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GM crops have been used in the world since 1996. In 2010, 148
million hectares were planted, cultivated by 15.4 million farmers
in 29 countries.1 The Working Group of the International Agency
for Research on Cancer (IARC, 2015)2 also reported the herbicide
glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. The company that
produces the glyphosate at an international level is Monsanto, and
in recent years it has received lawsuits in several countries for the
high toxicity of its product. The last trial against Monsanto has been
such big news worldwide that not even the corporate media could hide
it. For many years it was denied that glyphosate was harmful to the
environment or human health, because unfortunately several research
groups in the world and the same company described that glyphosate
could be used safely, arguing benets for the production of food and
contribute to food security in the world (yes, but at what cost?...),
which implies a high lack of ethics for its impact on international
public health and of course an outrage for indigenous peoples.3
Now, international society, as well as native peoples, is aware of the
potential damage to health, while the ofcial sector must consider
international conventions and treaties, as well as regulations, human
rights, reparation of damage, and ofcial decrees for the conservation
of the environment and human health.
In addition to water contamination, some foods that can be
contaminated are tortillas (basic food product in Mexico), cereals,
soy milk and soy-based beverages, grain-based products (snacks),
textured soybeans, fruits, vegetables, or any crop fumigated with
glyphosate. The advice would be to read the label of the products we
purchased and see if it contains glyphosate. The ideal is to consume
organic food, or consume directly from local producers who produce
using agro-ecological techniques.
Information from IARC on glyphosate describes that there are
91 producers in 20 countries, including 53 in China, 9 in India, 5 in
the USA, and others in Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany,
Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Spain,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, England, and Venezuela, and is registered
for use in at least 130 countries. The IARC monograph reported an
international production of 720,000 tons in 2012 in more than 750
different products, so current production is very likely to be over one
million tons per year.
In this regard, the precautionary principle adopted by European
governments should be adopted by the government in Mexico,
remember the Rotterdam international agreements on the Prior
Informed Consent Procedure (PIC), where governments (including
Mexico), have the necessary information on hazardous chemicals,
to assess the risks and take informed decisions on their imports, and
the Stockholm Convention, for the prohibition /restriction of toxic
carcinogenic agrochemicals internationally, and where Mexico is a
In recent years worldwide, serious damage has been reported
on the effects of the use of glyphosate in public health in the USA,
Central and South America, the United Kingdom, among others. In
Argentina (one of the main exporting countries of transgenic soybean
worldwide), in the last 10years the use of glyphosate has increased
in several provinces with intensive agriculture, qualifying as a health
catastrophe, due to the high number of cancer cases, reproductive
disorders, congenital malformations and spontaneous abortions.
Hundreds of localities in these provinces, as well as Santa Fe or
Córdoba, have two common denominators: exorbitant rates of illness
and proximity to intensive cultivation areas that extend over some
30million hectares throughout the country. It is necessary to remember
that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor promoter of cancers, as well
as organochlorine pesticides (DDT, lindane, heptachlor, endosulfan,
aldrin, dieldrin, endrin) studied in water, blood, and breast milk in
The impacts to human health, the environment, and biodiversity
of highly toxic agrochemicals and especially glyphosate, of the
multinational Monsanto, are due to direct exposure to ground and
aerial fumigations with atmospheric transport of pollutants, as well
MOJ Bioequiv Availab. 2018;5(6):284‒286. 284
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permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.
