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April 30th, 2013

New Review Points to Glyphosate’s Dangerous Health Effects

Let me decide, make GE food labeling the lawBy Genna Reed

A new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide— sheds light on its effects within the human body. The paper describes how all of these effects could work together, and with other variables, trigger health problems in humans, including debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.

Glyphosate impairs the cytochrome P450 (CYP) gene pathway, which creates enzymes that help to form and also break down molecules in cells. There are myriad important CYP enzymes, including aromatase (the enzyme that converts androgen into estrogen) and 21-Hydroxylase, which creates cortisol (stress hormone) and aldosterone (regulates blood pressure). One function of these CYP enzymes is also to detoxify xenobiotics, which are foreign chemicals like drugs, carcinogens or pesticides. Glyphosate inhibits these CYP enzymes, which has rippling effects throughout our body.

Because the CYP pathway is essential for normal functioning of various systems in our bodies, any small change in its expression can lead to disruptions. For example, humans exposed to glyphosate have decreased levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which is necessary for active signaling of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Suppressed serotonin levels have been associated with weight gain, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

This paper does not claim to yield new scientific discoveries. Instead, it looks at older studies in a new light. Critics will say the links between glyphosate and health problems made in this paper are purely correlational, but this work is important because it brings all of the possible health effects of glyphosate together and discusses what could happen: something the USDA, EPA and FDA have failed to do.

Just as Monsanto attempted to discredit Seralini’s study on rats fed GE corn, the company called this peer-reviewed journal article “another bogus study” due to its “bad science.” In a classic pot-calling-the-kettle-black scenario, what Monsanto doesn’t mention is that the majority of research showing glyphosate’s safety has been done by Monsanto itself, which could be called bad science as well due to its limited and biased nature.

The authors of the new review call for more independent research to validate their findings, stating that “glyphosate is likely to be pervasive in our food supply, and, contrary to being essentially nontoxic, it may in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.” If the body of independent research on GE foods and the herbicides used with them shows one thing, it is that there are unanswered questions begging for unbiased research. And while these questions remain unanswered, Americans have the right to know how their food was produced – take action to tell your members of Congress to support mandatory GE labeling.

18 Comments on New Review Points to Glyphosate’s Dangerous Health Effects

  1. Cecilia Nalkamura says:

    In the past, so many “assumptions” that a substance is safe have proven disastrously wrong in the past. We should have learned our lessons:
    Wait until ALL of the data is in.
    Don’t rely on industries or companies to police themselves, and make sure that a number of independent studies have been confirmed results.

  2. George R. Costich says:

    Europe has just Outlawed All of these Ecocide Poisons because of the danger of total environmental collapse.

    Their decision was made by their Food Scientists – NOT by Bribed Politicians – like in America!

    • Sharon says:

      Perhaps we should move to Europe. I’d like to stop worrying!

    • Can you prove that politicians in America have been Bribed about Glyphosate?

      • Howard Martin says:

        Not bribed specifically to approve glyphosate. But EPA approval is based on review of research done by Monsanto–the manufacturer and patent holder. A clear conflict of interest.

        EPA is not legislatively mandated or funded to do their own research, and the laws are written to allow approval based on the manufacturers data. And EPA is chronically underfunded to carefully review the data coming in from manufacturers who register thousands of new chemicals each year.

  3. Julie Marsh says:

    Wow. This could be the smoking gun for the autism epidemic. If, in fact, these pesticides interfere with the body’s ability to process xenobiotics, it might explain why so many kids have had severe and well-known adverse reactions to vaccines, which use xenobiotics as adjuvants. GMOs were introduced at the same time that the vaccine schedule was increased dramatically. Look at the epidemics we’ve dealt with since the early 90’s — over the top allergies, asthma, obesity, diabetes, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, Krone’s disease, and other auto-immune diseases. And perhaps all these parents who insist that their kids experienced regressive autism within days or weeks of vaccination are not “crazy” after all, but have actually witnessed the effect of these two hazards working together to create illness in the gut. The autism rate has climbed to 1 in 50, people. You don’t go from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 50 in a generation and get thinking people to believe that it’s “increased diagnosis” or genetic. That’s just dumb and totally unscientific. We can’t afford not to take this seriously. It costs $2 million to care for EACH victim of autism over the course of their life, because they are disabled and unlike many other illnesses, autism is not often fatal. Not to mention the suffering of entire families who care for these individuals, where the divorce rate is 90%.

