Breast Milk Testing Results

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August 2015

 

For Immediate Release

 

GMO Free Lancaster County did the first ever testing of the breast milk of Lancaster mothers for the presence of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship herbicide, Roundup.

Twelve Lancaster County mothers submitted breast milk samples which were tested by Microbe Inotech Laboratories is St. Louis Missouri using the ELISA method. The mother with the highest detectable level of glyphosate in her breast milk, 91 parts per billion, is a farmer who lives and works on a farm in Lancaster County. She has self -reported spraying glyphosate during her pregnancy and additional exposure in the environment where she lives and works.  This mother has an infant child with neuroblastoma, a very rare type of cancerous tumor. In March of this year, the World Health Organization declared glyphosate to be a class two probable carcinogen. Leading researcher on glyphosate, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, senior research scientist at MIT, was consulted about.html the possible connection between the high level of glyphosate in the mother’s breast milk and her baby’s cancer: “It is likely that glyphosate played a role in the neuroblastoma. These tumors usually develop in the adrenal glands, and the adrenal glands are highly stressed by glyphosate because it disrupts StAR the rate limiting step in steroid synthesis. It knocks down StAR activity by an extraordinary amount.”

There is currently no regulatory limit for the amount of glyphosate in breast milk anywhere in the world. However, the EPA has set a legally enforceable maximum contaminant level for glyphosate of 700 parts per billion in drinking water in the USA, while the maximum contaminant level in Europe is .2 parts per billion.

Given the classification by the World Health Organization and the opinion of MIT senior research scientist Dr. Seneff, GMO Free Lancaster County is calling for a countywide ban on the chemical. The organization plans to go forward with a second round of testing that will focus exclusively on mothers who have direct occupational contact with glyphosate. To make a donation towards the next round of testing and for more information, please visit www.gmofreelancastercounty.org

If you would like to have your breast milk tested or have any questions please contact Zoe Swartz at zoe@gmofreelancastercounty.org

 BREAST IS ALWAYS BEST- GMO FREE LANCASTER COUNTY SUPPORTS BREASTFEEDING. WE ADVOCATE FOR PREGNANT AND NURSING MOTHERS TO AVOID PESTICIDE EXPOSURE AND EAT ORGANIC.

WHY THE CONCERN about.html GLYPHOSATE?

▪Glyphosate is patented by the USPTO as an antibiotic.  Glyphosate destroys gut bacteria which is where70% of the immune system lies, leaving our children, especially vulnerable to illness. Glyphosate has been found in USA mother’s breast milk at 1600X higher than allowed in Europe’s drinking water. 1 out of 2 of our children now havesome form of chronic illness.

▪Illnesses associated with gut bacteria damage include: food allergies, autism, auto immune issues, asthma, Crohn's disease, colitis and many more. This gut damage also means inability to produce tryptophan, which equals the inability to produce serotonin, which regulates insulin. There has been a 23% increase in teens with diabetes in the past 10 years.             

▪ Glyphosate is a chelator which means it binds to vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, making them unavailable for use by the living organism. This leads to vitamin deficiency which is consistent amongst cancer patients. 1 out of 2 men and 1 out of 3 women are currently expected to get cancer in the United States today. 

▪ It is also acknowledged by the EPA as an endocrine disruptor, which means that it  causes birth defects and miscarriage. The USA is currently #1 in the industrialized world for infant death on day one of life.

 


Showing 23 reactions

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  • Russell Howard, we are unable to comment on your question.
  • Russel Howard, Thank you for your concern and question, we will try to find out.
  • From your post “The mother with the highest detectable level of glyphosate in her breast milk, 91 parts per billion, is a farmer who lives and works on a farm in Lancaster County. She has self -reported spraying glyphosate during her pregnancy and additional exposure in the environment where she lives and works.”

