Mass General pediatrics chief says glyphosate, used with some GM crops, no danger in breast milk

Photo by Angela Waye/Shutterstock

A recent online article jointly written by two anti-GMO activist groups and posted on the Moms Across America website claimed that a “study”  that it financed found traces of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup in human breast milk. Specifically, the activist authors—Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across American and Henry Rowlands of Sustainable Pulse—claimed that three of 10 breast milk samples they sent for analysis tested positive for glyphosate, a product widely used for weed control for over 30 years with a well documented safety record for humans of all ages as well as the environment. As a result of this finding the authors hypothesized that glyphosate accumulates in the body, raising concerns about the safety of glyphosate and therefore indirectly the safety of breast milk.

In the following analysis I address the safety of glyphosate and the conclusions of this particular report from my perspective as a pediatrician and nutrition scientist.

Summary about glyphosate:

  • Glyphosate controls weed growth by interfering with the metabolism of plants; it has no effect on the metabolism of humans and animals and therefore has a very strong safety profile, documented over the past 40 years and confirmed by multiple independent international agencies.
  • Human exposure to glyphosate most often occurs from the very minute amounts that remain on food that is consumed. Because it is among the safest agents used to control weed growth the US Environmental Protection Agency has set an Allowable Daily Intake (ADI) of 1750 micrograms (ug) of glyphosate for every kilogram (kg) of body weight.
  • The current daily intake of glyphosate by individuals in the US is estimated, based on food intake data and assuming all foods carry maximal allowable residues, at about 13% of the ADI (or 230 ug per kg of body weight) from residues in or on foods. This is a maximum-case estimate. Tests for glyphosate in samples of urine suggest the typical dietary intake is well below 1% of the ADI or less than 17.5 ug per kg of body weight.
  • Glyphosate that is ingested is mostly passed unchanged in the stool. About one third is absorbed into the body and is promptly removed into the urine.
  • Glyphosate does not accumulate in the body or in breast milk based on its chemical properties.
  • No harm has been associated with the typical amount of glyphosate that passes into the body and then out in the urine.
  • In the recent report from Moms Across America, the levels of glyphosate detected in 3 of 10 samples of breast milk, if accurate (they still must be confirmed by using an assay validated for breast milk), suggest that a breastfeeding infant might be exposed to about 1/50th of the Allowable Daily Intake and do not support any risk, either to the mother or infant.

Conclusion: Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their infants. Even if the results of the recent report are backed up by future research, there is no significant risk to infant health, and the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh any theoretical risks.


Is glyphosate toxic to humans?

Glyphosate acts on a specific pathway in the metabolism plants. This pathway does not occur in animals (including humans), and thus glyphosate itself has very limited toxicity for humans or animals. While there are many allegations about glyphosate safety to be found on the Internet, including allegations about cancer, endocrine disruption, and birth defects, these allegations largely emerge from misinterpretation of limited scientific studies, often times performed under test conditions that have no relevance to human exposure.

Glyphosate now has a 30+ year history of safe use and has been the subject of repeated independent regulatory assessments. It should be reassuring that glyphosate is now undergoing re-evaluation in the European Union and that the German Agency for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut fur Risikobewertung, or BfR) has now issued its draft assessment of glyphosate safety following a thorough review of publications, which include many of these allegations. BfR concludes, “the available data do not show carcinogenic or mutagenic properties of glyphosate nor that glyphosate is toxic to fertility, reproduction or embryonal/fetal development in laboratory animals.” References regarding glyphosate safety are provided at the end of this discussion.

What does it mean when a chemical is found in body fluids?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors a variety of chemicals in the blood and urine of Americans (it does not currently measure breast milk). Whether natural or synthetic, every chemical can be toxic at a sufficiently high dose. As the CDC states: “The measurement of an environmental chemical in a person’s blood or urine is an indication of exposure; it does not by itself mean that the chemical causes disease or an adverse effect. Research studies, separate from these data, are required to determine which blood or urine levels are safe and which are associated with disease or an adverse effect.”

There is an extensive body of knowledge about glyphosate that helps us to understand the meaning of recent reports of glyphosate in breast milk. Here are background reports from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


How are safe levels of intake for glyphosate determined?

The US EPA looks at all available long-term animal studies for herbicides (and other pesticides) to determine an Allowable Daily Intake (ADI). In the case of glyphosate, because there are multiple manufacturers, there are now six independent sets of animal studies. The agency takes the highest dose tested in the various animal species, which produces no effect (the highest tested non-toxic dose) and uses this to set an ADI by applying a 100 fold safety factor. This means that the allowable daily intake is set at 100 times less than a dose which produces no effect, in the most sensitive animal species tested. The US ADI is 1750 micrograms (ug) of glyphosate for every kilogram (kg = 2.2 pounds) of body weight.

Do these intake limits apply to infants and children?

Yes. The limit is intended to apply to males and females at all ages. The large body of data on this issue includes reproductive and multi-generational studies in animals.

How close to the ADI limit is the typical US intake of glyphosate?

If we assume that all of the foods we consume contains the maximum allowable amount of glyphosate for that particular crop or food, and calculate a maximum estimate of glyphosate intake, the highest level of intake (adjusted for weight) occurs in young children (children eat a lot per pound of body weight to support growth and energy needs). The current maximum intake of glyphosate by individuals in the US is estimated to be about 13% of the ADI, about seven-and-a-half times less than the ADI. This is an over-estimate of exposure. More refined estimates can be developed based on actual residue levels, but this is not usually performed when conservative estimates provide good assurance that excessive intake is not occurring.

Another approach to determining glyphosate intake takes advantage of the fact that glyphosate is not broken down or metabolized in the body. Absorbed glyphosate is promptly eliminated in the urine and thus the absorbed glyphosate dose can be measured directly by looking at glyphosate in urine. Based on animal data, about 1/3 of ingested glyphosate is absorbed (the rest comes out in the stool). Therefore a 15 kg (35 lb) toddler taking in 13% of the ADI would have a urine value of 1000 micrograms per liter or greater (this calculation assumes 1 liter of urine per day, about 3 times the minimal urine output expected). Urine levels of glyphosate have been measured in several studies, including studies supported by industry (Farm Family Exposure Study) and studies by non-governmental independent organizations. Many individuals have no detectable glyphosate in urine at a detection limit of 1 microgram per liter, and if found, levels in non-farmers are typically in the 1-3 microgram per liter range.


The available data from Moms Across America indicates the highest level in the urine from the mothers that were tested as 7.5 micrograms per liter (as of April 17, 2014)- so it seems that these individuals have urine values in the range of 1 (or less) to 10 micrograms per liter. This is 100 to 1000 times LESS than you would expect based on current intake estimates. While the estimates of urine value at 13% of ADI are only approximate, these urine data suggest that intakes of glyphosate are far below the ADI.

How can glyphosate get into blood, urine, and breast milk?

For most people on any given day, glyphosate exposure is primarily in the form of food residues following use to control weeds on or around crops. Although we wash fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating them, a small amount of glyphosate may remain as a residue in foods, including seeds and grains (wheat, soybean). The residual glyphosate can be absorbed from the diet, circulate briefly in the blood, and is rapidly eliminated by the kidney like many other waste products- natural or otherwise, without causing any known ill effects. Glyphosate readily dissolves in water (and not in fat) and is a small molecule, so it can enter into breast milk and other body fluids.

Individuals using glyphosate products during planting or farming, or using consumer glyphosate products on the lawn or in the garden can also get exposed during the application process and may have additional exposure to glyphosate via skin or incidental ingestion (touching the face and mouth while using the product). The levels in the blood and urine of these individuals may be higher than seen in the general population with exclusively dietary intake. But, urine samples from adult and teen farmers involved in glyphosate application, (Farm Family Study) indicate that even these users have exposures within the Allowable Daily Intake.

Does glyphosate bio-accumulate in humans?

No. The Moms Across America website suggests that their data support bioaccumulation of glyphosate. Bioaccumulation is a phenomenon in which chemicals that dissolve in fat build up in the body over an extended period of time.

We know from extensive studies that glyphosate is water soluble, not fat soluble, does not accumulate and is not stored in body fat, and is readily excreted in urine. The Moms Across America data indicate the presence of glyphosate in urine samples and in some breast milk samples, but do not demonstrate that glyphosate accumulates in the body over time.

Is glyphosate concentrated in breast milk?

This issue has not been studied in detail for glyphosate in human milk. We do know that glyphosate does not concentrate in cow’s milk and that glyphosate does not have the characteristics of substances that accumulate in milk. Materials that concentrate in breast milk (have higher milk concentrations than blood concentrations) are generally fat soluble and accumulate in milk-fat within breast milk.

