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Glyphosate Toxicology: What We Can Learn From the Current Controversy

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Abstract

This chapter explores the glaring scientific differences in the human health assessment of the popular herbicide glyphosate between European and American institutions. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. Both IARC's and the EPA's carcinogenic risk assessment processes are discussed. This work reveals uncertainties in the sciences of toxicology and epidemiology, as well as assumptions made in their applications for evaluating glyphosate. These uncertainties, along with the political context of chemical risk assessment, are at the root of the divergent findings on the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate.

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... The IARC and the EPA assessments of glyphosate's carcinogenicity, both published in 2017 were analyzed and compared by their references (Krimsky, 2019b). The EPA cited 114 references in its analysis of which 30 were unpublished articles. ...
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The controversy over glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs), where there is extreme divergences in health and environmental assessments, is rooted in several methodological and normative factors. Foremost among them are the differences found in testing pure glyphosate compared to the testing of glyphosate formulations. The adjuvant chemicals found in formulations can be more toxic than the so-called “active ingredient.” Other factors can also account for why scientists reach different conclusions on the toxicological effects of GBH including the preconceptions and methodological choices they bring into the study. Lack of consensus on the science can be problematic for policymakers. The paper argues that the toxicological science behind the GBH assessments is embedded in a normative substratum, which must be considered in policy decisions.
... Roundup was re-registered by EPA in 1993, whereupon the agency found "it does not impose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment." EPA's assessment was based heavily on unpublished industry-funded studies [12,13]. Roundup went off patent in 2000 resulting in different formulations, some with higher concentrations of glyphosate [14]. ...
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Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) have become the leading agricultural herbicides used globally since the development of genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops. This paper investigates whether GBHs are consistent with or supportive of sustainable agriculture. Agricultural sustainability is defined by generally agreed upon goals: 1) promoting agroecology; 2) protecting soils and the Earth’s natural resources; 3) protecting biodiversity; and 4) enhancing the quality of life and health of farmers, farm workers, and society. Through an in-depth examination of the scholarly literature, the paper explores whether the scientific studies of GBHs are consistent with their sustainable applications in agriculture in the areas of human health, non-tillage agriculture, soil quality, aquatic ecosystems and beneficial, non-target species. Based on the four generally agreed upon goals listed above for agricultural sustainability, the paper finds that GBHs are not consistent with sustainability goals.
Chapter
Agricultural landscapes (rural landscapes, agrolandscapes) are territories shaped by agricultural production. They have enabled the development of human civilizations and are a cultural achievement. Peasants, farmers and agricultural enterprises feed society. They have created agricultural landscapes for their business and habitats for their life. To understand transformation processes in agricultural landscapes, we analyse the history of agriculture with a special focus on Europe and Eurasia. Current agricultural landscapes in a crowded, globalized world are multifunctional, highly complex systems. They not only serve to produce food commodities and energy for the increasing and expanding urban population but also provide diverse ecosystem services and need to cater for the demands of the rural population. Current agriculture is highly productive in wealthy countries, but due to high inputs it is also responsible for environmental problems such as water pollution and loss of biodiversity. Industrial-style agriculture in large fields has resulted in increased productivity but simplified the structure of landscapes and eliminated elements of nature and rural culture. Major problems that urgently need to be addressed include trends towards disrupting natural cycles in agricultural production, soil and water degradation, ageing populations in villages and the breakdown of rural infrastructure. Agricultural landscape research provides analyses to understand these processes and helps elaborate sustainable scientific, technical and cultural solutions.
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The slurry strip-till (STR) technique combines reduced tillage (strip tillage) with the precise injection of slurry below the plant seed position. This technique is designed to improve the nitrogen (N) use efficiency of organic fertilizers. The present study aimed at evaluating how efficiently the strip-till technique uses N compared to the conventional broadcast slurry application (CONV) in the case of maize (Zea mays L.). Field trials with five treatments (unfertilized control, slurry strip-till with and without nitrification inhibitors (NIs), conventional surface broadcast slurry incorporation with and without NI) were conducted on loamy sandy soils in northern and central Germany for three study years (2014–2016). The soil mineral N (SMN) contents were analyzed at three depths (0–30, 30–60, 60–90 cm) to ascertain the N displacement out of the topsoil. Furthermore, maize dry matter (DM) yields and N uptakes were determined to calculate the N recovery efficiency (NRE) of the studied application systems.
