Posted by Norman Fong, May 17th, 2012
The Scotts Company sells the popular line of pesticides Ortho Home Defense MAX as well as Roundup. They produce everything from bug killers to rodent control products to Scotts Miracle Grow.
Roundup is a popular herbicide that is used to kill weeds. It is effective because it travels from the above ground portion of the plant into the roots and then kills the roots. The active ingredient is Glyphosate, which is also present in similar products. You need to be very careful in using this product because of all the injuries that have resulted. The Bugman recently talked about this chemical’s problems.
“Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that will kill almost all plants it comes in contact with, including annual, biennial and perennial grasses, broadleaf and woody plants. The chemical is sprayed on the leaves, where it is absorbed and translocated through the entire plant. Roundup is non-selective, so it kills many kinds of plants, and can drift to unintended plants and harm or kill them.
There are concerns of irreversible damage to plants, beneficial insects and animals, and water contamination due to Roundup. Glyphosate itself is very low in toxicity to mammals, including humans, but it contains a surfactant known as polyethoxylated tallowamine (POEA) that is very toxic…”
Roundup is responsible for a high number of poisoning reports within California, probably because it is so popular. In 1998, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation concluded that glyphosate ranks first among herbicides as the highest cause of pesticide-induced illnesses or injuries to people in California. Common symptoms of glyphosate poisoning include eye soreness, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, sore throat, gastrointestinal injury, and other flu-like symptoms. Long term toxicity is being probed.
This study from the Centre for Agriculture and Environment stated that Glyphosate or Roundup is absorbed by plants and is rapidly translocated. Residues of the pesticide have been found in fruits and vegetables, long after it has been applied. Lettuce, carrots and other vegetables contained trace levels of Roundup a year after it had been applied according to Caroline Cox, staff scientist for the NCAP (Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides) and editor of the Journal of Pesticide Reform.
Time to eat organic fruits and vegetables.
Roundup is used extensively in farming. There are even Roundup Ready genetically engineered seeds that are immune to Roundup’s effects. Roundup’s owner, Monsanto takes legal action against farmers who even unknowingly plant contaminated seeds. Mother nature never sits still. Years of its use has lead to Roundup resistant weeds.
Genetically modified crops have escaped at least six times in the past per a GAO Report in 2008, causing over 1 billion dollars in losses to rice farmers. A new genetically modified corn, Enogen, that is used to create ethanol has been approved and may cause further contamination. A single kernel in 10,000 unmodified kernels can cause corn to become liquefied and soggy.
94% of cotton is genetically modified as is 93% of soybeans, 90% of canola, and 88% of corn. Roughly 70 – 80% of processed food made in the United States includes genetically engineered ingredients. People against this state that research has shown that health problems including allergies, organ damage are caused by these ingredients.
Over use of Glyphosate has lead to an 81% decline in the Monarch Butterfly population.
Genetically Modified (GMO) crop problems
These genetically modified seeds have resulted in even stronger super weeds that are resistant to Roundup. In September 2012, the EPA commented in response to a study that found western corn root worms that were resistant to an insecticide produced by Monsanto’s special corn seeds. This has caused the chemical companies to push using a 1940′s era pesticide called 2,4-D. So the war is escalating, and over time we will probably see weeds to resistant to this chemical.
In 2013, corn farmers found that genetically modified seeds designed to protect corn from insects, were not working anymore. Farmers were forced to go back to using chemicals to battle insects. Soil insecticides are being used again to handle pests such as the root worm. Using genetically modified seeds didn’t solve the pest problem very long.
Ortho Home Defense Max
One of the more popular products sold at places like Home Depot is Ortho Home Defense MAX Perimeter & Indoor Insect Killer – “Kills bugs inside, keeps bugs out!” – It comes in a convenient 2 gal. Pull ‘N Spray so you can zap insects any time. “For long lasting residual control leave spray undisturbed. The product will keep killing for up to 12 months.”
Active Ingredients is listed as 0.05% Bifenthrin (MSDS)- It is virtually insoluble in water so it has high persistence in soil (half life = 7 days – 8 months) and consequently it is one of the longest residual termiticide, which can be good or bad. It is highly toxic to fish and aquatic arthropods, so it should not be used where it can affect them.
Problems with Pesticide Runoff
This article echos the main concern that this pesticide flows into water systems through runoff into storm drains, causing problems for aquatic species.
“High levels of pyrethroid pesticides in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the number one river system on America’s Most Endangered Rivers List of 2009, has been linked to heavy urbanization in the region.”
If you are going to use this pesticide, please do not over use it and do not use it in areas that will drain to the sewer during watering or rain season.
A 2010 San Francisco Estuary Institute report found that urban runoff was more toxic than rural. Heavy loads of mercury and PCBs flowed into the Bay from culverts and creeks carrying storm water.
In August 2011, Roundup pesticide resistant pests were found in Northern Iowa. Monsanto sells genetically-modified corn seeds that are resistant to their Roundup pesticide. These insect-proof crops make farming much easier by allowing farmers to grow the same crop year after year. This violates a basic tenet of pest management, which states that using one method year after year gives pests an opportunity to adapt. Scientists now say that Roundup resistant superweeds have spread to more than 20 states. Monsanto was listed as the worst company of 2011.
The government requires that farmers who plant genetically-modified corn, plant as much as 20% non-modified corn on their farm. Some farms are allowed to plant as little as 5%, possibly leading to other problems.
If you must use Roundup, follow its directions carefully and apply it to a very small area.
Alternative Eco Friendly Green Pesticides
Herbicides should not be necessary for every garden. Physical weed management techniques such as mulching digging up weeds can be very effective. Eco friendly green pesticides include: mechanical removal, suppression with mulches, or maybe spraying with vinegar. If you must use an herbicide try to stick to the least toxic ones that utilize non-poisonous ingredients including clove oils and soaps.