GMOsHealth & Disease

Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide – Featuring the Darth Vader Chemical
Duration: 1:05:42

It was “supposed” to be harmless to humans and animals — the perfect weed killer. Now a groundbreaking article (520kb PDF) just published in the journal Entropy points to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, and more specifically its active ingredient glyphosate, as devastating — possibly “the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.”

That’s right. The herbicide sprayed on most of the world’s genetically engineered crops — and gets soaked into the food portion — is now linked to “autism … gastrointestinal issues such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis and Crohn’s disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, cachexia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and ALS, among others.”

Enjoy this videotaped guided tour of Jeffrey Smith interviewing co-author Stephanie Seneff, PhD, who is a Senior Research Scientist at MIT. If you’re already bogged down trying to work your way through the thick biochemistry jargon in the paper, this user-friendly but in-depth interview will give you great relief and insight.

Further Reading:


  1. I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but I had to comment because I have a child who has behavioral aspects similar to those classified under the Autism spectrum.

    This is a bit rambling and convoluted, but the thesis of the first 20 minutes or so is that Glyphosate (Roundup) may be major factor in the Autism epidemic. It has three major effects on human physiology. 1) It kills the bacteria in our guts, mostly the favorable variety, thus giving the pathogenic varieties the advantage. 2) It disables the production of detoxifying enzymes in the liver. 3) It chelates micro-nutrients from our bodies.

    Any of this sounding familiar? What are the major interventions advocated by the Autism community for helping their children? 1)Probiotics and fermented foods… 2)Chelation of heavy metals (i.e. mercury)… 3)Biomedical testing and micro-nutrient supplementation and/or nutrient dense dietary protocols…

    I think this gun might be smoking.

  2. Hi, not for general consumption but Jeffrey talks too much. I can see that he wants to make the science more accessible, but I think he overdoes it and actually diminishes her credibility by making it all too jokey cutsy bad guy stuff. He does do a good job of translating into non-jargon, which is probably necessary, but not so much talking over his scientific authority would be better, at least for me.

    Very interesting presentation though. Thx

  3. Evidence keeps mounting on the dangers of glyphosate. I don’t have time to watch the whole hour presentation – it’s basically preaching to the converted anyway: even without the science to explain how damaging the wanton use of glyphosate is, common sense says that spraying countless millions of hectares with a substance that is designed to destroy every green thing it touches (except of course Monsanto’s insidious, promiscuous super-weeds) has to be a bad, bad idea. As for eating those glyphosate-loving plants…???
    All this is not to mention glyphosate’s significant contribution to the massive but little mentioned problem of “peak phosphorus”.
    BUT…at the risk of making myself look bad…for the sake of maybe provoking discussion, let me play devil’s advocate while making a shameful confession!
    For the first time in 15 years of serious gardening, last week I used the “Darth Vader chemical” in my own back yard :-( I would never spray this stuff, but after years of failing to rid myself of unbelievably tenacious grafted passionfruit rootstock (learn from my mistake if you don’t already know – NEVER plant a grafted passionfruit, they grow fine from seed, and the rootstock is an invasive superweed in the right environment!) I got a tiny bottle of generic brand glyphosate, and stem-scraped the mongrel with 80% glyphosate 360. For good measure, I also used the same mixture to cut-and-inject a triffid of a bouganvillia I’d already cut right back, that would have caused massive ground disturbance and a broken back to completely uproot. Maybe my decision was wrong, maybe I should have been more patient, and tried more different things, but I decided in this case to bite a very yucky bullet and save myself a lot of limited time and energy in destroying some difficult weeds, all the while being careful not to let any excess herbicide fall to the soil etc.
    I know a few very deeply environmentally conscious bush regenerators who report that they would never get the job done with the available person-hours without herbicides, and I’ve witnessed now thriving areas of bushland that were once veritable weed monocultures, where glyphosate was used carefully and judiciously.
    Glyphosate is also used in low doses in Pasture Cropping, a cereal growing technique that builds soil health and landscape biodiversity and is far preferable to ripping up the soil every year (or to so called conservation cropping, where herbicides are used heavily as an alternative to cultivation, but where this overuse of herbicide is leading to a breakdown in soil biology and soil structure).
    Matt Kilby used to carefully use glyphosate mixed with (I think) molasses and fulvic acid to reduce its impact on soil biology to prepare heavily grassed areas for landscape regenerating tree plantings.
    So…glyphosate is nasty stuff, no doubt. It should definitely never be sprayed around big acreages, and Roundup-resistant GMOs are an absolute scourge on the world. But, just maybe, glyphosate and other herbicides could have a limited place in working to regenerate landscapes, if used very carefully and strategically.

