The Physics Police

The Physics Police

Monday, June 17, 2013

Glyphosate vs. Soy

A study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology this month suggests that glyphosate may act as an endocrine disruptor in very small concentrations, as little as:
10-12 M = 10-12 mol/L = 10-12 * (169.07 g/L) = 1.6907 * 10-7 mg/L
I find it easier to comprehend very small concentrations in parts per million (ppm). We can assume the Glyphosate is dissolved in water, so mg/kg = ppm, then:
(1.6907 * 10-7 mg/L) / (1000 kg/m3) = 1.6907 * 10-13
That's less than 0.16907 parts per trillion; a very small concentration, indeed!

So, what does this mean about the human health risk from glyphosate?

(Figure 6B: The effect of glyphosate and genisterin on cell growth; from page 23.)

The study equates the estrogenic activity of glyphosate to that of genistein. This phytoestrogen is found in soy, and is infamous due to pernicious myths about its effect on breast cancer. In reality, cancer patients who consume soy foods after their diagnosis actually fare better than patients who do not consume soy foods.

The myth comes from the methodology used to test chemicals for their estrogenic activity. Human breast cancer cells have been very well studied. The hormonal pathways that lead to cell viability are well understood. Therefore, these cell lines are ideal laboratories for testing certain types of estrogen hormone regulation. But this is an in vitro effect, and implies nothing about in vivo cancer cause or growth.

By the way, phytoestrogens aren't just found in soy, but in other foods, too. Flax seed, sesame seeds, wheat, oats, barley, beans, lentils, yams, rice, alfalfa, apples, carrots, pomegranates, rice, coffee, mint, ginseng, beer, and marijuana are all sources of phytoestrogens. Everything that was once alive; i.e. everything we eat, has hormones in it.

If anything, this study shows that the glyphosate residue on your soy bean can be no worse for your body than the soy bean its self.

1 comment:

  1. I just noticed something. This paper is published in the same journal as the widely discredited 2012 paper by Seralini et al.