Would you give your child a cookie if it contained glyphosate?
Before you get into the meat of things, let’s answer a question that you don’t have yet but that you will have about 2 minutes into reading this article:
“Really? It can’t be that bad, can it?”
It’s natural to be skeptical about glyphosate being a threat your health. The FDA and other food regulatory agencies come out with a “safety” report every year that regurgitates the same message that you will find on any huge biotech conglomerate's website: glyphosate has not been found to be harmful.
And the fact that the head of the FDA for the past 8 years was a former huge biotech conglomerate Vice President is certainly no conflict of interest. In the vein of protecting ourselves, we won't name names (you can probably guess who we are referring to) but we will refer to the propogators of glyphosate as HBC (huge biotech conglomerates).
Back to your impending skepticism – yes, from what we know now, it is that bad. Scarier still, it may be a lot worse. Initially I was extremely skeptical, as I tend to be distrustful of statistics (they seem to always be heavily manipulated) and have an aversion to zealous opinions.
But the growing body of evidence is undeniable. The facts are presented as objectively as possible, and sometimes there are multiple presentations of data to show that no matter how you slice it, glyphosate is one toxic soup.
For the skeptics out there, just think about cigarettes in the 1950s and early 1960s. Remember then? Cigarettes were “not found to be harmful” by health organizations, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – more on this in the next section. Or remember dioxin (Agent Orange) and DDT? Ask a Vietnam vet about them.
The evidence on glyphosate is not vague. The next part is easy. There's no “convincing” involved. The data is already there, it just needs to be laid out. See for yourself. Want to make America great again? Get glyphosate out of our kids' cookies.
Glyphosate and deterioration of health - cigarettes remembered
Cigarettes are to the early 1960s what glyphosate is today, with one important difference. You can choose not to smoke. But you can't avoid glyphosate. If you are unfamiliar with glyphosate, it is the primary chemical used in Monsanto’s Round Up, as well as a number of other weed killers from different biotech companies.
Up until 1964, cigarettes were considered mostly harmless in the eyes of the general population. Cyclists would smoke cigarettes on the Tour de France. Surgeons would smoke in operating rooms. At one point it was even used as a cure for Asthma. We know how deadly cigarettes are, with health consequences that range from diabetes to heart disease, and cancer to any number of periphery diseases.
Along with an overwhelming body of research demonstrating the long term catastrophic consequences of cigarette smoking – like, death – it took overwhelming outrage from the health rangers of the day to have the surgeon general declare to release his health report on cigarettes. Even today cigarette companies maintain cigarettes are not harmful.
Glyphosate is in our food. It’s in the water we drink. It’s in the air we breathe. It’s in our children’s formula and breast milk. It's in your tampons. It’s in our vaccines. This is an in-your-face problem, and it’s very real.
you need to know this about ICD-10 codes
ICD-10 codes are used by health care providers to identify known diseases and health problems, usually for the purpose of data documentation and billing. There are ICD-10 codes for just about anything and everything. There are numerous codes for cigarette complications, terrorism, and even ridiculous codes like W61.33 for "pecked by chicken".
All codes are reviewed and approved by the FDA.
There is also an ICD-10 code for toxic effects due to herbicide and fungicide exposure. This code is known as T60.3X1A, which we affectionately refer to as 3X1A in this article as a symbol for glyphosate exposure.
Why should you care? Three extremely important points:
- This is an FDA approved and backed code, and thus ICD codes are honored by health insurance companies reimbursement
- But currently insurance companies will not pay for glyphosate testing despite the fact that there is an ICD-10 code for herbicide exposure
- Which begs the question - what's going on here?
Insurance companies may argue that glyphosate exposure does not constitute a health risk at any level of exposure. This is completely ridiculous - if someone hosed you down with glyphosate do you think you would be fine? What if you ate small amounts of it with every meal for the next 10 years?
The fact that health insurance companies won't test for glyphosate is just one way of roadblocking any efforts to see how much glyphosate is in our systems. Not convinced? Then consider that the FDA tests food for ALL known herbicides' residue EXCEPT glyphosate (big surprise) and glufosinate. Still think that HBCs don't want consumers to know if glyphosate is in them or in their food?
