Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 264; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030264
Co-Formulants in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Disrupt Aromatase Activity in Human Cells below Toxic Levels
Nicolas Defarge 1,3, Eszter Takács 2, Verónica Laura Lozano 1, Robin Mesnage 1,3, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois 3, Gilles-Eric Séralini 1,3,* and András Székács 2
1 Institute of Biology, University of Caen Normandy, EA2608 and Network on Risks, Quality and Sustainable Environment MRSH, Esplanade de la Paix, CS 14032, Caen Cedex 5, France
2 Agro-Environmental Research Institute, National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, H-1022, Herman Ottó u. 15, Budapest, Hungary
3 CRIIGEN, 81 rue Monceau, 75008 Paris, France
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Huixiao Hong
Received: 2 November 2015 / Revised: 19 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Public Health)
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.
Keywords: glyphosate-based herbicide; JEG3 cells; endocrine disruption; aromatase; co-formulant; pesticide
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