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Roundup Weed Killer Dangers

dried weed image by pixelcarpenter from

Monsanto's Roundup weed killer was originally marketed as being "biodegradable" and "environmentally friendly." However, in response to complaints from the New York Attorney General's office, the company agreed to stop using those terms in marketing and advertising. Roundup herbicide uses the active ingredient glyphosate, sometimes called "G." Glyphosate has been implicated in a number of potential dangers.

Cellular Damage

According to an article published by GM Watch, a French study has linked glyphosate in Roundup to damage to human cells. The study showed cell death in placental cells, kidney cells, embryonic cells, and neonate umbilical cells. The study showed total cell death within 24 hours of being exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Cell death was reported at concentrations as low as .005 percent Roundup. Common causes of cell death was membrane rupture, mitochondrial damage, and cell asphyxia, or inability to respire. Cell damage was noted at concentrations 500 to 1,000 times lower than present accepted levels in agriculture.

Human Poisoning

Excessive exposure to the active ingredient of Roundup, glyphosate, can cause a range of symptoms. Some of the 23 symptoms of glyphosate poisoning include reduced urination, cough, diarrhea, drowsiness, difficulty swallowing and breathing, nausea and vomiting, sore throat, blood in vomit or urine, stomach inflammation, and reduced blood pressure. Continued exposure can result in destruction of red blood cells, respiratory failure, and permanent kidney damage. Poisoning by Roundup requires a visit to a doctor or other professional chemical decontamination specialist. If you suspect acute glyphosate poisoning, contact your local poison control center or emergency room.

Risk of Cancer

According to Biosafety Info, recent research has shown a possible link between glyphosate and an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Similar studies by the State of Iowa and the State of North Carolina that looked at over 54,000 licensed pesticide applicators shows a possible link between glyphosate and multiple myeloma. Myeloma is associated with DNA damage an the suppression of the immune system.

Effects on Other Life

Roundup can be toxic to nonhuman life forms as well. A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that Roundup is lethal to amphibians. The study showed a 70 percent decline in amphibian diversity and an 86 percent decline in tadpoles due to Roundup use. Leopard frog tadpoles populations were completely eliminated and toad tadpoles were nearly completely eliminated. Some amphibians, such as spring peepers, were unaffected by Roundup levels. Roundup was found to cause liver damage in rats.

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