A while backed I reviewed a documentary which impressed me. It was called The World According to Monsanto. It was a documentary about genetic modification of food, a favourite topic of mine (you can read some of my thoughts on the topic here and here). What made this documentary unique was that it did not look at genetic modification much, it just looked at the history of Monsanto, one of the largest producers of genetically modified seeds. The company has a long history of dishonesty and corporate malfeasance so that at the end, you ask whether you can believe anything they say about the safety of GMOs.
When I saw that Our Daily Poison was by the same director (Marie-Monique Robin), I was eager to see it. I’m really disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be a website for this movie. I would love to have found out more info and seen some of the details from the movie again. There was too much to try and remember.
I’m going to share with you just the main points as I remember them and I imagine you will be as shocked as I am when you read this information.
We all know that there is residue from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides on and in the food we eat. We assume that the residues are not harmful to us, at least in the small amounts present in our food.
The point of the documentary is to show that we can’t trust this premise to be true. The residues can be and are in fact harmful to us and our children. Imagine your daughter suffering from vaginal cancer because of the chemicals you ingested. Not a nice thought, but possible, if not likely.
So how does it happen that we are told we can consume these poisons? This is where it gets interesting. The theory is that there is an allowable daily intake (ADI) and if we don’t exceed that, there will not be a sufficient build up of that poison over our lifetimes to cause us harm.
The problem is that the ADI is a guess. That’s right, there is no scientific basis for the number. They tested the chemical on rats and then took that dosage and MADE UP a factor to multiply it by for humans. The problem is that scientists are saying the factor is not correct. We are being over exposed and the effect is worse for some chemicals than for others.
They also have to assume how much of a particular compound might be in your daily consumption. So if you eat too much of one thing or several things which have been exposed to the same chemicals you will exceed your ADI.
Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about this. The levels are set by the World Health Organisations (WHO) and other regulatory bodies and the data is considered secret so nobody can see it. Where does the data come from? It comes from the manufacturers of the chemicals! They run tests and give the results to the regulatory boards. No independent testing or verification!!
There are two more serious issues. Some of the chemicals now used are harmful at very small doses, they do not require accumulation in order to be harmful. The ADI does not take these into account. Also, no testing has been done on the combination of the compounds. Doctors will tell you not to take this medicine if you are taking that medicine because it’s acknowledged that compounds can have an affect on each other in your body. This applies to the pesticides as well, but they have only tested the effect of one at time. No testing has been done with the cocktail of chemicals we ingest every day.
As you can see, it’s not all simple and safe as we imagine. There was also a very interesting section in Aspartame and how it was pushed through the FDA for approval despite tests indicating it is really bad for us.
This stuff is really, really serious. The one person interviewed made an interesting observation. He said that we take risks every day by weighing up the reward vs the risk. In this situation, we take the risk of ingesting these chemicals but we don’t get the reward, that goes to the companies that produce the chemicals.
Sound fair to you?