While Monsanto continues to deny that glysophate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a carcinogen, the World Health Organization’s cancer research department, the International Agency on Cancer Research (IARC), has classified the substance as “probably carcinogenic.”  In addition, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment now lists glysophate as a “known carcinogen,” while a prominent scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found it to be “the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.” But recent research indicates that glysophate may not be the worst part of Roundup.

Most scientific studies on Roundup (not sponsored by Monsanto) have focused on the effects of the primary ingredient. However, a French research study published a year ago revealed that the “inert” ingredients in Roundup actually increase its toxicity, even at very low concentrations. The study was led by Gilles-Eric Seralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen who has done extensive research into GMOs and pesticides. What they discovered was alarming, to say the least. For example, one of the “inert” ingredients in Roundup is polyethoxylated tallow amine, or POEA. This is a substance derived from the fat of bovine species. It is used as a surfactant, or emulsifier. Amazingly, the USDA allows POEA in “certified organic” products, and the EPA has determined that it is environmentally safe and poses no threat to public health.

Seralini and his team found evidence to the contrary. They have discovered that POEA by itself has a deadly effect on placental, umbilical and embryonic cells – even at concentrations as low as .01%, or one part per ten thousand. Interestingly, they did not observe this toxic effect with glysophate salt by itself at the same concentration; however, when mixed with POEA, it proved fatal to virtually all living tissues. In the published study, Seralini and his colleagues wrote that their research “clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert…the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels.”

The “residual levels” referred to are the same levels found on soy, maize and alfalfa crops as well as lawns and gardens. Seralini and his colleagues found evidence to indicate that even low exposure to Roundup can interfere with hormone production, which in turn can cause pregnant women to miscarry, or result in birth defects.

What is appalling is that this study has been out for some time – and yet few in the United States are even aware of it. Meanwhile, several other countries that include France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand have banned the use of Roundup – and that list is getting longer. What do their government officials know that ours do not?