Caution: Organophosphates in Our Wheat Products?

In modern times, artificial chemicals are everywhere… Organophosphates (OPs), that make up Round-up pesticide, are some of the most prevalent chemical used in industrial farming. A recent judgment in a case of a man dying from cancer, the California jury punished Monsanto and awarded the man $289 million for exposure.1 This judgment stands on evidence that the exposure to Organophosphates poses fatal health hazards that get in the way of our pursuit of a healthy life.

Effects of OPs in Adults:

Several recent studies have shown the effect of OPs on our hormonal system. Acute effect of exposure resulted in sudden rise Adrenal-stimulating hormone (ACTH) and Cortisol (stress hormone).2 It reduced thyroid activity diminishing energy production and metabolism, as well as lowered follicle-stimulating hormone that promotes fertility.2  In a recent study, 5 of 15 people with acute exposure continued to have lower hormonal levels even 3 months after treatment. This indicated that they had a long-term injury to the pituitary gland (the master hormone regulator).3 Another study found that organophosphate equally affects fertility in men and women. The result is “testicular tissue damage” and “ovarian failure” respectively.4

Effects of OPs in Children:

Poisoning for children can happen in the womb, environmentally, and even through food. The result of early exposure is a deficit in learning, attention, and memory.5,6 Later in life, this develops into hormonal disruptions in developing adolescents as well. Exposure in the womb can cause birth defects like lower head circumference, low birth-weight, early birth, and neurological development.7, 8

Long-term effects:

Over time, these chemicals can result in cardiovascular disease, including heart failure.9 Exposure to OP’s not only affected agriculture works, but also affected their spouses. A specific study on this showed OPs increased risk of thyroid cancer and ovarian cancer.10

Where do we get exposed to OPs?

A study by Environmental Working Group found that OPs are widely present in our breakfast cereals and wheat-products.1

These include products from the following companies:

Company name

Products

Back to Nature

  1. Classic Granola
  2. Banana Walnut Granola Clusters

Quakers

  1. Simple Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds
  2. Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal
  3. Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola bar
  4. Steel Cut Oats
  5. Old Fashioned Oats

Giant

  1. Instant Oatmeal, Original flavor

Kellogg’s

  1. Cracklin’ Oat Bran
  2. Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry

General Mills

  1. Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
  2. Lucky Charms

Nature Valley

  1. Granola Protein Oats n Honey
  2. Crunch Granola, Oats n Honey

Great Value

  1. Original Instant Oatmeal

Umpqua oats

  1. Maple Pecan

Barbara’s

  1. Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal


Cereals found safe for consumptions were mostly the ones made from organically grown wheat. However, there was still some contamination due to proximity to non-organic farms. Here is a list of cereals found safe for consumptions:

Company

Products

Nature’s Path

  1. Organic Honey Almond Granola
  2. Organic Old Fashioned Oats

Kashi

  1. Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted cereal

KIND

  1. Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters With Flaxseeds
  2. Oats & Honey With Toasted Coconut

Simple Truth

  1. Organic Instant Oatmeal, original

Cascadian Farms

  1. Organic Harvest Berry, granola bar

365 Organic

  1. Old-Fashioned Rolled oats

Bob’s Red Mill

  1. Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled oats

OPs were not detected at all in many of the organic products. Small amounts of cross-contamination in organic products were found to be below the EWG’s child-protective benchmark for daily exposure of glyphosphates in food: 160 ppb (parts per billion).

Many complain that organic foods are more expensive compared non-organic foods. However, we forget the consider the high cost of healthcare required for chronic hormonal disruptions and problems like heart disease and cancer… In addition, there is also the suffering that comes with these diseases.

We as consumers have the power to change this equation. Just like our vote in a Democracy, our dollar counts in Capitalism. We can push for change we need to protect our children by demanding more clean foods.

References:

  1. Temkin Alexis, “Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup?” Environmental Working Group, Online publication: https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/glyphosateincereal/#.W4607uhKhPa
  2. Guven M, et al. “Endocrine changes in patients with acute organophosphate poisoning.” Hum Exp Toxicol. 1999 Oct; Vol. 18(10): 598-601.
  3. Dutta P, et al. Effects of acute organophosphate poisoning on pituitary target gland hormones at admission, discharge and three months after poisoning: A hospital-based pilot study. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jan-Feb; 19(1): 116–123.
  4. Jorsaraei SGA, Gholamitabar Tabari M. The effect of organophosphate pesticides on fertility. J Babol Univ Med Sci 2014;16(Suppl 1):7-14.
  5. Steenland K, Jenkins B, Ames RG, O'Malley M, Chrislip D, Russo J. Chronic neurological sequelae to organophosphate pesticide poisoning. Am J Public Health. May 1994;84(5):731-736.
  6. Keifer MC, Mahurin RK. Chronic neurologic effects of pesticide overexposure. Occup Med. Apr-Jun 1997;12(2):291-304.
  7. Garcia AM. Occupational exposure to pesticides and congenital malformations: a review of mechanisms, methods, and results. Am J Ind Med. Mar 1998;33(3):232-240.
  8. Shaw GM, Wasserman CR, O'Malley CD, Nelson V, Jackson RJ. Maternal pesticide exposure from multiple sources and selected congenital anomalies. Epidemiology. Jan 1999;10(1):60-66.
  9. Dong-Zong Hung, et al. “The Long-Term Effects of Organophosphates Poisoning as a Risk Factor of CVDs: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study.” PLoS One. 2015; 10(9): e0137632.
  10. Lerro CC, et al. “Organophosphate insecticide use and cancer incidence among spouses of pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study.” Occup Environ Med. 2015 Oct; 72(10): 736–744.