The following are important links that Jeffrey and Carrie talk about in the video above:
- Carrie’s book Whitewash
- Carrie’s new article about weed killer and reproductive health
- Seralini studies
Transcription: Jeffrey’s Take: GMOs, Roundup & Infertility!
Jeffrey Smith (00:07)
Hi, I’m Jeffrey Smith, and welcome Carrie Gillum, one of my favorite people to interview.
For people who don’t know you yet–I met you when you were working for Reuters, and on your beat, you covered Monsanto (lucky you) and you actually told the truth and weren’t bullied by…well, they tried to bully you, they tried to intimidate you, but you stood up to them and creamed them with the truth. Now you work for US Right to Know and are the leading investigative reporter in the world on the cover-up of Roundup and the dangers. You have one book–tell us about the previous book and the future book, and then we’re going to go into the serious new issues about Roundup and fertility. But I want to make sure everyone knows how to find you.
Carrie Gillum: (00:53)
Great, thank you. I worked for Reuters for 17 years. It’s an international news outlet. I started covering Monsanto in 1998 and Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, and all of those companies involved in the agrichemical business, and of course Monsanto’s GMO seeds. I came to learn over the years that a lot of what the companies were telling us and what regulators were telling us about the safety of these crops and chemicals really wasn’t true. I put my 20 years of research into a book called Whitewash that came out in 2017 and it’s been pretty eye-opening. I was asked to testify to the European Parliament about glyphosate issues and I’ve spoken around the world about the revelations that have really come out–not through my own observations, but through just obtaining internal documents from regulatory agencies and from the companies involved. You’ve been on this as well for 20 some years. There’s so much deception that has gone on about glyphosate and other chemicals and pesticides that are used in producing our food.
Jeffrey Smith: (02:00)
Our food is sprayed with Roundup and Roundup’s chief poison is glyphosate. There’s other glyphosate-based herbicides–Roundup is the top one. It’s sprayed not only in Roundup Ready crops, which are genetically engineered, but on a lot of grains, beans, and other products, so it’s in the food supply. Now you have a beautiful article sharing a number of research studies that indicate problems with reproductive health, endocrine disruption, etc. I have also been looking at this issue, as you said, for more than two decades, and I’ve got some issues, some knowledge from stuff that’s happened in the past. I feel like we’re playing a card game – like you go, then I go, then you go. Why don’t you share something recent, and then I’ll share something less recent and we’ll go back and forth. What I’m going to say is there’s no smoking gun, but there are so many converging lines of evidence that many doctors I know are suggesting that if anyone is planning to get pregnant, they should immediately switch to an organic diet. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine back in 1999 came out urging all doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets and cited reproductive problems in the literature back then as supportive of their position. So why don’t you share something from this side?
Carrie Gillum: (03:22)
Right. I would just like to preface it just a moment. Glyphosate, one of the chief concerns with Roundup that’s been in the news a lot, is this idea that it causes cancer–non-Hodgkin lymphoma specifically. That’s what all of this litigation around the United States has been focused on: glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But as you said, there has been science over the years that has also developed, showing an array of other human health concerns tied to glyphosate. You have so many scientists looking at glyphosate around the world because it is so widely used and because people are exposed to it not only in agricultural settings, occupational settings, but through the diet because it is used so widely and sprayed directly on so many types of foods. So the reproductive science is perhaps not as clearly established as the cancer science, so that may be up for debate, but the scientific studies that came out this summer, several different ones,
Carrie Gillum: (04:24)
There was one sort of overarching review paper by a team of scientists from Argentina who flatly said glyphosate-based herbicides are endocrine disruptors, meaning they are messing with our hormones. They can affect fertility and reproductive issues, development of reproductive organs in children before they’re born, or through exposures to their mother. They said this is directly contradictory to what the EPA has been telling us. They looked at a wide body of evidence. There were then more specific papers and these have all come out in late June, July, and very early August from different researchers in the US–the University of Georgia, from Iowa, from Argentina, as I said and other places. They’ve looked at rats, they’ve looked at mice, animals exposed to this toxicology.
Carrie Gillum: (05:22)
They’ve looked at sheep, young female lambs. They’ve even looked at poultry and at quail. And they’ve looked at these animals who have had different exposures through the scientific studies. They’re finding impacts on ovarian function, the development of the uterus–this sort of thing, and all of these different warning signs or reasons to be concerned. Now, naysayers are pointing out these exposures, that these scientists were using with these animals were higher than most people probably would be exposed to, and the scientists are acknowledging that, but saying there’s still a lot of reason for concern. They’re seeing glyphosate having an impact on something called aromatase, which is a key enzyme, which is involved in the biosynthesis of estrogen–you know, very important there.
