Mitra from British Columber has a separate communication initiated with the newly formed federal Government in Ottawa on a related issue about verifying safety of glyphosate through direct study of tests conducted on target animals instead of indirect decision based on third party statement. However, I believe, under the Canadian Constitution Act, our provincial Governments probably has enough jurisdiction to engage in direct action in ensuring that the people of Manitoba have sufficient information on what non-food elements have gotten is in their diet, especially glyphosate, which may have an adverse effect on their health. I am available to be of assistance in this effort, should the Government require.
I would here bring to your attention an emerging fact that more and more Canadian labs are now beginning to offer testing of food for glyphosate, something that was not available even a year ago.
Over twenty thousand Canadians have already signed this recent petition requesting that our government disclose the safety test data on glyphosate
I enclose link to recently published fourth part of a series of science papers published in peer reviewed journals by two independent scientists from the US that do not take any support from the biotech industry. The paper covers their analysis of links between glyphosate and a number of diseases including cancer.
Glyphosate is the poison in Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide, the most used weed killer in Canada. It is used on RoundUp ready GM crops, and also as desiccant on non GM crops. it is to be used on prairies with designed GM alfalfa. It is being sprayed from the air on Canadian forests by logging companies. It is everywhere.
There is a rising body of study that point to possible link between our exposure to this chemical and an unparalleled rise of various chronic diseases in North America.
Here in Canada, there is no lab that will test citizen’s urine, or blood, or breast milk of nursing mothers, for traces of Glyphosate. There is no lab in Canada where one can test the food we buy in our store, for presence of Glyphosate.
Are there such labs available in other regions ? Yes, USA has them. There are labs in the rest of the world, but not in Canada.
Why are there no labs in Canada ? Because no doctor, no hospital, no environment ministry or health ministry is asking for routine and broad range testing of Canadian people and Canadian food, for glyphosate poisoning. Labs are commercial ventures. They will provide a service only if there is sufficient demand.
So, here is an appeal for all Canadians – join us and create a demand. All you need to do is ask your doctor, or hospital, or clinic, to arrange for a test of urine, or blood, or breast milk for nursing mothers, as well as a few heavily used food brand for your family such as a brand of milk, or bread, or meat. If enough doctors or hospitals started asking around for this test, this would generate a demand, and some labs would respond to it and start offering this service. Right now, a few Canadian labs offer the service of testing Glyphosate in water, and soil. Unfortunately, they will not test it in your food, or your body fluids as of now.
For those that wish to learn more about what Glyphosate is, and why it should be a matter for concern – read the bottom section of this blog, where a copy of a letter recently written by retired Canadian genetic engineer Dr. Thierry Vrain to the health minister is included, covering this very subject, with scientific references to international studies. You can also check my own blog from the summer, where I asked for a nationwide testing for Glyphosate, and how our efforts are delayed due to the roadblock of not having any lab in Canada, and sending samples overseas or across the border is proving difficult and costly.
I am also including another external link : The microbiota Crisis and how Glyphosate is killing animal micro biome, including our own, and how this micro biome is vital for all us in the animal kingdom.
Above is a sample letter. Use it if you like, or modify it as needed. Wording of the same blank letter is shown below. Do not offer to pay for the tests as of now. Idea is for doctors and hospitals to start enquiring about testing Glyphosate in food and in people. If enough demand is perceived, some labs will start offering this service.
We intend to self-label our food
Idea is for us to contribute in testing our food. I could pay for testing one or two brand of food, apart from my own urine etc. Someone else would test another food item. We shall keep loading the findings on the internet in a sort of nationwide list. Eventually, with hundreds of citizens pulling in, we shall have hundreds of food items tested and self-labelled, so to speak, for the rest of the nation to check on. Then, for those that do not like to have Glyphosate in their food, or those that already find Glyphosate within themselves and are looking to identify and exclude those food items from where it might be intruding from, they can then start automatically banning those food items that are tested with high Glyphosate content. This self-driven citizens action bypasses the entire political circus of trying to convince Ottawa politicians to pay heed to public concerns, an exercise so far proving to be very difficult thanks to the financial clout of the foreign corporations that peddle the toxic stuff onto us.