How Glyphosate Works and Why It’s Deadly
Contrary to wide publication, glyphosate does not actually kill plants (e.g., weeds) directly. Rather, it acts as a chelator (binds to compounds and suppresses chemical activity) for synthesizing essential amino acids (tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine – see graphic below more information), thus inhibiting the ability of plants to create nutrients that help their growth and to fight disease. In short, in terms of what is glyphosate, it's pathogenic (virus that causes disease). It’s a debilitater rather than a killer (see pictures of lab rats exposed to glyphosate).
In layman terms, glyphosate interferes with a plants ability to make nutrients from plant-food. These nutrients would be used by the plant to grow and fight of disease. It’s basically AIDS for plants. The plants end up dying from other diseases, and not directly from glyphosate.
Now, here’s the important part. Take a deep breath and follow closely.
Please see appendix , , and  for academic resources used in above graphic and below summary.
- Plants, bacteria, and fungi synthesize essential nutrients (3 amino acids) in a 7 step metabolic process called the Shikimate pathway
- The three amino acids are tyrosine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan, all of which are absolutely critical to body/mind function
- The Shikimate pathway that makes these amino acids is not found in animals (including humans), but animals require the 3 amino acids that are created by this process
- Animals get these amino acids by eating plants (i.e. vegetables) or by eating animals that eat plants
- Glyphosate works by interrupting this process in plants, and without the ability to create these nutrients, plants die
- Humans don’t have the Shikimate pathway, so we need to get the three amino acids from our diet (i.e., "essential" amino acids)
- Because humans don’t have this pathway, scientists and researchers thought that glyphosate would be harmless in humans
- They forgot that our gut is comprised of many different types of (billions of) bacteria called gut flora, which are essential for digestion/immune system
- And our gut flora DO use the Shikimate pathway in their metabolic process
- When our gut flora is exposed to glyphosate, different types of bacteria are affected differently
- Some types of bacteria are not affected, some types of bacteria change what they produce, and some bacteria are severely inhibited
- The result is an imbalance of gut bacteria as well as a chemical change in what our gut produces
- The change of gut flora leads to toxins getting into our bloodstream with a whole host of severe long term consequences (the chemistry involved here is very complex and not totally understood)
- The imbalance of working gut flora influences host signaling pathways (a host signaling pathway is a cell’s danger response that raises an alarm), this influence can “disable” host signaling alarms for keeping toxins out of cells, or cause needless host signaling to attack otherwise healthy cells, with consequences such as obesity, colon cancer, and any number of other diseases leaked
Obviously, the final points in the graphic involve extremely complex chemistry with which many PhD students are probably banging their heads against the table right now. As said, the chemistry involved in these consequences is not totally understood. However, the rise in disease rates in the last 20 years doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
Moreover, where we only have a few scientists dedicated to testing glyphosate, Europe has undertaken a heavy amount of high quality academic research into the relationship between glyphosate, the environment, and human health. See this indispensable resource for a complete list of academic reports for the glyphosate research.
Which leads us to the rub: how harmful are these consequences?
How poisonous is Glyphosate?
In the last 20 years (1996-2016), the intensifying exposure to Glyphosate correlates almost directly to the intensification of a whole host of diseases. Of course, companies making hundreds of millions of dollars on glyphosate products would say, “Correlation does not equal causation.” Ironically, this is the same argument that cigarette companies used.
So sure, take a look at any piece of data with high correlation, and you can say that correlation does not equal causation. But what happens with 5 pieces of data point to the same thing? Or 10 pieces of data? Or 90% of all independent, academic research? In this scenario, we have a term for people who still maintain that correlation does not equal causation: burying their heads in the sand.
The body of evidence from literally hundreds of studies all concludes roughly the same thing: glyphosate is toxic. How toxic? Judge for yourself. Here is a list of a number of diseases whose incident rates have increased in alarming similarity to the increase in glyphosate usage (see the full article and correlation methods here):
And when we are talking about “alarmingly similar” in terms of data, we are talking mostly mid 90% correlations. Even if you are distrustful of correlations drawn from such data, the dramatic rise in all of these diseases since the mid-1990s corresponds directly to the dramatic rise in the use of glyphosate.
