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Monsanto's Roundup Linked to Pregnancy & Reproductive Problems & Endocrine Disruption

June 3, 2005

Dear Readers,

I think this study just released from a French university finally allows us to understand the Roundup toxicity problem. As you read this you will find that the Roundup formulation is actually much more toxic than glyphosate. When you read that the main ingredient of Roundup, glyphosate, has been studied you are getting a small part of the picture. I quote from below "Surprisingly, Roundup is always more toxic than its active ingredient." I hope this study and the attached references can help us to be assured that there is more to the Roundup issue than we are hearing about.

To view the entire study (and I suggest you do) go to You can read this as a web document or print it out as a pdf. I have pasted in the conclusions and references below Thank you, Thomas Wittman

Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 113, Number 6, June 2005

Differential Effects of Glyphosate and Roundup on Human Placental Cells
and Aromatase

By: Sophie Richard, Safa Moslemi, Herbert Sipahutar, Nora Benachour, and Gilles-Eric Seralini

Laboratoire de Biochimie et Biologie Moleculaire, USC-INCRA, Université de Caen, Caen, France


Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide used worldwide, including on most genetically modified plants that have been designed to tolerate it.

Its residues may thus enter the food chain, and glyphosate is found as a contaminant in rivers. Some agricultural workers using glyphosate have pregnancy problems, but its mechanism of action in mammals is questioned. Here we show that glyphosate is toxic to human placental JEG3 cells within 18 hr with concentrations lower than those found with agricultural use, and this effect increases with concentration and time or in the presence of Roundup adjuvants. Surprisingly, Roundup is always more toxic than its active ingredient. We tested the effects of glyphosate and Roundup at lower nontoxic concentrations on aromatase, the enzyme responsible for estrogen synthesis. The glyphosate-based herbicide disrupts aromatase activity and mRNA levels and interacts with the active site of the purified enzyme, but the effects of glyphosate are facilitated by the Roundup formulation in microsomes or in cell culture. We conclude that endocrine and toxic effects of Roundup, not just glyphosate, can be observed in mammals. We suggest that the presence of Roundup adjuvants enhances glyphosate bioavailability and/or bioaccumulation. Key words: adjuvants, aromatase, endocrine disruption, glyphosate, herbicide, human JEG3 cells, placenta, reductase, Roundup, xenobiotic. Environ Health Perspect 113:716-720 (2005). doi:10.1289/ehp.7728 available via [Online 25 February 2005]


Our studies show that glyphosate acts as a disruptor of mammalian cytochrome P450 aromatase activity from concentrations 100 times lower than the recommended use in agriculture; this is noticeable on human placental cells after only 18 hr, and it can also affect aromatase gene expression. It also partially disrupts the ubiquitous reductase activity but at higher concentrations. Its effects are allowed and amplified by at least 0.02% of the adjuvants present in Roundup, known to facilitate cell penetration, and this should be carefully taken into account in pesticide evaluation. The dilution of glyphosate in Roundup formulation may multiply its endocrine effect. Roundup may be thus considered as a potential endocrine disruptor. Moreover, at higher doses still below the classical agricultural dilutions, its toxicity on placental cells could induce some reproduction problems. References

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This GMO news service is underwritten by a generous grant from the Newman's Own Foundation, edited by Thomas Wittman and is a production of the Ecological Farming Association