Bibliography Tag: herbicide use

Rezende et al., 2021

Rezende, E.C.N., Carneiro, F.M., de Moraes, J.B. et al. “Trends in science on glyphosate toxicity: a scientometric study.” Environmental Science and Pollution Research 28, 56432–56448 (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s11356-021-14556-4


As part of the most used herbicides, glyphosate is the most successful ingredient of agrochemical companies. The main objective of this study was to demonstrate research trends related to the glyphosate toxicity and its main effects on human and environmental health. For this purpose, 443 articles published, from 1995 to 2020, on the platform Web of Science™ Thomson Reuters were selected. The main toxicity results related in literature are genotoxicity, cytotoxicity, and endocrine disruption. The environmental effects come mostly from the contamination of groundwater and soils. Several studies have concluded that herbicide concentrations right below the official safety limits induced toxic effects. The results presented a highlighted harmful effect of glyphosate on both human and environmental health. It has been observed that countries where publish the most about the glyphosate toxicity are great investors in large-scale agriculture. It is important to ponder that these countries are in a route of ecosystem exploitation that includes not only fauna and flora, but also human beings. Unfortunately, science does not provide concise data for these pesticide disapproval in the global consumer market. It is necessary to search sustainable global interest alternatives to increase agriculture production based on peoples’ food sovereignty. FULL TEXT

Pelosi et al., 2021

C. Pelosi, C. Bertrand, G. Daniele, M. Coeurdassier, P. Benoit, S. Nélieu, F. Lafay, V. Bretagnolle, S. Gaba, E. Vulliet, C. Fritsch.; “Residues of currently used pesticides in soils and earthworms: A silent threat?;” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2021, 305; DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2020.107167.


Critical knowledge gaps about environmental fate and unintentional effects of currently used pesticides (CUPs) hamper the understanding and mitigation of their global impacts on ecological processes. We investigated the exposure of earthworms to 31 multiclass CUPs in an arable landscape in France. We highlighted the presence of at least one pesticide in all soils (n = 180) and 92 % of earthworms (n = 155) both in treated crops and nontreated habitats (hedgerows, grasslands, and cereals under organic farming). Mixtures of at least one insecticide, one herbicide, and one fungicide (> limit of quantification) contaminated 90 % of soils and 54 % of earthworms at levels that could endanger these nontarget beneficial soil organisms. A high risk of chronic toxicity to earthworms was found (46 % of samples) both in treated winter cereals and nontreated habitats considered as refuges. This may alter biodiversity, hinder recovery, and impair ecosystem functions. These results provide essential insights for sustainable agriculture and CUP regulation, and highlight the potential of pesticides as agents of global change. FULL TEXT

Rohr, 2021

Rohr, J. R.; “The Atrazine Saga and its Importance to the Future of Toxicology, Science, and Environmental and Human Health;” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2021, 40(6), 1544-1558; DOI: 10.1002/etc.5037.


The herbicide atrazine is one of the most commonly used, well studied, and controversial pesticides on the planet. Much of the controversy involves the effects of atrazine on wildlife, particularly amphibians, and the ethically questionable decision making of members of industry, government, the legal system, and institutions of higher education, in most cases in an effort to “bend science,” defined as manipulating research to advance economic, political, or ideological ends. In this Critical Perspective I provide a timeline of the most salient events in the history of the atrazine saga, which includes a multimillion-dollar smear campaign, lawsuits, investigative reporting, accusation of impropriety against the US Environmental Protection Agency, and a multibillion-dollar transaction. I argue that the atrazine controversy must be more than just a true story of cover-ups, bias, and vengeance. It must be used as an example of how manufacturing uncertainty and bending science can be exploited to delay undesired regulatory decisions and how greed and conflicts of interest—situations where personal or organizational considerations have compromised or biased professional judgment and objectivity—can affect environmental and public health and erode trust in the discipline of toxicology, science in general, and the honorable functioning of societies. Most importantly, I offer several recommendations that should help to 1) prevent the history of atrazine from repeating itself, 2) enhance the credibility and integrity of science, and 3) enrich human and environmental health. FULL TEXT


Schulz et al., 2021

Schulz R, Bub S, Petschick LL, Stehle S, Wolfram J.; “Applied pesticide toxicity shifts toward plants and invertebrates, even in GM crops;” Science, 2021, 2;372(6537):81-84; DOI: 10.1126/science.abe1148.


