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Traits in Agriculture » Herbicide Tolerance

Title: Glyphosate Exposure and Increased Frequency of Cancer in Argentina
Publication date: March 17, 2017
Posting date: March 17, 2017

THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE                                                               

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Glyphosate Exposure and Increased Frequency of Cancer in Argentina

In 1996, Argentina began to grow genetically modified (GM) crops, which currently cover 25 million hectares on which 12 million people live. These crops have generated a substantial increase in pesticide use. In 2013, Argentina sprayed 240,000 tons of glyphosate.

The town of Monte Maiz lies at the heart of Argentina’s agricultural area, where soy, maize, and wheat are grown. In recent years, local governmental authorities along with local residents and doctors have been worried about an apparent increase in the number of people suffering from cancer, in particular since the introduction of GM herbicide-resistant crops and the massive use of glyphosate in conjunction. The Mayor and residents of Monte Maiz requested an environmental health study.

An exploratory ecological study was accordingly conducted to verify the concurrence of environmental exposure to glyphosate and cancer. Itdetected high glyphosate pollution in association with increased frequencies of cancer in Monte Maiz; cancer incidence, prevalence, and mortality were between two and three times higher than the reference values for the entire nation.

Although the study was not designed to be able to make direct causal assertions, theepidemiological link between environmental glyphosate and cancer appeared consistent. It highlighted the fact that families with farming activities had a greater risk of cancer than non-farming families, probably due to greater direct exposure to glyphosate. The researchers call for further studies to reveal the exact relationship between cancer and glyphosate.

The Abstract and Conclusion of the published research paper are reproduced below.

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____________________________________________________________________________

ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CANCER AND ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURE TO GLYPHOSATE

Medardo Avila-Vazquez, Eduardo Maturano, Agustina Etchegoyen, Flavia Silvina Difilippo, and Bryan Maclean

International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2017, 8, 73-85

https://doi.org/10.4236/ijcm.2017.82007

http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=74222

Abstract

Background:Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay farm transgenic seeds glyphosate resistant. Argentina annually utilizes 240,000 tonnes of glyphosate in agriculture. A change in the profile of morbidity and mortality is perceived in agricultural areas; cancer seems to prevail. Monte Maiz is a typical argentine agricultural town with 8000 inhabitants; the Mayor and residents of Monte Maiz requested an environmental health study due to perceived increase in cancer frequencies. Methods: An exploratory ecological study was developed to assess the urban environmental contamination and the frequencies and distribution of cancer through an environmental analysis of pollution sources including measurements of pesticides in water, soil and grain dust, and a cross-sectional study of cancer patients that explore associations with different variables. Results: Glyphosate was detected in soil and grain dust and was found to be at an even higher concentration in the village soil than in the rural area. 650 tonnes are used annually in the region and manipulated inner town. We do not find other relevant sources of pollution. Cancer incidence, prevalence, and mortality are between two and three times higher than the reference values (Globocan 2012, WHO) for the entire nation (706/100,000 persons vs. 217/100,000; 2123/100,000 persons vs. 883.82/100,000 and 383/100,000 persons vs. 115.13/100,000, respectively). Conclusion: This study detects high glyphosate pollution in association with increased frequencies of cancer in a typical argentine agricultural village, and by design, cannot make claims of causality. Other study designs are required, but if we corroborate the concrescence of high exposure to glyphosate and cancer.

Conclusion

This research detected an urban environment severely polluted by glyphosate and other pesticides and identified high frequencies of cancer, suggesting a link between environmental exposure to glyphosate and cancer, although this was an exploratory and observational design unable to make direct causal assertions. However, it is necessary to recognize the associations based on the analysis of the differences between exposure variables and high cancer prevalence, incidence, and mortality that must be verified with studies specifically designed for this purpose; further research is needed to reveal the exact relationship between cancer and glyphosate.


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