The first ever life-long study of rats fed a GM maize and the Roundup herbicide it accumulates raised serious safety questions about the presence of either and both in our food (see GM MAIZE IS NOT SAFE TO EAT - October 2012).
French scientists have now published another first-ever study on the subject. This time, they were looking specifically at the individual components of Roundup.
Regulatory attention has always focused on glyphosate, the active herbicidal chemical in all Roundup formulations. However, glyphosate on its own doesn't easily penetrate into plant cells where it can kill them: the bulk of the volume of the herbicides sold as 'Roundup' consists of chemical adjuvants added to aid glyphosate stabilisation and absorption. Successive versions of Roundup over the years have included increasingly aggressive adjuvants. Because non-herbicidal ingredients in a weedkiller are considered 'inert', they have never been part of safety assessments.
Lead author, Robin Mesnage, and his team looked at human cell damage caused by nine commercial Roundup formulations, and compared these with glyphosate alone, with one complete formulation without glyphosate, and with one major adjuvant, POE-15 (polyethoxylated tallowamine), which is known to insert into cell membranes.
The cells used to model human exposure were cultured liver, kidney and placental lines.
It was demonstrated that all Roundup formulations are more toxic than glyphosate alone, making a mockery of current regulatory assessment practice.
POE-15 was found to be the most harmful chemical. At environmental/occupational concentrations, it produced a dose-dependent impairment of cell respiration and membrane integrity leading to necrosis
Questions arising from previous studies, such as endocrine disruption caused by glyphosate and genotoxicity remain to be explored. As the study was short-term (24-hours) the possibility of bioaccumulation and chronic effects have not been eliminated.
The authors conclusions were to question the use of ethoxylated adjuvants in weedkillers, and to challenge the basis of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of glyphosate. Their findings imply “a complete shift in the concepts underlying chemical toxicology”.
The secrecy surrounding safety assessments of commercial agri-chemicals, and the regulatory dependence on industry data are beginning to look like a criminal conspiracy to damage our health.
“All authorisations of Roundup-type herbicides have to be questioned urgently .. (and) .. the regulatory assessment rules have to be fully revised” (CRIIGEN)
What you can do - speak up!
This study will, no doubt, face the wrath of the biotech industry, the European Food Safety Authority, and Westminster.
But, now you are aware of the danger of exposure to Roundup and its ilk in the environment and in your food, especially GM food. Make sure no one gets away with sowing disinformation and wreaking further damage on human health.
- R Mesnage, et al., 2012, Ethoxylated adjuvants of glyphosate-based herbicides are acrtive principles of human cell toxicity, Toxicology
- The most widely used herbicide in the world contains compounds more toxic than declared - new research shows, CRIIGEN Press Release, 21.02.13