Big Agriculture has a problem. And they are making it your problem.
For decades, its most effective weed killer was a chemical made by Monsanto called Roundup. But weeds are becoming resistant to it. Roundup no longer kills many varieties.
So corporate farming operations are turning to a different chemical. It’s called paraquat.
You may have heard of it. It made headlines in the 1970s when the American government sprayed it on marijuana plants in Mexico. It led to concerns that paraquat-contaminated pot was being sold in the U.S.1
It’s also notorious for being used in suicides. It’s extraordinarily deadly. Just one sip can be lethal.2 When South Korea banned paraquat, suicides dropped 10%.
In recent years, clear evidence has emerged that paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease.
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The National Institutes of Health found that the people exposed to paraquat have a 250% higher chance of facing Parkinson’s. NIH researcher Freya Kamel was a co-author of the study. She says there is no doubt that people exposed to paraquat “were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.”3
Another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people living in homes within 550 yards of a field sprayed with paraquat have a 75% higher Parkinson’s risk.
And a 2012 study found paraquat exposure raised the risk of Parkinson’s 11-fold in people with a genetic predisposition for the disease.4
In the 1980s, the herbicide was blamed for the deaths of American farm workers. So the EPA stepped in to lessen the dangers. But the steps it took were laughable…
It didn’t require reduced use of the toxic spray. Instead, it ordered that paraquat be dyed blue and given a horrible smell so users would know when they were being poisoned.5
Recently, the EPA issued a warning about paraquat’s link to Parkinson’s. But it hasn’t taken any other action.
Banned in Europe, Welcomed in America
Paraquat is banned in Europe and much of Asia. Even China says it is phasing out the use of the weed killer “to safeguard people’s lives.”
The U.S. gets most of its paraquat from the agrichemical giant Syngenta. The company makes the stuff in England. Although it’s illegal to spray paraquat in Europe, there’s no ban on manufacture. So the chemical is shipped to the U.S.
As Roundup becomes more ineffective, paraquat use is increasing every year. In 2016, more than 7 million pounds of paraquat were sprayed in the U.S. on 15 million acres.6
Protect Yourself from Paraquat
Paraquat is sprayed on more than 100 types of fruits and vegetables. Soybean farmers in particular use a lot of it. But the chemical is also sprayed on oranges, corn, almonds, rice, sugarcane, and many other crops.7
The best way to protect yourself is to buy organic. Organic fruits and vegetables are chemical-free, contain more nutrients, and are healthier for you than conventionally grown produce.
This is particularly important for six varieties of produce that often carry high levels of chemicals. They are strawberries, apples, nectarines, green beans, celery, and spinach.
One more thing… Make sure you thoroughly rinse all produce before eating it. Simply hold fruits and vegetables under running water while briskly rubbing the surfaces.