Study first to link weed killer Roundup to convulsions in animals: A recent report by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 80 percent of urine samples from children and adults in the U.S. contained the herbicide glyphosate.
A study by Florida Atlantic University and Nova Southeastern University takes this research one step further and is the first to link the use of the herbicide Roundup, a widely used weed killer, to convulsions in animals. Glyphosate, the weed killer component in Roundup, is the world’s most commonly used herbicide by volume and by land-area treated.
Glyphosate-resistant crops account for almost 80 percent of transgenic crop cultivated land, which has resulted in an estimated 6.1 billion kilos of glyphosate sprayed across the world from 2005 to 2014. Roundup is used at both industrial and consumer levels, and its use is projected to dramatically increase over the coming years. A major question, yet to be fully understood, is the potential impact of glyphosate on the nervous system.
“It is concerning how little we understand the impact of glyphosate on the nervous system,” said Akshay S. Naraine, MSc., project lead and a Ph.D. student at FAU and the International Max Planck Research School for Synapses and Circuits. “More evidence is mounting for how prevalent exposure to glyphosate is, so this work hopefully pushes other researchers to expand on these findings and solidify where our concerns should be.”
Results, published in Scientific Reports, showed that glyphosate and Roundup increased seizure-like behavior in soil-dwelling roundworms and provides significant evidence that glyphosate targets GABA-A receptors. These communication points are essential for locomotion and are heavily involved in regulating sleep and mood in humans. What truly sets this research apart is that it was done at significantly less levels than recommended by the EPA and those used in past studies.