Co-formulants in glyphosate-based herbicides disrupt aromatase activity in human cells below toxic levels

Nicolas Defarge, Eszter Takács, Verónica Laura Lozano, Robin Mesnage, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, Gilles Eric Séralini, András Székács

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pesticide formulations contain declared active ingredients and co-formulants presented as inert and confidential compounds. We tested the endocrine disruption of co-formulants in six glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), the most used pesticides worldwide. All co-formulants and formulations were comparably cytotoxic well below the agricultural dilution of 1% (18-2000 times for co-formulants, 8-141 times for formulations), and not the declared active ingredient glyphosate (G) alone. The endocrine-disrupting effects of all these compounds were measured on aromatase activity, a key enzyme in the balance of sex hormones, below the toxicity threshold. Aromatase activity was decreased both by the co-formulants alone (polyethoxylated tallow amine—POEA and alkyl polyglucoside—APG) and by the formulations, from concentrations 800 times lower than the agricultural dilutions; while G exerted an effect only at 1/3 of the agricultural dilution. It was demonstrated for the first time that endocrine disruption by GBH could not only be due to the declared active ingredient but also to co-formulants. These results could explain numerous in vivo results with GBHs not seen with G alone; moreover, they challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) value for GBHs exposures, currently calculated from toxicity tests of the declared active ingredient alone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number264
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 26 2016

Keywords

  • Aromatase
  • Co-formulant
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Glyphosate-based herbicide
  • JEG3 cells
  • Pesticide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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