July 28, 2016
Crucial data on pesticide toxicity is often concealed by the deceptive language put in place by the chemical industry. To bypass regulatory oversight, the chemical industry uses clever marketing language to make their patented chemicals sound legitimate. Some of the biggest agrochemical formulators, including Monsanto, Dow, Bayer and Syngenta, are claiming that their chemicals are safe, while hiding the known compounding, synergistic effects of their pesticides (often hidden in patent applications).
There is no scientific standard or regulation to address the synergy of new pesticide products, the compounding effects of pesticide formulations, or the unknown toxic effects of mixing and accumulating pesticides in the fields. For these reasons alone, pesticide burden and toxicity is far greater than assumed. Over time, as various amounts of pesticides accumulate in ground water and in soil, people become nothing but rats in a DNA-damaging real life lab experiment.
The gray area: Synergistic effects of widely-used agrochemicals lead to compounding toxicity
According to an investigation by the watchdog group, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), nearly 100 different pesticide products aren’t really safe at all, even after being given a license by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Over a six year time period, the EPA actually green-lighted nearly 100 pesticide products that had synergistic compounds known for “increasing the dangers to imperiled pollinators and rare plants.” Ecological biodiversity and agricultural sustainability are at risk here, but the threats are allowed to continue on.
These synergistic effects occur when two or more chemicals come together and interact in a way that increases and emboldens their toxicity. In tests, one chemical may be non-toxic at a certain level, but when the chemical is combined with another, the newfound toxicity can cause considerable harm to pollinators, rare plants or human health. The EPA may deem that a certain pesticide is safe at a certain level of exposure, but over time, intermixing chemicals can generate much greater toxic effects.
The CBD’s latest report, Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails, breaks down the harm that the chemical industry is doing by fooling regulatory authorities and using loopholes to embellish the data.
Over 90 agrochemicals on the market cause synergistic, compounding toxic effects
One of Dow AgroScience’s toxic pesticide products was revoked in 2014 for these reasons. Dow’s Enlist Duo, containing 2,4-D and glyphosate, causes such toxic, synergistic effects to plants, that the EPA revoked its license, even after approving it in October 2014.
Several products patented by Monsanto, Dow, Bayer and Syngenta have similar synergistic effects that the companies fail to properly disclose. No one is really studying and cross checking what these compounding effects can do to the environment and to human beings.
The Center for Biological Diversity investigated 140 patented products from these large chemical companies. Ninety-six of them or (69 percent) demonstrated synergy between the various active chemicals in the products. Of the patented applications, 72 percent of the products demonstrated synergy involving the most widely-used chemicals in agriculture. These chemicals included glyphosate, atrazine, 2,4-D, dicamba and the neonicotinoids thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin, among others.
“It’s alarming to see just how common it’s been for the EPA to ignore how these chemical mixtures might endanger the health of our environment,” said CBD scientist Nathan Donley. The EPA doesn’t even cross examine compounding synergistic effects for the many different neonicotinoids.
“It’s pretty clear that chemical companies knew about these potential dangers, but the EPA never bothered to demand this information from them or dig a little deeper to find it for themselves,” he stated.
While the government looks the other way, CWC labs is working toward greater transparency. CWC labs will soon have the capability to disclose not only the heavy metal content of popular food items, but also various pesticide levels. In this way, CWC labs can help the public recognize where they may be consuming toxic, synergistic combinations of agrochemicals.