The Moms Across America data may have demonstrated glyphosate in breast milk (see discussion below), but very importantly there was no comparison of breast milk and blood concentrations of glyphosate in the same individual. Thus, no statement can be made from these data about glyphosate concentrating or accumulating in breast milk.

What else is in breast milk?

There are many natural and synthetic chemicals present in body fluids (blood, urine), and a number of these are measured and followed over time by the US Centers for Disease Control.1 The CDC has not routinely studied breast milk, but there is no fundamental barrier between blood and breast milk and most of the chemicals found in body fluids will exist in breast milk at some concentration as well. The most focus for breastfeeding moms, for obvious reasons, has been on those chemicals which are persistent, fat soluble and thus tend to concentrate in breast milk or body fat relative to other body tissues and fluids. These substances remain in the body, gradually declining over time if there is no further exposure.2

Are the reported levels in urine and breast milk correct?

The Moms Across America data report breast milk levels using an assay designed for water. However, no data standardizing this assay for breast milk have been published. In the assay used to generate the MAA data, milk is diluted down by 100-fold and measured using the assumption that it is essentially water. Urine levels are obtained using a 10-fold dilution and using the water assay. The accuracy of the test in breast milk remains unclear and, because of the dilution, levels of glyphosate below 75 ug/L cannot be detected by this assay method.

Given what we know about usual urine levels in individuals in the US, which are between 1 and 10 ug/L if detected at all, the reported breast milk values do not make sense. Glyphosate is eliminated in urine and, like most wastes, is concentrated in the urine. Blood levels and breast milk levels should therefore be less than urine levels on average. As discussed above, glyphosate should not concentrate in breast milk. This means that typical breast milk levels should be close to blood levels and less than urine levels- but this is not what Moms Across America found- three of ten samples had levels above the detection limit of 75 ug/L, with the highest value of 165 ug/l and all three levels were above those levels reported in the mothers’ urine samples.

Something seems to be wrong with the data. There are two possibilities. This assay has not been used for breast milk in the past and therefore the analytical method may be in error, either because it is not properly calibrated or because of some interfering factors, as there are many things present in breast milk (chemicals, vitamins, medications, etc.). Another possibility is that the breast milk samples with detectable glyphosate (over 75 ug/L) reflect exposures much larger than the typical exposure to glyphosate in the general population. Without any knowledge of how the samples were obtained and under what circumstances, we cannot speculate on the analytical accuracy. However, the mere fact that the breast milk levels seem highly irregular in comparison to existing urine data should have prompted the laboratory to confirm analytical results using a better, validated method.

Are breast milk levels of glyphosate “high”?

The Moms Across America information suggests that glyphosate levels are “high—but it defines “high” as anything above the limit of detection. Stated another way: anything they can measure is “high”. This is faulty reasoning of course; the limit of detection is determined by how samples are processed and what type of analysis is performed and is determined by laboratory procedures, not by safety considerations. Twenty years ago, we would not have been able to detect glyphosate levels in anyone, but laboratory methods have improved tremendously. Continued improvements will result in assays that are capable of detecting even lower levels of glyphosate.

The proper question is whether breast milk levels result in glyphosate intake above the ADI in the nursing infant. Even the highest value reported by Moms Across America results in infant exposure well below the ADI and also does not suggest that the mother is above the ADI.

The Moms Across America document also compares breast milk levels to the European drinking water standard “for glyphosate”—put in quotes because there is no standard for glyphosate in particular. Rather, the EU set a non-risk-based limit of 0.1 ug/L for all herbicides (and pesticides) in drinking water. Again, this level is independent of any risk assessment concerns and therefore this level is not useful in assessing whether intakes are safe or unsafe.

The World Health Organization (2005) concluded that because of low toxicity, a health based drinking water limit for glyphosate is not warranted and that the presence of glyphosate in drinking-water under usual conditions does not represent a hazard to human health.3

How do the reported levels compare to levels expected at safe levels of intake?

A mother consuming glyphosate in the diet at 100% of the ADI (assuming 50 kg weight and 1/3 of glyphosate absorbed) should be excreting almost 30 milligrams- or 30,000 micrograms of glyphosate in urine per day—about 15,000 ug/L, assuming normal urine output. As noted, most people have no detectable glyphosate in urine. For those with detectable levels in the range of 1-10 ug/L, this is 1500 to 15,000 times LESS than expected from intake at the ADI. Urinary levels suggest maternal intakes well within acceptable limits.

If one assumes that the breast milk values are correct, even the highest value (165 ug/L) would not raise concerns regarding maternal exposure given that breast milk concentrations should be similar to blood concentrations. Even if urine levels are 10-times more concentrated than breast milk or blood, maternal intake is still estimated to be well below the ADI.

What does this mean for the health of an infant?

The highest reported concentration of glyphosate in the 3 breast milk samples (165 ug/L) does not appear to be representative of what may actually be found in breast milk and may be incorrect for analytical reasons. However, even if taken at face value, this would still result in infant intakes well below the ADI. (A 5 Kg or 11-pound infant will take in roughly one liter per day of breast milk, or 165 ug per day. This would be 33 ug per kilogram of body weight per day versus an ADI of 1750 ug per kilogram per day. The intake of glyphosate, even at the highest reported breast milk level, is well below levels that would raise health concerns.

Should mothers stop breastfeeding?

No- based on the low level of exposure relative to the ADI, there is no significant risk to infant health as a result of glyphosate in breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics4 and the Centers for Disease Control5 agree that breastfeeding is the optimal way of feeding infants and that the benefits of breastfeeding clearly outweigh the risks of environmental chemicals found to date in breast milk, except in highly unusual exposure circumstances.

What can mothers do to minimize exposure? / Should they alter their diet or other practices?

There does not appear to be any need to reduce dietary exposure to glyphosate based on existing data. If you wish to reduce residue intake for glyphosate and other pesticides, choosing to eat an organic diet may help to reduce glyphosate intake and reduce breast milk levels. The health benefits/risk reduction resulting from this would appear to be minimal.

For users of the product containing glyphosate, follow all label directions. While all users in the Farm Family Exposure Study had acceptable levels of exposure, the use of rubber gloves is an effective means to limit exposure to the product (glyphosate is not volatile, so most applicator exposure comes from skin and incidental hand-to mouth contact).

If mothers are breastfeeding, should they have their breast milk tested for glyphosate?

Pending validation of the breast milk assay, and given that current reported levels do not raise a health concern, there is no need to test breast milk.

Should children be tested for glyphosate?

By all exposure estimates, children are well below the ADI for glyphosate intake. Actual urine values are limited- but in the farm family exposure study, urine glyphosate was undetectable in farm children (exception- teenagers who assisted in application), i.e. below 1 ug/L. Urine testing of children for glyphosate would seem highly unlikely to document any exposure of possible concern and thus is not recommended.

Reviews on the safety of glyphosate:

  1. BfR press release (current re-assessment):
  2. Most recently completed review by the European Commission (Compounds are reviewed every 10 years and a review is in progress now.)

  1. Safety Evaluation and Risk Assessment of the Herbicide Roundup and Its Active Ingredient, Glyphosate, for Humans” (Williams et al., 2000):
  2.  Epidemiologic studies of glyphosate and cancer: A review.
  3. Epidemiologic Studies of Glyphosate and Non-Cancer Health Outcomes: A Review.
  4. Developmental and Reproductive Outcomes in Humans and Animals after Glyphosate Exposure: A Critical Analysis.


Dr. Ron Kleinman is the physician in chief, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Charles Wilder Professor Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

  • RobertWager

    Thank you for this. it is very important that every fear story put out be the anti-GMO industry be countered with facts. People do not like being lied to. Or so goes my philosophy on this subject.

    • Lisbeth

      Jesus man. You’re the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror.

  • crush davis

    I wonder how devoted the anti-GE people would be to their religion if GE could save a loved one from the effects of an incurable disease. Maybe they’d just be content to say, “Sorry. I’m lobbying to ban the medicine that will save you, mom.” Compassionate and caring indeed.

    • JohnG

      I wonder how devoted the pro GMO crowd will be to their religion when it is finally proven that GMOs are killing their loved ones and their planet. Greedy and arrogant indeed.

      • darylklindworth

        You don’t like the facts, Huh!

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      Crush, are you perhaps referring to G.E. insulin. I heard a rumor that it has been successful. Can anyone confirm?

    • David Smith

      That is such a lame argument! This issue has nothing to do with pro- or anti-GM. The issue is whether or not we should be concerned and the answer is that we desperately need more research.

      • Jon Entine

        No food issued has been studied more than GM foods, with the studies entirely consistent that they are harmless. Glyphosate is one of the most studied chemicals, with many hundreds of studies, with no evidence of acute toxicity.

  • JohnG

    Why of course, Glyphosate which has never existed before in the environment until commercialized by Monsanto must be good for humans. Duh?

