WB01343_.gif (599 bytes)  Pesticide and Environmental Update

Cancer Threat From Glyphosate


  From New Scientist (UK)

New Scientist says researchers in Sweden have linked pesticides to one of the
most rapidly increasing cancers in the Western world, non-Hodgkins lymphoma -
which has risen by 73% in the USA since 1973. This, says the journal, is
probably caused by several commonly used crop sprays.

The Lund University Hospital has found that Swedish sufferers of the disease
were 2.7 times more likely to have been exposed to the herbicide MCPA than
healthy people. "MCPA, which is used on grain crops, is sold as Target by the
Swiss firm Novartis," says the journal.

"The patients were also 2.3 times more likely to have had contact with

"Use of [glyphosate] sold as Round-Up by the US firm Monsanto, is expected to
rocket with the introduction of crops such as Roundup-Ready soya beans that
are genetically modified to resist glyphosate. The researchers suggest that
the chemicals have suppressed the patients' immunity, allowing viruses such as
Epstein-Barr to trigger cancer."

The report, on page 23 of New Scientist is by Fred Pearce and Debora


The rain over Europe contains illegal quantities of pesticide - FOL Today Rain
falling over Europe contains such high levels of pesticide dissolved in it,
that it would be illegal to supply it as drinking water, says this week's
reporting Swiss work.

Common cancers may well be caused by pesticides, says other research, from
Sweden. These reports help to explain why politicians are so keen to impose
tax on the use of pesticides - it would be a popular tax with a vast majority
of the public.

Studies in Switzerland, says New Scientist, have found toxic levels of
atrazine, alachlor and other commonly used crop sprays in rain. A chemistfrom
the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, Stephan
M¸ller, says that drinking water standards for such chemicals are regularly
exceeded in rain.

The chemicals appear to have evaporated from fields and become part of the
clouds. In the first minutes of a rain shower, the rain can contain far more
than the limit of 100 nanograms/litre of any particular pesticide that's
permitted in drinking water.

One sample of rainfall contained 4,000 nanograms per litre of 2,4D; another
contained around 900 nanograms of atrazine per litre.

The highest concentrations appear in the first rainfall after a long dry
period, especially when local fields have been sprayed.