Monsanto's controversial herbicide, Roundup, has now been linked to Parkinsonism related disorders according to research reported in the Neurotoxicology & Teratology journal.
This month a new and alarming study has been published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology which supports the emerging connection between glyphosate, Roundup's active ingredient, and the emergence of neurodegenerative conditions including Parkinson's disease and Parkinsonian disorders.
The new study, entitled "Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and authophagic mechanisms," was arranged to investigate potential brain-damaging effects of herbicides which authors of the study stated "have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease."
With the current wide use of Roundup herbicide in the U.S.A., it is considered to be a contaminant in air, groundwater, rain and food, making it virtually impossible to avoid.
Researchers in the new study found that glyphosate inhibited the viability of differentiated test cells (PC12, adrenal medula derived), in both dose-and-time dependent manners. They also discovered "glyphosate induced cell death via authophagy pathways in addition to activating apoptotic pathways."
There is a growing body of experimental evidence which indicates that besides its neurotoxicity, Roundup also has the following modes of toxicity:
Monsanto, the original patent holder and manufacturer of Roundup, once marketed the herbicide as "safe as table salt". However, evidence now points to the fact that it is toxic to human DNA, even at concentrations diluted 450-fold lower than those used in agricultural applications.
The current study only adds to the case reports of glyphosate poisoning and also occupational exposure in which neurological damage was a direct consequence.
In 2011 a case study was published in the journal Parkinsonism Related Disorders, entitled "Parkinsonism after chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate,"
In the report the following incident was quoted:
Here we report a patient with parkinsonism following chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate. A previously healthy 44-year-old woman presented with rigidity, slowness and resting tremor in all four limbs with no impairment of short-term memory, after sustaining long term chemical exposure to glyphosate for 3 years as a worker in a chemical factory. The chemical plant produced a range of herbicides including: glyphosate, gibberellins, and dimethyl hydrogen phosphite; however, the patient worked exclusively in the glyphosate production division. She only wore basic protection such as gloves or a face mask for 50 h each week in the plant where glyphosate vapor was generated. She frequently felt weak. Two months before she came to our clinic, she had experienced severe dizziness and blurred vision.
A further study which was published in 2003 also reported a case of Parkinsonism subsequent to glyphosate exposure.
The case studies have also been backed up with animal research. In a study using the roundworm (Caenorhabditis elegans) model of glyphosate exposure, the chemical results in neurodegeneration directly associated with damage to the dopamine and GABA producing neurons.
In the rat model case studies, published in 2005, it was found that glyphosate exposure results in oxidative brain damage, particularly the substantia nigra, where the highest concentration of dopamine-producing cells reside, and which is the primary locus of neurological damage in Parkinson’s disease.
Glyphosate exposure is now significant, with 88,000 tons used in the U.S.A. in 2007 alone. Add to this the likely billions of pounds used worldwide, this is now a serious matter indeed. There is accumulating evidence to indicate that glyphosate is resistant to biodegradation and in the areas where it has been applied, now contaminates the air, rain and groundwater.