    • David Smith

      A quote from a letter by Viljoen (2013) in Food and Chemical Toxicology:

      “Several studies have reported on the toxicity of commercial formulations of R and/or glyphosate on mammals, Nile tilapia and sea urchin (Clair et al., 2012; Daruich et al., 2001; Gasnier et al., 2009; Gui et al., 2012; Jiraungkoorskul et al., 2002; Koller et al., 2012; Malatesta et al., 2008b; Marc et al., 2002, 2004; Paganelli et al., 2010; Romano et al., 2012).

      Despite this, a recent industry sponsored review concluded that ‘‘the available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations’’ (Williams et al., 2012). The authors of the latter suggest that where glyphosate toxicity has been observed, it is the result of ‘‘surfactants present in the formulations and not the direct result of glyphosate exposure’’. This argument is irrelevant since it is the formulation that is being applied in practice and is part of the ‘‘herbicide complex’’ of chemicals taken up by the plant.”

      So here is my challenge to all of you that debunk claims that glyphosate is hazardous. Put your money where your mouth is. Volunteer to be part of a study where you drink a daily “safe dose” glyphosate for 1 year with urine testing to determine its presence. That way we will really know you trust the “science”.

      • Jon Entine

        David, Food and Chemical Toxicology is a third tier ‘pay for play’ journal–junk medicine. There have been no studies–zero–linking the mild toxicant glyphosate as used as an herbicide to any serious health hazards in humans. This issue has been reviewed by the EPA numerous times as well as by the World Health Organizational and other international bodies, all independent. The science case on its danger has been settled for years.

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          Jon, remember that what has not been cured is the “we hate Monsanto syndrome” Until that is cured you will always have people destroying their own credibility with these shiill accusations etc

          • That “cure” will never occur, because it’s a deep religious believe. Suspicion of power is appropriate and rational; assumption that all large organizations (Monsanto, FDA/EPA, etc.) are corrupt is religious.

          • David Smith

            Jon, I would like to direct your attention to an interesting letter written in response to Williams et al. (2012) by Bellé et al. (2012).

            They point out the following:
            1. “The authors consider our results as “not environmentally relevant” because of the concentrations used. The sentence was repeated five times in their article. This is a speculative assertion since (1) we observe effects at concentrations (8 mM affecting 100% of the individual cells at short time exposure) below the usage concentration (20 mM) of the herbicide. Therefore, regarding the considerable amount of glyphosate-based product sprayed worldwide, the concentration of Roundup in every single micro droplet is far above the threshold concentration that would activate the cell cycle checkpoint. (2) The effects we demonstrate were obtained by a short exposure time (minutes) of the cells to glyphosate based products, and nothing excludes that prolonged exposure to lower doses may also have effects. Since glyphosate is commonly found present in drinking water in many countries, low doses with long exposure by ingestion are a fact. The consequences of this permanent long term exposure remain to be further investigated but cannot just be ignored.”

            How many of the studies that the EPA, FDA, WHO and EFSA have used to conclude that glyphosate is safe were not sponsored by industry.

            2. Bellé et al. (2012) also point out that:
            “The authors do not take into account in their interpretation of our results the very poor cell membrane permeability of pure glyphosate (Riechers et al. 1994), although they do state that “commercial formulations include a surfactant system . . . allowing penetration of the active ingredient.” Since our results were obtained for short exposure time at neutral pH, we ascribed the absence of cellular effect of pure glyphosate to this poor permeability. To our knowledge, pure glyphosate is not used as an herbicide in agriculture applications and we ignore whether, in such conditions, pure glyphosate is or not an herbicide.”

            In other words in pure form glyphosate cannot be taken up by the cell and that is why a surfactant is used. How many safety studies sponsored by industry have included surfactant? In an industry sponsored review of glyphosate, Williams et al. disregard the role of the surfactant in the uptake of glyphosate.

          • David Smith

            Sorry, are you implying that Monsanto is a disease?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            David, What I am implying is that many members of “Team Outrage” {Mary’s term] Seem to ignore facts in puruit of their goal of hating the biotech companies and often big business, in general. The facts concerning these products should not be held hostage to this emotional drivel.

        • David Smith

          I’m not sure what you mean when you accuse Food and Chemical Toxicology as “a third tier ‘pay for play’ journal–junk medicine”. Its current impact factor is 3.010 which is considered good. Also the editorial board is filled with experienced scientists – see for yourself

        • David Smith

          Most of the studies finding GM foods safe were published in Food and Chemical Toxicology that you consider “a third tier ‘pay for play’ journal–junk medicine”.
          Would you like to revise your previous satement or are the studies below showing GM foods to be safe that were published in Food and Chemical Toxicology “a third tier ‘pay for play’ journal–junk medicine” aslo “junk science”:

          Brake DG, Evenson DP 2004 A generational study of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans on mouse fetal, postnatal, pubertal and adult testicular development. Food Chem Toxicol. 42:29-36.
          Hammond B, Dudek R, Lemen J, Nemeth M. 2004 Results of a 13 week safety assurance study with rats fed grain from glyphosate tolerant corn. Food Chem Toxicol. 42:1003-14.
          Healy C, Hammond B, Kirkpatrick J. 2008. Results of a 13-week safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn rootworm-protected, glyphosate-tolerant MON 88017 corn. Food and Chemical Toxicology 46: 2517–2524.
          Zhu Y, He X, Luo Y, Zou S, Zhou X, Huang K, Xu W. 2013. A 90-day feeding study of glyphosate-tolerant maize with the G2-aroA gene in Sprague-Dawley rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology 51: 280–287.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      I never existed in nature before either JohnG. Does that mean I’m toxic as well? Are all synthetics toxic because they didn’t exist in nature? Duh.

      • Lisbeth

        I can’t begin to deconstruct the idiocy of that statement.

        • Care to explain how it’s an invalid point? It’s the original statement that seems idiotic to me.

  • Lokeana

    PCBs were initially widely welcomed due to the electrical industry’s need for durable, safer cooling and insulating fluid for industrial transformers and
    capacitors. PCBs were also commonly used as stabilizing additives in the
    manufacture of flexible PVC coatings for electrical wiring, and in
    electronic components to enhance the heat and fire resistance of the
    They were known to be highly toxic from the beginning, but it was
    ASSUMED that they would be contained in the products in which they were
    used. However, as leaks of transformers occurred, and toxicity problems
    arose near factories, their durability and toxicity became widely
    recognized as serious problems. PCB production was banned by the U.S.
    Congress in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic
    Pollutants in 2001.


    Remember Agent Orange, Saccharin? Remember the damage they did to people before it was finally legally proved that they were indeed harmful!! The difference between anti bio-ag and pro bio-ag is their history! Robert Wager, you’re right People don’t like being lied to, and unfortunately bio-ag has a history of doing just that until they are legally stopped from doing harm, in many many cases!

    • What does tis have to do with glyphosate? The evaluation of the chemical has been ongoing for decades, with hundreds of studies, most of them independent. It’s a mild chemical and replaced fare more toxic ones–a great innovation. What’s your point here?

      • Lokeana

        The point Mr, Entine is that just because you find a Pediatrician who will claim glyphosate in mother’s breast milk isn’t harmful today, doesn’t mean that they won’t discover down the road it is extremely harmful. I mention Agent Orange because we were told it was safe And today we know according to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that the Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects. Some studies showed that veterans who served in the South during the war have increased rates of cancer, and nerve, digestive, skin and respiratory disorders. Veterans from the south had higher rates of throat cancer, acute/chronic leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, soft tissue sarcoma and liver cancer. With the exception of liver cancer, these are the same conditions the U.S. Veteran’s Administration has determined may be associated with exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin,
        and are on the list of conditions eligible for compensation and treatment.

        The claim was it was SAFE, They were wrong and all these people and children have suffered for that error. That is the point!

        I am curious though, how does a B.A. in Philosophy make you know for sure that the scientist you back are correct and the other scientists that disagree with you and your bio-Ag associates are all wrong? Why have you made this your mission? You write a lot of supportive articles for bio-Ag, especially when someone brings up a concern that would put bio-Ag in a negative light. For a journalist you are very biased. You seem to stake your reputation that all anti bio-Ag are wrong and your guys are right And you don’t stop there, I’ve read stories where you’ve aggressively attempted to discredit those who spoke up against bio-Ag if they were making progress educating their community..

        What are you prepared to do if and when it turns out all this stuff you are writing is inaccurate? Are you gonna share the new information as aggressively as you are now? Are you going to apologize? Or does it matter? I’m not being sarcastic, I really want to know, because I understand the motivation behind those who want a toxic chemical free living space, but I don’t understand your motivation. I don’t understand why you are so aggressive with information that only some Scientists say is accurate, and be so sure the others are absolutely wrong. You are extremely one sided, which is odd for a journalist. I’d love you hear your answers.

