By: Gabe Canales 

A year ago I watched the eye-opening documentary Unacceptable Levels by first-time filmmaker Ed Brown. After his wife had two miscarriages, Brown became very interested about the effects chemical exposures were having on his family — his kids — all of us.

Unacceptable Levels examines the results of the chemical revolution of the 1940s through the eyes of affable filmmaker Ed Brown, a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children,” states the website. “To create this debut documentary, one man and his camera traveled extensively to find and interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy and law.  Weaving their testimonies into a compelling narrative, Brown presents us with the story of how the chemical revolution brought us to where we are, and of where, if we’re not vigilant, it may take us.”

You can rent or buy Unacceptable Levels here.

Brown’s next project, currently in production, is A New Resistance, about the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in “Roundup,” a broad-spectrum weed killer developed by Monsanto. Brown’s documentary will examine the link between glyphosate “…to an alarming number of diseases threatening animal and human health; including obesity, infertility, cancer, celiac disease, gluten intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, autism and Alzheimer’s Disease.”

From the website, “Forty years ago, a chemical was born. It’s in our food, water, air, soil, blood, urine and breast milk. We’re not Roundup Ready. It’s time for A New Resistance.”

Brown discusses A New Resistance with me in this Q&A:

1.  What’s your motivation for this project?

Our children.  I do not think there could be a better motivation for anyone to do anything, other than thinking about how to protect our kids.  I have three of them at home right now, and they inspire me every single day to make the world a better place, so that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing, but what this really comes down to is a basic human injustice needs to be addressed.  We are eating poisons every single day in our food, and it is something that I feel is fundamentally wrong with our food system. If we sat back and said that to grow food in the future, we’re going to use small amounts of cyanide to make it work, families would be appalled!  So, a chemical that is the backbone of the entire transgenic system of agriculture is of tremendous interest to me, and that’s why I’m doing this movement, which also is a documentary film.

Why is this movement and film necessary?  Simple.  50% of the population will visit an oncologist at some point in their lives.  Cancer is not as mysterious as it has been portrayed, and when it continues to happen in all of our lives so readily, I push back and do not accept this as normal.  It’s not normal, just because it is prevalent… It’s not normal, and that’s why I feel this is so absolutely important.

2. How widespread is glyphosate’s use on crops?

I would certainly feel that it falls into the category of omnipresent.  It is in over 2,000 products as we speak, so I would say that it is everywhere.  It is a major component of the GMO (genetically modified organism) system that farmers are currently working with that the federal government is more than happy to subsidize.  However, even if you eat something that is non-GMO, it could certainly still have a degree of glyphosate on it unless it is certified organic.  Essentially, glyphosate is a chemical that is designed to kill bacteria.  So, in its application, glyphosate is used to kill invasive plants by destroying the bacteria inside of that particular plant.  It has been used for 40 years and is still a major factor in how food has been grown.

Fundamentally it is everywhere.  People spray it at schools, on their lawns, around hospitals, public parks and any place that they find weeds that they no longer want around.  This chemical was supposedly as safe as aspirin when it hit the market, and they thought that you could even drink it without harm.  However, this film is going to explore this subject in complete depth, because when the conversation comes up about GMOs and the fight about labeling, what it all comes down to are poisons in the food supply.  Yeah, they’re messing with many aspects of food, but the toxic chemicals play a big part in how GMOs work, and that’s what this comes down to.

And also seeing that glyphosate is not as effective as it had been, they’ve introduced even more toxic chemicals to the system, which proves that there is no going back to a less toxic food system.  It only gets worse from here on out, and that is our reality.

3. Does glyphosate cause cancer?

That’s the question of the day. These toxic chemicals may be extreme endocrine disruptors. This issue is too important to just have conversations about. We need to act because these endocrine disruptors obscure our natural hormone levels, and that can cause major damage.  There is a lot of research out there on both sides of this issue, and your question is one that I want a real answer to.  As of my writing this, 90% of the cancers we are fighting are environmental, which is a staggering statistic.

If you ask a company that designs, synthesizes or utilizes this chemical as a part of their products, there is only one answer you will get from them.  These are also some of the same entities that said that DDT, PCB’s, Agent Orange and a laundry list of others were perfectly fine and did not cause harm for several decades.  So we know that their science, which is not peer-reviewed or given a third-party peer-reviewed risk assessment, will point in one direction.  Ask them if you can test one of their seeds and see what the answer is.  They’ll tell you to hit the bricks, and then shove document after document from their scientists at you.  I don’t know how or why we allow companies to operate under this type of scenario, but it doesn’t seem to me that the federal government has done anything other than enable this to happen.

If it does cause cancer, mothers all across this nation need to know one thing.  Whether you breast feed or you give them standard infant formula (not organic) then your babies are getting this chemical into their little bodies.  It has been detected in breast milk and also the corn syrup solids in baby formula, so let that soak in for a moment.  If this chemical is proven to cause cancer, this comes down to liability doesn’t it?  So that is why this movement is so necessary, as only one federal agency has oversight over this chemical, and it is the Environmental Protection Agency.

4. Is buying organic consumers’ only way to be sure they’re eating fruits and vegetables not sprayed with glyphosate?

I was watching a football game yesterday, and one of the major fast food companies was advertising a $6.99 pizza.  So, for just under $7 you could eat a whole pizza.  Try to make the same pizza at home and look at how much it costs to make that.  For a company to turn a profit off of that $6.99 pizza, you’re essentially getting what?  Maybe 1 to 2 dollars worth of ingredients?  You’re eating a heck of a lot of chemicals through that system. Now, think about your kids.

Organic is an amazing line of defense for yourself and your family, and the federal government doesn’t really lend any assistance to farmers to grow it, which is why it does cost more.  I mean, what else are you going to eat?  Something that has a questionable chemical that kills bacteria, or not?  I mean, for any of us, we have a lot of work to do on this issue, and the reason why is pretty simple.  This is a single chemical that touches each and every one of us.

No one should be too busy for this, because you’re not going to be able to ignore something like glyphosate away. Our bacteria outnumbers our individual cells 10 to 1.  So, we’re made up of mostly bacteria and it is an essential part of how our bodies function.  Think about that.  We’re introducing glyphosate, that kills bacteria, into our bodies.  Some people might think that that is a good thing, but it isn’t.

I would say to everyone, buy organic whenever you can.  It is your right to know everything about what you are buying, and if they fight and fight against a simple label for GMOs at least you have the organic label on the side of products.  Know that your body is the greatest investment that you will ever make.  Once your health goes, it may be incredibly difficult to get it back.  You can take it back right now!

Originally Published: Chron