Mineral Depleted Food Crops — Fact or Illusion? In his audiotape "Dead Doctors Don't Lie," Wallach claims that depleted soils give rise to mineral deficiency diseases, which threaten the health of Americans. In support he cites U.S. Senate Document 264, of 1936, which states:
Erosion and unwise farming methods have led to mineral depleted soils resulting in mineral deficient plants, livestock and people. The alarming fact is that food now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us — no matter of how much of them we eat. Laboratory tests prove that the fruit, vegetables, grains, eggs and even the milk and meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago. It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals" [74th Congress, 2nd Session, 1036].One of Wallach's critics recently labeled U.S. Senate Document 264 a "baseless opinion piece" and also rejected the notion mineral deficiencies adversely affect the health and longevity of Americans.1 That anyone would say this today must astonish, since it has been known for quite some time that our agricultural soils in many areas lack certain minerals. One of the first elements found to be lacking in close to two thirds of the arable land was iodine, and these areas were known as the "Goiter Belt." Iodine deficiency not only severely affected the health of humans; in Montana alone, 1 million pigs died annually from iodine deficiency before iodized fodders were introduced. Later, areas deficient in cobalt, copper, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, boron, fluorine and selenium were identified.2, 3 Food crops from soils low in selenium not only causes animals to develop fatal selenium deficiency diseases, human health is also adversely affected, as evidenced by studies which revealed that human cancer mortalities are higher in low selenium regions. The need for additional selenium in our food chain thus became apparent; a recently concluded 10 year trial 4 showed that human cancer risk can be significantly reduced by supplemental selenium. The view thus can be defended that many Americans are dying prematurely of cancer because they are not getting enough of a needed essential mineral, selenium, with their food.