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Due to the multiplicity of challenges facing all societies at the beginning of the twenty-first century, agricultural systems and rural landscapes are under pressure. Solutions for their optimization towards sustainability at high productivity are required. We address the majority of current agricultural systems and discuss approaches for assessing their sustainability. Life cycle analyses and footprint methods have experienced much progress but require further qualification. Some alternative farming systems such as organic agriculture, agroecology, regenerative agriculture, ecological intensification, and sustainable intensification, which are based on landscape approaches and direct farmer–consumer interactions have potential for significant improvements towards the sustainability of global agriculture and need further attention and promotion in research and practice. Technology-driven smart farming technologies can be implemented in all these kinds of farming systems. A key to preventing the degradation of agricultural landscapes and improving ecology and economics lies in their better structural development and design, adapted to geosystem settings, legacies of local cultural history and opportunities presented by urban–rural interactions. For achieving better landscape design, it is worth thinking about reforming and strengthening land consolidation as a planned participatory process involving the rural community. Further, scientifically sound and policy relevant rules and steering instruments have to be developed for the design and cultural evolution of rural landscapes. The European Union (EU) and other wealthy economic zones, federations, countries, and regions have developed funding systems for agriculture. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU is a powerful tool promoting both the possession and ownership of agricultural land (pillar I, main pillar) and rural development (pillar II). This system should be better balanced by shifting towards pillar II to promote further ecosystem services in agricultural regions. Novel solutions should be aimed at for maintaining landscape diversity and heritage, developing local food cultures and agritourism, and strengthening rural communities and their societal image. Transdisciplinary international model projects are useful contributions to making innovations operable.
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This paper reviews the court-released discovery documents obtained from litigation against Monsanto over its herbicide Roundup and through Freedom of Information Act requests (requests to regulatory agencies and public universities in the United States). We sought evidence of corporate malfeasance and undisclosed conflicts of interest with respect to issues of scientific integrity. The findings include evidence of ghostwriting, interference in journal publication, and undue influence of a federal regulatory agency.
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Background Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) are broad-spectrum herbicides that act on the shikimate pathway in bacteria, fungi, and plants. The possible effects of GBHs on human health are the subject of an intense public debate for both its potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effects, including its effects on microbiome. The present pilot study examines whether exposure to GBHs at doses of glyphosate considered to be “safe” (the US Acceptable Daily Intake - ADI - of 1.75 mg/kg bw/day), starting from in utero, may modify the composition of gut microbiome in Sprague Dawley (SD) rats. Methods Glyphosate alone and Roundup, a commercial brand of GBHs, were administered in drinking water at doses comparable to the US glyphosate ADI (1.75 mg/kg bw/day) to F0 dams starting from the gestational day (GD) 6 up to postnatal day (PND) 125. Animal feces were collected at multiple time points from both F0 dams and F1 pups. The gut microbiota of 433 fecal samples were profiled at V3-V4 region of 16S ribosomal RNA gene and further taxonomically assigned and assessed for diversity analysis. We tested the effect of exposure on overall microbiome diversity using PERMANOVA and on individual taxa by LEfSe analysis. Results Microbiome profiling revealed that low-dose exposure to Roundup and glyphosate resulted in significant and distinctive changes in overall bacterial composition in F1 pups only. Specifically, at PND31, corresponding to pre-pubertal age in humans, relative abundance for Bacteriodetes (Prevotella) was increased while the Firmicutes (Lactobacillus) was reduced in both Roundup and glyphosate exposed F1 pups compared to controls. Conclusions This study provides initial evidence that exposures to commonly used GBHs, at doses considered safe, are capable of modifying the gut microbiota in early development, particularly before the onset of puberty. These findings warrant future studies on potential health effects of GBHs in early development such as childhood.
