It is called the Toxicological Anthology of Glyphosate and it is a response to the defense of the herbicide by the companies that produce it and the Minister of Science Lino Barañao. More than 100 of the jobs are from public universities.
By Darío Aranda
The fields of soybeans, corn and cotton are sprayed with glyphosate so that nothing but GMOs will grow.
"There is no evidence that glyphosate is harmful", repeat over and over again the defenders of transgenic agriculture in reference to the most widely used herbicide in the world. "It is like water with salt," said the Minister of Science, Lino Barañao. A recent compilation of scientific research, Glyphosate Toxicological Anthology, reports 830 academic works (from Argentina and abroad) that account for the chemical and its link to cancer, malformations, poisonings and spontaneous abortions, among other conditions.
In Argentina, glyphosate is applied to more than 28 million hectares, more than 200 million liters each year. The fields of soybeans, corn and cotton are sprayed with the herbicide so that nothing grows, except the transgenics. It is also used in citrus, pip fruit trees (apple, pear, quince), vine, yerba mate, sunflower, pines and wheat. As a result of the transgenic advance, the use of glyphosate, developed and marketed by Monsanto since the 1970s, increased, although the license expired in 2000 and it is currently produced by a hundred companies.
“This compilation adds 830 scientific articles or papers, clinical, experimental and laboratory research reports, reviews, answers, compilation and conference summaries that have been published in scientific journals. All the works have been submitted for review by a committee of scientists and approved for publication as they are considered significant ”, explains the work, carried out by Eduardo Martín Rossi, a member of the Paren de Fumigar de Santa Fe collective.
Of 182 pages, it can be accessed via the Internet, it has the description and link of the investigations. More than one hundred are from public universities in Argentina (UBA, La Plata, Río Cuarto, Litoral). The first chapter requires 141 papers on the impact of glyphosate on human health. Chapter two details 102 investigations on "mechanism of cellular pathophysiology of cancer." Chapter three is devoted to "toxicity in organ systems", with 89 academic publications. Chapter four is dedicated to specific studies of impact “on biodiversity”, with 336 investigations.
"It is no coincidence that hypothyroidism, bronchial asthma, reproductive disorders and oncological diseases multiply in agricultural towns, producing an evident change in the pattern of morbidity and mortality", warns the work. And remember that in 1996, when the Carlos Menem government approved the first transgenic soybeans (from Monsanto), three liters of glyphosate were applied per hectare. Currently up to fifteen liters are used, even together with other pesticides (such as 2-4D).
The compilation, which had the collaboration and editing of the lawyer specialized in the environment Fernando Cabaleiro (from the Nature of Rights organization), recalls that Monsanto publicized "with false information that glyphosate was biodegradable." In 2007 Monsanto was convicted in France of misleading advertising. Dozens of investigations show, for decades, that the herbicide "is highly persistent in the environment, in the soil and water courses."
Among the companies that market glyphosate in Argentina are Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Red Surcos, Atanor, Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas, Nufram, Agrofina, Nidera, DuPont, YPF and Dow.
The anthology denounces that the authorization of pesticides (called "phytosanitary" by companies and officials) is carried out based on studies carried out by the companies themselves and that only analyzes the acute effects (they do not investigate what a chemical produces in the long term of exposure ). In the case of glyphosate, "Monsanto only experimented with rodents for three months." Based on this study, the company determined that the herbicide did not produce adverse effects.
“Independent scientists measured chronic effects (over two years). From the fourth month the male rodents presented tumors. From the seventh month the same process began in females. And in month 24, 80 percent of rodents had tumors ", explains the compilation.
The National Service for Agrifood Health and Quality (Senasa) is the state body that evaluates and authorizes the use of pesticides. It is denounced by socio-environmental organizations, NGOs and by the Senasa workers themselves of being dominated by large agribusiness companies. "The last review of environmental safety and food safety of glyphosate in Argentina was in 2000. At that date there were no protocols to assess chronic and carcinogenic risks," the authors of the compilation denounce. And they demand that Senasa reassess the authorization of glyphosate, based on independent studies (not from the companies).