Roundup in 75% of Air? What the report actually says

75percentyo

Information without context is not knowledge

Last week the anti-biotech websites exploded with the news: “Roundup Weedkiller Found in 75% of Air and Rain Samples, Gov. Study Finds” and more scary-sounding titles like that.

My first response was to get a copy of the paper right away so I could read all about it and see the data. That would be pretty remarkable. But I could not access the paper at Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. So how did all of these websites above and their scholarly journalists get the manuscript?

I contacted one of the original paper’s authors, Dr. Paul Capel, and asked for a copy and got one.  Apparently I was the first. Seems like those coming to the conclusions of the websites above were acting true to form– skimming an abstract and drawing a conclusion that best fits their desires.

So I actually read the paper! Want to know what it says?

In short– the conclusions from the websites above are cherry-picked nonsense.

First, the paper’s authors do this work because ag chemicals volatilize or become airborne on particulate matter.  I never realized to what extent, but wind, rain and other factors stir up otherwise latent chemicals and it is important to understand what is present.  The authors did such a survey.   They performed a survey in 1995 and 2007, at two separate sites in northwestern Mississippi that support 80% of the state’s agricultural harvest, mostly supporting corn and cotton.

The authors note that the region had similar area farmed between the two dates, but the management was quite different, the biggest differences being the introduction of GM crops and the discontinued use of several insecticides. They sampled air and rain in this agricultural region over a growing season to understand environmental flux of ag chemicals. The areas had similar rain patterns.  Samples were analyzed by using Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), so we’re talking sensitive detection.

Conclusions?

CONCLUSION 1: GC/MS is SENSITIVE!

The authors are obviously quite skilled at analytical chemistry, as they reliably detect glyphosate, atrazine, and a dozen other chemicals in air samples in 2007.  Glyphosate is detected in 75% of samples, atrazine about the same.  The authors even found Molinate, a compound that had not been used in four years– this is sensitive technology!

THIS is what the articles above discovered, that chemicals were detected in these samples. Detected? That means it is there, but it does not say how much is there. More on this later.

CONCLUSION 2: Herbicides changed

Figure 4 shows the difference in herbicides between 1995 and 2007. Peak applications are in May, as expected. What you see is that glyphosate becomes the main herbicide detected.  What the activist literature does not bother to tell you is that the increase in glyphosate substitutes for “other herbicides”. Atrazine levels decreased 36%. Trifluralin was present in almost every sample but its levels were 20 times lower than 1995. Essentially, glyphosate removed the need for other herbicides with higher environmental impact, a fact well documented (e.g. Duke et al., 2012).

Concentrations? Oh, and don’t forget to look at the y-axis units.  We’re dealing with nanograms per cubic meter. Considering these compounds are biologically relevant at the conservative level of milligrams per kilogram, we’re talking about levels millions to billions of times below any biological relevance.

proxy

What the data really show is that tiny amounts of ag chemicals can be detected (ng /m3), and that between 1995 and 2007 glyphosate substituted for herbicides with more potential impact.

CONCLUSION 3: Insecticides went down dramatically

Here’s another set of data that the media forgot to report, but more likely they didn’t read it because it was not in the abstract.  The trend from 1995 to 2007 shows a decrease in insecticide use.  In 1995 methyl parathion was heavily used in Mississippi on cotton (160,000 kg!). By 2007 its levels dropped twenty fold.  In 1995 there was high reliance on Chlorphyifos and malathion, and by 2007 the levels were down substantially, the authors citing “no local use”. All “other insecticide” levels were lower as well.

Why?  Why the decrease between 1995 and 2007?

The introduction of transgenic (GMO) Bt cotton and Bt corn, the two principle crops of the region.  Of course, the media forgot to take the blinders off to see that.

insecticides

Insecticides detected in 2007 compared to 1995. You clearly see what may be attributable to the effect of Bt corn and cotton, that the GMO products work as claimed to decrease insecticide requirement. The authors do not explain the 4 Sept peak in methyl parathion.

Basically, the paper says that when you get into an ag area you can find ag chemicals, if you have sophisticated equipment and plenty of know-how.  The authors discuss that they sample two different sites with different crops growing, so that could affect data and account for some of the weirdness and spikes observed..  It does not change the take-home message that agricultural chemicals volatilize and persist in the environment, so it is best to minimize their use, use chemicals with less environmental impact, and choose seeds that require less chemical.

That is exactly what GM crops do, and exactly what the data shows. 

Some additional points to note:

1.  The use of “Monsanto’s Roundup” in the website titles above.  Glyphosate was detected. The test did not find “Roundup” and the authors do not say “Roundup” once in the manuscript cited.  Do you see a political agenda showing?

2.  The headlines above come from sources where the authors did not read the paper– it was not available, just the abstract.

3.  The same information outlets neglected to mention that glyphosate increases offset the use of other herbicides with more impact, that insecticide use was down, and that the levels were nanograms per cubic meter.

These are all important to note because is reveals how misinformed, ignorant and willing to deceive the anti-GMO media really is.  They are not out for science or truth, it is about an agenda.

Editor’s note: The original post used emotive descriptions to broadly characterize media outlets, which have been removed since they do not reflect the Biofortified Blog’s approach.

Kevin is a public scientist that enjoys illuminating hot-button scientific issues for non-scientists using an evidence-based approach. Kevin is always uncomfortable referring to himself in the third person.

  • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischa Popoff

    Organic activists HATE Roundup (glyphosate) precisely because is effective.

    There was a time – believe it or not – when Roundup was ALLOWED in restricted circumstances in organic production. But that was back when the organic movement was still being led by fulltime organic farmers who had farms to run.

    Now, under the mostly urban elitist leadership of the organic movement, Roundup is the Devil incarnate! And Roundup-Ready crops are the Phantom menace.

    Great job exposing the truth Kevin. Pretty soon organic activists will hate you too.

    • Micah P

      Elitist? Because we don’t want chemical spraying and environmental and biodiversity degradation to continue to the extent that is allowed through GMO crops. Elites run companies like Monsanto, not grass root campaigns seeking to increase the amounts of local and organic foods grown while keeping small farms operational, ethical, and profitable.

      • Mischa Popoff

        Only a small sliver of GMO crops are associated with chemical sprays.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Thanks

  • Keith Hayes

    Nice summary of the article, Kevin. I have this bookmarked!

  • http://blog.openhelix.com/ MaryM

    Very helpful, thanks for actually reading the paper. I’m shocked–shocked I say–to think that some of the folks propagating the misinformation haven’t had a chance to do so.

    • http://twitter.com/ScientistYou Ken Wright (@ScientistYou)

      Are you sure that these people are propagating misinformation? The concern would be for people that live near the application zones of these toxic products. Also, regarding the concept of “minimum acceptable,” there is no long term data to support the safety of any level of new molecules. The key is is the definition of the word safety. I define it as a molecule that does not adversely affect the long term health AND youthful longevity of anyone. There are no tests for long term health or affects on youthful longevity. This testing does not exist. The profit motive is the reason leaders of society are playing these chemical games today.

      • Keith Hayes

        Who died?

        I have two issues with what you’re saying.
        First, you suggest that there is no long term data to support the safety of new molecules, which is false. Nobody is going to be able to market a new pesticide without chronic and acute exposure data. Even after market launch, there will still be ongoing study to try and verify if the new molecule is doing what we think it’s doing. And this goes for everything–drugs, food additives, processing materials and even pesticides.

        Second, molecules aren’t indestructible–especially glyphosate (the active ingredient of RoundUp). Glyphosate actually gets converted, quite rapidly, into the amino acid glycine, a phosphate group and some methanol. All of these decomposition products are quite benign and this happens within a few days. This tends to reduce exposure risks quite substantially. The glyphosate molecule works by inhibiting an enzyme that is only found in plants so this further reduces risk since people and plants don’t even share the same biomarkers. All of this was known before RoundUp was even marketed to the public, and in the decades since sale of the product, there hasn’t been a serious issue.

        There’s been a few homemade weed killer recipes floating around cyberspace recently (typically made with household products like vinegar and dish washing detergent) that are actually more toxic then the glyphosate is. Sometimes a little perspective helps.

      • Bill Shy

        good point Ken Wright, it is profit driven. How about double blind independant testing?

  • Sanjay

    Some years ago I was involved at the analytical biochemistry side with consulting for a grocery store in California that had been convinced by some bright spark to invest in a mass spec so they could demonstrate for their customers how much cleaner the organics were than the non-organics. The store was then perplexed that, basically, they weren’t. But of course it was a dumb idea: the pesticides are generally volatile and distribute nicely on everything in the store quite rapidly. The MS was mothballed.

  • Chris Preston

    Kevin, AMPA is a metabolite of glyphosate produced when glyphosate is metabolised by soil organisms and some plants, not something added to the formulation.

    • Kevin Folta

      Thanks Chris. In my flurry to get this out I was thinking POEA. Just saw a bunch of letters. Will fix!

