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A new study published today finds a variety of adverse health impacts in second and third generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate. It is the first of its kind to look at transgenerational effects and shows how descendants of exposed offspring were more likely to develop prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities [1].

The study suggests that risk assessments need to take into consideration the ability of chemicals to impact future generations through transgenerational effects, instead of only looking at the health impacts of direct exposure [2].

This study provides alarming new evidence supporting our public health call to take glyphosate off the European market,” says Génon Jensen from the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). “If a pesticide is showing harm which only occurs generations down the line, surely this is an opportunity for the European Commission to take more precautionary measures to protect our health.”

Glyphosate was reauthorized on the European market for a period of five years in 2017. The European Commission recently appointed France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden to assess whether or not the pesticide should be banned after this time period [3].

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) was one of the initiators of the European Citizens’ Initiative to ban glyphosate, which was signed by 1.3 million citizens following the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s assessment that it was a probable carcinogen [4].

Contact:

Yannick Vicaire, Chemicals and Health Policy Campaigner at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), yannick@env-health.org, tel.: +33 (0) 608 755 015

Notes to the editors:

[1] Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology, Deepika Kubsad, Eric E. Nilsson, Stephanie E. King, Ingrid Sadler-Riggleman & Michael K. Skinner, Nature, 23 April 2019

[2] The study concludes: “Observations suggest generational toxicology needs to be incorporated into the risk assessment of glyphosate and all other potential toxicants […]. The ability of glyphosate and other environmental toxicants to impact our future generations needs to be considered, and is potentially as important as the direct exposure toxicology done today for risk assessment.”

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pesticides/glyphosate_en

[4] https://www.env-health.org/glyphosate-future-generations-to-pay-the-price-of-reauthorisation-of-health-harming-herbicide/