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Background: Glyphosate, formulated as Roundup, is the world's most widely used herbicide. Glyphosate is used extensively on genetically modified (GM) food crops designed to tolerate the herbicide, and global use is increasing rapidly. Two recent reviews of glyphosate's health hazards report conflicting results. An independent review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that glyphosate is a "probable human carcinogen". A review by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) found no evidence of carcinogenic hazard. These differing findings have produced regulatory uncertainty. Regulatory actions: Reflecting this regulatory uncertainty, the European Commission on November 27 2017, extended authorization for glyphosate for another 5 years, while the European Parliament opposed this decision and issued a call that pesticide approvals be based on peer-reviewed studies by independent scientists rather than on the current system that relies on proprietary industry studies. Ramazzini institute response: The Ramazzini Institute has initiated a pilot study of glyphosate's health hazards that will be followed by an integrated experimental research project. This evaluation will be independent of industry support and entirely sponsored by worldwide crowdfunding. The aim of the Ramazzini Institute project is to explore comprehensively the effects of exposures to glyphosate-based herbicides at current real-world levels on several toxicological endpoints, including carcinogenicity, long-term toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disrupting effects, prenatal developmental toxicity, the microbiome and multi-generational effects.
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Background: Glyphosate (GLY) is the most heavily used herbicide worldwide but the extent of exposure in human pregnancy remains unknown. Its residues are found in the environment, major crops, and food items that humans, including pregnant women, consume daily. Since GLY exposure in pregnancy may also increase fetal exposure risk, we designed a birth-cohort study to determine exposure frequency, potential exposure pathways, and associations with fetal growth indicators and pregnancy length. Method: Urine and residential drinking water samples were obtained from 71 women with singleton pregnancies living in Central Indiana while they received routine prenatal care. GLY measurements were performed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Demographic and survey information relating to food and water consumption, stress, and residence were obtained by questionnaire. Maternal risk factors and neonatal outcomes were abstracted from medical records. Correlation analyses were used to assess relationships of urine GLY levels with fetal growth indicators and gestational length. Results: The mean age of participants was 29 years, and the majority were Caucasian. Ninety three percent of the pregnant women had GLY levels above the limit of detection (0.1 ng/mL). Mean urinary GLY was 3.40 ng/mL (range 0.5-7.20 ng/mL). Higher GLY levels were found in women who lived in rural areas (p = 0.02), and in those who consumed > 24 oz. of caffeinated beverages per day (p = 0.004). None of the drinking water samples had detectable GLY levels. We observed no correlations with fetal growth indicators such as birth weight percentile and head circumference. However, higher GLY urine levels were significantly correlated with shortened gestational lengths (r = - 0.28, p = 0.02). Conclusions: This is the first study of GLY exposure in US pregnant women using urine specimens as a direct measure of exposure. We found that > 90% of pregnant women had detectable GLY levels and that these levels correlated significantly with shortened pregnancy lengths. Although our study cohort was small and regional and had limited racial/ethnic diversity, it provides direct evidence of maternal GLY exposure and a significant correlation with shortened pregnancy. Further investigations in a more geographically and racially diverse cohort would be necessary before these findings could be generalized.
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Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs), consisting of glyphosate and formulants, are the most frequently applied herbicides worldwide. The declared active ingredient glyphosate does not only inhibit the EPSPS but is also a chelating agent that binds macro- and micronutrients, essential for many plant processes and pathogen resistance. GBH treatment may thus impede uptake and availability of macro- and micronutrients in plants. The present study investigated whether this characteristic of glyphosate could contribute to adverse effects of GBH application in the environment and to human health. According to the results, it has not been fully elucidated whether the chelating activity of glyphosate contributes to the toxic effects on plants and potentially on plant–microorganism interactions, e.g., nitrogen fixation of leguminous plants. It is also still open whether the chelating property of glyphosate is involved in the toxic effects on organisms other than plants, described in many papers. By changing the availability of essential as well as toxic metals that are bound to soil particles, the herbicide might also impact soil life, although the occurrence of natural chelators with considerably higher chelating potentials makes an additional impact of glyphosate for most metals less likely. Further research should elucidate the role of glyphosate (and GBH) as a chelator, in particular, as this is a non-specific property potentially affecting many organisms and processes. In the process of reevaluation of glyphosate its chelating activity has hardly been discussed.
