It’s easy to turn a deaf ear to certain health threats… especially if you feel powerless to do anything about them. That makes it easy to let something like toxic pesticide exposure fall to the back burner.
That’s why I feel you need a wake-up house call…
Exposure to herbicides is not just a theoretical threat. It is already happening. And I’m seeing it in my practice…
My 6-year old patient, Diego, has been struggling with behavior problems for several years. Worse, his skin rashes are nearly uncontrollable. So his doctor and mother decided to get his urine tested for exposure to glyphosate. His level came back at 3.95 ug/g, far above the 95th percentile (2.5 ug/g) for his age.
Now, how old are you? Make no mistake: Glyphosate, the most prevalent herbicide used today by far, is seeping into your food and settling into your body — and has been for quite a few years….
Glyphosate is by far the most widely used herbicide in the world. It was introduced in the 1970’s to kill weeds. You likely know it as the primary chemical in Roundup®. It kills weeds by targeting the enzymes needed to produce three important amino acids: Tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine.
Since the 1970s, the amount of glyphosate being sprayed on our crops has increased nearly 100-fold. Commercial glyphosate formulations can have as much as a 41% concentration while domestic use products as low as 1% concentration.
The problem is that these three amino acids are not only important in plants, but in humans too. That’s largely because this chemical also inhibits enzymes of many bacteria too — preferentially disturbing our healthy gut bacteria. Therefore, it is known to alter the microbial flora of our intestine.
I’ve written a few articles previously on leaky gut syndrome and intestinal wall immune hypersensitivity, which is probably the major contributor to chronic inflammation and chronic diseases. I’ve read that glyphosate also depletes the micronutrient content of food too.
More common that you think
If you’re like a lot of people, you think this herbicide scare is just for other people. Maybe you feel fine now and think your exposure is minimal.
Well, what if I told you that when crops such as wheat, oats, sugar cane, lentils, peas, potatoes, sunflowers, and cantaloupe are almost ready to harvest, farmers douse them with glyphosate to get a drier and quicker harvest?
What if I also told you that glyphosate is not only on our food, but also over the years it is showing up in our rain, rivers, streams and groundwater? A 2014 U.S Geological survey proved that glyphosate was present in more than 50% of the rivers, streams, groundwater, and soil samples that were tested in 38 states.
You are probably going to be alarmed (but at least informed) now to learn that your chances of being exposed to glyphosate are higher than you ever thought…
Just this year, UC San Francisco reported the first ever testing of glyphosate in the American general public. They found that 93% of all those tested were positive for glyphosate residues. They are planning to release their full report later in 2016, but indicate this percentage will be very reflective of all Americans.
Bio-accumulation of glyphosate
How can we reliably study the effects of this herbicide in humans over time? It is very different than studying its effects from accidental glyphosate ingestion — symptoms of acute exposure are easy to measure: Eye and skin irritation, abdominal pain, vomiting, excess fluid in the lungs, or slowing and weakening of the heart.
It’s the long-term effects that are especially troublesome…
Over time, glyphosate causes insidious illnesses that can only be seen with large epidemiological studies linked to basic plant and animal studies. We have to consider what happens when it seeps into our organ tissues, and accumulates in body fat — over years. If there is no doubt that it bio-accumulates in animals, why should we think it doesn’t do the same in humans? The fact is, it can and does bio-accumulate in humans, in addition to hurting our food supply.
Unfortunately for use, glyphosate is now being combined with other even more toxic chemicals to improve its effectiveness. It is these complex and variable mixtures that are likely to link to birth defects and neurological disorders in children…fertility problems in young adults…and cancer in aging people.
Let us consider the reports of Don Huber, a proven expert on Glyphosate. Don is Emeritus Professor at Purdue University, senior scientist on USDA’s National Plant Disease Recovery System, and lead researcher of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on this chemical. He has been a plant physiologist and pathologist for over 40 years. Don tells us that glyphosate has many likely and proven health hazards for animals and humans. He points to its effects on “endocrine disruption, DNA damage, reproductive and developmental toxicities, neurotoxicity, cancer, and birth defects.”
Other researchers reported last year more on glyphosate’s toxicity at low exposures over time: It has teratogenic (birth defects), tumorigenic (farmers are suing over these cancer-causing effects) and hepatorenal (liver and kidney) adverse effects.
Guess how they explained the mechanism of its toxicity? By endocrine (hormone) disruption and other metabolic alterations. I have written previously about the dangers of xenoestrogens (hormone mimickers) which contribute largely to chronic disease.
If you consider all the studies correlating glyphosate usage and likely contamination (but not exactly proving causation) in humans world-wide, you’ll find the following chronic illnesses:
- Hypertension and stroke (cardiovascular disease)
- Lipoprotein metabolism disorder (dyslipidemia)
- Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- Intestinal infections, dysbiosis, IBS, and leaky gut syndrome
- Chronic kidney disease, and
- Cancers of the bladder, kidney, liver, pancreas, thyroid, and myeloid leukemia
Therefore, regarding the resistance of Monsanto and herbicide producers, unbiased scientists have published a “Statement of Concern” earlier this year. They state that:
- The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer tells us that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
- Current published scientific studies of glyphosate use, mechanisms of action, toxicity to animals, and epidemiological studies of glyphosate toxicity in the last 10 years tell us it is that previous estimates of safe daily intakes of glyphosate in the United States and European Union are outdated and incorrect.
- Glyphosate often contaminates drinking water sources if you live near agricultural regions.
- Glyphosate lasts longer in water and soil than previously recognized.
- Human exposures to glyphosate is rising.
Glyphosate and its companion chemicals can be measured in your urine by Great Plains Laboratory.
To a clean environment and feeling good,
Michael Cutler, M.D.