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    New lowdown on Roundup

    by Alison White

    Recent research links glyphosate-containing herbicides such as Roundup to human birth defects, hormone disruption, genetic damage, miscarriages, premature birth and the cancer non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

    Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, brings huge profits to Monsanto the manufacturers. Used to control weeds in a wide variety of circumstances, it is commonly sprayed on food crops such as wheat, barley, oats and peas before harvesting to make them easier to harvest. Genetically engineered Roundup Ready soybeans are increasing sales and residues: Monsanto applied to ANZFA to increase permitted levels of glyphosate in food 200 fold, and in the US residues limits were tripled. The Ministry of Health has never analysed for glyphosate residues in our food, however.

    Families of Minnesota farmers using Roundup were found to have significantly more birth defects. Roundup was also linked to a 3-fold increase in attention deficit disorders. In studies of people (mostly farmers) exposed to glyphosate herbicides, exposure is associated with an increased risk of miscarriages, premature birth, and the cancer non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A recent test tube study supports the conclusion that Roundup can severely reduce the ability of mouse cells to produce hormones.

    Short term symptoms in people exposed to glyphosate-containing herbicides such as Roundup include eye irritation, itchy and tingling skin, headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure and palpitations.

    Besides the health effects, much more could be said about environmental effects. Suffice to say that "a pesticide is safe only until it is found out".SF

    Sources: pdf file on glyphosate containing 183 references; Rachel's Environmental & Health News #751 gives references from 2 issues of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. If you would like copies of these references, please contact us.

    December 2002

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