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Over the past 3 decades, in a series of studies on some of the most extensively studied toxic chemicals and pollutants, scientists have found that the amount of toxic chemical linked with the development of a disease or death-which is central to determining "safe" or "hazardous" levels-is proportionately greater at the lowest dose or levels of exposure. These results, which are contrary to the way the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory agencies assess the risk of chemicals, indicate that we have underestimated the impact of toxic chemicals on death and disease. If widely disseminated chemicals and pollutants-like radon, lead, airborne particles, asbestos, tobacco, and benzene-do not exhibit a threshold and are proportionately more toxic at the lowest levels of exposure, we will need to achieve near-zero exposures to protect public health.
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After 40 years, the 1976 US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was revised under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Its original goals of protecting the public from hazardous chemicals were hindered by complex and cumbersome administrative burdens, data limitations, vulnerabilities in risk assessments, and recurring corporate lawsuits. As a result, countless chemicals were entered into commercial use without toxicological information. Few chemicals of the many identified as potential public health threats were regulated or banned. This paper explores the factors that have worked against a comprehensive and rational policy for regulating toxic chemicals and discusses whether the TSCA revisions offer greater public protection against existing and new chemicals.
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The broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate (common trade name "Roundup") was first sold to farmers in 1974. Since the late 1970s, the volume of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied has increased approximately 100-fold. Further increases in the volume applied are likely due to more and higher rates of application in response to the widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and new, pre-harvest, dessicant use patterns. GBHs were developed to replace or reduce reliance on herbicides causing well-documented problems associated with drift and crop damage, slipping efficacy, and human health risks. Initial industry toxicity testing suggested that GBHs posed relatively low risks to non-target species, including mammals, leading regulatory authorities worldwide to set high acceptable exposure limits. To accommodate changes in GBH use patterns associated with genetically engineered, herbicide-tolerant crops, regulators have dramatically increased tolerance levels in maize, oilseed (soybeans and canola), and alfalfa crops and related livestock feeds. Animal and epidemiology studies published in the last decade, however, point to the need for a fresh look at glyphosate toxicity. Furthermore, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans." In response to changing GBH use patterns and advances in scientific understanding of their potential hazards, we have produced a Statement of Concern drawing on emerging science relevant to the safety of GBHs. Our Statement of Concern considers current published literature describing GBH uses, mechanisms of action, toxicity in laboratory animals, and epidemiological studies. It also examines the derivation of current human safety standards. We conclude that: (1) GBHs are the most heavily applied herbicide in the world and usage continues to rise; (2) Worldwide, GBHs often contaminate drinking water sources, precipitation, and air, especially in agricultural regions; (3) The half-life of glyphosate in water and soil is longer than previously recognized; (4) Glyphosate and its metabolites are widely present in the global soybean supply; (5) Human exposures to GBHs are rising; (6) Glyphosate is now authoritatively classified as a probable human carcinogen; (7) Regulatory estimates of tolerable daily intakes for glyphosate in the United States and European Union are based on outdated science. We offer a series of recommendations related to the need for new investments in epidemiological studies, biomonitoring, and toxicology studies that draw on the principles of endocrinology to determine whether the effects of GBHs are due to endocrine disrupting activities. We suggest that common commercial formulations of GBHs should be prioritized for inclusion in government-led toxicology testing programs such as the U.S. National Toxicology Program, as well as for biomonitoring as conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Background Genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant crops have been remarkable commercial successes in the United States. Few independent studies have calculated their impacts on pesticide use per hectare or overall pesticide use, or taken into account the impact of rapidly spreading glyphosate-resistant weeds. A model was developed to