Understanding the issue of toxicity is a problem with so many anti-GMO club members lately. Studies that cherry pick information like the one that touted that “75% of air samples contained RoundUp and Atrazine” are great examples of why this group is so prone to fear mongering.
Note that the information promoted on the whackosphere sites failed to mention that the amounts detected were billions to millions below any significant level to have any effect, according to Kevin Folta’s review of the actual paper. What this paper really shows is how sensitive the technology is to detect very minuscule levels to begin with.
So let’s talk a bit further about this “we’re being sprayed and poisoned” paranoia among the anti-GMO club.
An important thing to understand with toxicity of something is by understanding how toxicity is measured.
From the EPA website, the measure in which toxicity is stated is something called LD50.
Lethal Dosage (LD50) Values
An LD50 is a standard measurement of acute toxicity that is stated in milligrams (mg) of pesticide per kilogram (kg) of body weight. An LD50 represents the individual dose required to kill 50 percent of a population of test animals (e.g., rats, fish, mice, cockroaches). Because LD50 values are standard measurements, it is possible to compare relative toxicities among pesticides. The lower the LD50 dose, the more toxic the pesticide.
A pesticide with an LD50 value of 10 mg/kg is 10 times more toxic than a pesticide with an LD50 of 100 mg/kg.
The toxicity of a pesticide is related to the mode of entry of the chemical into an organism. Oral LD50 values are obtained when test subjects are fed pesticide-treated feed or water. Dermal LD50 values are obtained when the pesticide is applied to the skin of the animal. Inhalation LD50 values are obtained when the animal breathes the pesticide with a mask. Often the inhalation LD50 is lower (more toxic) than the oral LD50, which is in turn lower (more toxic) than the dermal LD50.
LD50 values are not always given on the pesticide label; rather, the relative toxicity of a pesticide product is reflected by one of three signal words: DANGER, WARNING, or CAUTION. The purpose of signal words is to alert the user to the level of toxicity of the product. The signal word is generally assigned based on the pesticide’s inhalation, oral or dermal toxicity, whichever is the most toxic.
Let’s take a look at some common substances that we likely consume everyday and see what the LD50 measures are (note that these are oral dosages).
Table Salt 3000mg/kg
Capsaicin 47.2mg/kg (Found in hot sauce)
Then let’s take a look at RoundUp, the dreaded pesticide that anti-GMO club folks are harping about.
As you can see, table salt is more toxic than glyphosate is. Common substances that we actually eat or use as medicine are significantly more toxic than glyphosate actually is.
Then if you take a look at LD50 for atrazine, you’ll also find that it is much less toxic than the same substances we consume.
Atrazine for rats and mice 672mg/kg to 850 mg/kg
Another commonly used pesticide in organic farming is much more toxic than glyphosate is in terms of toxicity.
Rotenone for rats is 162 to1500mg/kg
That’s even more toxic than glyphosate is! Just because something is derived from natural sources doesn’t make it any safer. A good example is snake venom. All natural but deadly at minuscule amounts!
Let’s take a look at yet another chemical used in organic farming, copper sulfate.
Copper sulfate in rats is 30mg/kg
That is nearly 100x more toxic than glyphosate. It has been documented that a dose of 11mg/kg in a human has lead to death! This chemical also builds up in soil too.
As you can clearly see, just because organic farming sounds much more holistic and greener, it may not necessarily be less toxic in reality.
Just because you have been reading that all of these pesticides are poisonous and horrible from StopPoisoningParadise.com and during speeches from Hooser and Andrea Brower, you don’t have to be a scientist to do some research of what this all means. Knowing how to search and verify what is being said can make a huge difference in understanding fact from fiction.
Get off of those whackosphere websites like Sustainable Pulse, GMO Free whatever wherever, Natural News, Green Med Info, Nature Cures, Holistic Health Woo, Altnet, and so on and you’ll see a different picture.
Those sites are meant for scaring you, and if you like being scared and uninformed, keep reading it. Paranoia caused by the internet isn’t a happy place to be ever. Jump off the paranoia bandwagon and research, research, research.