Glyphosate – A review of its health and environmental effects
Posted on February 23rd, 2014

By Andre Leu

King of kings’ Bible Enoch 68:14 Since they (men) were only created, so that, like the angels of heaven, they might remain righteous and pure.
68:15 Then death, which destroys every thing, would not have affected them;
68:16 But by this, THEIR KNOWLEDGE (science – 1 Tim. 5:20), THEY PERISH, and by this also its power consumes them.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient of some of the most common herbicides used in farming and gardening. These products have been promoted as quickly biodegradable and non toxic. People believe that they are so safe that you can drink a cup of these herbicides without any ill effect.

Consequently, it is sprayed on roadsides while people are driving, on footpaths when people are shopping and in schoolyards and sports fields, exposing children to drift and residues. People buy it from supermarkets or garden shops and use it without any protective clothing because it is deemed ‘safe’. It is sprayed in national parks and other environmentally sensitive areas in the belief that it is not toxic and or residual.

I continuously hear Primary Industries officers and other agricultural specialists telling farmers that it is not necessary to wear any protective clothing because it is harmless.

Unfortunately, the facts show that this is not the case. While pure Glyphosate has a low acute toxicity (the amount needed to cause death), when it is sold as a commercial herbicide it is combined with surfactants and other ingredients to make it more effective at killing plants. Studies show that the commercial products, such as Round Up, can be three times more toxic than pure glyphosate.


Health Problems – so safe that you can drink it.

Japanese researchers analysing suicides have found that drinking 3/4 of a cup (200 millilitres) of commercial glyphosate products is fatal.

Survivors (those who consumed less than 3/4 of a cup) suffered a range of severe health problems. These problems included intestinal pain, vomiting, erosion of the gastrointestinal tract, excess fluid in the lungs, pneumonia, lung dysfunction, clouding of consciousness, destruction of red blood cells, abnormal electrocardiograms, low blood pressure, kidney damage and damage to the larynx. It is important to note that damage to the kidneys and the lungs is usually permanent. These body tissues do not repair themselves, instead forming scar tissue that does not function to help filter toxins from the blood or breathe oxygen.

In California, where there is a mandatory system of reporting pesticide poisoning, Glyphosate is the third most common cause of pesticide illness in farm workers. It is the most common form of reported pesticide poisoning in landscape gardeners.

Two separate studies in Sweden have linked exposure to Glyphosate to Hairy Cell Leukemia and Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. These types of cancers were extremely rare, however non-Hodgkins lymphoma is the most rapidly increasing cancer in the Western world. It has risen by 73% in the USA since 1973. Another study has found a higher incidence of Parkinson disease amongst farmers who used herbicides, including glyphosate.

Other studies show that Glyphosate and commercial herbicides containing Glyphosate cause a range of cell mutations and damage to cell DNA. These types of changes are usually regarded as precursors to cancer and birth defects.

Reproductive Effects

Studies show that exposure to Glyphosate is associated with a range of reproductive effects in humans and other species. Research from Ontario, Canada found that a father’s exposure to Glyphosate was linked to an increase in miscarriages and premature births in farm families.

Glyphosate caused a decrease in the sperm count of rats and an increase in abnormal and dead sperms in rabbits. Pregnant rabbits exposed to Glyphosate had a decrease in the weight of their babies.


The proponents of Glyphosate herbicides promote them as environment friendly or benign. They say that they breakdown very quickly in the environment.

The facts show otherwise. A report from The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that Glyphosate is ‘extremely persistent under typical application conditions’. It is one of the most residual herbicides, with studies in Sweden showing that one application can last up to 3 years.

In warmer climates, it can take less than a year per application for Glyphosate to degrade. However, when it breaks down it does not disappear into harmless basic elements. It degrades into an even more residual compound called aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA). While AMPA has a low acute toxicity, the studies conducted on this compound show that it damages the livers and bladders of rats. Unfortunately, very few long-term health and environmental studies are conducted on the breakdown products of synthetic chemicals.

Residues of Glyphosate have been found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. This is because it readily moves into all parts of a plant. As it is inside the plant tissues, it cannot be washed off.

Residues can be detected long after glyphosate treatments have been made. One study showed that lettuces contained residues five months after the field was treated with glyphosate. The disturbing thing about this research is that the lettuce seedlings were planted four months after the field was sprayed for weeds. The seedlings absorbed the glyphosate from the soil residues.

