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Daily News Archive
From August 9, 2001

Colombia Argonomist Reports Effects of Roundup® Exposure

The joint U.S.-Colombian drug strategy has included a dramatic increase in the intensity of pesticide spraying in the past eight months, according to the St. Petersburg Times. More and more critics say that Roundup®, a.k.a. glyphosate, is hurting much more than the illicit crops it is being sprayed to control. A Colombia agronomist, Elsa Nivia, found in the first two months of 2001 that local authorities reported 4,289 people suffering skin and gastric disorders, and 178,377 cases of other animals, including horses, cattle, pigs, dogs, ducks, hens and fish were killed as a result of exposure to the pesticide. In February, Colombia's national ombudsman demanded a halt to the spraying after his office was flooded with complaints of glyphosate poisoning.

Critics of the spray program point to clear violations of the label instructions when the pesticide is applied. They allege that the Roundup® formulation used in Colombia is of a higher concentration than is applied in the U.S. Chemical additives mixed with the pesticide to improve its effectiveness, such as Cosmo-flux (a surfactant) have never been properly tested in the U.S. for toxic effects. The critics also point out that Roundup® is used in highly controlled circumstances in the U.S., in areas far from human habitation and with strict reentry limits. This is not the case in Colombia. In addition, the label states that Roundup® should not be applied "directly to water," or "to areas where surface water is present."

Check out other stories in the Daily News about the situation in Colombia, including:
o Delegation to Address Environmental Concerns in Colombia;
o Judge Orders Halting of Aerial Spraying of Glyphosate in Colombia;
o Toxic Drift: Monsanto and the Drug War in Colombia