Glyphosate herbicides, scientific evidence

Published in Poisons Beware

An overview of the scientific evidence for claims that glyphosate-based herbicides are or are not safe.

Herbicide in a Hvar field Herbicide in a Hvar field Photo: Vivian Grisogono

EVIDENCE INDICATING THAT GLYPHOSATE-BASED HERBICIDES ARE NOT SAFE

In this list, most of the scientific papers cited have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Where possible, online links to the articles are given. Almost all the articles carry numerous references to previous scientific research.

Overviews

Ho, M-W., Sirinathsinghji, E., 2012. Why Glyphosate should be banned - a review of its hazards to health and the environment. Permaculture Research Institute. (Institute of Sc ience in Society Special Report) 107 references

Earth Open Source, 2012. Roundup and Birth Defects (overview, with industry responses)

Mason, Rosemary, 2013. Glyphsoate Destructor of Human Health and Biodiversity. GMO Evidence

Friends of the Earth, June 2013. Concerns about Glyphosate's Approval. Friends of the Earth Europe (www.foeeurope.com).

Robinson, C., 2014. The glyphosate toxicity studies you're not allowed to see. GMWatch

Clausing, P., Robinson, C., and Burtscher-Schaden, H. 2018. Pesticides and public health: An analysis of the regulatory approach to assessing the carcinogenicity of glyphosate in the European Union. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 20 references

Antibiotic resistance

Kurenbach, B., Gibson, P.S., Hill, A.M., Bitzer, A.S., Silby, M.W., Godsoe, W., Heinemann, J.A. 2017. Herbicide ingredients change Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium and Escherichia coli antibiotic responses. Microbiology, online 17 November 2017 doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000573 40 references

Cancer risks

De Roos, A.J., Blair, A., Rusiecki, J.A., Hoppin, J.A., Svec, M., Dosemeci, M., Sandler, D.P., Alavanja, M.C., 2005. Cancer Incidence among Glyphosate-Exposed Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health study. Environmental Health Perspectives 113 (1) 49-54. 56 references

Eriksson, M., Hardell, L., Carlberg, M., Akerman, M., 2008. Pesticide exposure as risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma including histopathological subgroup analysis. International Journal of Cancer 123: 1657-1663. 41 references

Samsel, Anthony & Seneff, Stephanie 2013. Glyphosate, pathways to Modern Diseases II: Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance. Interdisciplinary Toxicology 6 (4) 159-184. 271 references

Thongprakalsang, S., Thiantanawat, A., Rangkadilok N., Suriyo, T., Satayavivad, J., 2013. Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via oestrogen receptors. Food & Chemical Toxicology 59: 129-136

Alavanja, M.C.R., Ross, M.K., Bonner, M.R., 2013. Increased Cancer Burden Among Pesticide Applicators and Others Due to Pesticide Exposure. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 63 (2): 120-142. 186 references

Séralini, G-E, Clair, E., Mesnage, R., Grass, S., Defarge, N., Malatesta, M., Hannequin, D., Spirouz de Vendômois, J., 2014. Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.  Environmental Sciences Europe. 75 references.

Ho, M.W., 2014. Glyphosate and Cancer. Institute of Science in Society Report 26.3.2014. 34 references

Schinasi, L., Leon, M.E., 2014. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Occupational Exposure to Agricultural Pesticide Chemical Groups and Active Ingredients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11 (4): 4449-4527. 77 references

International Agency for Research into Cancer, 2015. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Vol.112 (2015) Some Organophosphate Insecticides and Herbicides. GlyphosateAuthors: Guyton, K.Z., Loomis, D., Grosse, Y., Ghissassi, F. E., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., Guha, N., Scoccianti, C., Mattock, H., Straif, K.  on behalf of the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group, IARC, Lyon, France. Summary published in the Lancet Oncology, Vol. 16, no.5, pp 490-491, May 2015. 269 references

Pregnancy, Birth defects and endocrine disruption

Tate, T.M., Spurlock, J.O., Christian, F.A. 1997. Effect of Glyphosate on the Development of Pseudosuccinea columella Snails. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 33 (3) 286-289

