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villager

(26,001 posts)
Mon Mar 23, 2015, 03:45 PM Mar 2015

GMO Weed Killerís Cancer Risk

Glyphosate – the active herbicide in the widely used Monsanto’s Roundup and Dow Agrosciences Enlist Duo weedkillers – is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a working group of scientists at the World Health Organization announced today.

The explosion of glyphosate use in recent years has been driven primarily by the widespread adoption of GMO corn and soybeans. These GMO plants have been genetically engineered to withstand blasts of this powerful herbicide and kill the weeds around them. The use of glyphosate in the U.S. has increased by more 500 million pounds between 1996 and 2011.

According to an article in the Lancet, “[Glyphosate] use has increased sharply with the development of genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crop varieties. Glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water, and in food.”

Scientists from 11 nations met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, earlier this month to assess the likelihood that certain pesticides used in industrial agriculture would cause cancer.

They decided to classify glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen,” a conclusion that built on IARC’s conclusion last year that some evidence linked glyphosate to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

(Read more about last year’s study here: www.ewg.org/agmag/2014/05/study-glyphosate-doubles-risk-lymphoma.)

Because farmers have relied so heavily on glyphosate, many of them are now dealing with “superweeds” – varieties of weeds that no longer die when sprayed – and are turning to more toxic weed killers like 2,4-D. Dow’s Enlist Duo is a mixture of glyphosate and 2,4-D.

Given the increased use of herbicides associated with the production of GMOs, it’s no wonder more than 90 percent of consumers want to exercise their right to know if there are GMOs in their food.

<snip>

http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2015/03/gmo-weed-killer-s-cancer-risk

17 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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GMO Weed Killerís Cancer Risk (Original Post) villager Mar 2015 OP
Be aware. Questioning GMOs gets you labeled "anti-science" at DU. immoderate Mar 2015 #1
It's all part of their "corporate woo" way of "discussing." Note the posts conflating anti-GMO villager Mar 2015 #2
The corporate model is a major issue, downplayed quite a bit. immoderate Mar 2015 #4
Forget GMOs Glyphosate is overused by homeowners around their yards and yours TexasProgresive Mar 2015 #3
There are definitely "superweeds" that have responded to glyphosate. HuckleB Mar 2015 #6
Some context to the matter. HuckleB Mar 2015 #5
Not to worry RobertEarl Mar 2015 #7
Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple the Company? JohnyCanuck Mar 2015 #8
Oh, you're bound to be hearing from the Monsanto apologists any moment now... villager Mar 2015 #9
Good News: Salvadorean farmers aren't buying into the over hyped promisses of the GMO peddlars JohnyCanuck Mar 2015 #10
"Remember that Monsanto is together with DuPont, Pioneer, all the large businesses that control the villager Mar 2015 #14
GMO is not the problem. Herbicides are the problem. MineralMan Mar 2015 #11
There is no point to GMO's designed to be resistant to glyphosphate without glyphosphate. pnwmom Mar 2015 #12
Did I say anything different from that? MineralMan Mar 2015 #13
When did I say we should ban GMO's? I've called for labeling, so people who are interested pnwmom Mar 2015 #16
Labeling is just fine with me. MineralMan Mar 2015 #17
It is a mistake to study glyphosate without the adjuvants in Round Up GreatGazoo Mar 2015 #15
 

villager

(26,001 posts)
2. It's all part of their "corporate woo" way of "discussing." Note the posts conflating anti-GMO
Mon Mar 23, 2015, 04:05 PM
Mar 2015

discussions or questions with anti-vaxxing, or whatever else they can lump in, in order -- per Monsanto's PR wishes, one assumes -- to stop the questioning of corporatizing our food supply (and poisoning it with that same corporations pesticides), etc....

 

immoderate

(20,885 posts)
4. The corporate model is a major issue, downplayed quite a bit.
Mon Mar 23, 2015, 05:07 PM
Mar 2015

I guess that goes all the way back to the decision that organisms can be patented. Very bad precedent, I think. Plays right in to corporate greed.

The graphic that conflates anti-vaxxers with anti-GMOers, amounts to a long list of gratuitous insults, which GMO defenders expect people to refute. (As if they have stopped beating their wives. )

Beside the corporatization, I suspect the assimilation of what should be independent testing by "endowments with strings" to universities. And the phony "consensus" of people who haven't tested the safety of GMOs. People dumped me with hundreds, then thousands of studies in the field, who were conducted "as if" GMOs are safe. But none of them espoused that conclusion.

If one takes an ecological point of view, the consequence are beyond these boundaries. And the system soundly rejects sustainability.

