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Breaking Research: Glyphosate and its herbicide products harm microbiome

Possible roles in child IBD and young adult colorectal cancer?

The Global Glyphosate Study today released its first short term animal studies on glyphosate herbicides. Rats were dosed with herbicide in drinking water at levels that are considered acceptable, by regulatory agencies.

Adverse impacts on the intestinal microbe populations, or microbiome were reported, as well as evidence of bioaccumulation over time. The microbiome effects were most pronounced in young animals, with shifts to microbes associated with diseases of the gut, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer.

Prevent Cancer Now, Équiterre, Ecojustice, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Environmental Defense and David Suzuki Foundation objected to the glyphosate re-registration by Health Canada. (Prevent Cancer Now‘s consultation submission is here) The confidential, industry-supplied test data that is used to register glyphosate in Canada was examined at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency. “Anal staining,” indicating intestinal upset, was reported for animals fed low levels of glyphosate. This effect was not considered to be “adverse” so was not factored into the determination of “acceptable” levels of exposure to glyphosate for humans.

In 2017, paediatricians reported that Canada is a global leader in rates of IBD, and that incidence is increasing rapidly in children and adolescents – most notably at 7% annually in children under 6 years of age.

Inflammation as seen with IBD can lead to cancer, and colorectal cancer has been rising steadily in Canadians under 50 years of age.

“Pesticide assessment based primarily on industry-supplied test data is not protecting public health,” stated Meg Sears, Chair of Prevent Cancer Now. “Glyphosate is not only a herbicide, it is also an antibiotic, so it is of course going to impact the microbiome.”

Glyphosate is the leading weed-killer in the world, and is often applied multiple times annually in Canadian agriculture, including shortly before harvest on Canadian grains and dry beans.

Prevent Cancer Now has been highlighting for years that glyphosate can also mobilize toxic metals, so to what extent are the high levels of cadmium in western soils and potash turning up in Canadian grains? Canada has no food standard for cadmium, but Canadian grain has been refused by Europe for excessive levels. Cadmium is carcinogenic, harms the developing child, and is highly toxic to the nervous system, kidneys, liver, bones and other organs.