CORN: Yeah, many of you already know that corn is bad for you, but just how bad is it? Let’s find out!
* Over 15.1 billion bushels of corn for grain were produced in the U.S. in 2021
* The size of the areas of corn harvested for grain in the United States from 2001 to 2021. Around 85.4 million acres of land were harvested for this purpose in 2021.
* Research has shown that B1 (Aflatoxin) is a potent, naturally-occurring carcinogen in animals with a strong link to human cancer incidence.
* Dairy cattle will metabolize B1 to a different form of aflatoxin called aflatoxin M1, which may accumulate in milk.
* Data indicates that the concentration of aflatoxin M1 in milk is equal to 1.51 percent of the concentration of aflatoxin B1 in the diet.
* Corn is the primary U.S. feed grain, accounting for more than 95 percent of total feed grain production and use.
* Corn is processed into a multitude of food and industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage, industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol.
* Aflatoxins can occur in foods such as groundnuts, tree nuts, maize, rice, figs, and other dried foods, spices, crude vegetable oils, and cocoa beans, as a result of fungal contamination before and after harvest. Several types of aflatoxins are produced naturally. Aflatoxin B1 is the most common in food and among the most potent genotoxic and carcinogenic aflatoxins.
* Corn can cause diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and other digestion problems for some people.
* Use of fertilizer on corn has historically accounted for more than 40 percent of commercial fertilizer used in the U.S.
* Corn dominates pesticide usage with a share of approximately 39 percent. Soybeans come in second, with 22 percent of the total volume being applied to the crop.
* About 40 percent of the land in the United States is used for agriculture, and agriculture supplies a major part of our food, feed, and fiber needs. Agricultural chemicals move into and through every component of the hydrologic system, including air, soil, soil water, streams, wetlands, and groundwater.
* In 2010, about 11 billion kilograms of nitrogen fertilizer and 300 million kilograms of pesticides were used annually to enhance crop production or control pests. Increased levels of nutrients from fertilizers draining into streams can stimulate algal blooms and affect stream health and recreational uses of local streams, downstream reservoirs, and estuaries, and increase treatment costs for drinking water. Pesticides that are transported to streams can pose risks to aquatic life and fish-eating wildlife and drinking-water supplies.
* Ugly, foul-smelling, and sometimes toxic, algal blooms are becoming more common in freshwater ecosystems like rivers, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs.
* Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, essential to plant growth, are a natural part of underwater ecosystems. But when they run off urban and rural surfaces and flow into a river, lake, pond, or reservoir in excess—a phenomenon known as nutrient pollution—they act like fertilizer and promote the growth of algae and bacteria. Most excess nutrients enter waterways via agricultural runoff (particularly from animal manure and chemical fertilizers that get washed from farms by rain), leaked waste from animal feedlots, stormwater runoff from urban and suburban areas, and discharges from wastewater treatment facilities. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent surveys on national water quality, nutrient pollution in the United States is a problem in more than one-third of lakes and about half of all rivers and streams.
* People can be exposed to HAB (Harmful Algal Blooms) toxins by swallowing or swimming in affected waters, eating poisoned fish or shellfish (even when food is cooked, algal toxins remain), or inhaling airborne droplets of affected water. Depending on the level of exposure and the type of algal toxin, health consequences may range from mild to severe to, in extreme cases, fatal.
* Pets are vulnerable to HABs, too—dogs in particular, because they’re most likely to swim in or drink the water. A recent paper published in the journal Toxins found 63 dog deaths associated with HABs in 13 states.
* The cyanotoxins most frequently reported in freshwater ecosystems are the liver-damaging toxins microcystins and cylindrospermopsin.
* It is estimated that some 30 million to 48 million Americans get their drinking water from lakes and reservoirs that could be periodically contaminated by algal toxins. And boiling HAB-contaminated water not only doesn’t destroy toxins but can in fact increase their concentration.
* Long-term exposure to a toxin produced by blue-green algal blooms can trigger tangles in the brains of animals similar to those seen in the brains of humans with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions, a study has found.
* Exposure to the cyanobacteria neurotoxin BMAA may be an environmental cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
* The non-proteinogenic amino acid beta-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is ubiquitously produced by cyanobacteria in marine, freshwater, brackish, and terrestrial environments.
* Today, the United States is the largest producer and consumer of corn — and by a long shot. Corn is in the sodas Americans drink and the potato chips they snack on; it’s in hamburgers and french fries, sauces and salad dressings, baked goods, breakfast cereals, virtually all poultry, and even most fish. The grain is so ubiquitous that it would take longer to list the foods that contain traces of it than to pinpoint the ones that don’t.
Now let all this sink in.
- September 14, 2022
- September 13, 2022
- September 13, 2022