A new study published on Tuesday is the first to link traces of a commonly used but controversial weedkiller to seizures in animals, raising new questions about how the chemical may affect the human nervous system.
Researchers from two Florida universities have shown how glyphosate – an ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup – increases seizure-like behavior in roundworms that live in the soil and share the same receptors that help humans regulate sleep and sleep. ‘mood.
“People say, ‘Why should we care about a worm? “,” project manager Akshay Naraine told TCPalm on Monday. “This little worm lives in the soil. And that – and a whole host of microorganisms – are important and vital in making our soil healthy so that we can have crops and a food supply.”
The research follows a July study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed 80% of children and adults in the United States had glyphosate in their urine.
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FAU Study: Roundup Health Effects
It didn’t take much Roundup to trigger a seizure in the microscopic animals, according to the study. The researchers used an amount about 300 times less than what is recommended for humans for crops, according to the article published in Scientific Reports by scientists from Florida Atlantic and Nova Southeastern universities.
“The fact that we found that glyphosate really does affect these soil-dwelling organisms, in such small amounts, creates ecological concern that glyphosate could potentially negatively impact our soil,” Naraine said, researcher at the FAU and the International Max Planck. School of Research on Synapses and Circuits of Jupiter.
Although the science is still new, it means there could be human health implications for one of the world’s most popular weedkillers. The document notes that nearly 3 billion pounds of herbicides are sprayed on farmland each year.
In the study, more than a third of the worms exposed to Roundup did not recover from their seizures. However, they recovered fully if given anti-epileptic treatment, which the study found is an early sign that the problem can be alleviated if the chemical is removed from the environment, Naraine said.
Consider a post office: if the letters entering a post office are the neurochemicals, then the building itself, which receives the letters, is the brain’s receptors. In this case, they are called GABA-A receptors.
Glyphosate forces the post office to “go on strike”, meaning no more letters can come in. So the letters pile up outside the building – until something like an anti-epileptic drug ends the strike and allows them to move inside.
In other words, research shows that glyphosate targets GABA-A receptors, which are shared by humans and roundworms. He also suggests that preventive treatment could reverse the effects.
Martin County has banned glyphosate
In 2019, Martin County became the second Treasure Coast government to stop using glyphosate, which is suspected of causing cancer and feeding toxic algal blooms. The ban only applies to county employees and contractors.
New research published in February by the Ocean Research and Conservation Association shows potentially harmful concentrations of glyphosate polluting the South Fork of the St. Lucia River.
A March 2021 study shows that more than half of Florida manatees had glyphosate in their bodies.
“There are no human health risks of concern when glyphosate is used according to its current label,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA continues to say that there is no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in humans.
The FAU study may call that into question, Naraine said, especially with how the chemical affects brain function.
“Our study, even though it’s set in these little verses, presents evidence to say, ‘Wait, is there really nothing to worry about here?’ “, Naraine said. “Our study really offers the idea that there could be more here than meets the eye.”
Max Chesnes is an environmental reporter for TCPalm who focuses on issues facing the Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie River and Lake Okeechobee. You can follow Max on Twitter @MaxChesnesemail him at [email protected] and call him at 772-978-2224.