FDA Found Glyphosate Weedkiller in All Foods Tested, Monsanto Prepares for Trial in June

Internal emails from the FDA show that their chemist, Richard Thompson, found glyphosate weed killer, a “probable carcinogen”, in every food sample that he tested, except broccoli. Separately, another FDA chemist, Narong Chamkasem, found that corn contained 6.5 ppm glyphosate, while the legal limit is 5 ppm.  Instead of reporting this to the EPA, an FDA supervisor made an excuse that it was not an “official sample.”  A trial is set for June 18 in San Francisco pitting more than 300 farmers, landscapers and gardeners against Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, claiming that exposure to glyphosate in the product caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in hundreds of widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results.

But the internal documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.

“I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year regarding glyphosate. Thompson, who is based in an FDA regional laboratory in Arkansas, wrote that broccoli was the only food he had “on hand” that he found to be glyphosate-free.

That internal FDA email, dated January 2017, is part of a string of FDA communications that detail agency efforts to ascertain how much of the popular weedkiller is showing up in American food. The tests mark the agency’s first-ever such examination.

“People care about what contaminants are in their food. If there is scientific information about these residues in the food, the FDA should release it,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor in the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “It helps people make informed decisions. Taxpayers paid for the government to do this work, they should get to see the information.”

The FDA is charged with annually testing food samples for pesticide residues to monitor for illegally high residue levels. The fact that the agency only recently started testing for glyphosate, a chemical that has been used for over 40 years in food production, has led to criticism from consumer groups and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Calls for testing grew after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup brand. More than 200m pounds are used annually by US farmers on their fields. The weedkiller is sprayed directly over some crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat and oats. Many farmers also use it on fields before the growing season, including spinach growers and almond producers.

Thompson’s detection of glyphosate was made as he was validating his analytical methods, meaning those residues will probably not be included in any official report.

Separately, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found “over-the-tolerance” levels of glyphosate in corn, detected at 6.5 parts per million, an FDA email states. The legal limit is 5.0 ppm. An illegal level would normally be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but an FDA supervisor wrote to an EPA official that the corn was not considered an “official sample”.

When asked about the emails and the agency’s testing, an FDA spokesman said only that the FDA had not found any illegal levels in corn, soy, milk or eggs, the four commodities it considers part of its glyphosate “special assignment”. He did not address the unofficial findings revealed in the emails.

The FDA’s official findings should be released later this year or early in 2019 as part of its 2016 annual residue report. The reports typically are released two to two and a half years after the data is collected.

Along with glyphosate, the agency has been trying to measure residues of the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba because of projected increased use of these weedkillers on new genetically engineered crops. The FDA spokesman said that the agency has “expanded capacity” for testing foods for those herbicides this year.

Other findings detailed in the FDA documents show that in 2016 Chamkasem found glyphosate in numerous samples of honey. Chamkasem also found glyphosate in oatmeal products. The FDA temporarily suspended testing after those findings, and Chamkasem’s lab was “reassigned to other programs”, the FDA documents show. The FDA has said those tests were not part of its official glyphosate residue assignment.

Pesticide exposure through diet is considered a potential health risk. Regulators, Monsanto and agrochemical industry interests say pesticide residues in food are not harmful if they are under legal limits. But many scientists dispute that, saying prolonged dietary exposure to combinations of pesticides can be harmful.

Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, who is director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), said that current regulatory analysis of pesticide dangers does not account for low levels of dietary exposures.

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Leftist Environmentalists Are Protesting a Clean Power Project


Environmentalists in New England are opposed to a proposal that would provide an abundance of clean hydropower, hundreds of jobs, and millions of dollars in annual revenue. The energy project would use hydro-electric power from a series of dams in Canada and delivered via cables through Maine to Massachusetts. The objections range from the impact the cables might have on forests to the fact that the plan would not reduce global emissions of CO2. -GEG

Environmentalists in New England are voicing concern over a proposal that would provide an abundance of clean hydropower, hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue every year.

Charlie Baker, the moderate Republican governor of Massachusetts, has worked relentlessly to reduce his state’s carbon footprint and is now looking to Canada for renewable energy sourced from a series of dams. The environmentally-friendly governor is in negotiations to obtain a large swath of electricity from Hydro-Québec, a province-owned energy company that generates all of its electricity from its colossal system of 63 hydroelectric power stations.

If completed, the arrangement would power 1.2 million homes with 1,200 megawatts of low emission hydropower and reduce overall energy costs. Additionally, it would generate an estimated $18 million in annual property tax revenue and create 1,700 new jobs during its construction phase.

Central Maine Power — a company that provides power to central and southern Maine — has offered to build the transmission line needed to transport the power. In addition to the jobs and tax revenue the transmission line will provide, the company is doubling down on its commitment to the local community by vowing to spend $50 million over 40 years on programs to assist low-income communities. Central Maine Power will also reroute the Appalachian Trail in order to be less intrusive to wildlife.

Environmentalists, however, are still questioning the project.

To get Hydro-Quebec’s electricity to Massachusetts, Central Maine Power will need to construct a 150-wide path through New England and need 1,000 support structures. Some conservationists are opposing any sort of development in the region’s forests and surmising that the project will not even reduce carbon emissions.

A local resident opposed to the project compared the lure of added tax revenue to a bribe. “It’s hard to blame them,” Kevin Ross said to the Boston Globe in a report published April 23. Ross was speaking of his neighbors who wish to see more economic development in their small Maine town of The Forks. “It’s like a school bully coming up to you and saying, ‘I’ll give you $10 if I can punch you in the face.’”

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UK’s New Immigration Chief Is a Pakistani Muslim

The son of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Sajid Javid, has been appointed to be the new Home Secretary of the UK, which entails oversight of immigration and citizenship affairs, national security, and policing. He is a former managing director at Deutsche Bank. This makes him the most important Pakistani Muslim in the UK government, eclipsing London Mayor Sadiq Khan. -GEG

The son of Pakistani immigrants has been named the United Kingdom’s new home secretary after his predecessor resigned amidst allegations of seeking to increase deportations of illegal immigrants.

Sajid Javid is being hailed as the country’s ‘first ethnic minority’ to hold the position, which entails oversight of immigration and citizenship affairs, national security and policing.

“We’re going to have a strategy in place that does something the previous home secretary set out last week when she made a statement to parliament – to ensure that we have an immigration policy that is fair, it treats people with respect, and with decency,” Javid announced. “That will be one of my most urgent tasks, to make sure that we look carefully at the policy and make sure it achieves just that – fairness.”

In a 2015 profile piece, the London Telegraph wondered if Javid could “make it all the way,” asserting that the “son of a Muslim bus driver has enjoyed a smooth ride through the Tory party ranks.”

Current Prime Minister Theresa May also served as home secretary.

Following the 2017 Islamic terrorist massacre on Westminster Bridge in London, Javid told attendees of the ‘Muslim News Awards for Excellence’ that Muslims cannot also be murderers.

“I’m no religious scholar. Many years have passed since I studied the Quran as a child. But even I know it offers no justification for what happened in Paris, or for the kind of indiscriminate slaughter that came to Westminster last week,” he said. “You literally cannot be both a Muslim and a murderer. Nor do the views and actions of the extremists have anything in common with our daily lives.”

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