  • Lucy

    At this level of sensitivity I would loooove to see how they performed controls. Chromatography uses the very same chemical it’s trying to detect as reference standards. So there is a potential for cross-contamination.
    I mean, just run a sample of air from the lab to make sure the things they are detecting are not wafting from a bottle of reference standard at a nearby bench.
    BTW here is a link to the paper:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/etc.2550/abstract

  • Rickinreallife

    Kevin — I presume the graphics in your article are copied and pasted directly from the study report, i.e. those graphics were created by the study’s authors themselves, correct?

    • Ewan R

      The figures in the article do appear to be what Kevin has posted.

      One thing you don’t discuss, Kevin, is the wildly different sampling sites – the earlier sampling was done at quite some distance from any agricultural field (specifically to avoid pesticides). The later sampling was done practically within a soy field (3m from it and surrounded by rice and soy fields (2 types the early sampling was situated to avoid) – thus comparing the two years doesn’t really paint an accurate picture of changes in pesticide use – to do this you’d want, I’d assume, to be 500m away from any ag production and see what happened there (one would assume most chemicals would be reduced in quantity detected (at least those one might see sprayed on or around rice/soy fields) thus painting an even more different picture (again, this is an assertion rather than being backed by evidence, but it seems so obvious as to not really require a massive body of evidence to at least bring it up) of quite probably vastly reduced quantities of ag chemicals in the air *in general* (the pendimethalin for example, shows quite a hefty spike in the later sample date, but this is likely (I’d guess) due to application ~3m away from the sample site rather than being indicative of any major increase in use).

      • Kevin Folta

        Right on Ewan. They were not at the same location, same distance, you name it. Even the weather was quite different.

        It is easy to dig in on this one, but I think what the authors are going for is a survey of change over time. What does a snapshot of this location look like compared to this one? That seems to be the case. They don’t overstep the data in trying to reconcile similarities and differences.

        I think we need to just take this for what it is, some data from two locations about stuff detected in air and rain with sensitive equipment.

        • Ewan R

          Indeed, I’m likely overextrapolating in the other direction, I have no beef whatsoever with the research itself, just any interpretation of it (despite the fact I then go and apply my own spin… humans are odd critters) given the sampling differences – I guess I’m just struck predominantly that it paints a far more optimistic picture than even a simple “yes but glyphosate is less toxic than all that other crap” does… and certainly (as you highlight) a more optimistic picture than the “OMG Glyphosate kidneys lumpy rats!” reaction which appears to be the norm.

          • http://www.kevinfolta.com Kevin Folta

            Sometimes a manuscript is like making sausage– you don’t want to know how it was made. This group does a lot of this kind of work. They probably had two datasets from the same general region that showed the shift.

            I actually am meeting with one of the authors next month. I’ll find out!

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  • Jessica

    Can you post a link to the article please? Thank you so much!! Thanks for your critique.

    • Mike

      In this case, he’s referring to multiple articles. Links aren’t necessary in this situation, and are in fact detrimental as the articles are themselves written in order to be linkbait. There’s no need to feed linkbait containing bad/no science. They should be easy enough to find with a standard search.

  • Jeff Graham

    There are certainly many questions about what these data mean and if the quality of sampling and analysis was proper and sufficient. I do not have ready access to the full paper so my comment is limited to what is reported in the Supplemental Tables I could access from the Wiley site.

    Glyphosate product formulations generally consist of glyphosate as a water soluble salt of some form (potassium, isopropyl amine, etc.) plus inert materials to enhance uptake through plant foliage. Given that glyphosate is applied as a salt, the vapor pressure is so exceedingly small that volatilization from plant surfaces and soils seems quite unlikely. Glyphosate also binds soil voraciously.

    Inspection of supplemental Table 3 reveals an interesting and significant piece of information. In the case of glyphosate the authors report detection in rain and only in the particle phase of the air sample. They did not measure or could not detect in glyphosate in gas phase samples.

    It seems logical to reliably infer then that the source of glyphosate detected in this study was not from compound volatilization per se, but from glyphosate on soil and plant on particulate matter dispersed in the air that was sampled.

    • http://www.kevinfolta.com Kevin Folta

      That’s probably correct Jeff. It seemed strange that it would volatilize, and maybe that’s my interpretation. It is likely what is detectable in air as particulate bound. They do say that rain removes 100% of it (probably in that table too). The real complete typeset article is not out yet, but Karl does have a preprint and hopefully will post it soon.

    • Silvia B

      Yes, this confirms other older studies on the sampling and detection of glyphosate in air samples. Very low vapor pressure and strong soil binding makes it always non-detect in gas phase (no volatilization), detected only in particle phase, i.e. soil dust that is caught by filters. I actually have a paper on this somewhere in my office, need to fish it out, it was a field study comparing various passive/active samplers and their ability to detect glyphosate.

  • Artie

    The problem is big agriculture, GM crops should not have to be the answer… nor chemicals.

