glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by milifestyle, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    There's been a few comments about Monsanto not telling us what surfactants they use. I'd like to check that we all understand that glyphosate is the "active" chemical, and that it is supplied in many formulations by many different companies. When we say "Monsanto won't tell us what they are", are we clear that Monsanto may not even KNOW - if the product in question is not a Monsanto product (the patent on glyphosate has expired) then Monsanto themselves may have no idea and no control of the actual formulation.

    Personally I use:

    Roundup PowerMax (Monsanto via Nufarm)
    Ripper 480 (Dow)
    Clear-up (Rygel)
    Firebolt (Sipcam)

    These are all glyphosate products, and that's before things like Arsenal (NuFarm) which contains glyphosate amongst other things (imazapyr in this case).

    There are many others on the market from other companies as well.

    Much of the actual active glyphosate is no longer manufactured by Monsanto. To expect them to "tell us" how they make their own formulations better than anyone else's is a tad unrealistic, because if people knew how to take raw (cheap) glyphosate and make it work like Powermax, they probably would. In the same way that the guy who wins all the vegetable prizes at the town show every year is unlikely to "tell us" everything he does to make them that good!

    And I thought it was those spikey spores that caused rain..... oh my god, Monsanto tried to knock the spikes off them as well, didn't they? Perhaps Monsanto are actually trying to stop the rain.... or was that Mr Burns blotting out the sun? No, no, it all makes sense. GM products that are Roundup Ready, stop the rainfall and then sell GM "drought tolerant" products. I wondered where Monsanto's angle was with drought tolerant GM, because they make no profit from selling "drought", but.....if....they....can...create....drought.... they would be the only seed supplier in the world....... it all makes sense......

    I wonder when that theory will become "truth".... :wink:
     
  2. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    So ZZZZZSSSSSTTTTTT I cant compete with all that typing since all those cholinesterase inhibitors (that supposedly dont :evil: ) made me unable to use my hands much :p

    but I have this mental image of you surrounded by Monsanto propaganda (ooopps you probably call it facts sheets or something :lol: )
    typing like mad :ANAL: If Monsanto arent paying you they should be :lol: :lol:

    but overall the fact remains that wholesale poisoning of the enviroment is not what Permacultur is all about :(

    frosty
     
  3. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    i agree with frosty....

    Tezza
     
  4. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    A well, an interesting thought! In fact, and quite obviously, I do not get paid by Monsanto, nor do I easily fall for propaganda - and let's be totally honest, the information that is peddled by the "anti" brigade is just as much marketing as that supplied by the "pro".

    It's interesting how people are predisposed to a viewpoint. Some people will instantly dismiss any information provided by a chemical company (for example) as untrue, and believe anything they are told by an "organic" (or whatever) source. The reality is that both groups are out to push a product or agenda, and so the likelihood is that both sets of information contain some truth, some exageration and some outright lies. I believe it is the responsibility of the individual to sort through that data and establish the truth. Unfortunately this does not often happen, either through lack of facts, or lack of skills, or lack of experience, and people tend to simply believe or accept what fits easily with their established position. Whether this is an opinion on a product like glyphosate, or a belief that changing a tap can save water, it is simply down to believing what serves the individual.

    You clearly believe that glyphosate is very bad, and that it has done you some damage. On the other hand, tens of thousands of farmers across the world use it regularly with no adverse affects. I personally believe that the more "natural" we can be, the better. However I am realistic enough to understand that without "agricultural chemicals" our ability to produce food would diminish enormously - and people would simply starve. I also take issue with the concept that "Roundup" is to blame in your case. You have said that you lived in an area where Roundup was used all the time, and this caused the problem. That would be fine if you know (that's "know", not "believe"), that it was indeed only Roundup that was used, not Roundup plus other things, or other things on their own. I would also have to assume that if Roundup was to blame then everyone who was involved with the spraying, and everyone who lived in the area were equally affected. Because if you alone suffered this damage it would surely make more sense that something more specific to YOU was to blame. Now that may indeed be that you are somehow far more susceptible to Glyphosate (or something else that was sprayed) than nearly everyone else on the planet. But it may equally something else entirely. As I said earlier, cause and effect requires more than just a convenient timeline. I get a headache from drinking too much red wine, but then so does almost everybody else, each and every time they drink too much. A swift analysis of the metabolism of alcohol demonstrates why. So we have a large volume of evidence, and a clear cause. In the case of glyphosate, the enormous body of experience demonstrate that it is , within reason, safe. An evaluation of the chemistry of the product shows no reason for it to cause a problem. My own experience, and that of everybody I know from my neighbouring farmers to the guy spraying weeds at the petrol station, tells me that this product is safe. I spray a paddock with Roundup (nil stock witholding) and the livestock in that paddock are fine, as is my dog who stupidly decides to chase the sprayrig until I notice and chain him up. Every now and then I accidentally get a splash of Roundup (either neat or tank dilution) on me, with no ill effects.And yet I am supposed to believe that a boy died from walking on a sprayed area? I will believe that he died AFTER walking on a sprayed area, but AFTER is just timing. For example he walked on a sprayed area, then continued on his way home and was hit by a truck......Yes, he died after walking on Roundup, NO the death was not related to the Roundup in any way.

