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Bibliography Tag: risk assessment

Cuhra, 2015

Cuhra, M.; “Glyphosate nontoxicity: the genesis of a scientific fact;” Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, 2015, 15(3), 89-96; DOI: 10.4024/08CU15A.jbpc.15.03.


Repetition of a 1978 experiment on the toxicity of glyphosate chemicals in water-flea Daphnia magna showed surprising results. In the 31 years which had passed between the two series of experiments, the toxicity of glyphosate had apparently become 300 times stronger! Further investigation into this enigmatic paradox discloses unfortunate aspects of laboratory researcher cultures as well as fundamental challenges in current regulatory approval of chemicals and the epistemology of risk-assessment. FULL TEXT

Topping et al., 2020

Topping, C. J., Aldrich, A., & Berny, P.; “Overhaul environmental risk assessment for pesticides;” Science, 2020, 367(6476), 360-363; DOI: 10.1126/science.aay1144.


Environmental risk assessment (ERA) of pesticides does not account for many stressors that have intensified in recent years, such as climate change, habitat destruction, and increasing landscape homogeneity, the combination of which can aggravate effects of pesticides in nature. We describe how several assumptions underlying ERA may not hold in modern intensive agricultural landscapes, and the interaction among assumption violations may account for observed declines in biodiversity. Using European contexts to exemplify these global concerns, we review how regulatory ERA for pesticides has fallen out of step with scientific knowledge and societal demands for sustainable food production and suggest systematic and recently feasible changes for regulation.  FULL TEXT

Mesnage et al., 2017

Mesnage, Robin, & Antoniou, Michael N, “Ignoring Adjuvant Toxicity Falsifies the Safety Profile of Commercial Pesticides,” Frontiers in Public Health, 2017, 5, 361. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00361.


Commercial formulations of pesticides are invariably not single ingredients. Instead they are cocktails of chemicals, composed of a designated pesticidal “active principle” and “other ingredients,” with the latter collectively also known as “adjuvants.” These include surfactants, antifoaming agents, dyes, etc. Some adjuvants are added to influence the absorption and stability of the active principle and thus promote its pesticidal action. Currently, the health risk assessment of pesticides in the European Union and in the United States focuses almost exclusively on the stated active principle. Nonetheless, adjuvants can also be toxic in their own right with numerous negative health effects having been reported in humans and on the environment. Despite the known toxicity of adjuvants, they are regulated differently from active principles, with their toxic effects being generally ignored. Adjuvants are not subject to an acceptable daily intake, and they are not included in the health risk assessment of dietary exposures to pesticide residues. Here, we illustrate this gap in risk assessment by reference to glyphosate, the most used pesticide active ingredient. We also investigate the case of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are strongly suspected to be involved in bee and bumblebee colony collapse disorder. Authors of studies sometimes use the name of the active principle (for example glyphosate) when they are testing a commercial formulation containing multiple (active principle plus adjuvant) ingredients. This results in confusion in the scientific literature and within regulatory circles and leads to a misrepresentation of the safety profile of commercial pesticides. Urgent action is needed to lift the veil on the presence of adjuvants in food and human bodily fluids, as well as in the environment (such as in air, water, and soil) and to characterize their toxicological properties. This must be accompanied by regulatory precautionary measures to protect the environment and general human population from some toxic adjuvants that are currently missing from risk assessments. FULL TEXT

Benbrook, 2018

Benbrook, Charles, “Why Regulators Lost Track and Control of Pesticide Risks: Lessons From the Case of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Genetically Engineered-Crop Technology,” Current Environmental Health Reports, 5:3, 387-395, 2018, DOI:10.1007/s40572-018-0207-y.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The approval of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the late 1990s triggered dramatic changes in corn, soybean, and cotton pest management systems, as well as complex, novel regulatory challenges. Lessons learned are reviewed and solutions described.

RECENT FINDINGS: Government-imposed resistance management provisions can work and adapt to changing circumstances, but within the private sector, pressures to gain and hold market share have thus far trumped the widely recognized need for resistance management. Risks arising from the use of formulated pesticides often exceed by a wide margin those in regulatory risk assessments based on data derived from studies on nearly 100% pure active ingredients.

SUMMARY: Innovative policy changes are needed in four problem areas: excessive faith in the accuracy of pre-market risk assessments and regulatory thresholds; post-approval monitoring of actual impacts; risk arising from formulated pesticides, rather than just pure active ingredient; challenges inherent in assessing and mitigating the combined impacts of all GE traits and associated pesticides on agroecosystems, as opposed to each trait or pesticide alone; and, tools to deal with failing pest management systems. FULL TEXT

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