As said, critics of glyphosate being a threat to your health usually take one piece of evidence and argue that there could be many other factors that are causes. While that's certainly true for any one piece of data, to look at the whole body of evidence and still maintain that glyphosate is not provoking the problem is sort of like poking a bear with a stick and blaming the bear attack on the bear's "attitude problem."
When are are talking about the body of evidence, we are saying that namely:
- So many various diseases should all demonstrate a strikingly similar curve
- So many various diseases should rapidly increase in rate in the exact same time frame as glyphosate usage
- The onset of the rapid rise in disease starts in the mid-late 1990's - at the same exact time of rapid glyphosate usage increase
- Glyphosate is sprayed on 90% of commercial crops in the United States, that high levels of resedue have been found in many of our foods in numerous studies, and that resedue has been found in our urine and tissues
Moreover, other critics question the validity of the above graphs, saying that it's easy to manipulate data in such a presentation. So we have decided to compare disease and glyphosate usage in an apples to apples comparison with the rate of change. Below is another table offering a see-it-for-yourself view of the data.
In 1996 genetically engineered (GE) crops were introduced in the United States. This is important because when GE crops were introduced, there was an exponential increase in the amount of glyphosate used on crops. Namely, glyphosate usage on commercial crops in the US went from 7.8 to 40 million pounds in the '83-'95 period, and 40 to 210 million pounds in '95-'07 period – a ~531% increase in terms of rate of change. We compare this with the rate of various diseases in this same time period (1995-2007) vs. the “normalized” (pre GMO and rapid adoption of glyphosate) rate of the 12 previous years (1983-1995).
|Disease||'83-'95 Change||'95-'07 Change||Rate Increase||Glyph. Increase|
|Autism||8 per 10k||33 per 10k||415%||531%|
|Intestinal Infection Deaths||.2 per 100k||1.75 per 100k||875%||531%|
|Diabetes Incidence||.65 per 1k||3.25 per 1k||500%||531%|
|Renal (Kidney) Failure||0 per 100k||1.8 per 100k||1800%||531%|
|Thyroid Cancer Incidence||1.1 per 100k||12.1 per 100k||545%||531%|
|Bladder Cancer||.6 per 100k||3.4 per 100k||533%||531%|
|Senile Dementia Deaths||4 per 100k||18.5 per 100k||463%||531%|
|Obesity Deaths||.2 per 100k||.8 per 100k||400%||531%|
|Alzheimer's Deaths||5 per 100k||15 per 100k||300%||531%|
|Stroke Deaths||.6 per 100k||1.4 per 100k||233%||531%|
And if you don't believe this data - how many dialysis centers have you seen pop up in your local strip malls? If not this data, then what does it take to show how bad the problem is?
It's impossible to manipulate this data - this is a direct comparison of change, and similarities need little explanation. What is especially scary is that this data does not take in to account 2008 and 2009, each of which saw a significant rise in disease rates that was steeper than the 1995-2007 period. It probably won’t surprise you that 2008 and 2009 also saw a dramatic rise (about 22%, or 40 million pounds) in US glyphosate usage (see graph below) - note that this data does not take into account glyphosate used on non-agricultural sectors:
Here is a list of health problems that studies have found with strong links to glyphosate:
- Irritable bowel disease
- Thyroid Disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Birth defects
- Brain cancer
- Kidney disease and renal failure
- Liver disease
- Parkinson's Disease
speculation about glyphosate and mental health
It’s great that we live in a world where we have access to data and statistics that allow us to draw obvious conclusions. Without such data, we would never know about how harmful glyphosate is.
But there are countless qualitative things that we can’t test. How about things like:
- Intellectual capacity
- Energy levels
- Mental stability
- Sexual desire
Does glyphosate impact these things? We don’t know – it’s difficult to get the kind of data with which to make reasonable conclusions. But if the evidence is true and glyphosate does inhibit things like serotonin (responsible for happiness) and nutrient absorption, then we need to think carefully about the subtle repercussions of glyphosate on our everyday mental health.
Let’s look at a few curious mental health factoids - and by curious I mean the way a diver must feel at seeing a shark swim by. By 2015 the suicide rate in the United States reached an all-time high – a 30% rise since 1999. That’s a little unsettling.
