It sounds sensible enough, test the "active ingredient" of a pesticide, insecticide or herbicide to see how toxic it is, and ignore the "inert ingredients". Turns out, that's a colossal mistake.
Pesticides are used throughout the world as mixtures called formulations. They contain adjuvants, which are often kept confidential and are called inerts by the manufacturing companies, plus a declared active principle, which is usually tested alone. We tested the toxicity of 9 pesticides, comparing active principles and their formulations, on three human cell lines (HepG2, HEK293, and JEG3). Glyphosate, isoproturon, fluroxypyr, pirimicarb, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole, and prochloraz constitute, respectively, the active principles of 3 major herbicides, 3 insecticides, and 3 fungicides. We measured mitochondrial activities, membrane degradations, and caspases 3/7 activities. Fungicides were the most toxic from concentrations 300–600 times lower than agricultural dilutions, followed by herbicides and then insecticides, with very similar profiles in all cell types. Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested. Most importantly, 8 formulations out of 9 were up to one thousand times more toxic than their active principles. Our results challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake for pesticides because this norm is calculated from the toxicity of the active principle alone. Chronic tests on pesticides may not reflect relevant environmental exposures if only one ingredient of these mixtures is tested alone. [emphasis mine]
Stefanie Steneff at MIT mentions, in Meet the Controversial MIT Scientist Who Claims She Discovered a Ca..., that wheat and sugar cane farmers have begun drenching their crops with Roundup (active principal glyphosphate) three to four days before harvest, to make harvesting more convenient.
Glyphosate is being sprayed on wheat right before the harvest. This has become a more and more popular practice among farmers. We found specific data in the UK showing a dramatic increase in the practice of spraying the wheat with glyphosate right before the harvest. This is three or four days before they harvest the seed. You can’t imagine that that glyphosate has disappeared in those three or four days. The intent is to kill the plant.
Wheat, of course, is not GMO, it’s not Round-Up ready. ... This is a very convenient practice. It reduces the effort involved in the combine when you’re harvesting the wheat.
... in Sri Lanka and in El Salvador ... agriculture workers who are working in sugarcane fields that are sprayed with glyphosate right before the harvest just as wheat is: these workers are dying at a young age from kidney failure.
Put this practice together with a thousand fold toxicity - we're talking food supply poisoning.
Thanks for bringing this horror to our attention! So-called "inert ingredients" that magnify toxicity a thousandfold... The "death toast" image is not an exaggeration.
US citizens have ten times as much glyphosphate, the pesticide in Roundup, in their breast milk and urine as Europeans. Even our organic food is fertilized by manure from animals fed Roundup-contaminated feed. Meanwhile other countries aren't buying Roundup-drenched GMO foods. In the US, the EPA relies on "science" from Monsanto, instead of independent testing. Bioaccumulation is apparently ignored. It's a clear case of regulatory capture.
What is bioaccumulation? That's when a poison in an animal's food gets extra concentrated in it's own tissues. So the glyphosphate from a woman's diet gets saved up, then included at orders of magnitude higher concentrations in her breast milk.
... breast milk carries many times the allowable amount of glyphosate, also called Roundup, ...
... scientists found glyphosate at “760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides.” These levels are less than allowable levels set by America’s Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has been led to believe that glyphosate exits the body and does not accumulate. How could they think that?
The answer is that, in an atmosphere of austerity and trade secrets, the government listens to industry scientists. Senior Monsanto scientist Dan Goldstein recently stated “If ingested, glyphosate is excreted rapidly, does not accumulate in body fat or tissues, and does not undergo metabolism in humans.”
... urine from American consumers had also been tested and researchers found ten times the glyphosate as urine in European consumers.
America’s favorite herbicide, Roundup, has been sprayed on an estimated 90% of American farmland, and ..., American regulators are set to approve even more chemicals for even more genetically modified crops.
Not only is this chemical going into future Americans at an alarming rate, denying its regulation is a major part of American international policy.
So what should American consumers do?
Unfortunately, the easiest path, eating organic foods, has also been corrupted by agribusiness. Our rural communities are not owned and run by the same citizens that founded them. Instead, animals are owned by the giant corporations and raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These CAFOs have become producers of meat to export, yes, and they also produce tons of manure. Due to organic rules, this crap goes onto organic crops. The crops are used to make organic foods under a label that consumers trust. In other words, organics have become enablers of the bad system. [emphasis mine]
I used to use Roundup liberally, but finally decided it's better to be safe than sorry, so I now spray nothing on my garden or yard.