Organic Consumers Association

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Gut-Wrenching: New Studies Reveal the Insidious Effects of Glyphosate

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in one of the most heavily used herbicide in the world: Monsanto’s Roundup®. The industry claims that Roundup® is quite safe, but authors of a recent article in the scientific journal Entropy reach a very different conclusion:

“Contrary to the current widely-held misconception that glyphosate is relatively harmless to humans, the available evidence shows that glyphosate may rather be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.”[i] [emphasis added]

This is a bold assertion. Is it possible that we are only now realizing the harmful effects of this herbicide that has been in common use since the 1970s? How does glyphosate harm humans? How did we overlook these problems for decades?  Read on.

Acute vs. Chronic Toxicity

The acute toxicity of glyphosate is relatively low, meaning that accidentally ingesting it will likely not cause immediate harm. Chronic toxicity—the effects of continually ingesting glyphosate residues in food—is cause for concern. Glyphosate interferes with fundamental biochemical reactions and may predispose humans to obesity, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other health problems.

It’s easy to overlook these effects. Toxicity studies on laboratory animals are typically short term, often only a few months. The harm from low-level, chronic exposure can only be seen after a long period of time, often years, or even decades. The real guinea pigs in this case are humans.

From a scientific perspective, it is impossible to prove that a chemical ingested on food can harm a person’s health decades later. However, it is possible to study the specific biochemical action of the pesticide, and then examine the diseases that have been related to malfunction of that biochemical pathway.

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