Pesticide impacts are usually discussed in the context of applied amounts while disregarding the large but environmentally relevant variations in substance-specific toxicity. Here, we systemically interpret changes in the use of 381 pesticides over 25 years by considering 1591 substance-specific acute toxicity threshold values for eight nontarget species groups. We find that the toxicity of applied insecticides to aquatic invertebrates and pollinators has increased considerably-in sharp contrast to the applied amount-and that this increase has been driven by highly toxic pyrethroids and neonicotinoids, respectively. We also report increasing applied toxicity to aquatic invertebrates and pollinators in genetically modified (GM) corn and to terrestrial plants in herbicide-tolerant soybeans since approximately 2010. Our results challenge the claims of a decrease in the environmental impacts of pesticide use.

Jugulam et al., 2018

Jugulam, Mithila, Varanasi, Aruna K., Varanasi, Vijaya K., & Prasad, P. V. V. (2018). Climate Change Influence on Herbicide Efficacy and Weed Management. In S. S. Yadav, R. J. Redden, J. L. Hatfield, A. W. Ebert, & D. Hunter (Eds.), Food Security and Climate Change (First ed., pp. 433-448): John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Climate change refers to a change in the climate system that persists for long periods of time, irrespective of the cause. Since the industrial revolution, climate change has been more often associated with a rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 is steadily rising and is expected to reach ∼1000 μmolmol−1 by the year 2100 with a simultaneous increase of 2–4∘C in the earth’s annual surface temperature (IPCC, 2013). Human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation have contributed to a large extent to the emission of greenhouse gases (IPCC 2013, MacCracken et al., 1990). Continued emission of these gases may lead to unprecedented climate changes involving high global temperatures, erratic precipitation and wind patterns, and weather extremities such as droughts, floods, and severe storms (Tubiello et al., 2007; Robinson and Gross, 2010; Gillett et al., 2011; Coumou and Rahmstorf, 2012). Such extreme weather events and rapid climatic changes will have major impacts on the stability of ecosystems; consequently influencing plant life and agriculture (Dukes and Mooney, 1999). Crop production and agronomic practices involving weed management and pest control may be severely affected by these altered abiotic conditions primarily caused by changes in climate and climate variability (Dukes et al., 2009, Singer et al., 2013). Warmer and wetter climates not only affect weed growth but also change chemical properties of certain herbicides; thereby altering their performance on weeds and their control (Poorter and Navas, 2003; Dukes et al., 2009). Determining the response of weeds and herbicides to increased CO2 levels and associated changes in other climate variables is critical to optimize weed management strategies in the context of climate change. This chapter provides an overview of the impacts of climate change factors on weed growth and herbicide efficacy, particularly focusing on the impacts of climate factors on the underlying physiological mechanisms that determine herbicide performance. FULL TEXT

Ziska, 2020

Ziska, Lewis H.; “Climate Change and the Herbicide Paradigm: Visiting the Future;” Agronomy, 2020, 10(12); DOI: 10.3390/agronomy10121953.


Weeds are recognized globally as a major constraint to crop production and food security. In recent decades, that constraint has been minimized through the extensive use of herbicides in conjunction with genetically modified resistant crops. However, as is becoming evident, such a stratagem is resulting in evolutionary selection for widespread herbicide resistance and the need for a reformation of current practices regarding weed management. Whereas such a need is recognized within the traditional auspices of weed science, it is also imperative to include emerging evidence that rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and climatic shifts will impose additional selection pressures that will, in turn, affect herbicide efficacy. The goal of the current perspective is to provide historical context of herbicide use, outline the biological basis for CO2/climate impacts on weed biology, and address the need to integrate this information to provide a long-term sustainable paradigm for weed management. FULL TEXT

Ziska, 2016

Ziska, Lewis H.; “The role of climate change and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide on weed management: Herbicide efficacy;” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2016, 231, 304-309; DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2016.07.014.

ABSTRACT: Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide [CO2] and a changing climate will almost certainly affect weed biology and demographics with consequences for crop productivity. The extent of such consequences could be minimal if weed management, particularly the widespread and effective use of herbicides, minimizes any future risk; but, such an outcome assumes that [CO2] or climate change will not affect herbicide efficacy per se. Is this a fair assumption? While additional data are greatly desired, there is sufficient information currently available to begin an initial assessment of both the physical and biological constraints likely to occur before, during and following herbicide application. The assessment provided here, while preliminary, reviews a number of physical and biological interactions that are likely, overall, to significantly reduce herbicide efficacy. These interactions can range from climatic extremes that influence spray coverage and field access to direct effects of [CO2] or temperature on plant biochemistry and morphology. Identification of these mechanisms will be essential to both understand and strengthen weed management strategies associated with rising levels of [CO2] in the context of an uncertain and rapidly changing climate.

Benbrook and Benbrook, 2021

Benbrook, Charles, & Benbrook, Rachel (2021). “A minimum data set for tracking changes in pesticide use.” In R. Mesnage & J. Zaller (Eds.), Herbicides: Elsevier and RTI Press.


