In November 2016, a very concerning report — Glyphosate: Unsafe On Any Plate — was released by The Detox Project and Food Democracy Now!, raising the alarm of the high levels of glyphosate in the US food supply and the (deliberate?) low levels of awareness of its associated health risks.
Soon after its release, we brought Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, on the podcast to explain the explosive findings within this report on the world's most-used herbicide (more commonly known by its retail brand: Roundup). We asked: Are we being poisoned in the pursuit of profit?
As happened in past decades with the alcohol and tobacco industries, the glyphosate report added compelling evidence that profits have indeed taken a priority over consumer safety in our food production system — and as public health concerns mounted, Big Ag started circling its wagons and attacking the questioners rather than embracing open scrutiny.
But last month, the tables turned. In a landmark upset ruling, Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller was ruled to be carcinogenic, and the company's attempt to hide this fact from consumers made it guilty of acting “with malice or oppression”. Monsanto's new parent company Bayer was ordered to pay the plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper now dying of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, $289 million in damages.
Will this court ruling restrict the use of glyphosate going forward? Or will it be de-fanged upon appeal? What else has been learned about the health impacts of glyphosate in our food since the 2016 report? What is the latest science telling us?
To address these important questions and more, we welcome Dave Murphy back on the program.
When I look at the damages that glyphosate does to the human gut biome, I ask folks: What's worse: cancer or the destruction of your immune system?
There's eighteen to twenty million people in America that have gluten intolerance. And really, they're not gluten intolerant. What they're intolerant to is the pesticide glyphosate that's sprayed on wheat, oat and barley as a pre-harvest dessicating agent. Scientists have studied the gut microbiome – your stomach is your second brain. There's a gut-brain axis, and glyphosate really significantly disrupts the microbiome in humans just like it disrupts the microbiome of the soil.
So the ironic thing is while farmers are spraying Roundup on their fields to kill weeds, they're actually destroying their soil fertility over the long term. Scientists in the Midwest that have shown that Roundup and glyphosate are linked to serious crop diseases like sudden death syndrome in soybeans and also Goss's wilt corn which can lead to a 40-70% loss of those farmers' crops when it becomes widespread. The thing is, if it destroys the microbiome in the soil and it impacts those crops' health, it's also impacting the human gut microbiome of the folks who eat those crops.
A number of studies have come out since we last talked in 2016. One is by the Ramazzini Institute, which is a fairly famous cancer review agency in Italy. They just came out with a study linking EMFs in cell phone radiation to changes in human genes and being harmful to humans. Last fall they came out with a thirteen-week preliminary study that showed that in pregnant rats fed glyphosate, their rat pups' microbiome is disrupted while they're in the womb. For any mother whp's pregnant right now or who's eating food that's not organic, that should be very concerning.
And that corresponds to a study that was published last year in Indiana where the scientists did a cohort review of a hundred pregnant women in Indiana. They found that women who had the highest levels of glyphosate in their urine also had the worst birth outcomes. So that means they had still-births, miscarriages, and low birth weights. And when we interviewed one of the doctors who had been part of that study, he was absolutely flabbergasted that the U.S. government is allowing this chemical to be used in such a widespread way that endangers human health.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Dave Murphy (45m:03s).