Why should I care?
"Was it only animals that suffered from cancer due to glyphosate exposure?
The precise answer is, "NO." I would put an expletive before that monosyllabic response, but you get the idea. There are many more questions addressed. Here you can read through the WHO's glyphosate Q & A." 9
"Our evaluation was a review of all the published scientific literature on glyphosate and this was done by the world's best experts on the topic that in addition don't have any conflicts of interest that could bias their assessment," Straif said. "They concluded that, yes, glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans based on three strings of evidence, that is clear evidence of cancer in experimental animals, limited evidence for cancer for humans from real-world exposures, of exposed farmers, and also strong evidence that it can damage the genes from any kind of other toxicological studies." 10 Dr. Kurt Straif
"With the herbicides, they do kill the invertebrates and some of the fungus that the voles and mice eat, which of course, then flows through the food chain, and you lose the ecosystem with the wildlife." 5 Judy Banas
"Wildlife is adversely affected by forestry herbicide applications in many ways. First, the reduction of plant diversity limits availability of preferred foods, shelter, and breeding/rearing areas for young. During the first year after herbicide application, a very limited number of species regenerate, and wildlife population densities are drastically reduced. Avoidance of sprayed areas is reported for a number of years after herbicide treatment. As species that return to a given area seasonally are forced to re-locate, territorial boundaries are compromised and breeding and nesting behaviors are disturbed. Small mammals are more subject to predation due to loss of ground cover." 1 Daisy Goodman
"The provincial government in east coast New Brunswick has been spraying herbicides on 15,000 hectares of crown land since the 1970's when it first permitted pulp and paper companies to clearcut natural forest and replace it with plantations. The taxpayer funded programme is to benefit the lumber industry by protecting fast growing soft wood trees from encroaching hardwood saplings." 2 Marc Montgomery
"Wildlife is also directly affected by exposure to toxic chemicals. Although efforts are usually made to ensure that humans are not in target areas during spraying, other species are afforded no such protection. Exposure occurs through herbicide mixtures contacting fur and skin, through inhaled mist, and through eating sprayed foliage. Aquatic organisms are exposed to herbicides when water contamination occurs through drift or runoff from spray areas after rainfall." 1 Daisy Goodman
"Dermal (topical) exposure to herbicide products causes mild to severe effects, particularly to the eyes, depending on the active and inert ingredients. For example, imazapyr is classified by EPA as a "severe eye irritant", and the herbicide triclopyr requires a petroleum based carrier, typically diesel or kerosene, both of which are dangerous eye, skin and respiratory irritants. Exposure to diesel fuel reduces bird egg hatchability to almost zero." 1 Daisy Goodman
"In 2011, an Environmental Protection Agency scientific advisory panel found evidence of a link between atrazine exposure and diseases including ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and thyroid cancer. And when chemicals are applied in a mix, they can interact, which may lead to more harmful effects than when they're applied individually, according to a 2009 article in Environmental Health Perspectives." 3 Rebecca Clarren
"Ingestion of herbicides can occur initially when an animal attempts to clean itself after dermal exposure- particularly likely if the substance is irritating, and chronically through eating plants containing herbicide residues. Although there is no visible damage to plants immediately after spraying (mortality may take up to six weeks), residues are present in plant tissue and herbivores may be exposed repeatedly while feeding within a spray area. Glyphosate residues have been found in animal tissues at six weeks following spraying, and triclopyr, because it is a fat-soluble compound, has been shown to accumulate in the tissue of mammals. Humans consuming animals exposed to triclopyr in particular should be concerned about herbicide residues in meat." 1 Daisy Goodman
"Herbicides are also associated with reproductive problems. A strong correlation has been made between glyphosate exposure and decrease in sperm count and increase in abnormal and dead sperm in mammals. Exposure to sulfometuron methyl is linked with atrophied and degenerated testicles in rats and dogs. Both studies cited above point to disruption of reproductive function on the endocrine level, the body's hormone regulatory system, and raise grave concerns about the long term impacts of exposure, particularly to combinations of pesticides and other toxic ingredients of pesticide products. To date, no studies are available which specifically address endocrine disruption by any of the herbicides currently in use in forestry in Maine." 1 Daisy Goodman
Editors note: Wildlife Biologist Rod Cumberland has noted that reproductive rates in the New Brunswick deer population have dropped from 90% to 70%
"Recently, pesticide exposure has been linked to immune disfunction in numerous studies. A study by Swedish oncologists Drs. Lennart Hardell and Mikael Eriksson published in the journal of the American Cancer Society in early 1999 has revealed clear links between glyphosate exposure and development of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer of the lymphatic system which has increased worldwide at an alarming rate in recent years." 1 Daisy Goodman
"The cumulative impact of aerial spraying on wildlife is poorly understood because of the narrow focus of the research available at this time. The combination of stressors which occurs through exposure to a mixture of herbicides, surfactants, and inert ingredients presents a far more serious threat to an individual's survival than is provided by a controlled study of one chemical and one exposure route in the laboratory setting. Claims by the forest products industry that aerial spraying is harmless or beneficial to wildlife are hardly supported by the limited scientific literature that exists, and there is a serious lack of research available. Existing evidence shows that this practice alters the forest ecosystem on all trophic levels, but the real environmental impact of extensive aerial herbicide applications in Maine and northern New Hampshire is unknown. Should we continue to allow a giant environmental experiment to continue without challenge?" 1 Daisy Goodman
