Study trying to link glyphosate to liver disease is bad science

A one litre bottle of Roundup weedkiller.

A bottle of Roundup herbicide.

A study linking glyphosate to liver disease, published in the journal Scientific Reports in January 2017, uses flawed data from 2012, which was rejected by the wider scientific community due to a flawed scientific approach. This latest study was conducted by infamous researchers, including Robin Mesnage and Gilles-Eric Seralini, who have a history of using bad science to link Monsanto’s products to health issues. Similar past studies from these researchers were classified as ‘pseudoscience’ and lacking ethical conduct by the international science community.

This new study relies on the same samples from a 2012 Seralini study that was determined to be scientifically flawed by multiple regulatory authorities around the world and was eventually retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. Ultimately, this new study’s conclusions contradict numerous independent, peer-reviewed studies and assessments. The following are noteworthy points to help understand the context of this study:

•  In 2012, both regulatory authorities the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) reviewed the retracted Seralini study and came to the same conclusion that the findings are not scientifically sound due to significant flaws in the study design and interpretation of the data.

•  Glyphosate specifically inhibits an enzyme that is essential to plant growth; this enzyme is not found in humans or animals, contributing to the low risk to human and animal health when using glyphosate-based products according to label directions.

•  Glyphosate has a long history of safe use. In evaluations spanning four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide has been that glyphosate, when used according to label directions, does not present an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to humans, wildlife or the environment.

On a similar vein on 3 January 2017, a respected public-sector animal geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam, based at the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, US, published a detailed blog post that analyses another recent study in the same journal published by the same infamous researchers. She highlights red flags about the many experimental design problems of the study’s methodology, which invalidates their results.

“Strangely, the “conclusiony”-sounding title of the paper therefore had nothing to do with the experimental design or findings discussed in the paper,” said Van Eenennaam.

Van Eenennaam concludes that this research group has a track record of publishing highly controversial studies.

For further external web links please see the below:

•  A technical review by Monsanto experts

•  Arjo et al analysis of the 2012 Seralini study

•  The German BfR review of the 2012 Seralini study

•  The EFSA review of the 2012 Seralini study

•  Glyphosate information on Monsanto.com

•  Short video about glyphosate

 

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