The Monsanto Roundup herbicide has been on everyone’s lips for years, and it won’t be the last we hear of it. Anyone with internet or public television access has probably heard about the controversy surrounding the products of the multinational agrochemical and biotechnology corporation. Let’s find out why the glyphosate herbicide is such a contentious issue.
What Is Roundup?
Everyone knows that Monsanto Roundup is toxic. Whether or not you have followed up closely the scandals involving the Monsanto corporation or researched the Roundup ingredients, you most likely know that no good can come out of using poisonous glyphosates.
Roundup is a trade name used by Monsanto for its glyphosate herbicide. The herbicide is used by just about everyone and everywhere, from farmers to biologists, in the United States or other corners of the globe. The weed killer is used in over 160 countries, and more than 1.4 billion pounds are applied each year.
Roundup’s active ingredient, an organophosphorus compound called glyphosate, inhibits a specific enzyme in plants and stops them from growing. The product kills all weeds and other annoying plants that farmers want to get rid of. All, but with one exception – Roundup Ready crops.
Plants that have been genetically modified by Monsanto are resistant to the herbicide, and farmers who plant the GMO seeds must use Monsanto Roundup to keep weeds from growing in the fields. Which, evidently, is quite convenient for the controversial biotech company.
Let’s go back to the glyphosate. What happens once it is introduced into the natural environment? Despite the widespread use, farmers are not familiar with its effects but continue to use the product because it is such an efficient weed killer. However, glyphosate is not included in the government’s pesticide residue testing of foods and neither in monitoring the chemicals in human blood and tissue. Because of this, we are dealing with an information gap, and customers are unaware of what they are exposing to when using the Roundup herbicide in the fields or yards. Furthermore, what are the consequences of eating foods from crops treated with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide?
10 Health Hazards Linked to Monsanto Roundup
Little do we know about the ultimate effects of the weed killer, but new information on the Roundup’s toxicity surfaces each year. Nonetheless, who do we trust? Monsanto, the company producing Roundup, marketed the herbicide as being “environmentally friendly”. However, scientific studies conducted in the last twenty years have shown otherwise.
Let’s look at some of the health consequences linked to the presence of glyphosate, one of the Roundup ingredients, in our foods, drinking water, and the air we breathe.
1. Birth Defects
According to a study from Paraguay, women living within 3000 feet from fields sprayed with glyphosate herbicides were more than twice as likely to give birth to babies suffering from congenital defects. This is because the active ingredient in Roundup is known to disrupt the retinoic acid that is crucial for normal fetus development. Another disturbing news is that birth defects as much as quadrupled after the introduction of Roundup crops in the Chaco province of Argentina.
2. Alzheimer’s Disease
It has been found that Roundup herbicide causes the same type of oxidative stress (an imbalance between the free radicals production and the body’s ability to counteract their harmful effects) and neural cell death as seen in Alzheimer’s disease. It can disrupt the CaMKII enzyme, whose dysregulation is connected to the disease.
According to surveys conducted in Argentina on over 65,000 farmers who use Monsanto Roundup weed killer, the people in those farming communities experienced cancer diagnosis rates up to four times higher than the average. The disturbing number of farmers suffering from the terminal illness is most likely due to the fact that glyphosate was demonstrated in various lab tests to induce DNA damage.
4. Chronic Kidney Disease
It has been reported that Central America, India, and Sri Lanka are experiencing an increase in the number of kidney failure diagnosis among farmers using glyphosate in their fields. Scientists point out that the main ingredient in Roundup has the capacity to destroy renal tissue when forming complexes with hard water and heavy metals.
5. Parkinson’s Disease
Herbicides have been determined to be the primarily environmental factor causing neurodegenerative disorders. Lab studies have shown how glyphosate can induce the loss of dopaminergic neurons, the death of these cells ultimately leading to Parkinson’s disease.
Glyphosate can also disrupt chemical processes that are responsible for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a vital monoamine neurotransmitter that regulates important body functions, such as mood and sleep.
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Epidemiologic research conducted during the last three decades have revealed that agricultural workers are at risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Tests have shown that glyphosate is also responsible for B-cell lymphoma.
8. Respiratory Diseases
Surveys in farming communities in the provinces of Argentina where Monsanto’s Roundup is used have unveiled higher rates of chronic respiratory diseases.
9. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Severe tryptophan deficiency has been linked to Roundup’s glyphosate. Tryptophan deficiency leads to inflammatory bowel disease, a condition that impairs the human body’s ability to absorb nutrients because of symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation, and rectal bleeding.
10. Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Glyphosate can disrupt the transport of sulfate from the gut to the liver. What this means is that people suffering from sulfate deficiency in their brain are at risk of developing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The disease attacks the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles and is characterized by the gradual death of motor neurons. No cure has been found for ALS.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has been “classified as probably carcinogenic to humans” according to research led by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. However, the United States government still considers the toxic product to be safe for agricultural use. This continues to fuel the controversy surrounding the agrochemical and biotechnology corporation. Having been revealed the risks we are exposing to when using the glyphosate herbicide, it is vital we start reconsidering the way we approach agriculture.