In any natural living group/forum/blog ect the word glyphosate is one of the dirtiest words in existence. Hopefully by the end of this post you’ll see why. Glyphosate is one of many chemicals used in conventional farming, it is one ingredient in a herbicide used to control weeds and as a “ripening agent” so the farmer can control harvest time, the main product is called “Roundup”. This chemical is so strong that plants need to be specially engineered to survive it. The product that glyphosate is in, is sprayed onto a plant, which then absorbs it, this blocks the plant from producing a specific enzyme which stops it from absorbing nutrients. Those specially designed crops? They just keep absorbing it until a human or animal eats it after its harvested. That isn’t even where the problems start. You see glyphosate was a key ingredient in Agent Orange. Agent orange was a weapon used by the USA military during the Vietnam War. Take what you will from that.
As I mentioned previously crops will absorb glyphosate which is then ingested by humans and animals alike. In general the digestive track will not directly absorb the herbacide, however the bacteria in our gut is another matter entirely. Stephanie Seneff Ph.D. from MIT has done work on the matter of glyphosate and autism. You can find many lectures and interviews she has done on youtube and I encourage you to try and watch a couple. The implications on health from disruption of the gut bacteria may be confusing if you haven’t learned of the importance of the gut biome. If you look in the citations one of the studies showed that the very bacteria that make us sick (Salmonella for example) are highly resistant to the herbacide. But beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus are killed off by it. This video may help with understanding how important this is for our health.
This video may help with understanding how important this is for our health.
The company that makes glyphosate has claimed that the chemical breaks down rapidly in soil and is therefore low risk. Studies analyzing this paints a different picture. Previous standards for safe thresholds are now recognized as highly inadequate for the little research at the time of making them and no longer relevant to current usage patterns. For example there is a growing number of studies showing that it is a likely cause for cancer. This has caused it to be labeled as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization and some studies are showing a potential connection with birth deformities for some animals.
Previously I mentioned farmers will use it as a “ripening agent” but what does that mean? When a crop such wheat is near harvest, it needs time to dry before hand. The weather doesn’t always cooperate so farmers may spray with a herbacide to force the plant to ripen its seeds prematurely. The reason a plant will ripen the seeds once sprayed is because its effectively panicking in its own way to ensure the “babies” aka seeds can still grow into the next generation. While this may be convenient to ensure harvest of the crop it is not without cost. The seeds will absorb the chemicals sprayed on it and then it enters our food supply. The crops most often sprayed with glyphosate are GMO crops and large scale grain crops such as wheat, corn, other similar crops. To find out which crops are GMO and currently on on the market simply go to the industry website http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/gmo/db/ That website will tell you which plants are in the testing phases as well as already approved crops. An invaluable resource for anyone interested in GMO’s for any reason.
I wanted to lay out the issues with glyphosate before giving you some background on the company. Monsanto has an interesting history. Founded in 1901, the company started off as a chemical company and expanded from there. By 1992 the company decided to start selling off portions of it’s business or transforming them into subsidiary companies so it could focus on the bioengineering aspects. They were one of the first to conduct field trails on GMO crops (1987) and introduced the idea of patenting genes. Its history as a chemical company includes such things as the previously mentioned Agent Orange, DDT, PCB’s, and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).
The company has a long history of lobbying government to pass relevant legislation that would allow their products on the market and most infamously the rotating door between government positions and industry positions. On the surface it is an easy argument of “relevant experience for relevant jobs”, however tracing the money on these individuals and legislation they worked on, shows clear conflicts of interest.
As much as I would like to continue I know I have just slammed you with a plethora of information. I will leave you here and encourage you to read further on the topic through the citations below and looking up people like Stephanie Seneff on youtube.
- Glyphosate fate in soils when arriving in plant residues
- Persistence movement and degradation of glyphosate in selected Canadian boreal forest soils.
- Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement
- Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases.
- Glyphosate pathways to modern diseases V: Amino acid analogue of glycine in diverse proteins
- The Effect of Glyphosate on Potential Pathogens and Beneficial Members of Poultry Microbiota In Vitro
- Detection of Glyphosate in Malformed Piglets
- Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize
- Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate
- Clarification of Pre-harvest uses of glyphosate
- Monsanto- wikipedia