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Pesticide toxicity vastly understated, claims new Séralini study

6 comments

By Oliver Nieburg+

31-Jan-2014
Last updated on 31-Jan-2014 at 15:58 GMT

 A new study by French scientist Gilles-Eric Séralini says that pesticides are more toxic to humans than recognised levels.
A new study by French scientist Gilles-Eric Séralini says that pesticides are more toxic to humans than recognised levels.

Major pesticides are more toxic to humans than their declared active principles, according to a new study by divisive French scientist Gilles-Eric Séralini.

The study due for publication in BioMed Research International questions how acceptable daily intakes (ADI) for pesticides are measured. It claims that ADIs exclude adjuvants in the pesticides that have the potential to seriously amplify the toxicity of the active principle in commonly used pesticides.

“Adjuvants in pesticides are generally declared as inerts, and for this reason they are not tested in long-term regulatory experiments. It is thus very surprising that they amplify up to 1000 times the toxicity of their active principle in 100% of the cases where they are indicated to be present by the manufacturer,” said the study.

Definition of adjuvants ‘nonsense’

It continued: “The definition of adjuvants as ‘inerts’ is thus nonsense; even if the US Environmental Protection Agency has recently changed the appellation for “other ingredients”, pesticide adjuvants should be considered as the first toxic "active" compounds.”

To reach these conclusions, the researchers tested the toxicity of nine commonly used pesticides, comparing active principles and their formulations on three human cell lines (HepG2, HEK293 and JEG3).

“Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. Most importantly, 8 formulations out of 9 were several hundred times more toxic than their active principle.”

‘Huge economic interests’

The study suggested that the standard to measure ADIs was motivated by financial gain.

“This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.”

FoodNavigator contacted The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is responsible for scientific reviews on ADIs. The organization said it was aware of the new paper and would review it in due course.

ECPA shuns findings

The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) said in a statement that the study did not meet basic 21st century standards for scientific enquiry and was therefore irrelevant for the safety evaluation of pesticide products on human health.

“The testing model used by the authors is inappropriate for drawing any conclusions regarding real life toxicity relevant to humans.  The authors’ direct exposure of in vitro cultured human cell lines to pesticide formulations circumvents the body’s most effective natural protective barrier, the skin, and does not reflect relevant in vivo exposure conditions which take into account the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of a product within the body. “

It added that the pesticides evaluated in the study were already approved by the EU on the basis of in vivo toxicity studies and said adjuvant co-formulants were already part of the EU regulatory assessment.

Calls to reinstate rat study

French researcher Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini published a study in September 2012 linking Monsanto's GM maize and Roundup products to cancer in rats. The finding was heavily criticised and the Elsevier journal Food and Chemical Toxicology later moved to withdraw the research claiming it was not ‘scientifically sound'. EFSA also said the study failed to meet scientific standards.

This week 41 scientists and experts demand reinstatement of the rat study.  In a separate initiative from December 2013, over 860 scientists worldwide condemned the retraction in an open letter and announced a boycott of Elsevier journals.

Source:
BioMed Research International (In Press)
‘Major pesticides are more toxic to human cells than their declared active principle’
Authors: Mesnage R., Defarge N., Spiroux de Vendômois J, Séralini G.E.

6 comments (Comments are now closed)

irrelevancy

While I respect academic background checks on those requesting Seralini's study reinstatement, there needs to be a more holistic and comprehensive look at the history and players involved. Linus Pauling comes to mind. I would dare any Monsanto think tank media shill to call Pauling a fraud, fear monger, or inconclusive. Clearly he got part of his DNA study wrong, yet he is considered "co-discoverer" of DNA and has University buildings and streets named after him. I get pretty discouraged when people, who consider themselves science scholars, become so hostile and irrational over Seralini's research, and he didn't get it wrong. I would also argue that the Monsanto think tank media shills are quick to cherry pick findings that suit them but also quick to exclude findings that hurt them. We cannot forget how funding, politics, and the overall atmosphere in university science communities have changed. Tenure doesn't protect you anymore if you speak out against powerful multinationals. Scholars are being blacklisted or silenced in some way if they do. Researchers are desperate for funding and Monsanto, Dow, and Bayer have deep pockets. Why is it that the tobacco scientist style of obstructionist infiltration has gained so much traction in our scientific institutions? How can we rectify this? PS Marc Brazeau is a blogger who has recruited anti-labeling hostile agitators in Oregon to infiltrate pro-labeling social media. They attack anyone who disagrees with them with misleading rhetoric similar to what he posted here" is anyone still reporting on anything Seralini says? He is not a scientist. Studies by non-scientists aren't news". Anyone who has an undergrad recognizes Seralini as a scientist. But Brazeau uses the tobacco scientist rhetoric described in the Naomi Oreskes et al book "Merchants of Doubt" to pick fights with people who disagrees with him...Thought you all ought to know...

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Posted by NativeGrl
20 March 2014 | 22h04

irrelevancy

While I respect academic background checks on those requesting Seralini's study reinstatement, there needs to be a more holistic and comprehensive look at the history and players involved. Linus Pauling comes to mind. I would dare any Monsanto think tank media shill to call Pauling a fraud, fear monger, or inconclusive. Clearly he got part of his DNA study wrong, yet he is considered "co-discoverer" of DNA and has University buildings and streets named after him. I get pretty discouraged when people, who consider themselves science scholars, become so hostile and irrational over Seralini's research, and he didn't get it wrong. I would also argue that the Monsanto think tank media shills are quick to cherry pick findings that suit them but also quick to exclude findings that hurt them. We cannot forget how funding, politics, and the overall atmosphere in university science communities have changed. Tenure doesn't protect you anymore if you speak out against powerful multinationals. Scholars are being blacklisted or silenced in some way if they do. Researchers are desperate for funding and Monsanto, Dow, and Bayer have deep pockets. Why is it that the tobacco scientist style of obstructionist infiltration has gained so much traction in our scientific institutions? How can we rectify this?

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Posted by NativeGrl
20 March 2014 | 21h48

Validity of Findings

Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team are renowned scientists from Caen University in France, and have excellent credentials. Please go to www.i-sis.org.uk/‎ (Institute for Science in Society) for the full disclosure of how these scientists are being unfairly and unethically discredited by those with corporate interests. The attack on these scientists is a violation of scientific freedom and comes from those who are either scientifically uninformed or protecting corporate interests.

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Posted by Kathleen Lackey
11 February 2014 | 20h51

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