MIT research scientist and author Stephanie Seneff has studied autism for almost a decade, and her recent presentation regarding rising autism rates included a dramatic and controversial prediction. Seneff believes that if current rates continue, by 2025 one out of every two children born in the United States will be diagnosed with autism —  and she links the rise with the increased use of Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate. Additionally, she notes that exposure to heavy metals (such as mercury and aluminum, found in vaccines) are also a likely factor, especially in conjunction with glyphosate. Heavy use of Roundup began in 1990 and has increased ever since. Autism has seen a similar rise in that time period.

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Although there are numerous genetic and environmental factors that are believed to contribute to the development of autism, Seneff believes the use of Roundup is a crucial link (especially considering how many children with autism have biomarkers indicating excessive glyphosate in their bodies), and other concerned environmental and parent groups are agreeing with her. Glyphosate has been found in dramatically high levels in breast milk in the United States (up to 1000 times higher than what is allowed in drinking water in Europe), people in 18 different countries have been found to have glyphosate in their blood, and urine testing has also shown that glyphosate levels are 10 times higher in the U.S. than in Europe.

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Monsanto replied to the concerns by saying that humans don’t have the shikimate pathway that glyphosate disrupts and inhibits, and therefore should not be affected by Roundup. Seneff rejects this claim, explaining that bacteria (the good kind that is found in our guts) do have this type of pathway, and Roundup is disrupting it and destroying the healthy bacterial environment. Seneff also believes glyphosate is responsible for producing a leaky gut, which numerous sources believe children with autism have. If this chemical really is the main culprit, we need to make a change and quickly: glyphosate has been the most commonly used active chemical ingredient in pesticides for over 10 years.

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