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Hat, Socks and Glyphosate

What do scientists wear when handling glyphosate? Not what they tell you.

Is glyphosate totally safe as scientists say? I followed up the discrepancy between how scientists advise you to treat glyphosate, and how they handle it themselves.

The takeover of Monsanto, the company behind glyphosate (RoundUp) and glyphosate-resistant (RoundUp-Ready) GMP crops, by the German chemistry giant Bayer in 2018, was probably the most stupid investment decision in modern business history. Just recently, Bayer lost a court appeal and has to pay $25 million to a cancer sufferer over glyphosate exposure (most of that money will go to the plaintiff’s lawyers). $25 million may not sound like much for Bayer, but it was the second appeal it lost and there are many thousands of lawsuits like this one waiting to be resolved, in USA alone. Bayer was hoping to get them all settled with a giant payout of $11 billion, but it’s not yet clear if the US court will accept the proposal. The decision will be made on 19 May 2021.

But is glyphosate safe or not? I wrote about glyphosate before, and this is my new take on the occasion of the court decision.

Safe to spray

Did the plaintiffs lie about their cancer being caused by glyphosate exposure? This is what you are told to believe, not just by Monsanto shills like the racist eugenicists of Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) and the sociopathic “think tankAmerican Council on Science and Health (ACSH, more about their attitude at the end). A number of scientists extols the safety of glyphosate to journalists and on social media, reiterating that it’s less toxic than vinegar, hot tea or beef. They keep warning you that glyphosate’s alternatives can be properly toxic (well, ACSH claims that no pesticide is toxic). But the question is not how glyphosate toxicity compares to other pesticides, it is a straw man debate. Because with other pesticides, the users and consumers are generally warned about toxicity dangers, which is one reason why these are being banned, avoided or at least used sparingly.

Glyphosate instead was sprayed as if it was water.

“GMO Advocate Says Monsanto’s Roundup Safe to Drink, Then Refuses Glass”. The extra irony is that industry shill Patrick Moore claims to be co-founder of Greenpeace, which the latter denies.

Monsanto was sentenced in US courts to pay multi-million heavy damages to cancer sufferers because the company lied and denied glyphosate’s potential dangers, which was the secret of the product’s economic success. Exactly because consumers felt totally safe, they sprayed glyphosate like water everywhere, in gardens, school yards, and of course also fields. The users wore no particular personal protective equipment (PPE), why should they if the Monsanto product label said no PPE was needed.

When Monsanto’s RoundUp-Ready GMO plants arrived on the market, even more glyphosate was sprayed on the already drenched fields. Normally, herbicides are applied in agriculture sparingly simply because you don’t want to kill your crop together with the weeds, or you don’t want to get fined for poisoning the consumers with pesticide residues. But when the GMO crop is genetically resistant, you can spray as much glyphosate and as often as you want, your only limitation being the costs of RoundUp. But then, the weeds evolved glyphosate resistance, so you need to spray even more, and add further herbicides on top. But hey, why worry, didn’t Monsanto clearly say glyphosate was literally safe to drink, no more toxic than table salt? Science has spoken, don’t bother about farm worker exposure or residues in food.

This herbicide acts as inhibitor of the plant enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase which animals do not possess. Which is used by actual scientists as rock-solid argument that glyphosate must be 100% safe for humans. This logic however has a flaw. No inhibitor is 100% specific, simply because chemicals don’t read manufacturer labels before acting. There is no reason to assume glyphosate is unable to interfere, especially at high exposure levels, with some other molecular pathways humans do have. The initial claims of the Agricultural Health Study that glyphosate would not cause cancer in farm workers are not as solid anymore as they were once portrayed. There are also studies showing glyphosate’s toxicity on the intestinal microbiome, and studies on the toxicity of RoundUp’s other ingredients. New research keeps regularly popping up, about glyphosate’s and RoundUp’s negative effect on other organisms, not just plants.

If a substance is suspected to be unsafe, you will be instructed to take protection, like wearing PPE (gloves, googles, face mask) when using it. So what do scientists wear when handling glyphosate?

Hat, shoes, socks

When I published my review of the book “Monsanto papers”, I somehow ended up in a Twitter discussion with Andrew Kniss, professor of weed science at the University of Wyoming. I wanted to know what kind of PPE scientists themselves wear when applying glyphosate, especially since these same scientists keep educating the public that glyphosate was perfectly safe. Kniss blogged in a (meanwhile deleted) post that home-made organic herbicide made of salty vinegar were much more toxic than RoundUp:

In both toxicity measures, acetic acid is more toxic than glyphosate. Salt is more toxic to rats compared to glyphosate when exposed orally. The dermal toxicity numbers are a little more difficult to interpret, since for both glyphosate and salt, the values are listed as greater than a value. […] Pound per pound, glyphosate actually appears to be less acutely toxic to the mammalian test organisms compared to acetic acid or salt. […]

All joking aside, the important thing to keep in mind is that both the homemade vinegar + salt mixture and Roundup are pretty darn safe when used properly, they’re both relatively inexpensive“.

Kniss explained to me on Twitter that the required PPE for glyphosate application was “Longs sleeves, hat, shoes, socks” (my tweets have all been since deleted by Twitter together with my account upon requests from French Nazis). I asked Kniss if there was anything else on PPE one needs to wear, he refused to reply, apparently insisting that this dress code of long sleeves, hat and socks is indeed the PPE in itself.