quantify by crop and year the impacts of six major transgenic pest-management traits on pesticide use in the U.S. over the 16-year period, 1996–2011: herbicide-resistant corn, soybeans, and cotton; Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn targeting the European corn borer; Bt corn for corn rootworms; and Bt cotton for Lepidopteron insects. Results Herbicide-resistant crop technology has led to a 239 million kilogram (527 million pound) increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011, while Bt crops have reduced insecticide applications by 56 million kilograms (123 million pounds). Overall, pesticide use increased by an estimated 183 million kgs (404 million pounds), or about 7%. Conclusions Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%. The magnitude of increases in herbicide use on herbicide-resistant hectares has dwarfed the reduction in insecticide use on Bt crops over the past 16 years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
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Ghostwriting for medical journals has become a major, but largely invisible, factor contributing to the problem of credibility in academic medicine. In this paper I argue that the pharmaceutical marketing objectives and use of medical communication firms in the production of ghostwritten articles constitute a new form of sophistry. After identifying three distinct types of medical ghostwriting, I survey the known cases of ghostwriting in the literature and explain the harm done to academic medicine and to patients. Finally, I outline steps to address the problem and restore the integrity of the medical literature.
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Anecdotes have shown that some articles on profitable drugs are constructed by and shepherded through publication by pharmaceutical companies and their agents, whose influence is largely invisible to readers. This is ghost-management, the substantial but unrecognized research, analysis, writing, editing and/or facilitation behind publication. Publicly available documents suggest that these practices extremely widespread affecting up to 40% of clinical trial reports in key periods but it has been unclear how representative these documents are. This article presents the results of an investigative sampling of the self-presentation of publication planning services, and presents this and other evidence of a sizable publication planning industry. Thus different lines of evidence indicate that ghost-management is a common and important phenomenon, strongly affecting the published medical literature in the service of marketing.
Article
Objective: Examination of de-classified Monsanto documents from litigation in order to expose the impact of the company's efforts to influence the reporting of scientific studies related to the safety of the herbicide, glyphosate. Methods: A set of 141 recently de-classified documents, made public during the course of pending toxic tort litigation, In Re Roundup Products Liability Litigation were examined. Results: The documents reveal Monsanto-sponsored ghostwriting of articles published in toxicology journals and the lay media, interference in the peer review process, behind-the-scenes influence on retraction and the creation of a so-called academic website as a front for the defense of Monsanto products. Conclusion: The use of third-party academics in the corporate defense of glyhphosate reveals that this practice extends beyond the corruption of medicine and persists in spite of efforts to enforce transparency in industry manipulation.
Book
It’s the pesticide on our dinner plates, a chemical so pervasive it’s in the air we breathe, our water, our soil, and even found increasingly in our own bodies. Known as Monsanto’s Roundup by consumers, and as glyphosate by scientists, the world’s most popular weed killer is used everywhere from backyard gardens to golf courses to millions of acres of farmland. For decades it’s been touted as safe enough to drink, but a growing body of evidence indicates just the opposite, with research tying the chemical to cancers and a host of other health threats. In this volume, the author uncovers one of the most controversial stories in the history of food and agriculture, exposing new evidence of corporate influence. The author introduces readers to farm families devastated by cancers which they believe are caused by the chemical, and to scientists whose reputations have been smeared for publishing research that contradicted business interests. Readers learn about the arm-twisting of regulators who signed off on the chemical, echoing company assurances of safety even as they permitted higher residues of the pesticide in food and skipped compliance tests. And, in startling detail, the author reveals secret industry communications that pull back the curtain on corporate efforts to manipulate public perception. This book is more than an exposé about the hazards of one chemical or even the influence of one company. It’s a story of power, politics, and the deadly consequences of putting corporate interests ahead of public safety.
