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Exposure to the commonly used weed killer Roundup may be linked to a risk of serious health problems, including Parkinson’s disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and autism, according to the findings of new research.
In a study published in the journal Entropy on April 18, researchers identified a link between glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, and a toxic reaction among humans that may cause serious health injuries.
The findings suggest that repeated use of the weed killer or ingesting food products treated with Roundup may be harmful to an individual’s health.
The risk of health problems from Roundup has been at the forefront of debate over the widespread use of the weed killing chemical. Proponents, including manufacturer Monsanto, maintain that glyphosate is not harmful. However, environmental groups and other advocates for chemical safety have asserted that the chemical does more harm than good.
The study’s findings suggest that glyphosate enhances the harmful effects of other food borne chemical toxins and residues. Glyphosate is known to inhibit certain key amino acids and cause a chemical disruption to the natural internal balance of the body which can cause disease.
“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the study co-authors wrote.
Traces of Roundup Found Throughout Food Chain
Co-authors Stephanie Seneff, research scientist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc., indicate that they found residues of glyphosate in many of the staple foods common in the western diet, most of which contain sugar, corn soy or wheat products.
Roundup is the most popular herbicide in the world. Farmers in the United States used about 185 million pounds of Roundup in 2007, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That is nearly twice the amount used six years earlier.
Residential consumers also widely use Roundup to treat weeds in household lawns, gardens and even golf courses.
Monsanto maintains Roundup is minimally toxic to humans. They continue to use the product on millions of acres of crops across the United States. It is used on many genetically engineered crops, such as corn, soybeans, canola and sugar beets. Genetically modified crops are specifically engineered to withstand direct applications of massive amounts of weed killer.
Researchers say the long-term side effects of Roundup may also be linked to other chronic diseases and health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, infertility and gastrointestinal disorders.
The study’s authors emphasized they “hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated.”
The EPA is also conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate to determine if the chemical should be limited. The review is scheduled to be completed in 2015.