Most of the food that we eat makes a long and tortuous journey to our tables, often over great distances or from unknown origins.
Whether it’s factory-farmed eggs, processed chicken, fresh fruit from the west coast, seafood from the east coast, or a glass of wine or ice-cold beer, we often assume that what we’re eating is generally healthy or at least won’t harm us if enjoyed in moderation.
However, a new report by public-interest watchdog group U.S. PIRG has revealed that most of the top beers and wines in the United States are contaminated with glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s weed-killer, Roundup.
Roundup is a controversial herbicide that has been linked to cancer and other health problems in studies by the World Health Organization and the State of California, among others. In recent years, thousands of people have blamed Monsanto for being a key contributor to their cancer, leading to calls across the world for the weed-killer to be banned.
The advocacy group tested five wines and fifteen beers. The beer brands tested included top-sellers Budweiser, Coors, Miller Lite, Sam Adams, Samuel Smith Organic, and New Belgium. The wine brands tested included Beringer, Barefoot and Sutter Home.
Out of the 20 brands tested, glyphosate was found in 19 of them – including in 3 out of 4 organic beers and wines.
Among the beverages with the highest concentration of glyphosate was 2018 Sutter Home Merlot at 51.4 parts per billion (pbb) and Tsingtao, a beer from China, with 49.7 pbb – a rather high level when compared with the U.S. beer with the largest amount, which was Coors Light at 31.1 pbb.
Organic beverages like 2016 Inkarri Malbec lagged behind at 5.3 pbb while 2017 Samuel Smith Lager had 5.7 pbb.
In a statement, organic winery Frey Vineyards noted that while it refrains from the use of both herbicides and pesticides, “glyphosate in trace amounts is now found in rainwater because of its application to conventionally farmed agricultural land. Glyphosate in trace amounts can be found in many food products across the United States. We urge consumers to speak up to ban all use of glyphosate.”
Peak Organic IPA was the sole adult beverage that had no trace of the likely carcinogen.
The group warned that while the level of contamination isn’t necessarily deadly, the discovery raises potential health concerns.
The report noted:
“The levels of glyphosate we found are not necessarily dangerous, but are still concerning given the potential health risks. What is surprising is that glyphosate found its way into almost every type of beer and wine tested, including organic products. That indicates that consumers who want to avoid glyphosate, due to its probably health effects, would have a difficult time doing so. Considering the ubiquity of glyphosate found in many foods tested by other scientists and groups, and the amount of glyphosate sprayed throughout the country, people are constantly exposed to glyphosate.”
While industry representatives have sought to minimize the report in media statements to USA Today, PIRG stressed that it remains important for consumers to understand the potential danger of imbibing pesticides on a regular basis.
Kara Cook-Schultz of the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, who also authored the study, noted:
“No matter the efforts of brewers and vintners, we found that it is incredibly difficult to avoid the troubling reality that consumers will likely drink glyphosate at every happy hour and backyard barbecue around the country.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for its part, has fiercely defended the use of glyphosates, telling USA Today in an email that it “found no meaningful risks to human health, including infants and children, when the product is used according to the pesticide label,” and that it has concluded at this stage that the herbicide is “not likely to be carcinogenic” to humans.
The EPA’s conclusion is sharply at odds with that reached by the World Health Organization, which found glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen in 2015 – a conclusion that the State of California concurred with in 2017. Monsanto has tried to appeal the case paving the way for its legal liability, along with parent company Bayer, in thousands of lawsuits where consumers and farmers have blamed Roundup for their incurable cancer.
In October, the first court trial over Roundup’s link to cancer ended with a victory for groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 42 due to the herbicide. Now 46, Johnson will be paid $78 million, but may not live long enough to receive the money.
And starting Monday, a jury in San Francisco federal court began the first federal case on Roundup’s links to a 70-year-old man’s cancer, which may pave the way for hundreds of similar cases. On its first day, the judge threatened to “shut down” any discussion of Monsanto’s long track-record of pressuring government regulators and manipulating cancer research.
Critics have long accused Monsanto of using its wealth and power to force regulators to declare glyphosate safe, including through outright collusion with EPA officials who killed past investigations by the agency.
Nevertheless, PIRG hopes that their study will help inform consumers about what’s at stake in the federal trial – and what goes into their bodies. The group has called for the ubiquitous herbicide to be banned until it can be proven safe, and for consumers to opt for organic products whenever possible due to the significantly lower amounts of glyphosate found in them.
“With a federal court looking at the connection between Roundup and cancer today, we believe this is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on glyphosate … This chemical could prove a true risk to so many Americans’ health, and they should know that it is everywhere – including in many of their favorite drinks.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.