Are We Dependent on Glyphosate?

On February 16th the 3rd Annual Sustainable Agriculture Symposium was held in Ontario, OR. The featured speaker that intrigued me to go was Dr. Don Huber, an Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University.

Dr. Huber has taught plant pathology, soil microbiology, and micro-ecological interactions as they relate to plant disease for 35 years. He has done extensive research on how glyphosate contributes to the rise in disease in RR crops and our soil, and from there to our animals and bodies. He presented his evidence and conclusions for nearly two hours to an audience of approximately 200. This was no doubt a talk I was happy I didn’t miss.

Dr. Huber Leans Towards Caution…at first!

In the beginning Dr. Huber was cautious with his words, as conventional farmers who often use Roundup sat before him. He asked the audience to draw our own conclusions about whether “we should use glyphosate more judiciously,” as he was there just to present his findings. But by the silence that filled the room from there on out, I concluded that every farmer was deeply questioning their use of roundup.

Most herbicides are designed to attack a specific micro-nutrient found within a plant or weed. It might attack the manganese or zinc in the plant, rendering it dead. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a strong chelator and attacks several micro-nutrients in the plant.

Roundup Danger!

It is safe to say that Roundup is more toxic compared to most herbicides. Basically when glyphosate immobilizes these micro-nutrients or does it’s job, it becomes extremely toxic for microorganisms in the plant and in our soil. The plant and the soil can no longer access certain nutrients or absorb other nutrients.

Glyphosate also kills the beneficial bacteria needed to keep the plant and soil healthy. This allows for the growth of new pathogens and disease, and the discovery of a new organism.

Before I talk about my understanding of this new organism Dr. Huber has discovered, we should note the amount of nutrient deficiencies in RR crops. Dr. Huber explained that RR plants have around 80% less manganese and zinc for example, indicating that RR crops have very little nutritional value. Also note that glyphosate does not easily degrade (Monsanto was sued for using the words “biodegradable” on their product years ago). Instead glyphosate accumulates in our soil for years, consistently attacking beneficial bacteria, nutrients, and earthworms.

This new organism that Dr. Huber has found has been linked to disease in RR plants and infertility in animals who consume RR crops. Dr. Huber’s research indicates that if glyphosate is damaging beneficial bacteria and micrnutrients in our soil and in animals, then it is also damaging the beneficial micrnutrients and bacteria in humans who consume glyphosate in their food.

Dr. Huber doesn’t exactly know what this new organism is, except for that it acts like a virus and is about the size of a virus, but is not a virus. It can withstand high temperatures, reproduce, and there are indications that it might be a micro-fungus. This organism is rare to promote disease in both plants and mammals.

This organism has been found in RR soy that had sudden death syndrome and in corn that had goss’ wilt, both diseases that were very rare less then twenty years ago. In the last few years these two diseases have been hitting farmers hard, creating low yields, financial burdens, and confusion.

Because most livestock consume RR corn and soy it is obvious why animal infertility is also linked to this new organism. It has been found in high amounts in animal feed and pig and cattle placenta. Dr. Huber spoke about hundreds of farmers who have been seeking his help in finding out why there are such high rates of animal infertility.

One farmer in particular had to pull 40 bulls off his operation because they were not able to reproduce. I was simply AMAZED at the stories about high rates of animal deaths and wondered why I wasn’t reading about this very often in the mainstream news. At this point, every farmer in the room was leaning forward and listening with open ears. They couldn’t believe it either.

I have said before and I am sure I will say it again, that the use of Roundup was the least of my concerns when I first learned about GMOs. The fact that plant DNA was being altered was scary enough for me to focus on. But the more I learn, the more I can see that Roundup just might be the biggest reason for concern.

Not only because most GMO crops are resistant to Roundup, but because we are using more Roundup then ever before. And when Roundup is known to be deadly, how can we accept it in our food supply? The discovery of this new organism might be the most important piece of evidence against Monsanto and their unethical use of genetic modification and toxic chemicals on our crops.

Dr. Huber also addressed possible human disease from the use of Roundup. Recent studies indicate that Roundup causes endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity, but Dr. Huber indicates that Roundup is the cause of Autism and digestive diseases. When we see the large increase of these diseases around the same time we see an increase of disease in RR plants, one can’t help but wonder if this new organism is the missing link.

Dr. Huber’s presentation was informative, infuriating, and inspirational, a mix of feelings and emotions! I was very pleased to be able to talk with him after his presentation and had hoped for some one on one time, but farmers gathered around him, bombarding him with questions of concern and calls for help.

I did get to ask a few questions though. I asked Dr. Huber, if we need to use glyphosate more judiciously, who do you expect to take the initiative, farmers or consumers?

Like I expected he said that consumers must demand GMO labeling laws if we want to see a reduction in the use of Roundup. He also said that if California enacted labeling laws, he predicted that GMOs would be off the market in 5 years.

This lead to another question, which he did not address in his presentation. I asked, because of cross contamination of the RR gene, do you think we are going to be dependent on Roundup for years to come? He said that fortunately, Roundup does degrade after about 30 years, similar to DDT. But, genetic pollution is another story.

If Roundup can be compared to DDT which was banned in the 70′s, I also asked, do you predict that your research will help to prove that glyphosate is deadly and thus Monsanto would have to pay out millions of dollars in compensation for poisoning our environment and bodies? Dr. Huber explained that there are only two law firms that could take up a case like this and that Monsanto is already arming it’s self for this type of lawsuit.

Our conversation was swift and to the point. I had so many questions for him, but there wasn’t enough of Dr. Huber to go around. Overall I was a little discouraged and Dr. Huber seemed to be too.

The battle against Monsanto and Roundup seems like a loosing war. With evidence like Dr. Huber’s I don’t see why we can’t take this giant down with a lawsuit, but I quickly remembered that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Consumer demand can and will put an end to GMO and glyphosate use.

Like Dr. Huber said, labeling laws are the only thing that will push GMOs off the market and reduce the use of Roundup. Maybe research like his will become mainstream and contribute to the reduction of the use of glyphosate via a lawsuit, but more importantly it is his research that gives consumers and farmers the facts about how deadly glyphosate is.

We have the power to turn our food supply around and the tipping point is near! Every time you buy a non-GMO product you are voting for a reduction in the use of Roundup. You are voting to reduce autism in children and you are voting to keep animals fertile.

Keep voting and spread the word about Dr. Huber’s research. Let consumers know how deadly GM food really is and that there are other options.

I do have an audio recording of Dr. Huber’s presentation and it will be available soon. I highly recommend taking the time to listen to his findings.

So the question is, are we dependent on Glyphosate? Well, not if we don’t want to be!

Here’s to being glyphosate free!

- Leslie Stoddard

You can learn more about Dr. Huber and his studies here.

Comments

  1. Yes – I agree that labeling laws are the ticket. The makers of these deadly products have so much money to keep the law-suits at bay. Until we get a class-action suit (which would be marvelous, just marvelous darling) we’ll have to push for the next best thing; labeling laws. What we need is something that will get enough people’s attention; as if 1 child in 166 with autism isn’t enough to make people ask questions. . . it boggles the mind.

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