    • Mike

      There’s that “big” word again. >95% of American farms are still family owned and run. Also, name one food (or anything outside of abstract concepts) that isn’t made of chemicals.

      • http://www.isitorganic.ca/ Mischas Popoff

        Good point Mike. Never before in history has technology been rejected on the basis that the companies developing and delivering it were “too big.” I’m not even sure anti-GMO organic activists know what they mean when they use the term “big agriculture.”

  • Drake

    You realize you are an activist too, right? Your tone is confrontational and condescending and you’ve taken as many liberties with interpretation of the data as the “green” literature you so disparagingly lament. This isn’t “new” data that the “greens” were just pulling from the abstract – the USGS released this work in 8/2011. You may have gotten an advanced copy of a single publishable unit – but it is nothing special that you contacted the author. Also, you might be interested to know that the full work includes a data set for Iowa, something worth mentioning as it is part of the two peer-reviewed articles already published from this work.

    • Drake

      The other works already published from this data are: “Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere,” published in volume 30 of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and in “Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in surface waters of agricultural basins,” published online in Pest Management Science.

    • http://www.inoculatedmind.com Karl Haro von Mogel

      What liberties would those be, Drake? Don’t just hand-wave, tell us how you think he misinterpreted it in detail.

    • Kevin Folta

      Hi Drake!

      Let’s talk activism. An activist is someone that works to promote, slow, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental changes. I guess with that definition my SECONDARY job is activist, as I am trying to shape social and environmental changes through the implementation of the scientific method.

      My FIRST job is using the tools of science to identify evidence about the nature of our physical universe. So identifying those facts and then applying them to make the world a better place is sort of the purview of the public scientist.

      I know it is nothing special that I contacted the author. What is important is that nobody else did– yet they were willing to scare the wits out of greenie-weenie website readers with the information.

      Glad you looked up their other work. These authors have quite a history together. I’m actually meeting with Dr. Capel in April in Minnesota.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Artie, How will folks be fed without big farms and other businesses. “The problem” There are no others?

  • Midiot

    Forgive me if I’m blind……but does this article NOT include a link to the study in question ? Wasn’t that the point ?
    I apologize if it’s there…..I cannot find the link.

    • http://www.inoculatedmind.com Karl Haro von Mogel

      That’s because at the time of publication, the study was not available.

  • Midiot
  • Midiot

    One more note……if this indeed a gov’t study, why is it not free to read ?
    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2909#.Uzjve4WGi8A
    ….I will be emailing Paul Capel for a free copy.

    • Kevin Folta

      I can send you a copy if you send me an email. Also, I’ll be interviewing Capel about this in person in early May.

  • Daws

    Can you clarify what the quibble is about in additional point 1? I was taken to understand that Glyphosate is simply the active ingredient in roundup?

    • Kevin Folta

      Daws,

      That’s it. They can use really sensitive equipment to detect ag chemicals next to ag.

  • Reba Smith

    As a being at the top of the food chain, I feel that sensitive equipment and measurements are in order. This does not negate the results or implications for me.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Of course not Reba, I would never expect correcting the context and exposing the bias of the anti gmo sites. to effect your “feelings” Kevin was not advocating not using sensitive equipment. Just noting the lack of significance of the concentrations.

  • https://www.facebook.com/JohnFMayer John Mayer

    Please don’t use the term “green” so freely to tar all those with environmental concerns with the same brush. This suggests a mindset that rejects any challenge to industrial orthodoxy. (I recall the magazine _Fusion_ used to use the phrase “environmentalists and terrorists” as though it were hyphenated.) I am a “green”—and a vegan—who does not buy into hysteria or woo science, which is why I am here, looking for information to rebut this very meme. And I have used glyphosate many times and will continue to do so.

  • Dave Ormond

    In 2007, chlorpyrifos was still the most commonly used organophosphate pesticide in the United States, with an estimated 8 to 11 million pounds applied. (source http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/pestsales/07pestsales/market_estimates2007.pdf ) Exposure has been linked to neurological effects, persistent developmental disorders, and autoimmune disorders. Exposure during pregnancy retards the mental development of children, and most use in homes has been banned since 2001 in the U.S.

    Parathion is even worse. It has now been banned in 23 countries over its extreme toxicity. It is classified as a UNEP Persistent Organic Pollutant and “extremely hazardous”. It is very toxic to bees, fish, birds, and other forms of wildlife. In the US alone more than 650 agricultural workers have been poisoned by Parathion since 1966, of whom 100 died. The numbers are much higher in developing countries.

    But you speak of glyphosate use as though it is a good thing. Clearly you are unaware of the suppression of the studies showing its harm (want to talk about a political agenda?)

