Glyphosate is the world’s most widely produced herbicide and is the primary toxic chemical in Roundup™, as well as in many other herbicides. In addition, it is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is used in more than 700 different products from agriculture and forestry to home use. Glyphosate was introduced in the 1970s to kill weeds by targeting the enzymes that produce the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine. The enzymes of many bacteria are also susceptible to inhibition by this chemical, thus altering the flora of many animals. Usage of glyphosate has since amplified, after the introduction of genetically modified (GMO) glyphosate-resistant crops that can grow well in the presence of this chemical in soil. In addition, toxicity of the surfactant commonly mixed with glyphosate, polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA), is greater than the toxicity of glyphosate alone (1)
Recent studies have discovered glyphosate exposure to be a cause of many chronic health problems. It can enter the body by direct absorption through the skin, by eating foods treated with glyphosate, or by drinking water contaminated with glyphosate. A recent study (2) stated that a coherent body of evidence indicates that glyphosate could be toxic below the regulatory lowest observed adverse effect level for chronic toxic effects, and that it has teratogenic, tumorigenic and hepatorenal effects that can be explained by endocrine disruption and oxidative stress, causing metabolic alterations, depending on dose and exposure time. The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer published a summary in March 2015 that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in humans (3).
High correlations exist between glyphosate usage and numerous chronic illnesses, including autism (4). Other disease incidences with high correlations include :
- lipoprotein metabolism disorder
- Senile dementia
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intestinal infections
- End stage renal disease
- Acute kidney failure
- Cancers of the thyroid, liver, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and myeloid leukemia (4).
Correlations are not causations, yet they raise concern over the use of a chemical to which all life on earth appears to be exposed.
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Mesnage R et al. Major pesticides are more toxic to human cells than their declared active principles. Biomed Res Int. 2014: 179691
Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013;6:159-184.
Swanson NL, Leu A, Abrahamson J, and Wallet B. Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America. Journal of Organic Systems. 2014; 9(2):6- 37.