    Have they stopped using it on her farm?
  • Thank you Barbara for these references which both provide pretty convincing evidence that funding source (for-profit vs. not-for-profit) is associated with whether a research study finds “positive” results or does not. Particularly important to this issue is the fact that just because two things are correlated or associated doesn’t mean that one is causing the other; and even if the relation is causal in nature, these types of observational studies cannot determine the directionality of the said association. For instance, just because the sun comes up at a time similar to when your alarm sounds in the morning doesn’t mean that the sun rise causes your alarm to sound, or the sound of your alarm signals the sun to rise. This is one of the first tenets of epidemiology: correlation does infer causality. In fact, you will see that the authors are very careful to point this out and use phrases like “are associated with” instead of “result in” or “cause.” Instead, it is likely that early-stage exploratory research (especially when it’s related to human health) is more often funded by federal agencies (like NIH and NSF) and nonprofits (like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) than private companies (like Abbott or Monsanto) because the latter tends to wait until there is significant evidence for an effect before it is interested in investing its research and development funds into a particular project. This could easily explain the relationships reported in these two studies. This fact is nicely discussed by Dr. Paul M Ridker in the JAMA (2006) publication, as copied below.

    “Beyond these traditional concerns, we believe there are additional issues that help to explain, in part, the observed results. For example, when the first trial report of a truly novel therapy is null or negative, it becomes less likely that any funding source will support subsequent studies. On the other hand, when the first trial of a truly novel therapy is positive, the likelihood of further trials is increased. These subsequent trials understandably and perhaps appropriately are more likely to be funded by for-profit organizations.

    Furthermore, although both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are interested in the development of truly novel therapies, for-profit organizations are also commonly interested in evaluating proven therapeutic agents or devices in previously understudied patient populations (such as the elderly or in women) or in settings with different entry criterion than specified in previous trials (for example a lower baseline lipid value, ejection fraction, or arrhythmia hazard).

    Although the probability of success for such trials is likely to be greater on an a priori basis compared with trials evaluating entirely novel therapies, such trials can be nevertheless useful for the broader application of medical innovations to clinical practice. By way of example, although the 4S trial of simvastatin in secondary prevention established the clinical efficacy of 3-hydroxy-3methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors as agents for the treatment of cardiovascular disease in high-risk secondary prevention,28 findings from the subsequent CARE,29 LIPID,30 WOSCOPS,31 AFCAPS/TexCAPS,32 HPS,33 ASCOT,34 PROVE-IT,26 and TNT35 trials extended data for statins into other patient groups."

    In conclusion, neither of these papers support the contention that funding source INFLUENCES study outcomes. These papers simply show that there is relationship, and both authors clearly state that there are many reasons that might explain this relationship.

    Also, please allow me to response to this statement made by Barbara: “So, let me be clear; I am not accusing anyone of intentionally building bias into their research. But for a scientist to state that it cannot or does not happen is disingenuous.” In fact, I believe you and other are and continue to accuse scientists (and perhaps even me?) of intentionally biasing the results that they get. At least that’s how these comments have been generally interpreted by the hard-working scientific community. And I NEVER said that this cannot or does not happen. What I said was: “Dishonest science probably does happen, but I suspect that it is extremely rare.”

    Thanks for the continued dialogue! It is greatly appreciated.

    Shelley
  • I contacted Dr. Stephanie Seneff regarding our results and she responded with this, “It is likely that glyphosate played a role in the neuroblastoma. These tumors usually develop in the adrenal glands, and the adrenal glands are highly stressed by glyphosate because it disrupts StAR the rate limiting step in steroid synthesis. It knocks down StAR activity by an extraordinary amount.” And this comment, “The child of the mother with the highest levels of glyphosate in her breast milk has neuroblastoma! I now know more about.html neuroblastoma: succinate dehydrogenase deficiency is linked to more virulence, and glyphosate suppresses succinate dehydrogenase. Neuroblastoma is the most common form of solid tumors among infants and young children aside from brain tumors.”

    And added this link, http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mindfully.org%2FPesticide%2FRoundup-Inhibits-Steroidogenesis.htm&h=AAQHYpyxS
  • PON1 (Paraoxonase) is an esterase which will cleave the carbon-oxygen-phosphorus bond of phosphate esters, which have the general structure Carbon-Oxygen-Phosphorus with at least one double-bonded oxygen. Glyphosate is not an organophosphate class insecticide, and is not a phosphate ester. It has a carbon-phosphorus bond, and PON1 has no activity or relevance to glyphosate metabolism or toxicity.

    Glyphosate does not inhibit steroid metabolism- this is an artifact in the test system used and is the result of the surfactant (detergent) present in glyphosate formulations. The precise same thing will happen with many other soaps and detergents that are used routinely in soaps and shampoos.

    These are two well established facts. You can have your own opinion, but you can’t have your own facts.

