25th May 2009
If you are not fully convinced that organic farming and organic products (yours and your pet’s food included) are safer and healthier than non-organic conventional alternatives, read on:
Roundup is the brand name of a systemic, broad-spectrum herbicide produced by Monsanto; it is the number one selling herbicide worldwide. Roundup contains the active ingredient glyphosate, which is the most used herbicide in the USA. Roundup is available in several formulations including Roundup WeatherMAX, Roundup Weed and Grass Killer Super Concentrate, Roundup Weed and Grass Killer Ready-To-Use Plus.
Glyphosate is considered to be of low toxicity to humans because its effects are (theoretically) specific to plants. However, fatal reactions to glyphosate have been reported after the ingestion of large amounts. Pulmonary edema, shock, and arrhythmia were the reported causes of mortality in a case study (1). At levels far below agricultural recommendations which correspond to low levels of residues in food or feed, Roundup formulations induced cell damage and death in human cell lines (neonate umbilical cord vein cells, embryonic kidney cells, placental cells) (2).
Roundup also affects the survival and performance, of beneficial plants, microorganisms in soil and water, as well as representatives of almost all invertebrates and vertebrates investigated so far. Here is a collection of just a few of the studies published on this topic to date in the year 2009.
Roundup or its active ingredient induces mild oxidative stress in goldfish tissues (brain, liver, kidneys) (3). It causes death of larval (4) and juvenile amphibians (toads) (5). Glyphosate herbicides decrease growth of phyoplankton/algae (5). Roundup lowers the regenerative properties of flatworms (6). It is genotoxic for broad-snouted caiman where its presence in the egg induces DNA damage of the red blood cells (7).
I hope I’ve given you enough information to stimulate your interest in this and other herbicides that might end up in your food, your pet’s food, and all parts of your pet’s body, including feet, fur, and mouth. Since both you and your pet routinely carry toxins into your house on your feet, try to avoid public areas where toxins are used to maintain lawns. Since it’s often impossible to know where these chemicals are being used, it’s probably best to leave your shoes outside your living area and to wash your pet’s paws after a walk in the park, or even just a run in your backyard.
And of course, choose organic pet toys (for example, those found made by Purrfectplay available at
www.purrfectplay.com) and USDA certified organic pet foods whenever you can.
Remember: only certified organic pet food claims are regulated and enforced by the US government.
1. Chang & Chang. Refractory cardiopulmonary failure after glyphosate surfactant intoxication: a case report. J Occup Med Toxicol. 2009 4:2.
2. Benachour & Seralini. Glyphosate formulations induce apoptosis and necrosis in human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cells. Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 22(1):97-105.
3. Lushchak et al. Low toxic herbicide Roundup induces mild oxidative stress in goldfish tissues. Chemosphere 2009.
4. Relyea & Jones. The Toxicity of Roundup Original MAX(R) to Thirteen Species of Larval Amphibians. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2009 30:1.
5. Dinehart et al. Toxicity of a glufosinate- and several glyphosate-based herbicides to juvenile amphibians from the Southern High Plains, USA. Sci Total Environ. 2009 ;407(3):1065-71.
6. Vendrell et al. Effect of glyphosate on growth of four freshwater species of phytoplankton: a microplate bioassay. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2009 82(5):538-42.
7. Liu et al. Impact of glyphosate and acetochlor on Dugesia japonica ingestion and regeneration. Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao. 2008 19(11):2509-14.
8. Poletta et al. Genotoxicity of the herbicide formulation Roundup (glyphosate) in broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) evidenced by the Comet assay and the Micronucleus test. Mutat Res. 2009 672(2):95-102.