Most of our soy and corn crops are Roundup Ready, but are we? What are the hidden health hazards of glyphosate, the primary ingredient used in Roundup?
What is Roundup ready?
Crops like corn and soy are genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. This means the plant will live when sprayed with glyphosate and the weeds around them will die.
What’s wrong with glyphosate?
In March of 2015, The World Health Organization added glyphosate to their growing list of probable carcinogens. WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), based its findings in part on a US EPA report concluding that is “sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” (See the news release IARC Monographs Volume 112: Evaluation of Five Organophosphate Insecticides and Herbicides.”
A 2016 study appearing in Environmental Sciences Europe notes that glyphosate is the most widely applied pesticide in history with yet-to-be-determined health and environmental implications.
The apparent tendency of glyphosate to concentrate in the kidneys, coupled with glyphosate’s action as a chelating agent, has led some scientists to hypothesize that glyphosate can bind to metals in hard drinking water, creating metallic-glyphosate complexes that may not pass normally through kidneys , . For this, or other as yet unrecognized reasons, the risk of chronic kidney disease may be heightened in human and animal populations with heavy glyphosate exposure.
Countries around the world have since taken action against glyphosate. As yet, the United States has done nothing. (See 10 Countries Shun Glyphosate.)
Glyphosate was introduced into our food supply in the 1970s based on the assumption that humans are missing the shikimate pathway – a mechanism used to kill the targeted plant.
This assumption may prove to be one of the most hazardous assumptions ever made. While the shikimate pathway is missing from human physiology, it is not absent from the bacteria, fungi and other microbial species that dominate our immune system.
Our microbial cells outnumber human cells by as much as 10:1 (if not more). Doesn’t it make sense that disruption of critical amino acids in plants will impair vital nutrient systems in the human microbiome?
Consider the rise in inflammatory bowel disease over the last 40 years. Imagine the type of reactions occurring in the gut if most of our protective microbial allies are under attack.
The authors of a critical study published in 2013 contend there is a strong correlation between the prevalence of glyphosate and a disrupted human microbiome. Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel, authors of Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases, note glyphosate’s preference for pathogenic bacteria over friendly ones,
“Glyphosate has been shown to have remarkable adverse effects on the gut biota in poultry by reducing the number of beneficial bacteria and increasing the number of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Highly pathogenic strains of Salmonella and Clostridium were found to be highly resistant to glyphosate, whereas beneficial bacteria such as Enterococcus, Bacillus and Lactobacillus were found to be especially susceptible. Due to the antagonistic effect of the common beneficial bacterium Enterococcus spp. on Clostridia, the toxicity of glyphosate to E. spp could lead to overgrowth of Clostridia and resulting pathologies.”
Furthermore, researchers have linked glyphosate and two other widely-used herbicides with a growing health issue: antibiotic resistance.
This information not only tells me I want to shop carefully for eggs (from chickens who are not subject to genetically modified food), it lets me know I want to steer clear of glyphosate altogether.
This means the avoidance of all soy and corn as well as wheat, sugar beets, canola and other crops that are sprayed with glyphosate shortly before harvest to dry them out for easier processing. (See more about crop desiccation and glyphosate here.)
And I must pay careful attention to water. Glyphosate is often found in both private and municipal water supplies. Our local water quality report shows the presence of glyphosate with a very high acceptable range.
This is an excerpt of my community’s most recent Water Quality Report.
The highest level detected is less than 6, but look at the tolerated amounts as indicated by the number 700!
I frankly don’t think 700 ppb constitutes safe. But then I don’t deem <6 safe either. (Especially when ingested with the 70 other contaminants listed in my city’s water report.)
For now, I’ll keep filtering my water, avoiding herbicide sprays, and choosing organic, non-GMO food. I don’t need the constant assault of a chemical designed to disrupt critical life-giving pathways.
Glyphosate is also considered to be an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC). Learn more about EDCs in the article Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 101.
Are humans Roundup Ready? What do you think?