May 2, 2013 6:30 pm
Updated: May 2, 2013 8:28 pm

New research suggests link between diseases and common pesticide


CALGARY- As cases of Alzheimer’s disease and autism continue to increase at an alarming rate, new research suggests a common pesticide may be to blame.

‘Roundup’ is a chemical used on crops around the world, such as wheat, corn and soy. While industry and government maintain it’s safe, new findings out of Boston’s MIT question whether that’s really the case.

“The essential studies have not been done, there’s very little work on the effect of glyphosates in human,” explains senior research scientist Dr. Stephanie Seneff.

She believes that short-term exposure to glyphosates—the active ingredient in Round Up—have little impact, but could be linked to a long list of problems over time. The ingredient works like an antibiotic, but destroys only the good bacteria in our guts. Without that, bacteria can’t produce the amino acids required to make important brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

Watch: Full interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff

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Calgary’s Dr. Hamid Habibi has studied glyphosates in the past, and found it had negative impacts on the health of fish. He agrees enough is not known about its effect on humans.

“Looking at the literature, I found much less information available on the safety of glyphosates compared to other used compounds,” he says.

A re-evaluation of the herbicide is being done by Health Canada, and expected to be completed by next year. A spokesperson for Health Canada says in a statement:

Health Canada is currently re-evaluating the herbicide glyphosate as part of its program to re-evaluate registered pesticides each 15 years to determine if they continue to meet modern scientific standards and can continue to be registered for use in Canada. The re-evaluation is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

During the re-evaluation process, Health Canada also examines published scientific papers. Health Canada has recently become aware of this paper and has not yet completed its review. The paper will be considered during the re-evaluation of glyphosate.  If warranted, regulatory action can be taken at any time during the re-evaluation to further protect human health and the environment.


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