Garry, V.F., Harkins, M.E., Erickson, L.L., Long-Simpson, L.K., Holland, S.E., Burroughs, B.L., 2002. Birth Defects, Season of Conception, and Sex of Children Born to Pesticide Applicators Living in the Red River Valley of Minnesota, USA. Environmental Health Perspectives 110 (Suppl 3) 441-449. 69 references

Richard, S., Moslemi, S., Sipahular, H., Benachour, N., Séralini, G-E., 2005. Differential Effects of Glyphosate and Roundup on Human Placenta and Aromatase. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113 (6) 716-720. 38 references

Benachour, N., Sipahular, H., Moslemi, S., Gasnier, C., Travert, C., Séralini, G.E., 2007. Time- and dose-dependent effects of Roundup on Human embryonic and placental cells. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53 (1): 126-133. 42 references

Gasnier, C., Dumont, C., Benachour, N., Clair, E., Chagnon, M.C., Séralini, G.E. 2009. Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. Toxicology 262 (3) : 184-191. 94 references

Antoniou, M., Ezz El-Din Mostafa Habib, M., Howard, C. V., Jennings, R.C., Leifert, C., Nodari, R.O., Robinson, C., Fagan, J.. June 2011. Roundup and birth defects. Is the public being kept in the dark? Pub. Earth Open Source.358 references

Antoniou,M., Habib, M.E.M., Howard, C. V., Jennings, R.C., Leifert, C., Nodari, R.O., Robinson, C., Fagan, J. 2012. Teratogenic Effects of Glyphosate-based Herbicides: Divergence of Regulatory Decisions from Scientific Evidence. Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology, S4-006, 97 references

Kruger, M, Schrodl, Wieland, Pedersen, Ib, & Shehata, A. A., 2014. Detection of Glyphosate in Malformed Piglets. Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology, 4:230 4 references

Young, F., Ho D., Glynn, D., & Edwards, V. 2015. Endocrine disruption and cytotoxicity of glyphosate and roundup in human JAr cells in vitro. Integrative Pharamcology, Toxicology and Genotoxicology. Vol 1 (1) 12-19. 30 references

Parvez, S., Gerona, R. R., Proctor, C., Friesen, M., Ashby, J. L., Reiter, J. L., Lui, Z. & Winchester, P. D. 2018. Glyphosate exposure in pregnancy and shortened gestational length: a prospective Indiana birth cohort study. Environmental Health 2018 17:23. 56 references

DNA damage and genotoxic effects

Prasad, S., Srivastava, S., Singh, M., Shukla, Y., 2009. Clastogenic Effects of Glyphosate in Bone Marrow Cells of Swiss Albino Mice. Journal of Toxicology (2009) 308985. 39 references

Koller, V.J., Fürhacker, M., Nersesyan, A., Mišik, M., Eisenbauer, M., Knasmueller, S., 2012. Cytotoxic and DNA-damaging properties of glyphosate and Roundup in human-derived buccal epithelial cells. Archives of Toxicology 86 (5): 805-813. 47 references

Male infertility

Clair, E., Mesnage, R., Travert, C., Séralini, G.E., 2012. A glyphosate-based herbicide induces apoptosis in mature rat cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. Toxicology in vitro 26: 269-279. 61 references

de Liz Oliveira Cavalli, V.L., Cattani, D., Heinz Rieg, C.E., Pierozan, P., Zanatta, L., Parisotto, E.B., Filho D.W.., Mena Barreto Silva, F.R., Pessoa-Pureur, R., Zamoner, A., 2013. Roundup disrupts male reproductive functions by triggering calcium-mediated cell death in rat testis and Sertoli cells. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 65: 335-346. 80 references

Gut bacteria disruption

Brewster, D.W., Warren, J.,Hopkins, W.E., 1991. Metabolism of glyphosate in Sprague-Dawley rats: Tissue distribution, identification, and quantification of glyphosate-derived materials following a single oral dose. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology 17: 43-51

Shehata, A. A., Schrödl, W., Aldin, A. A., Hafez, H. M., Krüger, M., 2012. The effect of Glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiotica in vitro. Current Microbiology, 9th December 2012. 59 references

