By Nancy Smorch
Today, our new lawn guy suggested that I allow him to use Roundup around the pastures and new fruit trees to get rid of some of the weeds and tall grass we’ve had in abundance.
He seemed surprised by my adamant (and immediate) refusal.
I’ve spent time looking into the adverse effects of glyphosate—the “safe” chemical used in the weed killer Roundup—and know enough to realize that I don’t want that stuff anywhere near my pastures, lawn, baby orchard, and garden, let alone my animals and family!
Glyphosate is touted as “safe” because it works by affecting the shikimate pathway (which synthesizes amino acids in plants and microorganisms) after absorption through the leaves… and mammals do not contain a shikimate pathway in our systems.
However, the information overlooked in that statement is that, while humans do not have direct shikimate pathways, we do have specialized bacteria in our digestive systems that do have these shikimate pathways.
This means that repeated exposure will affect the gut and intestines of humans and animals. Imbalances and issues of the digestive system have been linked to allergies and food sensitivities, among many other issues including inflammation of cellular systems, depression, infertility, and heart disease.
This was big news for me! I didn’t believe the claims that Roundup was safe, but until now I didn’t have the evidence to share with those that insisted it was safe.
The previous few years, in an effort to get rid of the stubborn toxic weeds in my horse pasture, I broke down and used chemical herbicides.
Not only did the weeds come back, the pasture seems to be less and less productive overall, as mentioned earlier.
After looking into glyphosate, I found out it bonds tightly to soil—another reason it’s considered “safe…” because run-off is lower when compared to other chemical treatments.
However this addition to the soil can destroy healthy microorganisms and deplete nutrients from the ground. And what grows in low-nutrient soil?
And we’re back at square one!
Worse, because it is difficult to remove from the system once it has entered, this can last for years, and if it does manage to get into a water system (like our nearby small pond) through a heavy rain or flooding, it can have a drastic impact on aquatic life.
I looked more deeply into the health risks associated with glyphosate, and found that not only does it kill off healthy bacteria in your gut (where 80% of the body’s immune system is located), it has been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormonal changes (even after a single exposure!), endocrine disruption, and neurotoxicity, just to name a few.
Interestingly, and worryingly, it also has an impact on gene expression, though long-term studies have not shown as of yet how this plays out.
You can read more about glyphosate and its health risks here.
So, no, I won’t be using Roundup any time soon. Or ever.
Why has the negative impact of glyphosate been kept so quiet?
Maybe because Roundup is manufactured by Monsanto… the first company to genetically modify a plant cell, and the company suspiciously protected by the recent and controversial amendment “snuck” anonymously into a bill passed by congress telling the USDA to ignore any judicial ruling regarding the planting of genetically modified crops.
It basically says that if there is a court challenge or an injunction on the selling of the genetically modified foods, the Department of Agriculture has to allow a company, like Monsanto, to continue selling these GM crops.
Essentially, they can’t be stopped!
Check out Jon Stewart (he can explain it more humorously than I can!) addressing the “Monsanto Amendment” that was passed (without anyone seeming to know why or how), protecting Monsanto from legal action against them regarding GMO’s… and allows them to continue selling genetically modified foods.