Another Case for the Precautionary Principle

What is the Precautionary Principle?  This states that we should be cautious about using new chemicals (or other technological advances) until we have proven they are safe.  Let’s put this into perspective.  It is estimated that since World War II, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been created.  How many have been tested for their effects on humans: fewer than 1%.

Why is this important?  This is likely to be a significant contributor to the epidemics of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, autism, learning difficulties, and obesity that are being experienced across the globe.

So here comes Roundup, the pesticide, as presented by the Monsanto company as safe.  In fact, the company has created new forms of crops that are resistant to the Roundup so that a lot of Roundup can be sprayed on the crops to kill all those little critters and yet have the food look beautiful and bountiful.  I see two problems with this at least.  First, the crops have been genetically modified (GMO).  European countries are so concerned about the GMO crops that they are not allowing them into Europe.  Studies show that animals that eat GMO corn and soy are showing major kidney and liver disease.  Over 70% of the corn and soy grown and used in the US is now GMO.

The second problem is the dangers from the Roundup itself.  The “active” ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate.  Monsanto insists this is safe.  Yet a recent study in the journal Toxicology In Vitro presented evidence that even at 1 ppm (that is 1 part per million, a terribly small amount) of glyphosate presented to rats’ testicular cells was very damaging to those cells.  1 ppm is considered to be lower than usual environmental exposure.  At larger levels, the glyphosate caused testicular cell death within 48 hours, and even as quickly as within 1 hour. (

You might be saying, but humans are not rats, so this doesn’t necessarily count.

That is true.  However, we know that human men are showing much less fertility in terms of active healthy sperm than they did just a few decades ago.  Could this deficiency in fertility be related to the use of glyphosate?   What about all the other pesticides that are being used on our food that have not been tested?  Other studies had already correlated glyphosate with reduced testosterone production.  (

My interpretation is that we have not been wise about enjoying the results of our wonderful creative abilities without considering the ramifications of our inventions.  Multiple studies show that pesticide use is correlated with many diseases, including cancers, that humans are suffering from today.  With all of our creativity, I have no doubt that we could figure out how to grow enough food for everybody without jeopardizing our lives and the lives of our offspring as well.

What is a person to do?  The first thing is to use organically raised foods as much as possible.  Support especially your local farmers who do this.  Avoid GMO foods.

Next, become familiar with various internet sites that are providing information that the general media is too afraid to publish.  Examples include the Alliancefor Natural Health,, organic bytes, and many others.

Third: write your congress people to let them know that you do not want the government to deprive you of your right to good clean food.  You do not want big companies who can afford to pay to get their way  have the right to destroy our freedoms, including access to healthy food.

Fourth, keep informed and let others know as well.

My wishes to you for good health and good healthy food for all of us.

About Cathie Lippman, M.D.

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