Over time, gradual exposure to even the most minuscule amounts of glyphosate, more commonly known as the potent herbicide Roundup, may be responsible for detrimental health problems in the kidneys and livers of both human and animal populations according to a new study conducted by molecular geneticists at King’s College London.
Glyphosate and other related herbicides used to kill weeds have been linked to a slew of health problems since their conception in the 1970s. The use of Roundup has increased astronomically over the past four decades causing both toxicologists and numerous environmental groups to urge the government to either ban or more strictly regulate the use of the compound.
Traces of glyphosate are regularly detected in many food products but the primary means by which humans and animals are exposed to the compound is through contaminated drinking water due to glyphosate runoff.
In this most recent approach, researchers assessed the adverse effects of long-term Roundup exposure at doses far below the amount the EPA allows in drinking water.
Dr. Michael Antoniou and his research group conducted the experiment over a two-year period in a large subject population of rats. His team observed several abnormalities that indicated negative functional changes within the liver and kidney. The lab was able to analyze the change in gene expression caused by glyphosate and how it correlated to the tissue damage seen in the livers and kidneys of the rats.
The rat model is widely used for toxicity tests throughout the world, and although it doesn’t give explicit proof of how humans are affected, it strongly relates to very similar adverse outcomes.
Additionally, this research is particularly useful in understanding human exposure because the glyphosate doses administered closely mimic the amount the average American is exposed to all the time.
If toxicity studies start to incorporate more realistic Roundup exposure scenarios like this, regulatory action may very well be taken sooner than expected.