That is one reason we need a lab. Besides, Canada is not a fourth world country – or we hope not. The first, the second and the third world already have labs for testing Glyphosate. It is a national shame that Canada has none.
So, please help Canada in helping ourselves on this important task.
The plan is not just to get a lab. A lab is the first step, which we should not even have had to deal with, had our Govt been careful. The Govt has not been so, and we now have to work extra for the first part – of getting a lab.
Once we have the lab, Canadians can then do into a citizen-driven self labelling drive. I would test a few food products myself, out of my own pocket if need be. If two hundred Canadians from coast to coast, decided to test one food item each, apart from testing ourselves, then Canada would have two hundred food items tested. Results would be put up on the internet, for the rest of 35 million Canadians to check up on, and decide what to buy and what not to. We can do this without asking Ottawa politicians for anything.
Citizens can, and in this case, may have to, take care of our health and environment issues on our own, since the Govt seems to have abandoned the cause. Citizens will label the food. Citizens will selectively ban the food according to label and need.
Thats the plan.
Sample letter 1
To : Doctor, or Nurse, or Hospital etc
From : Your name
I am concerned that my corn, soy or wheat based food may contain traces of a herbicide called glyphosate. I would like to get my body fluids and possible fat tissue sample tested for the presense of glyphosate to see if I am accumilating any of it in my body.
If I supply you with the samples, can you please arrange to get them tested?
I would prefer for the results of the tests to be sent to me personally, as well as to your office.
Samples I wish to test: Urine (2 samples), blood(1 sample), milk (1), bread(1), cooking oil(1) – (Please modify this letter and the list of items you wish to test, to suit your situation).
Appreciate your prompt action in this.
Name & address
Sample letter 2
To : Doctor, or Nurse, or Hospital etc
From : Your name
I wish to test some samples for Glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Round-Up herbicide and is being liberally sprayed on much of my food, both GMO and non GMO. I am concerned that this Glyphosate is migrating into my body, and may adversely affect my health.
If I supply you with the samples, can you please arrange to get them tested?
I would prefer for the results of the tests to be sent to me personally, as well as to your office.
Samples I wish to test: Urine (2 samples), blood(1 sample), milk (1), bread(1), cooking oil(1) – (Please modify this letter and the list of items you wish to test, to suit your situation).
Appreciate your prompt action in this.
Name & address
Note from a Canadian lab, about testing Glyphosate in urine and food
We will look into the method once there is a demand, we cannot allocate resources to the development of a method for which there is no market at the moment. Also it will be a non-accredited method at this point.
October 27, 2014
To the Honorable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health
Re: herbicide pollution and GMO labeling
The confusion about the safety of GMOs is quite simple to address. The only GMOs in our agriculture are Glyphosate Modified Organisms also known as RoundUp Ready crops and the only GMOs in our food supply are from those crops. RoundUp Ready crops are engineeredto be sprayed with the herbicide RoundUp and this technology has become so successful that RoundUp has become a major pollutant (1). This chemical pollution is antibiotic, it impacts the microbiome, impairs CYP enzymes, and depletes food of essential mineral micronutrients. As a background paper for the impact of this pollution I offer my speaking notes to the American College of Nutrition conference last week in San Diego (Texas). Most of the studies I cite were published in the last five years.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient of the herbicide RoundUp, a new molecule created in 1960 by Stauffer Chemicals – a US company with a business of cleaning industrial pipes and boilers of mineral scales. The mineral deposits (same as in electric kettles) are called scales, and the pipe cleaning chemicals are called descaling agents. Glyphosate was patented in 1964 in the US as a powerful and very broad spectrum descaling agent (2). Meaning, it binds to metals indiscriminately and does a great job at “dissolving and preventing minerals from being reactive or bioavailable in solution”. When the descaling solution was disposed of in nature, it was obvious that it killed plants. The chemical company Monsanto promptly bought the molecule, patented it as a herbicide in 1969, and got it commercialized in 1974 (3). This molecule is making history because glyphosate has become the most successful agricultural chemical in North and South America wherever RR seeds are used. The farmers using this technology get simpler and cheaper weed management and despite
higher input bills and sometimes disappointing yields, and with weed resistance spreading fast, they adopted it in troves (4).
