Is Glyphosate Responsible for your Health Problems?

There were a series of events that took place in the mid-1970s, which have proven to be highly destructive to the health of Americans in the 21st century.

In 1974, a new herbicide called Roundup was released into the marketplace. [1] It promised to be a miracle weed killer that would do its job without harming human health.

In 1977, a sugar tariff was established, which dramatically raised the cost of white table sugar. This tax on imported sugar propelled high fructose corn syrup into widespread use in processed foods. [2]

The third event that took place that same year was the adoption of dietary guidelines by the U.S. government. This completely changed longstanding traditional thinking about food and nutrition. [3]

The combined effect of these events set forth a cascading chain of negative health effects, which have pushed Americans into obesity, numerous forms of chronic illness and uncontrollable healthcare expenditures.

The new dietary guidelines instructed Americans to abandon the traditional balanced diet that contained butter and animal fat, meat and eggs, full fat dairy products, grains, vegetables, and fruits; and to replace this with a new low-fat high-carbohydrate diet. Overnight, animal fat, meat, eggs, and butter became dietary archenemies. We were now encouraged to gorge ourselves on bread, pasta, beans, skim milk and low-fat dairy, and to avoid butter, eggs, and all forms of  animal fat, and to exercise more.

Food manufacturers took out some of the fat from their products to make government officials happy, and added lots of sugar and high fructose corn syrup to make their new low-fat products palatable. The new dietary guidelines were supposed to eliminate heart disease and cancer and make us fit and trim. Did it work?

We also had a new modern helper on the farm and in our gardens and yards. It was called glyphosate, sold under the name Roundup. Roundup was touted to be a miracle of modern chemistry. It could kill weeds, while claiming to be harmless to human health. No more back breaking labor of pulling or hoeing down weeds – now all we needed to do was spray and watch the weeds die.

What happened to the Health of Americans over the Past 40 Years?

So, here we are in 2014.  America ranks lowest in health quality and highest in healthcare expenditures. We are the fattest and sickest country on Earth. How could this be? Could it have something to do with the low-fat high-carbohydrate diet? Could it have something to do with the dramatic increase in the consumption of sugar and high fructose corn syrup? Could it have something to do with the ever growing list of vaccines that are being given to children and adults? Could it have something to do with the out of control use of antibiotics in confined animal feeding operations? Could it have something to do with glyphosate?

The answer is yes to all of these questions!

We now know that the 1977 dietary guidelines were based on flawed and fraudulent scientific research. We all were guinea pigs in a grand nationwide experiment, which has now been proven a colossal failure by scientific research. It is not saturated fat that is implicated in heart disease, but the over consumption of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, pasta, bread, and other carbohydrates, and the under consumption of healthy saturated fat.  [4, 5]

We also know that the uncontrolled use of antibiotics in agriculture and in healthcare has been a major assault on human gut health. [6, 7] This too was another grand experiment that failed. Similarly, modern vaccines have been shown to compromise the human immune system. They have set into place multigenerational patterns of gut dysbiosis. [8] Yes, vaccines are one more grand experiment that failed. They promised disease free living, but only created more suffering.

But, what about that other modern advance made in the 1970s? Has Roundup stood the test of time, or is it also another failed experiment? The short answer is that Roundup/glyphosate can easily be ranked together with DDT, because of its chemical similarity and its toxicity. [9]

Is Roundup/Glyphosate Really Safe?

Dr. Don Huber begins to answer this question for us. Dr. Huber is an internationally recognized expert in the toxicity of genetically engineered foods and the toxicity of Roundup and its primary ingredient glyphosate. He has been studying these herbicides for over 20 years. He states,

The public’s appreciation of the toxicity of glyphosate is rather limited. The fact that Monsanto marketed Roundup as “environmentally friendly” and “biodegradable” may have quite a bit to do with this general lack of insight. (In 2009, a French court upheld two earlier convictions against Monsanto for false advertising.) [10]

In another interview, Dr. Huber summarized the situation with glyphosate and its use with genetically modified plants.

