Monsanto's Toxic Roundup
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Enclosed is an article showing how Monsanto is dishonest about the
toxicity of their herbicide, Roundup. This is followed by two
articles showing the toxicity of Roundup which (despite industry
claims otherwise) is used in significantly high amounts in
genetically-engineered frankenfoods. You will then eat the residues
of Monsanto's toxic herbicide!
Subject: IT'S OFFICAL Monsanto's Roundup NOT environmentaly
PANUPS: Monsanto Agrees to Change Ads and EPA Fines Northrup King. January
Pesticide Action Network North America
(PANNA), San Francisco, CA.
Monsanto Agrees to Change Ads
Monsanto Co. agreed to change its advertising for glyphosate- based
products, including Roundup, in response to complaints by the New York
Attorney General's office that the ads were misleading. Based on their
investigation, the Attorney General's office felt that the advertising
inaccurately portrayed Monsanto's glyphosate-containing products as safe
and as not causing any harmful effects to people or the environment.
According to the state, the ads also implied that the risks of products
such as Roundup are the same as those of the active ingredient,
glyphosate, and do not take into account the possible risks associated
with the product's inert ingredients.
As part of the agreement, Monsanto will discontinue the use of terms such
as "biodegradable" and "environmentally friendly" in all advertising of
glyphosate-containing products in New York state and will pay $50,000
toward the state's costs of pursuing the case. The Attorney General has
been challenging the ads since 1991.
Monsanto maintains that it did not violate any federal, state or local law
and that its claims were "true and not misleading in any way." The company
states that they entered into the agreement for settlement purposes only
in order to avoid costly litigation.
According to a 1993 report published by the School of Public Health at the
University of California, Berkeley, glyphosate was the third most
commonly-reported cause of pesticide illness among agricultural workers.
Another study from the School of Public Health found that glyphosate was
the most commonly reported cause of pesticide illness among landscape
maintenance workers. (Both studies were based on data collected between
1984 and 1990.)
In the first nine months of 1996, Monsanto's worldwide agrochemical sales
increased by 21% to US$2.48 billion, due largely to increased sales of
Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
Phone: (415) 541-9140
Fax: (415) 541-9253
http://www.panna.org/panna/ | firstname.lastname@example.org
Biotech supporters have said that roundup is more environmentally friendly
and less toxic. Dr. Joe Cummins located these two articles to show that
this claim is not correct.
Title: Acute poisoning with a glyphosate-surfactant herbicide ('Roundup'):
a review of 93 cases.
Authors: Talbot AR; Shiaw MH; Huang JS; Yang SF; Goo TS; Wang SH; Chen CL;
Address: Department of Critical Care Medicine, Changhua Christian Hospital,
Taiwan, Republic of China.
Source Hum Exp Toxicol
Between 1 January 1980, and 30 September 1989, 93 cases of exposure to
herbicides containing glyphosphate and surfactant ('Roundup') were treated
at Changhua Christian Hospital. The average amount of the 41% solution of
glyphosate herbicide ingested by non-survivors was 184 +/- 70 ml (range
85-200 ml), but much larger amounts (500 ml) were reported to have been
ingested by some patients and only resulted in mild to moderate
symptomatology. Accidental exposure was asymptomatic after dermal contact
with spray (six cases), while mild oral discomfort occurred after
accidental ingestion (13 cases). Intentional ingestion (80 cases) resulted
in erosion of the gastrointestinal tract (66%), seen as sore throat (43%),
dysphagia (31%), and gastrointestinal haemorrhage (8%). Other organs were
affected less often (non-specific leucocytosis 65%, lung 23%, liver 19%,
cardiovascular 18%, kidney 14%, and CNS 12%). There were seven deaths, all
of which occurred within hours of ingestion, two before the patient arrived
at the hospital. Deaths following ingestion of 'Roundup' alone were due to
a syndrome that involved hypotension, unresponsive to intravenous fluids or
vasopressor drugs, and sometimes pulmonary oedema, in the presence of
normal central venous pressure.