    Your other point about PC not being about wholsesale poisoning of the environment is interesting. Why not? Surely permaculture is about the creation of a permanent culture/agriculture living within its means, in a sustainable way? Are you suggesting that we can only approach that task using certain practices and techniques?

    By the way, I am sorry for all the typing. All my exposure the Roundup has yet to affect me!
     
  5. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    Well of course you do. It's a viewpoint that fits your predisposition. That's why you're here on this forum, to communicate with "like minded individuals", something that has enormous benefits and I entirely agree with. The danger, however, comes when a group of likeminded individuals ceases to analyse information and simply accepts what others say BECAUSE it fits their predisposition. This is very common, and the internet has made it an everyday thing. Anybody can create a website that looks very convincing, with "facts" to support their claims, knowing full well that the predisposed will be sucked in.

    On a forum such as this, with potentially no "non-permaculture" speakers, inevitably there is a rapid development of an almost fanatical zeal that goes unchecked. The real world is forgotten, issues become distorted and things that otherwise would be laughable become "fact".

    I found this forum through a search (can't remember what for) and started reading. It contains some useful information. It also contains much that is exactly what my previous paragraph refers to - a sort of Chinese Whispers escalation of misinformation. There are discussions about farming practice that clearly have no knowledge of the subject at hand, which overlaid on an apparent predisposition to believing that farmers are bad, results in a set of conclusions that are so inaccurate or misguided as to beggar belief. So, until I become too busy or too bored to continue (or the moderators ban me!), I will attempt to provide a farmers viewpoint on the forum. Whilst I do not have any realistic expectation that many people will suddenly change their views, I do hope that some will perhaps consider that a discussion carried out in isolation by a group of likeminded people may not, in fact, represent the "truth" - especially when few if any of the people in the discussion have any experience or knowledge (other than that gleaned from equally biased sources) of the other side of the discussion.
     
  6. Salkeela

    Salkeela Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    I am a scientist with a keen interest in permaculture who has taken the time to read zsstt's posts. Zsstt, you are speaking a LOT of sense and are obviously NOT a schill for monsanto or any other petrochemical organisation.

    Occam's razor is hard to apply and as you point out facts can easily be mis-read.

    Indulge me as I use an example to illustrate my point:

    My example involves a news article by the BBC stating that breast feeding reduces the mother's chances of heart disease. I breast fed all of my children for 8months to a year so it is an issue that I "want" to hear good about.

    The article went on to describe how the study was run. The study looked at post menopausal women and compared groups who had breast fed with women who had not. It found the first group to be healthier (specifically they had less heart disease) and so the article concluded that the breastfeeding had caused their improved health. At first glance this seems to be a very valid and sensible conclusion. Indeed the issues are linked - but correlation is not the same as causation. The breastfeeding may not have been the cause.

    The article made no mention of the fact that women who choose to breast feed are more likely to be interested in all health issues, and so they are more likely to take good care of themselves (diet, exercise etc.). This means that really all the "breastfeeding" issue has done is separate the women into groups of those who take bodily health seriously and those who take it less seriously (of course there can be some exceptions to this generalisation but in a large study these would have little effect).

    So the difference between these two groups will extend to more than just whether they breastfed or not. One or more of the other differences may in fact have been the cause of the difference! (I suspect that the diet/exercise of the two groups may have been quite different.) Correlation does not therefore mean causation!

    In other words simply encouraging breast-feeding without other changes to lifestyle may NOT bring about the improved health observed in the study.


    So I do agree entirely with a healthy skepticism of all company propaganda. Spin is a marketing tool. Yet, as you say zzsst, those who are fighting the spin are just as susceptible to propagating some spin of their own ..... As a casual observer it does sometimes become very hard to tease out the facts from the spin..... and therein lies our problem.

    This has been an interesting discussion - thankyou zzsst for taking the time to explain.

    My own position is that I have used Round Up in very limited areas and very rarely (last time 2 years ago). I don't particularly like using it, because I want to see what is achievable without resorting to purchased chemicals, but I do not rule out using it again if I so choose. However I do not make my living by farming and neither do I even grow all my own food.