Samsel, Anthony & Seneff, Stephanie 2013. Glyphosate, pathways to Modern Diseases II: Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance. Interdisciplinary Toxicology 6 (4) 159-184. 271 references

Samsel, Anthony, Seneff, Stephanie, 2013. Glyphosate's Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. Entropy 15: 1416-1463. 286 references

Schrödl, W., Krüger, S., Konstantinova-Müller, T., Shehata, A., Rulff, R., Krüger, M., 2014. Possible Effects of Glyphosate on Mucorales Abundance in the Rumen of Dairy Cows in Germany. Current Microbiology 69 (6) 817-823. 40 references 

Organ damage

Jayasumana, C., Gunatilake, S., Senanayake, P., 2014. Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 109 references

Séralini, G-E, Clair, E., Mesnage, R., Gress, S., Defarge, N., Malatesta, M., Hennequin, D., Spiroux de Vendômois, J., 2014. Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Environmental Sciences Europe, 26: 14. 75 references

Tizhe, E.V., Onyebuche, I.I., George, B.D.J., Ambali, S.F., Shallangwa, J.M., 2014. Influence of zinc supplementation on histopathological changes in the stomach, liver, kidney, brain, pancreas and spleen during subchronic exposure of Wistar rats to glyphosate. Comparative Clinical Pathology 23 (5): 1535-1543 (published online October 2013) 32 references

Mesnage, R., Renney, G., Séralini, G.-E., Ward, M., & Antoniou, M. N. 2017. Multiomics reveal non-fatty liver disease in rats following chronic exposure to an ultra-low dose of Roundup herbicide. Nature.com - Scientific reports 7, article number 39328. Published online 9th January 2017. 53 references

Ford, B., Bateman, L.A., Gutierrez-Palominos, L., Park, R., Nomura, D.K. 2017. Mapping Proteome-wide Targets of Glyphosate in Mice. Cell Chemical Biology. 33 references

Glyphosate present in human and animal urine, also human breast milk

Hoppe, H-W., 2013. Determination of Glyphosate residues in Human urine samples from 18 European countries. Study of 182 urine samples carried out at the Medical Laboratory Bremen, Germany, sponsored by BUND & FoE

Krüger, M., Schledorn, P., Schrödl, W., Hoppe, H-W., Lutz, W., Shehata, A.A., 2014.Detection of Glyphosate Residues in Animals and Humans. Journal of Environmental and Anayltical Toxicology4: 210. 30 references

Schrödl, W., Krüger, S., Konstantinova-Müller, T., Shehata, A., Rulff, R., Krüger, M., 2014. Possible Effects of Glyphosate on Mucorales Abundance in the Rumen of Dairy Cows in Germany. Current Microbiology 69 (6) 817-823. 40 references

Honeycutt, Z., Rowlands, H., 2014. Glyphosate testing report:Findings in American Mothers' Breast Milk, Urine and Water. Research conducted by Moms Across America & Sustainable Pulse. 6 references, plus listing of ten relevant scientific papers with online links.

Neural damage, Neurotoxicity

Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., Lopez, S.L., & Carrasco, A.E., 2010. Glyphosate-based herbciides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signalling. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 18: 23 (10): 1586 - 95, 99 references

Cattani, D., de Liz Oliveira Cavalli V.L., Rieg, C.E.H., Dominques, J.T., Dal-Cim, T., Tasca, C.I., Barreto Silva, F.R.M., Zamoner, A., 2014. Mechanisms underlying the neurotoxicity induced by glyphosate-based herbicide in immature rat hippocampus: involvement of glutamate excitoxicity. Toxicology 320 (5): 34-45.

