New info on glyphosate
|August 22, 2013|
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and Colleagues
Re: New Evidence on the Health Impacts of Glyphosate
Glyphosate is the world’s most popular herbicide, applied not only on farms but also in forests, parks, public spaces and gardens. It is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ and is regularly used in the widespread cultivation of the company’s Roundup Ready crops genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate. For years, industry has claimed that glyphosate is minimally toxic to humans but new studies indicate otherwise.
A new Thai in-vitro study on human cells (Item 1) shows that glyphosate induces the growth of human breast cancer cells via estrogen receptors. Even low, environmentally relevant doses were found to stimulate estrogenic activity. In addition, the study found that there was an additive estrogenic effect between glyphosate and genistein, a phytoestrogen in soybeans. This is worrying as glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used in soybean cultivation.
Another study found that acute Roundup exposure at low doses for 30 minutes disrupts male reproductive functions by triggering calcium-mediated cell death in rat testis and Sertoli cells (Item 2). Sertoli cells play an important role in sperm cell production and hence male fertility.
Glyphosate residues have been found in the main foods of the Western diet, comprised primarily of sugar, corn, soy and wheat. New research by Friends of the Earth detected glyphosate residues in the urine of 44 per cent of people tested from 18 different European countries (Item 3).
Another study (Item 4) presents evidence that glyphosate could disrupt gut bacteria, suppress the CYP enzyme class, and likely impair suphate transport, thereby inducing disease. One of the roles of CYP enzymes is to detoxify xenobiotics (foreign chemicals found in a living organism). This means that glyphosate could effectively enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. According to the authors, the medical conditions to which glyphosate could plausibly contribute to include inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations. The researchers call for more independent research to validate the findings presented and if verified, to take immediate action to drastically curtail the use of glyphosate in agriculture.