The things that we are seeing in our soil, in our plants, in our homes, and in our barns aren’t normal. You can go back 40 years, and I have the privilege of doing that – they’re not normal. A lot of our young scientists think they are normal, and consequently, they don’t understand and appreciate how we used to grow our plants, produce them, and what the quality used to be. … I think that future historians may well look back on our time and not write about how many pounds of pesticides we did or didn’t apply, but about how willing we are to sacrifice our children and future generations. All for this experimental process that we call genetic engineering, which is based on failed promises and flawed science, just to benefit the bottom line of commercial enterprises. [11]

Glyphosate and Roundup in the News — Risks to Human Health

Super Weeds

Thirteen states are now reporting weeds that are resistant to Roundup. There are 15 confirmed glyphosate-resistant weed species, within a group of 63 that have shown to be developing resistance. [12, 13]

Gluten Intolerance

The research of Dr. Stephanie Seneff indicates that gluten intolerance may be linked to glyphosate. Glyphosate binds to gluten. Gluten usually forms connections between different amino acids in grain. Glyphosate disrupts the binding, which causes the gluten to stay in a form that is more allergenic. In other words, some people may be reacting more to the effects of glyphosate than they are to gluten. [14]

Glyphosate linked to Cancer

Glyphosate disrupts human cellular structure and function. It contributes to uncontrolled cell proliferation. The changes that it brings about in human skin cells are consistent with the changes that are seen in hepatocellular carcinoma, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma. Researchers used very low concentrations of Roundup in their experiments. They found that lower concentrations of Roundup actually stimulated unhealthy cell growth, while higher concentrations suppressed cell growth. This means that Roundup is a powerful disrupter of the endocrine system. Disruptions in the endocrine system have the potential of disrupting normal life processes in every aspect of the human body. Conventional toxicological research normally looks at the upper limits of toxic exposure of a chemical to determine the effects on health. But with glyphosate, the greatest dangers may be found in extremely low concentrations that are measured in parts per trillion, rather than in parts per million. At the parts per trillion level, glyphosate has estrogenic properties and stimulates breast cancer cell proliferation. [15]

Low Level Glyphosate Exposure can come from Contaminated Air and Rain

A U.S. government study measured the amount of glyphosate in air and rain samples in the agricultural area of the Mississippi delta between 1995 and 2007.  Results found Roundup and its toxic metabolite called AMPA in over 75% of the air and rain samples tested in 2007. (AMPA is the toxic residue that is left after glyphosate degrades into other chemical forms.) Glyphosate in the air is absorbed directly into the blood by way of the lungs. Even though the daily exposure is low, we now know that extremely low exposure, measured in parts per trillion, can disrupt the human endocrine system and stimulate cancer growth. The air and rain samples were taken in locations that were 3 miles away from the fields where Roundup was used. [16]

Glyphosate in Human Breast Milk

In the first ever testing on glyphosate herbicide in the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse have found high levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested. The shocking results point to glyphosate levels building up in women’s bodies over a period of time, which fact has until now been refuted by both global regulatory authorities and the biotech industry. The levels of glyphosate that were found in samples of human breast milk were 760 to 1600 times higher than the allowable threshold for the presence of a pesticide in European drinking water. These test results, however, were less than the maximum contaminant level for glyphosate in the U.S., which was decided upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. maximum was based on the now seemingly false premise that glyphosate was not bio-accumulative. [17]

Glyphosate linked to a Cancer Causing Fungus

Researchers in Argentina evaluated the effects of glyphosate (Roundup) on the growth of strains of Aspergillus fungus, which produce Aflatoxin B1. Aflatoxin B1 is a naturally occurring mycotoxin that is produced by two types of Aspergillus that commonly affect cereal grains.  Aflatoxin B1 is known to be one of the most carcinogenic substances in existence. The research showed that glyphosate enhanced the growth of the aflatoxin-producing Apergillus strains. We know that Roundup-ready corn contains residues of glyphosate in addition to various other supposedly inactive but highly toxic ingredients from Roundup. Corn also contains metabolites (AMPA) produced from glyphosate. Now we know that Roundup-Ready GMO corn is also more likely to contain aflatoxins. No one knows the implication on human health of the combination of these toxins. [18]

Glyphosate is in the Diets of Most Americans

Glyphosate is the most widely used agricultural chemical in the world, with sales now nearing 1 million metric tons per year. Chemical industry analysts project 2017 annual worldwide sale to reach 1.35 million metric tons. [19]

