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In our modern world, where the battle against weeds is a constant challenge, many people turn to the herbicide Roundup for weed control. However, the ingredients of Roundup demand closer examination. A growing body of scientific research is shedding light on the potential dangers of Roundup and its key active ingredient, glyphosate. This article delves into just a few of the hazards of glyphosate products and explores some of the risks that scientists, environmentalists, and health advocates find alarming.

Glyphosate: A Weed Killer That Goes Beyond Weeds

Walking through the lawn care section of any local hardware store, you’ll find that Roundup is the most widely used herbicide available.

Glyphosate is Everywhere

Marketed as a weed killer, Roundup contains glyphosate, a powerful active ingredient manufactured by Monsanto (now owned by Bayer). The agricultural uses of glyphosate include crops of corn, cotton, canola, soybean, sugar beet, alfalfa, berries, brassica vegetables, bulb vegetables, green leafy vegetables, and fruits.

Glyphosate-based weed killers come in a variety of formulations and concentrations. You’ll find liquid concentrate, solids, and ready-to-use liquid. Glyphosate use is widespread in the United States. Even if you don’t use it at home, you’ve eaten glyphosate residues on your vegetables at restaurants. Many of you have even used it at home. At some point, we may have all used it.

Glyphosate and a byproduct, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), have been detected in the air, soil, bodies of water, and human urine.

Glyphosate Controversy

But what about all the controversy you may have heard about Roundup? Is it something we should be using on our lawns or driveway? It’s not like we eat the weeds in our yard. However, if you have kids, you can never know what they will or won’t eat, including which weeds they’ll chew on. Like Mark Twain’s character, Huckleberry Finn, many kids continue to run around the world barefoot.

Our kids suck on weeds, play on pesticide-covered lawns, and absorb toxins through their skin. They breathe in all kinds of things that aren’t healthy. Given the number of pesticides used in the United States, it’s no wonder our health is going down the tubes.

Before going any further, let’s clarify something. Pesticides and herbicides have one purpose: to kill another organism, whether a weed, fungus, or insect. They are what’s called biocides. The purpose of biocides is to destroy life. Period. They effectively deter weeds or other plant growth by preventing them from making specific needed proteins. They also ultimately get into our drinking water, destroy habitats, and kill off our gut bacteria.

What Could Go Wrong? Plenty.

One note about the published studies: Most of them involve ingesting pesticide constituents rather than absorbing them through the skin. That doesn’t mean the chemical elements are safer when taken through skin absorption; they’re different. Glyphosate has become a major enemy of public health and environmental health. The active ingredient in Roundup is a chemical called glyphosate. According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist from MIT, glyphosate exposure can cause nutritional deficiencies and/or systemic toxicity. [1]

Glyphosate and Chronic Diseases

Dr. Seneff also says that glyphosate is probably, “the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.” Depending on the amounts of glyphosate and the length of glyphosate exposure, it increases many health risks. Glyphosate may even cause cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), evaluated glyphosate and concluded that it may rightly be considered a human carcinogen. It’s significantly associated with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Beyond being carcinogenic, glyphosate may contribute to or worsen several other diseases. Some of them are:

  • Autism
  • Allergies
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Infertility
  • Depression
This kind of thing makes you doubt Monsanto’s (the maker of Roundup) words when they say glyphosate-based herbicides are as safe as aspirin. Or perhaps Monsanto is correct, and aspirin is worse for us than we think! Considering the German aspirin company, Bayer AG, bought Monsanto, it’s not odd that you should be smelling a rat right now—a big fat $66 billion rat.

Glyphosate Mechanism of Injury

The mechanism of action that Roundup uses is the shikimate pathway, which Monsanto correctly says is not present in all animals. They don’t tell you that the shikimate pathway is present in bacteria. Also, there are ten times more bacteria in your body than cells, and each bacterium responds to glyphosate. Glyphosate also affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow and take over. This overgrowth leads to chronic inflammation, which, in turn, can lead to the ailments mentioned above. [2]

“The recent alarming increase in all of these health issues can be traced back to a combination of gut dysbiosis, impaired sulfate transport, and suppression of the activity of the various members of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family of enzymes,” Dr. Seneff says. Glyphosate inhibits cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. These enzymes catalyze the oxidation of organic substances.

“But I Don’t Use Herbicides…”

You don’t need to use Roundup or other herbicides to be exposed to them. The United States has set the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate at 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. The European Union (EU) has set it at 0.5 milligrams per kilogram daily.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used in agriculture in the United States, while other countries like Luxembourg and France have banned their use and sued the manufacturers.

In France, a court found Monsanto guilty of lying for saying that Roundup is “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly,” and that it “left the soil clean.” French experts found they were certainly not biodegradable, environmentally friendly, or capable of leaving the earth clean. Sadly, our soil in the United States is full of this stuff.

