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Archive for May 8th, 2009

Glyphosate Unsafe —Researcher

Posted by feww on May 8, 2009

Potential health dangers of glyphosate

An environmental group recently filed a suit in Argentina’s Supreme Court, seeking a ban on glyphosate, a herbicide commonly used with soybeans, citing a local scientist’s unpublished research.

The study by Andres Carrasco, an embryology professor and researcher, who also holds a post at the Defense Ministry, reports on potential health dangers of the herbicide.

The U.S. National Pesticide Information Center, which is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, says glyphosate has low toxicity levels.

Soybeans are a major source of biofuel.
Image source: NYLCV. Image may be subject to copyright.

“Argentina’s large and powerful farming industry, which has been locked in a year-long tax battle with the government, sounded alarm bells, saying the defense ministry ban was the latest sign of the government’s anti-soy campaign.” Reuters reported.

“It’s more politics than anything else,” said Ulises Forte, vice president of the Argentine Agrarian Federation, a major farm industry group.

“With the farm industry up in arms, Science and Technology Minister Lino Baranao moved to distance the government from the study. He told local media the study was not commissioned by the government and had not been reviewed by scientific peers.” The report said.

The environmental group says its suit is not political.

“The only thing we are looking for is to defend people’s health and the environment, which we understand is polluted. especially in the way that agrochemicals (are applied) in this country, very close to towns,” said Mariano Aguilar, of the Environmentalist Lawyers Association of Argentina.

SOY Facts:

  • Argentina is the third biggest world exporter of whole soybeans.
  • Soy exports were worth $16.5 billion last year.
  • 50 percent of all Argentina’s agricultural land (about 17 million acres) is planted with soy.

“Argentina consumes an estimated 53 million gallons (200 million liters) a year of glyphosate, including the Roundup brand, produced by Missouri-based agricultural company Monsanto Co and Power Plus and other products of Argentina’s Atanor, owned by Iowa-based Albaugh chemicals company.” The report said.

Carrasco says his research confirms other studies that have shown glyphosate can harm development of amphibian embryos.

“The most notable thing are alterations in cranial bones and cartilage,” he said.

The Supreme Court does not have a deadline for taking action on the suit.

“A glyphosate ban would hit not only farming income as soy yields come down, but also the government budget, which is heavily dependent on grains taxes.” Reuters reported.

Posted in Argentine Agrarian Federation, embryology, farming industry, Mariano Aguilar, soybeans | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »