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Glyphosate- What You Need To Know

Children with autism often have dysfunctional detox systems due to genetic mutations.  Adding additional burdens like glyphosate to their bodies can further complicate the detox process and can slow other critical functions.

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a synthetic herbicide patented by the Monsanto Company in 1974 and now manufactured and sold by many companies in hundreds of products used extensively as an herbicide by both commercial applicators and consumers. Glyphosate is best known as the active ingredient in Roundup-branded products. It is considered to be a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill almost all plants. Glyphosate inhibits a specific enzyme called EPSP synthase which plants need in order to grow. Without that enzyme, plants are unable to produce other proteins essential to growth, and within several days or weeks they’ll die. 

In 1996, Monsanto created engineered soybeans that were resistant to Roundup and coined this new crop “Roundup Ready.”  The advantage of Roundup Ready crops is that they greatly improved a farmer’s ability to control weeds since glyphosate could be sprayed in the fields without harming their crops, while only taking out the pesky weeds. This reduced the need to till, saving on equipment costs and allowed for easier harvests with fewer weeds.   Other types of Roundup Ready crops are now available and include cotton, canola and corn.

 

Why should we be concerned?

In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”    Recent studies have shown that glyphosate is linked to liver disease, cancer, birth defects and reproductive issues.

If that wasn’t concern enough, additional research shows that glyphosate can impact beneficial gut bacteria.  As we’re learning more about the gut/brain connection, this is especially disturbing.  

Perhaps you’ve seen recent news stories about a California jury awarding a couple more than $2 billion in a verdict against Monsanto, a subsidiary of Bayer. This is the third recent court decision involving claims that Roundup weed killer caused cancer.

Click here to listen to Part 1 of our podcast episode with Jessica, Momcologist On A Mission. 

She shares her story about their exposure to glyphosate and how she believes it lead to her daughter’s cancer diagnosis. We also discuss how it causes harm and why it’s so important for parents with kids on the spectrum to be educated about it.

How are we exposed?

If you’re using the product directly, you may accidentally get it on your skin, in your eyes or inadvertently breathe it in. If it’s breathed in, you might experience burning in your nose or throat. Swallowing the product may result in nausea, upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea. Once ingested, it’s believed to pass through the body quickly and excreted in urine or stool.  

Over 1.6 billion kilograms of glyphosate has been used on crops since it was invented in 1974. 

In addition to crops like corn and soy, the active ingredient glyphosate has also found in popular processed food products such as Cheerios, Corn Flakes, Ritz Crackers, Goldfish Crackers and even Doritos chips.

Additionally, a recent study showed waterways in 38 states were sampled and glyphosate was found in the majority of rivers, streams, ditches, and wastewater treatment plant outfalls tested. This goes to show that glyphosate isn’t simply absorbed into the earth and broken down; it can be mobilized and end up in places that it wasn’t intended.

How to reduce exposure

Use Natural Alternatives

One of the ways to reduce exposure directly is to avoid using Roundup or other products containing glyphosate near your home.  There are other weed killing herbicides available in home improvement stores that use more natural ingredients such as vinegars or citric acids, or phytotoxic oils like clove, peppermint, pine or citronella.  

Go Organic

Buying certified organic fresh fruits and vegetables is an easy first step.  Additionally, look for organic substitutions for other items like pasta, crackers and cereal.  Organic products tend to be more expensive in general, so many families find that they need to adjust their food budgets to account for this added expense.  If you’re unable to go completely organic, consider purchasing only organic for the “dirty dozen” or forego buying those products all together. 

Keep in mind that even though products are labeled as organic, it’s possible that trace amounts of pesticides or glyphosate may be present through environmental or unintentional contamination.  Also, organic farmers still may use natural pesticides, not synthetic chemicals.

Buy local

Consider purchasing your produce from local farmer’s markets.  Fruits and veggies that haven’t traveled across the country (or further!) are less likely to be preserved or contaminated.  Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to ask the farmer face-to-face about their farming practices and if they use glyphosate products?   🙂 

 

Eat at home

Instead of going to a restaurant where you are unlikely to know where the food comes from, a safer option is to prepare meals at home.  This way you know you’ve chosen the ingredients yourself. Maybe you even grew them in your own garden! Yes, we understand that cooking 100% of your family’s meals at home can be a massive undertaking.  Even if you cut down on your dining out a few times a week, that’s an impressive start.

Want to know more? Check out our podcast just for parents like you!

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