So I asked Kniss’ University of Wyoming what kind of PPE their students and employees are required to wear when handling glyphosate. That was on 9 March 2021. On 18 March, I finally received a reply, from Interim Provost and Vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Anne M. Alexander:

After discussing with Dr. Kniss, I can assure you that he instructs our students and pesticide applicator trainees in the proper use of PPE and pesticide safety. He has not  instructed anyone nor does he believe that ‘socks and hats’ are a sufficient level of PPE for applying pesticides.”

I then asked for the definition of PPE, and whether it includes gloves or a face mask. Thundering silence back. So I had to submit an official Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiry. The university was so kind as to inform me they will make an exception and I won’t have to pay for the information. Which arrived merely five weeks later, on 1 May 2021:

“Please see attached for responsive records to your below request dated March 24, 2021. Please note that while the University does not have any additional records, the University requires students and employees to wear at least the PPE specified on each product label.

This was the only attachment, a Sigma Aldrich data sheet, from December 2015.

Let’s see what kind of PPE it advises to wear.

8.2 Exposure controls

Appropriate engineering controls

Handle in accordance with good industrial hygiene and safety practice. Wash hands before breaks and at the end of workday.

Personal protective equipment

Eye/face protection

Face shield and safety glasses Use equipment for eye protection tested and approved under appropriate government standards such as NIOSH (US) or EN 166(EU).

Skin protection

Handle with gloves. Gloves must be inspected prior to use. Use proper glove removal technique (without touching glove’s outer surface) to avoid skin contact with this product. Dispose of contaminated gloves after use in accordance with applicable laws and good laboratory practices. Wash and dry hands.

Full contact

Material: Nitrile rubber Minimum layer thickness:0.11 mm Break through time: 480 min Material tested: Dermatril® (KCL 740 / Aldrich Z677272, Size M)

Splash contact

Material: Nitrile rubber Minimum layer thickness:0.11 mm Break through time: 480 min Material tested: Dermatril®(KCL 740 / Aldrich Z677272, Size M) […]

Body Protection

Complete suit protecting against chemicals, The type of protective equipment must be selected according to the concentration and amount of the dangerous substance at the specific workplace.

Respiratory protection

Where risk assessment shows air-purifying respirators are appropriate use a full-face particle respirator type N100 (US) or type P3 (EN 143) respirator cartridges as a backup to engineering controls. If the respirator is the sole means of protection, use a full-face supplied air respirator. Use respirators and components tested and approved under appropriate government standards such as NIOSH (US) or CEN (EU)

Serious advice from Sigma Aldrich: face shield, safety glasses, nitrile gloves, overcoats, respirators even, which according to while his University of Wyoming their professor Kniss “instructs our students and pesticide applicator trainees” to wear when applying glyphosate. On top of the basic protection of socks, longs sleeves and shoes, which Kniss seemed to claim in public to be fully sufficient.

Because of assurances like these, glyphosate users in gardens, schools and farms donned none of the required PPE. They believed Monsanto and its academic shills who kept telling the public that glyphosate it was safe as salt, safe to drink even.

Soapy and salty

Like Kevin Folta, professor of at the department of horticultural sciences at the the University of Florida, and probably the most notorious of academic shills Monsanto ever had. Folta even (unsuccessfully) sued people for calling out his Monsanto shilling (which was uncovered by Michael Balter and by Paul Thacker). On top of that, Folta was even exposed as a fake gardener. Is his earlier claim credible that he actually drank glyphosate?

In 2015, Folta declared on Twitter, in a since deleted tweet:

It is liquid, tastes soapy and salty, I’ve drank it before to demonstrate harmlessness.

Back-up by GMO Watch

Folta then announced to “tip a freshly-opened pint” of glyphosate, adding: “Trust science.” Later on he advised that it was still safe to drink, but in moderation, especially for people for cancer predisposition. Wait, so even Folta hints one could get cancer form glyphosate?

No, of course not. Remember: glyphosate is “Far less acutely toxic than salt“.

So I asked Folta’s University of Florida about any PPE they might use when applying glyphosate. Here, it took just 9 days, no official FOI was needed. The University of Florida communications person informed me:

Thank you for your inquiry about PPE and pesticides. Your inquiry made it to our newsroom, and we’re happy to provide some information.  PPE that is required is as indicated on the label of whatever pesticide is being used. For example, the PPE required to use Roundup Pro is described on the attached label, and that is what would be used.

We also have an Extension publication on the matter;  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi061, and here is the topic page that discusses PPE more broadly.  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_ppe.

There was this picture attached:

Here another picture from the link University of Florida sent to me:

Source: UF

This means, University of Florida uses same PPE for glyphosate as Wyoming: googles, face shield, nitrile gloves, apron, respirator etc. By the way, the Monsanto shill Folta once educated me that science PhD graduates questioning glyphosate safety must be failed mercilessly. Some peers agreed.

No conflict of interest

Strange man, Folta. He even once commented on my site, to defend a scientist who falsely claimed GMO crops would prevent suicides in India.

Stuart Smyth, “Industry Funded Research Chair” at the University of Saskatchewan, wrote in a “peer reviewed” paper (Smyth 2019) that “the reduced rate of suicide associated with the adoption of Bt cotton represents the prevention of a minimum of 75 000 farmer suicides“. That was of course eagerly touted by Genetic Literacy Project. What Smyth did, was to draw his own conclusions from the Gruere & Sengupta 2011 study which, while being staunchly pro-GMO, found the exact opposite: “in specific districts and years, Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides“, due to “other factors” and “institutional context“. The paper sought to explain why Bt-cotton was not responsible for farmer suicides, and never postulated it reduced them. Smyth interpreted it as proof that suicides were reduced, who knows how he arrived there. He also declared “no conflict of interest” despite his academic salary being funded by Bayer CropScience Canada, CropLife Canada, Monsanto Canada, Syngenta Canada and others, the Plant Biotechnology Journal and the publisher Wiley didn’t mind and never replied to my email.

