Marked Deterioration of Public Health Parallels Increase in GM Crops and Glyphosate Use, US Government Data Show
steep rise in incidence of 22 chronic diseases in the US correlates strongly with the increase in GM crops
and the application of glyphosate-based herbicides Prof Peter Saunders
evidence of glyphosate toxicity already exists
what the manufacturers say, there is ample evidence to show that glyphosate, the
active ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup, Syngenta’s Touchdown, Dow’s Durango
and many other herbicides, is highly toxic and a serious hazard to human and
animal health. There is documentation of miscarriages, birth defects,
carcinogenesis, endocrine disruption, DNA damage, neurotoxicity, and toxicity
to liver and kidney at levels well below recommended agricultural use (See, for
example, first Chapter of  Ban GMOS Now , ISIS
special report,  Glyphosate
and Cancer, SiS 62). Several countries, among them Denmark, The
Netherlands, France, El Salvador and Sri Lanka have recognised the dangers
imposed total or partial bans on the use of glyphosate, though the ban in Sri
Lanka was lifted under pressure from the manufacturers (Sri Lanka Partially
Bans Glyphosate for Deadly Kidney Disease Epidemic ) .
Other countries, especially those with large chemical
and biotech industries and/or a major commitment to industrial farming, take a
totally different view. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently
increased the permitted tolerance levels for glyphosate residues in food. The
European Food Safe Agency (EFSA) has recommended the re-approval of glyphosate
for use in Europe with an increase in acceptable daily intake (ADI) from 0.3 to
0.5 mg per kg body weight. It is not surprising that EFSA reached this
decision; the review was in fact carried out by a ‘Glyphosate Task Force’ (GTF)
made up of a consortium of chemical companies including Monsanto, and based its
conclusions largely on reports submitted by the manufacturers (Scandal of Glyphosate
Re-assessment in Europe ).
The industry does its best to
keep evidence of glyphosate toxicity out of the public’s view and the public
record. The recent improper unilateral retraction of a
published paper by Séralini and his group (, Support Séralini
Team for New GMO and Pesticide Risk Research , Retracting Séralini
Study Violates Science and Ethics  ) is a case in
point. It followed the appointment by the journal of a former Monsanto
employee to a newly created editorial post. Unusually, it was done in the open.
We know of other cases that were not made so public, and possibly many more
that we have not even heard about.
not all. Confidential papers obtained from the US EPA by Moms Across America
under the Freedom of Information Act contain studies carried out by industry
showing that glyphosate is lethal to shrimps, fish, oysters and canaries after
96 hours, and at concentrations of <1 to hundreds of parts per million
(ppm), to which humans are routinely exposed .
of Americans are said to have been eating GM food with no ill effects
The argument that the industry relies on most heavily is that for
fifteen or more years, millions of Americans have been eating GM food, or food
that have been sprayed with glyphosate, or both, and they have
not been harmed; and this surely proves beyond doubt that neither GMOs nor
glyphosate are hazardous to health . This
is obviously a totally unscientific statement;
because there has been no GM labelling in the US, it is impossible to tell how
much GM food anyone has eaten. Nevertheless, physicist and former scientific
adviser to the US Navy Nancy Swanson realised that it is possible to examine
the health status of the nation before and after the introduction of GM
food and the sharp increase in glyphosate herbicides that went with it. What
she and her colleagues found was devastating.
Over the past fifteen or twenty years there has been a
large increase in the number of Americans suffering from a whole range of chronic
diseases. This is the same period over which there has been a very large
increase both in GM crops and in the use of glyphosate-based herbicides . The
team have made use of the best available government data from the Centers for
Disease Control (CDC) for the incidence of diseases, and the Department of
Agriculture (USDA) for GM crops grown and glyphosate herbicide used.
Because there are records for each year, it is possible
to compare how both GMOs and glyphosate on the one hand and the various
diseases on the other have changed over time. And the results are striking.
Graph after graph showed the same parallel increases over time. On example is
given in Figure 1 for liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer.
1 Incidence of liver cancer, % GE corn & soy, and glyphosate applied from
1975 to 2009
that the increase in liver cancer incidence rises sharply above the long term
trend that goes back to the 1970s. In other words, while liver cancer had been
increasing for some time, the rate of increase accelerated at about the same
time that GM crops appeared and glyphosate use rose more sharply. The incidence
is now about double what it would be if it had continued to rise at the
Table 1 shows the correlation coefficients between each
of the conditions and the amount of glyphosate used, and % of GM maize and
soya. None of the 44 correlation coefficients falls below 0.8 - the conventional minimum level for a correlation to
be called ‘strong’ - and all but seven are
greater than 0.9.
Table 1: Pearson correlation coefficients
between the incidence in the US of 22 chronic diseases since 1995 and (a) the
amount of glyphosate applied to maize and soy (b) the percentage of maize and
soy planted that was GM (from )
Lipoprotein metabolism disorder
Inflammatory bowel disease
End stage renal disease
Acute kidney failure
There is clearly a strong correlation between the
conditions on the one hand and GMOs and glyphosate use on the other. This does
not by itself prove there is a causal relationship, but it is certainly
evidence in favour of one. When we add to it the evidence that glyphosate has
led to birth defects in humans, that it has been found to harm laboratory rats,
cattle on farms, and other animals as well, that it interferes with an
important metabolic pathway in animals, that it adversely affects beneficial gut
bacteria, that it acts as an endocrine disruptor, and more besides, the case
against glyphosate becomes very strong indeed (see 
A Roundup of Roundup Reveals Converging
Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic, SiS 65,
for the most up-to-date review).
have been all too many examples in the past of substances where there was
compelling evidence that they were dangerous to health or the environment or
both and yet they continued to be produced and used because of pressure from
the manufacturers and weak regulators and governments. These include tobacco,
asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), benzene, and many more [12, 13].
If governments continue to rely on advice from the industry and ignore the
growing body of evidence, glyphosate will be yet another example of serious
harm that could have been avoided.
G-E, Mesnage R, Gress S, Defarge N, Malatesta M, Hennequin D and de Vendômois
JS (2012), Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant
genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicity. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005 (This
paper was improperly retracted by the journal but has been republished:
NL, Leu A, Abrahamson J and Wallet B. Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate
and the deterioration of health in the United States of America. Journal of
Organic Systems 2014, 9, 6-37.
E. A Roundup of Roundup reveals converging pattern of
toxicity from farm to clinic. Science in
Society 65 (to appear) 2015.
Harramoës P, Gee D, MacGarvin M, Stirling A, Keys J, Wynne B
and Guedes Vaz S (2002). Late lessons from early warnings: the
precautionary principle1896-2000 European Environment Agency,
Copenhagen. ISBN 92-9167-323-4.
Brian Sandle Comment left 11th December 2014 07:07:54 Need to do some partial correlations with soy and corn consumptions which have also increased. Soy has partially replaced animal protein and has antinutrients (less so if fermented to tempeh, natto, fluffy tofu). It is anti-thyroid and lacks sulfur containing amino acids and high in phytoestrogens and not recommended by the NZ Health Ministry for infant food. Corn is high on inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Could get some data from faostat.
John Fryer Comment left 11th December 2014 09:09:14 After many years of développent another ORGANOPHOSPHORUS chemical GLUFOSINATE ammonium was accepted in USA circa 1994 for use in GMO crops.
This chemical permanent l'y disables the glutamine synthetase enzyme.
First described by Denmark as praticable non toxic to humans circa 1986. In 1999 the UK PSD described it not be used above levels of 20ppb and demanded further HUMAN studies.
Today we know the destruction of GS is at the root cause of a dozen and more illnesses affecting almost everyone.
No action yet by government and régula tors while its use hasincreased five food in 5 years.
warren kruger Comment left 17th December 2014 17:05:45 Where is the data showing the relationships of these diseases and time in countries where GMO is banned (i.e. Europe). I suspect, If you do the same analysis you will find that there is the same increase in all these diseases. Frankly, this study should not have gone through peer review without this data. The hype this "study" was given is not justified based on the poor quality of the science.
Nancy Swanson Comment left 17th December 2014 19:07:21 To Warren Kruger:
People seem to think that Europeans don't have exposure to GMOs or glyphosate, therefore their health statistics could be used as a control for comparison to the U.S. Such is not the case.
It is true that some European countries have banned the growing of all GMO crops (Bulgaria, Italy & Switzerland). Some European countries have
banned the growing of some GMO crops Germany--ban on cultivation of maize MON 810, Austria--ban on cultivation of maize MON 810, MON 863 and T25, Hungary-- ban on cultivation of maize MON 810 & BASF potato,Luxembourg-- ban on cultivation of maize MON 810 & BASF potato, France--ban on cultivation of maize MON 810, Greece--ban on cultivation of maize MON 810).
It is true that most European countries require
labelling of food containing GMOs (not including animals and animal products where the animals were fed GMO feed).
This is not the same as being GMO-free, as is commonly assumed here in the U.S.
In addition, the practice of spraying grains and dried legumes with glyphosate as a pre-harvest treatment has spread to Europe. The Monsanto
document, "The agronomic benefits of glyphosate in Europe" outlines uses from pre and post-harvest weed control, crop desiccation, crop ripening agent and roadside and aquatic weed control.
In 2004 glyphosate was used to treat 13% of the
wheat in the United Kingdom (UK) and by 2006, 94% of UK growers used glyphosate on 40% of cereal and 80% of oilseed crops for weed control or harvest management.
According to a 2012 report on glyphosate residues in food in the UK, residues as high as 1.1 parts per million [ppm] were detected in whole wheat flour. Lesser residues were detected in a wide
range of breads. Residues of 0.6 ppm were found in dried lentils and peas, 2.7 ppm in dried beans, and 11 ppm in dried chickpeas.
Glyphosate AND AMPA have been detected in the urine of city dwellers all over Europe. Urine samples were collected from volunteers in Austria,Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Spain, Switzerland,
The Netherlands, and the UK. A total of 80/182 samples tested were found to contain glyphosate. Says Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe,
"Most people will be worried to discover they may have weed killer in their bodies. We tested people living in cities in 18 countries and
found traces in every country. These results suggest we are being exposed to glyphosate in our everyday lives, yet we don't know where it is coming from, how widespread it is in the environment, or what it is doing to our health.” Their exposure must be through the food or the
The European Union (EU) is re-evaluating glyphosate this year. German regulatory authorities act as the registrar on glyphosate in the EU authorization process. They have found no problems with glyphosate and are recommending re-approval, along with a suggestion to the EU that the acceptable daily intake for glyphosate be raised.
The UK, like the U.S., has declared a war on weeds with glyphosate as the weapon of choice. According to Dr. Rosemary Mason, “The level of
glyphosate in one Welsh river draining from areas of Japanese knotweed spraying was 190 parts per trillion (ppt) and local tap water was 30 ppt.”
Glyphosate and GMOs have spread across the planet like a plague. There may not be a control group. Certainly not in Europe.
Phil Kortis Comment left 16th December 2014 14:02:49 Vegetarians that had relied on soy for ages were suddenly told they had soy allergies in the early 2000's. 1 in 10 young people have gluten reactions. And then they switch to corn, only to run into similar problems. And what of correlations with rises in mental illnesses? The grocery stores were stacked high with GM products by 1998, so the babies fed then are only 17 years old now, just wait till they mature into parents and the effects are passed onto their children. We've been observing this unfolding horror for far too long. Kudos to all who try to inform the public & get GMO BANS on the national agendas. These so-called foods should never be on the grocery shelves to be labeled in the first place, when they finally are the Genetic Storm has progressed too far. I belong to a group called THE ELEMENTS, and we have observed this horror unfolding on Earth for way too long.
Warren Brodey M.D. Comment left 29th December 2014 09:09:30 What can we do to inform more people of the dangers described above. Centralized control powerful newspapers, governments, waited til proof was undeniable and many, many millions were dead...murdered by tobacco and the additives used by industry to encourage addiction to cigarettes.How can we encourage those willing and able to send personal messages to their friends, and communities re the killing. It should be possible. Creative suggestions are needed.Now! Creative action is even better. Tell others what you are doing. Explore. What we learn can be useful.