Carrie Gillum: (06:21)
So they’re seeing an impact there. And again, as in many scientific studies, scientists are very loathe to say, “We know this is the be-all-end-all, and no further research needs to be done.” But this is another brick in the wall, another piece of evidence that we do need to be concerned about this chemical that is used so widely that you’re probably serving it to your kids for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, cereals, and things like that. As you said, there’s been many other reproductive related studies done over the years, and I guess you want to talk about a few of those as well.
Jeffrey Smith: (06:59)
Yeah, I can just summarize quickly. One of the scariest things we talk about in the description, I suggest if anyone is looking to have children, to share this video–well actually share this video with anyone who’s going to ever have children, not just in the immediate future, but ever. Michael Skinner, who works at Skinner Labs at Washington State University, I interviewed him on Facebook live back in May of 2019. He injected a round of –I think it was glyphosate into pregnant mice and found no problem with the mice, oddly enough, and no problem with their offspring, oddly enough. But the next generation–not the generation that was born of the pregnant mice, but was born of their offspring–they had significant increases in testes, ovary, and mammary gland issues as well as obesity in their children.
Jeffrey Smith: (07:59)
And now we’re talking about the grandchildren, great-grandchildren of the injected mice. Ninety percent of those had serious problems with the prostate and the kidneys. In the second generation, there were a lot of unsuccessful pregnancies, and most of those affected died. Twenty percent of the males and females in the third generation were obese. And he found changes in the sperm cell showing how it was being passed down, epigenetic effects. The genes were physically the same, but some were switched on and some were switched off in a different way, passed down from generation to generation. That was interesting but not surprising to me because we knew that in the Russian Academy of Sciences there were some scientists that did studies there, one that was never published, because they didn’t have enough hamsters in the study they were unable to isolate the cause.
Jeffrey Smith: (08:56)
I spoke to them and they were hesitant to publish the research, but they shared the details. By the third generation hamsters fed Roundup-ready soy that had been sprayed with Roundup, most were infertile. Most could not have babies. Many had hair growing in their mouth, which is a birth defect that’s normally very rare and it was absolutely disgusting. I saw a picture of it. I never shared it because it was so horrific. They were also smaller and they had three to five times the amount of infant mortality. And that didn’t surprise me, because another Russian Academy of Science scientist, Irina Ermakova (who I gave a talk with at Parliament years ago, she shared her slides with me)–she pointed out that when she fed Roundup Ready soy to mice more than half of their offspring died within three weeks and most were sterile.
Jeffrey Smith: (09:57)
That was dramatic and shocking. So here we have both the Roundup Ready soy that had been sprayed with Roundup, and we have the Roundup alone, which was injected into Skinner’s mice. Also, it was injected into frogs and chicken embryos in Argentina by Carrasco, because he was alarmed that all these peasants being sprayed with Roundup by planes, living next to Roundup-ready soy fields, had a dramatic explosion in birth defects. Region-wide it was reported a 400% increase in birth defects and in one hospital over 70-fold increase in birth defects, very specific type of birth defects, pretty serious ones. And when he injected these embryos in chickens and frogs, he found the same birth defects and was able to track the specific retinoic acid pathway that resulted in that, which is influenced by the Roundup. I’m just getting started. Do you have any more to report on this summer? I mean, this is heavy-duty stuff.