    I wish we could all return to an Eden where there was enough fertile healthy, land for everybody to grow as much as they wanted without needing fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides or any other oil-produced intervention. However the reality is that our population size is now dependent on what modern agriculture can produce. Many farmers are now introducing more wildlife friendly techniques and practices and most farmers round here have a VERY healthy interest in what is best for their land and for themselves (combined with a need to produce an income - this is real life).

    Permaculture is relatively new and switching to a different type of agriculture cannot happen quickly (there can be a time lag for example before permacultural practices reach full productivity). So we should all take baby steps. There is interest out there, but history has shown us that sweeping changes brought in on a whim rarely succeed as intended and so farmers are rightly resistant to sudden changes.

    Permaculture will be best served if it can become an alternative for farmers to start along side their existing currently successful farming techniques. Permaculturalists need to be careful not to alienate the exact group of people they hope to influence. I sort of straddle two groups here: many of my friends are farmers and I own land but I earn my keep as a science teacher. Communication is key here and then there is a chance that ideas can be exchanged in a healthy positive manner.

    Just my 2p worth.... and now I'd better get a move on I have a class to teach this morning.

    Sal
     
  7. Arby

    Arby Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    With your extreme arrogance and ignorance, I wasn't sure where to start until this. If you seriously believe the above quote, you are not nearly as smart or informed as you want these readers to believe. Or, you are completely delusional.

    Go ahead, "zzsstt". I know you're itching to type another 10,000 words so tell the readers here how the U.S. chemical regulatory process works. More specifically, explain the following:

    1)who actually does the "testing"?
    2)what is required?
    3)who gave who broad authority for regulation and what year?
    4)and finally, tell the readers who the tax funded government watch dog is and tell us what they have had to say about all this since the beginning of the regulation period.

    You come across as authoritative, claim to have worked for chemical companies and know things as "fact". Here's your opportunity to substantiate. I understand it might take you a while to look all this up so no need to rush a reply in. :lol:

    I --as I'm sure many other readers here are-- am really looking forward to your answers.
     
  8. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    Why is it that when peoples beliefs are questioned they suddenly get aggressive or abusive? I got an aggressive post full of emoticons earlier, which I ignored, now I have another!

    When I first typed the post you are quoting I actually included the phrase "supposedly", because I suspected someone would jump on it. I then rephrased it "when used appropriately".

    Anyway, to answer your "question", like most things the process and authorities vary from country to country. The registration process for any chemical also depends on the use of the product. In the pharmaceutical industry the process takes many years, starting with animal testing, moving through testing on volunteers in laboratories and with the final stages being clinical trials carried out by Doctors. These Doctors work to protocols written by the Pharmaceutical company to select suitable patients and monitor efficacy and adverse events. The trials are carried out double blind. It is, I agree, unfortunate that the company in question is responsible for carrying out the testing and analysing the data, although the raw data is included in the reports and is checked by the relevant authorities in the review process. On the other hand, given that the profit from the drug goes to the company I think you would have a hard time persuading a government or third party to carry out the testing, it is after all very expensive. By the way, who actually does the testing, who reviews the data and who authorises anything is utterly irrelevant because there is so much money tied up in the process that a person with anti-chemical beliefs will always be able to claim that the system is corrupt.

    In fact, all testing is open to criticism. I am told the USA use (or used to use) Marines for chemical threshold testing (this may in turn be a rumour?), which of course means that such a threshold is irrelevant for children. However to continue with that analysis, it is utterly impossible to test everything for every possible combination of events, or to accurately assess the risk of long term exposure in anything other than real time (accelerated testing or statistical extrapolation are simply guesswork). It is also very hard to define what constitues an acceptable risk, there is nothing on earth that does not pose a risk to your health, if used by the wrong person in the wrong way (you are 80% water, but you can still drown).

    So what we are left with is either total stagnation - nothing "new" can be considered safe until it is time-proven, but it cannot be time-proven unless it is actally used - or adoption of some generally accepted definition of "acceptable risk" and some generally accepted level of testing to assure a product falls within that risk level. There will, of course, always be people who claim this "is not enough". I find myself wondering if they extend that concept to everything that has not been around for 100's of years, or whether it is just the more obvious or fashionable subjects that arose their passions. Do these people refuse to eat, wear and touch anything that they have not produced themselves, presumably not because they type on their plastic-chemical keyboard! Maybe because the keyboard is not "designed" to kill things it is OK, or maybe they are unaware that the testing for that plastic and its constituents was done in much the same way as that of any other chemical?

