A new study in the Journal of Applied Technology found commonly used herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup that contain glyphosate also contain undisclosed, “inert” ingredients not subjected to mandatory EPA testing.
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Commonly used herbicides across the U.S. contain highly toxic undisclosed “inert” ingredients that are lethal to bumblebees, according to a new study published April 16, in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
The study reviewed several herbicide products and found that most contained glyphosate, an ingredient best recognized from Roundup products and the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. and worldwide.
While the devastating impacts of glyphosate on bee populations are more broadly recognized, the toxicity levels of inert ingredients are less understood because they are not subjected to the same mandatory testing by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Pesticides are manufactured and sold as formulations that contain a mixture of compounds, including one or more active ingredients and, potentially, many inert ingredients,” explained the Center for Food Safety in a statement. “The inert ingredients are added to pesticides to aid in mixing and to enhance the products’ ability to stick to plant leaves, among other purposes.”
The study found that these inert substances can be highly toxic and even block bees’ breathing capacity, essentially causing them to drown. While researchers found that some of the combinations of inert ingredients had no negative impacts on the bees, one of the herbicide formulations killed 96% of the bees within 24 hours.
According to the abstract of the study:
Bees exhibited 94% mortality with Roundup Ready‐To‐Use and 30% mortality with Roundup ProActive, over 24 hr. Weedol did not cause significant mortality, demonstrating that the active ingredient, glyphosate, is not the cause of the mortality. The 96% mortality caused by Roundup No Glyphosate supports this conclusion.
“This important new study exposes a fatal flaw in how pesticide products are regulated here in the U.S.,” said Jess Tyler, a staff scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.