DR. Don's Research Updates
October 7, 2002: Studies show Roundup herbicide to be hormone disruptor.

Editor's NOTE

Don Lotter is a post-doctoral researcher here at the Rodale Institute. In addition to analyzing data from our research trials and developing new domestic and international research initiatives, Don reviews dozens of research studies each week. He'll present the most interesting of his findings every Monday on the web site.

Two recent studies show Roundup to be an endocrine-disruptor and to be associated with birth defects in humans who work with it.

Farmers who applied pesticides to their crops in Minnesota were studied, along with their families, to see if their exposure to pesticides caused birth defects in their children. The study found that both fungicides and the herbicide Roundup were linked to statistically significant increases in birth defects. Roundup was linked to a 3-fold increase in neurodevelopmental (attention deficit) disorders. (Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 110 Supplement 3 (June 2002), pgs. 441-449)

A test tube study also reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed that Roundup can severely reduce the ability of mouse cells to produce hormones. Roundup interferes with a fundamental protein called StAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein). The StAR protein modulates the production of testosterone in men (thus controlling male characteristics, including sperm production) as well as the production of adrenal hormone (essential for brain development), carbohydrate metabolism (influencing loss or gain of weight), and immune system function. The authors write that "a disruption of the StAR protein may underlie many of the toxic effects of environmental pollutants." (Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 108, No. 8 (August 2000), pgs. 769-776.)

Source: Rachel's Environment and Health News, # 751, Sept. 5, 2002.