Maybe the journal followed Folta’s expertise on conflicts of interests. After all, the Monsanto shill Folta once sued New York Times for libel, claiming that the newspaper and its journalist ““manipulated an interview” to advance their own “anti-GMO agenda” by making him appear to be a “covertly paid operative of one of the largest and controversial companies in America, Monsanto.”” This is what Folta said on my site about Smyth:

The author is a scholar, a genuine deep thinker and excellent analytically. He is simply sharing science. While industry helps fund his position, they simply allow a scientist to discuss science. If there was evidence that industry funding directly influenced his words, or if he falsified evidence to fit an industry narrative, it would be a career ender. It is an important distinction to make. Just because you don’t like the words does not mean they are corrupt.”

Posted by Michael Balter

Folta (his long-denied contract with Bayer below) seems to think that Smyth’s misinterpretation of Gruere & Sengupta paper is “science”, but the original work by Gruere & Sengupta is not “science”, because Folta disagrees with its findings. This is the kind of science method professor Folta teaches his students at University of Florida. At least they are instructed to wear professional PPE when handling glyphosate, while Folta pretends to drink it.

Posted by Paul Thacker

Discrediting science

I also decided to check the situation of glyphosate safety in Germany. The Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR, Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, subordinate to the German Ministry for Agriculture), which in 2015 declared glyphosate as perfectly safe based on Monsanto’s own assessment they plagiarised, and whose director then declared every critic to be “discrediting science”, undermining democracy and driven by an “agenda” (read here), initially did not reply to my email. Here is the plagiarism report:

Posted by Stefan Weber

To be fair, BfR was too busy to reply to me. They were namely suing the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, again. The lawsuit, for which the state institution BfR willy-nilly wasted €100k of public funds, was aiming to assert copyright for that 2015 glyphosate report (yes, the one BfR plagiarised from Monsanto), achieve a court injunction against the foundation and its founder to have the report forever taken offline, and obtain a hefty compensation. Having lost in the first instance, BfR kept suing and now lost the appeal (they are likely to keep suing though, money is not an issue). Prior to that, BfR invested €80k of citizen’s tax money to sue a public TV channel for its reporting on BfR’s glyphosate plagiarism. Crazy thing: back then, BfR won, the TV channel had to delete everything, but here backup:

Germany’s most intelligent scientist and most charming man: Prof Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, BfR President.

Eventually, the BfR press speaker did reply to my inquiry and declared my question “which PPE is being used at BfR when glyphosate is tested?” as “not clear and aiming at two different areas of law“. He sent me some links to glyphosate safety assessments by the EU Commission and BfR’s own guidelines on pesticide risk assessment and application safety, plus a federal instruction on how to write a safety data sheet.

But when I asked again which PPE is worn by BfR experts when handling glyphosate: silence. Even after I wondered if BfR maybe never tested glyphosate at all, but entirely relied on Monsanto reports which BfR then copy-pasted without quotation or reference: silence. Did I get it right then? After all, BfR previously proudly stated they were not legally bound to do their own lab tests anyway. The institute refused to tell me if they ever had glyphosate on their premises, for any purpose. Maybe they are preparing a lawsuit against me for asking that question?

Update 21.05.2021. BfR press speaker replied after I sent him this article. The full statement (in German) in here, in brief:

the only glyphosate studies they acknowledge to have performed themselves were:

  1. One MSc thesis on glyphosate toxicity in vitro in 2016 (after the 2015 report was issued)
  2. Collaborative study on glyphosate content in mother’s milk, also in 2016

BfR declared to require this PPE for their glyphosate tests: Safety goggles, nitrile gloves and full face mask type P3/ respirator. Weird, given that glyphosate is deemed as perfectly safe? This data sheet was attached to the email, unlike BfR advising a “cotton” lab coat, the manufacturer Sigma Aldrich mandates a “chemical protective suit”.

No special requirements if handled properly

I also contacted a university in southern Germany and the Max Planck Society, because their two respective plant science professors have been staunchly defending glyphosate as safe on Twitter, criticising the court verdicts against Monsanto as unjust. One professor previously claimed on Twitter that

  • glyphosate was “less cancerogenic than alcohol, nicotine, red meat or beverages over 65°C“,
  • and “from purely scientific point, glyphosate safety is more evident than anthropogenic effect on global warming

Same plant science professor, whose own research is utterly unrelated to crop science and herbicides, demanded from a critic to know “what are you by training to evaluate the dangers of glyphosate?“. The other professor claimed on Twitter that

  • According to WHO, glyphosate is as dangerous as beef (and less dangerous than alcohol)“,
  • that glyphosate was “harmless” and Greenpeace and others “make a living fear mongering“.

The university in southern Germany declared to be unaware of any glyphosate use on their premises, but reassured me that if someone were to use glyphosate, a PPE according to manufacturer’s instructions will be worn. The Max Planck Society (MPG) stated: “We are currently not aware of any research with or on glyphosate in the MPG“, which proved not entirely correct. Because the Max Planck Institute professor replied personally:

“In addition to the instructions of the trade association for the raw materials and chemical industry (BG RCI), we at the institute follow the manufacturers’ safety recommendations; the safety data sheet for Roundup, which you can also find by searching the Internet, is attached. When spraying in closed rooms – as with other aerosols – we use a laboratory coat, laboratory gloves, protective goggles and an FFP2 mask. So far, we have not used glyphosate in field trials that would be used in agriculture. That’s why we don’t have any safety instructions for this, but we would use the safety data sheet as a guide.