    The reason that I find this subject amusing is that the vast majority of people have exposure to "chemicals" almost constantly, even using the "plastic-man-made" definition of chemical. I have (as has been pointed out) made comment of other more harmful chemicals we are exposed to. For obvious legal reasons I will not mention the product by name, though I will say it is not a pharmaceutical or agricultural product, but I was involved in the development of a product that (I would guess) each and everyone reading this post contacts more or less daily. As with all things, the manufacturer was constantly trying to make the product better or more importantly cheaper to make. The constituent products ("chemicals") were under constant development, and suddenly one was synthesized that was not only better but also WAY cheaper than the previous best. Sadly it failed its safety testing (done by a third party lab in the approved manner) in a spectacular way. Not to be put off, some very minor changes were made to it's chemistry and it was retested, with marginally better results (but still a fail). Eventually this chemical was tested by every lab that could be found, under varous names, until it scraped a pass (presumably a particularly tough mob of rats!). That chemical is now included in the production formulation, in a product that we all contact every day.

    Now, before anyone else says it, yes I know this proves that "they" can't be trusted. But, as I said right at the beginning, NOBODY WITH ANYTHING TO GAIN CAN BE TRUSTED. "We" are pushing permaculture as the solution, whilst conveniently ignoring the failure of every large PC project. We quote their successes in the past, and forget to mention that they no longer exist. It's called "marketing", and we all do it.

    This does not change the fact that there are probably millions of people using a product with no obvious problems. A very small number of people suggest that they have had problems, but even if all their problems do indeed come back to this product (which is unproven at this stage), compare this to the damage done by sugar, overeating, cars, or probably gymnasia (?). If we are to use that as justification to ban a product then surely we should start on the things that do more harm?

    I am sorry that I did not list the various authorities for you. As you suggested, anyone can Google and find the results. I imagine that you could find a number of sites that will tell you how corrupt it all is as well, as well as a few references to falsified test results, which I'm guessing you're writing off as unimportant or themselves lies, given that the entire system is corrupt?** Like I said, we can either consider the bulk of evidence in a rational manner or react according to our predisposition.

    Is everyone who disagrees with you "arrogant and ignorant"?

    **All people and organisations are, in fact, politically motivated. I was involved with the banning of a product that was (honestly) perfectly good, simply because the media hooked in to a Doctor who took some out-of-context data and (I'm guessing) wanted to make a name for himself. The banning was entirely political (aren't they all?), served no purpose and removed a product that could have been useful to many people.
     
  9. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    to be honest I cant be bothered reading most of your parroted propaganda and personal insults - although I scanned enough to gather you are arrogant and ignorant as Arby suggests :p

    I would like you to tell me how you are going to continue farming once you cant use petroleum products ?

    You will probably ask why should you even consider it :lol: I doubt the fact that natural resources like oil will not continue to be available has ever penetrated your over confident existence but it is going to happen .......... and when it does I fear you and your followers may starve :ANAL:

    but it wont make a bit of difference to our food production methods 8)

    So my answer to your last line is a resounding YES 8)
     
  10. stevieray

    stevieray Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    +1

    If you are going to make claims you should be prepared to back them up, or provide a disclaimer that they are merely opinion. If someone questions those unsubstantiated claims they are not arrogant, and they are proclaiming their ignorance by asking for references to studies or other supporting evidence that you haven't supplied.

    It seems to me that all Zsstt is guilty of is a healthy prejudice against zealotry.

    PS. I rarely use glyphosate but have used it on occasion when other methods of weed eradication is impractical for the specific situation.
     
  11. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    I sincerely apologise if you found any of my comments to be "personal insults", in fact I thought I had been quite restrained. I have in fact made every effort to read your posts and everyone elses, and do my best to answer the questions (which I do appreciate are actually just goads), though I know full well that you, as you have stated, are not even going to read my answers. Those who have closed their minds on this issue, or any other, are unlikely to be swayed, and I include you in that group. They will either not bother to read, or be deliberately insulting - or both! Those who actually want to learn will read all the information available and then make up their minds. To be honest it is of no more importance to me what you (or anyone else) thinks, than what I think is important to you. I am no big fan of any large corporation, I am not dedicated to a particular farming technique, political party or anything else. It is my aim to reduce my own use of chemicals, eventually to grow as much as possible of my own food and to minimse my "footprint". But I do sincerely believe that all information (including mine) should be questioned and analysed, therefore I question (or refute, if I have reason to believe it is inaccurate) what I read, and will do my best to answer any questions that others pose.

    That largely depends on the state of society at that time. The way I see it, unless we have come up with a large scale transport system that does not use oil based products, there will be no point in "farming" the way we do now, because with no means of transporting large quantities of food over large distances there will equally be little point in producing them. If, however, we have designed such a transportation system, I would assume that the same techniques will be used to power farm machinery, and to return the "waste products" from the consumers back to the farming areas to fertilise the next crop. The power required to drive pumps etc. would presumably come from the usual suspects of wind, solar etc., and the same sources would also provide the energy required to manufacture whatever else I need.

