Eating Glyphosate

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About Toxno | Toxno
Toxno, Toxtest, Food Synergy and Hartgoods are the initiatives of founder, Hartmut Michael Günther
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Pesticide Investigation Series | Toxno
Pesticide Investigation Series – Toxno Investigations & Articles
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Pesticide Investigation Series | Toxno
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The weight of evidence indicates that glyphosate itself is a teratogen - an agent or factor which causes malformation of an embryo - and that adjuvants commonly used in conjunction with glyphosate amplify this effect.
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In human cells, Roundup may induce endocrine disturbances at concentrations far below the maximum residue level cited by authorities in the EU and US.
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It is the full, formulated herbicide (typically one of the many Roundup formulations) that is used in the field, and, thus, it is relevant to consider, not only the active ingredient glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA, but also the other compounds present in the herbicide formulation. For example, herbicide formulations containing glyphosate commonly also contain adjuvants and surfactants to help stabilise the herbicide and to facilitate its penetration into the plant tissue.
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The herbicide glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide globally, with a production of 620,000 tons in 2008. The world soybean production in 2011 was 251.5 million Metric tons, with the United States (33%), Brazil (29%), Argentina (19%), China (5%) and India (4%) as the main producing countries.
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Data in 2012 from the USDA, reveals dramatic increases in the use of glyphosate based herbicides and indicates that GM soy is a major driver for this development .
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Residue analysis is of particular interest, since there are no programmes in the EU, US or Canada designed to monitor the main herbicides used in transgenic crop production.
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Glyphosate is shown to be absorbed and translocated within the entire plant, and has been found in both leaf material and in the beans of glyphosate tolerant GM soy plants. However, FAO have not distinguished GM from non-GM plants in their consideration on glyphosate residues.
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Extensive use of glyphosate over vast land areas may lead to shifts in weed populations and selection of glyphosate tolerant weeds. This, in turn, typically triggers the use of higher doses or more applications of glyphosate, which can further accelerate the evolution of glyphosate resistance in weed species. Such a spiral is clearly not sustainable for farmers, but may also affect the consumer through plant tissue accumulation of glyphosate residues.
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Residues of agrochemicals must be expected to increase when repeated applications are carried out and when application takes place later in the growing season. GM-soybeans sprayed at full bloom of the plant contained about 5–10 times more glyphosate.
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Roundup Ready GM-soybeans sprayed during the growing season had taken up and accumulated glyphosate at concentration levels of 0.4–8.8 mg/kg. In contrast, conventional and organic soy-beans did not contain these chemicals. We thus document what has been considered as a working hypothesis for herbicide tolerant crops, i.e., that: ‘‘there is a theoretical possibility that also the level of residues of the herbicide and its metabolites may have increased’’ is actually happening.
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The issue of pesticide residues becomes more complex in the near future as new GM plants may: (i) be tolerant to other/additional herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D and/or dic- amba), eventually several stacked in the same plant, (ii) have al- tered tolerance to glyphosate (likely higher), (iii) metabolise herbicides into new breakdown products having altered toxicity and requiring potentially altered methods of detection.
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Toxno is a Human and Environmental Health Information Resource.
Food Compositional studies that have overlooked (not measured) pesticide residues contain serious shortcomings. Chemical residues, if present, are important because (i) they are clearly a part of a plants composition, and (ii) they may add toxic properties to the final plant product either by itself or by affecting the plant metabolism. This is particularly relevant for herbicide-tolerant varieties.