Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say - Page 2

Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

For instance, in this experiment, after 24h, 63ppm of Roundup was found to be toxic to cells, but in our previous experiment, after two years in rats, only 0.1ppb of Roundup was found to be sufficient to provoke pathologies [2].

The study discussion also addressed the profound problem in semantics indicated by the use of the term "inert" to describe chemical adjuvants that amplify the toxicity of the active principle (AP) in a herbicidal formulation by up t 1,000 times:

"Adjuvants in pesticides are generally declared as inerts, and for this reason they are not tested in long-term regulatory experiments. It is thus very surprising that they amplify up to 1000 times the toxicity of their APs in 100% of the cases where they are indicated to be present by the manufacturer (Table 1). In fact, the differential toxicity between formulations of pesticides and their APs now appears to be a general feature of pesticides toxicology. As we have seen, the role of adjuvants is to increase AP solubility and to protect it from degradation, increasing its half-life, helping cell penetration, and thus enhancing its pesticidal activity [32] and consequently side effects. They can even add their own toxicity [1]. The definition of adjuvants as "inerts" is thus nonsense; even if the US Environmental Protection Agency has recently changed the appellation for "other ingredients," pesticide adjuvants should be considered as toxic "active" compounds."

According to the researchers, Roundup herbicide is emblematic of the cognitive dissonance between scientific fact and industrial claim to the still widely held belief that many of the chemicals routinely applied to our food and feed crops are relative safety:

It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides. This idea is spread by manufacturers, mostly in the reviews they promote [39, 40], which are often cited in toxicological evaluations of glyphosate-based herbicides. However, Roundup was found in this experiment to be 125 times more toxic than glyphosate. Moreover, despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions [41].

The researchers conclude their study by proposing their experimental results challenge the ultimate relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI), "because it is calculated today from the toxicity of the AP alone in vivo." They go further and suggest that the ADI's should be revised taking into account an "adjuvant factor," which would require a reduction by at least 100 be applied to ADIs, especially if their preliminary cell research is confirmed through future animal studies. This would mean that the present ADI for glyphosate which is .3 ppm should be reduced to 3 parts per billion or less. They note, however, that this will not replace direct study of the commercial formulation with its adjuvants in regulatory tests. They conclude the study with the following remarks:

"[A]n exposure to a single formulated pesticide must be considered as coexposure to an active principle and the adjuvants. In addition, the study of combinatorial effects of several APs together may be very secondary if the toxicity of the combinations of each AP with its adjuvants is neglected or unknown. Even if all these factors were known and taken into account in the regulatory process, this would not exclude an endocrine-disrupting effect below the toxicity threshold. The chronic tests of pesticides may not reflect relevant environmental exposures if only one ingredient is tested alone."

Clearly, research like this represents a paradigm shift in the way we look at agrochemical toxicity and the risk of exposure. If the harm's associated with pesticidal or herbicidal contamination of our food, water, or air, are up to 1,000 times higher than the present regulatory system believes, we can no longer label as 'an acceptable level of harm' the mass poisoning we are experiencing at the hands of the industrial, biotech and chemical-industry driven agricultural system.


[i] Ethoxylated adjuvants of glyphosate-based herbicides are active principles of human cell toxicity. Mesnage R, Bernay B, Séralini GE Toxicology. 2013 Nov 16; 313(2-3):122-8. [PubMed] [Ref list]

[ii] Seralini GE, Mesnage R, Defarge N, et al. Answers to critics: why there is a long term toxicity due to NK603 Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize and to a Roundup herbicide. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2013;53:461–468. [PubMed] [Ref list]

[iii] Roundup inhibits steroidogenesis by disrupting steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein expression. Walsh LP, McCormick C, Martin C, Stocco DM Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Aug; 108(8):769-76. [PubMed] [Ref list]

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