Hormones on Wheat?
Sounds strange, but farmers apply hormone-like substances or "plant growth regulators" that affect wheat characteristics, such as time of germination and strength of stalk.11 These hormones are either "natural," that is, extracted from other plants, or synthetic. Cycocel is a synthetic hormone that is commonly applied to wheat.
Moreover, research is being conducted on how to manipulate the naturally occurring hormones in wheat and other grains to achieve "desirable" changes, such as regulated germination and an increased ability to survive in cold weather.12
No studies exist that isolate the health risks of eating hormone-manipulated wheat or varieties that have been exposed to hormone application. However, there is substantial evidence about the dangers of increasing our intake of hormone-like substances.
Chemicals Used in Storage
Chemical offenses don’t stop after the growing process. The long storage of grains makes them vulnerable to a number of critters. Before commercial grain is even stored, the collection bins are sprayed with insecticide, inside and out. More chemicals are added while the bin is filled. These so-called "protectants" are then added to the upper surface of the grain as well as four inches deep into the grain to protect against damage from moths and other insects entering from the top of the bin. The list of various chemicals used includes chlorpyrifos-methyl, diatomaceous earth, bacillus thuringiensis, cy-fluthrin, malathion and pyrethrins.14
Then there is the threshold test. If there is one live insect per quart of sample, fumigation is initiated. The goal of fumigation is to "maintain a toxic concentration of gas long enough to kill the target pest population." The toxic chemicals penetrate the entire storage facility as well as the grains being treated. Two of the fumigants used include methyl bromide and phosphine-producing materials, such as magnesium phosphide or aluminum phosphide.14
Heat damage is a serious problem that results from the artificial drying of damp grain at high temperatures. Overheating causes denaturing of the protein26 and can also partially cook the protein, ruining the flour’s baking properties and nutritional value. According to Ed Lysenko, who tests grain by baking it into bread for the Canadian Grain Commission’s grain research laboratory, wheat can be dried without damage by using re-circulating batch dryers, which keep the wheat moving during drying. He suggests an optimal drying temperature of 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).27 Unfortunately, grain processors do not always take these precautions.