Carrie Gillum: (11:01)
It is. And I just want to say that the scientist that you referenced (who is no longer alive, unfortunately) he was endlessly harassed by the agrichemical industry for his work, as many other scientists have been as well. It wasn’t enough to try to just take issue or dispute his findings–they really tried to destroy his reputation, and…
Jeffrey Smith: (11:24)
Oh, it was even worse than that. When they first published it, people showed up very aggressively and demanded to see everything. But then he was giving a talk, I think five hours from Buenos Aires, and he and his colleagues were attacked by an organized mob of about a hundred farmworkers. He made it into a car and his colleagues did, and they beat the car for like two hours. One person actually didn’t make it, was paralyzed, so it was very serious. That’s usually when they talk about scientists– we’ve seen a lot of that, threatening their job, canceling their tenure, canceling their money to do research. This was a study…
Carrie Gillum: (12:03)
This was physical. I think I recounted that in my book, that incident as well; that was alarming. But as you said–and we’ve talked to you about just people and the effects on human reproductive health–researchers are worried as well about livestock, about all of these animals who eat a grain that is laced with glyphosate, with Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides. That’s a real concern as well, that we have to think about and worry about. And a lot of people don’t even realize that not only are we consuming this glyphosate in our cereal for instance, but also in meat products that we might consume, because it carries through the food chain to that degree. I think it might be interestin -, if your viewers out there aren’t aware – there was also a study that came out that was published last week that just speaks to this exposure and the diet. They looked at families–four families I believe were from around the United States, and were looking at the levels of this chemical glyphosate in their urine, in both the children and the adults. It was a small sampling, four families, but what they found were really high levels of glyphosate, particularly in the children—higher in the children than in the adults.
Jeffrey Smith: (13:27)
Five times higher on average.
Carrie Gillum: (13:29)
Right. And they found that when they switched these families to an organic diet–very specific handpicked, it was definitely organic that was delivered to these people, and they switched them to this diet–within five or six days, the glyphosate levels in their urine had dropped about 70%, which just goes to speak to how significant that dietary exposure to this chemical is. Something else I want to say is one of these studies that recently I wrote about that came out didn’t only look at glyphosate. Now, this was not an animal study; this was a more molecular computational study. They looked at two insecticides as well as glyphosate—glyphosate is an herbicide. These two insecticides, which are part of the neonicotinoid category (we call them neonics) they looked at them for endocrine disrupting potential and found it in these insecticides, as well.
Carrie Gillum: (14:28)
People need to be aware: we’re not only exposed to glyphosate, we’re not exposed to just this one pesticide, we’re exposed to so many–maybe not to the degree that we are with glyphosate. But when you’re exposed to all of these different chemicals in these different formulations, both through your diet and perhaps in the water ——and glyphosate has even been found in rainfall and in air samples–it really should be an alarming piece of information for all of us who care not only about our health, but the health of our children and our future generations. We’re very distracted, I think, by COVID and by the virus right now, but we have to understand why people are so vulnerable, why we have so many sick people in America who are not able to survive this virus. A large part of it is because our bodies are so poisoned already. We are exposed to so many contaminants, pesticides, and other chemicals on a regular basis, and it’s making us very sick. I think it’s more important than ever that we recognize that and we look for the upcoming election and every possible opportunity to speak to our policymakers and demand healthier practices and policies for our future.
Jeffrey Smith: (15:52)
Wow. I love how I’m not talking to a reporter anymore. I’m talking to an activist.
Carrie Gillum: (15:58)
No, you’re not. It’s just trying to educate people. You have to be…I mean this is why a journalist does what journalists do, is provide facts to people that they can use in their lives to demand better regulation. Right?
Jeffrey Smith: (16:14)
I think it’s fantastic. I’ll give some additional summary of some of the reproductive problems if you haven’t yet been convinced. One thing that I do when I show slides is…Irina Ermakova shared with me some slides of some of her rats comparing those that had been fed GM soy versus non-GM soy. And she looked at the testicles and they had changed from pink to blue–the entire blood flow had changed. So I show the two sets of colorful slides of rat testicles and then I just leave it there, and I take a very slow drink of water at that point to let it marinate the audience. Also, there was a study in mice testicles showing damage to the young sperm cells.
Jeffrey Smith: (17:03)
This was a long time ago, this study in the late nineties. There was a study of female rats that showed changes in the uterus and ovaries as well as the hormonal balance. There’s also…Seralini did some studies showing that the placenta cells were damaged and that inside the cord blood of the pregnant women–meaning inside the fetus was Roundup and also the BT toxin, which is found in BT corn that’s consumed. You mentioned the on-farm livestock issues–I’ve been tracking a near epidemic of sterility among cows and we reported that in my film, Genetic Roulette. Don Huber talked about a mysterious organism. It turns out it’s probably a prion-like substance that he’s been doing more research on, but he’s been blocked at so many levels. As you know, when researchers get close to something that’s hot, a lot of effort is spent to try and suppress that research and he’s been facing that.
