Last week, the peer-reviewed manuscripts of the pilot phase of a study known as the Global Glyphosate Study were revealed at a European Parliament press conference, and it’s all bad news for the maker of the world’s most popular glyphosate herbicide, Roundup.
In the short-term pilot study, glyphosate-based herbicides were shown to change some very important biological parameters in rats at exposure to the level set by the Environmental Protection agency as “safe” of 1.75 mg/kg per day. Some of the parameters that were altered relate to sexual development, the intestinal microbiome and genotoxicity. The papers will be published in the Environmental Health journal later this month.
One author of the report, Daniele Mandrioli, said that they found glyphosate in the gut bacteria of rats born to mothers who weren’t affected by it, something he believes is remarkable. He pointed out that gut microbiome disruptions have been linked to problems like diabetes, obesity, and immunological problems.
Another researcher, Professor Philip J. Landrigan, said that these findings should be investigated further in comprehensive long-term studies given their potential to impact a significant number of people around the world.
Monsanto reacted exactly how you’d expect them to react, by attacking the scientists and institutions involved in the study. The firm’s global strategy vice president, Scott Partridge, told The Guardian that The Ramazzini Institute is an “activist organization with an agenda that they have not disclosed.”
It’s an unsubstantiated claim in any event, and it’s also worth noting that the Global Glyphosate Study was carried out by many other bodies in addition to The Ramazzini Institute, such as the Italian National Institute of Health, George Washington University, the Icahn School of Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai, the University of Bologna, and the Genoa Hospital San Martino. Of course, they won’t be able to attack all of those institutes, so they decided to single one out.
In fact, The Ramazzini Institute is a well-respected institution manned by expert scientists for more than four decades. Their goal is to protect public health, and their activities relate to finding carcinogens and evaluating the safety and efficacy of drugs and ingredients. Their long-term studies have a lot of clout, with past research on benzene, vinyl chloride, and formaldehyde leading to changes in global regulations.
One thing that makes the Ramazzini studies so respected is the fact their design mirrors humans very closely. For example, they tend to follow rodents from prenatal life and observe them until their natural death; most labs “sacrifice” rats about two thirds of the way through their lifespan, which equates to around age 60 in humans. Many people develop cancers later in life, so other researchers miss those cancers that tend to show up in old age.
As the most common herbicide in the world, 18.9 billion pounds of glyphosate have been spread across the planet since 1974. Its use has risen 15-fold since the introduction of genetically modified crops, even though they were initially marketed as being able to reduce the need for herbicide. In the last two decades, the levels of glyphosate found in the human bloodstream have risen by more than 1,000 percent.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015; Monsanto is now trying to campaign against them and stop the American government from funding them. Now, it looks like the respected institutions involved in the latest study to expose the dangers of their products will also be targeted by their smear campaigns.
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Sources for this article include: