ROUNDUP – EXACTLY HOW DOES IT WORK?
ROUNDUP – EXACTLY HOW DOES IT WORK?
- As I understand it, and I am very happy to be ‘corrected’, Roundup is a mixture made up of glyphosate and ‘additives’ known as adjuvants, surfactants or POEA’s. Glyphosate is the active ingredient that ‘kills’ the plants – roots and all, but it needs those adjuvants to break down the fibrous cellular walls/open the pores to allow the glyphosate in.
The Adjuvants ‘can’ be made up of pretty harmless/inert substances such as animal fat. The problem comes when the 2 (or more) are mixed together in the ‘formulation’ which often results in a ‘synergistic’ effect which means the combined effect of the two chemicals are much greater than the sum of the effects of each agent given alone.
In 1999 a German forestry worker was ‘poisoned’. He developed chest pains with rapidly increasing respiratory distress and a fever up to 38 . His pathology revealed “toxic inflammation of the lungs that was significantly different from bacterial infection.” He’d been spraying Roundup and, following thorough tests, it was found that this was a direct result of the Roundup and the much used surfactant POEA. Added to this, researchers found that adjuvants in Roundup changed the permeability of human cells which further amplifies the toxicity of glyphosate.
The result is Germany, which has 91 registered products (of glyphosate), has now banned ALL POEA surfactants. In stark contrast we in the UK have 424 glyphosate products. No-one knows how many contain POEA – and our Government clearly doesn’t care/isn’t bothered about finding out. I’m afraid it’s yet again the old adage of ‘Profit before people/cloak and dagger politics’.
Much of this information is available (‘buried . .’ )in a chapter of a ‘book’ comprising more than 5000 pages of which my bull terrier of a colleague, Pete, who after doggedly reading it, described it as ‘deliberately the most boring piece of writing ever written to try to guarantee no-one would bother to read it’. The German Environmental body, the BFR, responsible for Risk Assessment (RA), is the ONLY body in Europe who seem to actually care about our health – acutely aware of the serious problems of ‘Formulations/Mixes of substances inert or active’, rather than simply testing each product on its own.
In the US, due to a build up of resistance of weeds and pests from using the same herbicide (roundup) and pesticide (BT toxin) for years, combined with monoculture agriculture (we rightly have to rotate our crops in the UK to help us to at least reduce pesticide use), the weeds and bugs have effectively ‘Genetically Modified’ themselves. The resulting ‘resistance’ has meant up to 5 applications of Roundup a year, AND patented (which means anyone caught copying it will be prosecuted) tank mixes of Roundup, Atrazine and 2-4D .The latter two are currently both banned in Europe, for ‘health reasons’ – 2-4D being a product very similar in make up to Monsanto’s ‘favourite’ WMD ‘Agent Orange’ which is frequently sprayed from the air in South America ‘drifting’ in and around local communities causing cancers and a long, drawn out, painful DEATH.
Roundup was originally designed to be purely a pre-emergent weed killer. This means it is sprayed onto the ground before the seed is sown to kill all weeds and to give the crop a good chance to get going. However, now, due to the build up of resistance (to Roundup)of the weeds, up to 5 applications are sprayed each year. This means 4 applications go directly onto/into the growing crop itself, and through that, of course, into us and our children’s bodies, animal feed and pet foods. Some US and Canadian farmers even apply the LAST application of Roundup just 2 days before harvest – this to dessicate (kill) any remaining greenery which prevents some grain being harvested, thus getting a slightly higher yield. It also gives virtually no time for any of the Roundup to be washed away …..
The ‘precautionary principle’, of basically ‘safe until proved otherwise’, is nothing but a thorn in the side of these huge multinational companies. ALL agriculture Ministers since Michael Meacher was sacked in June 2003 by Blair – because he cared about the environment and declared his findings honestly, have been specially selected for their pro-GM stance.
Recent Biotech trained environment Ministers have included Caroline Spelman who, along with her husband, worked for the Biotech industry (amongst other things) beforehand for, I believe, 16 years. Then there was Owen Patterson who was very aggressively pro-GM and openly hostile about all campaigners (especially me when I got into the GM wheat trials at Rothampstead, Hertfordshire – a county from which I am ‘banned’, where I scattered organic wheat seed and pulled plants).
Now we have Liz Truss who to us, like Caroline Spelman, is a far more dangerous prospect than Patterson (who was like a bull in a china shop) where all he did was break an awful lot of china. She broke her silence on GM after 6 months in office at the Oxford Farming Conference. 4 times the number of people were down the road at the same time at the ‘The Oxford “Real” Farming Conference’ discussing sustainable, chemical free agriculture without GM crops when Liz Truss announced the green light for GM crops to be grown in this country.
With lobbyists paying small fortunes to wine, dine and have the ear of senior politicians, and our own advisory council of scientists-ACRE comprising a majority of people with ‘interests’ in the Biotech industry the last time I looked, and it’s easy to think ‘what hope do we have . . .?’ and simply give up as so many of my fellow campaigners have.