Good, at least now the Max Planck Society is finally aware. This data sheet was attached:

The Monsanto Europe data sheet for RoundUp this Max Planck director sent me is from October 2014, I even asked him if he is sure his institute still adheres to its lax guidelines: no reply. The data sheet declares that no particular PPE is required, not even gloves (at least not for occasional use):

8.3. Recommendations for personal protective equipment

8.3.1 Eye protection:

No special requirements if handled properly

8.3.2 Skin protection:

In the event of repeated or prolonged contact: Wear chemical-resistant gloves Chemical-resistant gloves are made of waterproof materials such as nitrile, butyl, neoprene, polyvinyl chloride ( PVC), natural rubber and / or barrier laminate.

8.3.3. Respiratory protection: No special requirements if handled properly

Which is really strange, because look at this more up-to-date RoundUp datasheet from 2019 (due to takeover issued by Bayer, not Monsanto anymore). It advises safety googles, nitrile gloves, standard overall and coat category 3 Type 6, and even a respirator to avoid “residual risk”.

Other manufacturers wrote something else not just back then, like the above 2015 Sigma Aldrich data sheet (merely a year younger than that of Monsanto), but already in 2004, like this Caspar Berghoff KG data sheet here:

Respiratory protection: No special requirements if used properly.

Hand protection: Chemical-resistant protective gloves (EN374).

Eye protection: Tightly fitting protective goggles (goggles) (EN 166).

Body protection: protective suit, apron, protective shoes (according to Din-EN 346)

And this is why Monsanto lost in court. They lied to their customers about glyphosate safety, told them that no protective equipment was needed, all to keep the use and sales of RoundUp soaring high. It worked, Monsanto made astronomical amounts of cash by knowingly poisoning the public, while its executives and investors converted the scam into obscene personal wealth, especially after they sold Monsanto to Bayer. And now it will be the German public bailing out Bayer and paying the multi-billion dollar court bills, while execs like Bayer CEO Werner Baumann laugh all the way to the bank.

Meanwhile, Bayer lost one more appeal, so glyphosate will remain banned in Mexico, and yet another appeal in EU Supreme Court regarding three insecticides, which will remain partially banned in the EU because they harm bees.

Drink DDT

The pesticide debates go sometimes into direction of criminal insanity. I never thought I will see crop scientists defend DDT, probably the most toxic pesticide deployed in agriculture, even claim it was safe to drink, but here we are.

The tweet from Connor Ferguson (Twitter bio: “Jesus Christ is Lord. Husband and Father. Weed Science Faculty at Mississippi State University“) and references a bizarre video from 2010 made by a certain Rutledge Taylor who drank (or probably just pretended to drink) DDT. The unhinged agro-industry shills of ACSH issued a statement:

In his dissection of the rise of the environmental movement and the fall of science, Dr. Taylor not only educates us, but he also sparks outrage about the unforeseen consequences of a scientifically ignorant chemical witchhunt, one that has caused untold human suffering and billions of deaths, primarily among children.

These crooks want to see DDT sprayed again. The stuff annihilated over the decades of its global use entire ecosystems, killed all wildlife and gave many people cancer and all possible diseases, up until the 1962 book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson revealed the horrible devastation. Lawyers working for US nuclear industry used to argue with widespread DDT use as court evidence that it could not have been the radiation pollution alone which poisoned farmers in the Washington state.

ACSH are destructive sociopaths, who probably would have no qualms hailing radioactive waste as fertiliser, they are almost getting there while shilling for nuclear industry. Problem is, you will find many scientists citing ACSH and GLP as the champions of SCIENCE.

Now you know that these same scientists who tell you that glyphosate is perfectly safe, no particular protection is needed – they and their universities use professional PPE like nitrile gloves, overcoats, face shields and even respirators when applying glyphosate themselves.


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23 comments on “Hat, Socks and Glyphosate

  1. Dr. Schneider, I write for ACSH and I am not a sociopath although you made that claim twice in your article without any evidence – I would characterize it as an ad hominem attack. As to your link to an article on nuclear waste, the author suggested that we develop global protocols for its management. I am not sure how that is either sociopathic or acting as an industry shill.

    Like

    • Dr Dinerstein, claiming DDT is safe and even safe to drink is sociopathic. Otherwise, ACSH’s nuclear shilling is more than evident. You literally proposed to pollute Nevada with nuclear waste in that article.

      Like

  2. Osiander

    Leonid, you have to understand this kind of experts are simply trying to help compatibilize the development of the economy and industry, a little radiaoctive contamination that will last for thousands of years is nothing, think on all the jobs being created and the market value booming. That’s what counts.

    Like

  3. Ryan Thurman Nyquist BS

    Your post was well written and objective from a scientific standpoint. The world is a 50/50 balance of good vs evil. If societies are educated and demand non adulterated food this issue would be mute. Sadly, communities spray toxins for perfect lawns and no pests. Humans continue to control mother nature for their own selfish demands of cheap abundant animal proteins. Greed is imbedded in every human, but humans have the ability to control their actions. Glyphosate will be removed from the market eventually, but not until another newly created toxin with unknown consequences in the environment is developed

    Like

    • What you write is very sad and I think not scientific. For instance you write “Greed is imbedded in every human”. What scientific proof do you have of this statement? Is there a gene for greed? You seem to believe that the way some humans behave since the start of the industrial era defines mankind. But humans have existed on Earth for much longer than 150 years, have organized themselves in a variety of ways, and even nowadays there exist human groups on Earth that ignore private property, although these groups are quite small and tend to disappear.
      What you describe is a society, which due to the way it is organized has damaged Earth perhaps in an way that will make it uninhabitable.to humans. But it does not mean this cannot change. As you rightously write “humans have the ability to control their actions”. Unfortunately, the greedy ones managed to spread the idea that selfishness leads to happiness, while I think collective decisions for the common good are necessary instead.

