Autism is one of humanity’s most mysterious afflictions. The disorder, which can hinder communication, empathy and other social skills on a spectrum ranging from mild to severe, affects as many as 1 in 68 children born in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, up from 1 in 150 at the turn of the century.
No one knows exactly what has caused the increase, but one researcher is pointing her finger at a chemical called glyphosate, more widely known as the active ingredient in the ubiquitous weed killer Roundup.
Agribusiness giant Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready soybeans to the United States in 1994, which are genetically modified to resist glyphosate so farmers can spray their fields with the weed killer without damaging their crops. Today, some 90 percent of soy and corn grown in the country are Roundup Ready.