[Market-farming] Roundup Ravages Riparian Residents

Marty Kraft martyk at allspecies.org
Sun May 15 09:51:18 EDT 2005

I'm not sure that Roundup isn't harmful. It was not supposed to hurt frogs
either. The genetic modification that goes on to support roundup and the
dollars that it makes is just too tempting to human greed to trust anything
Monsanto says about their money maker.

Natural systems are the result of billions of years of genetic combinations
and recombinations. Each organism that survived was a test of the adaptive
intelligence within. Nature has been testing her products so much more
thoroughly than a few 20 to 60 year old scientists who forget where they put
their keys just like I do. The natural systems that have evolved keep us all
alive. All Monsanto's horses and all its men will not be able to put it back
together again.

Marty Kraft
The Center for North American Herpetology
Lawrence, Kansas
18 April 2005

Roundup Ravages Riparian Residents

PITTSBURGH‹The herbicide Roundup is widely used to eradicate weeds. But a
study published today by a University of Pittsburgh researcher finds that
the chemical may be eradicating much more than that.

University of Pittsburgh assistant professor of biology Rick Relyea found
that Roundup, the second most commonly applied herbicide in the United
States, is "extremely lethal" to amphibians. This field experiment is one of
the most extensive studies on the effects of pesticides on nontarget
organisms in a natural setting, and the results may provide a key link to
global amphibian declines.

In a paper titled "The Impact of Insecticides and Herbicides on the
Biodiversity and Productivity of Aquatic Communities," published in the
journal Ecological Applications, Relyea examined how a pond¹s entire
community‹25 species, including crustaceans, insects, snails, and
tadpoles‹responded to the addition of the manufacturers recommended doses of
two insecticides‹Sevin (carbaryl) and malathion‹and two herbicides‹Roundup
(glyphosate) and 2,4-D.

Relyea found that Roundup caused a 70 percent decline in amphibian
biodiversity and an 86 percent decline in the total mass of tadpoles.
Leopard Frog tadpoles and Gray Treefrog tadpoles were completely eliminated
and Wood Frog tadpoles and toad (Bufo) tadpoles were nearly eliminated. One
species of frog, Spring Peepers, was unaffected.

"The most shocking insight coming out of this was that Roundup, something
designed to kill plants, was extremely lethal to amphibians," said Relyea,
who conducted the research at Pitt¹s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. "We
added Roundup, and the next day we looked in the tanks and there were dead
tadpoles all over the bottom."

Relyea initially conducted the experiment to see whether the Roundup would
have an indirect effect on the frogs by killing their food source, the
algae. However, he found that Roundup, although an herbicide, actually
increased the amount of algae in the pond because it killed most of the

"It¹s like killing all the cows in a field and seeing that the field has
more grass in it -- not because you made the grass grow better, but because
you killed everything that eats grass," he said.

Previouss research had found that the lethal ingredient in Roundup was not
the herbicide itself, glyphosate, but rather the surfactant, or detergent,
that allows the herbicide to penetrate the waxy surfaces of plants. In
Roundup, that surfactant is a chemical called polyehtoxylated tallowamine.
Other herbicides have less dangerous surfactants: For example, Relyea¹s
study found that 2,4-D had no effect on tadpoles.

"We¹ve repeated the experiment, so we¹re confident that this is, in fact, a
repeatable result that we see," said Relyea. "It¹s fair to say that nobody
would have guessed Roundup was going to be so lethal to amphibians."


Because news articles are necessarily brief, lots of important details have
to be left out. In response to Monsanto's criticisms of the Relyea (2005)
study of Roundup's lethal effects on amphibians, there is now a webpage that
addresses Monsanto's concerns.



A gratis downloadable pdf of the paper by Relyea is available from the CNAH
PDF Library on the CNAH web site home page at:


John Bond, KAWS Chapter Coordinator
2157 10th Road
Clay Center, Ks 67432
web site: www.kaws.org

> From: "Jack Lane" <jacklane at mstar2.net>
> Reply-To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 09:08:19 -0400
> To: "'Market Farming'" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: RE: [Market-farming] Re: Japanese Knotwood
> Round up poisons people? Where did you hear that? Roundup is quite
> safe. Do you have any literature to back up your claim? If I spray
> roundup on a field it has absolutely no residual activity in the soil.
> If I don't spray green plants with it I am wasting my money. You can
> even spray roundup inside a greenhouse. But take an organically
> certified herbicide like devrinol, and you will have years of persistent
> poison in the soil.
> There are plenty of other chemicals to pick on besides
> glyphosate. I am not an organic grower, because the term organic is VERY
> misleading. I try to use as few chemicals as possible, but I also know
> the importance of growing the best crop to take to market. Without
> Commercial fungicides, I couldn't grow apples in Kentucky.
> I agree that chemicals should be kept to a minimum. Roundup is
> one of the few tools that I feel comfortable using.

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