      Like

  4. NMH, the failed scientist and incel

    “Glyphosate will be removed from the market eventually, but not until another newly created toxin with unknown consequences in the environment is developed”

    This is correct, evil or good.

    Like

  5. Steve Johnson

    Any comment on the claim that 1 million more children die from malaria per year after the DDT ban since there is no other pesticide nearly as effective against the mosquito. But it’s only African children so I guess that the trade-off against birds was worth it, right? I wonder why the WHO wants to bring DDT back?

    Like

    • Oh I love this argument, Dr Johnson. Suddenly it’s the anti-racists who are racists.
      Sure, sure, there is nothing else but DDT which can be used against malaria, of course. In Florida they just deployed GMO mosquitoes btw, usually science friends like you are all for GMO, but in this case you prefer DDR because it’s just so much better to be used on Black children.
      Here is something new about glyphosate, which you will say is NOT science:
      https://news.umich.edu/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-preterm-births/
      “Exposure to a chemical found in the weed killer Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides is significantly associated with preterm births, according to a new University of Michigan study.
      The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that the presence of the chemical in women’s urine in late pregnancy was linked to an increased risk for premature birth, while the association was inconsistent or null earlier in the pregnancy.

      Study was done in Puerto Rico, but why should we care about LatinX babies.
      https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP7295

      Like

    • Dan RIley

      The WHO doesn’t need to bring DDT back, it has never been gone–the relevant treaties and conventions explicitly allow DDT use for public health purposes. What is banned internationally is bulk DDT use for agricultural and other purposes besides public health. Uses other than public health are banned because persistent bulk DDT use breeds resistance faster and more reliably than alternative pesticides due to its long environmental persistence, and DDT resistance often gives mosquitoes a head start on resistance to malathion, pyrethroids, etc. In short, the DDT bans are there to preserve the effectiveness of DDT in combatting malaria. The claim about it killing millions is BS that originated with US conservative “think tanks” working for the tobacco industry.

      Like

  6. Steve Johnson

    Remember how Dow Chemical was forced to pay out billions of dollars in jury awards because of all the negative health effects of silicon breast implants? All that data against silicon until the rigorous double blind studies definitively proved that there were no adverse health effects from silicon. Too late for Dow. None of those billions paid out was ever returned. Follow the science. There are no studies that prove Roundup causes cancer in humans. And I mean prove as in reproducible scientific studies without bias. Of which there are currently none.

    Like

    • “We conducted a new meta-analysis that includes the most recent update of the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) cohort published in 2018 along with five case-control studies. […] We documented further support from studies of malignant lymphoma incidence in mice treated with pure glyphosate, as well as potential links between glyphosate / GBH exposure and immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, and genetic alterations that are commonly associated with NHL or lymphomagenesis. Overall, in accordance with findings from experimental animal and mechanistic studies, our current meta-analysis of human epidemiological studies suggests a compelling link between exposures to GBHs and increased risk for NHL.”
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1383574218300887
      There are other peer-reviewed studies. But as Folta teaches: the peer reviewed papers which support your paymaster’s views are SCIENCE, but the papers reviewed papers against your paymaster’s views are NOT science.
      Oh, and as for silicon breast implants which you as MD assert are perfectly safe:
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/20/pay-compensation-to-victims-of-defective-breast-implants-rules-paris-court

      Like

  7. “U.S. judge suggested on Wednesday that Bayer AG include a warning label on Roundup as part of a proposed $2 billion settlement to resolve future claims that the top-selling weedkiller causes cancer. [..]
    “For years I’ve been wondering why Monsanto wouldn’t do that voluntarily to protect itself,” said Chhabria, of a warning label. He said a label would prevent further lawsuits and free up money to create a better offer for people already exposed. […]
    The settlement would cover two types of Roundup users. Those with non-Hodgkin lymphoma but who have not retained a lawyer were described by the judge as “class one” and likely to include lots of migrant farm laborers.
    Class two covers healthy people who have been exposed to Roundup and become sick in the future. […]
    The stakes are high. Bayer has said that more than half of its herbicide revenue, which totaled nearly 5 billion euros ($6 billion) in 2020, was related to glyphosate.”
    https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/bayer-seeks-approval-2-bln-plan-limit-roundup-claims-2021-05-19/

    Like

  8. Email from BfR, in German original.
    In brief: the only glyphosate studies they acknowledge to have performed themselves were:
    1. One MSc thesis on glyphosate toxicity in vitro in 2016 (after the 2015 report was issued)
    2. Collaborative study on glyphosate content in mother’s milk, also in 2016
    BfR declared to require this PPE for glyphosate tests: Safety goggles, nitrile gloves, full face mask type P3/ respirator, lab coat.

    Sehr geehrter Herr Schneider,

    wir bedanken uns für Ihre Fragen und das damit zum Ausdruck gebrachte Interesse an der Arbeit unseres Instituts.