    There is not, and has never been, a study demonstrating a relationship between neuroblastoma and glyphosate, nor is there any biological basis for such a claim. Even assuming for the moment that the (as admitted in comments on this site) unvalidated assay is correct, there are many substances in the body and finding one in a patient or mother of a patient with a disease does not make for a causal relationship. As a clinician dealing with reproductive issues for over 30 years, I find the statement to this mother (and to the general public) that her exposure to glyphosate is in any way responsible for the unfortunate occurrence of her child’s neuroblastoma to be both unconscionable and scientifically unfathomable.

    Daniel A. Goldstein, M.D., Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Medical Toxicology, and Royal College of Physicians of Canada (Pediatrics).
    Senior Science Fellow and Lead for Medical Sciences and Outreach
    Monsanto
  • Here is another. JAMA (that is, peer-reviewed):

    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=202867

    So, let me be clear; I am not accusing anyone of intentionally building bias into their research. But for a scientist to state that it cannot or does not happen is disingenuous. And as for the study in question, it began with the hypothesis that there would be no glyphosate found in human breast milk. The study found, at least in one sample, that there WAS an amount of glyphosate in the milk significantly higher than the level that could be detected with this method.
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24231776

    One example of research that shows thay funding influences research outcome in one field. I am sure there are more.
  • Thank you all for your responses. I’m wondering if Covance Laboratories (an independent testing laboratory in Madison, WI) might be available to verify some of the results you are getting. They have validated the GC-MS/MS method that was used in our study (methods paper getting ready to submit to peer review) and might be willing to collaborate. I haven’t contacted them about.html this, but I can if you’d like. Or you can if you still don’t trust me.

    Your skepticism about.html companies is also understandable, but I actually think unfounded. There are many reasons why studies come to different results and conclusions. Often times it has to do with different study designs, methods, and populations (can’t really compare, for example, frog physiology to human metabolism). Can you please give me an example of 2 parallel studies using similar study designs and population groups that have been conducted under different funding environments have found different results? I would be happy to review those articles for you and provide a discussion as to why their results might differ – this is something we do with our students all the time because it helps them understand how science evolves over time.

    I would also like to very respectfully disagree with Reverent Hinkle’s accusation that “even sincere, professional and trained scientists and medical doctors are often biased by their income and funding sources.” In my 20 years of being an academic scientist I have not encountered a single researcher who fits this bill – although many have been brutally and unjustly accused. Attacks on scientists have been common since very early times, and it continues to be painful and unhelpful. Dishonest science probably does happen, but I suspect that it is extremely rare. It would make sense that companies would fund projects with hypotheses that they, too, agree with. This might explain the perception that projects funded by industry tend to find results that the funder would benefit from, but it certainly doesn’t support the idea of something sinister going on.

    Please understand that we are all “biased” in some way – and this begins for researchers when we publicly state a hypothesis, the 2nd step in the scientific method. But then good scientists use safeguards (e.g., random assignment, blinding, placebos, appropriate controls, validated methods, peer-review, etc.) to help mitigate those biases from influencing our results and how we communicate them to our peers and the public. You can rest assured that if we had found worrisome levels of glyphosate in the human milk samples we collected in the Pacific Northwest, we would have reported them just the same. Washington State University (not Monsanto) pays my salary, and no amount of money from any funding source would convince me to make up data or report it falsely. You have my word on that.

    Thank you again for the thoughtful discussion.
  • Even sincere, professional and trained scientists and medical doctors are often biased by their income and funding sources. It is interesting to me that test after test sponsored or funded by Monsanto and other such companies so often produce results favorable to those companies, while tests not sponsored by them often produce different or even harmful results. (The WHO’s recent classification of gliyphosate as a probable carcinogen, contradicting Monsanto’s own claims.) This suggests a fundamental flaw in how the FDA and other government organizations approve products based on studies the producers themselves submit.
  • We of course understand the meaning of peer review. The use of peer review is meant to subject scientific research studies to rigorous oversight by the expert peers of the researchers. Peer review boards may act as “gatekeepers” for the sake of specific journals, in order to assure that what is published by a particular journal meets the standards of accuracy, validity and academic importance of that journal. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with, though, is the way that some GMO proponents use ‘peer review’ as a weapon, without knowing what it means, or checking to see that the academic research we cite is, in fact, peer reviewed. Shelly obviously does understand the importance of peer review, and her suggestions may be very helpful.