Researchers Dr. Anthony Samsel and Dr. Stephanie Seneff conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature on glyphosate. They indicate that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, is the most popular herbicide used worldwide. The industry asserts it is minimally toxic to humans. The scientific research that they present shows a very different story. The overwhelming majority of scientific literature shows that glyphosate is highly toxic to human health. Glyphosate residues are now found in the main foods of the western diet, comprised primarily of sugar, corn, soy and wheat. [20]

Dr. Samsel  and Dr. Seneff show how tiny levels of glyphosate contamination in our food can directly contribute to inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations [21]

When we eat food containing glyphosate residue, the glyphosate damages the normal beneficial organisms that live in the human gut microbiota. It weakens or kills health promoting bacteria while allowing other bacteria/organisms to become more prevalent. Glyphosate residue in food also inhibits the activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are needed to remove toxic substances from the human body. Glyphosate also appears to impair the human sulfate transport mechanism, which can explain a great number of the diseases and conditions that are prevalent in the modern industrialized world. [22]

The effects of glyphosate are insidious, because the long-term effects are often not immediately apparent. They take years to manifest. Glyphosate works synergistically with other factors. Thus, when we are exposed to glyphosate on a daily basis through the food we eat, then we are much more likely to become ill when we have insufficient sun exposure, or lower than optimal levels of dietary sulfur and zinc. The negative effects of glyphosate on human health become even more severe when xenobiotics are also consumed.

Xenobiotic substances are chemicals that are normally not present in the human body, and which need to be removed to preserve human health. Thus, we are even more likely to experience long term chronic disease conditions when glyphosate is in our diet, because glyphosate impairs the process of removing other toxic chemicals from the body. Chemicals in our food and chemicals in the environment are more difficult to remove when glyphosate is consumed. [23]

Dr. Samsel and Dr. Seneff provide a sober warning for researchers and public policy makers throughout the world:

Given the known toxic effects of glyphosate and the plausibility that they are negatively impacting health worldwide, it is imperative for more independent research to take place to validate the ideas presented [in our study], and to take immediate action, if they are verified, to drastically curtail the use of glyphosate in agriculture. Glyphosate is likely to be pervasive in our food supply, and, contrary to being essentially nontoxic, it may in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment. [24] [emphasis added]

Dr. Nancy Swanson adds to the chilling reality of glyphosate contamination in food. Dr. Swanson has a Ph.D. in physics and worked as a staff scientist for the United States Navy. She became seriously ill, and discovered that glyphosate was the cause of her illness. She was able to reverse her condition by eliminating food from her diet that contained glyphosate residue. She states:

The endocrine disrupting properties of glyphosate can lead to reproductive problems: infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and sexual development. Fetuses, infants and children are especially susceptible because they are continually experiencing growth and hormonal changes. For optimal growth and development, it is crucial that their hormonal system is functioning properly…. The endocrine disrupting properties also lead to neurological disorders (learning disabilities (LD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Those most susceptible are children and the elderly. [25]

How Much Glyphosate is Needed to Cause Harm?

Dr. Swanson points out that government and chemical industry safety numbers do not tell the whole story. She states:

More and more studies have revealed carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting effects of Roundup at lower doses than those authorized for residues found in Genetically Modified Organisms. [26]

In other words, very small levels of glyphosate residue can do great harm. The levels at which glyphosate can produce illness are far below the levels that are allowed by the U.S. Government.

Dr. Don Huber describes the threat to human reproduction and the function of the entire human body:

If you look at the decrease in human sperm [counts], it’s less than half of what it was 20 years ago. That is, again, attributable to the endocrine hormone-disrupting chemicals we’ve had. … Glyphosates are a very potent endocrine disruptor. It’s a half part per million. You see an inhibition for amytase and other functions in the endocrine hormone systems, not just for reproduction, but for thyroid function, pituitary function, any of those other levels, because all of those entities require critical micronutrients in that process as keys for those enzyme engines that drive those processes.

When you have a very potent chelator, then it disrupts all kinds of systems, not just the EPSPs system that we find in certain microorganisms and plants, but also all of the other systems involved in liver function, blood function, and hormonal function. They all go right back to that basic nutrient process that keeps all systems functional. [27]

How Much of the US Food Supply Contains Glyphosate Residue?