The herbicide RoundUp had a completely novel chemistry for a herbicide in 1969. It was deemed to kill plants by bonding to only one protein enzyme in the chloroplasts – the same enzyme that is also in bacteria and fungi. Enzymes are metalloproteins with a metal atom as a cofactor at the active site of the molecule. Bacteria and plants and fungi have a metalloprotein called EPSPS for short and 5-Enol Pyruvyl Shikimate-3 Phosphate Synthase if you want to know what it does. It works with other metalloproteins to “make” several of the building blocks of proteins, the aromatic amino acids. These molecules are also building blocks for a large number of aromatic molecules we call secondary compounds. Glyphosate binds tightly to the manganese atom at the centre of the EPSPS metalloprotein, so tightly that the protein cannot move and do its work making aromatic amino acids. No protein synthesis means there is no metabolic work possible, a quick death for the plant, or the fungi or the bacteria.
Animals do not make their own aromatic amino acids since they lack the shikimate pathway with the EPSPS metalloprotein. Because of its presumed mode of killing plants, glyphosate was pronounced innocuous to humans and registered as such in 1974 in the USA. Glyphosate has no acute toxicity, and at the time of registration in the US, and even since, nobody has bothered to check for chronic effects beyond 3 months. Considering the chemical properties of this pollution one would expect long term chronic effects, very similar to rickets, scurvy, or beri beri, for lack of micronutrients. The Industry sponsored feeding studies proving the safety of GMOs do not include testing for the safety of glyphosate. None of them bother to mention the residue levels of glyphosate in the feed. Meanwhile, a fast growing series of independent studies in various countries published in the last 5 years have ascertained the impact of glyphosate on various cellular enzymes and organs of animals and human cells.
The first RoundUp Ready crops to be commercialized were soy and corn, released in 1996. Since then, a handful of RR crops have been adopted enthusiastically by farmers, particularly in North and South America. Today close to 500 million acres of soya and corn, and cotton, canola, and sugar beet, are engineered to be sprayed with RoundUp. About 40% of all RR crops are grown in the USA, most of the rest are grown in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, and a few other countries. RR crops are now sprayed with close to two billion lbs of glyphosate every year, and so much of that finds its way into processed food and feed that the EPA had to raise the legal residue limits last year to accommodate a new reality (5).
Glyphosate is antibiotic, a powerful and broad spectrum antibiotic (6). The mode of kill is again alleged to be very selective. The glyphosate molecule impairs the functioning of the shikimate pathway in bacteria the same way it does in plants. Only one enzyme is affected in a pathway that animals do not possess. The antibiotic patent describes its effectiveness to kill bacteria at 1 ppm and this was confirmed last year in Germany (7). At this point I usually spend a minute or two explaining why a low level antibiotic diet for the rest of your life is not a good idea. I describe the recent interest of the medical field in a large joint research project involving many Universities to decipher the huge community of thousands of species of bacteria that call us home. The Human Microbiome project is the equivalent of the Human Genome project in its scope. We are vastly outnumbered, roughly ten to one – one hundred trillion bacterial cells call our lower intestine home. They are forever sending signaling molecules to each other and to all human organs, particularly the brain. All animals depend on their symbiosis with these bacteria, and humans are no exception.
They are the teachers of our immune system, they make many neurotransmitters for our brain, and have a strong connection to the heart and the whole digestive tract. They literally feed us all kinds of molecules that we require – we call them essential, like vitamins and such. They digest and recycle most of our food. Most human organs rely on molecular signals from the microbiome for normal functioning. As goes the microbiome, so does its human shell. A recent review of the medical literature on celiac and other diseases shows the link to imbalances of the microbiome that are fully explained by the antibiotic properties of glyphosate (8). And the same authors published another review of the impact of glyphosate on the CYP enzymes and the microbiome. Samsel and Seneff have suggested that glyphosate’s suppression of CYP enzymes and its antibiotic effect on the human microbiome are involved in the etiology of many chronic degenerative and inflammatory diseases that have grown to epidemic proportions since 1996, since the advent of the RoundUp Ready technology (10).