    Editor’s note: this comment has been edited to restore civility. To view the complete comment see this discussion in the Compost Pile.

    • http://gravatar.com/rdchemist Keith Hayes

      I’m not sure who you are replying to, but I assume that it might be me since I posted recently about glyphosate.

      I’m not sure why you brought up organophosphate pesticides when talking about glyphosate except that you might think they have the same chemistry, hence toxicity, because they both contain a phosphorous atom. Accept the phosphorous has different bonding and connectivity in both compounds which effects how electrons are distributed in the molecule, which effects its chemistry and hence, effects how toxic it might be. You might not think this matters, but trust me, it does.

      Second, you say that there are supressed studies indicating that glyphosate is harmful. Maybe you should take the opportunity to post one or two salient ones so some of the professionals on this site may look at them and judge relevance. You might also want to explain why such harmful hazards don’t appear on this EPA fact sheet:

      http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/0178fact.pdf

  • D. Armstrong

    It is really about social engineering – One would need government subsidization of organic agriculture to get the ball rolling or have a feudal 10% tithe or produce to a common pot type situation, or have huge estates worked by farm “slaves” and growing quality labor intensive produce, nutrient rich for a few and as fodder for the workers. Sorry folks that is the way it really is. Agriculture is not the way of the American Indian who lived by hunting, gathering and agriculture as a small supplement to the diet. See the movie the Awakened Land on You tube – a TV serial movie from years ago to understand the paradox of it all. As far as the chemicals – without tractors, high insurance rates for same to cover common injuries, the immigrant farm laborers, and corporate investing in even organic agriculture in California, it would not be able to provide the HUGE quantities of commercial produce to far away markets. There is no money flow in an agrarian society – it is village oriented and man is much more at the mercy of nature. Anyone interested? Re glyphosate – it is my understanding that the adjuvants in Round up are the big problem not the pure chemical itself. The virus in the program, the fly in the ointment. There are many such in everything including Bt use which by the way supposedly is allowed in organic agriculture as well. A can of worms (pun intended) Yes we need to go back to worms! In agragrian based societies there is famine, acts of God, patience, times of feasting, community sharing, sometimes less variety of food availability, but higher quality. Everyone and their grandmother pitch in. Again see how many of these high paid spectrometer carrying scientists are interested in such a social scenario.

    • http://www.inoculatedmind.com Karl Haro von Mogel

      I think the ‘slaves’ part is extreme, but you do make a good point about the labor that would be needed to fuel the kind of agriculture you are arguing against. But you shouldn’t discount the development of technology that can support said agriculture. Ironically, organic agriculture is quite reliant on technology.

  • http://www.facebook.com/689952438 May Hemm

    But methyl parathion is a PESTICIDE…a simple search of the CDC or EPA can find that. Yet oh, can’t blame the Round up? HA HA HA. Duh, of course that’s the MAIN pesticide in AMERICA!

  • Dianne Bares

    It’s hard to think your article is any more relevant than the others when your headline states “What the Report Actually says” without posting the actual report or linking to it in some way. Why don’t you get permission to publish it here, so we can all see and read it? I, for one, would love to read it.
    You accused other websites of using the politically charged “Roundup” in their articles while the report cited only glyphosate, but Monsanto introduced it to the market as “Roundup” in the 70s, and they are the main producer of the pesticide. They held the patent on it until 2000 so why wouldn’t it be logical to use the name most commonly associated with glyphosate in the industry?
    The abstract you cite in your takedown of others who referenced it is in ETC full article that I was able to preview,written by ETC: “Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:1283–1293. © 2014 SETAC”
    You claim that websites cherry-picked the info but isn’t it basically what the authors put in their own abstract—meant to inform the public as to what their report contains? How is that cherry picked, unless the authors cherry-picked their own data? One fact stood out: glyphosate was found in 75% of air and rain samples they tested.

    • Kevin Folta

      Well Dianne, I can’t publish it here, but clearly you were able to find it. I’m a scientist. I strive for precise language. They did not detect Roundup, they detected glyphosate. That’s how I have to report it, and those that report otherwise are doing so for political gain. Cherry picking? Yes. Activists didn’t read the article. They report 75% of samples, which is correct, but deceptive if you take it out of context, and then use it to promote the concept that this compound is ubiquitous.

      • BannedfromGLP

        Kevin, if you truly strived for precise language. You wouldn’t be spouting misinformation like you do. We are learning you and your scientific team are either misinformed or outright liars..

        If you truly strived for precise language. You would be against consensus, knowing you or anyone has no freakin clue about the reality of “science”.

        You are a liar and a joke. The world will remember you as a liar and a fake if you do not change your ways.