A World Health Organisation study revealed significant Glyphosate residues in wheat after harvest. Milling did not remove it, as it moves into the plant and the wheat seed. The study showed that cooking does not break down Glyphosate.

Environmental Effects

Glyphosate based herbicides have been shown to cause a significant decline of beneficial insect species in farms. Studies by the International Organization for Biological Control and other researchers have found that between 50 to 80 percent of beneficial insects are killed from exposure to residues of a Glyphosate herbicide.

Glyphosate is very toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Concentrations as low as 10 parts per million can kill fish. Daphnia, a very important part of the aquatic food chain, especially for fish, can be killed by as little as three parts per million. This is an important reason why it should not be used near waterways or in drains.

Glyphosate is extremely toxic to the soil life. One application can cause a dramatic plunge in the number of beneficial soil micro-organisms and arthropods. Studies show a reduction in the species that build humus, thus it contributes to the decline in soil organic matter.

Glyphosate significantly reduces the activity of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These bacteria transform soil nitrogen into forms that plants can use. Studies of Soybeans grown for nitrogen fixation showed a reduction in the number of rhizobium bacteria and the nitrogen they produce when Glyphosate was used for weed control.

Other studies show that Glyphosate herbicides increase the susceptibility of plants to diseases. This is partly because it reduces the growth of mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial fungi that help plants absorb nutrients and help fight disease. However, plants suffer more disease, as there is an increase in the soil pathogens and a decrease beneficial species that control diseases after an application of Glyphosate.

Glyphosate exposure damages or reduces the populations of earthworms. A New Zealand study showed that 5% of the usual application rate caused delayed development and increased death in earthworms.

Glyphosate reduces populations of small mammals and birds by damaging the vegetation that provides food and shelter for these animals. The populations of all of these living organisms can take years to recover due to Glyphosate’s persistence in the soil.

Spray Drift

Glyphosate spray drift from both ground and aerial applications has been measured from 400 to 800 meters from the target site. Studies have shown that Glyphosate drift will cause more severe and extensive damage than many other herbicides. This is because it is a broad spectrum, non-selective herbicide and it is transported throughout the plant causing damage to the unexposed parts. This damage, when it does not kill the plants, can last for many years.

Drift that is one thousand times less than the usual application rates has been shown to damage surrounding vegetation, including the killing of wild plants. This is an important reason why it should not be used in national parks and environmentally sensitive areas for weed control.

Genetic Engineering

The use of glyphosate is expected to increase substantially in the next few years because several genetically engineered crops are “Roundup Ready” and will be grown by many farmers.

This expected increase in use has resulted in an application for the MRL (residue level) for glyphosate to be increased by 200 percent. This need to increase the permitted residue levels is due to genetically engineered herbicide tolerant crops using more chemicals, not less as the proponents of GMO’s claim. These crops cannot be legally sold in Australia under the present residue levels, as the increased number of sprays will mean higher residue levels.

This need for a dramatic increase in residues demonstrates that this herbicide is residual. If it is rapidly degraded and leaves no residues as is commonly claimed, why is there a need for such a large increase on residues on the crop?

The persistent nature of these residues in genetically engineered food crops such as Soybeans, Corn and Canola is another reason why we need mandatory labelling of all GMO’s. We need to have the freedom of choice to avoid foods that we believe will contain residues of toxic chemicals.

This is a very good reason for eating organic foods.


Glyphosate is widely used in the mistaken belief that it is harmless, safe and readily breaks down leaving no residues. Consequently, it is sprayed in public areas while people are present and by operators without protective clothing. These people are exposed to the drift of this herbicide. The facts show that Glyphosate causes a range of health problems to humans, plants and animals, it causes environmental problems and that it is highly persistent. It is time that the widespread use of this toxic chemical on roadsides, footpaths, parks, gardens, schools, farms, forestry, national parks etc was stopped or highly restricted.

Acknowledgments and References

Most of the information for this article came from an excellent paper authored by Caroline Cox in the JOURNAL OF PESTICIDE REFORM, Fall 1998, Vol.18, No. 3.

Updated 01-02, Northwest Coalition Against Pesticides, Eugene, Oregon.

Lehmann V. and Pengue W. (2000), Herbicide Tolerant Soybean: Just another step in a technology treadmill? Biotechnology and Development Monitor. September 2000.

Nordstrom M. et al, (1998), “Occupational exposures, animal exposure, and smoking as risk factors for hairy cell leukaemia evaluated in a case-control study,” BRITISH JOURNAL OF CANCER Vol. 77 (1998), pp 2048-2052.

