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posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 30 2014, @07:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the Monsanto-is-having-a-bad-week dept.

Monsanto's RoundUp, a widely used pesticide, uses the active ingredient Glyphosate and it may be up for another serious beating. Medical specialists and scientists in Sri Lanka has found that when glyphosate comes in contact with heavy metals like cadmium, arsenic, manganese and cobalt which exist naturally in the soil or fertilizer, it becomes highly toxic and has a high likelihood of causing fatal kidney disease for anyone that comes into contact with it. And because the substance binds to metals it will not show up in current tests. The report (and another one) is published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and has resulted in that the Sri Lanka president to ban glyphosate immediately.

Exposure to glyphosate causes a drop in amino acid tryptophan levels, which interrupts the necessary active signalling of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with weight gain, depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The report show that industry and regulators knew as long ago as the 1980's and 1990's that glyphosate causes malformation, but that information was not made public. Glyphosate is also a teratogenic.

Monsanto has been in the news quite recently.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday July 30 2014, @08:02PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday July 30 2014, @08:02PM (#75661)

    A chelating agent is not a soap, but its close enough to imagine it is. Sorta. Or like an emulsificant like egg yolk.

    So say your mixing bowl is full of water and a poisonous oil and for the sake of argument you can't adsorb the oil. But you add some yolk to it and whip the heck out of it and now you've got toxic mayonnaise which you can adsorb so then you get sick. This is one screwed up analogy.

    Anyway back to the real stuff, it biodegrades and most of the shards are really boring, but one of the shards is a theoretical chelating agent which means it kind of wraps it self around / eats heavy metals which live wrapped up inside it. That's really awesome if you're trying to get them out of a system and you've got something that disposes of chelating agents easier than it disposes directly of heavy metals. On the other hand, from the article, it would kind of suck if chelated heavy metals wrapped up and hidden snuck past defenses to destroy something. Like something in your kidneys that protects them from direct attack by heavy metals, but a "trojan horse" wrapped up inside a chelating agent can sneak past, get inside, and destroy them.

    Well, the paper is all "in theory" not exactly proven in the lab. And they haven't even identified which trojan horse of many is actually causing the problem, much less the dudes sneaking around in the trojan horse. But the overall historical battle sounds like this trojan horse story. Kinda. Although theres absolutely no evidence.

    So you unwrap your new xbox game, and the cellophane gets repurposed to wrap up some homemade sugar candies which you later eat and get diabetes from a lifetime of high carb intake. Now does that mean "xbox games cause diabetes", no, only an idiot would say that, its actually the sugar that did it. On the other hand, if the only source of cellophane wrapping paper was xbox games and the only way to shove raw sugar down your throat was homemade candies wrapped in used xbox game wrappings, well, then maybe banning xbox games isn't all that dumb after all.. if thats the only way it can happen. If. Kind of a philosophical argument. Of course the more intelligent thing to do would be to not have sugar candies laying everywhere or to filter what you eat, and then you can have all the xbox games you want without getting diabetes. Unfortunately the paper doesn't prove the diabetes was caused by either the sugar candies or the xbox wrappers, although something like this has happened before and both are present in the house so it can't be proven that it didn't happen. I like this analogy quite a bit.

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  • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday August 01 2014, @02:37AM

    by Reziac (2489) on Friday August 01 2014, @02:37AM (#76215) Homepage

    If your drinking water has such a high level of toxic metals that you have to worry about ingesting secondary compounds, you've got more problems than metals chelated by glyphosphate (theoretical or otherwise).

    And aren't we missing something here? One of the ways toxic metals are medically *removed* from the body is by ingesting a chelating agent, which in due course is excreted with along with the chelated metal. Now I'm wondering if maybe this hypothetical chelation might be helping more than harming.

    And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.