In my series 17 Questions about Glyphosate, last but not least comes a post about the integrity of research, how funding may influence research results, and what corporate involvement with scientists may entail. And if scientists mostly are not influenced by industry, why are there so many conflicting study results? Continue reading
In my series 17 Questions about Glyphosate, question 14. deals with glyphosate resistant-weeds: whether they pose a problem, and why campaigners against glyphosate should be the last ones to worry about this particular issue. Question 15. looks at the soil ecosystems: what do we know about the effects of glyphosate on soil micro-organisms? Does it affect nutrient balance and mineral uptake? Plus comments on what one troubled study found out about earthworms. Question 16. delves into whether there is a relationship between glyphosate and the situation of Monarch butterflies or bees. Continue reading
In my series 17 Questions about Glyphosate, question 13. looks at glyphosate and its impacts on farming methods and the environment.
Even if glyphosate poses no risk for the consumers, perhaps its problems lie in the effects on the environment? Let’s look at some of the details.
13. Does glyphosate use enable bad farming practices?
Glyphosate helps preserve soils with no-till
Glyphosate is often used in combination with genetically engineered crops, particularly ones which are able to synthesise their aromatic amino-acids even in the presence of glyphosate. They are called RoundUp Ready (RR) crops, and are a big part of the existing Herbicide Tolerant Crops (HTCs). Many people believe this combination of RoundUp and GMO crops to be detrimental to the environment, but there tends to be little evidence to back up their assumption.
The USDA has actually documented the benefits to the environment from the combined use of herbicides and HTCs such as RR crops. The key benefit comes from how glyphosate enables farmers to omit the tilling step – move to no-till. Tilling leads to erosion and nutrient run-off, among other things, and avoiding it has many benefits. Continue reading
Series 17 Questions about Glyphosate questions 7.-11. I go through the evidence for whether glyphosate can be detected, and if so then in which quantities, in each of the following: air and rainwater, urine, breastmilk, wine, and wheat. I have also added extra sections on glyphosate in honey, vaccines, and tampons.
Question 12. delves into the common verbal images of farmers ‘drenching’ their fields in pesticides, and how much farmers actually use.
7. Is there glyphosate in the air and rainwater?
Despite the case for there being less need to worry about glyphosate than most other pesticides, there are still many arguments around which rely rather on making scary claims about the abundance of glyphosate in our environment. They make the silent implication that this level of detection must be significant and should make us worried about health effects. But often the claims of glyphosate in something or other are misleading, and sometimes downright false. Continue reading
In my series 17 Questions about Glyphosate, question 5. deals with questions I have encountered about how to prepare for and anticipate potential problems which we may have too little knowledge of to foresee at present. In other words, should we apply the precautionary principle and ban glyphosate altogether? For comparison points for such precaution, people often point to thalidomide and DDT. No regulation, as in the time of DDT, versus today, with extensive regulation that requires almost a decade of testing before approval, have dramatically changed the landscape when it comes to unknown risks from pesticides. Question 6. compares toxicity of glyphosate to other pesticides and household chemicals, looks at how dangerous pesticides used to be, and how far we have come from the situation we had but a few decades ago. Continue reading
In my series 17 Questions about Glyphosate, question 4. looks at glyphosate and its potential to affect our gut bacteria. This is one of the favourite returning points for many who find the newness of the field of microbiome research a reason be extra cautious, and in the process, sometimes jump into some rather hasty conclusions. Continue reading