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Are We Roundup Ready?

RoundupMost of our soy and corn crops are Roundup Ready, but the question is: Are we?

What exactly is Roundup Ready?

Crops like corn and soy are genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. This means the crop will live when sprayed with glyphosate and the weeds around them will die.

Since the introduction of glyphosate into our food supply in the 1970s, it has been assumed that glyphosate is harmless to humans since it disrupts the shikimate pathway in plants, a mechanism missing from humans.

This assumption may prove to be one of the most hazardous assumptions ever made. While the shikimate pathway is missing from human physiology, it is not missing from the bacteria, fungi, and other microbial species that dominate our immune system.

Microbial Allies Graphic (drawing by Ryan Fabry)Our microbial cells outnumber human cells by as much as 10:1 (if not more). Doesn't it make sense that disruption of critical amino acids in plants will impair vital nutrient systems in the human microbiome?

Consider the rise in inflammatory bowel disease over the last 40 years. Imagine the type of reactions occurring in the gut if most of our protective microbial allies are under attack.

The authors of a critical study published in 2013 contend there is a strong correlation between the prevalence of glyphosate and a disrupted human microbiome. Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel, authors of Glyphosate's Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases, note glyphosate's preference for pathogenic bacteria over friendly ones:

Glyphosate has been shown to have remarkable adverse effects on the gut biota in poultry by reducing the number of beneficial bacteria and increasing the number of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Highly pathogenic strains of Salmonella and Clostridium were found to be highly resistant to glyphosate, whereas beneficial bacteria such as Enterococcus, Bacillus and Lactobacillus were found to be especially susceptible. Due to the antagonistic effect of the common beneficial bacterium Enterococcus spp. on Clostridia, toxicity of glyphosate to E. spp could lead to overgrowth of Clostridia and resulting pathologies.

This information gives us a strong incentive to avoid glyphosate by shopping carefully for eggs (from chickens who are not subject to genetically modified food), buying organic when possible, and using a natural weed killer in our yards. (See our article on Natural Lawn Care for some excellent chemical-free options.)

We must also pay careful attention to water. Glyphosate is often found in both private and municipal water supplies. This sample community's water quality report shows the presence of glyphosate within a very high acceptable range:

Water Quality Report Glyphosate

The highest level detected is less than 6 ppb (parts per billion), but the tolerated amounts are indicated by the number 700. The water company defines MCL and MCLG as follows:

  • Maximum Contaminant Level – The "Maximum Allowed" (MCL) is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in the drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
  • Maximum Contaminant Level Goal – The "Goal" (MCLG) is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

Does 700 ppb really constitute a safe level? Is under 6 even safe, especially when ingested with the 70 other contaminants listed in this city's water report?

Given the evidence, it seems wise to protect our health by filtering our water, avoiding herbicide sprays, and choosing organic, non-GMO foods to avoid the constant assault of a chemical designed to disrupt critical life-giving pathways.

For more information on contaminants in drinking water, see our article on Pesticides and Drinking Water.


"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

" age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

This site is dedicated to a true friend and mother — Barbara Dell Kessel (1929-2009)