In our ever-increasingly polarized world, there’s one topic of interest in health and wellness that really seems to call out clear differences in opinion. Glyphosate, the herbicide and active ingredient in products like Roundup, has been touted by some as being a wonderful and safe way to rid crops and even homes of pesky weeds. And clearly, those who feel positively about this chemical are being heard as nearly 150,000 tons of glyphosate are sprayed onto American crops every year. That translates to about one pound of glyphosate for every person in our country. And this chemical makes its way into the water we drink, the agricultural products we consume, and even the air we breathe.
On the other side of this debate are those who feel that glyphosate represents a significant threat to our health. Researchers, like our guest today, look at the available science and have concluded that, by a multitude of mechanisms, glyphosate may well be responsible or at least contributory for a vast array of human ailments, from autism to dementia to autoimmune disease, and so many more.
This debate extends to the confusion surrounding the safety of GMO food. For the most part, the genetic modification of plant seeds is undertaken so that the newly developed plant is not damaged by the weed targeting action of glyphosate. This allows farmers to spray GMO crops with glyphosate, kill the weeds, and still harvest the undamaged plant. But while there may or may not be concern about the specific genetic modification of the plant, this whole scenario sets the stage for glyphosate to appear in our foods and throughout our environment.
That said, this is a fundamental nuance to the GMO debate that absolutely must enter the discussion.
Our guest today is the author of the new book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate is Destroying Our Health and the Environment (Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2021). Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a senior research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in food and nutrition, and a master’s degree, an engineer’s degree, and a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science, all from MIT. She has authored over three dozen peer-reviewed journal papers on topics relating human disease to nutritional deficiencies and toxic exposures. She has focused specifically on the herbicide glyphosate and the mineral sulfur.
In our time together, Dr. Seneff discusses what her research has uncovered about the clear and present danger we face, globally, as a consequence of the use of glyphosate. We explore the various mechanisms involved with its toxicity. And finally, we talk about what we can do to protect ourselves from this important environmental threat moving forward.