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Pick your poison wisely, especially on the Internet

Working with the four Farm Press websites, I spend a lot of time on the Internet. I’m amazed at what comes across the Web as “gospel” from sources who obviously are trying to push an agenda.

At least once a day, I receive a missive from someone about the “Great Satan,” a catch phrase for the company they say, erroneously, is trying to poison the world. One of these even claimed Monsanto is seeking to buy Syngenta so it can escape the stigma attached to its name.

Today I received an email from my friends at the Southern Crop Production Association that, as they said, “was too good not to pass on.” The article wraps up so much of what is wrong with the activist movement. (Full disclosure: SCPA represents the crop protection chemical industry in the Southeast.)

The email refers to a Georgia resident who was arrested and charged with trying to poison a co-worker by putting glyphosate in his water. The defendant denied he was trying to kill anyone; he just wanted to “mess with him.”

As the SCPA email points out, the co-worker is fortunate the defendant didn’t know more than he did about chemistry because he might have put a real poisonous substance in his drink. As it is, Roundup, which has been tested countless times and found to be safe, is much less toxic than caffeine or Rotenone, an organic pesticide.

The LD50 (the individual dose required to kill 50 percent of a test population) for glyphosate is 5,100 milligrams per kilogram per day. For caffeine it’s 192 milligrams and for rotenone it’s 132 milligrams per kilogram per day.

Why would someone think glyphosate might cause harm? Well, the Environmental Working Group and the Natural Resources Defense Council have both said on their websites that glyphosate causes cancer. Both site a report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer that claims glyphosate is a carcinogen.

The IARC report has been widely refuted by scientists around the world who have said the agency did no actual research on the topic, but relied on claims by environmental activist groups, seemingly ignoring studies which proved otherwise.

And so it goes on the Internet.

TAGS: Weeds
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