Poorly known addditives may be more harmful than glyphosate itself
Torstai 22.6.2017 klo 10:31 - Mikko Nikinmaa
With the discussion about the harmful effects of glyphosate on tends to forget that the additives in the different commercial formulations may be more harmful to non-target species than the main toxic ingredient. It is undoubtedly true that the persistence of glyphosate in soil in different climatic zones is poorly known, and because of the antibiotic properties of the compound, knowing this would be necessary to be able to estimate the effects of the toxin on the community functions of soil micro-organisms.
However, for animals the additives in the commercial formulations are the real problem. The additives are a commercial secrecy, but an example of their importance in mediating at least acute toxic effects in non-target animals comes from a recent study: pure glyphosate and one commercial formulation showed negligible toxic effects, whereas another formulation was acutely highly toxic. Since the additives are a secrecy, the properties of the compounds used cannot be studied, since the compounds in question are not known.
Two things should generally be noted about glyphosate and its formulations. First: because glyphosate is affecting pathways specific to autotrophic organisms, it has not been considered important that the effects of its commercial formulations are studied with non-target animals. And because the additives are a secrecy, even if the effects on non-target animals are studied, one does not know the toxic compound. Second: the chronic effects of the main toxic ingredient and additives have not been investigated at all on non-target animals. Because of this, there are wild, and completely unsubstantiated, rumours about the harmful effects caused.