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Daily News Blog

22
May

Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Fatty Liver Disease in Humans, Adding Weight to Earlier Animal Studies

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2019) Glyphosate weed killers may be contributing to the growing worldwide epidemic f non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that causes swelling of the liver, and can eventually lead to cirrhosis, cancer, or liver failure. Researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego found that higher levels of glyphosate detected in urine corresponded significantly with individuals that have also been diagnosed with NAFLD. Advocates are urging lawmakers at every level to respond to the accumulating science on the danger of glyphosate herbicides, ban their use, and adopt policy changes that put into place organic land management practices.

“There have been a handful of studies, all of which we cited in our paper, where animals either were or weren’t fed Roundup or glyphosate directly, and they all point to the same thing: the development of liver pathology,” said Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor and chief in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine in a press release. “So I naturally thought: ‘Well, could it be exposure to this same herbicide that is driving liver disease in the U.S.?’”

Dr. Mills and his team received urine samples from 93 patients enrolled in a separate UC San Diego study on NAFLD, who were either diagnosed or determined to be clear of the disease through a liver biopsy. Both diagnosed and disease-free individuals had their urine tested for the presence of glyphosate residue. Controlling for a range of confounders, including race, body mass index, age, ethnicity, and diabetes status, researchers found that glyphosate residue in urine was significantly higher in individuals with NAFLD.

With glyphosate still the most popular herbicide used in the U.S., exposure to the chemical is alarmingly widespread. “The increasing levels [of glyphosate] in people’s urine very much correlates to the consumption of Roundup [glyphosate] treated crops into our diet,” said Dr. Mills.

He cautions that the results need further follow up, and there may be other pesticides in the environment leading to similar disease outcomes. “There are so many synthetic chemicals we are regularly exposed to,” Dr. Miller notes. “We measured just one.”

The research team plans to continue this work by switching subjects to an all-organic diet, and observing any changes in liver functioning as a result.

Studies show that the majority of American likely have glyphosate in their urine, a trend that has increased in lock step with increased use of the product. Research conducted in Germany found that 99.6% of individuals had at least some level of glyphosate in their urine, with over 75% at amounts higher than what the European Union allows in drinking water.

But, changing diet appears to have a critical effect on the level of glyphosate and other pesticides that can be detected in one’s body. A study released earlier this year found that consumers who switched from a conventional to organic diet saw pesticide levels in their urine drop dramatically, averaging a 60% reduction for the 14 pesticides tested. And these results confirmed earlier studies, including one in 2014, and two in 2015 (1,2), which found similar results.

Past studies conducted on laboratory animals have also found links between glyphosate and liver impacts. A 2015 study found that chronically exposing rats to ultra-low doses of glyphosate in drinking water results in tissue and organ damage, including changes to gene expression within the liver and kidneys. And a 2017 study, which also fed miniscule doses of glyphosate weed killer to rats, found an increased likelihood that exposed animals would develop NAFLD.

As new health impacts pile on top of established science linking glyphosate products to cancer, there is an urgent need to rapidly mobilize a movement towards organic food production. Only then will be able to eliminate the risks synthetic pesticides pose to public health. Take action today by sending a letter to your Governor urging them to stop the use of glyphosate and adopt safer practices. Read more about the benefits of organic agriculture on Beyond Pesticides’ Why Organic webpage.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: UC San Diego Health Press Release, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

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2 Responses to “Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Fatty Liver Disease in Humans, Adding Weight to Earlier Animal Studies”

  1. 1
    Pest Melbourne Says:

    This is truly terrifying.

  2. 2
    Raj Nandani Says:

    Very helpful and great article. Thanks for giving me a specific information

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  • Archives

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