You don’t have to drive more than a mile or two from our corporate office in Green Bay to be surrounded by farms in America’s Dairyland, all advertising the “Roundup ready” brand of seeds they use on signs. Minimal research reveals that most seed companies are part of Monsanto, which also happens to make its own pesticides to use on those seeds and grow what we see in the produce aisle of our local grocery stores. Have you been exposed? Yes, of course, you have.

There are over 80,000 chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U. S. EPA), but only about 200 hundred are tested for safety. You don’t need to be a toxicologist to find that inadequate, especially considering the impact of these chemicals on human health. [3]

Apparently, we are less concerned with these things in the United States.

Myths About Pesticides

That same article prominently features André Leu’s book, The Myths of Safe Pesticides, which had only recently come out at the time (there’s also a twenty-five-minute video interview that is worth your time). Leu has a lot to say about clearing up the myth-conceptions regarding pesticides in the U.S. [4]

Myth-Conception #1

One of those myths is that regulatory agencies rigorously test all pesticides and herbicides before going on the market. Many of them aren’t tested. Of the ones that are, many of the methods used are up to four centuries old. For some reason, regulators aren’t using up-to-date, ways of testing that produce more accurate results.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more accurate, measuring toxicity levels to “parts per trillion.”

(To) understand what a part per trillion is, if I were to get three Olympic-sized swimming pools and just put one drop in there, that is a part per trillion. We now know that there are hundreds of chemicals that can cause adverse effects at that level.”

Paradoxically some chemicals can have a more toxic effect at lower levels. What may not be a problem with a “part per billion” could have serious effects when dosed at “parts per trillion,” where they can cause hormonal disruptions.

This appears to be particularly true in utero, as the hormonal signals that trigger the baby’s development are very minute.

Myth-Conception #2

 Another myth is that the people who regulate these things are reliable and unbiased. We always hope that’s true, but it rarely is. Are we being cynical? Not really. The facts speak for themselves. Their science is flawed as most methodologies that establish their “safe levels” are data-free assumptions.

“(I) and showed how they are ignoring hundreds of very good published peer-reviewed scientific studies demonstrating the adverse health effects of these chemicals. All they are really taking into account are the studies that are submitted to them by the manufacturers. That really is a conflict of interest,” André says.

The proof is in the pudding. Other countries are banning the product or making Roundup use illegal. [5] Why is this stuff still legal in the U.S.? Also, why is it used in such massive doses across our farmer’s fields that the people applying it need to wear Hazmat suits? Sure, the sales reps say it’s safe enough to drink, and they have done so, but come on… it’s been well-established that this stuff will cause severe damage to life and limb. Otherwise, the rest of the world wouldn’t be banning it. Money talks…!

Myth-Conception #3

The next myth Leu exposes is the concept that the chemicals in these pesticides break down to safe levels.

“It’s not like the old days,” they say (read that bit with a venal voice). “These are new chemicals. They break down and biodegrade.”

It’s easy to throw the B.S. flag on that because you find residues of glyphosate in food products, soil, and groundwater where it’s been used. Even worse, residue levels continue to show up in humans who consume the food. But it gets even worse!

“The other thing we know is that when they break down, they break down into metabolites—and quite a lot of them. For instance, organophosphates break down to oxons, and suddenly they are 100 to 300 times more toxic.

“To say that they break down is one thing. But they don’t mention that actually when they break down, they are worse.”

Myth-Conception #4

Leu also exposes the myth that the chemicals are present in such tiny amounts that it’s not worth worrying about.

As mentioned, some of these chemicals are more dangerous at lower levels. Endocrine disruptors are classic examples of this.

“This is a data-free assumption,” André says. “They do not test the actual low dose of the ADI. Not one chemical is tested for that; it’s assumed it will be safe.

It’s a myth to say, ‘because we have lowered the dose, it is safe.’ The regulations should be done on actual evidence-based science, not data-free assumptions.”

If you want to know more about what André Leu has to say about popular myths of pesticides, you can find his book online or in bookstores. [6]

What To Do?

The easy answer is this: Don’t use Roundup or any form of glyphosate. Grow your own food or buy from local farmers that you know don’t contaminate their crops with this garbage. As far as the weeds in the driveway go, try this:

  1. Mix a gallon of vinegar and ½ a cup of Epsom salt until dissolved.
  2. Add a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid.
  3. Spray it on the weeds over some time. The mixture will kill the weeds all right but be careful. It will kill whatever you put it on. It will also keep anything from growing where you spray it, so handle it carefully.

Don’t give up hope. The tide is turning, and people are beginning to realize that we are poisoning ourselves, and, fortunately, they’re not happy about it. Things are changing. Be part of that change.

Resources

  1. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance – PMC (nih.gov)
  2. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases (mdpi.com)
  3. Environmental Neurotoxicants and Developing Brain – Miodovnik – 2011 – Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine: A Journal of Translational and Personalized Medicine – Wiley Online Library
  4. The Myths of Safe Pesticides.” André Leu. Austin, TX. Acres U.S.A., Copyright 2014, André Leu
  5. Where is Glyphosate Banned? | Wisner Baum
  6. Keynote Andre Leu – Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners (mofga.org)

 

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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