Pesticides, glyphosate, and why buying organic matters

Habits to Healthy Blog Post 24

How do pesticides impact our health?


G1yph0sate was synthesized in the 1960s as a chelator as it binds and removes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc. That’s right… it binds to essential micronutrients our body needs.


In the 1970s, it was introduced as an agricultural herbicide. Since then, the volume of g1yph0sate-based herbicides (GBH) has increased about 100-fold. It is also used as a desiccant for grains and legumes. After the creation of genetically modified GBH-resistant crops, it’s now the most widely used pesticide in the world.

A US Geological Survey found that GBH was detectable in about 75% of air and rainwater samples collected. A 2017 study by Mills, et al. found detectable levels in urine in 70% of the population. It’s everywhere… think parks, playgrounds, sports fields, schools, basically any place that has pretty green grass.


In 2003, a third patent was filed for g1yph0sate as a parasitic control type of antimicrobial. That’s right… it kills not only the bad, but also the good guys in our gut.


In 2015, IARC classified GBH as a probable human carcinogen. There’s evidence that links GBH to:

– Alzheimer’s
– autism
– birth defects
– cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma, brain, breast, prostate, lung)
– colitis
– depression, anxiety
– hypothyroidism
– infertility, miscarriage, stillbirths
– inflammatory bowel disease
– kidney disease
– liver disease
– obesity
– Parkinson’s
– rheumatoid arthritis
– reproduction (delayed puberty, decreased sperm, low testosterone)

Even at micro doses, GBH:

– is an endocrine disruptor
– alters our gut microbiome to promote pathogenic overgrowths and infections
– cause oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage
– is structurally similar to glycine and glutamate, potentially downregulating about 300 enzymatic functions in our body

Who are the MOST susceptible? Pregnant women, infants, and children.

A study published last month in Environmental Research found that an organic diet was associated with significantly reduced urinary levels of g1yph0sate (GBH) seen within 3 days. At baseline, GBH levels were FIVE TIMES HIGHER in children than in adults. After starting an organic diet, concentrations fell more than 70%. This study demonstrates that diet is a primary source of GBH exposure and that shifting to an ORGANIC diet is an effective way to REDUCE BODY BURDEN of this toxic chemical.


Grain and legumes are heavily sprayed with GBH as a pre-harvest drying agent. Think cereal, oats, granola, bread, chickpeas, lentils, etc. There are HIGH levels of GBH residues so buying organic is a must.

According to the EWG, nearly 70% of fresh produce sold in the US contains residues of harmful pesticides. Many crops contain high levels of pesticides even after washing, peeling, or scrubbing.

Organic groceries can get expensive so EWG’s Dirty Dozen + Clean 15 lists are great resources.


Are the top 12 crops that contain high amounts of pesticide residues. It’s recommended to buy these crops organic OR limit/avoid consuming. What isn’t included on the list/graphic: RAISINS. It was found to be the dirtiest produce commodity with the highest levels of pesticides. Be sure to avoid raisins or buy organic!


Are the top 15 crops that contain the lowest amounts of pesticide residues. Buying these organic may not be necessary if cost is a factor.


Bans the use of about 900 pesticide active ingredients that’s allowed in conventional farming. It also bans:

– hormones
– antibiotics
– GMOs
– ionizing radiation
– synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, etc.
– artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavorings, colors


There are 20+ countries that are taking a precautionary approach and banned the use of GBH. However, the US Environmental Protection Agency “continues to find that there are no risks of concern to human health.”

Since these toxic chemicals continue to be in our environment, what are some ways to reduce exposure?


Genetically modified organisms are designed to be resistant to GBH so crops will grow regardless of how much toxic chemicals are sprayed. Common GMO crops are sugar beets, soy, canola, cotton, and corn. Think processed/packaged foods, cooking oils, baked goods, cereals, restaurants, etc. Sometimes it’s like playing Find Waldo because often the info is hidden. For example: unless it says organic cane sugar, processed/packaged foods that say “sugar” are from GMO sugar beets. Always read the ingredients!

Conventional farms use conventional feeds for their livestock, which are primary GMO corn and/or soy (I’ll be addressing this in an upcoming post). SparkNotes: conventionally grown meat contains incredibly high levels of inflammatory omega 6s, much less nutrients, and detectable levels of GBH, hormones, and antibiotics.

There are so many contaminants in tap water, including GBH. Filtering is a must!

The active ingredient in Roundup (weed killer) is g1yph0sate so avoid its use. If neighbors use it, stay inside during use. If it’s unavoidable, wear protective gear to reduce skin contact and inhalation.

Are typically sprayed with GBH. Think roadsides, parks, playgrounds, sports fields, golf courses, schoolyards, apartments, etc. Avoid these areas while uniformed personnel are spraying or if the area was recently sprayed. Limit skin contact/walking barefoot on grass or areas where spraying may have occurred.

A no shoes policy inside the house decreases the amount of chemicals tracked into homes.

Reducing our exposure one step at a time is all that matters. It can be baby steps too, like eating one less processed/packaged snack. Grab an apple and almond butter instead.

H E A L T H Y   H A B I T S

Reduce, reduce, and reduce! If you can’t buy organic, shop the items on the Clean 15 list.

Making the investment to buy organic will create a significant, lasting impact on your health.

Support local and organic farmers that strive to maintain soil/water quality and conserve biodiversity.

Awareness is key. Help spread the word.

Habits to Healthy Blog Post 24

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