Thursday, February 3, 2011

NUTRITION EXPERT: Criticizes MU study

Columbia-based dietician Melinda Hemmelgarn -- better known as the Food Sleuth -- has taken University of Missouri researchers to task for suggesting that one weed killer is better than another.

Earlier, the
Heart Beat reported
on MU plant science researcher Zhanyuan Zhang's contention that "2,4-D is an ideal herbicide to deal with Roundup-resistant weeds," a conclusion he drew from recent research. 
No way, says Hemmelgarn (left), who provided the following editorial in rebuttal.
Dear Gentle Beat Byte Readers: 
Please don't be duped.  Manufacturers of pesticides and the people they pay to do their research like to tell us their products are safe and easy. 
2,4-D is a suspected endocrine disruptor that can lead to health effects that include thyroid problems, prostate cancer and reproductive abnormalities. This herbicide is also a neurotoxin that has been linked to Parkinson's disease and delays in brain development.
Pregnant women and children are the most susceptible to the effects of exposure.  Despite the risks, about 46 million pounds of the pesticide are used in the U.S. each year. According to NRDC, "[2-4,D] shows up in about half of all surface water samples nationwide, and the groundwater of at least five states and Canada."
The prestigious President's Cancer Panel Report recommends choosing foods grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers, in part because they increase the risk for cancer. 
Remember: some of the best PR in the world appears as objective scientific information.  Pay attention to words.  For example, the term: "Crop protection" is often a nice code word for "pesticides."  Also, always ask the following questions when assessing scientific/medical research:

1. What information is missing?   For example, are both potential benefits AND risks/harm described?
2. What are existing alternatives?
3. Who funded the research?   Is there a potential conflict of interest?
4. Seek out independent sources with no conflict of interest to help you assess the study.
5. Look beyond the  news release.
More about 2-4-D and related information: 

Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.
Food Sleuth®, LLC..."helping people think beyond their plates"
Care about the food you eat? Tune into Food Sleuth  Radio: Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. Central, 89.5 KOPN:

No comments:

Post a Comment