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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 264; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030264
Article

Co-Formulants in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Disrupt Aromatase Activity in Human Cells below Toxic Levels

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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)
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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.
Keywords: glyphosate-based herbicide; JEG3 cells; endocrine disruption; aromatase; co-formulant; pesticide glyphosate-based herbicide; JEG3 cells; endocrine disruption; aromatase; co-formulant; pesticide
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Defarge, N.; Takács, E.; Lozano, V.L.; Mesnage, R.; Spiroux de Vendômois, J.; Séralini, G.-E.; Székács, A. Co-Formulants in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Disrupt Aromatase Activity in Human Cells below Toxic Levels. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 264.

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