The United States agrochemical giant Monsanto that is responsible for the production of Roundup, the herbicide made from glyphosate has continually argued that the herbicide is not harmful to humans because humans do not have the shikimate pathway. However, gut bacteria in humans do have this pathway. People depend on that gut bacteria for the supply of essential amino acids among other substances vital for the digestion process. Products with glyphosate are highly toxic to humans as well as other animals. Symptoms include nausea, irritation of the skin and eye, numbness, headache, elevated blood pressure, and heart palpitations.
On the November of 2009, the high court of France ruled that Monsanto had not told the truth about the safety of Roundup and glyphosate. Monsanto was found guilty of wrongly advertising its herbicide as ‘biodegradable’ and also claimed that it left the soil clean. French environmental groups brought the case to the French Courts in the year 2001 with the claim that the main ingredient used to make up Roundup which is glyphosate, was classified as dangerous for the environment by the European Union.
Given how casual the marketing of glyphosate herbicides has been, it is shocking that toxicology scientific research has been able to discover possible harmful effects in all areas of lab testing. These effects include salivary gland lesions that indicate medium-term toxicity and genetic damage in human blood cells that indicate long-term toxic effects. Other effects include adverse effects on reproduction such as reduced sperm counts and inflamed stomach linings. In studies of farmers who had been exposed to glyphosate herbicides, it was discovered that exposure to glyphosate is directly associated with an increased risk of premature birth and miscarriages, as well as cancer of the lymphoma.
Glyphosate has been defined as extremely adverse by the EPA in the United States, and has been found in streams following the applications of different industries that involve urbanization, agriculture, and forestry. Glyphosate treatment has had a role to play in the reduction of population numbers of beneficial insects and birds by killing the vegetation on which these animals rely on for food and shelter.
- 1Glyphosate has been defined as extremely adverse by the EPA in the United States
- 2The glyphosate works by blocking a metabolic path called the shikimate that is present in all plants but not animals or humans and therefore contributes to its low toxicity in animals and humans.
- 3Glyphosate alters with the microbial communities that form the basis of the digestive health of human beings
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is one of the world’s most commonly used herbicides and makes up for about 25% of the entire world’s herbicide market. Glyphosate which is also known as N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine, is used to make herbicides that are constantly in use in agricultural practices due to their cost effectiveness and simplicity of the control of weeds which can prove to be a frustration for farmers. Although most glyphosate products get used in the agriculture industry, some countries use the products to control weeds in gardens and areas that are not cultivated such as industrial complexes and along rail lines.
The herbicide is regularly sprayed in public places such as parks and sports fields to make sure that they look tidy, as well as on backyard vegetable gardens to help with control of growth of weeds. Farmers usually buy special seeds to plant crops resistant to glyphosate so that when they spray for weeds, their genetically modified crops will thrive while the undesired weeds will wither away. Glyphosate is applied on non-genetically modified food crops as well before harvesting, in a process called desiccation, to make the harvesting process easier for the farmer.
Glyphosate was introduced in the year 1974 for the first time under the trade name ‘Roundup’ and has been marketed under various trade names ever since in hundreds of plant protection products that are sold globally such as Rodeo and Pondmaster. Glyphosate is not the top selling herbicide in the United States, and its use has increased by over 1400 percent over the last two decades. In Europe, glyphosate herbicides are used to control weeds in a wide range of crops that include cereals, sunflowers, and grassland. Several European countries such as Germany use glyphosate herbicides on almost half of their entire crop area. Glyphosate gets often spread on weeds in a diluted solution and is taken quickly by the plants.
Glyphosate is designed to kill weeds but is very well capable of killing most plants except for those that have been altered by Monsanto to have a resistance to Roundup. Typical genetically altered crops considered “Roundup Ready” include, soy, cotton canola, and corn which are present in a substantial amount of American food. Glyphosate hinders the plant from making proteins that are required it’s growth. The glyphosate disrupts the shikimic acid enzyme responsible for the synthesis of essential amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine. After the herbicide is used on the plants, they wither out and perish after a few hours or even up to a few weeks.
Glyphosate has become a popular herbicide because it allows farmers to sow directly into stubble fields without plowing. The herbicide has managed to replace mechanical weed control in many crops and has had quite the significant impact on agricultural practices and crop yields in Europe over the past few decades. The glyphosate works by blocking a metabolic path called the shikimate that is present in all plants but not animals or humans and therefore contributes to its low toxicity in animals and humans. The metabolic pathway is vital for the growth of the plant and therefore makes glyphosate a very effective herbicide.
How is Glyphosate toxic to humans?
Microorganisms that are progenic happen to be of high necessity for the good health of mammals. These microbes function for food digestion, synthesize vitamins, make sure that the permeability of the gut remains balanced, optimize immune response, as well as metabolize certain substances that happen to be toxic. There are microbes 10 times more in the human gut than there are in the cells of the human body. Anything that tampers with the pathway known as shikimate is harmful to human health by altering the bal