Finally a chink in Monsanto’s armour?

A few months ago a U.S. court ruled that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup had caused a plaintiff’s Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (1). Thousands of similar cases are still awaiting trial. Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, had been declared “probably carcinogenic in humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) (2).

Some background on glyphosate

 Glyphosate is a herbicide, i.e. it is capable of killing all vegetation, weeds and food crops alike. However, recent advances in gene editing techniques have led to the development of so-called Roundup-ready crops – canola, corn, cotton, soybeans and sugar beets – that are unharmed by glyphosate. These Roundup-ready crops can therefore be sprayed directly throughout the growing season to keep the fields weed-free.

Farmers also use glyphosate as desiccant. Even Non-GMO cereals like wheat, oats and barley are now sprayed once they are ripe, to hasten harvesting before the wet weather arrives.

Roundup is thus used in enormous quantities. Workers applying this stuff, and people in rural communities living near sprayed fields, are especially heavily exposed. The rest of us get it in our diet.

Monsanto’s reaction to criticism of glyphosate

Of course, Monsanto denies any link between Roundup and cancer, and plans to appeal the court’s decision. In fact, Monsanto denies that glyphosate poses any health hazard at all. They point out that human DNA does not have the genes that glyphosate targets in plants. Besides, they claim, the amounts of glyphosate found in human subjects are simply too small to pose a health risk.

However, internal Monsanto documents obtained during other ongoing litigation clearly show that the company was well aware of glyphosate’s toxicity, but covered it up and went to great length to fend off any evidence of adverse health effects from glyphosate (3).

Monsanto used third-party experts to plant positive news about glyphosate. They paid academic scientists to pose as authors of articles proclaiming the safety of glyphosate, articles that were actually written by Monsanto employees. The company used front groups – organizations that give the appearance of scientific impartiality but are actually industry mouthpieces – to spread misinformation and to counter unfavourable scientific findings. They tried to intimidate and silence scientists critical of their product, and to undermine the credibility of organizations like IARC.

Scientific evidence of harm from glyphosate

The successful lawsuit against Monsanto was about cancer, but cancer shouldn’t be our only health concern.

The claim that glyphosate should pose no risk, because humans don’t have the metabolic pathway that its herbicide targets, is misleading to say the least. That absence doesn’t mean that glyphosate is harmless (4).

First, while human DNA doesn’t encode the pathway in question, our gut bacteria do. Given their importance to our mental and physical health, disrupting the gut microbiome has to have serious consequences.

Secondly,  glyphosate has been shown to be genotoxic, i.e. it messes with the genes that we do have. Interference in the synthesis of detoxifying enzymes is one important consequence. This means that our bodies don’t just have difficulty detoxifying and eliminating glyphosate itself, but other environmental toxins as well. Put differently, glyphosate even increases the health risks posed by other poisons.

What is more, other ingredients in Roundup have been shown to be even more hazardous than glyphosate by itself.

Given its known physiological effects, and our long-term exposure to it in our food and in the environment, glyphosate likely contributes to a number of modern lifestyle diseases, a contribution that short-term trials are unlikely to detect.

The bottom line

Since Roundup-ready crops are staple foods, and since even non-Roundup-ready crops are sprayed before harvesting, it is virtually impossible to avoid getting that poison in the food we eat. Even organically grown produce may become poisoned by wind-borne glyphosate and by contaminated water. To claim that even a lifetime exposure to that stuff could pose no threat to our health insults our intelligence. And lifetime exposure is what we will get if that stuff isn’t going to be banned.

Who decides what we can or cannot eat – we, or the food industry? Will we get to eat what is good for us, or what maximizes corporate profits, even if it sickens and kills us?

Yes, the people who were harmed by Monsanto should be compensated, but what we really need is to ban the use of the chemical altogether to prevent further harm. Interestingly, another court recently ordered the ban of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to children’s health problems (5).

