Photo: Food and Chemical Toxicology
UPDATE [October 23]: Six French Science Academies Dismiss Study Finding GM Corn Harmed Rats
Original: The first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Monsanto Roundup weedkiller and Monsanto’s NK603 Roundup-resistant genetically modified corn found that exposure levels currently considered safe can cause tumors, multiple organ damage and premature death in rats.
The study, published Sept 19 in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicity, raises serious concerns not just about the pesticide Roundup, but about the Roundup-ready corn, which comprises 70 per cent of the corn grown in the U.S.
“The rat has long been used as a surrogate for human toxicity. All new pharmaceutical, agricultural and household substances are, prior to their approval, tested on rats. This is as good an indicator as we can expect that the consumption of [NK603] GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health,” Dr. Antoniou, molecular biologist at King’s College in London, said in a press release.
Monsanto maintains that its Roundup-resistant corn “is as safe as conventional (non-GM-derived) food” and that its 90-day trial prove that, but other studies have challenged the 90-day feeding trials.
Three months is the equivalent of late adolescence in rats, which can live for about two years.
The new research fed 10 groups of 10 rats a diet containing either NK603 Roundup-resistant GM corn or water containing Roundup at levels permitted in drinking water over a two-year period.
The researchers found that the treated rats died significantly earlier than rats fed on a standard diet.
Specifically, up to 50 per cent of males and 70 per cent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 per cent and 20 per cent in the control group, and treated rats developed 2 to 3 times more large cancers than the control group.
“This is the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats,” Antoniou said. “It shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively — particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.”
Roundup is the world’s best-selling weedkiller. Monsanto introduced this genetically modified corn in 1998.
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