December 7, 2004, YUMI
WIJERS-HASEGAWA, The Japan Times--CropChoice.com: The glufosinate
herbicide, used in large quantities on Bayer's GM herbicide-resistant
crops, has been found to have adverse effects on the brain.
Yoichiro Kuroda, the principal investigator in a project titled
the Effects of Endocrine Disrupters on the Developing Brain, under
Japan's CREST (Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology)
program, believes polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and glufosinate
can hamper the development and activity of the brain.
PCBs are "mock hormones" -- endocrine disrupters that
cause neural development defects by disrupting gene functions and
neural-network formation in kids -- resulting in lower IQ scores
and hyperactive tendencies, he said.
Glufosinate, widely used in the U.S. as a super herbicide for herbicide-resistant
genetically modified crops, is like a "mock neurotransmitter"
that has an aggressive effect on brains, he said. If an embryo or
a baby is exposed to the chemical, it can affect behavior, as it
disturbs gene functions that regulate the developing brain, he said.
A decade ago, the late Toshiko Fujii, a one-time professor of medicine
at Teikyo University, conducted research in which she found that
the main component of this GMO-compatible herbicide had adverse
effects on the brains of baby rats. "Male rats often fight
one another, but female rats are peaceful," Kuroda said in
explaining Fujii's research. "But female rats born from mothers
that were given high doses of glufosinate became aggressive and
started to bite each other -- in some cases until one died. That
report sent a chill through me."
He said there is a considerable possibility that fetuses and babies
are also affected by the substance, and since it is widely assumed
that males are more aggressive to begin with, it is possible they
are more affected than females. "The chemical industry has
not been considering this kind of risk on the developing human brain,
which is a fragile, fine chemical machine," he said.