By: Jonathan Benson
Exposure among amphibians and other vertebrate animals to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been shown, for the very first time, to actually induce physical changes to the shapes of these animals’ bodies. Published in the journal Ecological Applications, the new study reveals once again the incredible hormone-altering power of Roundup, and how even minute exposure to this highly-toxic chemical brew can have disastrous health consequences.
In their natural environment, tadpoles, which are just amphibians in the larval stage of their life cycle, have a natural ability to detect the presence of predators and respond accordingly. In order to avoid insect predators, for instance, tadpoles can actually develop deeper or longer tails in order to swim away from them faster, which helps ensure their survival (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10862727).
But it appears as though Roundup, which has already been shown in other studies to be highly pervasive throughout the environment, induces these very same physical changes. And when exposed to both Roundup and natural predators, tadpoles will develop grossly large tails that are much larger than normal, which is likely the result of both the tadpoles’ detection of Roundup, and Roundup’s ability to chemically-induce hormonal changes.
“What shocked us was that the Roundup induced the same changes,” said Rick Relyea, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh‘s (Pitt) Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of Pitt’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, referring to changes in the tadpoles’ tails that caused them to actually become twice as large as normal.
“This discovery highlights the fact that pesticides [...] can have unintended consequences for species that are not the pesticides’ target. [W]e are learning that [pesticides and herbicides] can have a wide range of surprising effects by altering how hormones work in the bodies of animals.”
For his study, Relyea examined how tadpoles living in water tanks respond to varying exposures of Roundup, as well as to predators. And his findings revealed that Roundup visibly alters tadpoles’ stress hormones, which appears to coincide with an earlier study that revealed Roundup-induced hormonal changes in humans.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen Argentinian farmers have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, creator of Roundup, and several tobacco companies for allegedly knowingly poisoning them with Roundup and other pesticide and herbicide chemicals. According to the filing, Monsanto’s pesticides and herbicides caused the farmers’ children to be born with “devastating birth defects” (http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/10/45469.htm)
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