It can be overwhelming to consider that 75% of food purchased from grocery stores contains genetically modified ingredients, which will usually contain glyphosate residue. [28]

Glyphosate is the key ingredient used for weed control on genetically modified food crops such as corn, soy, wheat, and alfalfa. Glyphosate residue is not only present in these crops, but it is also in the animals that eat these crops. Glyphosate is in beef, pork, poultry, farm raised fish, and any other meat source that is fed GMO corn, wheat, soy, or alfalfa.

When we eat non-organic processed food containing any form of conventionally raised corn, soy, or wheat (soda, canned soup, crackers, snack food, condiments, etc.) we are exposing ourselves to glyphosate. When we eat meat we are consuming glyphosate residue from the food that was eaten by the animals.

What about the Chemical Industry Claim that Glyphosate is Harmless to Human Health?

It is clear that glyphosate is not a benign chemical. Glyphosate interferes with enzymes in plants and microbes because of its ability to chelate (bind) trace metals and by its antibiotic action, which kills microorganisms. Other chemicals used in formulated products that contain glyphosate enhance the toxic effects of glyphosate.

Thus, Roundup, because of surfactants and other added chemicals is actually more toxic than glyphosate is by itself. [29] The commonly used surfactant POEA (polyethoxylated tallowamine) is more toxic to animal life than glyphosate. [30] Roundup, which consists of many different chemicals, is actually 125 times more toxic than is glyphosate by itself. [31]

Don’t Roundup and Glyphosate Degrade into Harmless Chemicals within a Day of its Use?

Glyphosate does not degrade as quickly in soil as Monsanto reports.

In loamy, humus-based soils, the half-life of Roundup may be only about three days, but in clay soils—prone to shedding water rather than absorbing it—it may hang around for months or even years. Additionally, plants that are killed by Roundup preserve the glyphosate in their dead roots, stems, and leaves. The chemical can be reactivated as plants decay, especially if the soil is treated with a phosphorus fertilizer. [32] Glyphosate is a long-term source of hazardous soil contamination.

Sri Lanka Bans Glyphosate

In March of 2014, Sri Lanka banned a Monsanto herbicide citing a potential link to a deadly kidney disease. Glyphosate is the leading suspect for the illness. The use of glyphosate in areas with arsenic and kidney damaging metals in the drinking water is linked to chronic kidney disease for people who work with the chemical and who drink the local hard water. Glyphosate is a chelating agent. It binds to the dissolved metals in the water and causes toxic metals exposure in the bodies of farmers. [33] Similar problems have been reported in Central America, [34] and in the United States. Rates of kidney disease have increased steadily along with increases in Roundup use in the U.S. [35]

Roundup and glyphosate have been appearing in the headlines of electronic news sources, because of the worldwide concern about glyphosate toxicity to human health. This concern is very strong in most locations outside of the United States. Let’s take a look at what has been happening recently.

International Meeting in London to Discuss Glyphosate Toxicity

Experts from around the world gathered in London, England to share their expertise about glyphosate toxicity with the media, members of a number of UK political parties, NGO representatives and members of the general public. It was one of the most comprehensive meetings ever held in Europe on glyphosate and Roundup.

The interest in the event was very high. Participants travelled from as far away as Russia, China and the U.S.A. The four speakers gave detailed presentations on how to approach the questions and concerns surrounding the possible harm caused by glyphosate and Roundup. [36]

China Rejects Contaminated Corn from America

China has rejected imports of U.S. corn, because of genetically modified content. It is now buying corn from Brazil. Nearly 1.45 million metric tons of corn was rejected, resulting in lost sales of $427 million for the US economy. [37]

Japan, South Korea, and Canada Act against US Produced GMO Crops

Both Japan and South Korea cancelled orders and banned imports of what they believed was GMO-contaminated wheat from Oregon. Russia banned importation of GMO-contaminated corn. Canada banned the import of GMO-contaminated papayas from Hawaii. [38]

Companies located in foreign countries need to know whether they are purchasing GMO crops, because their governments require GMO labelling.