        • Jon Entine

          Lokeana, It wasn’t just “a pediatrician”–it’s one of the most prominent pediatricians in the world. His views are in accord with independent research organizations around the world, including in the European Union, the World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences–and of course the EPA and USDA. If you want to reject mainstream science for fear and conspiracy theories, go right ahead; that’s your right.

          • Bart Wilson

            To be fair, there has been growing data and a better understanding of exactly how glyphosate works in the body. I read this article and it doesn’t take into account some of the new data (I am not talking about the very non-independent “study” that was the impetus for this particular response). More info (with sources) can be found here:

            Bottom Line: there is enough information (outside of the breast milk issue) for the safety of glyphosate to be reexamined (independently).

            Some of the data and research findings mentioned in this article have been called into question as our understanding of glyphosate has changed.

          • Jon Entine

            Bart, there is zero new data suggesting problems with glyphosate. The article you link to was in Entropy, which is a “pay for play” journal, which means the authors bought their way into it….it’s not a legitimate journal. It’s pure junk science and the authors have no expertise in this area. In fact, glyphosate is one of the least toxic herbicides on the market with no evidence that it causes serious human or environmental. Please stick to legit sources–CDC, EPA, USFDA, USDA or major peer review journals. Junk science bought and paid for by anti-GMO activists does not make the cut.

          • David Smith

            Jon you must stop using the “pay for play” game to rubbish a journal. The fact is that as you already know that many high impact factor journals ask page charges:

            In doing so you not only denigrate scientific effort, your responses appear pre-conditioned and suggest you only have one pre-recorded response and you thereby do yourself discredit.

          • Lisbeth

            There is vast amounts of new data. What are you smoking? Or selling?

          • Lisbeth

            Legit sources: All government agencies in bed with Monsanto? Sure, buddy. I’ve heard that one before.

            Here’s an objective study OUTSIDE the propaganda-infested United States, from 2014.


          • Michael McCarthy

            Well, what a surprise, glyphosate was present in urine and animals that consumed things exposed to glyphosate had higher levels in their urine. What a revelation of science. They make some other fabulous claims in the paper, but cite do data to back it up (glyphosate in liver and spleen of animals, in bones of lab rats). That is what is known as bad science.

          • Lisbeth

            Are you suggesting anti-GMO activists have anywhere near the bankroll that Monsanto has? To peddle influence equally across the fields of science of medicine? Get real man.

          • Combination of organic industry and NGOs eclipse the size of Ag biotech by 10-1 at least. Monsanto has the same revenue as Monsanto and as much influence in the media. That’s why NGOs and Big Organic are winning with disinformation campaigns in Europe and Africa.

          • hyperzombie

            Monsanto has the same revenue as Monsanto and as much influence in the media.


          • Well, it _is_ true, just not very illuminating ;-)

          • hyperzombie

            Are you suggesting anti-GMO activists have anywhere near the bankroll that Monsanto has?

            They have more,,far more. greenpeace is a multi million dollar organization, Whole foods is the same size as Monsanto…

          • Lisbeth

            Well, if you believe that, then I don’t think anyone is interested in hearing whatever else you ‘believe’

          • hyperzombie

            It is not a belief, it is the truth.

          • Lisbeth

            Explain to everyone what there is to gain by taking RoundUp off the shelf?

          • hyperzombie

            Explain why you are willing to pay 2x more money for the same food?

            gain by taking RoundUp off the shelf?

            That would be horrible for the environment, More land use, and even worse herbicides..
            I always find it funny that the people that know nothing about farming are complaining about the 2 safest herbicides, 2-4-D and glyphosate. If you knew what herbicides are sprayed on your non GMO crops, you would have a heart attack.

          • Clifford Ageloff

            Entropy is not a source for research science.

          • Lisbeth

            All the more reason to suspect the usual. Prominent individuals accept money to say what they’re paid to say all the time.

          • 1) no evidence this prominent physician is anything but independent; 2) by your logic, let’s believe 10th non name scientists who have no publishing track record because of their lack of training and/or expertise instead of one of the most prominent scientists in the world.

            Good logic.

          • Lisbeth

            I’m sure that’s one way to become ‘prominent’ eh? Do as your masters command … if anything, a ‘prominent’ person is the least trustworthy of all.

          • Lisbeth

            Jesus Christ Jon. Jesus Christ.

          • CD

            Where is the evidence for who this Dr. even is? What are his credentials? Not much on the Web….

          • Lindaxox

            He said Agencies – they endorse

            What agencies? Based on? We now know half the articles and studies in peer reviewed journals is false. Dr’s lend or rent out their name but have never seen the studies. Not long ago when pregnant all Dr’s recommended you take nothing unless absolutely necessary, now it’s GMOs, poison weed killer, vaccines, whatever.

          • Robin Stach

            The world health organization states that its carcinogenic so I don’t understand your using them as a source.

        • darylklindworth

          Lokeana, you ask how Jon can be so sure that the scientists are right. But by the same reasoning, can’t we ask how you are so sure that glyphosate will ultimately be shown to be dangerous when all evidence thus far suggests that it is not. Look at the points made by Dr Kleinman. Those are very strong points. Your rationale appears to be only that it happened in the case of Agent Orange and PCBs, therefore you can conclude that it will happen with glyphosate. You have no evidence.

          • Lisbeth

            You have completely been paid to write that comment. It reeks of gaslighting. You should be ashamed to hell.

          • I suspect absolutely no-one on this forum has been paid to write anything. The shill accusation is a completely baseless canard, only wheeled out by people who can’t argue on a level playing field.

            But ok, let’s assume that darylklindworth was paid to write that comment (sorry daryl). Does that invalidate the points made in it, that you seem unable to respond to via logic, facts, and reason?

        • Carver

          Who ever said that Agent Orange was safe? It was commissioned by the Department of Defense to be a jungle-wide herbicide; Monsanto knew it could have potential health effects if it was ingested and told them so. The armed forces elected to use it anyway. There was never any illusion that the stuff was safe.

          Comparing it to glyphosphate, which has numerous peer-reviewed toxicology studies demonstrating that not only its toxicity is too low to harm humans unless it is consumed by the pound, and that it is filtered out unmetabolized in urine, is totally unfair.

          Which scientists in particular disagree with these claims? This article kindly posted several studies; how about you post yours? That way we can see for ourselves if the research they did is up to snuff. Up to snuff meaning, the results were replicable, an actual hypothesis was stated at the beginning of the paper, the results actually match the stated conclusion, and that there isn’t any confirmation bias.

          As far as Mr. Entine is concerned, I think he’s making the right move trusting the results of independently fuded research that has been peer-reviewed by other non-corporate scientists. It’s something that you yourself probably do every day, because you don’t have the time to find out if physicists are wrong about your car not exploding if you start it. The people coming up with these answers are not affiliated with the companies making the products; we understand why you’d be loathe to trust corporate studies, so we go out of our way to find non-biased ones, which you DON’T EVEN BOTHER TO READ before dismissing them. Your bias here is much more obvious than his.

          • brec

            Carver: glyphosate, not glyphosphate. I notice this error because I was making it myself for awhile.

          • Carver

            Thanks; can’t believe I missed that.

          • Lokeana

            Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and occupational exposure to agricultural pesticide chemical groups and active ingredients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.


            Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka?


            Abstract Title:
            The effect of metabolites and impurities of glyphosate on human erythrocytes (in vitro).

            Abstract Source:
            Pestic Biochem Physiol. 2014 Feb ;109:34-43. Epub 2014 Jan 25. PMID: 24581382

            Abstract Author(s):
            Marta Kwiatkowska, Bogumiła Huras, Bożena Bukowska


            Here are several studies on glyphosate and other study types in the database.


            this is just a quick list, there’s others. But I hope this answers your question. And just FYI I am reading them, I really do bother to :)

          • Carver

            Thanks for these; they offer a lot of insight into what misconceptions you have about the topic at hand.
            Firstly: The first paper you posted is a meta analysis of several studies surrounding the occupational exposure to several pesticides and how it relates to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While this is an important paper for people who are spraying the chemicals for a living, it doesn’t really apply to consumers who have, on average, a MUCH lower exposure for a much shorter time to all substances involved. This quote from the results says as much: “Strong dose response relationships were generally absent; most analyses that examined associations with multiple categories of exposure derived imprecise estimates with wide confidence intervals. McDuffie et al. [43] and Eriksson et al. [32] observed increased odds of NHL in association with a greater number of days/year of glyphosate exposure.”