        May god bless and humble you and us all.

        • Kevin Folta

          I’ll stand by my record. Funny how the only people that call me a liar are the folks that lack the capacity to understand the truth.

          • BannedfromGLP

            We all know you will. Just like you claimed to not recieve money from Monsanto. Ironically it’s quite sad how people to claim to have capacity to understand truth are liars.

            Your a human being. You truly don’t know squat buddy. You will be humbled some day.

            • daws

              Well that could’ve been handled more diplomatically… basically what was meant was that glyphosphate is in more than just the brand name RoundUp and there’s more than just glyphosphate in RoundUp, so it’s best to just report the results as given.

              It’s unfortunate to learn though that the mere investigation of scientists for something is enough to convince people that it’s true. But then this phenomena is actually a well known political and Anti-PR tactic…so I’m not surprised. (The whitewater “investigation” should come to mind.) It’s best to keep in mind that one person isn’t responsible for the actions of another however, and sometimes it says more about the investigator than the person investigated that an investigation is conducted.

              You seem to have come in with a preset narrative and so are maybe seeing things through a colored lens, do away with it and look again with fresh eyes. You might see something different. Keep in mind, regarding scientific conspiracies, Big oil was unable to buy off even 1% of climate scientists… do you really think anyone could buy a 99% consensus? I don’t know an industry that much bigger than Oil (and coal) that could pull that off.

              • BannedfromGLP

                not sure where you’re getting at but if your implying that I should be politically correct in order to prevent feelings from being hurt, I will not do so. I definitely appreciate someone putting me in my place when I am wrong.

                Consensus is weak. Correlation is much greater.

                The same correlation tactics were used to discredit the tobacco industry and look at where they are today. The warning labels and commercials warning everyone the harm it is causing.

                The same tactics in the wide scope of the GMO and pesticide [whether it be organic or not] industry are being used similar to the tobacco industry.

                Kevin is spouting propaganda. Half truths. Unknown factors. Studies with terrible correlations.

                Many are using graphs to credit and discredit.

                Many doctors are either being taught incorrectly, misinformed, collared and leashed, lying, or outright being ignorant to the fact that they can realize what foods are causing what illnesses.

                Correlation to diets and diseases/illnesses are a much larger greater understand than animal feeding trials.

                • daws

                  No that part was directed to Kevin, but it seems like you descended a bit as well… I have to simply disagree with the rest of your post. Kevin is not a shill and here’s he’s simply pointing out the dishonesty of this study and how it’s used. Simply put, size matters, one molecule is different than one pound. And, to be honest in a study, one should put the amount detected rather than simply that something was detected -especially when we get into the margins of statistical error and false positives.

                  On consensus and correlation, as science is done now educated consensus matters a great deal, and correlation is not always causation. This is the first thing we learn in science.

                  Your example of tobacco is unfortunate as in that case it actually was a small amount of paid off doctors arguing against the vast scientific consensus. The scientific consensus for a shockingly long time was in fact that smoking causes cancer, the few hold outs were the ones getting money. (This common misimpression of history is largely the fault of a media then not listening to the consensus, or in trying give “balanced” reporting, gave the impression of opinions as evenly divided. This unfortunately happens a lot.) Just like big oil and coal could not manage to buy the vast majority of climate scientists, nor could tobacco buy off the scientific consensus of doctors. They just needed that token few they could put on the stand in front of 12 jurors. Yet somehow we are to believe in this one instance those with much less money were able to buy off many more scientists? It simply doesn’t make sense.

                  In reality when poor studies like the above come out, the money usually follows to “organic” marketing groups, or well funded ideologues. I give air quotes there because I do not consider them to be truly organic or at least truly concerned with health and sustainability, they simply latched to a successful brand and do the bare minimum…which they’ve made more bare through lobbying ironically.

                  Here, the vast consensus is on Kevin’s side. To question how doctors and scientists are being taught is to put the entire medical and scientific enterprises into question. And smacks of goal post moving. However, science works. You can’t throw out a method simply because in one case it doesn’t give you the results you want. You have to realize the bath water you’re throwing out as well. If there is something wrong with how the study is done then question that, and that is exactly what Kevin is doing here.

                  • BannedfromGLP

                    I am clearly putting the entire medical and scientific enterprises into question. Especially the American enterprise.

                    Correlation is not always causation, but it can be so don’t ever rule it out.

                  • BannedfromGLP

                    So how would I go about with studies with different varieties of red meats?

                    How would I go about with studies showing certain foods cause illnesses.

                    We don’t have any studies or feeding trials feeding rats Oreos and milk.

                  • BannedfromGLP

                    How do I go about with studies on meats fed antibiotics cause the illnesses like the common cold?