A Brazilian Official Acts to Stop the Use of Glyphosate and Other Agricultural Chemicals

A Brazilian public prosecutor has initiated an action to suspend the used of glyphosate – the most widely used herbicide in Brazil. In addition, the prosecutor wants to challenge 2,4-D and the active ingredients methyl parathion, lactofem, phorate, carbofuran, abamectin, tiram and paraquat. [39]

Other Countries Take Action against Glyphosate and Roundup-Ready Seeds

In November 2012, Peru imposed a 10 year ban on GMOs. In the same month, Kenya banned import of all GMOs. On June 1, 2013, the new administration in Venezuela announced a new law to protect farmers against GM seeds. On July 22, 2013, the Indian Supreme Court’s expert panel of scientists called for a ban on herbicide tolerant crops for India. [40]

Sri Lanka Reverses its Decision

Sri Lanka, in March of 2014, banned the sale of Monsanto’s “Round Up” glyphosate weedicide after a study found that the weedicide is responsible for the increasing number of chronic kidney disease patients. Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture announced on May 12, 2014 that it has officially lifted the ban on glyphosate. They concluded that no justifiable reason had been found to impose a ban. A European glyphosate task force has also concluded that there is no true link to the kidney disease. The membership of the European task force consisted entirely of pesticide companies that make and sell glyphosate. [41]

Preposterous Verdict of “Acceptable” Risks for Glyphosate in Germany

Given the powerful scientific evidence and the world-wide outcry against Roundup and other chemical concoctions that contain glyphosate, it might be assumed that the tide has already begun to turn and the nations of the world are beginning to wake up to the need to ban herbicides such as Roundup. But let’s not jump to any swift conclusions. The following information was published this week (July 9, 2014).

EU rapporteur state Germany recommends re-approval [of glyphosate] with daily intake increased by 67%; its re-assessment was carried out by Monsanto and a consortium of chemical companies in Europe based almost entirely on studies from industry….

Germany, acting as the European Union rapporteur member state (RMS) submitted their glyphosate renewal assessment report (RAR) to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in January 2014, recommending re-approval of glyphosate for use in Europe with increase in the acceptable daily intake (ADI) from 0.3 to 0.5 mg per kg body weight per day.

The overall findings of the RAR are that glyphosate poses no unacceptable risks. [They contend that] Glyphosate is not metabolized or accumulated in the body, not genotoxic, not carcinogenic, not endocrine disrupting, and not considered persistent or bioaccumulative; it has no reproductive toxicity, no toxic effects on hormone-producing or hormone-dependent organs, and no unacceptable effect on bees. Therefore any risks are within acceptable standards.  The only risks noted were that glyphosate is a severe eye irritant and is persistent in soil. [42]

Conclusion: We’re in Big Trouble

The use of Roundup and other related glyphosate based formulas threaten human health. The widespread use of these toxic substances can be directly linked to dozens of degenerative and life threatening diseases. They are causing infertility, birth defects, and the death of unborn children. The effects are multigenerational. People who eat glyphosate contaminated food will produce children who are predisposed to many types of digestive dysfunctions, that is, if such couples are even able to conceive children.

We know for certain that glyphosate is toxic to human health. Of course, the chemical companies, the US government, and agribusiness don’t agree. In the matter of food toxicity, we cannot depend upon government agencies to protect our health. The United States is rapidly going bankrupt, because of ballooning healthcare expenditures. As Americans, we are sick and getting sicker. The grand experiment which set out to feed us a low fat high carbohydrate diet is killing us. The grand experiment that uses fear to get people to take dozens of vaccines is destroying our immune systems. Glyphosate is adding its toxic burden to these other experiments by creating a food supply that is loaded with disease causing toxic chemicals.

Clearly the grand experiment on the entire U.S. population involving Roundup and GMO food is failing miserably. Nevertheless, chemical companies and manufacturers of genetically altered seed keep on pressing forward to invent even more toxic chemicals for their ever increasing number of modified seeds. I have been focusing on glyphosate in this article, and I have not even discussed the parallel issue of the dangers of GMO food itself, which is the reason that Roundup and other products are being used. There may be even greater dangers to human health from the reconstruction of the genetic material in plants. This is another piece of the grand experiment on Americans that needs to be explored.

Even though 93% of Americans want GMO food to be labeled, and 69% of the world’s population live in countries that require GMO labeling, Americans are still prevented from knowing whether their food contains genetically modified organisms and therefore also contains the residue of glyphosate and other herbicide related chemicals. [43]

People around the United States are beginning to wake up to the hazards of Roundup and other herbicides containing glyphosate. The major retail sellers of these chemicals are being asked to discontinue selling the products. Petition campaigns are targeting Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, and other sellers of these products. Customers are making personal appeals to store representatives to remove these types of products from their shelves.

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