            Also, in the table provided that discussed the organization of the studies, only a few of the studies involved glyphosate; and none of the ones that did reported results by subtype; meaning that the particular flavor of NHL developed wasn’t taken into account.
            Finally, from the discussion: “This systematic review and series of meta-analyses show that there is consistent evidence of positive associations between NHL and carbamate insecticides, organophosphorus insecticides,
            lindane, an organochlorine insecticide, and MCPA, a phenoxy herbicide.” They couldn’t get a high enough correlation or Relative Risk assessment from glyphosate to say for sure that it had a direct affect on cases of NHL.

            This is the only one I had time to look at this morning, but I’ll get to the other ones in a bit.

          • Lokeana

            Carver your quote: “While this is an important paper for people who are spraying the
            chemicals for a living, it doesn’t really apply to consumers who have,
            on average, a MUCH lower exposure for a much shorter time to all
            substances involved.”

            Maybe this would be true, if your back yard wasn’t directly behind a Monsanto test field. Lucky for you if you are far away from where spraying on test field are done. My guess is that you don’t live in Hawaii? And especially on Kauai or Molokai?

            You ask for links I shared some, and like I’ve said there are many many more I’ve come accross. You in capital letters claim (assuming to insult me,) that I don’t bother to read, yet I came here to read and ask legitimate questions. (that by the way never got answered because it became more of an attack on what you think I already believe)

            Personally I came to this article with the perspective that if it was created to be poison, it’s poison and we should expect it to do what its made to do. And I ask questions being curious as to why anyone would claim that a poison on any level changes to less harmful when it is found in our drinking water, and worse in our bodies.

            And for your information I ask the same questions to anti-bio Ag people because I truly want to know what makes them so sure. I really didn’t expect to have to defend myself for posing questions.

            But since I am on Molokai surrounded by test fields that get sprayed regularly near homes and schools, I am very curious as to why people like John Entine are so sure that its all safe, because my life and my children are directly exposed.

            It is interesting though that the most uncomfortable feeling I’ve had in asking both sides comes from the pro bio-Ag people who can be very personal in their character attacks. That’s too bad :(

          • Jon Entine

            Lokeana, you are factually wrong here. The state of Hawaii has examined the claim that there is spraying above acceptable levels set by the government and scientists (which are themselves 1000-10,000 times higher than actual safe levels as there is a buffer) and found that there are no compliance issues. You can make bogus claims all you want but the public record is clear and unequivocal.

          • Lokeana

            Bogus claims? I live here wth? Just VERY recently after that HUGE dust storm that btw they got fined for by the State of Hawaii, they closed the mailla camp field that was directly connected to homes in Manilla camp. I know this as a fact because it was headline news on my island. Would you like me to provide pictures as proof? Please do NOT accuse me of bogus claims when you don’t even live here. In fact, if what you are claiming is true why are Dupont, Syngenta and Agrigentics Inc. file a lawsuit in federal court, claiming that the Kauai law is unconstitutional?

            The law requires large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use,
            report genetically engineered crops, and create buffer zones between pesticide-sprayed fields and public areas like schools, hospitals and homes.

            You see I do read, and I may not pay attention to what happens in the continental United States, but I do pay attention to what’s happening in my own back yard.

            As for you John, I think you answered my questions loud and clear, there is nothing I can learn from you that I would trust.

            As for darylklindworth thank you so much for your post, it made a lot of sense and I did actually learn something useful. I appreciate your ability to answer a question without attaccking me. Much mahalos!! But I’m done here, and anything else this journalist has to say. He’s got a chip on his shoulder for sure lol. Anyways have a great day everyone.

          • Jon Entine

            You made specific claims about glyphosate that are factually wrong–incorrect as determined by the state of Hawaii, the county that you live in and the US government.

          • JoePToms

            Lokeana, you are right to be suspicious. We do not have a long track record of pesticides/herbicides that were/are not harmful to us. These individuals obviously do not have your best interests in mind in giving you their advice (many people advising others online as to “the greatness of GMOs” have monetary interests in the GMO industry). All one can do is just do their best to avoid what you can. GMO-labeling will soon be the norm and big biotech/Ag will move on.

          • Jon Entine

            Joe, what are the “monetary interests” of the EPA, FDA, USDA, World Health Organization, National Academy of Sciences, European Commission, European Food Safety Authority, Japanese Academy of Sciences, Australian Veterinary and Agriculture Organization and 100+ other independent organizations to restate the scientific consensus that crop biotechnology is as safe or safer than organic/conventional foods? Please elaborate and provide non activist links. Thanks.

          • JoePToms

            Jon, surely you jest. Monetary interests? It is apparent you choose to hide behind the veil of ignorance when it comes to Monsanto’s lobbying/bribing strategy. Do we need to go into the fact that 64 other countries (soon to be 65, thanks to Vermont!) require foods containing GMOs to be labeled? You list many international organizations, but do you realize that GMOs are mandated to be labeled in the countries/regions where each of them reside? Europe? Check. Japan? Check. Australia? Much the same. Take it from someone who lived in Oz for several years in the recent past. No one would knowingly put a GMO-containing food in their mouth. Images can be easily found online for each country’s GMO labels. No links are necessary.

            Do we need to also go into the revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA/USDA/EPA? While I am sure you know the gaggle of cronies, I will list them for others to invalidate your agencies point even further:
            Michael Friedman (Sr VP for Clinical Affairs at G.D. Searle and Co who merged w/ Monsanto) – Acting Commissioner of the FDA
            Arthur Hayes (Consultant to Searle’s PR Firm) – Previous FDA Commissioner
            Margaret Miller (Top Monsanto Scientist, oversaw approval of rBGH) – Appointed Deputy Director of FDA in ’91
            Suzanne Sechen (Worked on Monsanto-funded rBGH in ’91) – FDA Reviewer on Scientific Data
            Michael Taylor (Attorney for Monsanto for 7 yrs, head of D.C. Monsanto Office) – FDA Reviewer on Scientific Data
            Clarence Thomas (Former Monsanto Lawyer) – Appointed to Supreme Court in ’91
            Anne Veneman (Served on Board of Directors at Calgene, a Monsanto Biotech subsidiary) – Appointed Head of USDA in 2001
            Virginia Weldon (Former Sr VP for Public Policy at Monsanto) – Previous member of FDA’s Metabolism and Endocrine Advisory Committee
            Linda Fisher (VP, Public and Govt Affairs) – Deputy Administration at the EPA
            Linda Watrud (Manager, New Technologies, Monsanto) – USDA, EPA
            Roger Beachy (Director, Monsanto’s Danforth Center) – Director USDA, NIFA
            I can go on and on with other govt agencies/positions – Hilary Clinton, Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Kantor… These are just the big ones. The problem is obvious here w/ regard to interests. No need for me to elaborate further. A simple search of each person will provide more information. No links are necessary.

            Do we additionally need to go into the past track record of pesticides/herbicides and their toxic effects on us? I suggest you do not want me to waste your time on that one. You know this is a valid point already. Again, no links are necessary here.

            To others who might read this and are new to this issue, please research the above points for yourself and make an informed opinion. For such a ‘harmless’ product, Monsanto’s representation, behavior and business practices are not consistent with that being the case. Thank you.

          • Jon Entine

            Joe, there is as much or more of a revolving door with the organic industry. But that’s besides the point. Every major science organization in the world has found GMOs (and glyphosate) safe. So you left arguing a world wide conspiracy. That echoes the anti-vaccine, creationist and climate change denial community. Even Mark Bittman, the anti-GMO foodie, says GMOs are not dangerous. Yes, Joe, “no links are necessary” because science is not on your side.

          • JoePToms

            Good one, Jon. But organic foods are not the issue here, are they (I won’t even broach the other irrelevant and incorrect assumptions you feel qualified enough to suggest)? Organic food companies do not have a revolving door between themselves and governmental organizations (which you brought up). Or would you like to correct me? :) (ahh, but you can’t) Organic food companies are not trying to hide something in your food without you knowing or lobbying/bribing with hundreds of millions of dollars every year to ensure they stay hidden. They are also not suggesting you take their word on things. No, my post simply invalidates everything you tried to put forth in your previous post and does so rather effectively. Go back and have a look; if your pride isn’t consuming you by now, that is. This is why the rest of the world labels GMOs, Jon…and soon, so will we :) You see, the good thing about being on this side is that all I have to do is continue to raise doubts. You saw Vermont, right? Worked there. 600,000 people isn’t a lot, but the word has gone out to more than 100 times that amount fortunately thanks to media coverage. Perhaps now would be a good time to cast light on the 85 other state laws currently up in 29 states on this issue…and they are not exactly pro-GMO, if you know what I mean. How many people will those laws get to? The horror! Doubt and skepticism are such wonderful things. Sorry, no links for this last point, either. It is all over the news, though. Enjoy-

          • hyperzombie

            Organic food companies are not trying to hide something in your food without you knowing or lobbying/bribing with hundreds of millions of dollars every year to ensure they stay hidden.