                    Or possibly meats fed GM grain causes imflammation and “allergies”

                    • Michael McCarthy

                      “How do I go about with studies on meats fed antibiotics cause the illnesses like the common cold?”
                      So, you now believe antibiotics used in meat production are increasing the likelihood of humans catching an airborne virus? It seems your screen name is very apropos.

                    • BannedfromGLP

                      ASSumptions. Can you answer my question or you just have the urge to put in your grain of salt?

                    • Michael McCarthy

                      Can I answer your question. Well, antibiotics fed to red meat would have absolutely nothing to do with your body reacting to any virus, so, there would be no correlation to increased susceptibility to the common cold. I mean, you do know that antibiotics aren’t used to treat viruses right?

                    • BannedfromGLP

                      That’s nice. More grains of salt. So how would I conduct such a study and attempt to link 2 and 2 together, whether it causes it or not?

                    • Michael McCarthy

                      Why would you need a study? Antibiotics affect living, growing organisms only. Viruses are strands of DNA or RNA inside a protein coat unable to reproduce without the aid of a living cell. I can put viruses in a test tube and bathe them with any antibiotic, it would have zero effect. So, unless you could produce some sort of study that illustrates antibiotics used in the production of meat having some measurable effect on your own bodies macrophages and t-cells (BTW, there isn’t one because it doesn’t happen), there is no causation.

                    • BannedfromGLP

                      Thanks for your comments. Clearly you are unable to proved me with direction or proper info.

                      Once again, whether it causes it or not is not my current question.

                      My question is… how or what study can I use or how can I come up with one too experiment with certain foods causing certain reactions without someone attempting to explain to me whether it happens or not?

                    • Michael McCarthy

                      Theoretically you could look at groups of people that eat organic meat, antibiotic free meat and various percentages of antibiotic fed meats. But, that would probably find more “noise” than actual usable data. I think the problem is less people being able to provide you the direction to beginning a study and more with your general lack of scientific understanding. For example, when I was getting my BS in Microbiology, there was a (minimum) 2 course requirement in scientific design and analysis. So, I spent a year studying it, and you want someone to be able to explain it to you on a message board. And you want to be able to get an idea on how to conduct experiments/studies that would apply universally? Different experiments have different design protocols.

                      Look, if this is something you are seriously interested in finding out, here’s a jumping off point

                      http://support.sas.com/resources/papers/sixsigma1.pdf

                  • BannedfromGLP

                    Or how yeast may cause or contribute to Alzheimer’s, maybe other illnesses…

                    • Eric Bjerregaard

                      I am fairly sure that yeast was not a major part of this discussion. Neither is Alzheimers. Your comments are wild speculation at best and vulgar accusations at worst. Please consider calming down and reading the article again. Then apologize.

                    • BannedfromGLP

                      Your comments are grains of salt. Bye bye

                    • Eric Bjerregaard

                      Sometimes salt is good for you. Try it.

              • BannedfromGLP

                When consensus begins to reveal the cause and entire outcome. I will begin to trust it.

                When doctors are able to reveal the cause of illnesses and point at your environment and things being ingested saying EX;”Here’s what caused your flu, it was the red meat you’ve been eating for the past 3 days. Eat these foods and herbs and call me back if symptoms do not reside. We will take other precautions to see if we can eliminate these issues.”

                • daws

                  What cause is being spoken of here though? And when a claimed cause is shown to be false one does not need to simultaneously show what does cause something. This is not how science works, science is the process of falsification not verification. This change in perspective is what gave us the scientific method as it truly is today -true scientific practice I would even say. Science works by ruling things out, one is never 100% certain one thing is caused by another, but fortunately we have ways of being certain one thing is NOT caused by another. This is the fundamental core of science, showing that the emperor wears no clothes. He claims he does but we can readily show that he does not. We can rule that out since one can readily see clothing. (Normal clothes anyway, which is what he originally believed in the story, if he wants to say invisible clothes you can neither see nor feel nor smell nor hear…then we get into the realm of the unfalsifiable, and outside the realm of science.)

                  So in short, proper scientific consensus does not need to reveal a cause in order to say something is NOT the cause, in fact properly speaking, the latter is ALL science has ever done.

                  • BannedfromGLP

                    That’s the exact problem. We need to find cause, continue investigation. Falsification is like beating a dead horse.

                    Finding the cause would eliminate many efforts to falsify theory’s or hypothesis. When we do not have human trials or studies that are reality to actual consumption, we are going to continue to argue until someone keels over.

                    Whether you have scientific evidence or consensus on your side. It is a little foggy but you can see the detriment monoculture, pesticides, food products, deforestation and many other human activities and so called scientific knowledge is having an affect on our Eco system.