    If things have go the way you suggest, I would guess there will be millions of city dwellers starving - or more likely rampaging across the countryside getting food wherever they can, which of course means my farm and your (I'm not sure what you are or have, so forgive me if this is wrong) garden will have been looted and trampled. On the other hand, if by the time the oil runs out we have evolved a non petroleum based mechanism for continuing the city/rural divide that we currently have, then you will still be growing all your own food (I assume) and I will still be farming. I am surprised, however, that you are worried about this. Do you not believe that climate change, GM crops or Roundup poisoning will have wiped us all out by then anyway?

    [By the way, if you think it gives my postings any additional impact or credence please imagine they are covered with smilies.]
     
  12. Arby

    Arby Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    In your case --at least for me-- it is because you come across as excessively arrogant. Your tone suggests that other peoples concerns with chemicals are unfounded, overblown and incorrect.

    Since you couldn't explain to the readers how the US (or any for that matter) federal chemical regulatory process works, I will (the FDA controls the drug end which is not what we're talking about here). I use the US as an example because I'm familiar with its process but also because they are presumed to be the leader. The US chemical industry is the world's largest, and the second largest chemical exporter, at least it was in the 90's. So, in trying to compete with zzsstt's longwindedness :rolleyes: --except I will provide references-- here goes:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), has broad authority to regulate existing and new chemicals. This is implemented through the EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS). EPA’s authority to regulate was given when the TSCA was enacted by congress in 1976 at which time 62,000 chemicals were already in commerce. 2006 https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=A57870

    For new chemicals since that enactment, TSCA requires chemical manufacturers to notify the EPA of its intent to manufacture any new chemicals. This is known as a “premanufacture review”. The TSCA then requires submission of data already in the possession of the chemical company that shows potential exposures and ecological and health effects. Chemical “companies generally do not voluntarily perform such testing” (GAO, 2005) https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=A26437 for the premanufacture review and “are not required to develop the data unless EPA promulgates a test rule” (GAO, 2005). https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=A41117

    Absent this testing, “EPA predicts new chemicals' toxicity by using models that compare the new chemicals with chemicals of similar molecular structures that have previously been tested” (GAO, 2005). https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=A26437

    For the 62,000 chemicals in commerce prior to the 1976 TSCA enactment, the EPA can obtain data but only under their time-consuming and costly burden. As of 2006, the EPA has “used its authorities to require testing of fewer than 200” https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.php?rptno=GAO-06-1032T&accno=A57870 of those 62,000 chemicals.

    Below are excerpts taken from reports filed by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan investigative agency that studies “the programs and expenditures of the federal government”. https://www.gao.gov/about/what.html


    1984, Assessment of the New Chemical Regulation Under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA)
    “GAO found that EPA's premanufacture review is limited in scope and that its assessment of risk is frequently made with considerable uncertainties regarding the chemical's toxicity. As a result, EPA needs to take action to monitor changes in the manufacture and use of chemical substances after their premanufacture review. GAO also found that EPA has performed few enforcement inspections and has fallen considerably short of achieving its enforcement inspection goals for the new chemicals program”. The full 61 page report can be found at the following address: https://archive.gao.gov/d6t1/124629.pdf

    1991, Toxic Substances: Status of EPA's Reviews of Chemicals Under the Chemical Testing Program
    “More than 60,000 chemicals are used commercially in this country, some of which have been shown to cause tumors, birth defects, and cancer. Other chemicals may be just as harmful, but adequate data do not exist to make that determination”. https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=145394 The full 56 page report can be found at the following address: https://archive.gao.gov/t2pbat7/145394.pdf

    1995, Toxic Substances: EPA Should Focus Its Chemical Use Inventory on Suspected Harmful Substances
    Little is known about the risks posed by many of the chemicals to which millions of consumers and workers are exposed. Although the amount of exposure to a chemical can vary greatly depending on its use, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) information on chemical use is often scarce, incomplete, or outdated”. https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=154742
    The full 18 page report can be found at the following address: https://archive.gao.gov/t2pbat1/154742.pdf

    2005, Chemical Regulation: Options Exist to Improve EPA's Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical Review Program
    EPA's reviews of new chemicals provide limited assurance that health and environmental risks are identified before the chemicals enter commerce”. “EPA does not routinely assess the risks of all existing chemicals and EPA faces challenges in obtaining the information necessary to do so”. https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=A26437
    The full 69 page report can be found at the following address: https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05458.pdf

