A truism: when two separate things are combined, they create something new.
Not necessarily better or worse than the constituents, but definitely different.
In the case of Roundup–which contains the world’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate–the ingredients that comprise it become infinitely more dangerous–and toxic–when put together.
In a 2012 study of the DNA-damaging properties of Roundup, researchers found:
“Recent findings indicate that G [glyphosate] exposure may cause DNA damage and cancer in humans. Aim of this investigation was to study the cytotoxic and genotoxic properties of G and R [Roundup] (UltraMax)…as workers are exposed via inhalation to the herbicide…Since we found genotoxic effects after short exposure to concentrations that correspond to a 450-fold dilution of spraying used in agriculture, our findings indicate that inhalation may cause DNA damage in exposed individuals.”
The Subjects of The Study Were Humans, Not Rats.
Actually, glyphosate and its application in Roundup have been the subject of many studies and all of them conclude that exposure to humans is toxic, causing leukemia, lymphoma, rhinitis, testicular cancer, skin tumors, and other serious conditions including neurological effects and death . That’s why people spraying large quantities are usually wearing protective gear. Glyphosate can be found in the urine of farmers who use it on their crops . The herbicide washes down into groundwater when it rains, with implications for drinking water.
Here’s Where The Compound Effect Gets Interesting.
Another ingredient of Roundup is its surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA). Fish were exposed to POEA for just twenty-four hours in one study; DNA damage occurred in that period of time. What this means is that when Roundup comes into contact with a living thing–any living thing–the POEA spreads the glyphosate and expands the cells of the subject for greater penetration of the poison. The POEA therefore exponentially increases the effectiveness of glyphosate to a magnitude at which a dilution of 1/450th of Roundup’s regular strength will quickly result in DNA damage.
Synergistic toxicology is a term used to mean the toxic effects of two or more chemicals combined. When science is engaged to ascertain the safety of a substance for commercial use, it is often for an individual chemical.
The Effects of Compound Substances Aren’t Always Tested for The Synergistic Toxicology That Ensues.
“Moreover, toxicological risk assessments on novel chemicals are based on the concept of determining ‘an acceptable level of harm,’ instead of protecting those who would be exposed to a chemical by implementing the precautionary principle, i.e. if there is reason to believe that a chemical could cause harm (determined by animal and in vitro studies) then they should be regulated as if they do cause harm to humans. The precautionary principle would require that the manufacturers of these chemicals prove their product is safe to humans before being allowed to release it onto the market or into the environment, rather than putting the burden of proving it unsafe on the consumer and/or exposed populations, as is presently the case.”
Whether in Roundup or other brands, glyphosate doesn’t just kill weeds. Used in the hundreds of thousands of tons worldwide every year, it is on non-organic food, in the air, in the water, and potentially in sea life due to run-off. The herbicide doesn’t biodegrade and tends to accumulate. Add the toxic effects of glyphosate to the ease of spreadability of POEA and it’s like sitting next to someone with the flu on an airplane for a fifteen-hour flight.
Monsanto is the manufacturer of Roundup. But you probably already knew that.