Breastfeeding moms can breath another sigh of relief – there is now more data to indicate that there isn’t glyphosate in breast milk.
You may remember that in April of 2014, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse released results of a “study” claiming that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Round-Up, was found in breast milk. Despite evidence to the contrary, the anti-GMO organizations claimed that 3 out of the 10 moms that were tested actually had “high” levels of glyphosate in their breast milk. Obviously, this was concerning, because a baby ingesting the breast milk would also ingest the glyphosate. The study was published, though not peer-reviewed. I previously wrote about the problems with that claim.
Unfortunately, based on all the media attention Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse got from their scare tactics, another German study was performed on an additional 16 moms. Not surprisingly, there was also glyphosate found in that breast milk. This study was not published and not peer-reviewed.
As a means of figuring out whether there was really something to be worried about, German scientists decided to perform a real scientific study. The results, which were just published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, found:
Summarizing the results, the positive findings of glyphosate in breast milk of American women could not be confirmed by our results. In none of the 114 breast milk samples collected from German women in August and September 2015 was glyphosate found within the detection limitations of the analytical methods. Available data from farm animal studies on glyphosate with nonlabeled material support these results. They provide no indication of a significant carry-over into fatty tissues or milk even at high dosing levels.
In other words, they could not confirm that the results from the two studies showing glyphosate in breast milk were correct. This is an important aspect of scientific research – the ability to replicate the study and get the same results. If no one can replicate your results, that means you have a big problem. The research by Moms Across America and the other German group are also questionable because they go against what we already know – that is, glyphosate does not accumulate in our bodies. Therefore, it isn’t being secreted through mother’s milk.
I’m not at all surprised by the results of this study. The idea that Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse would completely make something up to support their position on genetically modified crops and herbicides is not an off-the-wall thing. We expect it from them. However, it still upsets me that they target new moms because they know that group is more susceptible to these ideas. New parents only want to do what is best for their brand new little bundles of joy. Of course, hearing such information would be worrisome and these new parents would want to protect their child. Unfortunately, the end result is either less moms breastfeeding, or cash-strapped parents spending more money on organic produce needlessly.
It also upsets me that we have to waste time talking about this. Instead of the German researchers taking on some new innovative agriculture technology, they had to waste time testing the claims of Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they took the time and performed the research. It is important for those targeted by such messages to have something to soothe their fears. I’m just disappointed that we have to waste time and resources on debunking ridiculous claims from these activist groups. There are only so many scientists, so much money, and so much time available. We could use those resources on something much, much more worthwhile.
Nonetheless, worried moms can now breathe (another) sigh of relief.
Thank you Amanda for your articles. They are always good.