Glyphosate Should Be Banned Because It Is Toxic To Humans by Dr Stephanie Seneff
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the pervasive herbicide, Roundup. It now has the dubious distinction of being the most used pesticide in the United States. Its popularity as an herbicide is due to the introduction of core Roundup-Ready crops since 1998, and the rapid appearance among those crops of multiple glyphosate-resistant weeds has necessitated accelerated application rates over time.
Since glyphosate has been mistakenly perceived as being nearly nontoxic to humans, little regulatory effort has gone into monitoring its contamination levels in foods. However, much evidence is accumulating recently to reveal that, contrary to claims, glyphosate is toxic to humans and other mammals, and that humans in Europe and North America are exposed through their food and/or water.
In March, 2015, the World Health Organisation declared glyphosate a “probable carcinogen,” in part due to evidence of significantly increased risk to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in agricultural settings. Studies in Sri Lanka have shown that glyphosate is a key factor in the kidney failure epidemic there and in Central America among young agricultural workers. Studies on tadpoles have shown that low-dose exposures cause alarming congenital deformities, especially relating to neural tube defects. Studies on rats exposed throughout their lifespan to low-dose glyphosate showed increased risk to mammary tumorus, liver and kidney disease, and reproductive issues.
Epidemiological data from the US Centers for Disease Control and the US Department of Agriculture show stunning temporal correlations between the rise in a large number of debilitating diseases and the use of glyphosate on core crops. These include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, gluten intolerance and Celiac disease, liver disease, kidney failure, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, sleep disorder, congenital heart disease, failure to thrive among infants, diabetes, obesity and Parkinson’s disease. Glyphosate is the only herbicide that temporally matches the epidemic we are witnessing in these debilitating and sometimes life-threatening conditions.
Together with colleagues, I have published several papers that explore the mechanisms by which glyphosate could be toxic to humans. Three central factors have been identified: (1) Disruption of the shikimate pathway in our gut microbiome, leading to an overgrowth of pathogens, inflammation in the bowels, and leaky gut syndrome, (2) Chelation of important minerals such as manganese, magnesium, cobalt, zinc, and iron, leading to nutritional deficiencies, and (3) Disruption of the cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver, which are essential for activating vitamin D, promoting bile flow, and detoxifying other toxic chemicals.
In a recently published paper in the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, Anthony Samsel and I have collaborated to develop the idea that glyphosate might substitute by mistake for the amino acid glycine during protein synthesis. If this is true, it can easily explain all the correlations with disease. Glyphosate would slowly, insidiously, and cumulatively erode health by infiltrating proteins throughout the body. Glycine is highly conserved in a number of proteins whose impaired function can be easily linked to the specific diseases that are alarmingly on the rise. Glyphosate displacing glycine in those proteins would disrupt their function, and also impair the body’s ability to break down the defective proteins. This can also lead to autoimmune disease. Glyphosate needs to be universally banned, and we must return to organic sustainable agriculture to protect future generations from harm.
Dr. Stephanie Seneff
Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This article appeared in the 2016 #ESSymposium e-magazine