How Bad Is Glyphosate Residue In Food For Human Health?

Health & Wellness

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide on the planet. The synthetic chemical compound, invented by the Monsanto Corporation, is at the center of one of the largest mass tort lawsuits cases in history, second only to asbestos. (Mass torts are similar to class action lawsuits but claims and damages are considered on an individual basis.) 

To date, there have been approximately 125,000 lawsuits filed, with plaintiffs alleging that the herbicide, which is the main active ingredient in the top-selling weed killer on the planet—Roundup—caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a cancer that attacks infection-fighting white blood cells.

Roundup Occupational Exposure Linked To Cancer

A vast majority of the people who have sued Monsanto (which was acquired by drug giant Bayer AG in 2018) are (or were, in the case of plaintiffs who have died since filing suit) avid gardeners,  landscapers or farmers. Using Roundup for many years has been linked with an increased risk of cancer. A review of several studies in Mutation Research concludes there is a “compelling link” between glyphosate exposure and an increased risk of developing NHL. 

Where Roundup Is Most Often Sprayed

For farmers, gardeners and landscapers, using Roundup to kill pesky weeds may be deadly. But the scene of the most prevalent Roundup spraying is not in gardens or school campuses. It’s on crops. The vast majority of food grown in the U.S. comes from genetically engineered crops (GMOs). Soy, corn, wheat, barley, oats and other plants have been engineered to survive glyphosate spraying. How prevalent are GMOs in the food supply? According to the Center for Food Safety, up to 92% of U.S. corn is genetically engineered, as are 94% of soybeans and 94% of cotton. (Cottonseed oil is often used in packaged, heavily-processed foods.

Why Roundup Residue In Food May Be Harmful To Human Health 

Unless every morsel of food you’re eating is organic and certified “glyphosate residue free” you’re consuming the toxic weed killer every single day. That’s because when the weed killer is sprayed on crops, it penetrates deep into the root system. So it’s not just preventing weeds from competing with crops for soil nutrients and sunlight, it’s being ingested by cattle and other farm animals fed GMO-feedlot. And, of course, you’re consuming Roundup residue, too. Here are some reasons why that may be bad news….

Roundup Kills Human Cells Within 1 Day of Exposure

A 2009 study by two French researchers published in Chemical Research in Toxicology evaluated the toxicity of four glyphosate herbicide products on three different types of human cells: umbilical, embryonic and placental. The dilution level of glyphosate in the research was far lower than what your average farmer, gardener or landscaper is exposed to when using glyphosate; the level tested “corresponds to low levels of residues in food or feed.” 

That’s why the researcher’s findings are alarming: when exposed to Roundup residue, all three types of cells died within 24 hours. As an interesting sidenote, perhaps glyphosate that’s entirely to blame. The researchers speculate that other additives in herbicidal products may be partly responsible for causing cell death. “This work clearly confirms that the adjuvants in Roundup formulations are not inert,” the researchers write in the study. 

Glyphosate: Not Good For Gut Health & Immunity

It’s not just the salt, sugar and lack of nutrients that makes processed/packaged foods like cakes, cookies, chips, muffins, bagels, and other snacks unhealthy. Glyphosate residue, says environmental health writer, Leah Zerbe in a Good Housekeeping article (which curiously, all links that point to other glyphosate/Roundup articles have been removed or are broken), is not only a weed killer, it’s also a germ killer. 

That means like an antibiotic, it has the capacity to kill the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Approximately 80% of your immune cells reside in your gut. That’s why there is a direct correlation between gut health and immune health. Zerbe’s article also mentions that data collected by United States Geological Survey scientists reveal exposure to Roundup could potentially alter hormones, leading to obesity, heart problems, and diabetes. 

Is It Possible To Avoid Glyphosate In Food?

It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy. More than 250 million pounds of the herbicide is sprayed on food crops each year. [SOURCE] You can limit your exposure to it by avoiding specific foods that are heavily sprayed such as conventionally-grown corn, soy, wheat, and oats. 

Although rare, there is a certification for “Glyphosate Residue Free.” Introduced by The Detox Project three years ago, expect to see more healthy food brands apply for the certification. To date, the alternative-to-dairy-milk brand, Oatly, carries the label for some of its products, as does Thrive Market, an online membership for organic and natural foods. 

You can also purchase organic produce at your local farmer’s market.

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