                    I’m not throwing water out of the bath but simply pointing that we have a problem here with our current scientific method and consensus. Assuming that I do not believe we should do science is pure assumption.

            • Kevin Folta

              My research program has spent $6 million over 12 years. $0 from monsanto. Zero. People ask if Monsanto funds my research. They don’t, never did. Zero.

              I have spent $9K in outreach over the last several years. Some of that provided by Monsanto, as well as other entities ranging from Farm Bureau to startup LED companies. It is 0.0015% of my total budget, and none of it goes to me personally.

              It is critical that you harm the reputation of a scientist that supports scientific literacy.

              • Eric Bjerregaard

                Kevin, of course he wants to go after your reputation. That is his only alternative. Except, of course admitting he is wrong. Not likely.

              • BannedfromGLP

                Thank you for your explanation. I’m not here to ruin anyone’s reputation, but to seek truth and integrity.

                So far the integrity is questionable based on both sides ability to be civil. I do get caught up and frustrated because of how many people are suffering in this world due to poor nutrition, lack there of nutrition, pure ignorance, and greed.

                I notice correlation, but unfortunately we continue to put products on the shelves due to financial incentives and pure ignorance.

                • Kānāwai Māmalahoe

                  He is continuing to lie…and what a surprise it’s on this industry blog. Monsanto not only pays for his travel they gave him an unrestricted $25,000 just last year.

                  One trip he came here to Kauai to testify against the bill to prevent pesticide buffer zones around schools and hospitals. They are now pushing the DARK act to avoid Independent tests at GMO ground zero and the production bans passed in Hawaii, California and Oregon.

                  • GMO Roberts

                    Another has proven that you can’t keep up. The best you can do is accuse him with no proof and post more pretty pictures. It is a shame that you try to destroy your own state as well with your lies.

                  • Eric Bjerregaard

                    “”Dark Act “” is a wacko and misleading propaganda name made up by folks like you, . Also it has to do with labeling, not testing.

                    • Kānāwai Māmalahoe

                      Actually it is an accurate title for the Orwellian named HR 1599. It absolutely restricts local regulation, not just labeling. Read the bill, even the amendment to allow Native Americans to restrict growing of GMOs on tribal land was denied. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d0f86cbdeaba5a949ce996a5d5579a387cbef7133555db989b6fe76aa85675c0.jpg

                    • Eric Bjerregaard

                      Funny how your goofy posting says nothing about the 2 contentions. You just mentioned. Actually the “”dark”” term is the Orwellian one. By claiming that nongmo and organic labels will no longer allow folks to access knowledge. They are not just Orwellian. They are lying. As for the native Americans. they should be exempt as sovereign folks. Free to be as foolish as thou.

                    • heavyhanded

                      We need to pound our senators with e-mails condemning the federal government take over of states rights. The majority of these senators proclaim their love of state and that the fed’s too big. Let’s call them out on their true belief!

                • GMO Roberts

                  Just think that if those against science, would channel their time and energies into a real cause like helping the suffering. What a nice world that could be.

                  • BannedfromGLP

                    I don’t think anyone is anti science. That’s a pretty biased opinion

                    • Eric Bjerregaard

                      You and every post you have made are anti science. That is why you are opposed. Not because of bias.

                    • BannedfromGLP

                      I wish I could block you. You make no sense.

                    • Eric Bjerregaard

                      Try taking a reading comprehension as well as some science in night school.

                    • http://www.biofortified.org Karl Haro von Mogel

                      C’mon Eric, that’s not the kind of tone we strive for in here.

                    • Eric Bjerregaard

                      Sorry Karl, But this came from a combination of not being used to seeing disqus in regards to biofortified and the quite frankly your allowing the tone of BannedfromGLP’s comments to go unchallenged. I have deleted the comment you objected to.

            • Chris Preston

              You seemed to have misinterpreted the exchange. Kevin clearly stated that his research program had no funding from Monsanto. In that he is correct.

              I don’t know if you are doing this deliberately, but now you know you should stop.

        • http://www.biofortified.org Karl Haro von Mogel

          “BannedfromGLP” Your accusations are going to get you a fast ticket out of our community here. Please read our comment policy before continuing.

          • BannedfromGLP

            Got it. My apologies

  • Chris Preston

    On what basis do you maintain that?

    It would help the reader for you to show your working.

  • Chris Preston

    If that is your working, then it is untrue.

    This article correctly criticises the way the results of a scientific study were portrayed to be something other than they were in certain online publications. The article correctly points out that the amounts of glyphosate found in the research were miniscule and of low risk. This is not the way it was portrayed in the onine articles.