A frequently asked but deceptively simple question often arises about pesticide use on a given farm or crop: Is pesticide use going up, down, or staying about the same? Where substantial changes in pesticide use are occurring, it is also important to understand the factors driving change. These might include more or fewer hectares planted, a change in the crop mix, a higher or lower percentage of hectares treated, or higher or lower rates of application and/or number of applications. Or, it might arise from a shift to other pesticides applied at a higher or lower rate and/or lessened or greater reliance on nonpesticidal strategies and integrated pest management (IPM). Questions about whether pesticide use is changing and why arise for a variety of reasons. Rising use typically increases farmer costs and cuts into profit margins. It generally raises the risk of adverse environmental and/or public health outcomes. It can accelerate the emergence and spread of organisms resistant to applied pesticides. If the need to spray more continues year after year for long enough, farming systems become unsustainable. Lessened reliance on and use of pesticides, on the other hand, are typically brought about and can only be sustained by incrementally more effective prevention-based biointensive IPM systems (bioIPM).1–3 Fewer pesticide applications and fewer pounds/kilograms of active ingredient applied reduce the impacts on nontarget organisms and provide space for beneficial organisms and biodiversity to flourish. Such systems reduce the odds of significant crop loss in years when conditions undermine the efficacy of control measures, leading to spikes in pest populations and the risk of economically meaningful loss of crop yield and/or quality. FULL TEXT

Milesi et al., 2021

Milesi, M. M., Lorenz, V., Durando, M., Rossetti, M. F., & Varayoud, J. “Glyphosate Herbicide: Reproductive Outcomes and Multigenerational Effects.” Frontiers in Endocrinology, 12. 2021; DOI:10.3389/fendo.2021.672532.


Glyphosate base herbicides (GBHs) are the most widely applied pesticides in the world and are mainly used in association with GBH-tolerant crop varieties. Indiscriminate and negligent use of GBHs has promoted the emergence of glyphosate resistant weeds, and consequently the rise in the use of these herbicides. Glyphosate, the active ingredient of all GBHs, is combined with other chemicals known as co-formulants that enhance the herbicide action. Nowadays, the safety of glyphosate and its formulations remain to be a controversial issue, as evidence is not conclusive whether the adverse effects are caused by GBH or glyphosate, and little is known about the contribution of co-formulants to the toxicity of herbicides. Currently, alarmingly increased levels of glyphosate have been detected in different environmental matrixes and in foodstuff, becoming an issue of social concern. Some in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that glyphosate and its formulations exhibit estrogen-like properties, and growing evidence has indicated they may disrupt normal endocrine function, with adverse consequences for reproductive health. Moreover, multigenerational effects have been reported and epigenetic mechanisms have been proved to be involved in the alterations induced by the herbicide. In this review, we provide an overview of: i) the routes and levels of human exposure to GBHs, ii) the potential estrogenic effects of glyphosate and GBHs in cell culture and animal models, iii) their long-term effects on female fertility and mechanisms of action, and iv) the consequences on health of successive generations. FULL TEXT

Mahler et al., 2021

Mahler, B. J., Nowell, L. H., Sandstrom, M. W., Bradley, P. M., Romanok, K. M., Konrad, C. P., & Van Metre, P. C.; “Inclusion of Pesticide Transformation Products Is Key to Estimating Pesticide Exposures and Effects in Small U.S. Streams;” Environmental Science & Technology, 2021; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c06625.


Improved analytical methods can quantify hundreds of pesticide transformation products (TPs), but understanding of TP occurrence and potential toxicity in aquatic ecosystems remains limited. We quantified 108 parent pesticides and 116 TPs in more than 3700 samples from 442 small streams in mostly urban basins across five major regions of the United States. TPs were detected nearly as frequently as parents (90 and 95% of streams, respectively); 102 TPs were detected at least once and 28 were detected in >20% samples in at least one region-TPs of 9 herbicides, 2 fungicides (chlorothalonil and thiophanate-methyl), and 1 insecticide (fipronil) were the most frequently detected. TPs occurred commonly during baseflow conditions, indicating chronic environmental TP exposures to aquatic organisms and the likely importance of groundwater as a TP source. Hazard quotients based on acute aquatic-life benchmarks for invertebrates and nonvascular plants and vertebrate-centric molecular endpoints (sublethal effects) quantify the range of the potential contribution of TPs to environmental risk and highlight several TP exposure-response data gaps. A precautionary approach using equimolar substitution of parent benchmarks or endpoints for missing TP benchmarks indicates that potential aquatic effects of pesticide TPs could be underestimated by an order of magnitude or more. FULL TEXT