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Low-level Roundup exposure may cause kidney and liver damage in rats

Sep 04, 2015
Photo credit: Mike Mozart

Photo credit: Mike Mozart

A study recently published in Environmental Health suggests that low-level exposure to Roundup over a long period of time may cause kidney and liver damage in rats. Researchers fed rats very low levels of Roundup in their water—lower than the amount legally allowed in drinking water in the European Union and the U.S.—for two years after which the animals were euthanized and autopsied. Researchers found that female rats showed three times more signs of kidney and liver damage than the control rats fed uncontaminated water. While researchers found no signs of severe kidney damage, analysis of urine and blood showed biochemical changes consistent with impaired kidney function. To confirm these effects, the researchers compared difference in the genes of the control rats and the rats fed Roundup. Roundup-treated rats had changes in more than 4,000 genes involved in liver and kidney function. “The results of the study presented here indicate that consumption of far lower levels of a GBH (glyphosate-based herbicide) formulation, at admissible glyphosate-equivalent concentrations, is associated with wide-scale alterations of the liver and kidney transcriptome that correlate with the observed signs of hepatic and kidney anatomorphological and biochemical pathological changes in these organs. In addition, as the dose of Roundup we investigated is environmentally relevant in terms of human, domesticated animals and wildlife levels of exposure, our results potentially have significant health implications for animal and human populations,” the researchers wrote.

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