Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Questioning safety of Roundup

New research has revealed that an inert ingredient in the popular weed-whacking herbicide, Roundup, can also suffocate human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells, in a laboratory. Crystal Gammon, for Scientific American, reports:

Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.

Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.

The research team suspects that Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.

Monsanto, the product's manufaturer, contends that the study does not reflect realistic usage and conditions of the product. And the EPA classifies classifies glyphosate as a Group E chemical, which means that there is fairly strong evidence it does not cause cancer in humans.

As with any data and contraversy, I feel obligated to err on the side of caution and suggest that expecting mothers steer clear of Roundup.


becky said...

You know when I was pregnant I read the roundup weed killer bottle to see if any warnings and there weren't any. Nonetheless, I wore gloves, thinking that if something can kill a harty dandilion, then it can't be good for me or baby. Hopefully they will start putting warnings on these about pregnant women.

Deborah said...

Well since I am not a huge Monsanto fan and I love you, I will express an opinion on this. I agree, if it can kill a very hearty weed on contact I can't imagine you want to ingest any mist or get it on your skin. I understand that there have been tests done on the "active" ingredient and this is Monsanto's platform - that that ingredient alone passed some regulation or something - but Roundup isn't that ingredient alone. There are other chemicals and reactions going on in there. I'm not a scientist nor do I claim to be but it seems harmful to humans to me. Weeds are like the strongest plants out there. Think about how we as humans nurture and water things we want to grow - they develop little defenses of their own. Weeds, on the other hand, are constantly uprooted, sprayed, killed, weed-whacked, etc yet they keep coming back.

I've gone on a tangent. Bottom line is that I am glad you wore gloves ;-)

Jonathan said...

Niko taught me how to comment on your blog. Can't wait to make a worthwhile post.