The leading herbicide in the world, Monsanto’s Roundup, comes into contact with the vast majority of the food produced in the United States. The fact that recent reports from the World Health Organization have found the main ingredient in Roundup to be a “probable carcinogen” is quite alarming. For many others it confirms that long held suspicions that increasingly powerful herbicides and pesticides are wreaking havoc on our health and planet. The latest report is one of many to make links between Roundup and cancer, as well as many other chronic diseases. Learn more about the chemical “probably” causing cancer and what you can do to limit your exposure.
What Is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. It is an herbicide used to kill weeds, especially broadleaf plants and grasses that threaten commercial crops.
Glyphosate was registered for use in the United States in 1974. It is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. Areas of use include:
- Homes, lawns, gardens
- Industry, commerce, and government
Additionally, there are glyphosate-containing products that are used to control the growth of aquatic plants. Use of the chemical has increased dramatically over the last two decades thanks to the creation of genetically engineered crops (also created by Monsanto) that are resistant to the herbicide.
How Might I Be Exposed?
Exposure to glyphosate happens when you get it in your eyes, on your skin, or you breathe it in. You could also be exposed by consuming food or water contaminated by glyphosate. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly after using glyphosate-containing products.
The USDA released the results of a series of tests related to glyphosate testing in 2011. These tests revealed that over 90% of the soybeans in the United States had glyphosate residue on them.
It is estimated that about one billion pounds of glyphosate-containing Roundup is sprayed on our food crops every single year. This means the average person is potentially exposed to a vast quantity of glyphosate in their food each year.
You might be wondering how repeated exposure to glyphosate could affect your health. Understanding the health risks could help you take action to remove the toxin from your diet and support initiatives to get it out of the food supply for everyone.
Health Concerns Caused by Glyphosate
Glyphosate reacts with the natural, helpful bacteria in the human body. According to a report published by Entropy, glyphosate enhances the harmful effects of other food-borne chemical residues and disrupts normal bodily functions and induces diseases.
The bacteria in your body do many important jobs, from helping you digest food to producing the chemical elements your body needs to stay healthy. Your bacteria produce tryptophan phenylalanine, tyrosine, methionine, and glutamate. Not only that, but about 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced by the bacteria in the gut.
There are up to a thousand different species of helpful bacteria in our gut, and when glyphosate kills off some of these species, it can throw our entire body out of whack and put it at risk of developing chronic diseases. Glyphosate has been called the most important factor in the development of many prominent chronic diseases, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- And more
Does Glyphosate Cause Cancer?
The World Health Organization (WHO) raised concerns that glyphosate causes cancer even though it had been declared safe in the United States. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently announced that the main ingredient in Monsanto’s pesticides is probably carcinogenic to humans. The research was published in The Lancet Oncology, and it was based on decades of studies conducted with the chemical.
Monsanto has questioned validity of the assessment that glyphosate is a carcinogen, and it hasn’t taken the accusations lying down. They claim that the conclusions are inconsistent with long-term, ongoing safety reviews by leading regulatory agencies which state that all labeled uses of the chemical are considered safe for humans. Monsanto has demanded that the report be retracted and wants to meet with the WHO about their evaluation.
How To Limit Your Exposure To Glyphosate
If you’re convinced glyphosate is bad for your health, there are steps you can take to limit your exposure. Most of your “toxic load” is based on what you eat. Therefore, beyond not using glyphosate-containing products in your yard and home, you can also make changes to your diet and lifestyle to reduce the toxins in your body. Reducing your toxic load will make it easier for your body to deal with the toxins you do ingest. These changes include:
- Filtering your tap water
- Choose your seafood wisely
- Replace non-stick pans with ceramic or glass
- Avoid plastic containers
- Add fermented food to your diet
- Buying organic food as much as possible
Reducing your exposure to glyphosate is good for your health, and it also sends the message that you won’t spend your money on products that use it. This is the first step to reducing its usage and protecting the planet and its people.