The glyphosate herbicide in Yucatan, Mexico
Volume 5 Issue 6 - 2018
Angel G. Polanco Rodriguez,1 Jesus Alfredo
Araujo Leon,2 José María Tamayo Manrique,3
Alfonso Munguía Gil3
1Regional Research Center, Autonomous University of Yucatan,
2Faculty of Chemistry, Autonomous University of Yucatan,
3Technological Institute of Merida, Regional Development Area,
Correspondence: Angel G. Polanco Rodriguez, Regional
Research Center, Autonomous University of Yucatan, Av. Itzáez x
59#490. Col. Centro. C.P. 97000. Merida, Yucatan, Mexico,
Received: September 23, 2018 | Published: November 01,
The state of Yucatan, Mexico is highly vulnerable to pollution, due to its soils and
karstic aquifer, contaminant filtration processes are facilitated and degraded the
quality of drinking water due to lack of infrastructure in drinking water plants. Several
studies have been documented on the pollution of the water of cenotes (sinkholes) with
high concentrations of organochlorine pesticides, as well as their bioaccumulation in
the blood of women with cancer and in breast milk. The use of glyphosate globally
for the production of transgenic crops has increased in the last decade. Transgenic or
genetically modified (GM) crops are the result of the application of DNA technology
in agriculture with the aim of improving seeds or creating resistance to pests at the
genetic level. Transgenic soybeans with the use of glyphosate herbicide are currently a
subject of broad discussion, considering the high impacts on public health. The World
Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen for humans. In
Yucatan, glyphosate is used in the production of soybeans in the East and South of
the state. The objective of this short review is to analyze the current status of aquifer
contamination with organochlorine pesticides with new information on the use of
glyphosate in Yucatan with potential damage to the ecosystem and the aquifer, which
is a high risk for water for human consumption.
MOJ Bioequivalence & Bioavailabilit
Short Communication Open Access
The glyphosate herbicide in Yucatan, Mexico 285
©2018 Angel et al.
Citation: Angel G. Polanco R., J. Alfredo Araujo, José M. Tamayo M., et al. The glyphosate herbicide in Yucatan, Mexico. MOJ Bioequiv Availab. 2018;5(6):284‒286.
as exposure indirect through the consumption of contaminated food
and water. On the other hand, several transgenic varieties of corn,
produced abroad at an industrial level, are arriving for food production
in Mexico. Recall that a high percentage (10 million tons) of corn that
we import from the US for animal feed, in Mexico is used for the
consumption of tortillas.
In the state of Yucatan, farmers maintain the traditional existence
of the milpa for the cultivation of corn as a central component and
crops such as squash, tomatoes, habanero peppers; however soy is
being cultivated in the agricultural and livestock area. Recent studies
on farmers in the main agricultural area of southern of Yucatan, 55%
of farmers reported using the glyphosate herbicide for the production
of transgenic soybeans (Polanco et al., 2018b), and in the livestock
área at east of Yucatan , in the municipality of Dzidzantún, 72% of
farmers are using glyphosate for their crops (Tamayo-Manrique et al.,
In Mexico, Mexican producers and authorities are currently going
through various legal procedures due to the high impact of glyphosate
on ecosystems and on public health (Lakhani et al., 2014), with
signicant human rights violations regarding prior informed and
informed procedures to indigenous peoples. Coupled with the use of
carcinogenic pesticides such as DDT, lindane, heptachlor, endosulfan,
aldrin, endrin, dieldrin (organochlorines), with the high impacts for
human health and the environment in Yucatan, glyphosate herbicide
(organophosphate herbicide) is now joined of Monsanto.
In the Yucatan Peninsula, Campeche is the main producer of
transgenic soy,4 increasing its production from 29 to 200 ha in 2013-
2014. In 2012, producers requested permission to grow 60,000 ha,
with extensive use of the glyphosate herbicide. Soy (Glycine max
L. cv.A5403) Faena Solution (or RR) (MON-04032-6), has been
introduced in its experimental phase in the State of Campeche
since 2001, joining the state of Yucatán from 2003 , and Quintana
Roo from 2005, covering since then the peninsular level until 2009.