Article
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in broad-spectrum herbicide formulations used in agriculture, domestic area and aquatic weed control worldwide. Its market is growing steadily concurrently with the cultivation of glyphosate-tolerant transgenic crops and emergence of weeds less sensitive to glyphosate. Ephemeral and lentic waters near to agricultural lands, representing favorite habitats for amphibian reproduction and early life-stage development, may thus be contaminated by glyphosate based herbicides (GBHs) residues. Previous studies on larval anuran species highlighted increased mortality and growth effects after exposure to different GBHs in comparison to glyphosate itself, mainly because of the surfactants such as polyethoxylated tallow amine present in the formulations. Nevertheless, these conclusions are not completely fulfilled when the early development, characterized by primary organogenesis events, is considered. In this study, we compare the embryotoxicity of Roundup® Power 2.0, a new GBH formulation currently authorized in Italy, with that of technical grade glyphosate using the Frog Embryo Teratogenesis Assay-Xenopus (FETAX). Our results evidenced that glyphosate was not embryolethal and only at the highest concentration (50 mg a.e./L) caused edemas. Conversely, Roundup® Power 2.0 exhibited a 96 h LC50 of 24.78 mg a.e./L and a 96 h EC50 of 7.8 mg a.e./L. A Teratogenic Index of 3.4 was derived, pointing out the high teratogenic potential of the Roundup® Power 2.0. Specific concentration-dependent abnormal phenotypes, such as craniofacial alterations, microphthalmia, narrow eyes and forebrain regionalization defects were evidenced by gross malformation screening and histopathological analysis. These phenotypes are coherent with those evidenced in Xenopus laevis embryos injected with glyphosate, allowing us to hypothesize that the teratogenicity observed for Roundup® Power 2.0 may be related to the improved efficacy in delivering glyphosate to cells, guaranteed by the specific surfactant formulation. In conclusion, the differences in GBH formulations should be carefully considered by the authorities, since sub-lethal and/or long-term effects (e.g. teratogenicity) can be significantly modulated by the active ingredient salt type and concentration of the adjuvants. Finally, the mechanistic toxicity of glyphosate and GBHs are worthy of further research.
Article
Weed management is an integral part of agriculture; weeds lower both productivity and quality of agricultural products. A combination of mechanical, chemical, biological, and cultural methods is expected to deliver a sustainable weed management program for the next two decades. While chemical methods offer the most cost effective means of weed management, crop selectivity has hampered the use of the best chemicals for weed management. Recent progress in gene technology has facilitated the introduction and expression of genes to confer a wide range of traits to crop plants. Application of this technology has resulted in the development of crop plant genotypes that are resistant to a specific herbicide. This article describes the progress that has been made by our group toward the introduction of glyphosate tolerance to crop plants. Glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] kills plants due to inhibition of the biosynthesis of aromatic compounds via the shikimate pathway. Our approach for introduction of glyphosate tolerance is based on insertion and expression in plants of a gene encoding a glyphosate-tolerant 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate (EPSP) synthase, a key enzyme of the shikimate pathway. The wild type enzyme present in plants is susceptible to inhibition glyphosate; variants of EPSP synthase have been produced that are less susceptible to inhibition by glyphosate. Expression of genes encoding these variants has been shown to confer glyphosate tolerance to plants. The degree of glyphosate tolerance is related to the tolerance characteristics of the EPSP synthase variant, its substrate activity, targeting to the plastid, and the level of expression of the variant gene. The tissue specificity of expression of the variant EPSP synthase has also been shown to be critical since glyphosate is a systemic herbicide and is translocated to many growing points within the plant. Our studies on glyphosate tolerance have substantially enhanced our understanding of the mode-of-action of glyphosate, the shikimate pathway, and protein sorting within plant cells, as well as developmental and tissue specific expression of genes in plants. Commercial use of glyphosate tolerance technology is expected to affect positively, the weed management arsenal available to the farmers, the sustainability of farm land and groundwater, and promote the use of a “soft” herbicide.