Parkinson’s disease

Barbosa E.R., da Costa, L., Bacheschi, L.A., Scaff, M., Leite, C.C., 2001. Parkinsonism after glycine-derivate exposure. Movement Disorders 16 (3): 565-568

Autism

de Cock, M., Maas, Y.G., van de Bor, M., 2012. Does perinatal exposure to endocrine disruptors induce autism spectrum and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders? Review. Acta Paediatrica 101 (8): 811-888. 55 references

ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

Cox, C., 1995. Glyphosate, Part 2: Human Exposure and Ecological Effects. Journal of Pesticide Reform 15 (4) 78 references

Buffin, D., Jewell, T., 2001.http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/impacts_glyphosate.pdfHealth and environmental impacts of glyphosate: The implications of increased use of glyphosate in association with genetically modified crops. Pub. Friends of the Earth UK. 117 references

WATER, FISH, AQUATIC ORGANISMS

Folmar, L.C., Sanders, H.O., Julin, A.M. 1979. Toxicity of the herbicide glyphosate and several of its formulations to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 8 (3) 269-278. 9 references

Popp, M., Hann, S., Mentler, A., Fuerhacker, M., Stingeder, G., Koellensperger, G., 2008. Determination of glyphosate and AMPA in surface and waste water using high-performance ion chromatography coupled to inductively coupled plasma dynamic reaction celll  mass spectrometry (HPIC-ICP-DRC-MS). Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 391 (2): 695-699. 16 references

Cummings,M., Bullerjahn, G.S. 2009. Phosphate Utilization by Great Lakes (Cyanobacteria). Vermont Government Agency (Poster)

Bullerjahn,G.S. 2010. Glyphosate loadings in Lake Erie Watersheds. Final report for LEPF Award 09-357. (Data collected through field studies)

Strickland,T., Fisher, L., Korleski, C. / Phosphorus Task Force. 2010. Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force Final Report. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 126 references. (p.41, 4.2.1.6. Glyphosate as a Source of Phosphorus) 

Sanchis,J., Kantiani, L., Llorca, M., Rubio, F., Ginebreda, A., Fraile, J., Garrido, T., Farré, M., 2012. Determination of glyphosate in groundwater samples using an ultrasensitive immunoassay and confirmation by on-line solid-phase extraction followed by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 402 (7) 2336-2345. 25 references

Shiogiri, N.S., Paulino, M.G., Carraschi, S.P., Baraldi, F.G., da Cruz, C.,Fernandes, M.N., 2012. Acute exposure of a glyphosate-herbicide affects the gills and liver of the Neotropical fish, Piaractus mesopotamicus. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 34 (2) 388-396

Nwani, C.D., Nagpure, N.S., Kumar, R., Kushwaha, B., Lakra, W.S., 2013. DNA damage and oxidative stress modulatory effects of glyphosate-based herbicide in freshwater fish Channa punctatus. environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 36 (2) 539-547. 15 references

Ruiz-Toledo, J., Castro, R., Rivéro-Perez, N., Bello-Mendoza, R., Sánchez, D., 2014. Occurrence of Glyphosate in Water Bodies Derived from Intensive Agriculture in a Tropical Region of Southern Mexico. Bulletin of Envirnomental Contamination and Toxicology 93 (3): 289-293. 47 references

Mercurio, P., Flores, F., Mueller, J.F., Carter, S., Negri, A.P., 2014. Glyphosate persistence in seawater. Marine Pollution Bulletin 85 (2) 385-390. 53 references

Wang,C., Lin X., Li,L., Lin, S., 2016. Differential Growth Responses of Marine Phytoplankton to Herbicide Glyphosate. PLoS One. 86 references

SOIL, SOIL ORGANISMS

Correia, F.V., Moreira, J.C., 2010. Effects of Glyphosate and 2,4-D on Earthworms (Eisenia foetida) in Laboratory Tests. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 85 (3): 264-268
Aristilde, L., Reed, M.L., Wilkes, R.A., Youngster, T., Kukurugya, M.A., Katz, V., & Sasaki, C.R.S. 2017. Glyphosate-Induced Specific and Widespread Perturbations in the Metabolome of Soil Pseudomonas Species. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 20th June 2017. 42 references
 
Bento, C.P.M., Yang, X., Gort, G., Xue, S., van Dam, R., Zomer, P., Mol, H.G.J., Ritsema, C.J., Geissen, V., 2016. Persistence of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in loess soil under different combinations of temperature, soil moisture and light/darkness. Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 572, 301-311
 
Aristilde, L., Reed, M.L., Wilkes,R.A., Youngster, T., Kukurugya, M.A., Katz, V., Sasaki, C.R.S. 2017. Glyphosate-Induced Specific and Widespread Perturbations in the Metabolome of Soil Pseudomonas Species. Fronteirs in Environmental Science (20th June 2017).  42 references
 