In Yucatan, the area was increased to 12,000 ha, including the
municipalities of Santa Elena, Ticúl, Oxkutzkab, Tekax, Tzucacab,
Peto and Tizimín.5 The production of soybean in the South and East
of Yucatan with application of glyphosate, represents high impacts
to aquifer contamination and human health, due to the easy ltration
of contaminants in karst soils.6 The cultivation of soybean in Yucatan
exceeded 25,000tons in 2017, 25% more than in 2016, with around
20,000 tons of soybeans produced. The area planted with soybeans in
the state has grown 33% in relation to 2016, since it increased from
8,000hectares cultivated to 12,000hectares. In the month of July 2017,
120 tons of seeds were delivered to 271 farmers from Oxkutzkab
and Tekax in the South of Yucatan, an amount that was added to
another 130 tons delivered to 13 thousand producers from different
municipalities of the state of Yucatan,7 including Tizimin. Sagarpa
noties that the intention of sowing soybean in 2018 for the autumn-
winter cycle in Yucatán is 1,500hectares.4
So in Yucatan there are important factors to consider in the process
of water pollution: 1) social factors, such as poverty, low educational
levels, a low perception of risk on the use and management of
carcinogenic agrochemicals,8–14 rates of diseases above the national
average related to carcinogenic agrochemicals (cancer, congenital
malformations), and 2) natural factors, such as the fragility of our
ecosystem, with a high density of cenotes (more than 4,000), which
are another route of contamination to the underground aquifer because
they are. The above is serious, since in general, society has the view
that the problem of glyphosate and transgenic soy in the peninsula
is only in Campeche in the municipality of Hopelchén. These recent
studies reveal that glyphosate is used in Yucatán, and adds to the
contamination of organochlorine pesticides already detected years
ago in groundwater (DDT, heptachlor, lindane, endosulfan, aldrin,
endrin, dieldrin), aggravating the toxicity of the aquifer Yucateco and
the problems for human health, since studies of bioaccumulation of
pesticides in the blood of women with cancer and breast milk have
also been carried out (CIR, UADY-Faculty of Chemistry). Likewise,
and in direct relation to the high impact of these toxic agrochemicals
on bees and the production of honey with export quality to Europe
(Germany, Austria, Denmark, among other countries), is that bee
populations are drastically decreasing to cause of aerial spraying,
contaminating bees and honey with glyphosate and various pesticides,
which European importers do not accept, because they affect their
export quality, signicantly affecting the economy of beekeepers and
their families. Beekeepers have also organized themselves with the
support of various social organizations that support them. Currently
litigation is being carried out at the level of the Supreme Court of the
Nation, to protect its natural and economic heritage, the conservation
of biodiversity, and the human right to prior and informed consultation
of any development in the Mayan communities.
Despite the use of glyphosate for the production of transgenic soy,
farmers in Yucatan are applying the herbicide glyphosate almost for
any type of crop. This is serious, since glyphosate also represents a
high risk for its easy ltration to the underground aquifer, due to the
conditions of the highly stony soil in Yucatan, and which has been
classied as extreme vulnerability,6 which would increase the load of
pollutants in the underground aquifer, worsening the water conditions
for human consumption.
Due to the above, the ofcial authorities must manage this
condition of extreme vulnerability of our Yucatan aquifer as a highly
fragile ecosystem for pollution, and therefore, the high risk for water
for human consumption and impacts on health. Normally in developed
countries with highly stony or karst soil systems like ours, governments
pay special attention, with high technology in their drinking water
treatment plants, they implement monitoring and surveillance systems
for levels of chemical and microbiological contaminants to prevent
high levels impacts on human health.15 Reecting on the current state
of serious environmental damage16 in the Yucatan Peninsula, on the
one hand the Riviera Maya coast in the Caribbean Sea, saturated with
sargassum, where this unusual proliferation of algae is related to the
excess of nutrients in the water,17–21 as is organic matter and fertilizers
that ow into the Caribbean coast; on the other hand, the recent news
of the mortality of manatees and marine species in rivers and coasts
of Tabasco, caused by contamination of heavy metals (lead (Pb),
cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), and hydrocarbons.22–26
Good quality water is essential for human health, the conservation
of biodiversity, as well as for the social and economic development
of any country, so the management of water resources must occupy a
strategic place in the agenda of the 3 levels of government.
NEREUS Working Group.
The glyphosate herbicide in Yucatan, Mexico 286
©2018 Angel et al.
Citation: Angel G. Polanco R., J. Alfredo Araujo, José M. Tamayo M., et al. The glyphosate herbicide in Yucatan, Mexico. MOJ Bioequiv Availab. 2018;5(6):284‒286.
Conict of interest
The author declares there is no conicts of interest in this work.
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