Sources:

  1. Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in Roundup cancer trial. The New York Times Aug. 10, 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/business/monsanto-roundup-cancer-trial.html
  2. IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf
  3. Spinning science & silencing scientists: A case study in how the chemical industry attempts to influence science. Minority staff report prepared for members of the Committee on Science, Space & Technology U.S. House of Representatives February 2018 https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/monsanto-documents/Final-minority-report-glyphosate-spinning-science-silencing-scientists.pdf
  4. Samsel A, Seneff S, Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases, Entropy 2013;15(4):1416-1463. https://doi.org/10.3390/e15041416
  5. Court orders EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, pesticide tied to children’s health problems, The New York Times Aug, 9, 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/us/politics/chlorpyrifos-pesticide-ban-epa-court.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=65e8cee8-1dc9-4f10-88c6-745710b8269d

159 Replies to “Finally a chink in Monsanto’s armour?”

  1. It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or advice.Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.I want to read even more things about it!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’ll have more to say on this general topic. Abuse of economic power to society’s detriment is unfortunately a major problem.

  2. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto
    a coworker who has been conducting a little homework on this.
    And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this topic here on your internet site.

  3. Today, I went to the beach with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside
    and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  4. You are so cool! I don’t think I have read anything like this before.
    So good to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this subject
    matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web
    site is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!

  5. After reading your blog post, I browsed your website a bit and noticed you aren’t ranking nearly as well in Google as you could be. I possess a handful of blogs myself, and I think you should take a look at “seowebsitetrafficnettools”, just google it. You’ll find it’s a very lovely SEO tool that can bring you a lot more visitors and improve your ranking. They have more than 30+ tools only 20$. Very cheap right? Keep up the quality posts

    1. You’ll find more information about Monsanto in the sources I quote. The company and glyphosate will undoubtedly remain in the news; they just lost another lawsuit and similar cases await trial.

  6. Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with
    Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted
    keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share.
    Thank you!

    1. No, I don’t know of any SEO plugins. If you want to be found in cyberspace, you basically need to come up with terms that accurately describe the gist of your post and then incorporate those words into the title, subtitle(s) and body of your post. In other words, search engine optimization is part of the writing process. Good luck with your blog.

  7. Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you
    amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site?
    The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted
    of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  8. Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to understand
    so much about this, such as you wrote the e book in it
    or something. I believe that you simply can do
    with some percent to drive the message home a
    little bit, however instead of that, that is wonderful blog.
    A great read. I will certainly be back.

  9. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading
    through your blog posts. Can you recommend
    any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the
    same subjects? Many thanks!

  10. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your
    post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content available for you?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a
    few of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome weblog!

  11. Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person’s
    web site link on your page at proper place and other
    person will also do same for you.

  12. I have been surfing online more than three hours
    today, yet I never found any interesting article
    like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as
    you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  13. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your
    site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  14. I was recommended this blog by way of my cousin. I’m now not certain whether or not this
    publish is written by means of him as no one else know
    such specific about my trouble. You are incredible!
    Thank you!

  15. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this
    blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my
    end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Someone else pointed out that my blog was slow to load using Internet Explorer. On my system it works fine on both Explorer and Firefox.

  16. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make
    your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just
    posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  17. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.

    I am quite sure I’ll learn a lot of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  18. Hello there, I think your site could possibly be having
    browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your
    website in Safari, it looks fine however,
    if opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up!

    Besides that, great website!

    1. You are my second visitor who had trouble displaying my blog correctly in Internet Explorer. I checked my site then, and I just checked it again, and on my system my blog looks the same on Internet Explorer and Firefox, my preferred browser. I have no explanation for this problem. Thanks anyway for pointing this out to me, and thanks for the compliment.

  19. I was recommended this web site by way of my cousin.
    I’m not positive whether or not this submit is written by
    way of him as nobody else realize such certain approximately my
    trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  20. I blog frequently and I truly appreciate your information.
    This article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to
    bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about
    once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  21. I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and
    bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  22. You could certainly see your expertise within the work you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as
    you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  23. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog!