MESH Headings Adolescence*; Adult*; Age Factors*; Aged*; Aged, 80 and
over*; Cardiovascular Diseases*; Case Report; Central Nervous System
Diseases*; Child*; Child, Preschool*; Female; Glycine*; Herbicides*; Human;
Infant*; Kidney Diseases*; Leukocytosis*; Liver Diseases*; Lung Diseases*;
Male; Middle Age*
NORML SPECIAL REPORT, November 12, 1996
DEA Herbicide Under Fire From Hawaii Residents
Locals Complain Of Nausea, Other Ailments Due To Aerial Spraying
Residents of the island of Hawaii are complaining of flu-like symptoms such
as nausea, headaches, and fatigue and many are pointing fingers at the
federal government and state law enforcement.
For nearly a decade, Drug Enforcement Agency-coordinated marijuana
eradication efforts have targeted the island of Hawaii, often spraying a
glyphosate-based herbicide from low-flying helicopters over suspected
marijuana patches. Recently, however, some residents are claiming that the
pesticide, a chemical weed-killer similar to "Round Up," is killing
wildlife and making some citizens sick.
"You can actually taste it in your mouth," said Roger Christie of the
Hawaii Hemp Council, who alleges that the pesticide is occasionally mixed
with additives. Christie reports that gusts of wind disperse the pesticide
to outlying communities, where it collects in rainwater catchments. Rooftop
catchments are a common source of residents' drinking water. Christie is
convinced that the spraying is directly linked to recently reported
environmental and health problems.
"In the last two weeks, hundreds of people have come to me with their
complaints and said that's why I'm feeling this way too," said Ka'u
resident Susan Smith in an interview with KGMB-TV earlier this month. "[Law
enforcement] are flying over my house every other day. ... It's like a war
zone out here."
According to local area physician, Patricia Bailey, MD, Christie and
Smith's claims are not without substance. Bailey has collected incident
reports from some 40 persons, aged 9 months to 84 years, who claim that
they have been affected by the spray. She cites generalized symptoms of eye
and respiratory tract irritation. She further notes that about 75 percent
of respondents suffered from diarrhea.
Affidavits attained by NORML report frequent complaints from residents of
flu-like symptoms such as nausea and headaches, sometimes lasting for more
than a week after the spraying. Others complain of experiencing fatigue,
irritability, soar joints and throats, and frequent itchiness and burning
of the eyes. In one of the most severe reported cases, an Ocean View
resident complained of experiencing prolonged numbness in her arms. "The
numbness was the most prominent and frightening [symptom,]" she explained.
"[It] felt uncomfortable to wear my watch [so] I took it off and carried
it. I kept rubbing my arms, trying to warm them and get blood back
circulating." The resident described the experience as
"There is a statistical significance to the complaints," said Dr. Bailey.
"I think [this] is serious now."
Studies on the potential dangers of glyphosate to both humans and the
environment are mixed. According the 1986 federal Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS), laboratory and greenhouse studies performed mostly by the
manufacturer (The Monsanto Company) indicated that glyphosate was only a
moderately toxic herbicide that posed little danger to the
However, Noah Berry, vice president of EcoLaw Institute Inc., an Oklahoma
organization that works to strengthen environmental laws, has examined the
safety of glyphosate and concludes that the chemical "can do a lot of
damage to our bio-diversity."3 In addition, a 1991 report by the Radian
Corporation concludes that human exposure to glyphosate can cause
"irritation of the skin, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract,
convulsions and coma."
