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RoundUp Herbicide Caused Liver Disease in Rats, Study Shows

Mar 31, 2017

Study Identifies Causative Relationship between Glyphosate and Liver Disease in Rats

RoundUp Herbicide Caused Liver Disease in Rats, Study Shows

Glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, has been under scrutiny due to concerns about its long-term health effects. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans. Monsanto is currently facing lawsuits alleging that the weedkiller caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and that the company failed to warn of the risks. Additionally, new research has found that glyphosate caused a type of liver disease in rats.

The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are closely monitoring events in the Monsanto RoundUp herbicide litigation. The firm, which has decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over environmental health risks, continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a Roundup lawsuit.

The study, published January 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports, found that small quantities of glyphosate caused a liver disease known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats. The study was conducted by researchers at Kings College, London. The title of the study is "Multiomics reveal non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats following chronic exposure to an ultra-low dose of Roundup herbicide".

"The findings of our study are very worrying as they demonstrate for the first time a causative link between an environmentally relevant level of Roundup consumption over the long-term and a serious disease," said lead researcher Dr. Michael Antoniou, according to Daily Mail UK.

He states that the study has important implications, and may prompt regulators to take action. "The findings of our study are very worrying as they demonstrate for the first time a causative link between an environmentally relevant level of Roundup consumption over the long-term and a serious disease," he said.

"Our results also suggest that regulators should reconsider the safety evaluation of glyphosate-based herbicides."

For two years, researchers fed rats a very low dose of glyphosate. The amount given to rats was less than what humans are exposed to in everyday day, and thousands of times lower than federal regulations. Researchers used advanced techniques to analyze the rats' livers on a molecular level. They found areas of dead tissue (necrosis), serious fatty liver disease and cell damage.

"The concentration of glyphosate that was added to the drinking water of the rats corresponds to a concentration found in tap water for human consumption," said Kings College research associate Dr. Robin Mesnage, according to Daily Mail UK. "It is also lower than the contamination of some foodstuffs."

"The study is unique in that it is the first to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmental dose and a serious disease condition," the authors wrote. "These results demonstrate that long-term consumption of an ultra-low, environmentally relevant dose of Roundup at a glyphosate daily intake level of only 4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per day, which is 75,000 times below EU and 437,500 below US permitted levels, results in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."

"Regulators worldwide accept toxicity studies in rats as indicators of human health risks. Therefore, the results of this latest study may have serious consequences for human health."

After the glyphosate was declared as a probable carcinogen, the California Environmental Protection Agency said it would list glyphosate as a known carcinogen under its Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Monsanto filed a lawsuit against California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's (OEHHA) to fight the listing. However, the California Superior Court sided with the OEHHA.

In Roundup Cancer Litigation, Documents Raise Questions about Ghostwriting and an EPA Official

Documents Raise Questions about Ghostwriting

Parker Waichman notes that the Roundup cancer litigation, which is underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California before Judge Vince Chhabria, has taken a significant turn. Recently unsealed documents suggest that Monsanto helped ghostwrite academic studies on glyphosate. Additionally, internal correspondence raises questions about the role of a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Internal emails show that a Monsanto executive suggested that company employees write the studies while the scientists sign their names. "…we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak," said Monsanto executive William "Bill" Heyden in an email dated Feb. 19, 2015, according to court records. He notes that the company has done this in the past.

Consumer advocacy group commented on these documents in a Mar. 15, 2017 press release. "Monsanto tells us that Roundup is safe because scientists say it is safe. But apparently scientists sign their names, while Monsanto signs the checks," said U.S. PIRG Toxics Director Kara Cook-Schultz. "This calls into question multiple studies written, or possibly ghostwritten, by agricultural scientists."

Additionally, the unsealed documents are also raising questions about the role of Jess Rowland, a now-retired EPA official. Emails suggest that Rowland helped stymie a glyphosate review by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and tipped off Monsanto about the IARC report long before it was released.

According to an email dated Apr. 28, 2015, Monsanto Regulatory Affairs lead Dan Jenkins recounts Rowland saying "If I can kill this I should get a medal," referring to the ATSDR glyphosate investigation.

The documents were unsealed as part of the Roundup cancer MDL, which consolidates cases alleging that Monsanto knew about glyphosate's cancer risks but failed to warn consumers. One plaintiff alleges that he has been using Roundup since the 1980s to control the growth of poison oak on his property. He developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, allegedly due to Roundup exposure. The lawsuit, which was filed in February 2016, alleges that Monsanto has been aware of glyphosate's carcinogenicity since the 1970s.

Filing a Monsanto RoundUp Herbicide Lawsuit

Parker Waichman has spent years representing clients in lawsuits over alleged environmental health risks. If you or someone you know is interested in filing a Monsanto RoundUp Herbicide lawsuit, speak with one of our environmental attorneys today. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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