We lack any official data on residues of glyphosate in food or in water in Canada – no epidemiological studies of any kind have ever been done. All we have are the legal maximum residue limits now allowed by the EPA in RoundUp Ready foods, human cereal 30 ppm, animal grain 100 ppm, soybean 120 ppm, and everything else in between (5). Here an inquisitive mind will ask why there is such a high residue limit for cereal when none of the grains are engineered to be sprayed with RoundUp. This is when you learn that RoundUp is sprayed on many non-engineered crops with the intent to kill them right before harvest. This is done to mature and dry the crops quickly to make them easier and cheaper to harvest. The RoundUp herbicide has now become a dessicant.
There is direct toxicity to animal cells because glyphosate binds to metals indiscriminately, and not just in plant cells. It binds to metals in solution and to metal co-factors at the centre of metalloproteins anywhere. For example glyphosate binds to the iron atom at the centre of a large family of protein enzymes called CYP. There are 57 different CYP enzymes in the human body, and approximately 20,000 in animals, plants, bacteria and fungi. The CYP enzymes are oxydizers, the first line of digestion and detoxification of most substrates. David Nelson wrote in a review of the CYP enzymes: “The CYP enzymes of humans are essential for our normal physiology and failure of some of these enzymes results in serious illnesses (9,10).
Nancy Swanson has made public her statistical analyses of the US Centre for Disease Control’s statistics about the health status of America when placed next to the statistics of the US Department of Agriculture about the spread of RoundUp Ready soy and corn. Her correlation analyses show very high coefficient values suggesting strong links between glyphosate residues in RoundUp Ready food and chronic illnesses (11).
Medical and chemical reviews and peer reviewed studies have explained the mode of action of glyphosate and its impact on many metalloproteins. Human cell studies have shown acute toxicity (12-15) and animal studies have shown chronic toxicity (16-21). Glyphosate bioaccumulates in the plants and in any animal that eat the plants.
Glyphosate accumulates in the lungs, the heart, kidneys, intestine, liver, spleen, muscles, and bones … and chronically ill people have higher residues in their urine than healthy people.”(22)
To conclude this presentation of the nutritional status of Glyphosate Modified Organisms, I would say that crops sprayed with RoundUp, whether they are RoundUp Ready or not, contain residues of glyphosate, that foods made from RoundUp Ready soy and corn and sugar and canola, etc … are depleted of the minerals that are bound to the glyphosate molecules (23). Foods made from crops containing residues of glyphosate are by definition depleted of minerals and toxic.
Minister, your reassuring words have been quoted widely. “Currently, there is no… scientific evidence, that says genetically modified foods are unhealthy. It is impossible for us to mandate a label, because our labels have to be based on evidence that it is an unhealthy product for Canadians.” I hope you have found here the scientific evidence you require to act and that you join over 60 governments in the world who have found this evidence compelling enough in the past few years, to legislate some form of labeling or ban RoundUp Ready crops and the herbicide RoundUp.
Dr. Thierry Vrain
- Battaglin W.A., Meyer M.T., Kuivila K.M., Dietze J.E. 2014. Glyphosate and its degradation product AMPA occur frequently and widely in US soils, surface water, groundwater, and precipitation. J. Amer. Water Res. Assoc. 50, 275-290.
- U.S. Patent 3,160,632 Stauffer Chemicals 1964
- US Patent 3,455,675 Monsanto Chemicals 1969
- Fernandez-Cornejo J., Wechsler S.J., Livingston M. and Mitchell L. 2014. Genetically Engineered crops in the United States. USDA Economic Research Report No. (ERR-162) 60 pp. http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1282246/err162.pdf
- EPA 2013 MCL (US Environment Protection Agency legal Maximum Contaminant Levels).
