by Elizabeth Renter
The effects of Monsanto’s RoundUp and its key ingredient glyphosate are becoming clearer with time as more research continues to be carried through. But even for years, scientists have suspected it of altering hormone and reproductive function. One of the most recent studies suggests it can impact testicular function in just eight days after exposure, meaning the need for precautions and interventions is an urgent one indeed.
About 20% of young European men have sperm counts below the World Health Organization reference level of 20 m/ml, and 40% have levels below 40 m/ml. Further, semen quality deterioration and fertility issues are also escalating.
“Testicular germ cell cancer (TGC), which has been rising in the last five decades. Congenital malformations of the male reproductive tract, including undescended testes and incomplete fusion of the urethral folds that form the penis. Low testosterone.”
The researchers, led by Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini from the University of Caen, France, exposed rats to a concentration of just 0.5% RoundUp, similar to the level found in water after a crop is sprayed with the herbicide. They then measured sperm function at 2, 3 and 4 months following exposure.
While there was no difference in concentration, viability, and mobility of the sperm at all three periods, there was an increase in abnormal sperm formation beginning as soon as the 2 month mark.
“Roundup was found to change gene expression in sperm cells, which could alter the balance of the sex hormones androgen and estrogen,” reports GM Watch on the study. “A negative impact on sperm quality was confirmed, raising questions about impaired sperm efficiency. The authors suggested that repeated exposures to Roundup at doses lower than those used in agriculture could damage mammalian reproduction over the long term.”
In the study overview, the authors note, “The repetition of exposures of this herbicide could alter the mammalian reproduction.” A troubling statement, but not one without precedence.
As this report from Dec. 2009 Mother Earth News shows, knowledge about the detrimental effects of RoundUp on reproduction has a history.
“The potential real-life risks from this are infertility, low sperm count, and prostate or testicular cancer. But, ‘Symptoms could be so subtle, they would be easy to overlook,’ says Theo Colborn, president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange. ‘Timing is of critical importance. If a pregnant woman were to be exposed early in gestation, it looks like these herbicides could have an effect during the sexual differentiation stage. They really lock in on testosterone.’ The bottom line is more research is needed before we can fully understand the effects of glyphosate exposure.”
Research is beginning to catch up and show that RoundUp, its glyphosate, and its creator Monsanto, are all detrimental to our collective health. But will the studies be enough and will they be in time to prevent the large-scale harm that could occur? Now is the time to initiate change to protect all living organisms on the planet.