(NaturalHealth365) It’s official – glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup, has been officially linked to cancer cell growth.
Last summer, a jury awarded $289 million to a school groundskeeper for Roundup’s role in his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – and hundreds of lawsuits are ongoing. Now, research reveals a stunning – and dangerous – twist in the story of this toxic chemical: the “inactive” ingredients in Roundup are thousands of times more toxic than glyphosate itself.
As the most commonly-used herbicide in the world, glyphosate is routinely sprayed on food crops, lawns, roadsides, parks and playgrounds across the United States. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mandated to protect the environment, natural health experts say that the agency’s customary method of studying products like Roundup do not allow for a full accounting of all the risks.
Glyphosate is not the only problem: “Inert” ingredients in pesticides are more toxic than most people think
Under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act) the EPA must approve every pesticide before it can be sold or distributed in the United States. And, it can approve the chemicals only if their use won’t cause “unreasonable adverse effects” on the environment.
Here’s the catch: the EPA tends to regulate whole formulations and mixtures, rather than isolated ingredients. So, while the EPA does test glyphosate as an active principle of Roundup, the formulation contains “inactive” or “inert” ingredients as well.
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And, these are not as innocent as they sound.
A peer-reviewed study in 2006 revealed that over 500 products listed as “inert” in some products actually function as the “main ingredient” in other products – and are hazardous to human health.
And, most shocking of all – the inert ingredients need not be listed on the product label.
Shocking study: Single-pesticide testing is ‘insufficient’
In a 2013 study published in Biomedical Research International, researchers found that some Roundup additives are almost 10,000 times more toxic (9,661 times, to be exact) to human cells than glyphosate.
The researchers measured mitochondrial activities and membrane degradations to ascertain cell damage – and determined that Roundup was among the most toxic of the 9 different chemicals tested.
Disturbingly, the usual calculation of the acceptable daily intake, or ADI (the level of exposure claimed to be safe for humans over the long term) is based only on the active principle, or “main ingredient.”
It is clear that this method doesn’t accurately show the risks of chemical formulations.
Or, in the words of the researchers: “Chronic tests on pesticides may not reflect relevant environmental exposure if only one ingredient of these mixtures is tested alone.”
The synergistic effect: A new – and dangerous – wrinkle to the toxicity of “harmless” chemicals
Not only are many inert ingredients potentially harmful, but their dangers are multiplied by the principle of synergy – in which the effects of one substance are intensified by the effects of another.
Synergy becomes even more frightening when one considers that the entire purpose of adjuvants (additives) is to make the active ingredients more potent.
And, synergy appears to be quite a selling point when it comes to touting the effectiveness of weed killers like, Roundup.
A 2016 report published by the Center for Biological Diversity searched patent applications and found that 69 percent of recently-approved pesticide patent applications either claimed or demonstrated synergy between ingredients in the product.
And, 72 percent of the applications claiming or demonstrating synergy involved some of the most frequently used chemicals in the United States, including glyphosate, 2,4-D, atrazine, dicamba and the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid.
Almost unbelievably – chronic toxicity, neurotoxicity, carcinogenicity (potential to cause cancer) neurotoxicity, subchronic oral toxicity and inhalation toxicity are among other health effects the EPA is not obligated to test mixtures for.
The environment is at risk, as well. Beyond Pesticides maintains that the EPA does not test the toxicity of whole pesticide products to birds, aquatic life or honeybees.
Is it so surprising that colony collapse disorder is decimating the honeybee population worldwide?
UN blockbuster report: “catastrophic” use of pesticides causes up to 41 million adverse reactions and 200,000 deaths globally every year
Abundant evidence already exists regarding the harm caused by herbicides and pesticides.
In a report delivered March 8, 2017 before the UN Human Rights Council, the authors detail the adverse effects of chronic exposure to pesticides – including links to cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility.
Co-author Hilal Elver, a renowned research professor and special UN investigator, characterizes the use of pesticides as “catastrophic,” and says that relying on them is a short-term solution that threatens the right to adequate food and health.
It should be noted that 99 percent of the poisonings took place in developing countries, which lack protection for farm workers.
The report noted the disgraceful fact that children – often forced into labor at an early age – are particularly vulnerable to the effects of pesticide contamination of food, with 23 deaths reported in India and 39 in China in 2014 alone.
The unstinting report bluntly asserts that the global pesticide/herbicide market, a $50 billion dollar a year industry, allows agrochemical companies “unprecedented power” over governments and over the scientific community – and uses “aggressive and unethical “ marketing tactics to deny and suppress the truth about its dangers.
While proponents insist that these chemicals are needed to combat global hunger, Helver shoots that down as a “myth.”
The problem is not one of production, notes Helver, but of poverty, inequality and improper distribution.
Yet Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, cites the $43 billion-dollar organic food industry as proof that toxic chemicals are not required to feed people.
As the struggle against toxic herbicides and pesticides continues, one thing is abundantly clear.
Commercial agricultural products – a veritable “witches’ brew” of toxic chemicals – are not being properly tested by the EPA, the agency mandated by federal law to protect the environment and human health.
And, until individual ingredients in these toxic products are tested, this dangerous situation will continue.
Sources for this article include: