Glyphosate is constantly in the news as of late, and particularly in Roundup, a product manufactured by Monsanto, now Bayern. Allegedly, exposure to glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a rare and generally lethal form of cancer that affects the lymph nodes. Bitter lawsuit battles are being fought at the minute, with one man, Dewayne Johnson, having been awarded $285 million in compensatory and punitive damages because a jury agreed Roundup was the cause of his NHL. Naturally, Monsanto is defending itself against these claims, stating that their product is completely safe to use. Because of these two opposing sides, it can be very difficult to ascertain fact from fiction. While a lot of claims about glyphosate and Roundup remain up in the air, there are a number of things we do definitively know. Let’s take a look at the 10 incredible facts about glyphosate, therefore.
Fact 1 – Glyphosate Can Cause Acute Toxicity
Various pieces of research have demonstrated that there are certain doses and concentrations of glyphosate that cause acute toxicity. It is also known that the toxicity outcomes will increase depending on the level of exposure and how long someone was exposed to it. This has been tested on rats, which led to the agreed acceptable daily intake of 0.3mg per kilogram of body weight per day.
Fact 2 – There Is a Vested Interest
The toxicity of glyphosate is very controversial. As a result, vested interests are driving some of the conclusions that are being drawn, on both sides of the argument. On the one hand, manufacturers want it to be reapproved by the different regulatory agencies and, on the other hand, people want to be compensated for their pain and suffering, attributing osteoporosis, infections, neuropathies, cancers, and more to exposure.
Fact 3 – The Effect of Glyphosate on Various Illnesses Is Being Studied
Because of the Dewayne Johnson case, most of the general public now links Roundup and glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, there are suggestions that it could also be linked to various other issues, illnesses, and diseases, all of which are being studied. This includes:
- Inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes and aromatic amino acid biosynthesis, which could lead to chronic illnesses.
- A rise in non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).
- Chelation of manganese, which could lead to chronic illness.
- A steep rise in certain types of cancers.
- Whether it can substitute glycine in natural polypeptide chains.
Fact 4 – Syllogism Fallacies Have Been Identified in Glyphosate Research
A lot of research is being done in glyphosate and if there is one thing that both sides of the argument can agree on, it is that this research is flawed. Indeed, it is now recognized that syllogism fallacies have been used in research. This means that the evidence does not fit someone’s theory, but that this evidence is then disregarded so as to be able to prove the theory after all.
Fact 5 – We all Contain Some Glyphosate Because of the Food We Eat
Because glyphosate is used as a weed killer on agricultural crops, some of it will enter the food chain. While this is inevitable, it is also true that the levels of glyphosate that enter the human body through the food chain are much lower than the levels classed as acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). See also Can Using Weed Killer Give You Cancer?
Fact 6 – The True Level of Toxicity of Glyphosate Has not Been Established
A lot of things in this world are incredibly toxic. For instance, apple seeds contain cyanide. However, for someone to ingest a lethal dosage of cyanide through apple seeds, they would have to consume thousands of seeds first. The same is true for glyphosate. It is clearly a toxic product as it is specifically designed to kill organisms. However, that does not mean it is immediately toxic to humans as well. Unfortunately, there is a significant disagreement about the safe levels, with most looking at the EPA for guidance. The EPA, meanwhile, has been shown in the Monsanto Papers to have based their findings on research that was ghost written by Monsanto itself, which means their conclusions can no longer be taken as truths. Unfortunately, therefore, we simply do not know what levels are and are not toxic.
Fact 7 – Glyphosate Is not Used all that Much in the Wheat Industry
A lot of people fear that every type of wheat they eat has been drenched in glyphosate. This isn’t true, however. It is applied to about 33%, or one third, of the US wheat acres. Additionally, glyphosate can be used for different reasons, including crop destruction, which means that even those fields that do form part of that 33% don’t necessary produce crops that have been touched by glyphosate.
Fact 8 – Glyphosate Enters Surface Water
It is quite common for glyphosate to enter both surface water and ground water. However, according to the current standards, it does not reach levels high enough to be of concern for the general public. Additionally, conventional drinking water filtration methods remove the glyphosate from the water. It is also currently not believed that it causes a danger to water life.
Fact 9 – Monsanto Has Lied about Carcinogenic Products Before
Monsanto is the biggest biotech companies in the world. Recently taken over by Bayern, they continue to be referred to as “Monsanto” and there are numerous activist groups who have formed against them and what they do. The emphasis of actions such as the March Against Monsanto was very much on their GMO crops and on their treatment of small, local farmers. However, hatred towards Monsanto has always existed, not in the least because they have shown themselves time and again to put profits over people. See also How Carcinogenic Are Roundup and Glyphosate?
In fact, these products are referred to as the “Dirty Dozen” and are:
- Saccharine, marketed as a healthy sugar substitute but shown to cause cancer in mice and rats back in the 1970s. It is still on the market today.
- PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), found to cause cancer in animals and later in people. The movie Erin Brockovich was based on this, showing that Monsanto had deliberately hidden knowledge of the dangers of their products.
- Polystyrene, which is now listed as one of the products that causes the greatest amount of hazardous waste.
- Nuclear weapons and atom bombs, being responsible for the production of the Manhattan Project, the Dayton Project, and some of the worst nuclear industrial accidents in history.
- DDT, a chemical used to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes that was found to be extremely toxic. It was banned in this country in 1972, but continued to be used in developing countries across the world for many more decades.
- Dioxin, contaminating animal life in particular as this chemical builds up in the fatty tissue of animal bodies.
- Agent Orange, used as part of chemical warfare in the Vietnam War. Since then, some 500,000 children have been born with serious deformities and abnormalities, 400,000 were killed, and 1 million suffered long term health problems or were disabled. This is in Vietnam alone. The effects on the 3 million people in this country, American troops and their children, have also been well-documented.
- Petroleum-based fertilizers, which includes Roundup. These sterilize the soil and render it dependent on more fertilizers.
- Roundup itself, which is by now linked not just to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but also to the death of butterflies and bees, soil, water, and air contamination, the growth of superweeds, and more.
- Aspartame, another synthetic and chemical sweetener that is used in various drinks across the world. It is also confirmed to be linked to 94 different serious health issues.
- Bovine growth hormone (rBGH), causing cows to produce more milk. The result was also that cows suffered tremendous pain as a result and that they therefore needed more antibiotics simply to stay alive. Meanwhile, the rBGH in milk is now suggested to be linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer in humans.
- Genetically modified crops, or GMOs, which were designed to “feed the world”. Of interest is the fact that the weeds associated with these GMOs can only be killed by Monsanto products. Not just that, almost 30 years after GMO crops were first introduced, the world is still hungry.
Fact 10 – We Will Have to Wait and See
Unfortunately, when taking on a corporate giant like Roundup, things move very slowly. Every step towards justice is followed by a step back. Large companies and corporations hope that the plaintiff will eventually just back down. However, it seems that the tides are turning, not in the least because people are becoming more proactive when it comes to avoiding Monsanto as much as possible.
- Glyphosate Facts – About “Glyphosate Facts” (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.glyphosate.eu/about-glyphosate-facts.
- Frontiers in Public Health – Facts and Fallacies in the Debate on Glyphosate Toxicity (November 24, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705608/.
- The Food Facts – What’s All the Buzz about Glyphosate? (October 28, 2014). Retrieved from https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/glyphosate/.
- NFU – The Voice of British Farming – Glyphosate and toxicity: The facts (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nfuonline.com/cross-sector/science-and-technology/crop-protection/crop-protection/glyphosate-and-toxicity-the-facts/.