  24. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but
    great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding
    more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  25. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post.
    Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  26. After reading your blog post, I browsed your website a bit and noticed you aren’t ranking nearly as well in Google as you could be. I possess a handful of blogs myself, and I think you should take a look at “seowebsitetrafficnettools”, just google it. You’ll find it’s a very lovely SEO tool that can bring you a lot more visitors and improve your ranking. They have more than 30+ tools only 20$. Very cheap right? Keep up the quality posts

  27. you are in reality a excellent webmaster. The website loading pace is amazing.

    It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick.
    In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a magnificent process on this subject!

  28. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your
    website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire
    actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your
    feeds and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  29. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I will
    bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.

    I am quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  30. Heya! I understand this is somewhat off-topic however I had to
    ask. Does managing a well-established website like yours take
    a massive amount work? I am brand new to blogging
    but I do write in my journal every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can share
    my experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.
    Appreciate it!

    1. Blogging is mostly writing, and possibly background research. Since you are already journaling you should have a good idea of what it takes to run a blog.

  31. First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask
    if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind
    before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing
    my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it
    just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

    1. I wish I could say that writing is easy. Even successful authors are struggling. As one writer put it: I hate to write, but I love to have written.

  32. Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a
    good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  33. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks

  34. I just want to say I am very new to blogs and truly savored you’re web site. More than likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with superb articles and reviews. Regards for sharing your webpage.

  35. My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a variety of
    websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another platform.
    I have heard great things about blogengine.net.
    Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  36. I just want to mention I’m all new to blogs and certainly savored you’re web site. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your site . You surely have good writings. Appreciate it for sharing your web page.

  37. Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re
    stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you
    still take care of to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more
    from you. This is actually a tremendous site.

  38. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers
    and starting a new project in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  39. I just want to say I am very new to blogs and truly savored you’re web site. More than likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with superb articles and reviews. Regards for sharing your webpage.

  40. I just want to say I am very new to blogs and truly savored you’re web site. More than likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with superb articles and reviews. Regards for sharing your webpage.

  41. I am really inspired together with your writing skills and
    also with the layout in your blog. Is this a paid
    subject matter or did you customize it your self? Anyway
    stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to peer a great weblog like
    this one these days..

  42. I am usually to running a blog and i actually recognize your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  43. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the
    layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did
    you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice
    quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

  44. Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style
    seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  45. You’re so cool! I do not think I’ve read something like this before.
    So good to find someone with a few original thoughts on this
    subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up.
    This site is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with a
    little originality!

  46. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam
    remarks? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

  47. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering problems with your RSS.

    I don’t understand the reason why I can’t subscribe to it.
    Is there anyone else getting the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you
    kindly respond? Thanx!!

  48. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the difficulty is something that not enough persons are speaking intelligently about. I’m very comfortable that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something relating to this.

  49. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  50. Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just
    curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you
    protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any
    assistance is very much appreciated.

  51. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  52. Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading
    and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  53. I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  54. Hey there I am so delighted I found your site,
    I really found you by accident, while I was browsing
    on Aol for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a
    tremendous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

  55. Appreciating the time and energy you put into
    your website and detailed information you
    offer. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a
    while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material. Wonderful read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds
    to my Google account.

  56. Howdy this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if
    blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted
    to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  57. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appearance.
    I must say that you’ve done a excellent job with this.
    Also, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Internet
    explorer. Exceptional Blog!

  58. Hey there I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you
    by accident, while I was searching on Google for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just
    like to say thanks a lot for a fantastic post and a all round
    entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have
    time to browse it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added in your RSS
    feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more,
    Please do keep up the excellent work.

  59. Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during
    lunch break. I love the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  60. You are so interesting! I do not think I’ve truly read through anything like that before. So nice to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

  61. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *