Growing concerns over pesticide use in agriculture

A new Canadian study reveals that, even in small doses, common pesticides can damage the DNA of human cells, increasing the risk of diseases, including cancer. Combinations of different chemicals (cocktail effect) could then amplify the harmful effects

Modern agricultural practices involve the use of pesticides to eliminate various organisms—such as fungi, plants, and insects—that are harmful to crops. Once applied, pesticide residues travel through the soil into various water sources. This contaminated water is then reused in agriculture, and ultimately, pesticide residues enter the food chain and are absorbed by animals and humans.

Concerns about the use of pesticides in agriculture are increasingly well-founded, and a recent study reinforces what was previously hypothesized: glyphosate and other pesticides can cause harm to human health even in small doses.

An Italian study conducted by the Ramazzini Institute had previously shown a link between glyphosate and an increased risk of leukemia, even at doses considered “safe” in Europe. We discussed this in the following article: “Glyphosate Causes Leukemia (Even at ‘Safe’ Doses), Says the Most Comprehensive Toxicological Study Ever Conducted on the Herbicide.”

Detailed investigation by canadian researchers

Researchers from the Department of Biology at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada have now conducted a detailed investigation into the impact that pesticides have on human cells. The team, led by Professor Luc Gaudreau, closely examined five widely used pesticides (this time glyphosate is not on the list), focusing on their possible interactions and combinations. The substances include:

  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Linuron
  • Bromoxynil
  • Carbaryl
  • Thiabendazole

The study reveals that even at considerably low doses, these pesticides can have negative health consequences. Additionally, the research highlights the risks of the ‘cocktail effect’, where the combination of low doses of different pesticides can lead to effects that are still poorly understood but nevertheless harmful to human cells.

Professor Gaudreau’s statement

“As we know the so-called safe doses of each product,” explains Professor Luc Gaudreau, “our research project wanted to highlight that various small concentrations of different products can be as harmful as a single excessively concentrated dose of one pesticide. The impacts on human health are not known.”

pesticides small doses

@Scientific Reports

DNA damage and the role of P53 protein

Particularly, experts have pointed out that pesticides can damage the DNA of cells, thereby increasing the risk of developing diseases, including cancer. These substances can trigger a repair response in the cells, but in some cases, this response can be harmful and lead to increased susceptibility to serious diseases.

Another interesting aspect of the study is the analysis of the P53 protein, which plays a crucial role in regulating cell growth and preventing tumor formation. To understand the impacts of pesticides at small doses on cells, the team generated a series of widely used pesticide subsets to activate interactions with the cells.

Thanks to the response of the P53 protein, present in the cell and playing an important role when the cell is damaged, the team observed the effects of pesticides within the cells. The results indicate that not only can various pesticides trigger reactions in the cell, but most of them have real effects when combined at low doses.

As the researchers write:

“P53 plays a fundamental role in suppressing tumor cells. It controls cell growth and division and sends signals to other genes to help repair damaged DNA. If the damaged DNA cannot be repaired, the P53 gene prevents the cell from dividing and tells it to die.”

These findings once again underline the importance of reviewing agricultural policies and practices to reduce the use and exposure to pesticides, thus protecting public health and the environment.

Sources: Université de Sherbrooke / Scientific Reports

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
Condividi su Whatsapp Condividi su Linkedin