            Sure they do. Do they tell you that antibiotics are used on fruit trees? Do they tell you that Organic crops test higher for mycotoxins? Do they tell you that rotenone a pesticide (fish pesticide) is used on many organic crops? Do they tell you that Organic crops are far more likely to be contaminated with E=coli and salmonella?

          • Lokeana

            I wasn’t planning on returning to this conversation, but luckily I got an email with your comment and had to come back to tell you I read them all and thank you so much!!!

          • Clifford Ageloff

            Personal anecdotes and you being ‘scared’ don’t change the vast evidence that vigorously counter your claims. Anyone can file any lawsuit to protect their interests and in doing so it is their right. Are you arguing only certain entities have the right to redress by the courts? Were aren’t talking about pesticides but herbicides, or so I thought. GMOs never harmed anyone, by the way. The science is “in” and those who refuse to believe it do so at the peril of others and themselves.

          • Lisbeth

            They’re shills. Don’t bother with them. Only somebody with billions could afford to hire teams of disinfo creeps like this.

          • darylklindworth

            Lokeana, I don’t think that the objective of Carver or anyone one else here is to make personal attacks. Rather, the point is to try to educate. Out in the real world, there are many misconceptions about pesticides, GMOs, and how science operates. I think that what Carver was trying to do was to point out to you that there are problems with the studies that you are offering as evidence.
            I must also point out one problem with the citation that Carver has not yet discussed. That is the study on chronic kidney disease. When this paper was published a couple months ago, the anti-GM people started putting it on their websites as proof of harm by GMOs. But when you look at the paper, you see that there is in fact no study conducted. The paper is in fact a hypothesis, and it is clearly marked as such on the front page. Therefore, even the journal and the authors acknowledge that it is a hypothesis. Perhaps subsequent studies will show that there is something to this hypothesis. But at the present time, it is inappropriate to be presenting a hypothesis as scientific proof.

            Again, the point here is not to make personal attacks.

          • darylklindworth

            Editorial correction – in the sentence “When this paper was published a couple months ago, the anti-GM people started putting it on their websites as proof of harm by GMOs” change GMOs to glyphosate. Probably didn’t confuse anyone.

          • mikuhrib

            Sorry I have to correct you on this quote:

            “While this is an important paper for people who are spraying the chemicals for a living, it doesn’t really apply to consumers…”

            It actually does apply to the significant percentage of consumers who care about whether people were harmed in the supply chain process of the food they are consuming.

            I am neither an anti-GM activist nor do I believe that glyphosate is harmful in small amounts but I do feel that all people should have the right to make informed decisions about what they eat. I also think people have the right to their own beliefs and if they choose to reject mainstream science that is their choice, I do not try to force my own opinions on others.

          • Carver

            Round 2!
            The Metabolites and Impurities paper:

            This one only offered an extract; the rest of the article was hidden behind a $36 paywall, so while I can’t speak as to the integrity of their methods, the abstract tells me a lot.

            To start with, it’s an in vitro study. It is incredibly easy to affect a relatively small number of cells growing in a petri dish because they are outside of their host support body. This limits the informative power of in vitro studies because the effective concentration of anything used on this tiny number of cells will act as though it were orders of magnitude higher without other tissues lending support.

            That being said, the results didn’t seem very drastic, even for this scenario. “Glyphosate, its metabolites and impurities induced a little hemolysis and hemoglobin oxidation. All changes were very low, even after 24h incubation…The results clearly show that the changes induced in the erythrocytes can occur only as a result of poisoning with these compounds.”
            Again, this is a matter of dosage.

          • Carver

            Round 3! The acute self-poisoning article.

            You do realize that pretty much everyone mentioned in this study drank copious amounts of pesticide with the sole intention of killing themselves and most of them didn’t even manage to do it? Out of the 601 people studied, only 5.5% of the patients managed to consume enough to qualify for “moderate to severe poisoning” and only 3.2% actually died. “Death was strongly associated with greater age, larger ingestions and high plasma glyphosate concentrations on admission (>734μg/mL).” You can’t get concentrations that high from eating food treated with glyphosate or from the amount found in breast milk.

          • Pro-Common Sense

            I applaud your efforts to study the science, and identify the critical evidence to support claims of Glyphosate toxicity.

            The paper cited (your first 2 links are identical) concludes: “positive associations between NHL and carbamate insecticides, OP insecticides, the phenoxy herbicide MCPA, and lindane”. No such association with Glyphosphate, not one of these structural classes of pesticides.

            Next paper: Erythrocyte study: “The results clearly show that the changes induced in the erythrocytes can occur only as a result of poisoning with these compounds.In summary, our results indicate that glyphosate, its metabolites and impurities in the concentrations examined induced slightly significant effects on human erythrocytes. The investigated metabolites and impurities caused a slight stronger damage to human erythrocytes than glyphosate.Moreover, we observed that the analyzed parameters in human erythrocytes were mostly in a low extent changed at the highest concentrations of the compounds studied.”

            As a biologist, I know from experience that erythrocytes change rapidly in response to all sorts of compounds, and even water (which in “highest concentrations,” will literally lyse the cells).
            I would rather see a study on lymphocytes, if we’re addressing the incidence of lymphoma/leukemia, the most common, suspected cancers associated with chemical exposure; that would have more bearing and relevance on the debate here, and perhaps provide more conclusive evidence.

            Glyphosate molecular wt= 169.1 g/mole.
            This study’s highest conc.: 5mM= 845,500ug/l.
            73.6 +/- 28.2 lg/L of blood of people not directly exposed. In other words, the effects they report were, at the least, several 1000-fold higher than what is physiological relevant for the average human being.
            At this type of test concentration, virtually every drug approved by the FDA would probably also show effects on erythrocytes; alarming? Perhaps, but for most drugs, nanomolar levels in the blood are all that’s needed or achieved. So, testing at very high levels really has no biological meaning (I know apparently some suicides with Glyphosate achieved very high levels in the blood, but it’s not clear what the people actually died from. All we know is that they wanted to die, and Glyphosate was one of the chemicals readily available).

            As a well-read, professional biologist, I am not convinced that there’s any compelling evidence in these or other studies to suggest that glyphosate is harmful; yes, it may be in the long-term, but the evidence is not yet there. At this point, I have to conclude that there is no compelling evidence to restrict or eliminate its use, after 30 years and multiple studies on it.
            There was an interesting paper looking at GMO (Roundup-ready)corn effects on livestock, based on the fact that USDA records are so accurate for production (and carcasses are rejected on the basis of tumors, lesions etc; the types of effects we’re concerned about in people). After literally billions of chickens, hogs, and cattle produced since 1994 (when GMO corn hit the market), the USDA quality assessment is better today than it ever has been, i.e. even fewer animal carcasses are rejected by the USDA then before 1994.
            Bottom line for Agriculture: if it’s not profitable and safe, it’s not a part of a sustainable farming and ranching. These people are not interested in potentially poisoning their customers, or themselves for that matter. What’s bad for the rest of us would be bad for them as well.

      • Lisbeth

        Which studies have you been looking at? Have you looked at any recent studies? Particularly analysis of livestock and human beings using ELISA and mass spectrometry?

      • JoeFarmer

        Says the anti-vax fucktard…

    • Clifford Ageloff

      PCB’s are fat-soluble and bio-accumulate. Glyphosate is water soluble and does not.

      • Lisbeth

        That is completely false. Numerous studies have found glyphosate levels in organs after death, in bone, especially. That’s humans and animals. So, clearly you haven’t done your homework. Why would anyone listen to you, then?

        • Site numerous studies in a peer reviewed journal that has shown this. There are zero.

          • Let’s bear in mind that chemical assay technology is ridiculously sensitive these days. Finding a few molecules of glyphosate, which is after all a very widely used chemical, does not mean that they had any biological relevance; nor that *lots* of other superficially worrying things weren’t also found in trace amounts. A reputable study should be up-front about that; activist studies in dubious journals may carefully choose to play dumb.

        • Please give us details about glyphosate levels in human bone.

          Given the solubility of glyphosate, I would expect to find it in all tissues.

  • Ben L

    The important part is the CDC comment “Whether natural or synthetic, every chemical can be toxic at a sufficiently high dose. As the CDC states: “The measurement of an environmental chemical in a person’s blood or urine is an indication of exposure; it does not by itself mean that the chemical causes disease or an adverse effect. Research studies, separate from these data, are required to determine which blood or urine levels are safe and which are associated with disease or an adverse effect.”

    It’s likely not the glyphosphate, but the carrier its mixed with, POEA:

    Remember too, that not only as Paracelsus reminds us, that it’s the dose that makes something toxic, there is a ‘no observable effect limit’ (NOEL) for everything. Just because we can measure (in some cases down to parts-per-quadrillion now) it, doesn’t mean that there’s any biological effects or consequences.