  4. karen says:

    I would love to see a class action suit so that the medical problems I am starting to experienced are covered by the company directly responsible .

  5. I’m not sure why you would be pushing this paper. It doesn’t have any new data. It’s pure speculation and not a proper (systematic) review. There are no real mechanisms. It screams BS because generally X problem doesn’t cause lots of different diseases with such disparate underlying causes: if someone published a study saying banana consumption was linked to a big list of diseases, you’d never believe it. The authors are not biologists or toxicologists. The journal itself is an open-access journal (pay for play) called Entropy that mostly publishes mathematics related things. One of the authors published a bunch of articles in the same issue and has previously published incredibly controversial things. I know you folks don’t like glyphosate, but maybe stick with actual science and not crap? Some of the studies the authors reference actually contradict the claims made by the authors.

    You can read more here on why you should never have posted this. Even Michael Pollan corrected his link to this study to call it “dubious”.

    • I, too, agree that it is highly likely that Rachael is either directly or indirectly, (through a husband or significant other) compensated by Monsanto or another biotech giant. This I state, because I am a common citizen who has done massive research since 2007 on neonicotinoids which are pesticides, Roundup and its environmental consequences on pollinators and Monsanto. Perhaps you are unaware that the EPA does not do its own studies prior to issuing a conditional use permit to chemical companies but accepts the data supplied by the chemical companies. Perhaps you do not know of that within the EPA is a revolving door of individuals who have either worked for Monsanto or who leave the EPA to work for Monsanto. Perhaps you do not know that in spite of good science that is done by EPA scientists, such as, clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, that the 110 basically stated in a nutshell this was a massive environmental hazard and was given a permit anyway. It just takes 5 individuals to make a decision that affects everyone in the nation. Just 5 not counting their director whom I abhor, Dr. Stephen Bradbury who doesn’t like to get confused by the facts and always supports the chemical companies.

    • Karen Scribner says:

      Last I heard Pollan is working at UC Berkeley which gets a whole lot of money from Monsanto etc.

  6. Tammy McCormack says:

    There is NO doubt in my mind that Monsanto know/knew what they are doing, as is quite apparent to me…. when they “threw down the gaunlet” back in 1998!

    “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” — Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, quoted in the New York Times, October 25, 1998

  7. mark a. lewis says:

    My response is to Ms. Rachael, whom obviously is employed by monsanto or indirectly by the hundreds of corporations it dictates.
    Ironic , you use “systemic” in your arguement. Non the less, math creates 57% of the basic denominater in science, unless your unaware? And moreover well tests in highly agricultural areas have had increased levels of your “coveted” herbicide increasing almost every year since its inauguration date!! So if its so safe? Go to home depot and buy the handy ready to use jug and garnish your coffee with it !!!

  8. Sarah says:

    So do any of the critical thinkers here decrying the above commenter Rachael as a mere Monsanto shill (apparently because she disagrees with you) have anything *substantive* to say in response to the actual *content* of her comment?

    Perhaps you do not know, Sharilyn, that an argumentum ad Monsantium ( is not a real argument?

  9. JAMES W. EVERTS says:

    Two years ago, we had : ‘GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2009′ by Brookes & Barfoot (2011). Their conclusion: ” [GMOs have] resulted in improved productivity and profitability for the 15.4 million adopting farmers who have applied the technology”. Food & Water Europe quite correctly concluded that “The questionable and misleading methodologies used in their work mean that conclusions produced by PG Economics should not be taken at face value.” They put it mildly. (
    Then Séralini et al. came with their claim that RR corn is highly cancerogenic. See thEIR study and what the scientific world, not Monsanto, left intact of it: “An embarrassment to science”
    Now we have Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff stating that Glyphosate is at the origin of all modern day health problems. Another collection of outlandish claims. I can only see this as a highly sophisticated joke. No, I am not on Monsanto’s paylist, and yes, I am a toxicologist. And I am not alone in my appraisal:

    I hope Food&Water Europe is going to be a bit more balanced in its presentation of scientific studies.

  10. At the first sign of trouble suburban lawn doctors would whip out their trusty arsenal of pesticides. A look at mid century Americas love affair with pesticides

  11. […] use of glyphosate in wetlands? Some studies indicate that glyphosate may pose a threat to human health (including celiac disease and gluten intolerance) and certain species of frogs. What happens when […]

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