Hardell L. and Eriksson M. (1999), “A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and exposure to Pesticides,” CANCER Vol.85, No. 6 (March 15, 1999).


One Response to “Glyphosate – A review of its health and environmental effects”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    For what it is worth, here are some Homeopathy remedies plus Reader comments) for Glyphosate poisoning :

    HomeStore BlogNewslettersPress Resources
    3 Homeopathic Remedies for Pesticide Exposure
    Joette Calabrese
    July 7th, 2013 | 18 Comments

    I love our lawn. It’s large enough for an animated game of badminton, for the dog to zig-zag wildly across it and for large family gatherings around the fire pit. I also take pleasure in the creeping Charlie, dandelions and plantain that tiptoe through the grass and give it an embroidered appearance.

    But not everyone thinks that way.
    Although I live in a country/suburban neighborhood, there’s a neighbor down the road who contracts to have his lawn sprayed with pesticides.
    One evening when my husband and I were on a walk, we ran into him, and I delicately mentioned that lawn pesticides have long been associated with certain cancers in humans and dogs. He paused momentarily. “Now that you mention it, every dog we’ve ever had has died of cancer…and my wife had breast cancer.”
    I hope that this will give him reason enough to resist the sales pitch of the pesticide hawker next spring. Meanwhile, his family, wildlife and the unsuspecting neighbors are exposed to superfluous poisons.
    We do all we can to keep pesticides out of our foods and garden, but we can’t help what the guy next door spews on his adjacent lawn.
    What’s a neighbor to do? Why homeopathy, of course!
    As always, I encourage folks to know how to use homeopathic remedies to protect themselves.
    Here are 3 to consider when your family (pets included) have had an exposure to such chemicals.
    1) If there’s no actual immediate reaction to the pesticides, a well-known remedy of repute for providing generalized protection from poisonings is Natrum Mur 6X . Most folks take it every 4-5 hours for a few days. I have personally found it useful when I used to get asthma from pesticides. It never failed to abort the spasms of breathlessness.
    2) Arsenicum Album 30c, is the remedy of choice if the exposure has caused a response such as anxiety, diarrhea, breathlessness and weakness. All these symptoms do not need to be evident, If even one of them is apparent, this remedy could be a good match.
    3) Carbolic acid 30 has a reputation for aiding folks who experience a more systemic reaction of a more serious nature. Years ago, a friend of a friend of mine, a chemical engineer, went into an anaphylactic reaction after exposure to formaldehyde. After a few doses of Carbolic acid 30, she showed signs of recovery within minutes and fully recovered within hours. This remedy is more difficult to procure, but I feel it’s important for folks to have this information, so I include it. If your homeopathic pharmacist doesn’t carry this, contact us for more info.
    As is often the method of use, when an acute situation presents, it’s best to use the remedy less frequently once improvement ensues and stop when it is fully addressed. Sometimes this can take minutes, while other times it may take days.
    In an ideal world bursting with dandelions and lamb’s quarters, we would be able to prevent toxins from coming into contact with our families, but life’s not like that. This is just one of the countless reasons why I keep my remedy kit close at hand. (If you don’t own one, consider contacting my office to find out what option best suits your family’s needs and budget.)
    Homeopathy: it’s one of the most important steps you can take toward self-sufficiency.
    To help support the free educational materials and activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my recommendations and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
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    18 Responses to “3 Homeopathic Remedies for Pesticide Exposure”
    am says:
    July 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm
    Thank you so much for this life-saving information.
    I have also used nux vomica, or thuja (especially post-vaccination for companion animals when they were mandatory). Your thughts?
    Debby Bruck says:
    July 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm
    Dear Joette – Fantastic information. However, I wonder how often it is safe to repeat these remedies if neighbors on all sides continue to spray pesticides all spring, summer and fall? Even when educating the community, I assume people will continue to hire services or apply these chemicals in order to have a green, weed-free lawn. Blessings, Debby
    Kim says:
    July 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm
    I am a sales rep for a wholesale flower nursery. I daily drive a van filled with plants that have been sprayed frequently with fungicides. I have diffuse systemic scleroderma. What would you recommend for me to take or do to protect myself from damage to my system?
    Thank you,
    Kim Barber
    Joette calabrese says:
    July 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm
    when there are specific issues, such as yours, it would require specific remedies. its best to meet with a homeopath who can take your case.
    Colleen says:
    July 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm
    Wow- Thank you for this invaluable information! Seems most of our neighbors spray and I’ve noticed this spring that our family was coughing often. I chalked it up to the pesticides but didn’t really know how to protect ourselves…until now. I agree on the dandelions and lamb’s quarters…and I enjoy watching the bees frolic on our lawn to collect the pollen. No wonder the bees are in danger!
    Maureen says:
    July 8, 2013 at 3:52 am
    I agree with pesticide free lawns I own a Waldorf Preschool and we do so much outside and the children always kick their shoes off. I won’t even spray for ticks here and use a sticky lint roller on their legs and arms when we go in. My neighboring businesses use lawn pesticides and fertilizers and there are wineries in the area we also had lots of coughing after spring applications of pesticides. Thanks for the remedy suggestions.
    Beth L. says:
    July 8, 2013 at 5:43 am
    Thank you, Joette. I just read a notice from the lawn treatment company that lets us know the dates our neighbor’s lawn will be sprayed. Planning to have windows closed, pets inside and remedies handy!
    barb potter says:
    July 8, 2013 at 7:48 am
    my brother in law sprays his lawn to keep up with the neighbors. all the lawns are perfect. his dog has recurring ear infections and a tremor in his leg. he just doesn’t get it. maybe the word “cancer” would do the trick. on an different note, i’ve been told i have congested lymph nodes under my arms. is there a remedy i can take to help with this? thanks
    Joette calabrese says:
    July 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm
    this would require meeting with your homeopath
    Adriane says:
    July 9, 2013 at 6:40 am
    Thanks for the pertinent information for the season! It’s great to have insight around what can be helpful for environmental irritants like lawn sprays.
    Lorna says:
    July 9, 2013 at 8:36 am
    I don’t understand how people can be so shortsighted about this, people donate SO much money to find a cure for cancer, and then go blithely spraying chemicals and doing all sorts of other things that are totally unnatural and detrimental to our health and our environment. I don’t think we need new kinds of chemo, I think what we need is for people to spend more time educating themselves about things like cancer and taking personal responsibility.
    Instead of having another cancer “run” or cancer “walk” to raise money, everyone should keep their money and sit down for an hour and read about the chemicals and the drugs and the emf’s etc that we surround ourselves with on a daily basis. By reducing these things in our own life, we also improve our neighbor’s. I think that is better than donating cash to a pharmaceutical research team.
    Lorna says:
    July 9, 2013 at 8:43 am
    I don’t mean to imply that when someone has cancer it is their own fault, or due to a lack of personal responsibility. Not at all! Even to our best scientists, cancer still presents some mystery. I don’t think we can eliminate it no matter how “cleanly” we live, and the stress of worrying excessively about chemicals and emf’s can also be harmful – perhaps harmful enough to cause cancer! But with just a small amount of time and a little effort we can do A LOT to learn about and reduce many of these carcinogens and pollutants from our lives, with VERY LITTLE lost in terms of quality of life. Actually I’d say A LOT GAINED in terms of quality of life.
    Marcia says:
    July 11, 2013 at 9:17 am
    Joette, when neighbors spray pesticides and weed killer every month, would we take these ongoing, or for a period of time each month?
    joette calabrese says:
    July 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm
    in general, remedies are taken as needed. this means that they are not like supplements, but medicine that is used when we get sick. if there are no symptoms, then the remedies ought not be used.
    Dr. Sayeed Ahmad says:
    July 23, 2013 at 6:50 am
    Very useful and informative article.
    Marne says:
    August 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm
    I had heard that evaporation through the canopy of lawn chemicals can kill broadleaf trees over time, so I asked an arborist whether they see evidence of this–the person replied, “Every day.”
    Marne says:
    August 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm
    Also, what you recommend for possible RoundUp/glyphosate exposure? Separate issue, but I believe we’re being to glyphosate residue in/through the fumes of biofuels (biodiesel and ethanol, e.g.) that are made from “RoundUp ready” crops. For myself, I’ve noticed cold or flu-like symptoms when I’m out in traffic too often. Thank you so much for all of this information. I do keep wondering whether there are remedies for these chemicals!
    Karen says:
    October 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm
    thank you so much for your post. My daughter and I just got caught far from home and sprayed by the mosquito truck. I happened to have Natrum Mur 6c on hand… hopefully it will help. Bless you.

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