It’s even more unsettling when you compare this to the dramatic increase in the number of anti-depressants being sold. In 1999, about 6.8% of the population was taking at least 1 anti-depressant. Today, that number is nearly 14%. Here's a set of data from England on the use of anti-depressants. It's a good representation of what is happening in the US, because England has seen in a increase in antidepressant prescription drug use that is about the same and the United States.
Does that mean glyphosate is causing it? Not necesserily – it’s a disturbing observation that coincides with the rise of glyphosate. Here’s another graph from an extremely unsettling study that was done on the number of antipsychotic drug used in United States.
Again – what’s the point of all of this? Simply put, mental health and happiness in the United States have grown remarkably worse in the past 20 years – a deterioration that is mirrored by the rise of glyphosate usage. What we are seeing is large-scale decline of health and wellbeing in the US.
Is glyphosate the cause? You decide for yourself.
glyphosate is in you –How to decrease exposure & Detox
Let’s first start the conversation around the topic of seat belts. If you wear your seat belt because you believe it will help protect you, then by all means keep reading. If you wear your seatbelt so you won’t get a ticket, then go read another blog.
We are bombarded daily with a litany of woe’s and world concerns from ISIS to cancer to vaccines to lead in the water. Pick a problem, you are only one click away from it. This blog is dedicated to helping you to decipher for yourself ‘if’ glyphosate is a real threat or some hyped up concern from another group of tree hugging hippies (that is said with absolute love for this group of loving radicals of the 60’s & 70’s and their offspring).
Dealing with glyphosate is daunting at best. We have just told you it is ‘everywhere.’ There are some of you who will say, oh well, it is everywhers. Others of you will be slightly intrigues but ultimately unmoved. Some of you will want to stay away from it and get it out of your body. Here are a few things you can do about this problem and actually feel empowered.
1 – Test for glyphosate! You can test by following the link (doesn’t go through insurance). You can also try your provider AND let them know there is an ICD 10 code to use for billing purposes: T60.3X1A.
2 – Make a statement with your checkbook! Buy organic and local farm raised produce, meats and poultry as much as possible. It is true that glyphosate is everywhere, but we can still take steps to decrease direct exposure. The Environmental Working Group has helpful information on which produce is the most toxic:
3 – This is a real problem and you can do something about it! We are after all, a democratic-republic nation.
Share this information with your family, friends, communities and your politicians.
Here is the number to the White House – Take it to the TOP: 1-202-456-111
4 - Wash fruits and veggies in vinegar water prior to serving.
See this for helpful info. Don’t forget to clean your sink before you soak and clean any of your produce. Soak for five to ten minutes, and get water temperature as close to fruits/veggies as possible.
Keep yourself informed! We have a lot in the works for glyphosate – glyphosate blogs, detox studies, and things that involve our rapidly growing community that we can’t disclose yet – so subscribe to use keep updated on latest information, news, and data.
How We are Exposed to Glyphosate and ways to avoid it
If you have read this far, you can probably guess how glyphosate gets into our bones, brains, and bowels:
- Direct expose by using glyphosate herbicides, such as through skin contact or breathing herbicide residue
- Eating fruits/vegetables with glyphosate residue – (also see this: glyphosate found in food and feed)
- Eating animals that were fed vegetables with glyphosate residue (which is just about any meat you can buy at the store)
- Using products with glyphosate (such as tampons and diapers)
- Drinking water with glyphosate residue
- Receiving vaccines with glyphosate (such as the MMR and flu vaccines) because vaccines are grown on gelatin derived from ligaments of pigs that, you guessed it, feed on GMO food that are treated with glyphosate – though more testing needs to be done to verify the efficacy of these findings
This list isn’t long, but it’s literally everywhere. Over 90% of agricultural crops in the United States use glyphosate – which means most non-organic foods you buy at the store will have been sprayed with glyphosate.
We will discuss more ways to minimize glyphosate exposure in the near future.
Beyond this, avoid using glyphosate-containing pesticides. Period. Don’t use them on your lawn, in your garden, or elsewhere. There are other options.
