This past week I experienced a first. One of my monthly nutrition articles in our local paper, the Ozaukee News Graphic, was attacked in a letter to the editor. The headline reads, “Rosen column based on faulty science.” Once I read the letter I of course had to see who this guy was, and sure enough he was a local seed distributor of Monsanto products. The irony is that the article is limited by space so I could only get so much in. My rebuttal to his attack will allow me to publish additional points. Hopefully the news paper will publish it, but if not, it is here on the web!
This might be a bit long, but is well worth your time to read.
Here’s his letter followed by my response. For the original article click here: http://brwellness.com/nutrition-news/?p=16
Rosen column based on faulty science To the Editor
I recently had a chance to read your column on glyphosate by Bernard Rosen in which he discusses “research” on the negative health effects of glyphosate. This column is filled with inaccuracies and bad science. From the article: “As a side note, this is how Roundup kills bugs. It blows their guts up!” Roundup is a herbicide; it kills weeds, not bugs. The author may be confused with BT protein that is used as an insecticide, that protein does kill bugs by disrupting their guts. Interestingly, BT protein is commonly used as an insecticide in organic food production.
The rest of the author’s conclusions seem to be based on the “research” of Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D. Dr. Seneff has her doctorate in electrical engineering. It appears her “research” is based on two laughable methodologies. First, she assumes all correlation equals causation. Roundup has seen a large increase in use at the same time that many diseases have increased, so Roundup must be the cause. You could use the same faulty argument to claim that the increase in autism the last 20 years must be caused by the huge increase in cell phone use. Celiac disease can be explained by the large increase in hybrid cars, or even the large increase in organic food sales. The increase in one variable at the same time that another variable increases does not mean the one causes the other.
The other methodology used seems to be that if glyphosate can disrupt certain bacteria, it must disrupt the bacteria in our guts. This argument again comes from an electrical engineer who didn’t actually do any biological research.
Don’t believe me, take the author’s advice and actually Google Stephanie Seneff. You will find many articles debunking her wild claims. I think the best is on the Huffington Post (not a big supporter of Monsanto) titled “Condemning Monsanto with Bad Science is Just Dumb.”
Rick Lemke Mequon
Here’s my response:
To the Editor: Glyphosate: Just the Facts
I’d like the opportunity to respond to Mr. Rick Lemke’s criticism of my column which he states is “filled with inaccuracies and bad science.” Here are the facts.
Fact: Glyphosate is patented as an antibiotic. The first “inaccuracy” Mr. Lemke cited is my statement that Roundup kills bugs by blowing up their guts. Mr. Lemke is correct in that Roundup is sold as an herbicide which is designed to kill plants and weeds, but inherently kills the bugs that eat the contaminated plants. So, how do we get from an herbicide that kills weeds to killing bugs? Well, it turns out that glyphosate is patented by Monsanto as an antibiotic. Antibiotics kill both soil bacteria and human or animal gut bacteria. The collateral damage does not end with the destruction of the soil bacteria or killing of these bugs, but carries through the plant to the end user (humans) that ultimately consume the plant crop.
Fact: Glyphosate was first patented as a mineral chelator in 1964. This means it immobilizes nutrients so they are not physiologically available to the weed. Remember a “weed” is a plant. The plant is starved of minerals it needs to survive and thus dies. It is believed the same mechanism works in humans exposed to glyphosate. Thus the claim of various nutrient deficiencies described by Dr. Seneff.
Fact: Several studies including those done by Monsanto link glyphosate to cancer. Earlier this year the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) deemed glyphosate “probably carcinogenic.” That means it likely causes cancer. There are many studies supporting this conclusion. The web site Natural News recently had this to say, “Both Monsanto and the EPA knew full well, at least as early as 1981, that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, causes cancer in mammals. Earlier studies conducted during the late 1970s and early 1980s appear to have documented cancer-causing effects from glyphosate in rats, mice and dogs, though this information was buried by Monsanto with the blessing of the EPA.”
Fact: Dr. Seneff has numerous sources supporting her work, and has published over 170 referenced articles. Mr. Lemke continues his personal attack on Dr. Seneff calling her research “laughable” and makes other assumptions about her work. Dr. Seneff has a BS in Biophysics in 1968, a M.S. and E.E. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1980, and a Ph.D degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1985, all from MIT. Mr. Lemke was quick to dismiss Dr. Seneff’s degree in Biophysics given her doctorate degree in another area. However, these various degrees form the basis for her research interests that explore the intersection of biology and computer engineering in modeling. There are many different opinions with scientists on all sides of this discussion. Each has persuasive arguments.
Fact: Mr. Lemke’s business sells genetically modified and Roundup ready seeds. Mr. Lemke should point out this fact. He clearly has a financial stake in this discussion.
Fact: Monsanto seed products have been removed and/or banned by: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South Australia, Russia, France, and Switzerland.
I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Lemke’s conclusion. “Don’t believe me; take the author’s (referring to me) advice and actually Google Stephanie Seneff.” And do more: Google Glyphosate, GMOs, Cancer, Toxicity, Countries Banning Monsanto, and Countries Banning GMOs.