Sorry Junk Science: Monsanto’s Roundup Isn’t Giving Your Kids Autism

These days, it seems like everything under the sun causes autism. In fact, maybe spending too much time under the sun will lead to autism. But seriously, we’re already painfully aware of all the thoroughly debunked studies surrounding vaccinations, but it seems a new theory is abound.

Look–I hate Monsanto as much as the next guy; they’re evil bastards and they deserve as much scrutiny as a sun spot. But even if I hate them and find them rather evil, they aren’t Soylent Green. 

If there’s anything worse and scarier than those that deny science, it’s those who pervert it with junk science. What makes it so especially bad is that junk science cynically claims to be advocating facts, whereas deniers just outright let you know they’re ignorant.  For example, a woefully inaccurate study conducted not by a biologist, but rather a computer scientist at MIT, claimed that Monsanto’s Round-Up insect spray is causing autism in children.

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 (

Spooky language notwithstanding, it seems that this link is as authentic as Donald Trump’s hair.

As Snopes points out:

The article conflated a number of unrelated claims and beliefs about autism and its causes, jumping from pesticides to vaccines and back again in the course of its travels. A 2014 USDA report issued in December 2014 about acceptable levels of pesticides (that made no mention at all of autism) was among the cited material in article Both the article and Seneff’s biography mention work with the group AutismOne, a group of parents (not scientists) who’ve espoused the fervent belief autism is caused not by genetic factors but environmental contaminants. Both Seneff and AutismOne appear to reject the accepted findings of science on the heretofore not fully understood causes of autism, namely in terms of genetics. The claim also deviates from mainstream science on whether autism is truly more prevalent or whether diagnostic criteria and awareness have caused the increase in the number of children diagnosed with the disorder each year.

Maybe Seneff should stop playing the role of doctor and biologist, or at least listen to those who actually are. In fact, it seems such a scientist wonderfully debunked Seneff’s spotty facts. We should hate Monsanto, but let’s make sure it’s for the right reasons.

Featured image via RadiantPeach

michael hayne headshotedited111 Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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