Kremer, R.J. 2017. Soil and Environmental Health After Twenty Years of Intensive Use of Glyphosate. Advances in Plants and Agriculture Research 6 (5): 00224. DOI: 10.15406/apar.2017.06.00224; Online PDF: MedCrave, (7th March 2017). 14 references

TREES

Feucht, J.R. 1988. Herbicide injuries to trees - symptoms and solutions. Journal of Arboriculture 14 (9) 215-219 (page 217). 8 references

PLANTS

Hawkes, T.R., Lorraine-Colwill, D.F., Williams, P.H., Warner, S.A.J., Sutton, P.B., Powles, S.B., Preston, C., 1999. Resistance to Glyphosate in a Population of Lolium Rigidum. Plant Biotechnology and in vitro Biology in the 21st Century. Current Plant Science and Biotechnology in Agriculture. 36: 491-494 10 references

Fernandez, M.R., Zentner, R.P., Basnyat, P., Gehl, D., Selles, F., Huber, D., 2009. Glyphosate associations with cereal diseases caused by Fusarium spp. in the Canadian prairies. European Journal of Agronomy 31: 133-143. 63 references 

Kremer, R.J., Means, N.E., 2009. Glyphosate and glyphosate-resistant crop interactions with rhizosphere microorganisms. European Journal of Agronomy 31 (3) 153-161. 

Johal, G.S., Huber, D.M., 2009. Glyphosate effects on diseases of plants. European Journal of Agronomy 31 (3): 144-152. 72 references

 Bott, S., Tesfamariam, T., Candan, H., Cakmak, I., Römheld, V., Neumann, G., 2008. Glyphosate-induced impairment of plant growth and micronutrient status in glyphosate-resistant soybean (Plant and Soil 312 (1-2): 185-194

BEES

Gill, R.J., Ramos-Rodriguez, O., Raine, N.E., 2012 Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees. Nature 491: 105-108. 40 references, 20 supplementary references

Herbert, L.T., Vázquez, D.E., Arenas, A., Farina, W.M., 2014. Effects of field-realistic doses of glyphosate on honeybee appetite behaviour. Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 3457-3464

BUTTERFLIES

Sirinathsinghji, E., 2011. Glyphosate and Monarch Butterfly Decline. Report for the Institute of Scientists in Society, 19/9/2011.

Pleasants, J.M., Oberhauser, K.S., 2012. Milkweed loss  in agricultural fields because of herbicide use: effect on the monarch butterfly population. Insect Conservation and Diversity 6 (2): 135-144. 33 references

GASTROPODS

Tate, T.M., Spurlock, J.O., Christian, F.A. 1997. Effect of Glyphosate on the Development of Pseudosuccinea columella Snails. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 33 (3) 286-289

Glyphosate-based herbicide in a Hvar vineyard. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

EVIDENCE FOR GLYPHOSATE SAFETY

?

Great doubts have been cast on the integrity of scientists and others who write in support of Glyphosate. As the agro-chemical business yields huge profits worldwide, there is much at stake. it is not surprising if the companies are prepared to pay for support, nor that some people of iinfluence may accept payment in return for their backing.

When Glyphosate came up for review by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, no scientific papers from peer-reviewed journals were included in the review document. The few published papers listed in the bibliography dealt largely with laboratory protocols. Otherwise the vast majority of the 'supporting evidence' consisted of unpublished papers sponsored by the agro-chemical companies who were seeking reregistration of the product.

EPA Reregistration Decision: Glyphosate. EPA 738-R-93-014. September 1993, page 2. Bibliography: 281 entries, comprising 7 published papers, 228 unpublished papers submitted by Monsanto, 38 unpublished papers from other sources, 4 letters and 4 official statements / documents.

Despite extensive research, I have not found any convincing scientific evidence for Glyphosate's safety. After all, how can any poison be safe? The slightest doubt should be enough to put a stop to its use.

However, if any reader comes across genuinely independent scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals which put forward a reasoned case for the safe use of Glyphosate in the environment, we will be glad to consider adding them to this list of references.

© Vivian Grisogono 2016, updated 2017, 2018

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