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And, while Monsanto insists its product is ‘harmless,’ integrative healthcare experts maintain that glyphosate is associated with a variety of health problems like, heart disease and cancer.
Now, an international team of experts has released the results of an animal study showing that glyphosate disrupts sexual development, damages genes and disturbs the microbiome – the community of beneficial gut bacteria – even when given at “safe” doses.
Naturally, Monsanto, “the world’s most hated corporation,” lost no time in trying to discredit both the study – known as the Global Glyphosate Study (GGS) – and the researchers.
Problem for Monsanto: Glyphosate found to be harmful even at very low levels
To conduct the pilot study, researchers gave laboratory rats glyphosate in drinking water – at the EPA’s “safe limit” of 1.75 mcg per kilo per day. The study was particularly well designed because it focused on rodents that were studied from prenatal life to natural death – meaning that the team could evaluate adverse effects ranging from those caused by early exposure to those surfacing in old age.
The researchers found that glyphosate caused “significant and distinctive” changes in the overall bacterial composition of rats exposed in the womb – meaning it disrupted the balance of indispensable “friendly” bacteria. The population of Lactobacillus – a particularly beneficial species – was reduced, while levels of harmful bacteria were increased.
And there was a disturbing sidelight: although the glyphosate harmed the microbiomes of the young rats that had been exposed in the womb, the mothers appeared unaffected.
Study co-author Daniele Mandrioli, M.D., a researcher at the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy, called this finding “quite remarkable,” and stated it “shouldn’t be happening.”
Disruption of the gut microbiome is associated with obesity, diabetes, immune system problems and even depression.
More problems: Reproductive abnormalities were discovered due to glyphosate exposure
Other changes in the rats included irregularities in the genital area (specifically, a significant and measurable reduction in the distance between the anus and the genitals). The team noted this could have significant impact on reproductive health, and could also indicate a disruption of sex hormones.
The researchers also determined that the glyphosate was genotoxic, or capable of damaging the genetic information within cells.
The study, which was crowdsourced by 30,000 Italian citizens, yielded three separate peer-reviewed papers published in the noted scientific journal Environmental Health. And, as you might expect, the team called for further investigation in a comprehensive long-term study.
Keep in mind: In 2015, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” But U.S. and European regulators continue to deem it acceptable for use – in the midst of a pattern of secret industry papers, suppressing research, using experts with alleged ties to Monsanto, “corporate malfeasance” and “scientific fraud.”
No surprise: Monsanto defends its flagship product, Roundup, and smears the science
Scott Partridge, a Monsanto spokesman, was quoted in a Guardian article as labeling the Ramazzini Institute an “activist organization with an undisclosed agenda that exists as part of their crowdfunding efforts.” The Ramazzini Institute, Partridge alleged, has a “long history of rendering opinions not supported by regulatory testing agencies.”
Of course, Monsanto has a long history itself of corporate corruption – which is all outlined in the “Poison Papers.”
Monsanto’s characterization of the Ramazzini Institute could not have been farther from the truth. Far from being an “activist organization,” the Ramazzini Institute is devoted to evaluating and identifying carcinogenic risks and appraises the efficacy and safety of drug therapies and treatments to prevent the development of cancer.
Their groundbreaking studies on formaldehyde, vinyl chloride and benzene have led to regulatory changes on a global level.
Another reason for the public relations failure of Monsanto is the sheer number of expert scientists and entities associated with this study. The Global Glyphosate Study was conducted by an impressive team that included Bologna University, the Italian National Health Institute, George Washington State University, the Ramazzini Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai in New York.
Monsanto’s ordinary strategy has been to try to discredit and disparage any institution that comes up with unflattering research – but this time, it wasn’t so easy.
Obviously, these well-respected entities present a much more difficult target than any single institute.
Scientists have defended the study, praising it as providing “solid, independent results obtained by a shared research project on which (policymakers) can confidently base risk assessments and evaluations.” The findings were called “of great importance.”
The study was also praised as a “valuable approach for trying to understand the potential negative health effects of glyphosate” also praised because it used doses comparable to what humans are exposed to in everyday environments.
18.9 billion pounds of glyphosate-based herbicides have been sprayed around the planet since 1974.
Is it really worth it?
Sources for this article include: