That’s exactly what Friends of the Earth found when we tested store brand foods produced and sold by Kroger, Costco, Walmart and Albertson’s/Safeway – the top four food retailers – in 15 cities across the US.
Our findings have made a simple trip to the grocery store much more frightening. Common products most of us buy – oats, cereals, apples, applesauce, spinach and pinto beans – contained detectable amounts of glyphosate, organophosphates and neonicotinoids (neonics.)
These toxic chemicals are harmful to humans, but they’re downright deadly for bees, butterflies and other species critical to food production and healthy ecosystems. Neonics are a key driver in bee declines, while probable carcinogen glyphosate is harming endangered monarch butterflies by wiping out the only food young monarchs eat.
And chlorpyrifos, a widely-used organophosphate, is so dangerous to human and pollinator health that a federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban it.
This was written by the president of Friends of the Earth in a plea to save bees from what he calls “an indirect apocalypse.” While I certainly want to save the bees, more than ever I don’t want to eat the same stuff that’s killing them! Read further:
- Glyphosate, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency, was found on 100% of oat cereal samples and 100% of pinto bean samples tested.
- Organophosphates, which are so toxic to children’s developing brains that scientists have called for a complete ban, were found in 100% of applesauce samples, 61% of whole apples and 25% of spinach samples.
- Neonicotinoids, which the European Union has banned due to robust science linking the chemicals to bee die-offs, and which have been linked to endocrine disruption and autism spectrum disorder, were found in 80% of spinach and 73% of applesauce samples.
In addition to the dangers of fire, those working with and around these batteries face the hazard of toxic gases containing fluorine, which is produced during combustion of lithium-ion products. Among the gases formed are hydrogen fluoride (HF), phosphoryl fluoride (POF3) and phosphorus pentafluoride (PF5). The HF gas is especially toxic to people and affects the eyes and lungs forever.
Holy Toledo! We have an epidemic, an absolute disaster on our hands. I suppose all of us are aware of some of these issues, but when you begin reading about contamination from different applications and chemistries, and you join them together, one after the other, there’s a loud noise, the gong of a bell.
I don’t want to be an alarmist, but I would like to suggest that we need to focus on a major problem: using synthetic chemistries instead of organic and natural additives. Forget diet and eating vegetables, fruit and fish. Forget I must exercise. Forget about I’m drinking too much and, God forbid, smoking. We’re going to die not from diet or lack of exercise. We’re going to die because of the chemistries we’re absorbing.
And, here’s another one: antibiotics. More chemistry, right! I think we’ve gone ballistic with antibiotics. They are over-prescribed. In fact, there was a Sunday New York Times article last month titled, Older Americans are Awash in Antibiotics. (Don’t know why we’re picking on older Americans!) It’s by Paula Span, and she writes that not only are antibiotics over prescribed but pose specific risks to older patients, such as tendon problems, nerve damage, and mental health issues. She writes about Caryn Isaacs, who visited her doctor for her annual Medicare wellness visit. She was feeling fine, but after a series of tests, her doctor told her she had a urinary tract infection and he prescribed Cipro. Cipro is a fluoroquinolen, which the Food and Drug Administration has worried can have serious side effects.
And there are good reasons to avoid any antibiotic when bacteria are detected in a urine culture in a patient who has no other signs of infection. So-called asymptomatic bacteriuria increases with age, but these women are not sick and don’t need drugs, so medical guidelines recommend against routine screening or treatment.
And, guess what? Yup, you got it. Ms. Isaacs had a serious reaction to the antibiotic Cipro. There are other stories in this New York Times article that point to an overdose (my word choice) of antibiotic use. Once again, we are dealing with chemistries that have to affect our well-being. Indeed, it is now common knowledge that we have used so much antibiotic treatment that superbugs have developed. These are bacteria and viruses that have built up an immunity to antibiotic treatment. These superbugs have developed because of too much antibiotic treatment.
Are you familiar with C.difficileinfectiors, commonly known as C-diff? Let me tell you, it is nasty, nasty stuff. It is an intestinal disorder that won’t go away for months and months. And, guess what? C-diff is caused by chemistry, the very chemistry that we use to get rid of bad bacteria. Can you believe it?! The antibiotics that we use to kill the bad bacteria also kill the good stuff, and your system goes haywire. The culprit: chemistry.
We may be super techie, but what have we gained? We can make larger tomatoes and avocados and strawberries the size of your fist. We can cure bananas faster. We can grow beef cattle faster and fatter and raise fish more quickly in fish farms. But every one of these mentioned uses artificial chemistry to achieve speed, efficiency and profit. Yup, hear it again, profit. We have seen an incredible increase in cancer with a dissociation with natural being. Do you get it? We have created a monster. We have chemistry that prolongs life and chemistry that gives us sanitized food. But at what cost? Care and cleanliness create monstrous results. One begets the other. Remember, for years I have written about balance and harmony. Well, we’ve lost it. We’ve lost balance. We have lost sensibility.
Who’s to blame?
We are. We are gullible. We are greedy. We listen and read but don’t think. We have stopped using common sense. Number two: the pharmaceutical industry wants instant success. That industry wants to be first to earn maximum profits and marketing rights. Number three: agro companies have pushed their products so we can grow faster and bigger. Number four: we’ve had poor oversight by government in terms of regulation and proper long-term studies. But, really, at the end of the day, it’s us. We’re guilty because we’ve let it happen.
I’m so disappointed
Finally, this last story says it all. On the medical blog Mercola.com, there was a story of ineffective sterilization of medical process equipment. “About 80% of clinics (that’s right, 80%) use glutarldehyde as a disinfectant for equipment used in colonoscopy procedures because it is cheaper than the traditional disinfectant. However, Mercola reports that this cheaper alternative does not do an effective job sterilizing equipment. If clinics use peracetic acid, your likelihood of contracting an infection from a previous patient is slim. For more, see the Mercola interview with David Lewis, Ph.D. in “How Improper Sterilization of Endoscopes Could Put Your Health at Risk.”
Am I an alarmist? Maybe. But chemistry on food, gases discharged from lithium-ion battery processing, increased use of antibiotics that cause superbugs and C.diff, and finally, using ineffective disinfectants, seems to me to be alarming. We need to be more proactive, we need to say, “No thanks.” And we need to become our own advocates by reading and studying and asking questions. At the end of the day, it’s our body, at least while we’re here on Earth.
Another Letter from the Earth.
Calvin Frost is chairman of Channeled Resources Group, headquartered in Chicago, the parent company of Maratech International and GMC Coating. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.