    On the other hand, it will be very important for GMO Free Lancaster County to carefully protect themselves from the stain of bias. Any research results connected in any way with corporate interests, especially those of Monsanto et al, would be considered questionable in this case.
  • .. And it’s quite possible that not disclosing PON1 genetic screening would skew the results of the Monsanto results even before they reached you. There are so many PON1 studies out there in relation to pesticides think they should include them as part of the study .. Then we will really start to lay hold of some truths ..
  • You shouldn’t be offended Shelley. If you honestly believe what you say then I respect that. If , on the other hand you are knowingly doing something harmful to humanity – then there is blood on your hands and your conscience has been bought. This is not a personal accusation – it just leaves you to be true to yourself. :-)
  • Dear all,

    I appreciate that somehow you believe that I am not sincere. However, I can assure you that I am more sincere than you can possibly imagine. I haven’t “rigged” any study or its results. I, too, breastfed my babies – all 3 of them – and my entire career in science and education has been devoted to understanding how maternal dietary intake impacts milk composition and maternal/infant health – and then disseminating that information so that others can use it. I would never do anything to risk the health of mothers and babies! The issue here is that the assay you are using has not been validated (to my knowledge, anyway), and there is a real chance that the results you are getting are not accurate. Surely you do not want to base any of your conclusions on inaccurate data, right? Please understand that Monsanto did not “commission” any study that I have been involved in. In fact, we reached out to Monsanto to help us answer the question that we had about.html whether glyphosate could be detected in human milk.

    There appears to be some serious misperceptions about.html how academics work with industry to answer difficult questions. Serious academics cannot be “bought off” with industry money. That’s just ludicrous. Martin, your comment suggesting “If you are knowingly doing this Shelley – then there is blood on your hands and your conscience has been bought!” is completely uninformed and quite offensive. Indeed, there is no blood on my hands – I am doing my best to learn the truth and educate the public about.html how real scientists approach these sorts of questions. I am being open and honest and transparent about.html the type of science it takes to find the truth, and unfortunately I am getting bombarded with unreasonable and unfounded abuse. Why is that?

    Zoe, your comment “You may have the money and the “science”, but we’ve got the unstoppable love. I invite you to join us in protecting the health of our children, planet and future.” is also uninformed and offensive. You have no idea the magnitude of love I have for children – mine and those of other mothers and fathers around the world. I am, in fact, using my education and training to use science to protect the health of children both in the US and globally. Suggesting otherwise is naïve and, quite frankly, embarrassing.

    We are in the process of writing up our glyphosate/human milk paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. I would like to sincerely and honestly recommend that you do the same with your data prior to disseminating it as “scientific fact.” I think we all agree that we want good science to be driving policy and decisions!

    How about.html if we try to work together to use validated assays to determine if there are high levels of glyphosate in the milk produced by healthy women living in Lancaster County? That might take a little work, but I suspect that we might be able to work together to really determine this.

    Sincerely,
    Shelley
  • Rigging a study would be simple:
    1) Screen DNA in breastmilk
    2) Exclude people who have PON1 genetic mutations – this is the gene that hydrolises organiphosphates ( e.g. glyphosate )

    See reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25171140

    CONCLUSIONS:
    We extend our previous findings that PON1 genotype and enzyme levels may be directly related to performance on certain domains of neurodevelopment in school-age children. Lower maternal PON1 enzyme levels during pregnancy may also increase susceptibility of children to neurotoxicity from OP pesticide exposure.

    3) Include people who don’t have those mutations

    ~Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil!
  • As a mother who nursed three babies for a cumulative total of over 50 months, I remember some days of nursing up to ten times a day. Six to ten feedings, every day, for up to a year or longer…nope. NO amount of herbicide in a mother’s milk is acceptable. Even one validated positive result that shows the presence of glyphosate is too much. I agree with Zen Honeycutt. One positive result is all I need to hear. BAN glyphosate!
  • Good eye, Martin Thompson!
  • Dear Shelley,
    I am so pleased that our little “citizen science” project reached you all the way out at Washington State! In addition to being part of GMO Free Lancaster County, I am also the East Coast leader for Moms Across America, the group who commissioned the first ever testing of breast milk for the presence of glyphosate, the study that your Monsanto-Commissioned work was in response to! We met with Neil Anderson and others at the EPA and in response to our findings, they asked Monsanto to do a breast milk study and I guess you’re the one they found to do it! It is a small world after all! While I understand that the ELISA testing method is not verified, as a mother whose only special interest is protecting her children, no further testing or verification is necessary.

