Glyphosate Exposure

Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Severe Depression and Cognitive Decline in American Adults

by Sustainable Pulse | Aug 29, 2023
A new peer-reviewed study released by a group of scientists in Taiwan has revealed an astonishingly strong link between severe depression, cognitive decline and exposure to the world’s most used herbicide, glyphosate.

The study was fully published last Tuesday in the highly respected Elsevier Journal, Environmental Research, and was met with silence by the manufacturers of glyphosate-based herbicides such as Bayer/Monsanto, who produce the infamous weedkiller Roundup.

The study authors stated that they: “conducted analyses on existing data collected from 1532 adults of the 2013–2014 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to explore the possible relationship between glyphosate exposure and cognitive function, depressive symptoms, disability, and neurological medical conditions.”

“Our study used a cohort representative of the U.S. adult general population and found a significant negative correlation between urinary glyphosate levels and cognitive function test scores. Additionally, our findings suggest that the odds of having severe depressive symptoms were significantly higher than having no symptoms in individuals with higher glyphosate levels, as measured by the PHQ-9,” the scientists continued.

The NHANES is a biennial nationwide survey that recruits a representative sample of the population. The study population had a mean age (SD) of 48.15 (18.32) years and a mean BMI (SD) of 29.15 (7.25) kg/m2. The majority of participants were women (51.5%), while the most common ethnicity was non-Hispanic white (47.1%). Regarding socioeconomic status, 53.7% of participants reported a household income of ≥ $4500 per year. Additionally, 37.2% of participants had a body mass index of ≥30 kg/m2. The proportion of individuals with detectable levels of glyphosate was 80.4%.

“Because many of the key neurological system questionnaires used to assess neurological function in NHANES are only available to adults, we restricted our study population to those 18 years of age or older,” the scientists added.

“In conclusion, our study provides important evidence of an association between urinary glyphosate levels and adverse neurological outcomes in a representative cohort of U.S. adult population. Specifically, we observed lower cognitive function scores, greater odds of severe depressive symptoms, and increased risk of serious hearing difficulty in individuals with higher glyphosate exposure,” the scientists concluded.

Industry has not conducted any long-term neurotoxicity studies on Roundup, the substance that people and animals are actually exposed to. Some other recent independent studies however suggest that both glyphosate alone and glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup are neurotoxins.

A toxicological study on rats found that glyphosate depleted the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in our bodies that transmit signals from one brain cell to another.

An epidemiological study carried out in Minnesota, USA found that the children of pesticide applicators exposed to glyphosate herbicides had an increased incidence of neurobehavioral disorders, including ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The finding suggested that glyphosate herbicide impacts neurological development.

In a study by Argentine researchers, glyphosate was found to injure rat brain and liver cells. Glyphosate was more toxic in combination with the fungicide zineb and the systemic insecticide dimethoate than on its own. These three chemicals are often used in combination in Argentina. The researchers commented that their results were consistent with the possibility that these chemicals play a role in the development of the neurological disorder Parkinson’s disease.

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