To the editor:
I read the Guest Commentary in Friday's Enterprise with extreme interest. The author, Karen Johnston, just hit the point. We are killing our intestinal bacteria, and at the same time killing ourselves.
Anything we buy in the supermarket contains some corn or soybean products - and all of the corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified or "Roundup Ready." This means thousands of acres are sprayed with glyphosate (common name Roundup). Some of this potent herbicide remains on the corn or soybeans we eat. We are assured that this chemical is not harmful for humans or other mammals. It is true: Nobody drops dead from ingesting trace amounts of this herbicide. However, as Karen Johnston pointed out, herbicides like glyphosate kill the bacteria in our intestines.
These intestinal flora are essential for the health of our immune system. Yet we're killing them in many ways. In addition to herbicides and pesticides, antibacterial soaps and overuse of antibiotics all work together to destroy the beneficial microorganisms in our intestines. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but sterility is deadly. If we kill all the bacteria, we will die.
Modern Americans are brainwashed that bacteria are the bad guys so we should kill them all. Most soaps and cleaning products are antibacterial. "It kills 99 percent of all bacteria" is the big selling point. Some bacteria certainly cause disease, but others we cannot live without. Maybe we should change our way of thinking.
The overuse of antibiotics which end up in our water supply may be another high price for our antibacterial paranoia. I have read that 70 percent of all antibiotics produced in the U.S. are used for fattening cattle. We're paying exorbitantly in our nation's health for the convenience of cheap and abundant hamburgers.
Has anyone put together the facts of the proliferation of allergies, asthma and other autoimmune diseases that are plaguing the population in the past 50 years? It seems that almost everyone I know suffers from allergies of one type or another. Half the people I know are gluten intolerant; the other half are popping "purple pills" to combat GERD. I don't remember so many people with asthma or other allergies when I was young.
Everything in nature serves a purpose. The bacteria in our intestines keep us healthy. If we try to fight nature, destroying all possible bacteria, we'll be the losers, not the winners.