Scientific Consensus Statement Reveals Roundup Herbicide A Major Health Threat

A newly published scientific consensus statement on Roundup herbicide reveals exposure to this ubiquitous toxicant is increasing and valid research proving it safe is still nowhere to be found.

A powerful new review on the toxicity of glyphosate signals a growing consensus among non industry sponsored scientists that the relatively unmonitored and unregulated exposure to this ubiquitous toxicant can no longer be promoted as a justifiable risk.

The review is open access and can be downloaded as a PDF and/or read in its entirety here.

The newly released consensus statement published in the journal Environmental Health and titled, "Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement," identified the broad spectrum herbicide glyphosate (common trade name "Roundup") as major threat to human and environmental health. Identified as having increased in usage 100-fold since the late 1970's, the study predicts glyphosate usage will increase to even greater amounts due to,"widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and new, pre-harvest, dessicant use patterns." Oats, for example, are commonly sprayed with glyphosate as a pre-harvest dessicant, even though it is legal to label them "non-GMO," as we recently reported on in connection with the product Cheerios.

Scientific Consensus Statement Identifies Roundup Herbicide As Major Health Concern

The study also identified a key regulatory problem associated with increased glyphosate exposure: "To accommodate changes in GBH [glyphosate based herbicide] use patterns associated with genetically engineered, herbicide-tolerant crops, regulators have dramatically increased tolerance levels in maize, oilseed (soybeans and canola), and alfalfa crops and related livestock feeds." In a previous report titled, "EPA to America People: 'Let Them Eat Monsanto's Roundup Ready Cake," we discussed the EPA's role in covering up the increasingly dire glyphosate accumulation in our food supply by arbitrarily increasing its permissible levels without regard to the obvious health risks. This is all the more disturbing considering recent research has demonstrated it has the potential to act as a carcinogenic/estrogenic endocrine disrupter in the parts per trillion range.

Owing to the fact that animal and epidemiology studies clearly point to glyphosate exposure having serious health risks (see the toxicity database on glyphosate to read the first-hand literature on the topic), as well as the fact that the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans," the scientists who authored the new paper produced a Statement of Concern, summarized into the following seven concerns:

(1) GBHs are the most heavily applied herbicide in the world and usage continues to rise

(2) Worldwide, GBHs often contaminate drinking water sources, precipitation, and air, especially in agricultural regions

(3) The half-life of glyphosate in water and soil is longer than previously recognized

(4) Glyphosate and its metabolites are widely present in the global soybean supply

(5) Human exposures to GBHs are rising

(6) Glyphosate is now authoritatively classified as a probable human carcinogen

(7) Regulatory estimates of tolerable daily intakes for glyphosate in the United States and European Union are based on outdated science.

While there are dozens of glaring problems addressed in this report, we would like to highlight the following five points of concern:

  • Food Contamination Not Adequately Studied: "Adequate surveys of GBH contamination in foodproducts have not as yet been conducted on a large scale, even in the U.S.  The first and only in-depth USDA testing of glyphosate and AMPA residues in food targeted soybeans, and occurred once in 2011 [13]. Of the three hundred samples tested, 90.3 % contained glyphosate at a mean level of 1.9 ppm, while 95.7 % contained AMPA at 2.3 ppm. In contrast, the next highest residue reported by USDA in soybeans was malathion, presentat 0.026ppm in just 3.7% of samples. Thus, the mean levels of glyphosate and AMPA in soybeans were 73-fold and 83-fold higher than malathion, respectively."

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