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Roundup and Its Secret Killing Inert Ingredients

By Gary Anderson

Posted on October 23rd, 2018

After the Monsanto lawsuit, many are now aware how dangerous glyphosate really is. It has become increasingly apparent that the inert ingredients in the herbicide Roundup products are as dangerous as the active ingredient.

Over the past months, we have continuously heard about Monsanto, Roundup and Glyphosate. Thousands of people are suing the company after they developed Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using Roundup weed killer products.

But what many are not aware of is that not only Glyphosate, the main ingredient of the product, is at fault for causing the disease and for killing the human cells, but also the so-called "inert ingredients". Although they have been in many products for decades, these chemicals have been overlooked because companies hide their identity claiming that they are trade secrets.

An Endless Debate about Glyphosate Dangers

According to scientists, the mixture between glyphosate and the inert ingredients in Roundup is far more dangerous than the active ingredient alone. Recent studies have shown that these inactive ingredients can amplify the toxic effect on human cells even when used at diluted concentrations. They can also increase the active ingredients at such an extent, helping them penetrate protective equipment, clothing and even cell membranes.

According to Caroline Cox, the research director at the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, the term inert ingredient is misleading. Because the federal law classifies as inert all compounds that do not harm pests, this does not mean that these ingredients are toxicologically or biologically harmless. They just do not kill weeds or insects.

The Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Dale Kemery said that they also take into account the inert ingredients and even how the product is utilized, whenever they approve for use products such as pesticides. He added that if the product is used according to the directions on the label, both the environment and people's health are protected. For example one of Roundup's requirements is not to be used near or in freshwater to preserve wildlife and amphibians.

Polyethoxylated Tallowamine, or POEA, Ingredient in Roundup Products

POEA is a detergent produced from animal fat, which is added to the Roundup weed killer to help the herbicide penetrate the surface of the plants, making them easier to be killed. Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA recognize Polyethoxylated Tallowamine as an inert ingredient used in many products which are certified as organic by the USDA. The component is not considered dangerous for the environment or public health.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health study said that POEA is between 1,200 and 2,000 times more toxic compared to glyphosate alone. This highlights the issues with letting the so-called inert and harmless ingredients escape the regulatory scrutiny.

A French team of researchers, led by a renowned molecular biologist from the University of Caen, Mr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, said that their research shows that the health agencies need to reconsider their opinion on Roundup and its inert ingredients. POEA showed to be more deadly to the human umbilical cord, placental and embryonic cells than the weed killer itself. Seralini said that the research confirms the fact that Roundup's inert ingredients are not inert at all and the combination of these substances in products available on the market can cause irreversible cell damage and/or death at the residual levels.

The researchers also say that the weed killer can cause miscarriages, low birth weights and abnormal fetal development by interfering with the hormone production. Controversy about the herbicide also reached Argentina where an environmental group already petitioned Supreme Court to put a temporary ban on glyphosate and POEA use after a local scientist has reported a raised incidence of cancer and congenital disabilities in people that live near areas where Roundup was used.

Back in the 1980s, a group of researchers in Japan linked POEA to a group of poisonings in the country. Doctors examined a group of people who drank Roundup either accidentally or intentionally and determined that the illnesses and death were linked to POEA and not to glyphosate.

Did Monsanto Know about the Dangers of the Ingredients they Used in Roundup?

The lawyers that are litigating the lawsuits against Monsanto say that POEA and the inert ingredients contributing to the toxicity of Roundup is, in fact, critical information.

"It's not only that glyphosate is carcinogenic and dangerous", said David Wool, one of the attorneys representing people who have developed Hodgkin lymphoma after they used Roundup. "Monsanto had every reason to know that, by including POEA, it increased the danger of all of these products."

Robin Greenwald, the lawyer who files Sanders and Tanner's case, believes that this discovery will only become proof that the company chose to intentionally hide the fact that these substances were not inert and that they knew they could cause illness in people.

A Monsanto spokesperson said that the methods that have been used in these studies do not reflect the real conditions in which Roundup is used and that if the product is utilized as directed it is safe.

The agrochemical company, Monsanto, is currently facing many lawsuits from people who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after they used Roundup. Although the focus so far was on the main ingredient, glyphosate, now the attention is shifted towards the mixture of this substance with the inert components, which is far more dangerous.

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