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New Health Concerns Over Agro-Chemical

7 March 2005

Study Raises New Health Concerns Over Agro-Chemical Used on GE Plants

New health concerns have been raised over the use of glyphosate: the main chemical in RoundUp which many GE crops are designed to survive.

A new report* from the US Department of Health and Human Services into Roundup shows that it causes endocrine disruption by inhibiting a gene (aromatase) crucial for sex steroid hormone synthesis in human placental cells.

Worse - the study found glyphosate caused disruption in human placental cells at concentrations 100 times lower than the current recommended use in agriculture.

In susceptible people this could lead to hormonal and reproductive problems in women and reduced- quality semen in men. Moreover the results for Roundup were worse than for glyphosate alone and the mix of detrimental effects were larger.

GE Free NZ (in food and environment) has previously raised concerns with Food Authorities and ERMA about the unknown levels of Roundup in food derived from products like GE soy and GE corn. But there response has been inadequate, especially in the light of the new data.

"High levels of glyphosate have been found in the starch grains of soy and corn,"says Claire Bleakley President of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment.

"The study raises further concerns about the safety of GE foods in relation to the amount of the herbicide they may contain. RoundUp was never originally approved for plants that entered the animal or human food chain."

GE Free NZ in food and environment is calling on the Government to require the Food Safety Authority research the effects of chemicals such as RoundUp/Glyphosate in the diet.

" If they need more funding to do monitor the food supply they should be given it," says Claire Bleakley. "But it is not good enough and unacceptable that Authorities continue to ignore evidence of increasing levels of harmful chemicals in the food supply."

Oddly- in 2004 the Food Safety Authority did actually do studies on glyphosate levels in potatoes and wheat, but these foods are not grown with glyphosate/ Roundup applications so Authorities were only able to deduce that no farmers were using it 'unrecommended'.

Yet the foods of greatest concern such as GE Roundup-ready soy and GE Roundup-ready corn are designed to survive spraying with the chemical and are likely to absorb even more of it into human food.

GE RoundUp- resistant grains may have up to 200 times more residue and the new health-impacts identified in the study demand Authorities act to address this fact in the Public interest

ENDS

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