    Given the World Health Organization’s classification of glyphosate as a class 2 probable carcinogen, I think we are all in agreement that it does not belong in human breast milk in any quantity. It is our right as mothers to protect our children before and above the interests of a corporation’s profit. Unfortunately, “peer-reviewed” has become synonymous with “industry-funded”; I’m sure you can see the conflict of interests in Monsanto funding their own breast milk study.

    I hope you will put your credentials to better use- Monsanto has their own protection act- our babies only have us, their moms, and we will stop at nothing to keep them safe!
    You may have the money and the “science”, but we’ve got the unstoppable love. I invite you to join us in protecting the health of our children, planet and future.
    Cheers!
    Warmly,
    Zoe Swartz
    Founder and Director, GMO Free Lancaster County
    East Coast Leader, Moms Across America
    Breast Feeding Mother
    Concerned Human Being
  • bollocks!- Shelley McGuire – , you led the team commissioned by Monsanto.
    http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/07/24/wsu-researchers-find-glyphosate-free-breast-milk-for-monsanto/

    If you are knowingly doing this Shelley – then there is blood on your hands and your conscience has been bought!
  • Dear folks at GMO Free Lancaster County,

    I sincerely applaud your “citizen scientist” approach to investigating whether human milk contains glyphosate. I wish more people took this sort of initiative to care for mothers and babies! However, I want to warn to that, to my knowledge, the method used here has not been thoroughly validated for glyphosate in human milk. I have contacted the laboratory to ask for their validation information, and have received no response. And as far as I can tell, the method has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Please understand that human milk is an EXTREMELY complex matrix, containing myriad proteins, species-specific carbohydrates, fats, and countless hormones and other bioactive compounds. Many of these substances can interfere with a laboratory analysis and result in “false positives.” When this happens it is possible to find artificially “high” concentrations of something in milk. This is why it is critical that each laboratory analysis that is used to test human milk composition is optimized for human milk – not serum, or soy “milk,” or even cow’s milk.

    I am not certainly not claiming that these results are incorrect. Instead, I am urging you to be very cautious about.html overextending and disseminating your conclusions until there is published evidence that the assay used is in fact sensitive and specific for glyphosate IN HUMAN MILK. For instance, you might consider asking the organizers of this study to subject their findings to peer-review (the bedrock of rigorous scientific method) prior to moving forward with additional testing and public dissemination of your results.

    I applaud your sincere concern for the health of mothers and infants and wish you all good health.

    Sincerely,
    Shelley McGuire, PhD
    Associate Professor, Washington State University
    International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, executive committee
    American Society for Nutrition, national spokesperson
  • Dear folks at GMO Free Lancaster County,

    I sincerely applaud your “citizen scientist” approach to investigating whether human milk contains glyphosate. I wish more people took this sort of initiative to care for mothers and babies! However, I want to warn to that, to my knowledge, the method used here has not been thoroughly validated for glyphosate in human milk. And as far as I can tell, the method has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, nor have the results of rigorous validation methods been made available by the commercial laboratory conducting the analyses.

    Please understand that human milk is an EXTREMELY complex matrix, containing myriad proteins, species-specific carbohydrates, fats, and countless hormones and other bioactive compounds. Many of these substances can interfere with a laboratory analysis and result in “false positives.” When this happens it is possible to find artificially “high” concentrations of something in milk. This is why it is critical that each laboratory analysis that is used to test human milk composition is optimized for human milk – not serum, or soy “milk,” or even cow’s milk.

    I am not certainly not claiming that these results are incorrect. Instead, I am urging you to be very cautious about.html overextending and disseminating your conclusions until there is published evidence that the assay used is in fact sensitive and specific for glyphosate IN HUMAN MILK. For instance, you might consider asking the organizers of this study to subject their findings to peer-review (the bedrock of rigorous scientific method) prior to moving forward with additional testing and public dissemination of your results.

    I applaud your sincere concern for the health of mothers and infants and wish you all good health.

    Sincerely,
    Shelley McGuire, PhD
    Associate Professor (nutrition/lactation physiology), Washington State University
    International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, executive committee
    American Society for Nutrition, national spokesperson