New Research Associates Roundup with Liver Disease in Rats

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Recently published research shows that the weed killer Roundup causes fatty liver disease in rats.

“For the very first time we have established a causative link between an environmentally relevant level of daily ingestion of Roundup and a serious disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” said Dr. Michael Antoniou, head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London. He led the research.

The research confirms “liver functional dysfunction resulting from chronic ultra-low dose GBH (glyphosate-based herbicides) exposure.” The research was published in Scientific Reports at Nature.com on January 7, 2017.

Parker Waichman notes that exposure to Roundup has been associated with a range of health problems, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, respiratory distress, pulmonary edema, arrhythmias, renal failure, hand tremors, blurred vision, and loss of coordination.

Roundup as a Risk Factor for Disease

Dr. Antoniou said that the rats consumed a glyphosate-equivalent level of Roundup that is 75,000 times lower than what is permitted in Europe and 437,500 times lower than the level allowed in the United States. The research team used “cutting-edge” analytical methods to determine the health status of rats’ livers. “We found that these organs weren’t healthy. There were clear hallmarks of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which correlated with previous observations of an increased incidence of tissue necrosis or liver tissue replaced with scars.”

Twenty-five percent of the U.S. population suffers from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Risk factors for the disease include obesity, diabetes, and high blood fat levels. Other risk factors have not yet been identified and Roundup could be a risk factor.

Antoniou said the study results allowed the researchers “to make a direct statement that Roundup caused disease.” Before this, Roundup was not a suspected risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and the study results call for further investigation. “Our study results suggest that the permitted safety intake level of glyphosate-based herbicides needs to be revisited as they may have been set way too high,” he said. “The second point that this is a new risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and needs to be taken into account by the medical establishment.”

More than three dozen cancer lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto in a Roundup products multidistrict litigation (MDL).  These lawsuits allege that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—cancer of the lymph nodes. The plaintiffs allege that they or a family member who has died developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup over the course of several or more years. The plaintiffs also allege that the use of glyphosate with other ingredients, in particular the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), makes Roundup even more toxic than glyphosate alone.

Debate over Roundup’s Safety

Roundup (glyphosate) is one of the world’s most widely used weed killers. Roundup is used everywhere from commercial agriculture to home gardens to public parks. Roundup is used in the growing of genetically engineered crops now grown on more than 175 million acres in the U.S. and more than 440 million acres around the globe.

When genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops were first being introduced in the early 1990s, biotech companies claimed numerous benefits: GMO crops could produce more nutritious food, resist climate stress, and reduce pesticide use, among other benefits. Some seeds have been bred to be resistant to glyphosate so Roundup can be sprayed on fields without concern for damaging the crop.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, issued a determination that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. IARC reached its decision based on the research of 17 top cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of five pesticides. The IARC review of glyphosate has led to the European Parliament calling for a complete ban on non-commercial public use of glyphosate and serious restrictions on agricultural use.

In response to the IARC designation, France, The Netherlands, Sweden and Italy are debating whether to relicense Roundup. The French Minister of Ecology has called for a ban on glyphosate herbicides across the European Union. Colombia halted the use of glyphosate in its coca eradication program. Sri Lanka banned import of glyphosate products, the Huffington Post reports.” Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Kapetan ruled that California could require Monsanto to label Roundup as a possible cancer threat, adding the weed killer to its list of cancer causing chemicals.

In contrast, in 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs issued a 227-page evaluation of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential, concluding that glyphosate is “‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans’ at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.”

Legal Help for Those Harmed by Roundup

If you or someone you know has developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or a health problem linked to Roundup exposure, consider seeking legal help. The attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are available to provide a free, no obligation case evaluation. Contact the firm by filling out the online form or calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).