A new study has found an association with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsato’s Roundup, and Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s-related brain disorders. According to a report from the Organic Authority, Roundup is the best-selling pesticide in the world and is the companion chemical application to many of the company’s genetically modified seeds including corn, soy, canola and cotton.
Glyphosate was first registered for use in the U.S. in 1974. It is used in agriculture and forestry, on lawns and gardens, and for weeds in industrial areas. Some products containing glyphosate are used to control aquatic plants. According to a report from Digital Journal, 88,000 tons of glyphosate was used in the U.S.A. in 2007 alone. However, 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.
According to an Herbicide Fact Sheet from the Journal of Pesticide Reform, glyphosate and glyphosate-containing pesticides have been show to cause genetic damage in laboratory tests with human cells, as well as in tests with laboratory animals. Studies of farmers and other people exposed to glyphosate herbicides have shown that this exposure is linked with increased risks of the cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, miscarriages, and attention deficit disorder, according to the Fact Sheet.
In 1996, the New York Attorney General filed suit against Monsato for alleged false and misleading advertising of glyphosate products. The lawsuit claimed that Monsato’s advertising inaccurately portrayed glyphosate-containing products as safe and as not causing any harmful effects to people or the environment. According to the state, the ads also implied that the risks of products such as Roundup are the same as those of the active ingredient, glyphosate, and do not take into account the possible risks associated with the product’s inert ingredients.
Monsato settled the suit in 1997, and agreed to discontinue the use of terms such as “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly” in all advertising of glyphosate-containing products in New York state. The company also agreed to pay $50,000 toward the state’s costs of pursuing the case.
A decade later, in 2007, Monsato was fined in France for misleading the public about the environmental impact of its flagship herbicide Roundup. A former chairman of Monsanto Agriculture France was found guilty of false advertising for presenting Roundup as biodegradable and claiming that it left the soil clean after use. Monsanto’s French distributor Scotts France was also fined 15,000 euros. According to a report from the BBC, France’s Supreme Court upheld that verdict in 2009.
According to Digital Journal, the study, entitled “Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and authophagic mechanisms,” was published in Neurotoxicology & Teratology. It was designed to investigate potential brain-damaging effects of herbicides which, which the study authors said “have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.”
According to Digital Journal, the research found that “glyphosate inhibited the viability of differentiated test cells (PC12, adrenal medula derived), in both dose-and-time dependent manners. The researchers also found that ‘glyphosate induced cell death via authophagy pathways in addition to activating apoptotic pathways.'”
According to Digital Journal, this is just the latest study to find a link between glyphosate and Parkinson’s-like disorders. For example, a 2011 report published in the journal Parkinsonism Related Disorders detailed the case of a 44-year-old women with Parkison’s-like symptoms after sustaining long term chemical exposure to glyphosate for 3 years as a worker in a chemical factory.