--imm

TexasProgresive

(12,181 posts)
3. Forget GMOs Glyphosate is overused by homeowners around their yards and yours
Mon Mar 23, 2015, 04:29 PM
Mar 2015

Putting GMO in the headline is misleading. Glyphosates are not GMO but there are GMOs that are resistant to Glyphosate. I wonder if the Superweeds might be taking up some of the Glyphosate resistant DNA or if they are just evolving to resist.

HuckleB

(35,773 posts)
6. There are definitely "superweeds" that have responded to glyphosate.
Mon Mar 23, 2015, 05:28 PM
Mar 2015

They will respond to any herbicide, eventually.

Some interesting pieces on the topic.

Where are the super weeds?
http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2013/05/superweed/

Superweeds: A Mutating Problem
http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2014/10/the-mutation-of-the-superweed/

JohnyCanuck

(9,922 posts)
8. Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple the Company?
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 01:09 AM
Mar 2015
Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple the Company?
By Jeff Ritterman, M.D., Truthout

For years, scientists have been trying to unravel the mystery of a chronic kidney disease epidemic that has hit Central America, India and Sri Lanka. The disease occurs in poor peasant farmers who do hard physical work in hot climes. In each instance, the farmers have been exposed to herbicides and to heavy metals. The disease is known as CKDu, for Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology. The "u" differentiates this illness from other chronic kidney diseases where the cause is known. Very few Western medical practitioners are even aware of CKDu, despite the terrible toll it has taken on poor farmers from El Salvador to South Asia.

snip

CKDu is now the second leading cause of mortality among men in El Salvador. This small, densely populated Central American country now has the highest overall mortality rate from kidney disease in the world. Neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua also have extremely high rates of kidney disease mortality. In El Salvador and Nicaragua, more men are dying from CKDu than from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and leukemia combined. In one patch of rural Nicaragua, so many men have died that the community is called "The Island of the Widows."

snip

In an investigation worthy of the great Sherlock Holmes, a scientific sleuth from Sri Lanka, Dr. Channa Jayasumana, and his two colleagues, Dr. Sarath Gunatilake and Dr. Priyantha Senanayake, have put forward a unifying hypothesis that could explain the origin of the disease. They reasoned that the offending agent had to have been introduced into Sri Lanka within the last 30 years, since the first cases appeared in the mid-1990s. The chemical also needed to be able to form stable complexes with the metals in hard water and to act as a shield, protecting those metals from metabolism by the liver. The compound would also need to act as a carrier and be able to deliver the metals to the kidney.

We know that political changes in Sri Lanka in the late 1970s led to the introduction of agrochemicals, especially in rice farming. The researchers looked for likely suspects. Everything pointed to glyphosate. This herbicide is used in abundance in Sri Lanka. Earlier studies had shown that once glyphosate binds with metals, the glyphosate-metal complex can last for decades in the soil.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24876-monsantos-herbicide-linked-to-fatal-kidney-disease-epidemic-will-ckdu-topple-monsanto


 

villager

(26,001 posts)
9. Oh, you're bound to be hearing from the Monsanto apologists any moment now...
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 01:32 AM
Mar 2015

The latest line seems to be that discussing Monsanto has no place in a discussion of GMOs! It's just "emotional," or something, doncha know!

JohnyCanuck

(9,922 posts)
10. Good News: Salvadorean farmers aren't buying into the over hyped promisses of the GMO peddlars
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 11:00 AM
Mar 2015
El Salvador Farmers Successfully Defy Monsanto
Monday, 23 March 2015 00:00 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout

Farmers in El Salvador are acutely aware of the importance of producing their own seeds, and avoiding those from the bioengineering giant. The farmers, who have already been consistently outperforming Monsanto with their seed, as the local seed is far healthier and more productive, have just managed to bring about a giant defeat of Monsanto by preventing it from supplying El Salvador with its seeds. Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture released a new round of contracts to provide seed to subsistence farmers across the country.

"Remember that Monsanto is together with DuPont, Pioneer, all the large businesses that control the world's seed market," said Juan Luna Vides, the director of diversified production for the Mangrove Association, a nongovernmental organization that was created to support a grassroots social movement for environmental conservation in El Salvador. "Unfortunately, many of the governments in Latin America, or perhaps the world, have beneficiary relationships with these companies."

snip

Martinez was very clear about why any dealings with Monsanto would be harmful for El Salvador.

"At the global level, Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta have control of 67 percent of the seed and agrochemical market. Monsanto controls 23 percent of the corn market and 80 percent of the world's GMO market," she said. "What Monsanto wants is to take more market share ... in order to increase their profits. Monsanto wants to increase the use of their seed in the country, not to benefit the small-scale producers. If you control the seed, you control the whole production process."

