GENTECH archive 8.96-97

[Index][Thread]

"Roundup"





Mailing from PANUPS:

For those who do not want to read the full article,
I put the statement on Roundup at the beginning.


Eckart Stein, E.Stein@em.uni-frankfurt.de
http://www.netlink.de/gen/home.html

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The herbicide Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto and marketed 
as an "environmentally friendly" chemical, is a case in which 
some of the known inert ingredients in some formulations have 
far greater toxicity than the active ingredient (glyphosate). 
Two of these ingredients, isopropylamine and polyethoxylated 
tallowamines (POEAs), cause a range of health problems 
including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, burns, excess 
fluids in the lungs and eye, skin and gastrointestinal 
irritation. Glyphosate products were the third leading cause 
of both acute pesticide poisoning and skin and eye illnesses 
among California farm workers between 1984 and 1990.

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                         P A N U P S
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                   Pesticide Action Network 
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CORRECTION: In the last PANUPS (California Update, 
10/18/1996), we made an incorrect statement regarding Dr. 
Robert Holtzer. Dr. Holtzer did not state that preliminary 
findings in the Lompoc health study showed pesticides to be 
causing high rates of lung and bronchus cancer or increased 
respiratory illnesses in Lompoc, but rather that the 
preliminary hospital discharge data are compatible with 
increased rates of lung and bronchus cancer and increased 
respiratory illnesses in the Lompoc area. However, the data 
need further assessment and confirmation.
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October 28, 1996

U.S. Court Rules Inert Ingredients Must Be Disclosed

A U.S. federal district court ruled this month that pesticide 
companies must disclose information about inert ingredients 
in six pesticide products. The suit, filed in 1994 by the 
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) and 
the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides 
(NCAMP), charged that the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) must disclose the common names and CAS* numbers 
of inert ingredients in these pesticides under the Freedom of 
Information Act. The pesticides named in the suit were Aatrex 
80W (atrazine), Weedone LV4 (2,4-D), Roundup (glyphosate), 
Velpar (haxazinone), Garlon 3A (triclopyr) and Tordon 101 
(picloram and 2,4-D).

Manufacturers are already required to provide EPA with names 
of all pesticide ingredients including inerts, but EPA 
routinely witholds this information from the public because 
of industry claims that the information is subject to trade 
secrecy laws. The plaintiffs argued that EPA wrongfully 
accepted manufacturers' blanket claims of confidentiality 
without first ascertaining that the inerts in the six 
pesticide products qualified as trade secrets. Inerts are 
chemicals used in pesticide products to increase efficacy and 
ease of use. 

EPA was joined in the defense by American Crop Protection 
Association (ACPA), an industry trade group representing 
manufacturers whose products will be affected by the ruling. 
These manufacturers include Ciba Geigy, DowElanco, DuPont, 
Monsanto and Rhone Poulenc.

The District Judge ruled that neither defendent demonstrated 
that the common names or CAS numbers of inert ingredients are 
trade secrets. While the decision applies directly only to 
the six named pesticides, the plaintiffs believe that the 
decision will ultimately force EPA to release inert 
ingredient information for other pesticides. 

In a recent press release, ACPA downplayed the impact of the 
ruling. According to an ACPA vice-president, the group is 
"pleased that protection of confidential commercial 
information concerning inert ingredients was upheld on a 
case-by-case basis. The decision essentially represents 
status quo."

Representatives of NCAP and NCAMP disputed the trade group's 
assertion, however, pointing out that the court's opinion 
sets a precedent that inerts are not exempt from the Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA). In addition, NCAMP Executive 
Director Jay Feldman stated that "until now EPA has been 
rubberstamping claims of confidentiality -- now EPA will have 
to create a system for evaluating such claims." 

Though the name "inert" implies these chemicals do not have 
significant impacts, inert ingredients may cause a range of 
environmental and toxicological problems including cancer, 
reproductive harm, endocrine disruption and acute poisoning. 
EPA has conceded that it does not have the information to 
assess the toxicity of more than three-quarters of the 
chemicals used as inerts. The majority of ingredients in many 
pesticide products are so-called "inerts" -- up to 99% in 
some cases. According to NCAMP, there are more than 2,300 
inert substances added to pesticide products.

The herbicide Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto and marketed 
as an "environmentally friendly" chemical, is a case in which 
some of the known inert ingredients in some formulations have 
far greater toxicity than the active ingredient (glyphosate). 
Two of these ingredients, isopropylamine and polyethoxylated 
tallowamines (POEAs), cause a range of health problems 
including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, burns, excess 
fluids in the lungs and eye, skin and gastrointestinal 
irritation. Glyphosate products were the third leading cause 
of both acute pesticide poisoning and skin and eye illnesses 
among California farm workers between 1984 and 1990.

* CAS refers to the Chemical Abstracts Service, an 
international journal that assigns numbers to chemicals for 
identification purposes.

Sources: "Court Rules That EPA Must Disclose Secret 
Ingredients in Pesticides," NCAP/NCAMP Press Release, October 
17, 1996; Daily Environment Reporter, October 18, 1996; 
Journal of Pesticide Reform, Fall 1995; Jay Feldman, personal 
communication, October 25, 1996; "Court Ruling Grants Inerts 
Case-by-Case Confidentiality Protection," ACPA Press Release, 
October 24, 1996; Preventing Pesticide-Related Illness in 
California Agriculture, 1993. William Pease, et.al. 

Contacts: NCAP, P.O. Box 1393, Eugene, OR 97440; phone (541) 
344-5044; fax (541) 344-6923; email ncap@igc.org; NCAMP, 701 
E Street, SE, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20003; phone (202) 
543-5450; fax (202) 543-4791; email ncamp@igc.org.

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