  4. And there it is folks, our never ending ability to justify ones own actions in the face of reason.

  5. Joel, you can pull up passionfruit rootstock by hand as it comes up, do it weekly and in six months it’s gone for good, the energy stored in the rootstock is finite, and all the material harvested this way can be used sustainably and be composted so it’s not wasted. No need for poisons! That worked for me.

    Devil’s advocate hey? “I’ve witnessed now thriving areas of bushland that were once veritable weed monocultures, where glyphosate was used carefully and judiciously.” Now if we just peer over to the adjacent waterways we can see how we’ve just poisoned the whole aquatic system there, and have signed a death warrant for the endangered native fish, amphibians and water birds that live there… As a toxicologist, the idea of “saving nature” by contaminating our natural ecosystems with toxic manmade chemicals has always bewildered me. ; )

    It might challenge some people’s thinking, but a small amount of poison is still poison, it simply doesn’t kill as much as a larger amount would, but it kills nevertheless. For anyone who has an inkling about the existence of food webs in ecological systems, it should be evident that “what goes around comes around”, put the poisons in the system, and they inevitably end up in your body. Vodka with a splash of glyphosate anyone? Let’s drink to self-destruction! Cheers!

  6. Thanks Angelo! This is the sort of response I was looking for. I did repeatedly and persistently attack that passionfruit as it came up, but I can’t say I did it every week without fail for six months. I aim to always be ready to be proved wrong, and a public admission about a dubious decision I made, on a forum like this, reflects my real misgivings about it. I may never use it again, we shall see.
    I do not want to waste energy arguing “for” a tool that I consider highly dangerous, and that I know is a terrible contributor to a scary worldwide toxic load. When it comes to glyphosate it is rather nauseating to play any sort of devil’s advocate, because it really is a devil. However, I do stand by the other examples I gave of judicious use of a dangerous technology, because I think debate about “not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good” in regards to tool use in general, is worth having.
    For example, I do not “approve” of the use of glyphosate in pasture cropping (see a research article I wrote on the practice here – ), but the ecological benefits of the overall pasture cropping approach, particularly in the context of the rest of the Australian/world grain industry, cannot be dismissed out of hand.
    For a bush regeneration example that is well known in my local area, take Wingham Brush. (see ) This precious remnant of riverside coastal rainforest was on the brink of elimination by a total covering of exotic vine weeds. Herbicide (in this case, glyphosate) was one of the tools used to regenerate the Brush. OK, with enough willing hands, the vines may have been possible to manage without herbicide, and may have even contributed to soil building, but while building a movement to actually have enough willing hands for such projects, not enough willing hands is still the reality. And…the whole aquatic environment of the Manning River is not poisoned by bush regeneration efforts at Wingham Brush. While the fishing is good there, it would no doubt be a whole lot better if there were no cattle grazing the riverbanks, no application of nitrogen fertilisers in the floodplain and no paddock-scale use of herbicides and other biocides by farmers in the valley. Yes, a little poison is definitely still poison, but were they really wrong to contribute an infinitesimal proportion of the catchment’s total cumulative toxic load while achieving real and long lasting outcomes for local biodiversity?
    Are Global Land Repair doing Satan’s work because they use this: ? I confidently say that on balance, no they are not. I’ve seen degraded paddocks turned into thriving, diverse, tree filled ecosystems using this planting system and variations on it.
    We live in a world that is not only imperfect, but in crisis. I’m certainly not going to go around advocating for using biocides, or any other dangerous tool, but a tool is a tool and is used in context, and these examples do not come close to meaningfully comparing to feeding the whole population of the US with glyphosate pumped GM foods.
    Maybe Olin is right and my own action in using glyphosate cannot be justified by reason, but I stuck my neck out and admitted to it in this highly charged context of an article furthering evidence of its ill effects, and I think the discussion is worth having.

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