* Study says chemical residues linked to disease
* Roundup developer Monsanto says glyphosate is safe
* Researchers say more study is needed
By Carey Gillam
April 25 Heavy use of the world's most popular
herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health
problems and diseases, including Parkinson's, infertility and
cancers, according to a new study.
The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the
scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that
residues of "glyphosate," the chief ingredient in Roundup weed
killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has
been found in food.
Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other
food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to
disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to
the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony
Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc.
Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor
as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests
slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems
throughout the body," the study says.
We "have hit upon something very important that needs to be
taken seriously and further investigated," Seneff said.
Environmentalists, consumer groups and plant scientists from
several countries have warned that heavy use of glyphosate is
causing problems for plants, people and animals.
The EPA is conducting a standard registration review of
glyphosate and has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if
glyphosate use should be limited. The study is among many
comments submitted to the agency.
Monsanto is the developer of both Roundup herbicide and a
suite of crops that are genetically altered to withstand being
sprayed with the Roundup weed killer.
These biotech crops, including corn, soybeans, canola and
sugarbeets, are planted on millions of acres in the United
States annually. Farmers like them because they can spray
Roundup weed killer directly on the crops to kill weeds in the
fields without harming the crops.
Roundup is also popularly used on lawns, gardens and golf
Monsanto and other leading industry experts have said for
years that glyphosate is proven safe, and has a less damaging
impact on the environment than other commonly used chemicals.
Jerry Steiner, Monsanto's executive vice president of
sustainability, reiterated that in a recent interview when
questioned about the study.
"We are very confident in the long track record that
glyphosate has. It has been very, very extensively studied," he
Of the more than two dozen top herbicides on the market,
glyphosate is the most popular. In 2007, as much as 185 million
pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, double the amount
used six years ago, according to Environmental Protection Agency