    To illustrate just how little chemical toxicity information our chemical regulatory agencies possess, consider the following. In 1998, the EPA reported that of the roughly 3,000 High Production Chemicals (categorized as those produced or imported that exceeded more than 1 million pounds/year), only 7% had “all six of basic tests for minimum understanding of toxicity per the international Screening Information Data Set” (GAO 2001). 50% had only one to five of those basic tests and 43% were missing all tests.
    https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01810.pdf page 15

    "Concern is rising about toxicants that can damage the human reproduction system and fetal development. The societal impacts of these substances include the large number of infants born with birth defects and the costs of their lifelong care, a high U.S. infant mortality rate compared to that of other developed countries, and the growing number of children with basic learning disabilities. The causes of 60 percent of these and other reproductive and developmental diseases are currently unknown; the exact percentage caused by environmental exposures may not be known for decades. Prevention is preferable to treatment, and chemical exposures are probably the most preventable of the known causes". 1991 https://www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.ph ... cno=145133

    In summary, your statement that "governments test these products to ensure they are safe" is nothing more than a very common misconception. The federal chemical regulatory process for the worlds largest chemical industry (U.S.) is largely ineffectual. Combine that fact with the science Theo Colborn et el has published (I'll save that info for another posting) regarding the negative effects chemicals can have on embryogenesis and wildlife, and you have a disturbingly bleak picture. And that is what is currently known, which, in the whole scope of things, is not much. It is arrogance not to admit this ignorance.
     
  13. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    Now that's better, some real information to discuss at last.

    Everything you have quoted comes directly from the GAO, which is a body set up to investigate, at the request of congress, how well "government" in the US is working, and how well the tax payers dollars are being spent. It's job is therefore to point out where things can be done better, and it has the benefit of hindsight to be able to do this. It is looking at what has happened in the past, with the knowledge and experience of today, and is therefore bound to discover that by today's standards things could have been done better. It is incredibly rare for anyone to get everything perfectly right at the first attempt so we rely on people doing the best job that they can, given the circumstances. We then rely on watchdogs to oversee those people and point out where things can be improved.

    You have quoted from reports that state that there are gaps in our knowledge, and that the testing could have been done better. I wholeheartedly agree, in fact if you look back a few posts you will find that I stated that all testing is questionable. I have also stated that those who have not closed their minds will constantly seek new knowledge, question what they are told (and what has been done before) and attempt to improve upon it. You have managed to find a government organisation that agrees with me!

    Whilst I realise that it was your intention to provoke thought regarding the efficacy of government testing standards, I have to say that the list of chemicals thought to produce developmental abnormalities that the GAO came up with in it's 1991 report is very interesting. In case anybody is wondering, it does not contain Glyphosate. In fact the only "herbicide" on the list is 2,4,5,T (and it's contaminent TCDD), though there are a couple of insecticides. Of more interest in the inclusion of alcohol (there goes beer and biofuel!), nicotine and tobacco smoke (natural products!), VITAMIN A (I particularly liked that!), vinyl chloride and warfarin. Can I assume that you will be adding beer to your list of chemicals that we should ban?

    Throughout this debate I have stated that glyphosate is a relatively safe chemical when used appropriately, and is highly unlikely to have caused a boy or a dog to die. I stand by that. I stated that governments test chemical to ensure their sfety when used apropriately, and I stand by that. You have quoted a watchdog that has found that (to paraphrase massively) "things could have been done better", and I entirely agree. There is always room for improvement. As I have said, we have no evidence of the results of long term exposure to anything new, we can only do our best to ensure it's safety. Intriguingly we have now also learnt that at least four of the 30 chemicals the GAO list as "known to produce developmental defects" are naturally occuring products that have been around longer than humans, so apparently we also have little knowledge about the effects of "old" things! This simply confirms my belief that we really know very little about anything. It does not, however, convince me that eating eggs or carrots will kill me.

    This does not change the fact that the body of evidence suggests that glyphosate is relatively safe, and that statements that it killed boys or caused damage to adults are, to say the least, hard to believe.
     
  14. Dalzieldrin

    Dalzieldrin Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    "But the peculiar evil of silencing an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."


    Good posts zzsstt, don't be put off by the ad hominemism
     
  15. Arby

    Arby Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    zzsstt,

    You're muddling this up in several different ways here. If it's deliberate, I'll hand it to you; you're good. :yawinkle:

    That said, the only reason I jumped in on this thread is when you stated this: "governments test these products to ensure they are safe...."

    You are simply perpetuating one of the most common misconceptions in contemporary society. The government does not and can not thoroughly test this stuff and states it can not assure consumers safety.

    How can you stand by that? Let me quote this for the second time: “EPA's reviews of new chemicals provide limited assurance that health and environmental risks are identified before the chemicals enter commerce”.