    Bevor wir Ihre konkrete Nachfrage beantworten, erlauben wir uns nochmals darauf hinzuweisen, dass es gemäß den gesetzlichen Vorgaben sowohl für die Genehmigung der Wirkstoffe als auch für die Zulassung der Pflanzenschutzmittel den Antragstellern obliegt, den Nachweis zu erbringen, dass die Genehmigungs- und Zulassungsvoraussetzungen erfüllt sind. Die Bewertungs- und Zulassungsbehörden haben ihrer Einschätzung die Antragsunterlagen und die verfügbaren und akzeptablen wissenschaftlichen Veröffentlichungen zugrunde zu legen.

    In den Verfahren ist es, analog den allgemeinen Vorgaben der Chemikalienbewertung, nicht vorgesehen, dass die Bewertungsbehörden eigene Untersuchungen zur Vervollständigung der Antragsunterlagen durchführen, vielmehr werden bei offenen Fragestellungen die Antragsteller mit entsprechenden Forderungen belegt, die vor einer Entscheidung über die Genehmigung oder Zulassung zu erfüllen sind.

    Das BfR als wissenschaftlich unabhängiges Institut im Geschäftsbereich des BMEL führt neben seinen Aufgaben als Bewertungsbehörde auch eigenständige Forschungsarbeiten durch, die indirekt mit den Genehmigungs- und Zulassungsverfahren in Verbindung stehen. Zudem fördert unser Haus Forschungsvorhaben von Dritten. Primär geht es darum, ausgehend vom wissenschaftlichen Kenntnisstand die existierenden Bewertungsverfahren und -konzepte im Sinne eines noch besseren Verbraucherschutzes und einer noch höheren Anwendungssicherheit weiter zu entwickeln und bislang offenen Fragestellungen eine wissenschaftliche Klärung herbeizuführen.
    Dabei wurden u.a. auch wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen mit Glyphosat bzw. glyphosathaltigen Mitteln im BfR durchgeführt oder an wissenschaftlich unabhängige Einrichtungen vergeben.

    Verwiesen wird auf die nachfolgende Arbeit, die am BfR durchgeführt wurde:

    Eine Masterarbeit im Rahmen des Masterstudiengangs Toxikologie zum Thema: Vergleich der Toxizität von Glyphosat und glyphosathaltigen Pflanzenschutzmitteln in vitro; Die Abschlussarbeit ist bei der Charite in der Bibliothek erhältlich und im Internet berichtet unter:
    https://master-toxikologie.charite.de/studium/abgeschlossene_masterarbeiten/

    Über eine Vergabe von Fördermitteln an Dritte wurde u.a. folgendes Projekt vom BfR initiiert und betreut:

    Untersuchungen zu Glyphosat in Muttermilch, nachdem in den Medien über Befunde von Glyphosat in 16 Muttermilchproben berichtet wurde. Gefördert durch das BfR haben renommierte Forschungslabore zwei unabhängige Analyseverfahren mit hoher Sensitivität entwickelt und damit 114 Muttermilchproben aus Niedersachsen und Bayern untersucht. Im Ergebnis musste mit Bezug auf die zuvor in den Medien berichteten 16 vermeintlichen Befunde von Glyphosat in Muttermilch festgestellt werden, dass die im Labor verwendete analytische Methode ungeeignet war und die durch die Medienmeldungen verursachten Befürchtungen unbegründet waren. Es wird verwiesen auf:
    https://www.bfr.bund.de/de/presseinformation/2016/08/bfr_studie_bestaetigt__kein_glyphosat_in_muttermilch_nachweisbar-196563.html

    Nun noch einmal zu Ihrer Frage: „Welches PPE wird bei Ihnen am BfR angewandt, wenn Glyphosat getestet wird?“

    Die grundlegenden Schutzmaßnahmen für die Tätigkeiten unter laborüblichen Bedingungen ergeben sich aus den einschlägigen Regelwerke wie z.B.:

    Ø DGUV Information 213-850 “Sicheres Arbeiten in Laboratorien”
    https://dguvi213-850.vur.jedermann.de/bgi850-0/xhtml/index.jsf?startSite=true&activeToolbarTab=document
    und die
    Ø TRGS 526 Laboratorien
    https://www.baua.de/DE/Angebote/Rechtstexte-und-Technische-Regeln/Regelwerk/TRGS/pdf/TRGS-526.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=2

    Ausgehend von der Gefahrenbeurteilung im Sicherheitsdatenblatt zu Glyphosat (als Anlage beigefügt) ergeben sich aktuell folgende stoffspezifische Schutzmaßnahmen für die Laborbeschäftigten:
    Ø Bei Stäuben Absaugung einschalten und in ihrem Wirkungsbereich arbeiten (Laborabzug). Gefäße nicht offenstehen lassen. Beim Ab- und Umfüllen bzw. beim Mischen Staubentwicklung vermeiden.
    Ø Nicht essen, trinken, rauchen oder schnupfen. Einatmen von Stäuben vermeiden. Berührung mit Augen, Haut und Kleidung vermeiden. Nach Arbeitsende und vor jeder Pause Hände und andere verschmutzte Körperstellen gründlich reinigen. Hautpflegemittel verwenden. Straßenkleidung getrennt von Arbeitskleidung aufbewahren! Arbeitskleidung nicht ausschütteln oder abblasen!
    Ø Behälter dicht geschlossen an einem gut gelüfteten Ort lagern.
    Ø Beschäftigungsbeschränkungen beachten!
    Ø Augenschutz: Korbbrille!
    Ø Atemschutz: Wenn nach der Gefährdungsbeurteilung zusätzlich zu den technischen Schutzmaßnahmen, ein luftreinigender Atemschutz erforderlich ist, ist ein umluftunabhängiger Atemschutz mit Vollmaske Typ P3 (EN 143) zu verwenden. Atemschutzgeräte und Komponenten müssen nach entsprechenden staatlichen Standards (beispielsweise NIOSH (US) oder, CEN (EU)) zugelassen sein.
    Ø Handschutz: Die ausgewählten Schutzhandschuhe müssen die Spezifikationen der EG-Richtlinie 2016/425 und die davon abgeleitete Norm EN 374 erfüllen. Material: Nitrilkautschuk (gemaß Handschuhplan)
    Ø Schutzkleidung: Flammhemmende Laborschutzkleidung aus Baumwolle und Schuhe mit antistatischen Sohlen tragen!

