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California Is Leading The Charge In Getting Monsanto’s ‘RoundUp’ Out of Our Crops

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If you’re anybody but Monsanto, you’ll be happy to hear this news.

For the first time ever, glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s signature herbicide RoundUp, will likely be required to carry a warning label that lists it as a potential carcinogen in the state of California. It’s a huge blow against the agricultural giant, as agricultural companies and farms across California will begin to reduce or eliminate their usage of the weed killer altogether, similar to what has begun to happen in Europe already. That decline in usage could spread across the United States as a result, significantly cutting the market of one of the world’s most notorious toxins.

This label requirement is likely to occur following the final ruling of a judge in a lawsuit filed by Monsanto against the state of California after the state announced its intent to add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer under Proposition 65 in 2015. The preliminary ruling, which ruled in favor of the state being able to list the chemical, was released recently by the ruling judge.

Monsanto filed the lawsuit in the first place because the company felt that California’s listing of glyphosate under Prop 65 was unconstitutional since it was based on findings founded by a respected international agency (International Agency for Research on Cancer, or the IARC) that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” By relying on an international body, Monsanto argues that California is “delegating its authority to an unelected body not accountable to the United States.”

However, the European Commission utilized the same report to reject a renewal of Monsanto’s license to use Roundup on crops in the EU, and may phase the herbicide out entirely within the next 18 months.

Glyphosate, of course, is the main ingredient of RoundUp, which Monsanto uses to spray all of its crops to kill weeds. It’s also well-known that glyphosate has many toxic effects in animals and humans. Considering Monsanto owns roughly 90 percent of the world’s soybean seed and supplies a ton of other agricultural products, chances are that you’ve probably consumed something sprayed by RoundUp recently.

By labeling RoundUp as a potential carcinogen, it could influence agricultural companies that use the herbicide to shift away from it, removing a possible cancer-causing agent from California’s food supply. California is the chief producer of over 66 different crops and accounts for about eleven percent of the nation’s agricultural supply, so removing glyphosate from those crops would be HUGE for the safety of our food supply.

This is a great first step by one of the nation’s leaders in agriculture, and it hopefully sets a precedent that the rest of the country will follow. It’ll be great to see glyphosate removed from our global food supply.

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Fast Food Health News

New Report Finds Carcinogens in A Third of Fast Food Packaging

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We all know that fast food contains a lot of chemicals that everyone (myself included) says is bad for our health. However, we didn’t expect for some of those chemicals to come from the material the food is wrapped in.

A new study in the Environmental Science and Technology Letters scientific journal found that 33% of evaluated fast food packaging items contained per- and polyfluoroalkalyl substances, also known as PSAs. While they’re mainly used as grease repellent to keep the grease from absorbing into the packaging, they’re also known to cause kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, and numerous other health issues.

This wasn’t a small study of packaging. Over 400 samples were collected from fast food stores for evaluation, with nearly all of them coming from 27 different major fast food chains in the United States. Of the 33% of these that tested positive for these fluorinated carcinogens, the majority of them came from direct food contact wrappers — especially in Tex-Mex food, burger, and dessert/bread wrappers.

PSAs have been shown in previous studies to be able to enter food that is in contact with the packaging it is in, meaning that we’ve likely been consuming these carcinogens as we eat the food.

There are ways to limit the intake of carcinogens from these products, however. Putting your food directly into the paper bag carrying everything and removing it from the wrappers is a great start, since none of the brown paper bags tested contained fluorinated compounds. Additionally, the faster you get the food out of the packaging and start eating it, the less time PSAs have to migrate into your food.

This study should definitely bring some concern to how fast food packaging is developed, and hopefully changes are undertaken in the future. For now, follow the tips above (or spend less time getting food from fast food restaurants), and you should be alright.

Hopefully, companies will take this study to heart and change the way they make food wrappers.

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Health

Despite State Laws, High Levels of Carcinogens Found in Soda

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A new investigation from Consumer Report discovered that a potential carcinogen is found in Pepsi One and other sodas.  While the cancer risks of soda aren’t (sadly) news, what is shocking is that the levels of a caramel coloring found in the drinks are well above what the state of California says is safe.  This is after establishing in 2011 that the carcinogenic chemicals could not exceed a certain limit without including a label to warn consumers.

While Pepsi is accusing Consumer Report for false measures and incorrect conclusions, they note that Pepsi One contains less than the amount considered safe to be consumed per day.  This does not take into account those who often consume more than one, or even two, sodas a day.  For those who do, the chemical amount quickly exceeds the daily dose.

While Pepsi and the FDA are still scrambling to assure the public of the chemical’s “safety” and its limited amounts in your beverages, the full report tells a different story. Our take? If you can’t kick the habit, take it down to one can a day, and make sure to read your labels.

H/T Take Part + Picthx Greg Verdino

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Health

Study Reveals Boba Tapioca Balls May Cause Cancer

Or: How to Give a High School/College/Any Kid a Heart Attack in Eight Words or Less.

Sad, but true: German scientists may have just effectively killed another Asian-borrowed college student eating staple (the first being ramen), with a new study revealing the “presence of PCB-like substances” (said to strongly increase one’s risk for cancer), in a sample of tapioca boba balls.

The samples in question came from one milk tea shop from an unnamed nationwide German chain, whose spokesperson claimed to receive their tapioca balls from a mass producer in Taiwan. Thus far, it is unclear whether the PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can be traced to any specific batch from the distributor or even what the level of toxicity was, though the scare has been enough to prompt at least one environmental spokesman to call for regular PCB testing in stores.

According to the New York Daily News, this tragic news comes to us now as Europe, which has stronger food safety restrictions than we do, has just started to catch onto the tapioca milk tea trend–researchers there perhaps bringing to light information which here might have until now been deemed negligible or inconsequential, at least according to our own FDA.

Not that this news is likely to change things stateside. Thus far, there have been no reported boba-related accidents (bobaccidents?) due the presence of PCBs and until one arises (or someone invents a satisfactory boba substitute), I for one will continue to enjoy my chewy-laden Taiwanese milk tea in ignorant bliss.

Boba on?