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Common Herbicide Linked with Pregnancy Problems and Hormone Disruption

by aseligmann — last modified Jul 27, 2010 12:00 AM

New research often finds that pesticides cause unexpected effects on our health. A recent study of the commonly used herbicide Roundup not only found unexpected effects, but also found that the combination of ingredients in Roundup was more toxic than glyphosate, the so-called "active" ingredient in Roundup.

A New Study Links a Common Herbicide with Pregnancy Problems and Hormone Disruption

New research often finds that pesticides cause unexpected effects on our health. A recent study of the commonly used herbicide Roundup not only found unexpected effects, but also found that the combination of ingredients in Roundup was more toxic than glyphosate, the so-called "active" ingredient in Roundup.

How was the study conducted?

The study was conducted by molecular biologists at the Université de Caen in France. These researchers did two experiments. First they looked at the toxicity of Roundup to human placenta cells. (The placenta is the organ that connects a mother to her unborn child.) Next they looked at how Roundup changes the production of sex hormones. Both the experiments were done on cells, not on live animals.

What did the study find?

Although Roundup is often viewed as a less toxic pesticide, this study found that this herbicide is toxic to placenta cells. The concentration that is required to kill placenta cells is less than the concentration typically used in agriculture, and Roundup killed placenta cells at a lower concentration than glyphosate did.

This study also found that Roundup reduces the production of the sex hormone estrogen. Roundup's effect on hormone production occurred at even lower concentrations than its toxicity to placenta cells, and in most cases glyphosate alone did not cause a reduction.

View Study: Richard, S. et al. 2005. Differential Effects of Glyphosate and Roundup on Human Placental Cells and Aromatase. Environmental Health Perspectives 13(6):716-720