  • CuriousBill

    I think this article just sucks (no pun intended). Does it even stand to reason that a chemical that kills every living plant it’s sprayed on won’t have some form of negative effect on humans, specifically newborn children?

    To confidently imply that simply because the pathway into the metabolism of plants differs from that of mammals, it should be considered safe seems absurd to me. To me, all that really suggests is that it will ABSOLUTELY kill plants, humans not so much. And yet it is ingested and finds its way into mother’s milk.

    On that note and apparent fact, do we know if this toxin is doing any damage while it’s there bouncing around the human body prior to being flushed down a toilet? Do we know if tumors aren’t the body’s mutated response to trying to fight off these invaders designed to mutate? Do we know if leukemia isn’t a response to glyphosate flowing through the human blood stream?

    Of course not. Which brings me around to the point that no one knows what actually triggers cancer. And yet, the good Dr. feels confident enough to tell mothers of newborn children not to worry about this toxic chemical being suckled through their breasts. Curious.

    Curious, all this confidence oozing from a pediatrician no less. Huh, maybe I’m way off base here. Maybe the good Dr. can tell us what does cause brain tumors and leukemia in children? Maybe he can prove there is absolutely no connection?

    I’m betting he can’t. And if he can’t, maybe he doesn’t have a right to suggest exposure to this absolutely-plant-toxic glyphosate isn’t a factor at all. Lacking any absolutes in the field of cancer unknowns, maybe he doesn’t have the right to tell mothers it is OK to continue to feed their children glyphosate through their breasts.

    And that’s the thing – we absolutely have children developing brain tumors and leukemia and no clue as to why do we? Cancer is the number one cause of death for children between the ages of 1 – 14.

    And even though there’s no study to prove cause, or even correlation really, that does not mean we should rule it out. The cancer is happening, that’s a fact. There are no studies that can prove why it’s happening and I’ll submit, until we can determine the factors involved, the good Dr. should at least suggest such a toxic chemical is probably not a good thing for mother’s to feed the newborns.

    That’s why I have an idea – why don’t we try a new experiment? Why don’t we see if we can’t get more and more people to live a life where they ingest fewer and fewer food-based chemicals and see if things like childhood brain tumor and leukemia incidence doesn’t actually start going down? Now wouldn’t that be a more humane and alternative approach to trying to find a cure?

    On that note, here’s a thought; why doesn’t the good Dr. go study the children of migrant farm workers often exposed to copious amounts of farm chemical agents? Ya’ know, the ones who slip under the radar of big-Gov, big-Ag financed studies?

    That is, if he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.

    If after such an experience he doesn’t walk away in disgust and fear of big-Ag chemicals, I’ll toast and drink a glass of glyphosate in honor of him.

    No, not really.

    • Actually while there is overwhelming empirical evidence that glyphosate is harmless as used we do know that hysterical rants can be deleterious to your health.

      • David Smith

        Yours too!
        Here is another scientific paper for you to dismantle – this time from MIT! An MIT study suggests that “We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the “textbook example” of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins.”

        • It’s not a “scientific paper”–the authors, non experts or even scientists in this field, bought their way into a ‘pay for play’ journal that was created to carry anti-GMO pseudo-science. Here’s one of dozens of articles on this science atrocity:

          • David Smith

            Wow Jon! You really are not a scientist at all. If you were you would know that a “blog” does not constitute what is considered a scientific peer reviewed article. The “dozens of articles on this science atrocity” are not peer reviewed scientific articles but blogs – big difference. Blogs have no scientific standing! So when you reference a blog you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

            You go on to state that “the authors, non experts or even scientists in this field, bought their way into a ‘pay for play’ journal that was created to carry anti-GMO pseudo-science.” I am grateful for your insight but don’t share your confidence in this statement since blogs are not considered scientific articles.

            So I decided to test your statement and went in search of what “mainstream science” had to say on the review. And by “mainstream science” I don’t mean the hollow ranting you are so good at but looked at peer reviewed articles – real science opinion and found the following (and since you consider impact factor important I list these for the journal at the end of the citation – you will notice that the only peer reviewed article negative towards Samsel and Seneff (2013) appears in a journal that does not currently have an impact rating!):

            One paper disagreed with their findings, a paper by Goldstein (2014). Goldstein works for Monsanto so no bias there I guess!!!

            Goldstein DA. 2014. Tempest in a Tea Pot: How did the Public Conversation on Genetically Modified Crops Drift so far from the Facts? J. Med. Toxicol. (Currently no impact factor)

            I found six other peer reviewed articles referencing the paper by Samsel and Seneff (2013) and none of these seem to have any issue with the review.

            Aguirre-Martínez GV, DelValls TA, Martín-Díaz ML. 2013. Early responses measured in the brachyuran crab Carcinusmaenas exposed to carbamazepine and novobiocin: Application of a 2-tier approach. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 97: 47–58 (Impact factor 2.203)


            Krüger M, Schledorn P, Schrödl W, Hoppe H-W, Lutz W, Shehata AA. 2014. Detection of glyphosate resdue in animals and humans. J Environ Anal Toxicol, 4(2): 1-5 (Impact factor 0.621)

            Krüger M, Schledorn P, Schrödl W, Hoppe H-W, Lutz W, Shehata AA. 2014. Detection of glyphosate resdue in animals and humans. J Environ Anal Toxicol, 4(2): 1-5 (Impact factor 0.621)

            Shehata AA, Kühnert M, Haufe S, Krüger M. 2014. Neutralization of the antimicrobial effect of glyphosate by humic acid in vitro. Chemosphere 104: 258–261 (Impact factor 3.137)

            WAGNER N, REICHENBECHER W, TEICHMANN H, TAPPESER B, LoTTERS S. 2013 Critical Review QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF GLYPHOSATE-BASED HERBICIDES ON AMPHIBIANS Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 32, No. 8, pp. 1688–1700 (Impact factor 2.618)

            Zabetakis I. 2013. Food Security and Cardioprotection: The Polar Lipid Link. Journal of Food Science 78(8) (Impact factor 1.775)

          • Lisbeth

            He’s a transparent liar. He doesn’t have the facts at hand. He sounds like a man who has nothing, grasping at straws, selecting arguments he can answer.

          • Says the random amateur on the internet, one with a very negative comment to upvote ratio.

          • Lisbeth

            “Pay to play”, right. You said the magic words there. I’m sure you know all about it.

          • GLP dot org is non-profit. Please consider making a donation.

        • First Officer

          How could it be a textbook example of, “exogenous semiotic entropy”, when that term first appeared in the very paper you are quoting?

        • hyperzombie

          LOL, you have no idea what
          “exogenous semiotic entropy” even means…Well you should feel better, because no one knows what it means.

          the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins.

          Nope… try again

      • Lisbeth

        Well, that’s very scientific Jon. Or, rather, it sounds like an insecure, desperate tone, aimed at the purveyors of the message, rather than the actual data. If you knew you were right, you would have the facts at hand, you would not need to condescend and marginalize anyone, and that is the giveaway. Good luck with this line of work..

  • Martin Thompson

    The bacteria in our gut has the same pathway …? How can you say it doesn’t affect humans? It’s only a matter of time before Pepe smarten up.

    • darylklindworth

      The concentration of glyphosate residue in food is far too low to affect the microbiome.

      • Bonnie Modugno, MS, RD

        Do you have the reference for this finding?

  • Martin Thompson

    ok – that’s a pretty broad statement. 1) How much residue do you think is too much? and how do they establish what are safe levels? 2) When establishing these levels , how do they take into consideration the fact that the levels of glysophate will be constant ( glysophate is right through all of our food unless it’s organic ) – and gut bacteria can , at times be significantly reduced ( such as with antibiotics ) . I would be really interested to see some proper studies that support your statement ( something that positively supports your argument rather than just trying to pull down arguments against what you are saying.

  • Martin Thompson

    Ummm – nothing that positively supports your claims. 1) There is no reference to actual proper studies on glyspohate , only “reviews” of available evidence , with no reference to any actual studies – and poisoning the well ( ) . 2) one of the main things discredited is the practice of pre-harvest application. This practice is recommended in Monsantos own docs..? . “Apply when the crop has 30% or less moisture content – the hard dough
    stage. At this stage, a thumbnail impression will remain on the kernel.
    This stage is typically 3 to 5 days before you would normally swath. ”

    There are SO many variables to consider in something like this: what about biological changes during pregnancy – consider something different like DHA which is converted at 20 times the usual rate . What is the effect of a specific farm that has higher glysophate levels than others ( ) .

    I am extremely busy too ( quite a few 2am nights lately ) – but we are talking about something that is potentially destroying the human race and our well being.

