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Glyphosate Metabolites Found in Water, Air and Rain in Mississippi River Basin


Genetic Engineering News List

Dear Readers,
There has been very little research done on glyphosate but almost zero on the chemical that it becomes after use and degrades, aminomethylphosphonic acid.  Take a minute and put that in your browser and you will find very little information.   PAN (Pesticide Action Network) researched this also and found no relevant studies for the effects of this acid on soil and water organisms especially including humans.  Go to this link and you will be amazed and alarmed  ( Now, not only is Round Up GM food everywhere but so is the toxin that it relies on.  This is clearly a call to action.  Warning signs are already known.  Why has no one started research on this?  Could it be funding or is this something we don’t want to know.

Technical Announcement:
Widely Used Herbicide Commonly Found in Rain and Streams in the Mississippi
River Basin
Released: 8/29/2011

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192    Paul Capel
Phone: (612) 625-3082

Kara Capelli
Phone: (571) 420-9408

Glyphosate, also known by its tradename Roundup, is commonly found in rain and
rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed, according to
two new USGS studies released this month.

Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural and urban areas of the United
States. The greatest glyphosate use is in the Mississippi River basin, where
most applications are for weed control on genetically-modified corn, soybeans
and cotton. Overall, agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than
11,000 tons in 1992 to more than 88,000 tons in 2007.

“Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know
very little about its long term effects to the environment,” says Paul Capel,
USGS chemist and an author on this study. “This study is one of the first to
document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air
throughout the growing season. This is crucial information for understanding
where management efforts for this chemical would best be focused.”

In these studies, Glyphosate was frequently detected in surface waters, rain and
air in areas where it is heavily used in the basin. The consistent occurrence of
glyphosate in streams and air indicates its transport from its point of use into
the broader environment.

Additionally, glyphosate persists in streams throughout the growing season in
Iowa and Mississippi, but is generally not observed during other times of the
year.  The degradation product of glyphosate, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA),
which has a longer environmental lifetime, was also frequently detected in
streams and rain.

Detailed results of this glyphosate research are available in “Occurrence and
fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in
the atmosphere,” published in volume 30 of Environmental Toxicology and
Chemistry and in “Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic
acid in surface waters of agricultural basins,” published online in Pest
Management Science. Copies of the reports are available from the journals or
from Paul Capel (

Research on the transport of glyphosate was conducted as part of the USGS
National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The NAWQA program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions, whether conditions are getting better
or worse over time, and how natural features and human activities affect those
conditions. Additional information on the NAWQA program can be found online.

The Genetic Engineering Blog is produced by Thomas Wittman and EcoFarm, and supported by a generous donation from the Newman’s Own Foundation.

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