By Dr. Mercola
Disturbing discoveries relating to glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—keep emerging. No less than two shocking discoveries recently went public on the same day...
Earlier this month, groundbreaking research was published detailing a newfound mechanism of harm of the chemical.
Now, testing shows that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies1, while yet another study reveals that the chemical has estrogenic properties and drive breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range2. As reported by GreenMedinfo.com:
"Does this help explain the massive mammary tumors that the only long term animal feeding study on Roundup and GM corn ever performed recently found?"
Meanwhile, a new EU-US free trade agreement3,4 known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), has again cracked the door open for genetically engineered (GE) crops and foods into Europe.
This may effectively negate the hard work Europeans have done to limit the proliferation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food supply, and with genetically engineered "Roundup Ready" crops and the food made from it come increased glyphosate exposure...
People Across Europe Test Positive for Glyphosate
A 2011 study detected glyphosate in 60-100 percent of all US air and rain samples, and last year another study revealed widespread glyphosate contamination in groundwater. When groundwater is used as a drinking water source, this contamination poses a risk to animals, plants and humans alike.
Now, the first-ever test for weed killer contamination in human bodies was commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe5. Volunteers from 18 different countries provided urine samples.
Of the 182 urine samples tested, an average of 44 percent was found to contain glyphosate, although the proportion of contamination varied from country to country. All volunteers were city dwellers who had not handled or used glyphosate, and only one person per household was tested.
Macedonia and Bulgaria had the least number of positive tests (10 percent), while 90 percent of samples in Malta tested positive. Seventy percent of volunteers in Germany, UK and Poland had the weed killer in their bodies.
Can you even imagine what the results might be if similar testing was conducted in the US, considering the fact that Americans eat their own weight or more in genetically engineered foods6 each and every year—in large part because the US does not require GE foods to be labeled, so many are still completely in the dark about such stealth ingredients.
The fact that close to half of all people are testing positive for glyphosate (including countries that don't even use it) is profoundly disturbing in light of the recent findings that this commonly used weed killer may be among the most important factors in the development of modern diseases, as the pathway by which glyphosate kills plants is the identical pathway found in animal and human gut bacteria.
According to Friends of the Earth Europe's spokesperson Adrian Bebb7:
"Most people will be worried to discover they may have weed killer in their bodies. We tested people living in cities in 18 countries and found traces in every country. These results suggest we are being exposed to glyphosate in our everyday lives, yet we don't know where it is coming from, how widespread it is in the environment, or what it is doing to our health.
Our testing highlights a serious lack of action by public authorities across Europe and indicates that this weed killer is being widely overused. Governments need to step-up their monitoring and bring in urgent measures to reduce its use. This includes rejecting any genetically modified crops that would increase the use of glyphosate."
Glyphosate Found to Be Carcinogenic in Infinitesimal Amounts
The second study pertains to the carcinogenic nature of this popular weed killer. Contrary to Monsanto's claims that Roundup is "minimally toxic" to animal and humans, along with claims of it being environmentally friendly and biodegradable—claims found to be false in the highest court of law—Roundup is quite the disaster... As reported by GreenMedinfo.com8:
"The study, titled, 'Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors,' compared the effect of glyphosate on hormone-dependent and hormone-independent breast cancer cell lines, finding that glyphosate stimulates hormone-dependent cancer cell lines in what the study authors describe as 'low and environmentally relevant concentrations.'"