- U.S. Patent Number 7,771,736 Monsanto Chemicals 2010.
- Shehata, A.A., Schrödl, W., Aldin, A.A., Hafez, H.M. and Krüger, M. 2013. The effect of Glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota. Curr. Microbiol. 66:350-358.
- Samsel, A. and Seneff, S. 2013. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II. Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip. Toxicol. 6: 159-184
- Nelson, D. 2013. A world of cytochrome P450s. Philo. Transac. Royal Soc. London B 368 No 1612.
- Samsel, A. and Seneff, S. 2013. Glyphosate’s suppression of cytochrome P450 enzymes and amino acid biosynthesis by the gut microbiome: pathways to modern diseases. Entropy 15: 1416-1463.
- Nancy Swanson – Seattle GMO examiner.
- Gasnier, C., Dumont, C., Benachour, N., Clair, E., Chagnon, M.C. and Séralini, G.E. 2009. Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. Toxicology 262: 184-191.
- Benachour N. and Seralini, G.E. 2009. Glyphosate induces apoptosis in human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cells. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 22: 97-105.
- Koller, V.G., Fürhacker, M., Nersesyan, A., Mišík, M., Eisenbauer, M. and Knasmueller, S. 2012. Cytotoxic and DNA-damaging properties of glyphosate and Roundup in human-derived buccal epithelial cells. Arch. Toxicol. 86: 805-813.
- Thongprakaisang, S., Thiantanawat, A., Rangkadilok, N., Suriyo, T. and Satayavivad, J. 2013. Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cell growth via estrogen receptors. Food Chem. Toxicol. 59: 129-136.
- Senapati ,T., Mukerjee, A.K. and Ghosh, A.R. 2009. Observations on the effect of glyphosate based herbicide on ultrastructure (SEM) and enzymatic activity in different regions of alimentary canal and gill of Channa punctatus (Bloch). J. Crop Weed 5: 236-245.
- Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., López, S.L. and Carrasco, A.E. 2010. Glyphosate herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signaling. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 23: 1586-1595.
- Vecchio, L., Cisterna, B., Malatesta, M., Martin, T.E. and Biggiogera, M. 2004. Ultrastructural analysis of testes from mice fed on genetically modified soybean. Eur. J. Histochem. 48:448-454.
- El-Shamei, Z.S.; Gab-Alla, A.A.; Shatta, A.A.; Moussa, E.A.; Rayan, A.M. 2012. Histopathological changes in some organs of male rats fed on genetically modified corn. J. Am. Sci. 8: 684-696.
- Séralini, G.E., Clair, E., Mesnage, R., Gress, S., Defarge, N., Malatesta, M., Hennequin, D. and de Vendômois, J.S. 2014. Republished study: Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Environ. Sci. Eur. 26:14
- Clair. E, Mesnage, R., Travert, C. and Séralini, G.É. 2012. A glyphosate-based herbicide induces necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. Toxicol. in Vitro 26: 269-279.
- Kruger, M., Schledorn, P., Schrodl, W., Hoppe, H.W., Lutz, W. and Shehata, A.A. 2014. Detection of glyphosate residues in animals and humans. Environ. & Anal. Toxicol. 4:2
- Zobiole, L.H., Kremer, R.J., de Oliveira, R.S. and Constantin, J. 2012. Glyphosate effects on photosynthesis, nutrient accumulation, and nodulation in glyphosate-resistant soybean. J. Plant Nutri. Soil Sci. 175: 319
Hon. Rona Ambrose, P.C., M.P., Minister of Health
Alex Atamanenko, M.P, NDP – concerned on GMO & Glyphosate
Questions I have are about GMO, pesticide, and patented life forms introduced into Canada, to replace natural life forms.
1) What Science ?
Please comment on this.
3) Science under dictatorial censorship.
Please comment on this.
Please comment on this.
This is an open letter and will be put up on the web (www.tonu.org) for the public. Any answer from you or another recipient in copy, will also be put up. Our belief is that the public needs to know where politicians stand on such issues
MP Bruce Hyer Responds:
Bruce Hyer, Deputy Leader, Green Party