Quantcast

EPA Glyphosate 'Safe' Levels May Be Dangerously High

Popular
Mike Mozart / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A new study on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup—one of the world's most widely used weedkillers—is fueling persistent concerns about the pesticide's impact on sexual development, genotoxicity and intestinal bacteria, even when exposure is limited to a level currently considered "safe" by U.S. regulators.


While the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), and California have classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, U.S. and European regulators have continued to authorize farmers to use it, and Republicans in Congress have even threatened to cut off funding to the WHO over the issue.

Researchers at the Ramazzini Institute in Italy collaborated with experts from the U.S. and Europe to conduct the new crowdfunded pilot study, which will be detailed in three peer-reviewed papers set to be published in the journal Environmental Health later this month. They exposed rats to glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) in drinking water at the "safe" level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a three-month period, "starting from prenatal life until 13 weeks after weaning."

"The results show that GBHs—even at doses deemed safe and over a relatively short exposure time (which in human-equivalent terms correspond from embryo life to 18 years of age)—are able to alter certain important biological parameters, markers chiefly relating to sexual development, genotoxicity, and alteration of the intestinal microbiome ... especially in females," according to the study's website.

Daniele Mandrioli, associate director of the institute's cancer research center, explained to the Guardian that this "shouldn't be happening," and noted that in humans, "disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes, and immunological problems."

Philip J. Landrigan, a member of the study's research team and a professor at New York's Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, expressed worries that glyphosate may pose a long-term cancer risk "that might affect a huge number of people, given the planet-wide use of the glyphosate-based herbicides."

Acknowledging that "by its very nature and purpose, the pilot study does not resolve the uncertainties puzzling the various agencies," Landrigan concluded that "these early warnings must be further investigated in a comprehensive long-term study."

Consumer advocates in the U.S. also responded with calls for further studies, pointing out that "there have been no long-term, peer-reviewed studies of the potential health impact of glyphosate exposure at levels lower than the EPA's guidelines."

"This new pilot study confirms what many responsible scientists have been saying all along: There is no such thing as 'safe' levels when it comes to glyphosate, especially when it comes to children," remarked Ronnie Cummins, international director of the U.S.-based Organic Consumers Association (OCA), which supports the testing food products—including Ben & Jerry's ice cream—for levels of glyphosate.

"What your average consumer needs to know is that there's absolutely no scientific evidence backing up the EPA's claims of 'safe levels,'" OCA U.S. Director Katherine Paul told Common Dreams. "So when Ben & Jerry's says it doesn't matter that there's glyphosate in their ice cream—because the levels are beneath EPA guidelines—that's total bunk."

Meanwhile, Monsanto—which has tried to influence scientific health reports about Roundup—maintains that "there is no link between glyphosate and cancer," and accused the Ramazzini Institute of being "an activist organization with an agenda." The institute has supported the study of cancer for more than two decades and, according to its website, its top priorities are conducting scientific research, performing early diagnosis, and spreading information about "environmental toxic and carcinogenic risks."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Emily Moran

If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you've noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, "masting."

Read More Show Less

By Catherine Davidson

Tashi Yudon peeks out from behind a net curtain at the rooftops below and lets out a sigh, her breath frosting on the windowpane in front of her.

Some 700 kilometers away in the capital city Delhi, temperatures have yet to dip below 25 degrees Celsius, but in Spiti there is already an atmosphere of impatient expectation as winter settles over the valley.

Read More Show Less

The Dog Aging Project at the University of Washington is looking to recruit 10,000 dogs to study for the next 10 years to see if they can improve the life expectancy of man's best friend and their quality of life, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less