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First study to show that pesticides can induce morphological changes in vertebrate animalsRick Relyea, University of Pittsburgh professor of biological sciences in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of Pitt's Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, demonstrated that sublethal and environmentally relevant concentrations of Roundup caused two species of amphibians to alter their morphology. According to Relyea, this is the first study to show that a pesticide can induce morphological changes in a vertebrate animal.
“This discovery highlights the fact that pesticides, which are important for crop production and human health, can have unintended consequences for species that are not the pesticide’s target,” says Relyea. “Herbicides are not designed to affect animals, but we are learning that they can have a wide range of surprising effects by altering how hormones work in the bodies of animals. This is important because amphibians not only serve as a barometer of the ecosystem’s health, but also as an indicator of potential dangers to other species in the food chain, including humans.”
- Symptoms of exposure to glyphosate include eye irritation, blurred vision, skin rashes, burning or itchy skin, nausea, sore throat and difficulty breathing, headache, lethargy, nose bleeds and dizziness.
- In lab tests, glyphosate and herbicides containing glyphosate caused genetic damage to human and animal cells.
- Studies of farmers and other people exposed to glyphosate herbicides link this exposure to increased risks of cancer, miscarriages and attention deficit disorder. Additional laboratory tests have confirmed the results of these studies.
- Laboratory evidence indicates that glyphosate herbicides can reduce production of sex hormones.
- Application of glyphosate herbicides increases the severity of a variety of plant diseases.
- Studies of glyphosate contamination of water are limited, but new results indicate that it can easily contaminate streams in both agricultural and urban areas.
- Glyphosate herbicides cause more off-target damage incidents than all but one other herbicide — 2, 4-D.
- Glyphosate herbicides cause genetic damage and harm to the immune system in fish. In frogs, glyphosate herbicides cause genetic damage and abnormal development.
On two occasions, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has caught scientists deliberately falsifying test results at research laboratories hired by Monsanto to study glyphosate. In the first incident involving Industrial Biotest Laboratories, an EPA reviewer stated after finding "routine falsification of data" that it was "hard to believe the scientific integrity of the studies when they said they took specimens of the uterus from male rabbits". In the second incident of falsifying test results in 1991, the owner of the lab (Craven Labs), and three employees were indicted on 20 felony counts, the owner was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined $50,000, the lab was fined 15.5 million dollars and ordered to pay 3.7 million dollars in restitution. Craven laboratories performed studies for 262 pesticide companies including Monsanto.