"Following a public hearing process, chemical herbicides were banned on Crown forest lands in Quebec in 2001. (Crown lands constitute about 90 percent of the provincial forest land base.) Today, these forests are being managed under an ecosystem-based management philosophy that seeks to take advantage of natural succession patterns rather than clearcutting and planting." 4 Dave Manse III
"Cover of wildlife forage species was significantly reduced by glyphosate application compared to no treatment." 5 S.E. Hoyles, B.S. Biring., W.J. Hays
"Recent studies have shown that amphibians are one of the most sensitive vertebrate groups to the toxicological effects of (glyphosate) herbicide. The LC50 (lethal concentration) value for many amphibians is between 10 and 1 mg a.e./L, and for some amphibians the LC50 is between 1 and 0.1 mg a.e./L (acid equivalent, a.e., is a measure of the amount of the active glyphosate ingredient in herbicide formulations). Therefore, glyphosate herbicides are classified as moderately to highly toxic to amphibians. In addition, the expected environmental concentration (EEC) of glyphosate herbicides of 1.43 mg a.e./L is at or above the estimated LC50 value for some amphibians, particularly when water pH is above 7. Amphibians may also suffer from a variety of sublethal effects (e.g., impaired growth and development, behaviour, physiological parameters, and genomic characteristics) and indirect impacts (e.g., mediated through interaction with competitive and predatory stress, and changes to the food resources, temperature, pH, and UV light) arising from the use of glyphosate herbicides." 5 Purnima Govindarajulu
"Now in 2010, many researchers would argue that the impact is not only to tadpoles. Indeed, the latest work coming out of Colombia (where a very similar formulation of Roundup is being used to kill coca plants), researchers have found that the typical applications rates used to kill plants have the ability to kill up to 30% of some adult amphibians on land(Bernal et al. 2009). This is consistent with the results of our own study of adult sensitivity in 2005." 5 Dr. Rick Relyea
"Many regulatory and scholarly reviews have evaluated the relative toxicity of glyphosate as an herbicide. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment toxicology review in 2013 found that "the available data is contradictory and far from being convincing" with regard to correlations between exposure to glyphosate formulations and risk of various cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). A meta-analysis published in 2014 identified an increased risk of NHL in workers exposed to glyphosate formulations. In March 2015 the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic in humans" (category 2A) based on epidemiological studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies." 6 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate
"Glyphosate does have the potential to contaminate surface waters due to its aquatic use patterns and through erosion, as it adsorbs to soil particles suspended in runoff. Limited leaching can also occur after high rainfall after application. If glyphosate reaches surface water, it is not broken down readily by water or sunlight.
"The half-life of glyphosate in soil ranges between 2 and 197 days; a typical field half-life of 47 days has been suggested. Soil and climate conditions affect glyphosate's persistence in soil. The median half-life of glyphosate in water varies from a few to 91 days. ... A 2009 study using a RoundUp formulation concluded absorption into plants delays subsequent soil degradation and can increase glyphosate persistence in soil from two to six times." 6 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate
"Certain chemicals in the environment are estrogenic. Low potencies of these compounds when studied singly may indicate little effect on biological systems. However, combinations of two weak estrogen-mimicking chemicals were 1000 (!) times as potent as any chemical alone. This synergistic interaction of chemical mixtures with the estrogen receptor has profound environmental implications." 7 Steven F. Arnold
"The Irvings create a monopoly. The Irvings' focus on relentless expansionism has meant they've been effective at driving out competitors. Bowser recalls talking to a Swiss investor in 2006. "He said that the most corrupt place he'd ever been in, even worse than in Africa, was New Brunswick," says Bowser. "He came in with a very large investment in solar and wind (power) and he was driven out of the province by Irving. (They) ganged up with the government to do these things.""8
1 Aerial Herbicide Spraying- Poisoning the Maine (and New Hampshire) Woods - Daisy Goodman
2 Calls to end "ludicrous" herbicide spraying in public forests in New Brunswick - Marc Montgomery
3 Timberland herbicide spraying sickens a community - Rebecca Clarren
4 The Great Glyphosate Debate - Dave Manse III http://northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/the-great-glyphosate-debate
7 Arnold, Steven F., et al (1996) "Synergistic activation of estrogen receptor with combinations of environmental chemicals." SCIENCE, 272:1489-1492 (7 June).
And finally, as the author and compiler of this web site. I would like to add my own thoughts about our actions and reactions to this issue.
Why should I care?
We can't stop thinking after we ask "is it directly toxic to humans?". This is about more than the direct effect of human exposure to Glyphosate. It is about how we view and treat our world; our life support system, and I think that in general we are failing miserably by ignoring it and the use of herbicides is just one small bit of all that we choose to look past.
As a species, we do not view the biosphere; that we depend on for survival, as having the same inalienable rights as us humans. Thus, we have to stop and question our survival instincts and prospects. Until we can conduct ourselves with absolute respect and reverence for all the natural world around us I can't see a promising future for our children.