History of Glyphosate Usage
A rather funny but startling fact is that glyphosate started as a pipe cleaner when it was first patented in 1964 – the same year cigarettes were officially recognized as not-so-harmless. Monsanto picked it up in 1970 and had it on the market as Roundup by 1974.
By 1980, it was the best-selling herbicide in the world – it is extremely effective in getting rid of unwanted plants.
Fast forward 16 years to 1996. Monsanto introduces genetically engineered (GE), herbicide resistant crops (GMO crops) known as Roundup Ready crops (they resist glyphosate) with GMO soybeans. Which means you can spray Roundup directly on crops without harming them. No more spot-spraying, just dust the entire crop with 3X1A (the CDC code for herbicide exposure) and watch unwanted weeds die over the course of the next few days. This was seen as a major win for farmers, who would need to do much less manual work on their crops.
In 1996 about 40 million tons of glyphosate was used on commercial crops.
Fast forward 4 years to 2000. About 80 million pounds of glyphosate was used in agriculture. Monsanto’s patent on glyphosate expired, which meant that other herbicide companies picked it up in their products as well. The next year saw a 25% rise in glyphosate usage in the United States.
By 2013, about 250 million pounds of glyphosate was being used on commercial crops in the US. This was a major win for Monsanto, whose stock price in the same time period went from $11 per share to $113 per share.
HBCs had managed to manufacture an extremely lucrative (refer to rise in stock price) revolving door that involved the rise of Superweeds – weeds that are resistant to glyphosate. It works like this:
That explains the rise in Monsanto’s share price. It also explains how in 15 years the United States’ use of glyphosate increased 10 times. Isn’t it curious that the ~10x increase in glyphosate usage from 1995-2013 corresponds almost exactly to the ~10x increase in Monsanto’s stock price over the same time period?
Here’s a wonderful chart from a fantastic study on the entire history of glyphosate usage (which differs only slightly from previous estimate-graphs shown).
But all’s not well in HBC paradise. Superweeds have awoken many farmers to the fact that dumping more and more glyphosate on crops is not the solution. For the most part, glyphosate usage since 2010 has more or less leveled off, as have many HBC's stock prices in the last 4 years. Some countries, such as Sri Lanka, Malta, and Cuba, have banned glyphosate. The European Union gave glyphosate a last minute reprieve in 2015, allowing it be used limitedly for 18 more months while a review is completed. Outlook is not exactly positive.
It’s curious that this plateau in glyphosate usage also corresponds to a sudden surge in academic interest and subsequent stong concerns about helath implications of glyphosate.
Appendix of Resources Used
 Effects of Roundup (Glyphosate) on Gut Microorganisms of Farm Animals by Charlotte Lynggaard Katholm
 Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff
 Glpyhosate, Pathways to Modern Disease 2: Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff
 Clastogenic Effects of Glyphosate in Bone Marrow Cells of Swiss Albino Mice by Sahdeo Prasad, Smita Srivastava, Madhulika Singh, and Yogeshwer Shukla
 Glyphosate and the Response of the Soil Microbiota by E.B. Roslycky
 Salt Antagonism of Glyphosate by John D. Nalewaja and Robert Matysiak
 Glyphosate-Based Herbicides are Toxic and Endocrine Disruptors in Human Cell Lines by Céline Gasnier, Coralie Dumont, Nora Benachour, Emilie Clair, Marie-Christine Chagnon, and Gilles-Eric Séralini
 Glyphosate Induces Human Breast Cancer Cells Growth via Estrogen Receptors by Siriporn Thongprakaisang, Apinya Thiantanawat, Nuchanart Rangkadilok, Tawit Suriyo, and Jutamaad Satayavivad
 Toxicity of the Herbicide Glyphosate and Several of Its Formulations to Fish and Aquatic Invertebrates by L.C. Folmar, H.O. Sanders, and A.M. Julin
 Genetically Engineered Crops, Glyphosate, and the Deterioration of Health in the United States of America by Nancy L Swanson, Andre Leu, Jon Abrahamson, and Bradley Wallet
 Current State of Herbicide in Herbicide-Resistant Crops by J.M. Green
consumer RESOURCES (NOT REFERENCED ABOVE)
Monanto and its Minions are Poisoning Us: How Can We Defend Ourselves? by Ronnie Cummins
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