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  • safe/unsafe glyphosate use

    hi everyone, the other day at work a fellow worker was spraying glyphosate diluted 300ml to 300l in a back pack sprayer, they were not using a breathing mask and the gloves they were wearing were the thin plastic disposable kind.

    i am after any reliable information and/or official studies that could give me enough info to make the boss re-think the way the company carries out chemical use. i'm young and i'm new to the job so i would like to have as many facts as possible.

    i've looked at the msds for the product and it seems to recommend ppe and breathing apparatis but i can't find a definate standard for safety.

    i know this isn't exactly permaculture related, i was just hoping to reduce the companies chemical use and provide info for the other employees.

    any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    g'day luke,

    dunno mate but maybe someone invloved in occupational health & safety (oh&s) could help or contact your local epa (environmental protection agency) at your local gov' office?

    i saw a doco' concerning the wa wheat belt and they showed farmers using glyho' dressed in space suites?

    but from me i reckon the company you work for is leaving themselves wide open to litigation, from what i know or seem to know there are domestic strength and commercial strength formulas available.

    amyway mate hope some of this helps for me i'd be going home and then the doc the long term residuals of these things in the body just don't seem to be know.

    i thought nowadays people who use chemicals have to be licensed????

    len :shock:

    Comment


    • #3
      the first thing is the work i'm doing is bush regeneration and it doesn't have a union, so i think that gives oppoutunity for trouble. you do need to be licensed to spray glyphosate but anyone can chose to ignore what you've learnt.
      thanks for the direction len, i'll see what the epa can tell me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Luke,

        Glyphosate is one of the safest to use and has the least recommended safety gear needed. Repeated use like that of the WA farmers makes it smart to use a lot of safety gear.

        I have previously done a lot of spraying in the past and the main thing i now recognise that my employer was slack in the safety gear provided was actually the breathing mask filters. There are great filters that can be added to a spray mask but is very important to know how long they last b4 needing to be discarded. Good ones only last a few hours once exposed to normal air! I feel this is the key to feeling 'safe' when spraying. A disposable suit is helpful but remember also that you should have a shower after and a new change of clothes.

        It's the prolonged exposure that is the main risk... as well as things like being pregnant and even a females immune system is more susceptible than a males.

        Cheers... Dave
        Township of Boonah (pop 3,000)
        Subtropical climate
        2.7 acres of gently sloping volcanic soil

        "Progress is a spiral; the pendulum swings back as well as forward. The new postindustrial world, for which many of us are striving, will see an ecological renaissance".... Rober Hart

        Comment


        • #5
          i've talked to the my area manager for work and it turns out that the particular people who were spraying without safety gear choose not to use it and should have had the proper equipment on offer to others but didn't. they keep a really good record on how many hours the mask and filter have done and replace them accordingly.
          i would like to know more about glyphosate because i'm sure its not safe to breath in spray mist regulary, it would be good to let the others at work know all chemicals aren't safe.
          thankyou len and dave for the information it helped alot

          Comment


          • #6
            Luke, I've just sent you an item from the net called 10 reasons not to use Roundup, which is glyphosate. I haven't posted it on the forum because it is 7 pages long. Hope it gives you some useful info.

            Mont
            Near Byron Bay, Far North Coast of NSW, Australia

            Comment


            • #7
              Glyphosate is the only herbicide i use

              I find it to be a benign chemical in terms of residual effects on soil life
              It is acutely toxic to plants and is invaluable in killing off running plants like kikuyu as this grass is highly susceptile to it (less than recommended concentrations)
              If you are facing a sea of kikuyu then weak glyphosate (not monsantos 'roundup" TM as this has surfactants toxic to aqautic life)
              folowed by sheet mulching once its dead can save you years of grief

              likewise with oxalis (soursobs) hit just as they flower so u starve the nutlets

              or for poisoning suckering weeds inlc weed trees
              without tree spikes and poisons i dont think the job will get done
              and if we follow up with immediate planting of native tubstock and after care we can have a fast transition to bush again and i think thats worth the acute toxicity. This is especially true of rainforested areas with camphor. The results ive seen are extraordinary

              as once off tools they are great
              if u have to keep on using them then check your design for flaws

              roundup actually encourages weeds! by eliminating dominat susceptible grasses. So sparyed land will need more sparying and at higher folow up rates unless it is then managed by mulching or estabishmnet of a tree canopy

              Roundup has a halflife of 6 - 120 days
              a huge range
              Basically in moist garden soils with organic matter acterai degarde it quickly
              In broadscale cropping aeras with low rainfall and low OM it degredes slowly as soils are less microbially active

              Its an altered form of glycine and amino acid and inteferes with biochemical pathways specific to plants. It obviously affects peripheral systes in humans leading to minor toxicity but iits pretty safe for animals.