Lenny Terlip of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)
told NORML that claims of glyphosate harming the environment and
endangering the health of residents were "erroneous." He denied reports
that the herbicide was mixed with any additives and said that the sprayings
were not being conducted near houses or residential areas. He further added
that the helicopter-mounted spray-guns have "pin-point accuracy," a claim
rebuked by a review of some of the available scientific
According to the Journal of Pesticide Reform, "In general, movement of a
pesticide through unwanted drift is unavoidable; drift of glyphosate is no
exception." The article emphasized, however, that glyphosate drift is a
"particularly significant problem ... [because] damage is likely to be much
more extensive and more persistent than with many other herbicides."7 Two
studies conducted in Canada measured glyphosate residues more than 650 feet
away from target areas following helicopter applications to forest sites
and a third study from California found glyphosate over 2,600 feet away
following aerial application.9 By her own estimations, Smith judges that
high wind gusts on the island of Hawaii can carry glyphosate residue even
"Why do we have to wait [until] five years from now [for an answer?]" asked
Smith. "Why do we have to wait ... till they tell us, okay, it's toxic and
now it's outlawed?"
Recently, Smith gathered angry residents to an informal town meeting where
they voiced their grievances with elected officials and state agency
representatives, signed health impact affidavits, and met with news media.
She and other area residents agreed to file a formal complaint with the
Photographs on display at the meeting documented orange-sprayed foliage in
forests and yards as well as dead bird carcasses. Many residents elaborated
on the symptoms of their illnesses. Glenn Sahara, a spokesman for the
Hawaii Department of Agriculture who attended the meeting, attempted to
deny that the spraying played any role. Instead, he stated that the animal
deaths might be due to heart failure caused by the noise of low-flying
helicopters. Many residents remained unconvinced. "We are being poisoned,"
claimed one elderly gentleman. "It's the children I am thinking of. Stop
the aerial spraying!"
This is an example of "law enforcement run amuck," claimed environmental
activist and resident Jerry Rothstein. Rothstein has studied the original
EIS and tells NORML that residents may file a lawsuit against both state
and federal agencies for failure to comply with regulations mandated by the
1986 report. EIS rules require that law enforcement, "Take all reasonable
steps to notify everyone, including residents, before spraying."
For the time being, Rothstein is encouraging residents to participate in
the updating of the scheduled 1996 EIS supplement. Public comments on this
notice were requested in the August 13, 1996 issue of the Federal Register
and public hearings will be held before a final version is
"From the response of the Ka'u community, th[ese] latest aerial herbicide
attack[s] appear to be among the worst yet," noted Rothstein. He said that
in the past, law enforcement has attempted to dismiss complaints by
alleging that they were only from marijuana growers attempting to protect
their crops. These latest rounds of complaints, however, are too widespread
to ignore, he said.
Currently, only one other state, South Dakota, engages in aerial herbicide
spraying.1 Swindell, Bill. "State Will Dump Pesticide on Pot." Tulsa World
News: June 11, 1996.
2. Cox, Caroline. "Glyphosate, Part 2: Human Exposure and Ecological
Effects." J. of Pest. Rfm.: Vol. 15, Winter 1995.
3. Bishop, Hunter. "Herbicide causing illness?" Hilo Tribune-Herald:
October 24, 1996.
4. NTP Chemical Repository. Radian Corporation: August 29, 1991.
5. Nivia, Elsa and Gips, Judith. "Drug Control and Herbicide Spraying in
Columbia." Global Pesticide Campaigner, February 1993.
6. Cox, Caroline. "Glyphosate, Part 2: Human Exposure and Ecological
Effects." J. of Pest. Rfm: Vol. 15, Winter 1995.
7. Freedman, B. "Controversy over the use of herbicides in forestry, with
particular reference to glyphosate usage." J. Envir. Sci. Hlth.: Vol:
8. Cox, Caroline. "Glyphosate, Part 2: Human Exposure and Ecological
Effects." J. of Pest. Rfm: Vol. 15, Winter 1995.
10. Personal conversation with Jerry Rothstein
OnSite: 13 NOV 96 =A9 copyright 1996, 1997 NORML