(CARIBBEAN360) Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup, which is widely used in the Caribbean and around the world, is back in the news.
This time the controversy surrounds glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides, which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats at very low, real-world doses, according to a new peer-reviewed study.
The groundbreaking research, recently published in the journal Nature, is the first to show a “causative link between an environmentally relevant level of Roundup consumption over the long-term and a serious disease,” according to lead author Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London, who described the findings as “very worrying.”
The researchers found evidence that consumption of low doses of glyphosate over time can cause cell damage, serious fatty liver disease and areas of dead tissue or necrosis in the liver.
For the study, the scientists used cutting-edge molecular profiling methods to examine the livers of female rats who were fed an extremely low dose of Roundup over a two-year period. The rats were given only 4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per day, which is 75,000 times below EU and 437,500 below US permitted levels—basically thousands of times below the amount allowed by regulators around the world.
“The concentration of glyphosate that was added to the drinking water of the rats corresponds to a concentration found in tap water for human consumption,” King’s research associate Dr Robin Mesnage told the Daily Mail.
“It is also lower than the contamination of some foodstuffs,” Mesnage added.
The researchers concluded that the results of the study “imply that chronic consumption of extremely low levels of a GBH formulation (Roundup), at admissible glyphosate-equivalent concentrations, are associated with marked alterations of the liver proteome and metabolome.
“These changes in molecular profile overlap substantially with biomarkers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its progression to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a serious liver disease.”
Dr Antoniou noted that the results suggested that regulators should reconsider the safety evaluation of glyphosate-based herbicides.