We're dead right

February 2015
A comment made on one of our articles [1] suggested that "No study has ever found any health problems with glyphosate (used for 40 years) that has stood up to peer review." And that we were "dead wrong".

This prompted us to quantify the quoted "mounting" "evidence that the herbicide Roundup (with active ingredient glyphosate) is far from physiologically inert".

By "evidence" of physiological effects caused by Roundup, we mean the 30 published, peer-reviewed studies we have on file, to which can be added a further five mentioned by the Institute of Science in Society in its latest (2015) review of Roundup safety, and a further five mentioned in a 1995 review by Caroline Cox. This list of 40 papers is certainly not exhaustive, but it provides a body of corroborating evidence.

By "mounting" evidence, we mean that published papers indicating harmful effects of glyphosate (in any form) are mushrooming like this:

Although these papers suggest a wide diversity of cell, tissue and organ disruption caused by Roundup, it's worth noting that Cox's 1995 review (which pre-dates GM and was nothing to do with anti-GM campaigning) mentions almost all the safety concerns corroborated in later years.
Cox's review was based on a very limited number of published peer-reviewed studies plus a larger body of scientific evidence submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency for the approval of Roundup.

She identified, for example:
  • that Roundup is more toxic than pure glyphosate
  • long-term liver and kidney damage
  • reproductive and embryological effects
  • tumours
  • cardiac problems
  • a particular susceptibility of the respiratory tract endothelium (cell lining)
  • chromosome alterations
The Institute of Science in Society has pointed out that epidemiology, medical records and farm-level observations are now converging with the published science. Recently published studies have been increasingly exploring the mechanisms by which glyphosate could be disrupting the living processes: its antibiotic properties, its ability to chelate (reversibly bind) metals, and its disruption of 'aromatase' enzymes which produce vital building blocks for proteins, give plenty of scope to cause harm if exposure to the herbicide is prolonged.

So, why is the myth that no health problems have been found in studies with glyphosate still echoing around?

Both scientists and regulators have been bizarrely beset by muddled thinking when dealing with 'glyphosate' and 'Roundup'.
Scientists have frequently used the two terms inter-changeably which is blatantly bad science.
Regulators have insisted on ignoring the scientific evidence based on the Roundup formulae we're actually exposed to. This means they've deliberately ignored the evidence in most of our 40 papers showing harm. They've considered only a handful of experiments on chemical glyphosate which we're never exposed to. This is incompetent risk assessment.


The Institute of Science in Society's Roundup on Roundup prepared in January 2015 is well worth reading. It's also worth doing as the Institute suggests and forwarding the Roundup on Roundup to your MEPs ( asking them to vote against re-approval of glyphosate because in the formulations in use, it has been proven to have multiple harmful effects.

[1] ROUNDUP HURTS HEARTS? - January 2015


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