    Wir weisen Sie in diesem Kontext nochmals darauf hin, dass es sich bei den persönlich vorgegebenen Schutzmaßnahmen (Staubabsaugung, Handschuhe, Schutzbrille, Laborkittel, etc.) um allgemeingültige Vorgaben des Arbeitsschutzes im Labor handelt, die, unabhängig von Glyphosat, für die meisten Chemikalien gelten und daher keine zwingenden Rückschlüsse auf ein etwaiges substanzspezifisches Gefährdungspotential zulassen.

    Zudem ist hier zu berücksichtigen, dass die in den Sicherheitsdatenblättern hinterlegten Anweisungen immer für die Handhabung der Reinsubstanz gelten und sich damit automatisch von Maßnahmen für verdünnte Lösungen unterscheiden.

    Abschließend möchten wir auch nochmal darauf hingewiesen, dass die Einstufung und Kennzeichnung gemäß den Vorgaben der CLP-VO (EG) Nr. 1272/2008 lediglich eine Gefahrenbeurteilung und keine Risikobewertung darstellt. Eine Risikobewertung schließt neben der Gefahrenbeurteilung auch die Expositionswahrscheinlichkeit ein. Das kann auch bedeuten, dass Stoffe, die aufgrund ihrer inhärenten Eigenschaften eingestuft sind, unter Beachtung der Exposition ein geringeres Gesundheitsrisiko für den Menschen darstellen. Das bedeutet auch, dass die stoffspezifischen Schutzmaßnahmen für die Laborbeschäftigte nicht risikobasiert, sondern lediglich gefahrenbasiert abgeleitet werden.

    Abschließend bitten wir Sie, darauf zu achten, bei Internetveröffentlichungen den Datenschutz zu wahren, indem Namen von Mitarbeitenden von Behörden grundsätzlich nicht genannt werden.

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
    im Auftrag
    XXXX

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  9. Olivier

    Your articles on glyphosate bewilder me, as they go against the conclusions I read on other science-focused sites.

    For instance the researchers of the highly regarded Science-Based Medicine site regularly post articles disproving new claims alleging harmful effects from that chemical : https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/?s=glyphosate&category_name=&submit=Search. They’re also the kind of people that don’t just mention a study but analyse it, make sure the statistics are correct if the raw data if available, check if the study could be successfully replicated, etc. In short they’re pretty thorough.

    Hervé Maisonneuve, who has spent 30 years in research (both in the private and public sectors) and now has a blog dedicated to science integrity, such as yourself, and is also a member of the “Association Française pour l’Information Scientifique” (https://www.afis.org/spip.php?page=recherche&recherche=glyphosate&sens_lesarticlesdumot=-1), is of the same opinion https://www.redactionmedicale.fr/?s=glyphosate (sorry, only available in French).

    I am aware that a report from the American congress came to the conclusion that WHO was infiltrated by Purdue in order to sell Oxycontin in vast quantities (https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/05/world-health-organization-parroted-purdues-deceptive-opioid-claims-report-says/) – incidentally, Ars Technica also concludes that glyphosate is safe (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/06/glyphosate-is-safe-but-some-scientists-still-question-how-we-regulate-it/) – but the fact that WHO contradicted (http://www.who.int/foodsafety/jmprsummary2016.pdf?ua=1) its own agency IARC seem more likely motivated by the opposite conclusions reached by no fewer than 10 other agencies (https://glyphosatecancerquotesfrench.netlify.app/) sorry, the quotes are in French but they point to the original reports in English.

    As for the Reuters investigation that you call an attack, it seems to me to be a pretty biased term regarding a press organism which strives to be as neutral as is possible but of course, we’re all affected by confirmation bias, which is precisely the reason why I’m writing this comment…

    Edited: typos, poor phrasing (still not great I know…)

    Like

    • I wrote about IARC before. This article was even quoted as proof that IARC is corrupted to defend glyphosate.
      https://forbetterscience.com/2018/10/11/who-cures-cancer-in-photoshop/
      Anyway. Why do you think glyphosate manufacturers advise the use of PPE?

      Like

      • Olivier

        Well, we live in a world where abundance of caution is the norm. Much of Europe temporarily stopped AstraZeneca vaccination and France still only allows it for people over 55 years old vs 30 in the UK (ok, Europe got screwed with this deal, which might partly explain the decision). Bus as Steven Novella of SBM was pointing out, agencies were facing a no-win scenario (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/johnson-johnson-vaccine-and-blood-clots/)

        In the UK, there have been 3 deaths possibly linked to the vaccine for 30 millions actually safely vaccinated but we now know CVSTs may arise after vaccination and we even know what to do when it happens to prevent fatalities.

        Like

      • Europe? I quoted on PPE two US universities whose own professors declare glyphosate as safe to drink.