    "Most people seriously overestimate the amount of "protection" given them by governments regarding pesticide "safety". Congress found that 90% of the pesticides on the market lack even the minimal required safety screening. Of the 34 most used lawn pesticides, 33 have not been fully tested for human health hazards. If any tests are done, they are performed by the chemical manufacturers, not the EPA. ‘If a chemical company wanted to, they could start with a desired conclusion, and skew the data, and the EPA would never know’, notes David Welch, an entomologist with the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs. Welch did a random sampling of 15 pesticide files and found 13 without proper reviews. One third of the most commonly used lawn pesticides were illegally registered for use”. https://www.safe2use.com/ipm/epa-gov.htm

    "In reality, little has been accomplished under TSCA. Regulation of existing chemicals under TSCA has been modest. Not only have there been fundamental problems with an outdated statute that provides inadequate authority to the EPA, but also, successive administrations have failed to provide the EPA with sufficient staffing and resources to address the risks of older chemicals on the market". https://www.cehn.org/cehn/chemicals%20&% ... ounder.htm

    I can go on and on.....

    ...and so you know, I just didn't start looking into this lately. I have been paying attention to this stuff since my last day on the family farm 22 years ago. Yes, we used all kinds of chemicals then (inc Roundup & 24D) ...before we knew any different.

    You're making it sound as if the GAO flunking the EPA's archaic regulatory process was in the distant past. It's not. It's now (2005). I'm not going to paraphrase but rather provide a direct quote...for the third time: “EPA's reviews of new chemicals provide limited assurance that health and environmental risks are identified before the chemicals enter commerce”.

    Here's a challenge for you zzsstt. I have given just a glimpse of what a credible source says about the chemical regulatory process and there are hundreds upon hundreds of pages from reports dating back to the early 80's to present that say you are wrong. Provide the readers here evidence from an equally credible source that prove you are right....and try not to muddle it up, would ya! :rolleyes:

    Anxiously awaiting.....
     
  16. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    zzsstt
    On surfactants
    1. Given that the last "RoundUp" brand glyphosate killed frogs
    and
    2. the emerging research on the importance of surfactants to soil bacteria and the weather.
    IMHO it is incumbent on all pesticide and herbicide manufactures to list all ingredients in their products not just the one active one.
    We have this labelling on food (But often in cryptic code?). We should expect no less on what we spray on our food.

    The link between frog kills and the Roundup surfactant took much longer to find than it should have as it was not a listed ingredient. To be fair it was probably an unexpected result for everyone concerned.

    As for science
    "One swallow does not make a spring", as the old saying goes
    One study does not make a result in science either. this is why studies are published argued about and peer reviewed. Sometimes this process can go on for decades as it did/has-done/is-doing with cigarette smoke.
    So for us mere mortals things can become confusing while the scientific debate rafes and people get their name in print. Is chocolate and red wine good for me etc.
    This confusion can be used by those with aggenders to run or barrows to push.
    Overtime some truth emerges Like "almost any tiny floating thing talc, FPP, asbestos, MJ smoke, can be bad for your lungs".
    Or perhaps the theory stands up to 200 years of assault like Darwin's Natural Selection, and still comes out looking like a good model of what really happens. Note the word "model"- most scientific theories are simplifications of an incredibly complex reality so we can get our tiny minds around them.
    There is a scientific consensus (as with GHGs) but is rare to see a 100% agreement.
    Also we make trade offs. We know X%- number of people will die eating the aflatatoxins in peanuts. But we think as a society the risk is worth it.
    We know feeding pigs anti-biotics is not a good policy, it increases bacterial resistance, but it does make pork a lot cheaper as pigs get fat quicker on it.
    In Australia, we might think loosing one person mining for coal, is too many. In China hundreds die every year.
    The trouble with (my) "plastic chemicals" it that they know no National Boundaries

    In the end
    So then you have to make value judgements based on the science you have at your fingertips
    IMHO glyphosate is safer than most. But I think it is overused. Do we know the effects long term of the massive amounts we are using? Just as nano particles of a chemical can be toxic, can massive amounts of a chemical be toxic?
    Also I want all ingredients put on any bottle of glyphosate I buy.

    I don't agree that there is no such thing as pure science but it is becoming increasingly rare.
    We used to have lots of dotty, bearded Dons; stuffed into dusty corners of the Universities working out the meaning of life.
    Now too many Universities are run as businesses or as offshoots of the Defence Department (Stanford?)