Article
The non-peer-reviewed biomonitoring report published online by Moms Across America (MAA; Honeycutt and Rowlands, 2014) does not support the conclusion that glyphosate concentrations detected in a limited number of urine samples from women, men and children, or breast milk from nursing mothers, pose a health risk to the public, including nursing children. Systemically absorbed doses of glyphosate estimated from the MAA urine biomonitoring data and from other published biomonitoring studies indicate that daily glyphosate doses are substantially below health protective reference standards (ADIs; RfDs) established by regulatory agencies. The MAA report also suggested that detection of relatively high glyphosate concentrations in breast milk in 3 of 10 sampled women raised a concern for bioaccumulation in breast milk. However, the breast milk concentrations reported by MAA are highly implausible when considered in context to low daily systemic doses of glyphosate estimated from human urine biomonitoring data, and also are inconsistent with animal toxicokinetic data demonstrating no evidence of retention in tissues or milk after single- or multiple-dose glyphosate treatment. In addition, toxicokinetic studies in lactating goats have shown that that glyphosate does not partition into milk at concentrations greater than blood, and that only a very small percentage of the total administered dose (<0.03%) is ultimately excreted into milk. The toxicokinetic studies also indicate that human glyphosate exposures estimated from urine biomonitoring fall thousands-of-fold short of external doses capable of producing blood concentrations sufficient to result in the breast milk concentrations described in the MAA report. Finally, in contrast to highly lipophilic compounds with bioaccumulation potential in breast milk, the physico-chemical properties of glyphosate indicate that it is highly hydrophilic (ionized) at physiological pH and unlikely to preferentially distribute into breast milk.
Chapter
Historical Perspective and Mode of Action Uptake and Translocation of Glyphosate Glyphosate's Fungicidal Activities Effect of Glyphosate on Nontarget Organisms Physical and Environmental Properties of Glyphosate Glyphosate Toxicology and Applicator Exposure Commercial Process Chemistry for Preparing Glyphosate Glyphosate Formulation Conclusion References
Article
"Weight of evidence" (WOE) is a common term in the published scientific and policy-making literature, most often seen in the context of risk assessment (RA). Its definition, however, is unclear. A systematic review of the scientific literature was undertaken to characterize the concept. For the years 1994 through 2004, PubMed was searched for publications in which "weight of evidence" appeared in the abstract and/or title. Of the 276 papers that met these criteria, 92 were selected for review: 71 papers published in 2003 and 2004 (WOE appeared in abstract/title) and 21 from 1994 through 2002 (WOE appeared in title). WOE has three characteristic uses in this literature: (1) metaphorical, where WOE refers to a collection of studies or to an unspecified methodological approach; (2) methodological, where WOE points to established interpretative methodologies (e.g., systematic narrative review, meta-analysis, causal criteria, and/or quality criteria for toxicological studies) or where WOE means that "all" rather than some subset of the evidence is examined, or rarely, where WOE points to methods using quantitative weights for evidence; and (3) theoretical, where WOE serves as a label for a conceptual framework. Several problems are identified: the frequent lack of definition of the term "weight of evidence," multiple uses of the term and a lack of consensus about its meaning, and the many different kinds of weights, both qualitative and quantitative, which can be used in RA. A practical recommendation emerges: the WOE concept and its associated methods should be fully described when used. A research agenda should examine the advantages of quantitative versus qualitative weighting schemes, how best to improve existing methods, and how best to combine those methods (e.g., epidemiology's causal criteria with toxicology's quality criteria).
Monsanto papers: Les agencies sous l’influence de la firm
  • S Foucart
  • S Horel
Collusion or coincidence? records show EPA efforts to slow herbicide review came in coordination with Monsanto. Huffington Post
  • C Gillam
Pruitt promised polluters EPA will value their profits over American lives; Pruitt is one of TIME's 100 most influential people for his efforts to maximize polluters' profits. The Guardian
  • D Nuccitelli