Glyphosate Causing Autism? MIT Researcher Claims Herbicide Will Cause Half of All Children to be Autistic

January 5, 2015 Updated: January 5, 2015

A MIT researcher has made the bold claim that half of all children will be autistic by 2025 due to the toxicity from the glyphosate herbidice.

Stephanie Seneff, a researcher at MIT, said at a recent conference in a panel discussion about genetically modified organisms that the figure is a projection based on “today’s rate.”

Seneff, a senior research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, noted how glyphosate is in many products due to the increasing prevelance of GMO corn and soy additives.

“All of the 70 or so people in attendance were squirming, likely because they now had serious misgivings about serving their kids, or themselves, anything with corn or soy, which are nearly all genetically modified and thus tainted with Roundup and its glyphosate,” a fellow panelist observed.

Seneff pointed out that despite Monsanto’s claim that humans don’t have a pathway for its chemicals to enter their system, our gut bacteria do have the pathway, enabling the Roundup to enter humans. She also noted recently that some of the chemicals in Roundup are untested. “In my view, the situation is almost beyond repair,” Dr. Seneff said after her presentation. “We need to do something drastic.”

However, Seneff’s claims have been receiving hard criticism. 

“There is an ideological subculture that is motivated to blame all the perceived ills of the world on environmental factors and corporate/government malfeasance. Often this serves a deeper ideological drive, which can be anti-vaccine, extreme environmentalism, or anti-GMO. The latest environmental bogeyman making the rounds is glyphosate, which is being blamed for (you guessed it) autism. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup,” wrote Dr. Steven Novella on his blog.

“It has been widely used for about 40 years, and with the introduction of GM crops that are Roundup resistant, its use has increased significantly in the last 20 years. It has therefore become a popular target for anti-GMO fearmongering.”

A slide from one of Dr. Seneff's presentations.
A slide from one of Dr. Seneff’s presentations.

A slide from one of Dr. Seneff's presentations.
A slide from one of Dr. Seneff’s presentations.


He said Seneff’s claims stem from “pure speculation, bad science, and bad logic.” 

Snopes, which tries to establish whether claims are true or not, likewise took issue with Seneff’s predictions, saying that the estimate of one of every two children “looks to be a rudimentary extrapolation of an apparent uptick in autism diagnoses in recent years.” 

“Even disregarding the sloppy mathematics, the claim’s very basis (that glyphosate is the cause of a perceived increase in autism) is unsupported. No mention was made of how glyphosate was isolated and shown to be a cause (or even a factor) in some or any cases of autism,” it added.

On the other hand, Dr. Mercola notes that Seneff’s previously published research on Roundup and glyphosate shows that the residues, which are found in most commonly produced foods in the West, “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.”

That work includes showing the increase in glyphosate used in the West, as well as the increase in potentially linked results, such as the increase of children with inflammatory bowel disease and increased kidney failure in agricultural workers.

“She has meticulously collected statistics on glyphosate usage and various diseases and conditions, including autism. A more perfect match-up between the rise in glyphosate usage and incidence of autism is hard to imagine,” he added.



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