However . . .things are changing and more and more facts are surfacing. Tests done in the US on humans and animals found traces of Roundup in our urine and women’s breast milk, and when the farmers replaced feed for their animals containing GM with conventionally (GM free) grown feed, the health of the animals, they said, started to improve after just three days. I have been saying for ages that why can’t US, UK and other Governments get together and agree ‘in the name of humanity’, to get together scientists from both sides of the (cavernous – sadly) divide and agree on a methodology to prove whether GM is safe for us to eat and feed our animals or not. Once we all ‘know’ whether putting a cow gene into a wheat plant, for example, is safe or not with FULL TRANSPARENCY of how the tests were conducted, no-one will be able to argue, and us, so called ‘activists’, can then happily get on tending to our veg/permaculture gardens etc (which I’d like to see the whole country covered in – another story).
It hasn’t helped that when Government and/or independent scientists such as Dr. Arpad Puztai and Dr. Seralini respectively, release their results they put their lives at serious risk. In the case of Puztai, the day after his results were published, the ‘men in black’ descended, confiscated all his computers/material and Puztai fled to Hungary in fear for his life. Last year I went up to see Dr. Seralini speak at the Houses of Parliament. Seralini had just completed the first ever test at Caen University in France over a 2 year period on rats. Using the correct scientifically approved methodology for testing he unearthed some worrying results – the longest period of testing before this was 90 days which in the life of a rat, with an average lifespan of 2 years, is not long enough to produce any conclusive evidence.
Our Houses of Parliament were to be the first port of call for Dr. Seralini who was booked in to do a nationwide tour to farming communities across the UK. Instead Seralini left Parliament on a drip and spent the next 14 days in intensive care fighting for his life. A close friend, Gerald, and fellow activist against GMO’s said that Seralini had ‘commented’ about someone in the street rubbing something on his bare leg the day before and if Gerald hadn’t managed to get his children over (who due to his passion in the laboratory, he hadn’t seen for a few years) Seralini might well have not made it. The groundbreaking nationwide tour was, inevitably, cancelled. In a much less dramatic way (thankfully) I was warned by seasoned activists that my life was in danger after highlighting the huge potential danger of GM wheat to our native grass species, health and so on.
If anyone is struggling to believe this you only have to look at the evidence produced by Peter Kindersley at Sheepdrove.com. Here he demonstrates via a series of graphs how incidences of diabetes (age adjusted), liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer, thyroid cancer, diabetes, senile dementia, Parkinson’s and more besides escalated exponentially in 1996 when GM (combined with an accompanying increase in Roundup) was carpet bombed across the USA and Canada.
If anyone reading this finds this hard to believe (and boy I don’t blame anyone who does . . .) you only have to go on the net to see how the goalposts have dramatically moved over the last few decades to SOLELY suit the interests of some of the world’s largest corporations above all else.
In EXACTLY the same way maximum residue levels (MRL) permitted in food and feed products were raised 200 times to levels previously permitted at the same time GM soya crops were approved. The same has happened with the pharmaceutical companies. One example . . The horrific George Bush’s side kick Donald Rumsfeld invested in the Ramazzini Foundation which brought(amongst many other such horrors) Aspartame onto the market. Aspartame is in most soft drinks and one of many ‘approved’ products on the market with vicious side effects such as MS, muscle spasms, liver failure, autism, Parkinsons disease, depression, brain damage etc etc – even Doctors have referred to such symptoms as ‘Rumsfeld Disease’.
The more you dig the more you find out that ALL these huge companies are solely motivated by competing with each other – paying lawyers fortunes to find loopholes in anything they can to lure in investment to service the huge egos of fat cat businessmen. If WE collectively don’t say NO to GM, pharmaceuticals, fracking, chemical foods NOW, our children and theirs will not have a world fit to live in. As I always say, if anyone can prove me wrong on any of this, I’ll happily hold my hand up and shut up – if not I won’t.
There is now, at last, a crescendo of noise from all sorts of bodies and Governments that could, I believe, quickly go from a ‘wind of change/increase in awareness’ to a full blown hurricane. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently described Roundup as a ‘probable carcinogen.’ Russia on the back of Seralini’s work, has banned farmers from growing GM crops AND all GM imports for at least 10 years. Likewise, Holland and France will ban Roundup from all garden centres at the end of this year. Interestingly they’ve not said about banning it in agriculture . . . .This is currently difficult because Monsanto etc have captured the whole market, but, many of us, including Zac Goldsmith are experimenting with novel eco-weed killers while others are looking into ‘steam’, special tines on tractors and so on. Will give up-date as ideas come in. In the meantime please pull (or accept) weeds.
Since banning Roundup at my community home at Tapeley the honey from our bees has doubled each year. Wildlife, beneficial insects such as ladybirds, hoverflies, snakes etc. have increased. I am now in the process of eradicating Roundup from the farms around us – offering rent reductions for the 3 year ‘transition’ period.