What is Glyphosate?
According to Wikipedia, “Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. It was discovered to be a herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970. Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup, and Monsanto’s last commercially relevant United States patent expired in 2000.”
Glyphosate is registered in over 130 countries, and with the advent of glyphosate-resistant GMO crops, its use has grown significantly, with estimates of worldwide use exceeding two million tons. It is the active ingredient in many weedkillers used in agriculture, public places and private gardens. Farmers typically use glyphosate and other herbicides to clear their fields of weeds before the emergence of crops in spring, but because it’s a crop desiccant, they then use it again shortly before harvesting to dry out the crops making them easier to harvest.
Why Should I be Concerned?
Glyphosate, ominously named “the most heavily used agricultural chemical of all time” is the most widely sold weedkiller in the world, and the chances are that you already have a significant buildup of this substance in your body. A shocking revelation revealed that urine sampling tests found that levels of this substance have increased by over 1200% since 1993. It has been found to be present in so many of the foods we consume on a daily basis in South Africa, such as bread, oatmeal, maize, wheat, soy, canola, sunflowers, potatoes, honey, and so much more. Moreover, it’s found in most if not all grain-fed chicken, pork, beef and lamb, the possible exceptions perhaps being grass-fed livestock. Some have gone as far as to say that it is found in most if not all bread that is sold in the country.
What Effect Could it Have on Me?
While glyphosate itself is considered toxic, certain surfactants in weedkiller formulations allow it to be even more easily absorbed. The “gly” in glyphosate is short for glycine, which is an amino acid that your body uses to make proteins. The problem is that your body tends to substitute glyphosate for glycine, which can result in corrupted proteins being produced, causing untold health problems.
Studies have found glyphosate in human breast milk, discovering that it crosses the placental barrier and reaches the placental compartment. It is found in human blood and urine samples. In fact, glyphosate and its reduction product, aminomethylphosphonic acid, were found to be present in most air and rain samples.
In March 2015, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as Category 2A – probably carcinogenic in humans.
According to a Cansa Fact Sheet:
The World Health Organization (WHO) study, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, said there was limited evidence that the herbicide caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans, although there was sufficient evidence that it caused cancer in animals. NonHodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that attacks the lymphocytes that form part of the immune system. The study found that glyphosate had been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, suggesting absorption.
Recent findings indicate that G exposure may cause DNA damage and cancer in humans.
Residue levels in food or water, as well as human exposures, are escalating. The researchers reviewed the toxic effects of GlyBH measured below regulatory limits by evaluating the published literature and regulatory reports. Their research reveals a coherent body of evidence indicating that GlyBH could be toxic below the regulatory lowest observed adverse effect level for chronic toxic effects. It includes teratogenic, tumorigenic and hepatorenal effects.
Severe GlySH-surfactant poisoning is manifested by gastroenteritis, respiratory disturbances, altered mental status, hypotension refractory to the treatment, renal failure, and shock. GlySH intoxication has a case fatality rate 3.2-29.3%. Pulmonary toxicity and renal toxicity seem to be responsible for mortality. Metabolic acidosis, abnormal chest X-ray, arrhythmias, and elevated serum creatinine levels are useful prognostic factors for predicting GlySH mortality. There is no antidote and the mainstay of treatment for systemic toxicity is decontamination and aggressive supportive therapy.
The possible role played by glyphosate-metal complexes in this epidemic has not been given any serious consideration by investigators for the last two decades. Furthermore, it may explain similar kidney disease epidemics observed in Andra Pradesh (India) and Central America. Although glyphosate alone does not cause an epidemic of chronic kidney disease, it seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers when it forms complexes with a localised geo-environmental factor (hardness) and nephrotoxic metals.
Evidence is mounting that glyphosate interferes with many metabolic processes in plants and animals and glyphosate residues have been detected in both.
Glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and the balance of gut bacteria, it damages DNA and is a driver of mutations that lead to cancer.
What is Being Done About it?
In a word, nothing. Because Monsanto and it’s biotech cohorts are such dominant organisations lobbying so powerfully in every country where their ultra-successful products such as Roundup is sold, money talks and bs walks. Governments turn a blind eye, and negative research is squashed, whistle-blowers are targeted and harassed into compliance; you name it, it happens. It’s long breached the point of ridiculous, so much so that practically all of the so-called research done by respected scientists can be traced back to being funded by biotech interests. Isn’t it particularly odd that most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the dangers posed by glyphosate in conjunction with the other accompanying harmful ingredients contained in Roundup and similar weedkillers on humans, animals, plants and the environment?
Kobus Steenekamp, managing director of Monsanto South Africa, denied any adverse effects on human health, saying:
We still believe that it’s a safe product to use and we are guided by many internal studies. Glyphosate is still guaranteed and there is a full review of safety in the use. We still challenge the classification of the IARC,” he said. So many things are put in place like protective clothing, for instance.
According to a November 2017 New York Times article entitled “Glyphosate, Top-Selling Weed Killer, Wins E.U. Approval for 5 Years”:
The European Union voted on Monday to extend its authorization for the world’s best-selling herbicide for an abbreviated period of five years, with France and Germany splitting over the move.
President Emmanuel Macron of France said after the decision was announced that he had asked government officials to draw up a plan for banning the herbicide, glyphosate, in his country within three years. He also posted a message on Twitter with the hashtag #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain. France led the opposition to allowing the use of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and in weed killers made by other companies.
Germany, which had abstained in a previous round of voting on the issue, appeared to help sway the outcome of the vote. Although Angela Merkel, the chancellor, has been unable to form a coalition government after the country’s recent election, Germany’s caretaker government swung its support in favor of the weed killer.
What Can I Do About it?
GO ORGANIC! What else can you do? It’s already in your body, there’s not much you can do about that, but what you can do is at least go about reducing your intake to levels that are less likely to cause damage to your body.