              Comment


              • #8
                it's hardly benign it can last up to 2 years in the soil from what i have read around the traps, and it is at least harmful to our amphibians.

                len :shock:

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with Len, oh&s is a great avenue to go down. I've had several problems working on farms where no health and safety was recognised where chemicals are concerned and many many more problems with farmers who burn ag plastic instead (the rate this happens around bowen and ayr is frightening) of paying to have it removed/removing it themselves as per the law. oh&s is an excellent source for the information you're seeking.

                  As for roundup, can't begin to tell you just how nasty that stuff even in the long term.

                  Your boss could be the nicest man in the world and runs his business this way as that's just the 'norm' - I've encountered this on pretty much every farm I've ever toiled on. Be careful how you address the problem and how you offer the solutions as from my experience it can sometimes get uncomfortable or worse with those who are just going along as they always have. My stepping forward and enquiring as to why ag plastic was being burned was met with some serious derision, as was not having the proper gloves and face masks (sometiems none at all) while working with sprays and word got around about my 'snooping' to the surrounding farmers. In your situation it's different but I just had to say that as you're doing the right thing, but doing the right thing can be tough. Don't let that stop you though, I'm just overly cautious about alot of things so don't mind me.
                  If you save all the butterflies, the spiders will die...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gardenlen
                    it's hardly benign it can last up to 2 years in the soil from what i have read around the traps, and it is at least harmful to our amphibians.

                    len :shock:

                    Claim 1: 2 years in soil

                    # Residual Soil Activity: Glyphosate is not generally active in the soil. It is not usually absorbed from the soil by plants.
                    # Adsorption: Glyphosate and the surfactant used in Roundup are both strongly adsorbed by the soil.
                    # Persistence and Agents of Degradation: Glyphosate remains unchanged in the soil for varying lengths of time, depending on soil texture and organic matter content. The half-life of glyphosate can range from 3 to 130 days. Soil microorganisms break down glyphosate. In tests, the surfactant in Roundup has a soil half-life of less than 1 week. Soil microorganisms break down the surfactant.
                    # Metabolites/Degradation Products and Potential Environmental Effects:The main break-down product of glyphosate in the soil is aminomethylphosphonic acid, which is broken down further by soil microorganisms. The main break-down product of the surfactant used in Roundup is carbon dioxide.

                    so the 2 year claim is actually a maxima and not to be taken seriously as being the norm.
                    dry cropping soils with little organic matter are likely for this - like the WA wheatbelt. But in an active garden soil the lower half life would apply



                    Claim 2 :amphibian toxicity

                    The studies done were with 'Roundup' a formulation containing glyphosate and POEA surfactants which only 'roundup' uses. All toxicity to the frogs was attributed to the surfactant.
                    The other brands which have other surfactants are not toxic in the same way

                    "Glyphosate (commercial names: Roundup, Rodeo) is a broad-spectrum herbicide that kills plants by inhibiting the synthesis of essential amino acids. The most popular formulation, Roundup, actually is a combination of the active ingredient (glyphosate) and a surfactant that helps the herbicide to penetrate plant leaves (polyehtoxylated tallowamine; POEA). It is the second most commonly applied herbicide in the United States, with 38–43 X 106 kg of active ingredient applied to homes, gardens, forests, wetlands, and 8.2 X 106 ha of cropland in the United States (Donaldson et al. 2002, National Pesticide Use Database). The half-life of roundup is 7–70 days (Giesy et al. 2000)."
                    http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/2005 ... 1apr05.htm

                    Previous work in the Australian species showed that although the Australian species were less sensitive to Roundup, the death that occurred was completely due to the surfactant (POEA) and not due to the active ingredient (glyphosate). Relyea (2005a) used the commercial form of Roundup (25% glyphosate) containing the POEA surfactant. Thus, Relyea's results only apply to formulations that contain this common surfactant and not to other forms of glyphosate (e.g., Rodeo). Importantly, agricultural formulations are typically 41% glyphosate, but the glyphosate:surfactant ratio in the version of Roundup used in Relyea (2005) and that used in agricultural applications are identical.
                    http://www.pitt.edu/~relyea/Roundup.html

                    the contents of three glyphosate formulations are listed below.