The researchers concluded that glyphosate is a xenoestrogen that is functionally similar to estradiol, the most potent human estrogen, and concentrations in the parts-per-trillion range had carcinogenic effects. Adding insult to injury—in light of the fact that more than 90 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered (GE)—they also found that the phytoestrogen genistein, naturally found in soybeans, heightened the estrogenic effects when combined with glyphosate. According to the authors:
"This study implied that the additive effect of glyphosate and genistein in postmenopausal women may induce cancer cell growth. In this present in vitro study, we showed an estrogenicity of pure glyphosate... Furthermore, this study demonstrated the additive estrogenic effects of glyphosate and genistein which implied that the use of glyphosate-contaminated soybean products as dietary supplements may pose a risk of breast cancer because of their potential additive estrogenicity." [Emphasis mine]
Glyphosate Implicated as Driver of Modern Diseases
Another groundbreaking report, published earlier this month in the journal Entropy9, argues that glyphosate residues, found in most commonly consumed foods in the US, "enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease." As explained by the authors, Dr. Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel:
"Glyphosate's claimed mechanism of action in plants is the disruption of the shikimate pathway... The currently accepted dogma is that glyphosate is not harmful to humans or to any mammals because the shikimate pathway is absent in all animals.
However, this pathway is present in gut bacteria, which play an important and heretofore largely overlooked role in human physiology through an integrated biosemiotic relationship with the human host. In addition to aiding digestion, the gut microbiota synthesize vitamins, detoxify xenobiotics, and participitate in immune system homeostasis and gastrointestinal tract permeability. Furthermore, dietary factors modulate the microbial composition of the gut."
Remember, the bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate! It causes extreme disruption of the microbe's function and lifecycle; worse yet, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow. At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you're well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease. In a nutshell, Dr. Seneff has summarized the two key problems caused by glyphosate in the diet as:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Systemic toxicity
She believes glyphosate is possibly the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies, including but not limited to:
Gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis and Crohn's disease
Meanwhile, the EPA Raises Allowable Glyphosate Limits...
Just as more independent reports are emerging confirming the multivariate health hazards of glyphosate, the Environmental Protection Agency10 (EPA) is proposing to RAISE the allowed residue limits of glyphosate in food and feed crops11. The new allowable level of glyphosate in teff animal feed will be 100 parts per million (ppm). Allowed levels in some fruits and vegetables eaten by humans will also rise. Root and tuber vegetables, with the exception of sugar, will get one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. The new level for sweet potatoes will be 3 ppm.
This is unconscionable, considering the finding that glyphosate is carcinogenic in parts-per-TRILLION concentrations. Previous research by Professor Andres Carrasco documented malformations in frog and chicken embryos at just over 2 ppm glyphosate12.
Not surprisingly, Monsanto has petitioned and received approvals for increases in glyphosate residue levels for several crops. Clearly, they need allowable levels to be raised because farmers are increasingly forced to use more glyphosate due to glyphosate-resistant weed growth. The question is, how many of its citizens will the US government sacrifice in order for Monsanto to continue making money from its failing products?
Help Spread the Word, as Most Consumers Are Still Unaware of Risks from GMOs
The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, is increasing their propaganda efforts to sway opinion against the need to label genetically engineered foods. Many consumers are still in the dark about the very real risks that GE crops pose, both to the environment and human health. This is precisely what the biotech industry wants, even as increasing research demonstrates the many dangers associated with GE foods.
For example, one recent study found that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems. This was at dietary amounts of about 10 percent. Does 10 percent or more of your diet consist of genetically engineered ingredients? Or are you like the average American who eats his or her own weight in genetically engineered foods each year?
If processed foods form the basis of your diet, then you're likely in the latter category. Unfortunately, you can't know for sure which items might contain GMOs since the US does not require genetically engineered foods to be labeled. With the latest revelations discussed above, the need for labeling couldn't possibly be greater.
Last but not least, I would also encourage you to educate yourself a bit more on the topic of food sovereignty, and the critical nature of biodiversity for food sustainability and security. Because aside from the human health hazards associated with GE foods, seed patenting endangers the very future of life on Earth, as it destroys biodiversity and effectively prevents agricultural methods from flourishing that call for less, or no, agricultural chemicals.
An excellent resource is the free e-book, The Law of the Seed13; the result of a working group meeting of leading lawyers, scientists, and members of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, including the tireless environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva14.
Total Video Length: 40:21
In the first video, Bill Moyers talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who's become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. The second video is the documentary Seeds of Freedom, which illustrates how patenting seeds turns farmers into slaves, and food into a weapon of mass poverty and, ultimately, starvation.