By Dr. Mercola
Last year, groundbreaking research was published suggesting that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, might be “a crucially important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions.”
If you missed it, please take the time to listen to Jeff Smith's interview with the lead author of that research, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, reposted above.
They spray nearly one BILLION pounds of Roundup every year for conventional crop production, but genetically engineered (GE) crops see some of the heaviest use, as so-called Roundup Ready crops are designed to withstand otherwise lethal doses of this chemical.
Tests published last year also showed that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies, while yet a third study revealed the chemical has estrogenic properties and drive breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.
Now, research published in the International Journal of Toxicology in January adds even more fuel to the fire, as it reveals that glyphosate-based formulations like Roundup pose a threat to human health through cytotoxicity and oxidative effects. Such formulations were also found to be lethal to human liver cells.
You may think you are safe if you only eat organic produce but nothing could be further from the truth as most of the glyphosate contaminated crops are fed to animals. This means you also need to get organic meat and eggs. Also, beware you CANNOT wash glyphosate off your produce as it is actively integrated into every cell in the plant and impossible to wash off.
Commercial Formulations of Glyphosate Threaten Human Health
The researchers found that while glyphosate and its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in isolation appears to be non-toxic to human cells, toxicity does become a concern when glyphosate is added to other ingredients found in commercial formulations.
It's also well worth noting that the featured study assessed the effects of glyphosate-based formulations on human cells at dilutions that are far below normal agricultural applications. As reported by the featured article by GreenMedInfo.com:
“The researchers discovered that while glyphosate and its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), showed little to no observable toxic effects in isolation, a glyphosate-based formulation containing adjuvants produced a variety of adverse effects on cellular oxidative balance, including the following signs of oxidative stress:
- Increases in reactive oxygen species
- Increases in nitrotyrosine formation
- Increases in superoxide dismutase activity
- Increases in glutathione levels
The glyphosate formulation studied also triggered two ‘death proteins' in human cells known as caspase 3/7, inducing pathways that activate programmed cell death (apoptosis), a clear sign of significant toxicity.”
According to the authors:
“These results confirm that G [glyphosate] formulations have adjuvants working together with the active ingredient and causing toxic effects that are not seen with acid glyphosate…
Altogether, these results challenge the establishment of guidance values such as the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate, when these are mostly based on a long term in vivo test of glyphosate alone.
Since pesticides are always used with adjuvants that could change their toxicity, the necessity to assess their whole formulations as mixtures becomes obvious. This challenges the concept of active principle of pesticides for non-target species.”
Glyphosate in Isolation Preferentially Targets Beneficial Bacteria
Please note that in my earlier interviews with Dr. Don Huber, who is one of the most prominent scientific experts in plant toxicology, he firmly believe glyphosate is FAR more toxic and dangerous than DDT.
Previous research also shows that glyphosate alone wreaks havoc on soil and gut bacteria, so while glyphosate in isolation may not be able to kill your liver cells, it has been shown to wreak havoc on the beneficial bacteria that are absolutely critical to your overall health. Your gut bacteria (opposed to other human cells) are a key component of glyphosate's primary mechanism of harm, as microbes have the same pathway used by glyphosate to kill weeds.
The issue of glyphosate toxicity—whether in isolation or in formulation—implicates genetically engineered foods as being potentially far more hazardous to your health than less contaminated crops, and is indeed a significant reason for opting for organically-grown foods.
Labeling GMOs could help you select products that are less likely to have heavy contamination, although you'd also avoid many other hazardous chemicals used in conventional farming by opting for products labeled 100% organic.
There's also the environmental angle, as glyphosate also effectively kills beneficial soil microbes and damages the fertility of the soil. Glyphosate is in fact patented as an antibiotic, and killing bacteria is the main function of such drugs. It's also a potent chelator, which prevents valuable minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, and zinc from being utilized by the plant.
As previously explained by plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber, genetically engineered (GE) foods, as well as conventional crops that are heavily sprayed with glyphosate, have lower nutrient density than organic foods for this very reason. GE crops also contain high amounts of pesticides with documented harmful health effects, along with novel, highly allergenic, proteins.
Glyphosate's chelating and antibacterial activities also promote soil and plant disease, including but not limited to fungal root disease, highlighted by USDA scientist Robert Kremer in a previous Mother Jones article. The chemical's damaging effect on soil has a detrimental effect on yields too, of course, which appears to be part of the explanation for why the chemical technology industry's promises of improving yields have largely fallen flat. The only “yield” that's really gone up is that of glyphosate-resistant superweeds which, as of 2012, affected nearly half (49 percent) of American farmers! That was up from a reported 34 percent of farmers in 2011, so clearly, the spread of resistance is swift, and the entire agricultural system is at stake.
Global Land Crisis and the Threat of Worldwide Famine
In related news, a recently published paper in the journal Science by a Colorado research team found that modern chemical-based agriculture has “drastically altered” the biology of American farmland across the prairies, concluding that: “The soils currently found throughout the region bear little resemblance to their pre-agricultural state.”
The paper calls for dramatic and swift changes to our agricultural system, stating that it's the “only viable route to feeding the world and keeping it habitable.” A key factor causing the rapid degradation of soil, topsoil erosion, and declining soil fertility, is the adverse effect that agricultural chemicals have on the soil.
Academic analysts from South Africa's Witwatersrand University also weighed in on the issue, warning that unless we change course in how food is grown, we will repeat the same mistakes committed by civilizations in the past, where overexploitation of the land resulted in a vicious circle of famine and social disintegration… To learn more, you can review the PDF booklet, Food Plague Primer: Glyphosate and Genetically Engineered Crops, which is a free preview to the book: Food Plague: Could our daily bread be our most deadly exposure, written by Arden Andersen PhD, DO, who is both a medical doctor and horticulturist.
Take a Stand Against Industry Bullying
Vermont isn't the only state having to muster up a backbone to face a potential legal challenge by the GMA. Rhode Island and Florida have also introduced GMO labeling laws this year. Massachusetts and New York are expected to follow suit. But no matter where GMO labeling laws are considered, you can be sure GMA lobbyists will be present, spewing falsehoods and intimidating lawmakers. The Organic Consumers Association has created an Action Page where you can voice your opinions with the lawmakers in your state. Please tell them to stand firm; ignore the threats from the food industry, and do what's right for the people they were elected to represent.
Glyphosate is used extensively as a non-selective herbicide by both professional applicators and consumers and its use is likely to increase further as it is one of the first herbicides against which crops have been genetically modified to increase their tolerance. Commercial glyphosate-based formulations most commonly range from concentrates containing 41% or more glyphosate to 1% glyphosate formulations marketed for domestic use. They generally consist of an aqueous mixture of the isopropylamine (IPA) salt of glyphosate, a surfactant, and various minor components including anti-foaming and colour agents, biocides and inorganic ions to produce pH adjustment. The mechanisms of toxicity of glyphosate formulations are complicated. Not only is glyphosate used as five different salts but commercial formulations of it contain surfactants, which vary in nature and concentration. As a result, human poisoning with this herbicide is not with the active ingredient alone but with complex and variable mixtures.