- Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used non-selective herbicide, meaning, the chemical compounds are designed to kill any vegetation it comes in contact with.
- Worldwide sales of glyphosate topped $7 billion in 2017. By 2024, worldwide sales are forecast to be nearly $11 billion.
- In 2015, the World Health Organization’s main cancer research agency classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans. However, no other influential agency has reached similar conclusions.
- The world’s most popular line of glyphosate-based herbicide is Roundup, which was developed by the Monsanto Corporation. Monsanto was acquired by Bayer AG in 2018 for $63 billion.
- Over 125,000 individuals have filed Roundup lawsuits. Plaintiffs have alleged that long-term exposure to glyphosate caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer has settled approximately 95,000 lawsuits for approximately $11 billion.
- For more information on Roundup litigation and glyphosate news, click here.
The main story:
Stephanie Seneff, PhD, is a senior research scientist at MIT. Her new book, Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment, details how the controversial herbicide (glyphosate is also a registered pesticide) poses an existential threat to humanity.
Taken at a headline news level, Seneff’s thesis sounds sensational. However, Seneff offers damning evidence that should come front and center to the attention of regulators at the municipal, state and federal levels.
How Does Glyphosate Harm Human Health?
For starters, Seneff details how glyphosate alters the human gut microbiome, by taking up minerals that would otherwise feed the beneficial bacteria in the colon.
Having a healthy gut microbiome, meaning, having a preponderance of friendly bacteria to keep potentially-harmful bacteria at bay, is undeniably linked to several facets of health and overall wellness. For example, the gut microbiome plays a key part in keeping adequate levels of “feel-good” chemicals that can stave off depression and neurological disorders. The microorganisms in the gut (mostly the large intestine) require minerals; without them the enzymes that power gut microbes are rendered inert.
Seneff claims that the rates of Celiac Disease have risen in direct relationship with the increase in the application of glyphosate. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder, triggered when the body’s immunoglobulin antibodies detect the presence of gluten, which is the main protein component of wheat. With Celiac Disease, the body’s immune system recognizes gluten as a foreign substance and triggers high levels of inflammation in order to render the gluten molecules inert.
And it’s not only wheat that’s heavily sprayed with glyphosate. Grains and legumes, even if they are labelled “non-GMO” (genetically-modified organisms) can still contain glyphosate residue. Oats, wheat, barley and legumes like chickpeas (hummus) and lentils are big offenders; they are frequently sprayed with glyphosate right before they are harvested in order to dry the crops.
A “Slow Kill”
Seneff claims that the deleterious nature of glyphosate is subtle, which poses a huge problem, she says, because people don’t make the connection with the herbicide/pesticide to chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s, all of which, Seneff suggests, are caused by and exacerbated by gut dysbiosis (not having enough friendly gut bacteria and too many potentially harmful bugs and yeast). The gut is a central starting point for many diseases, including neurological diseases and arthritis, Seneff claims.
Alarmingly for women, Seneff and other researchers have detected glyphosate in tampons. The herbicide can theoretically penetrate the uterine lining, Seneff’s book points out.
Glyphosate Accumulation In The Brain
Seneff writes in her book that glyphosate has also been shown to accumulate in the brain. Although no large human clinical trials support this notion, there are animal studies that suggest that glyphosate causes massive death of neurons, which are information messengers in the brain.
Neuronal death is specifically caused by the excess release of the amino acid, glutamate in the brain.
Foods that are rich in sulphur such as green, leafy vegetables, may help counteract the effects of glyphosate, Seneff suggests. Taking a glycine supplement may also help, she writes.
Glyphosate: Bad For Circulation
Another way in which glyphosate may be toxic to human health is by suppressing the amount of nitric oxide in the cells. Every cell in the human body contains this gas. Higher levels of nitric oxide encourage the arteries to dilate, thus encouraging more blood flow and enhanced circulation. However, glyphosate, Seneff’s book suggests, inhibits nitric oxide production, thereby opening the way for vascular disorders.
Whether Seneff’s book will have the same impact as Rachel Carson’s seminal “Silent Spring” remains to be seen. But for those wanting an in-depth source about the controversial weed and grass killer, it will be an instant classic.
To learn more about the book click here.