    Finally On Governments and Regulations
    "Trust me I'm a politican/public servant/Here to help you. . .etc
    Most Politicians don't want to know unless people are marching in the streets. Is the NSW Government mounting a class action against Dow for poisoning Sydney Harbour, its wildlife and the people who fish in it? No they are making it a Marine National Park. The NSW Health Department can't even test for some chemicals in fat and blood (or in many other places).
    The sharks are knowledgeable; they are eating the people in the Harbour rather than the fish :)
     
  17. Salkeela

    Salkeela Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    The word limited is used here for one simple reason. Without adding the word "limited" the statement would imply a blanket type assurance. That cannot be provided!

    The experiments conducted were constrained in their focus. Therefore their conclusions are "limited" to the parameters investigated. Presumably there are guidelines on what parameters are investigated before any new substance is launched, but there has to be a point where those investigations are deemed sufficient and the product used. The assurances are therefore "limited". If the substance was tested over a five year period (for example) and found to be within acceptable guidelines for use over that period then the assurance can only extend to five years. No assurance can be given for the use of the product over 30 years as that timescale had not been tested.

    All science investigations are "limited" in this way. At college we even ask our students to "define the limitations of the conclusion". The 'limit" word must be in there because a blanket assurance would be impossible to provide.
     
  18. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    I suspect that we are arguing semantics here. I have already stated that for many reasons all testing is questionable. Therefore by definition any assurance provided by such testing is "limited". The core of the matter, I suspect, is that all such testing (and here I include quarantine, safety of toys and many other things) comes down to "acceptable risk" analysis. Each and every our knowledge increases. Each and every year our technical abilities move forward. It is, of course, totally impossible to retest each and every product or chemical every time a new technique is developed. It is, however, the job of the watchdog to point out this fact.

    The last part of which is, I think, exactly what I am saying.

    Yes. Limited. We agree. They could spend billions of dollars testing a product, and their results would still be "limited".

    Actually they do not say I am wrong, what they say is that the testing and review process does not provide a 100% garauntee of a products safety. This I entirely agree with. They say that it could be done better. Which I entirely agree with.

    Which leaves me with an interesting problem. You have challenged me to provide credible evidence to prove I am right. Should I simply requote all your references?

    I am sorry if you take this as "muddling", but attempting to test every single chemical, in every possible combination, with every possible technique, and then to retest each and every one in the light of each and every new piece of knowledge or technique is simply not tenable. We both know that. As a result, there is always room to question the process.
     
  19. zzsstt

    zzsstt Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    In some ways I do agree with you about labelling, although even food labelling is actually quite vague if you really study it. It just has to be done in a way that does not discourage innovation - research costs money, if you can read the ingredients on your competitors packet and copy them.......

    Just to note, the last time I looked we had Roundup Dry, Roundup Powermax, Roundup CT, Roundup 360 and Roundup Biactive. Roundup Powermax contains the highest levels of surfactants and penetrants, although it is normal practice to "add your own" to the lower priced versions. It is also interesting to note that most formulations of Roundup are actually specified as not for use near water. Rondup Biactive is formulated specifically for use in that situation. I actually had no knowledge about this issue, so I have just had a quick look for some information, and discovered that as far as I can see this all comes back to study done by Rick Relyea. He put 1 tablespoon (25mls) of Roundup in a 950L water trough and it killed the frogs. Out of interest, and disregarding a spillage situation:

    950L trough has a surface area of about 2square metres
    Roundup is sprayed at about 2L/Ha (2000ml/Ha) MAXIMUM, and normally much less
    So in use, 2 square metres would receive about 2000ml/10,000 * 2 = 0.4ml

    So the experiment used about 60 times the maximum normal levels of Roundup.......

    Largely I agree with you, however.
     
  20. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: glyphosate use in a permaculture environment...

    How secret do you want to be about soap?

    If you do a 'google scholar' search dated around 5ish years ago you will find many studies on the toxicity of RoundUp's surfactant to frogs and some fish(?). Roundup Biactive is the only one RoundUp says is safe to use around frogs. Yet I see shelf-fulls of Roundup at every Supermarket and Hardware store for every Tom, Dick or Harry to spray wherever and whatever they will. The shelf space is almost second only to cola drinks. There is no mention of the word 'Biactive' or "Do not spray on frogs" or "Do not use in aquatic environments". Roundup may have changed all its formulations, and it all may be safe to frogs- but how do we know? Trust?

    When I was a kid, half a century ago, after every rain, ever puddle, drain and gutter would be full of tadpoles.
    The fact that they are not there now may not be Roundup's fault completely but we do need to take more care and ask for more accountability from chemicals used so much, and so widely, in our environment.
    As you so rightly point out, the knowledge of chemicals and their interaction with life and the intricate and complex ecology of the planet, often takes many years to discover.
    There are many alternatives to killing weeds other than weedicdes.
     

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