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29670-el-salvador-farmers-successfully-defy-monsanto
 

villager

(26,001 posts)
14. "Remember that Monsanto is together with DuPont, Pioneer, all the large businesses that control the
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 11:55 AM
Mar 2015

..world's seed market."

That Salvadoran farmer is smarter about the real impetus behind GMO foods than many posters here on DU....

MineralMan

(146,413 posts)
11. GMO is not the problem. Herbicides are the problem.
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 11:06 AM
Mar 2015

The overuse of those is why we're exposed to them. If alternative weed control practices were used, the GMO products wouldn't be a problem. Targeting GMO is pointing at the wrong thing, really. Instead, we need to be looking at weed control as the source of the problem.

Besides, all genetic modification is not aimed at herbicide resistance. Just some of it. Blaming the wrong thing is not the solution.

pnwmom

(109,067 posts)
12. There is no point to GMO's designed to be resistant to glyphosphate without glyphosphate.
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 11:14 AM
Mar 2015

The safety and effectiveness, and economic consequences, of each GMO should be evaluated on its own merits.

MineralMan

(146,413 posts)
13. Did I say anything different from that?
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 11:42 AM
Mar 2015

Yes, certain crops have been modified to allow glyphosate to be used as a weed control product. If we changed weed control strategies so that glyphosate wasn't the method, there would be no need for modification for that purpose. It is the glyphosate that is the problem.

Other genetic modifications have other reasons, for example to make produce larger, more resistant to rotting, to increase yield, to increase protein or other nutrient levels, to better resist drought or insect pests. As you say, each needs to be tested for safety.

In this case, however, it is the glyphosate that is the health risk, not the modified agricultural product. Stop using glyphosate and there's no reason for that modification in the first place. Return to other cultivation methods for weed control.

It is not genetic modification that is the problem. It's the reason for the modification that is the problem. Simply being opposed to genetic modification is not the answer. Many genetic modifications have produced outstanding results with zero risks to consumers. But, if you planted this glyphosate ready GMO corn, but never used any glyphosate, the corn itself would be just fine. It's corn. It is the glyphosate that is the problem and is the source of the risk.

If glyphosate is the problem, then ban glyphosate. Don't ban an entire scientific process.

pnwmom

(109,067 posts)
16. When did I say we should ban GMO's? I've called for labeling, so people who are interested
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 12:44 PM
Mar 2015

can investigate products for themselves and decide whether they wish to purchase them.

Do you support labeling?

MineralMan

(146,413 posts)
17. Labeling is just fine with me.
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 01:05 PM
Mar 2015

What's not fine with me is the persistent campaign to ban all GMO agriculture. I think everything should be labeled accurately. As for myself, a GMO label on a food product would not influence my decision to purchase in any way.

You may not be saying that genetic modification of food products should be banned, but others certainly are. I'd be fine with banning glyphosate use in agriculture, though. It's used because it's a cheaper way to kill weeds. Other methods are more costly and labor intensive. I don't have a problem with spending more for food if it creates jobs.

Again, though, it's not genetic modification that is the actual problem. It's the reason for the modification that is the potential problem. With glyphosate tolerance, the reason is unnecessary. Other means of weed control are available. Is glyphosate hazardous to humans in the minuscule quantities in our food? I don't know, to tell you the truth. But then, lots of things are hazardous in food, including some of the chemicals that naturally occur in some of the foods we eat.

As far as glyphosate is concerned, I'm more worried about its unregulated use by retail consumers. They tend to overuse the product in places where it can easily be washed into our lakes and rivers. Now, that worries me a lot. But that has nothing to do with genetic modification of food organizms. Nothing at all.

GMO foods do not cause cancer. Glyphosate, on the other hand, just might. Let's focus on the real cause.

GreatGazoo

(3,937 posts)
15. It is a mistake to study glyphosate without the adjuvants in Round Up
Tue Mar 24, 2015, 11:56 AM
Mar 2015

One study in Canada on premature births and miscarriage in farming families found:

Surprisingly, they also found that Roundup was at least twice as toxic as glyphosate alone.

Virtually all previous testing of Roundup for long-term health damage has been done on glyphosate rather than on the full herbicide formulation, of which glyphosate makes up only around 40%. The remainder consists of inactive ingredients including adjuvants, chemicals that are added to improve the performance of the active ingredient. Roundup’s main adjuvant is the surfactant polyethoxylated tallowamine, which helps glyphosate penetrate plant cells.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257636/
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