Glyphosate Reduction in Public Parks & Public Schools
Glyphosate is a nonselective systemic herbicide that was developed to penetrate and encompass the plant that it is infecting, and to eradicate any additional plants that are not genetically engineered to resist it. Glyphosate’s chemical effect is primarily to block enzymes that plants necessitate to exist, and to reduce their production of amino acids and vital proteins (Hoagland et al. 2013). Glyphosate was patented by the Monsanto Company under the trade name “RoundUp” in 1973. In 1985, acting out on the scientific discoveries of tumor formations on mice, the U.S. EPA originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans, placing this chemical into Group C (US EPA 1985). Six years later, the U.S. EPA oddly decided to alter its classification of glyphosate by moving it to Group E, declaring that it is noncarcinogenic to humans (WHO 2015). Five years later, in 1996, GMO resistant crops were introduced extensively into the U.S. agricultural sector by the Monsanto Corporation.
Today, the U.S. EPA allows 50 x more glyphosate for agricultural use than in 1996 (Main 2016). The abundance of studies that demonstrate low toxicity regarding this herbicide, are solely based on the active ingredient, glyphosate, and not the other inert ingredients contained in the formulation. RoundUp is 41% glyphosate and 59% inert ingredients. These adjuvants, mixtures, which are considered inert by the manufacturer, and protected under proprietary laws as trade secrets, have been scientifically confirmed to amplify up to 1000 x the toxicity of their active principles, in 100% of the cases, where they are indicated to be present by the manufacturer (Defarge et al. 2014). All glyphosate formulations are far more toxic than when tested in isolation, and possess the ability to penetrate all three human cell lines more significantly (Richard et al. 2005; Benachour et al. 2009; Bernay et al. 2012). An increasing number of international experts in toxicology also consider the genotoxicity of glyphosate to be associated in producing higher risks of obtaining childhood brain cancer (Davis et al. 1993). On March 20, 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO) that represents 194 member states internationally, declared glyphosate as a Group 2A carcinogen. This category is defined as highly probable to be carcinogenic to humans (WHO 2015). The WHO IARC “Group 2A” classification lists numerous carcinogens that are extremely hazardous to humans, including lead compounds (inorganic), petroleum refining, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB’s), human papillomavirus (HPV), and Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT).
Glyphosate also leads to the disruption of beneficial gut bacteria, and produces the chelation of vital minerals and nutrients such as iron, cobalt, manganese, folate, zinc, vitamin K, vitamin D, among others. The chelation capacity of glyphosate has been proven to occur intracellularly in relationship to plant cells, and in animals, due to the adjuvants, which accelerate and intensify cell penetration (Kruger et al. 2013; Hoppe et. al 2014). Glyphosate also disrupts neurotransmitters, depletes serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine (Samsel and Seneff 2013), and inhibits the pituitary release of thyroid stimulating hormones, which can result in hypothyroidism (Beecham and Seneff 2016). International experts of toxicology have demonstrated glyphosate’s ability to impede the progression of puberty, body development, the hormonal production of testosterone, estradiol, corticosterone, and been scientifically proven to significantly alter testicular morphology (Romano et al. 2009).
Two landmark cases have recently transpired, the first Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment et al., Superior Court of California, County of Fresno, Case No. 16CECG00183 (2016), and DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company, Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, Case No. CGC-16-550128 (2018). The opinion in Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment et al. validated CA Proposition 65’s (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) reliance on IARC for identifying and labeling any known carcinogens in the state of CA, the court concurred to have glyphosate added to that list. The jury ruling in DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company determined that glyphosate caused cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma), and that Monsanto failed to warn DeWayne Johnson of the adverse biological effects associated with their product, labeling their actions as “negligent failure”. DeWayne Johnson is the first individual to take Monsanto to trial regarding glyphosate, and now thousands of people are following in his footsteps.
We must eliminate the usage of this carcinogen in our public parks and public schools to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. There are numerous safe alternative methods for noxious weed control that can be implemented, including the application of non-chemical herbicides, biological control (goat grazing and mycoherbicides), hot water applications, and the utilization of various mulching methods.
World Health Organization (WHO). 2015. IARC monographs volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Lyon, France. 20 March 2015.
Benachour N, Seralini G. 2009. Glyphosate formulations induce apoptosis and necrosis in human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cells. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 22(1): 97-105.
Defarge N, Mesnage R, Seralini G, De Vendomois J. 2014. Major pesticides are more toxic to human cells than their declared active principles. BioMed Research International, Volume 2014, Article IS 179691.
Bernay, B, Mesnage R, Seralini G. 2012. Ethoxylated adjuvants of glyphosate based herbicides are active principles of human cell toxicity. Journal of Toxicology, 313(2-3): 122-128.
Romano M, Bernardi M, Furtado P, Oliveira C, Romano M. 2009. Prepubertal exposure to commercial formulation of the herbicide glyphosate alters testosterone levels and testicular morphology. Arch Toxicology, 84(4): 309-317.
Davis J, Bentz, B, Brownson R, Garcia R, Turner A. 1993. A family pesticide use and childhood brain cancer. Arch Environmental Contamination Toxicology, 24(1): 87-92.
Beecham J, Seneff S. 2016. Is there a link between autism and glyphosate formulated herbicides? Journal of Autism, ISSN 2054992X; 3:1.
US EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). 1985. Consensus review of glyphosate: caswell no. 661A. Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, Washington, D.C. 4 March 1985.
Main D. 2016. Glyphosate now the most used agricultural chemical ever. Newsweek, Tech & Science. 2 Feb. 2016.
Hoagland R, Teaster N, Boyette C. 2013. Bioherbicial effects of Myrothecium verrucaria on glyphosate resistant and susceptible palmer amaranth biotypes. Allelopathy Journal, 31(2): 367-376.
Samsel A, Seneff S. 2013. Glyphosate’s suppression of cytochrome p450 enzymes and amino acid biosynthesis by the gut microbiome: pathways to modern diseases. Entropy, 15(4): 1416-1463.