Before the Holidays, a claim was being circulated around about glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide. The claim is that half of all children will be autistic by 2025 – and the source for this claim is none other than Dr. Stephanie Seneff. Long-time readers of this blog will recognize that she has made many claims about GMOs – in particular the Roundup herbicide that is sprayed on them – which have been addressed many times before. Is there any merit to this claim? Two highly-regarded blogging medial doctors have weighed in on this issue with a resounding no. Dr. Steven Novella, who writes at Science-Based Medicine, and the pseudonymous Orac a.k.a. Dr. David Gorski, who writes at Respectful Insolence, both evaluated Dr. Seneff’s claims and found them to be based on poor logic, bad science, and straight-up falsehoods – and completely wrong.
Television personality Dr Oz has released a video which talks about an agricultural product called Enlist Duo. Virtually nothing in this video is presented accurately. It is a prime example of fear-mongering around the issues of “GMOs” and pesticides. I’d like to respond, point by point, to what it says that is not true or misleading. Dr Oz’s statements/image descriptions will be in red: “The EPA is on the brink of approving a brand new toxic pesticide you don’t know about.” The product in question, Enlist Duo is a combination of two very old herbicide products: 2,4-D and glyphosate. A great many consumers do know about these materials because they have been approved for homeowner use for decades and are common ingredients in products available at any neighborhood gardening center. These chemicals are still approved for use in more than 70 countries around the world and for use in high
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?
Yesterday, Dr. Don Huber spoke in Maui as part of an event that kicked off a political campaign to ban genetically engineered crops from the island. The same day, a letter to the editor by Dr. Harold Keyser, a retired soil scientist from the University of Hawaii, appeared in the same paper that gave a spotlight to the Huber event. Due to a time constraint, Huber took about 10 minutes to answer a few questions, so there was not the time for Keyser to ask a question at this event.* Dr. Keyser’s letter to the editor is republished with his permission here.
This is a story of two talks, both of which are almost identical. It’s also the story of two people, both of whom are also the same person. What separates both are a couple of years, perspective gained, and perspective lost. I first heard Dr. Don M. Huber, Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, speak in Eastern Ontario in February of 2011. The next talk was his presentation at the AcresUSA Conference in Springfield, IL in December of 2013. Apart from the addition of a few slides depicting select events of the past few years, the content was much the same. The people in this story are both me: the person I was, and the person I am now.