                    Rodeo®: glyphosate (53.5%) and water (46.5%)

                    Accord®: glyphosate (41.5%) and water (58.5%)

                    Roundup®: glyphosate (41%), polyethoxylated tallowamine surfactant (15%) and water (44%)

                    Now by now i must sound pro-glyphosate but im not really
                    i do think needing to use it is a one off thing not a managemnet tool

                    i think of it like using fossil fuels to do earthmoving
                    the benefits far outweigh the acute loss

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      we use 1-2% bi-active roundup most of the time but its still difficult to convince some workers to use a mask anyway, slowly but surely...
                      thankyou for the info i'll be spreading the word.
                      you're right funky fungus i've seen when we've sprayed a big area of grass and next season another weed pops up in big numbers, it definately encourages weeds, whether that's a chemical reason or just giving opportunity to other plants i don't know.
                      i don't plan on keeping a job where using poisons is apart of the work but for where i am now i can at least inform others as well as i can and they can go on from there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I read a finding that sprayed verges in the UK showed higher biodiversity than unsprayed verges

                        I think the process is the same

                        Runner grasses and even annual grasses are dominating plants in their ecosystems - which is why we have 'grasslands' as a distinct ecotype on the planet - millions of hectares dominated by guilds of a few dominant species

                        Grazing encourages this as runner grasses and those that tiller close to soil surface reists grazing and are actively selected over many annual herbs and woody plants
                        But grasses aslo exude inhibitory susbtances from the roots and possibly in the fallen leaves that are phytotoxic to other plants or their germination
                        (note: quite a few cereal crops exhibit phytotoxicity in the stubble especially sorghum so its best to either rotate crops so that those going in after these crops are resistant to the effects of the proceeding crop or else wait 5 weeks after digging in for microbes to degrade the toxins)

                        as a practical demonstration i give kikuyu and fruit trees as an example
                        A tree with kikuyu sward beneath and a tree with a herbaceous layer beneath will show visble differences in growth and vigour
                        whenever i move house i nearly always find poor fruit trees choked by kike
                        i remove it and the results are graphic and sudden - the trees burst back into life and start bearing heavily again!

                        anyway once you remove the grasses many of whom are VERY susceptible to glyphosate you relsease a lot of other species in the seedbank
                        Mowing or grazing puts the selective pressure back onto the grasses and they make a quick comeback
                        or if you let the broadleaf weeds go and have nearby woodlands you can enter into an early stage of forest succession - herbs, woody herbs, brush, forest etc.
                        If pioneering forest in a sea of kikuyu then a nbit of spray might help to get the nuclei established but your best friend in the longer term is shade
                        the other achilles heel of grasses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: safe/unsafe glyphosate use

                          Originally posted by Luke B
                          hi everyone, the other day at work a fellow worker was spraying glyphosate diluted 300ml to 300l in a back pack sprayer, they were not using a breathing mask and the gloves they were wearing were the thin plastic disposable kind.

                          i am after any reliable information and/or official studies that could give me enough info to make the boss re-think the way the company carries out chemical use. i'm young and i'm new to the job so i would like to have as many facts as possible.

                          i've looked at the msds for the product and it seems to recommend ppe and breathing apparatis but i can't find a definate standard for safety.
                          ciao! you should read carefully the msds of roundup!
                          there u can find all the info u need that the company have to provide for the law.
                          here is the link of all msds of monsanto products:
                          http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/us_ag/ ... s_msds.asp
                          sorry, msds is the material safety data sheet that it is not the label on the product.
                          to get the msds u need to ask the companies!
                          ciaooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!
                          antonino

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            this is the link to the msds of roundup:

                            http://lscgw1.monsanto.com/esh/msdslib. ... er.797.pdf

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Fairly safe

                              I wouldn't panic too much. Glyphosate's fairly safe. Aspirin is far more toxic, as is the salt you put on your chips. The existence of glyphosate has allowed for development of practices like zero-tillage culture in broadacre cropping. Spraying weeds rather than cultivating leads to a much higher retention of organic carbon, maintenance of soil structure, and a reduction in soil erosion. It has a very low level of toxicity.
                              BioFarm Agricultural
                              www.biofarmag.com.au

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