Some of the most interesting reads from the past year, on everything from toxic weedkillers to bringing back beavers.
Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment by Stephanie Seneff
Stephanie Seneff is an MIT scientist who has now dedicated her life to debunking the myths around the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. Her book, Toxic Legacy, rests on a foundation of comprehensive, objective and accessible science – the credibility of which is assured through Seneff’s impressive academic credentials, achieving four different degrees and publishing over 200 articles.
With a dry wit and powerful sincerity, Seneff takes readers on a meticulous journey that details the toxic impact of glyphosate on people and the planet. First navigating the history of glyphosate and how it works as a herbicide, Toxic Legacy unearths the roots of our glyphosate dependency and extent of our exposure. Seneff then unravels the science exposing glyphosate’s toxicity, uncovering its links to the degradation of the microbiome, liver disease, infertility, antibiotic resistance, depression, soil degeneration, water contamination and mass biodiversity loss. Ending on a note of cautious optimism, Toxic Legacy concludes with a call to transition towards organic, regenerative and sustainable agriculture, offering guidance on how to ‘take control’ of our health and protect ourselves against glyphosate’s toxicity.
The tone of Seneff’s writing is understated yet powerful, scientific but accessible, providing a fresh and vigorous review of research on glyphosate. But considering such a wide scope of evidence often comes with drawbacks. While Seneff’s credentials are flawless and the evidence persuasive, Seneff often draws a correlation between rising disease rates and glyphosate use, the relationship of which is unsubstantiated in certain cases. However, this is not to say that Seneff makes sweeping statements without considering the premise of her argument: the causal links proposed are always transparent and presented with the appropriate caveats, with evidence considered from both sides. Coupled with the sheer volume of research and intricacy of her reasoning, these correlations are both convincing and concerning.
Toxic Legacy is a vibrant addition to the growing list of glyphosate literature. Whether you’re a farmer, policymaker or health-conscious citizen, Toxic Legacy is the perfect introduction to the science of herbicides. Understanding the dangers of these chemicals may empower you into action and make you think again about their widespread use.