further evidence to Roundup’s toxicity and threat to human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced earlier this year that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is a probable carcinogen. Monsanto has been sued this year for lying about Roundup’s label, which claims glyphosate doesn’t target friendly flora and fauna in the human gut, when the exact opposite is true.
Lead author Michael Antoniou said, “The findings, while in rats, are concerning for people. These tests are the kind used to test what chemicals may do to humans, (which) is concerning given glyphosate’s widespread use.”
The new study shows long-term exposure to tiny amounts of Roundup — thousands of times lower than the poison permitted in U.S. drinking water — may lead to serious problems in the liver and kidneys.The study examined gene function in liver and kidneys. It underscores a 2012 Seralini study which showed rats ingesting small amounts of Roundup in their drinking water suffer liver and kidney damage.
Chronic, Low Exposure damages genes
This study is the first to examine the impacts of chronic, low exposure of Roundup on genes in livers and kidneys. It suggests another potential health impact for people and animals from the most widely used weed killer in the U.S.
Head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London, Antoniou said, “Given even very low levels of exposure, Roundup can potentially result in organ damage when it comes to liver and kidney function.” The severity was unknown, Antoniou added, but the data showed harm occurs over time.
Study echoes other Studies
The study adds credence to other evidence showing the toxic effects of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate. Scientists have long suspected it might be at least partly to blame for a widespread kidney disease epidemic in Sri Lanka, parts of India, and Central America.
Roundup use has increased more than 250 times in the past four decades in the U.S. Most seeds from Monsanto are genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide.
Health researchers as well as environmental groups have called on governments to ban glyphosate or more strictly regulate it, especially after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in March 2015 announced glyphosate is probably cancer-causing in humans.
2012 Seralini Study of tumors by Monsanto
In the 2012 study, different groups of rats were fed mixtures of genetically modified corn and Roundup. Researchers, led by Gilles-Éric Séralini, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, reported cancers and other health impacts from both the corn itself and the herbicide.
Monsanto attacks Messenger and Message
Monsanto attacked the study and the author, had its own people placed in editorial positions who then retracted the paper. Scientists protested around the world, and the Monsanto employees were removed from the journal and the paper was republished elsewhere.
The Seralini study showed very tiny amounts of Roundup added to rats’ water – a dose that is thousands of times lower than what is allowed in U.S. drinking water – for two years seemed to spur kidney and liver damage.
The Antoniou led study compared the female mice from the 2012 group and found significant differences in their genes compared to rats not force fed Roundup.
Antoniou said, more than “4,000 genes in the liver and kidneys whose levels of expression had changed” in the glyphosated rats compared to the non-dosed rats. Genes serve as the body’s switches, controlling different functions. Turn one gene off at the wrong time, or fail to turn it on at the proper time, and serious consequences can follow. Gene function impacts the health and disease status of organs.
Nichelle Harriott – science and regulatory director at Beyond Pesticides, a nonprofit group based in Washington D.C. that advocates against toxic pesticides – said that given that they “used very low dose levels in drinking water, as a country that uses a lot of glyphosate and it’s found widely across U.S. streams, this study should have some kind of public health influence.”
Bruce Blumberg, a professor and researcher at the University of California who was not involved in the study, spoke to undercut the findings by claiming that changes in levels of expression between the dosed and non-dosed groups’ genes were small. “We don’t know what to make of such changes,” said Blumberg. “They may be meaningful and may not.” As of this writing, we have not researched Blumberg’s or the University of California’s financial ties to Monsanto, whether through research grants or any other avenue.
Antoniou and colleagues said they can’t positively pin the rats’ specific organ problems to glyphosate. The changes they saw in the genes are linked to the types of organ damage originally seen in the rats — such as scarring and dead tissue.
No Response from Monsanto
GMWatch.org said Monsanto failed to return requests to comment on Antoniou’s study. Monsanto has endlessly maintained Roundup’s safety, simultaneously attacking any science and scientists who speak out against it and the science behind the WHO’s decision to label glyphosate a probable carcinogen.
Glyphosate would be banned in a Normal World
“Normally when you see negative effects in these rats from a chemical treatment, then you get very worried,” Antoniou said, adding that the normal course of action would be to consider whether or not to approve such a chemical. The FDA, meanwhile, continues to idly stand by and do nothing about the alarm bells ringing over Monsanto products. Many “former” Monsanto employees work in the corporate offices of FDA and in the halls of the federal government, rubber stamping nearly any product Monsanto decides it wants approved.