  • Martin Thompson

    Also consider that to compare things against animal studies for safety is not going to help because a lot of the symptoms are very subtle ( consider ADHD )

  • George Gallos MD

    Im glad he cited the WHO. They recently deemed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Facts are – The evidence is mounting to substantiate this disclaimer.

    While glyphosate – indeed is thought to not target human cell pathways directly, it has subsequently been shown that it does target metabolic pathways humans rely on from microbes in our gut. These symbiotic flora which generate essential amino-acids for us ARE susceptible to glyphosate. It also seems to exhibit greater toxicity when combined with other known toxins – and most of these “safety” studies cited in this article do not adequately test this – they only examine what glyphosate does in isolation (but we all know that is not how biology works – we are far more complex than a test tube ;).

    Safety- is in the eye of the beholder. But- as a physician-scientist aware of the harm organo-phosphates can reek on normal human biology – coupled to mechanistic studies that show this compound affects – I think this one is a NO_Brainer…… The FDA needs to shelf this compound until more DEFINITIVE and comprehensive testing – that looks beyond a single constituent- AND is performed by an independent (non-biased by conflict of interest) scientific panel. To date – ALL of the safety data is biased since it was funded by groups associated with direct or indirect financial interests to deem the drug safe. As ambassadors of health, physicians should be calling on our government to bring some integrity and transparency to this issue

    • George, You’ve made some mistaken claims here. First the WHO report was a one week review, not a study. It did not address minuscule glyphosate consumption in humans eating food, but in exposure.

      There are no studies in mainstream journals–none–that “show” that glyphosate impacts the human gut in any meaningful way. None. All in all, the toxicological profile of glyphosate remains lower than for almost any chemical in use in ag today, and far less than for many chemicals used in organic agriculture. It is not carcinogenic and is fully degrades in the soil. You are pushing junk/scare science based.

      You are also completely wrong when you state (you shout actually–very rude) that “ALL of the safety data is biased since it was funded by … blah, blah, blah). In fact, most of the recent studies on glyphosate have been done by independent review groups, including most recently by the German government–as independent as exists in the world on chemical reviews. Germany is the EU rapporteur member state (RMS) for glyphosate – i.e. it has been designated responsibility for assessing its safety on behalf of the entire EU.

      After a multi-year review of every available study (not a one week review of a handful of highly contested studies) Germany submitted its glyphosate renewal assessment report (RAR) in January 2014, which was a vast document written up (link is external)by its Federal Institute for risk assessment (Bfr). It also published a separate answer (link is external) to critics, arguing among other things that several studies indicating harm could not be fully taken into account given that they did not follow certain very expensive international standards such as GLP (Good Laboratory Practice).

      In its report, Germany concluded that: “the available data do not show carcinogenic or mutagenic properties of glyphosate nor that glyphosate is toxic to fertility, reproduction or embryonal/foetal development in laboratory animals.”

      Germany recommended not only the re-approval of glyphosate for use in Europe, but even an increase in the acceptable daily intake (ADI) from 0.3 to 0.5 mg per kg body weight per day.

      In other words, you are ignorant (innocently or willfully) of the basic science on glyphosate and are taking an entirely ideological position on this. And you are rude to boot.

      Please engage on these issues based on science, not just lifting talking points from anti-science groups.

      • George Gallos MD

        I will extend that you are correct on some of these points – and apologize if my attempt at emphasis was construed as rude – that was not my intention. However, I would like to make some clarifications to some of the points you made.

        1. WHO labelling of glyphosate is based on a review. I never said they were based on a single study. As such, I think it speaks louder than a single study – but that is just my opinion. I do recognize their opinion as legitimate and unbiased – you may no longer, but you have cited them in articles before as creditable. There will always be “contested” data – so long as bias exists and the data is opposed to that bias.

        2. While I acknowledge the published data for the potential mechanistic issues with glyphosate is not from high-powered journals – it does come from multiple labs and is peer-reviewed (albeit in journals with low impact scores).
        I would disagree that the microbes in these studies are not important to human health or (in the case of opportunistic pathogens) related to human disease. They very much are – and if you would like a very long list of references Id be happy to email them to you. However, I do agree that these studies do not “prove” that glyphosate impacts the human gut “in vivo” – they were not designed to assess that. These studies do establish a mechanistic basis that this compound affects symbiotic flora responsible for human health – and as such more definitive studies should be done to assess that potential. I am pretty sure my comment – if you read it to the end- states as such- that more definitive studies need to be done. And yes- it is of concern when a mechanistic study – draws out a potentially negative biological impact – and in my opinion warrants further study. You may disagree, but it is pretty clear to me that I state more studies should be done to refute or prove this finding.

        3. I will have to concede- I am not aware of the German Review. I can only speak to what I have read concerning safety studies – which while not exhaustive – is inherently biased. I would like to be clear that – This bias does not rule out scientific legitimacy in my opinion. I hold this opinion because I know first hand the FDA puts the responsibility of safety testing onto the manufacturer/patent holder and as such their is an inherent bias of the system that is inescapable.
        – nevertheless the concerns are there as I mentioned in the first post. One in particular relates to Issues with chemical synergy need be addressed in greater detail

        • First Officer

          There is also Van Eenennaam’s study scanning the health effects of billions of farm animals fed GMO feed, much of it having trace amounts of glyphosate.

  • Lisbeth

    This study has since been conducted in Germany where it was found unequivocally, that glyphosate is found in humans, cows, hares and rabbits. Furthermore, it details the disruptive and harmful effects, broken down per subject, by body system, using two separate testing methods, both which resulted in a conclusive correlation coefficient.

    Apparently, the trace amounts of pesticide are not negligible as the company has claimed for years. But they have so much money invested in it by now, that they would rather continue poisoning America, and filling the internet with propaganda and disinformation.

    • No it is not ‘this’ study. It is an inconclusive assay of farm animals. Totally different.

      Again, read the above footnoted article to learn what concentrations are like and how benign they are. This doctor has provided you with a gift. Rude of you to kick him in the teeth.

  • Lisbeth
    • Seneff is a biased quack. Not as extreme as Seralini but water rolls off his back.

  • Lisbeth

    And this:

    And while you’re at it, take a look a the dozens of source articles from this study.

    • That prove only that there are glyphosate resides in farm animals. Duh. Anyone could tell you that. Read the excellent article above to get the gist of what this all means. Squat.

  • Lisbeth

    According to these creeps, all the studies that demonstrate the dangers of glyphosate are junk-science from unreputable journals, and all the articles that find it to be magically, miraculously safe are the ones they recommend. Well, that sounds like some sound science to me.

    • What I am seeing here is a creep who can’t handle the truth.

  • First Officer

    The, “study” had a measurement resolution of about 75ug/liter (approx 75 ppb) using color change to determine the amount of glyphosate in the sample, which was then compared to a color chart or graph of some sort. the highest sample had 166ug/liter. While 7 out of ten had none or below the resolution of the test. No statement of accuracy or levels of uncertainty was given in the the data published by MAM, just the resolution and the six calibrated points on their color scale. This same lab used known concentrations of glyphosate to calibrate their tests.

    Given how unlikely that glyphosate would show up in breast milk to begin with, i wonder if the lab itself contaminated the samples.

  • First Officer

    For California water, if the amount of glyphosate measured represented an inch, then the water sample itself would represent about three quarters of the way to the moon.

  • Greta Dunbar

    what a crock of shit

  • Kathleen Kelly Hallal

    DDT, etc. They always say it is safe for as long as they can “sell” it. Glyphosate causes cancer in mammals. Proven over and over again in tests. We are mammals. End of story. Kills our gut bacteria, too, and we kind of need that. A pediatrician should understand gut flora, but I am guessing that this author is unaware. Hope he got a big check!

  • Truth Seeker

    This article is simply propaganda brought to you by the
    Monsanto goons…

  • lifebiomedguru

    Funny the article says that glyphosate has NO effect on animal metabolism (a universal claim) and yet there is that pesky BIOLOGY…. and the existance of a safe limit…. odd then that this study concluded “There is a reasonable correlation between the amount ingested and the likelihood of serious systemic sequelae or death. ”

    Bradberry SM, Proudfoot AT, Vale JA.Glyphosate poisoning.
    Toxicol Rev. 2004;23(3):159-67.


    And then there is the warning on the product itself…

    Oh, wait then there is the liver damage to mice and rats at ‘ultra low doses”

    Mesnage R, Arno M, Costanzo M, Malatesta M, Séralini GE, Antoniou MN. 2015. Transcriptome profile analysis reflects rat liver and kidney damage following chronic ultra-low dose Roundup exposure. Environ Health. 2015 Aug 25;14:70. doi: 10.1186/s12940-015-0056-1.

    Sounds JUST LIKE something we want in breast milk.

    Mass General, you employ this guy???????????

    • gmoeater

      Any study with Seralini as a co-author just destroyed any credibility in your post, lifebio.