        Like

      • Olivier

        The no-win scenario that Steven Novella was referring to actually concerned the CDC and the FDA.

        You could argue that it’s the dose that makes the poison. Water is famously lethal if you drink too much of it too quickly (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill/).

        Still, just because some professors make some possibly outrageous claims does not mean that glyphosate is unsafe for the general public.

        FYI, I’m certainly not a fan of Bayer and pharmaceutical companies in general, that can raise prices of medicine as they wish in the US, more often than not making people bankrupt in the process. I’m just very surprised to read your point of view which goes against the conclusions reached by SBM, Ars Technica, l’AFIS, and others…

        Like

  10. The US court litigating glyphosate compensation rejected on 26 May Bayer’s proposal of a $2 Billion settlement with any potential future victims of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As reaction, Bayer announced to be selling its RoundUp to non-commercial users in a new formulation: without glyphosate.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-rejects-bayer-proposal-to-resolve-future-roundup-cases-11622057583

    “In a six-page Wednesday order, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco concluded that the proposal would benefit the company much more than Roundup users who blame the product for causing cancer. He pointed to what he called “glaring flaws,” including that it offered few benefits for those who haven’t yet gotten sick while forcing them to give up substantial legal rights down the line.
    Hours after the order, Bayer said it would abandon its efforts at a court-approved solution to address its future Roundup liability, which it said would have been the fairest, most-efficient approach.
    Instead, the company said it will pursue several avenues, including creating a new website with studies relevant to Roundup’s safety that could also be reflected on its label. Bayer, which stands by the safety of Roundup and its main ingredient, glyphosate, said the website wouldn’t draw any safety conclusions but would help users make their own decisions.
    The company also said it would rethink selling glyphosate-based products to the U.S. residential market but not to professional or agricultural users. The bulk of the lawsuits, it said, have come from U.S. residential consumers.
    The company could continue selling products under the Roundup brand but without glyphosate. “

    Like

  11. The racist eugenicists of Genetic Literacy Project now have a scoop.
    Glyphosate not only doesn’t cause cancer, it CURES cancer!
    Scientists who found glyphosate to be toxic are all stupid fraudulent shills of course, but a certain Zongbing You from Toulane University in New Orleans is a genius you must never doubt.
    Here GLP referencing You’s masterpieces, published in (pass the puke bucket) DovePress, MDPI and Oncotarget:
    https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2021/07/01/glyphosate-can-cure-cancer-yes-some-research-shows-that-but-what-does-it-mean-and-what-does-it-say-about-roundup-doomsday-claims/

    “The first such study was published in 2013. Researchers exposed human cancer cells in-vitro, or outside their normal biological context, to glyphosate and AMPA (the degradation product produced when glyphosate is metabolized). The experiment showed both substances inhibited cancer cell growth and promoted apoptosis (cell suicide), but left healthy cells unharmed, “…. suggesting that they have [potential] to be developed into a new anticancer therapy,” the authors concluded.

    The researchers published a followup study in 2015 and got a similar result. They exposed human prostate cancer cell lines to AMPA and a chemical called methoxyacetic acid (MAA), concluding that both chemicals could “…. be used as potential therapeutic drugs in the treatment of prostate cancer.”
    In a 2016 study, the research team that found potentially therapeutic effects of glyphosate tested their thesis in animals. They exposed 25 mice to two different doses of AMPA. Compared to a control group of 14 mice, the experiment revealed that “….treatment significantly inhibited growth and metastasis of …. prostate tumors and prolonged the survival time of the mice.” Summarizing their findings, the authors wrote:
    [T]hese results demonstrate that …. AMPA may be developed into a therapeutic agent for the treatment of prostate cancer.

    These are the papers:
    https://www.dovepress.com/glyphosate-and-ampa-inhibit-cancer-cell-growth-through-inhibiting-intr-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-DDDT
    https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/16/5/11750
    https://www.oncotarget.com/article/7055/text/

    Who will tell these dumb genetically illiterate f***s that they themselves used to preach glyphosate can never have any effect on humans or other animals at all because they lack the enzyme? How does this fit now?

    Like

    • Olivier

      And yet in this large prospective cohort study of over 50,000 licensed pesticide applicators, no less, someone had the gall the conclude “There was some evidence of increased risk of AML among the highest exposed group that requires confirmation.”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279255/

      Needless to say that all these crass media that pretend to be “scientific” (once referred to as a cancer by a reader of Ars Technica who thought the piece he was reading was not worthy of the publication), reported this result “as is” without the least bit of critical thinking. Or should I say reading.

      Indeed you only had to check the results in the paragraph above to find out that someone had clearly lied by omission: “In unlagged analyses, glyphosate was NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANTLY associated with cancer at any site. However, among applicators in the highest exposure quartile, there was an increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) compared with never users (RR = 2.44, 95% CI = 0.94 to 6.32, Ptrend = .11), though this association was NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT.” (capitalisation mine).

      And if you then checked the data they generously provided, you would d find out that even the given results were biased: the association that came closest to statistical significance was a NEGATIVE link with testicular cancer.
      So in effect, it would have then been slightly less dishonest to conclude “There was some evidence of DECREASED risk of testicular cancer that requires confirmation.”, starting with the basics: association does not mean causation.

      Again this media crusade against glyphosate baffles me when you consider that copper sulfate, which is unquestionably pretty toxic, is allowed as a fungicide and in ORGANIC agriculture too!!! This is just mental. I guess part of it is due to the bad rep of Monsanto and Big Pharma in general, which is mostly well deserved I would think, but which has got nothing to do with science…

      Like

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