Jeffrey Smith: (18:07)
But it’s been moving forward and yes, it could explain an additional mechanism for sterility. Even the fact that Roundup or glyphosate is a chelator and binds with certain minerals, the motility of sperm needs manganese, and if the manganese is tied up, then the ability for the sperm to swim or spiral, as we now know, might be changed. We know that the rate of congenital heart defects has gone up in correlation with the increased use of glyphosate on GMO soy and corn. Correlation doesn’t prove anything, but it’s a supportive narrative. We know that in Kauai, on the Western side where there’s a ton of GMO research and they’re spraying all sorts of chemicals, there’s a tenfold increase in congenital heart problems. We also know that there are other types of GMO crops that are sprayed with glufosinate, which is clearly a chemical that causes birth defects, that if it’s exposed to certain fetuses at certain critical time periods, you can get brain problems.
Jeffrey Smith: (19:16)
I think I’ve covered enough for today. The thing is, we know this generation, the next generation, and the generation after we need to protect the line, we need to protect our epigenetics. We need to protect our health. And as you said, it’s so beautiful to bring that out right now, when we need to increase our immunity, we need to switch to organic, and organic sales have skyrocketed by those who know that. Since the sheltering in place (what I had to call “blossoming in place”), people have realized they need to clean up their act, clean up their food, in order to take extra steps. And please don’t stop when the pandemic opens its doors and it’s over. Please continue and double down on those efforts. Anything you want to add, Carrie?
Carrie Gillum: (20:06)
No. I think you made a great point and of course, being healthy is about more than our diet. That’s a very big and fundamental part and easiest thing, but the air that we breathe–there’s so much evidence that air pollution is damaging the lungs. Those people are suffering so much right now because of this virus, air pollution, water pollution, the degradation of soil, the loss of nutrients in our crops. There’s a lot here to unpack and people really need to educate themselves and make this an issue that they want to know more about because these are future generations. These are our kids and our grandkids and their kids.
Carrie Gillum: (20:48)
I don’t think that we can afford to look away.
Not only that, but I don’t think we can afford NOT to share this information. When I walk around a conference where a lot of people know my work, I get stopped in the halls all day from people who say, “You saved my life.” Or, “You changed my/my family’s life.” And I realize that this knowledge has organizing power according to information theory…knowledge will move the world. And I’m going to ask you now, everyone who’s listening, to please share this video. You have no idea what it will do. It may prevent a birth defect. It may allow someone to have kids who couldn’t otherwise have children. It may–there’s so many ways that knowing this information could prevent damage, save a life, or allow children to be born.
Jeffrey Smith: (21:45)
We can’t say for sure what will happen for anyone, because we don’t have that kind of smoking-gun evidence, but we do have enough evidence like a smoking shotgun with a lot of evidence compiled. So please share this and continue to share it. I remember one time I was speaking to medical conferences starting in 2006, and I talked to doctors about the dangers, and many of them said they were going to prescribe non-GMO diets and I would go back each year and give more updates. In 2010, I was in the office of a doctor who had been prescribing non-GMO diets by that time to well over 5,000 people, and she said she could tell how quickly they were getting better just from the switching diets. And I interviewed some of her patients in the office and I confirmed what she was saying.
Jeffrey Smith: (22:30)
In my final discussion I said, “So how did you hear about GMOs?” And she said,
“From you. I had no idea.” She was sitting in the audience in 2006 and she had influenced the lives of 5,000 people. I teared up–it was very emotional for me. It’s something where we have tremendous power here. It’s just a click-and-send revolutionary. So please be a click-and-send revolutionary. Share this information, save a life, and save your own. Avoid eating GMOs and Roundup, which means eat organic. If you can’t eat organic and you want to know what contains high levels of glyphosate, go to responsibletechnology.org. We have a report there that you can look at every single group’s evaluations of how much glyphosate is in finished products, processed foods, and the original ingredients. It’s all there so you get to see if you can’t eat organic, what you especially want to avoid. One hint–oats, garbanzo beans…don’t get me started. Thank you, Carrie. Can you just say one more time how people can read your article on this? Where can people find that article?
Carrie Gillum 3: (23:46) US Right to Know, usrtk.org. I have articles and all sorts of information up there. You can also read my book. You can download it. It’s an audio book, or you could read it digitally or buy the paperback or the hard copy. We’ve got all of this information in there, the scientific studies, the history. People don’t usually call me and tell me that they feel good after reading my book, but they’re angry usually, and they’ve learned something. So thanks for this opportunity to charge them.
Jeffrey Smith: (24:15)
Safe feeding everyone and thank you again, Carrie.