Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Glyphosate Persistence in the Environment

Photo: http://library.thinkquest.org/03oct/00946/accounts/human.htm
Glyphosate, or Round Up has been found in rain and rivers throughout the Mississippi River watershed.  Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, with an increase from 11,000 tons used in 1992 to 88,000 tons in 2007.  However there have been few tests to determine glyphosate contamination, persistence and potential health effects because it is expensive to test for the presence of glyphosate. 
Glyphosate was frequently detected in surface waters, rain and air where it is heavily used in the basin.  It persists in streams throughout the growing season in agricultural hotspots like Iowa and Mississippi, but is not observed in other times of the year.  However the degraded product in glyphosate, aminomethylphosphonic acid or AMPA was frequently detected in streams and even in rain.  These studies were completed as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program to study water quality conditions and whether they are getting better or worse over time. 
The EPA has set a deadline of 2015 to determine if glyphosate has been continued to be sold or in some way limited. Round up has been sold consistently to the agricultural sector since it was first marketed in 1974 . . . that will have been over 40 years of unlimited use before regulations or restrictions are considered.  These findings along with with new studies about superweeds raise doubt about industry claims that glyphosate is harmless in our environment.


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