Thursday, February 26, 2015

Update on the Update on Autism

Well, the question "What exactly is glyphosate?" won't go away. Yesterday I got the following from Nancy Swanson:

'Kent said: "Organophosphate insecticides work by affecting the enzyme
acetylcholinesterase. Glyphosate does not have this mode of action."

How do we know this?

Arthur said:  "Definition of an Organophosate: An organophosphate or phosphate ester
is the general name for esters of phosphoric acid. Esters are chemical compounds derived from an acid in which at least one-OH (hydroxyl) group is replaced by an -O-alkyl (alkoxy) group.Glyphosate is formulated as an isopropylamine salt. While it can be described as an organophosphorus compound, glyphosate is not an organophosphate ester but a phosphanoglycine, and it does not inhibit cholinesterase activity."

Isopropylamine salt is only ONE formulation of glyphosate, and not the most commonly used. Formulations of glyphosate include an acid, monoammonium salt, diammonium salt, isopropylamine salt, potassium salt, sodium salt, and trimethylsulfonium or trimesium salt.

Scroll down to Organophosphorus herbicides and what do you find?

and here:

If it isn't an organophosphate, then why is it classified as one?'

I'm not a chemist and I won't even try to have the last word here.  Readers who are experts are more than welcome to chip in.  But Swanson et al. shows the epidemiological evidence that glyphosate is harmful to humans, and by tomorrow at latest I should have a post up discussing just this.


  1. I'm not a chemist either, so I'm REALLY hoping a real chemist will come over and either confirm this or not. If I understand it correctly, organophosphate insecticides block acetylcholinesterase (AChE) by phosphorylating the serine hydroxyl residue on the AChE by adding one phosphate group. Phosphate of course is PO4 (the 4 should be a subscript, but I don't know how to do that in a comment). Glyphosate cannot perform this action because its phosphorus group is a phosphonate, PO3. It is short one oxygen atom to be able to perform that action. The name glyphosate is actually a contraction of glycine phosphonate.

    I'm not pretending to actually understand all that, but it seems at the very least that glyphosate simply doesn't have the right chemical formula to poison a person the same way one of those insecticides would. Again, I'm really hoping someone more knowledgeable comes on and confirms this or tells me I'm full of it.

    Looking forward to your next post on Swanson et al!

  2. Roundup causes oxidative stress in liver and inhibits acetylcholinesterase in muscle and brain of the fish Prochilodus lineatus.

    Glyphosate as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor in Cnesterodon decemmaculatus.

  3. Effect of glyphosate herbicide on acetylcholinesterase activity and metabolic and hematological parameters in piava (Leporinus obtusidens).