New study indicates glyphosate disrupts immune function, even at perceived ‘safe’ levels
(NaturalHealth365) “The dose makes the poison.” Ever notice that people tend to bust out this phrase whenever they try to downplay health concerns associated with commonplace environmental substances like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), bisphenol A (BPA), and pesticides and herbicides used on conventionally grown food? As if to say: sure, these compounds are known to be potentially harmful to human health – but a little bit won’t hurt you!
Here’s the thing about such a statement: while it certainly may be true in some cases, it rings dismissive – plus, it’s rendered completely moot by research such as this new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, which proves that even at previously acceptable “safe” levels of exposure, one popular herbicide poses notable health risks to humans and animals.
One of the country’s most popular herbicides could be harming your gut health, immune function – even at so-called “safe” levels of exposure
Glyphosate is a popular herbicide that has been used in residential and commercial agriculture and farming in the United States since 1974. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, there are currently more than 750 products containing glyphosate for sale in the U.S. Glyphosate is sprayed on all sorts of crops, including grains, and can therefore find its way into our food supply quite easily.
Many public organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), insist that glyphosate is perfectly safe when used. In fact, the EPA reported in 2020 that they found “no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label” and that the controversial weed killer is “unlikely to be a human carcinogen.” This contradicts findings from other organizations, however, such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (associated with the World Health Organization), which considers glyphosate “probably carcinogenic” based on available evidence.
Additional data published in a 2022 review paper from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences supports the “unequivocal” claim that “exposure to glyphosate produces important alterations in the structure and function of the nervous system of humans, rodents, fish, and invertebrates.” The authors of this 2022 review paper list a wide range of concerning health issues associated with herbicide exposure, including “significant” neurotoxic effects, mitochondrial dysfunction, nerve cell death, and even the appearance of behavior and motor disorders.
Of course, one might argue that the harmful effects of glyphosate are really only relevant to people who use, spray, or are around glyphosate and that people who simply eat foods that were made with ingredients sprayed by glyphosate shouldn’t worry because those exposure levels are so low. However, a team of investigators from the University of Iowa recently conducted an important study on the true “safety” of glyphosate exposure from food.
The researchers found that consuming glyphosate at the current U.S. Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day was found to be associated with an altered gut microbiome – specifically, the loss of “good” gut bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. This level of exposure also induced intestinal inflammation by modulating the “neuro-immune-endocrine system.”
Interesting how starkly different these and other findings are compared to the EPA’s assertion (as described on the National Pesticide Information Center’s website) that there is “no evidence [that] glyphosate is toxic to the nervous or immune systems.”
Billions of kilograms of glyphosate have been used in the United States for decades – when will public health agencies start taking the potential health risks seriously?
The University of Iowa researchers note that an ADI of 1.75 mg/kg body weight is considered a “low-dose” of daily glyphosate exposure. But given how most Americans eat a diet of heavily processed, conventionally raised foods, it’s highly likely that many people are being exposed to FAR higher levels.
And here we have data showing that even “acceptable” amounts of glyphosate exposure can have a negative impact on human health – and yet we’re still supposed to believe the EPA that this herbicide is perfectly safe?
Remember, completely eliminating your exposure to glyphosate is pretty difficult to do, unfortunately. But there are things you can do:
- Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming
- Purchase organic produce whenever availability and your budget allows
- Minimize the amount of processed foods you consume and give to your children
Sources for this article include: