“Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.”
— October 2012 report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) (source)(source)
The rate at which autism instances have risen in the last 40 years is simply staggering. In 1975, 1 in every 5,000 people developed autism. In 1985, it was 1 in every 2,500, and in 2005, it was 1 in every 166.
Today it is approximately 1 in every 68 children. (source)
“If it is an environmental cause that’s contributing to an increase, we certainty want to find it.”
– Craig Newschaffer, an epidemiologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (source)
Research continues to surface indicating that autism goes far beyond just genetics, and that we may need to consider multiple factors (like environmental toxins, prescription drugs, etc) when trying to figure out what’s going on, and why autism rates continue to climb exponentially.
“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California.”
– Irva Hertz–Picciotto, epidemiology professor at University of California, David (source)
Evidence is now pointing to the fact that agricultural pesticides (among various other environmental toxins) might play a large role in the rapid increase in autism rates over the past few decades. A senior researcher from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Stephanie Seneff is doing her part to create more awareness of these facts, which have yet to make big news in the world of mainstream medicine.
At a recent event sponsored by the holistic-focused Groton Wellness Organization, she stated that “At today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic.” (source)
Seneff presented slides showing a remarkably consistent correlation between the rising use of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (with its active ingredient glyphosate) on crops and the rising rates of autism. Her research also reveals that the side effects of autism mimic glyphosate toxicity and deficiencies.
Correlation Doesn’t Mean Causation, But…
Although the graph depicts a staggering correlation, it does not “prove” that the rise in autism is directly caused by glyphosate. On the other hand, we have a lot of information and research available that suggests it could be one factor (out of many) and Dr. Seneff argues that it is. Pesticides have been linked to a number of human health ailments, from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to cancer and autism. You can access some of those studies (out of many) here.
Dr. Seneff’s research has also led her to believe that vaccines containing aluminum may also be a culprit. You can read more about that, and access that research, here.
The Toxicity of Glyphosate and Autism
In Dr. Seneff’s lecture, she pointed to the fact that Monsanto commonly argues that glyphosate is not toxic (despite numerous studies proving otherwise) because our cells don’t have what is called the “shikimate” pathway. What’s important to note, however, is that our guts do indeed have this pathway and we depend on it to supply us with essential amino acids (among other things). Gut health is of utmost importance to overall health, so this is quite disturbing. Seneff also points to the fact that there are other ingredients within glyphosate that greatly increases its toxic effects.
It makes one wonder, doesn’t it? How could a corporation like Monsanto — a corporation charged with regulating no less than our entire global food supply — claim that glyphosate is safe despite all of the evidence that confirms that it’s not?
“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides. This idea is spread by manufacturers, mostly in the reviews they promote, which are often cited in toxicological evaluations of glyphosate-based herbicides. However, Roundup was found in this experiment to be 125 times more toxic than glyphosate. Moreover, despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions”
— R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014) article ID 179691
Keep in mind that the use of glyphosate rose 1500% from 1995 to 2005, and that 100 million pounds of glyphosate are used every year on more than a billion acres. (source)(source)
It’s even been found in the breast milk of mothers, and in urine samples of people across Europe. (source)
The main toxic effects of glyphosate as identified by Dr. Seneff include:
- Kills beneficial gut bacteria and allows pathogens to overgrow
- Interferes with function of cytochrome p450 (CYP enzymes)
- Chelates important minerals (iron, cobalt, manganese, etc)
- Interferes with synthesis of aromatic amino acids and methionine – leads to shortages in critical neurotransmitters and folate
- Disrupts sulfate synthesis and sulfate transport
Pesticide formulations that are sold and used are up to 1,000 times more toxic than what regulators commonly claim. Roundup is in fact the most toxic of herbicides and insecticides used. There is a tremendous amount of evidence that also point to flawed safety evaluations. You can read more about that here.