‘A disaster on par with global warming”

  • Published in MyView

By Gary Johannesen

I’d like to thank the people that said that Rodeo will not cure the knotweed problem. I also know that Rodeo will not fix the problem; it will just create more problems.

The problem with Rodeo and other herbicides containing glyphosate is that they are indiscriminate in their killing methods to anything that has a shikimic acid biochemical pathway. This pathway doesn’t exist in mammal cells but does in bacteria. The problem lies in the fact that there are 10 times more bacteria in humans than cells.

Here is where the deception lies. We are told that glyphosate does not hurt our cells and humans are made of cells. What they are not telling us is that glyphosate messes with and kills bacteria. Humans don’t exist without bacteria. It is a symbiotic relationship and is essential to humans and ecosystems. Human health can only be maintained by our cells working together with these bacteria. Upset that balance and we get sick.

Given the size of a single-cell bacteria, what is the safe dose of glyphosate for it? Bacteria exists in everything that is alive – plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, bugs, bees and so on. A simple question one might ask is, how much time do bees spend on farms?

Here are a couple of links, one from Scientific American and one from Reuters. The second link is the chemical industry trying to keep Roundup legal to use in the UK. Pay careful attention to the excuse for the omittance of the facts from the scientific studies.



I did not attend the meeting as I am a horrible public speaker, but I did watch it. I’m shocked that poisoning public or private land in close proximity to water is still being considered. The fact that the spraying is being done in a close proximity to the river means that some will end up in the river. The argument that glyphosate binds with the dirt doesn’t hold water. Have you not seen the river after it rains? It is brown with dirt. I have seen 100-foot trees come down the Mad River getting tossed around like toothpicks in a flushed toilet. Does one really think that knotweed that has been sprayed will stay in place?

No matter how good the intentions are for doing something a certain way, if we discover they present a different set of questions than the ones answered in the past we now need to answer those questions.
I personally feel the wrong questions are being asked.

We have all heard the pros and cons of glyphosate. The questions I have:

What are the chemical surfactants made of?

What happens to those chemicals when their intended use is used up?

During the meeting we heard that the forestry service was contacted and explained that they don’t use Roundup because it contains surfactants and that they use Rodeo because it does not contain surfactants. What wasn’t clear was that the directions on a bottle of Rodeo states that proper use of Rodeo requires addition of a surfactant before application.

We heard from Redstart that they follow the directions as to the safe application of Rodeo in order to achieve the 95 to 98 percent reduction in knotweed they promise. In order to achieve those results surfactant is required.

Some of my reading is below.


The half-life of glyphosate in soil ranges between two and 197 days; a typical field half-life of 47 days has been suggested (not the 28 days that was presented during the forum). Soil and climate conditions affect glyposate's persistence in soil. The median half-life of glyphosate in water varies from a few to 91 days.

The "half-life" is the time required for half of the compound to break down in the environment.

1 half-life = 50 percent remaining
2 half-lives = 25 percent remaining
3 half-lives = 12 percent remaining
4 half-lives = 6 percent remaining
5 half-lives = 3 percent remaining

Half-lives can vary widely based on environmental factors. The amount of chemical remaining after a half-life will always depend on the amount of the chemical originally applied. It should be noted that some chemicals may degrade into compounds of toxicological significance.

The last sentence needs repeating: It should be noted that some chemicals may degrade into compounds of toxicological significance.

This is our river, folks. The below is from the same study.

Goldfish (Carassius auratus) were exposed to 5, 10, or 15 ppm of the formulated product Roundup® containing the IPA salt of glyphosate and the surfactant POEA for six days. Researchers noted increased DNA and micronuclei damage in the peripheral erythrocytes. This may have resulted from decreased DNA repair. Genotoxicity test results are generally mixed, although formulated products appear to be more likely to cause effects than glyphosate alone.

DNA damage after six days exposure. This statement surprised me that it was included. Almost all the information in the study was about glyphosate alone and the study is biased toward glyphosate being not that bad. Clearly the use of glyphosate combined with surfactants is where the real problem lies.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”
My personal belief is that the use of glyphosate worldwide combined with various surfactants is a disaster on par with global warming. The information available in 1974 when glyposate was introduced to the public compared to now is astounding. There is a great disbelief in this information as it points to a disgrace inflicted on mankind for the profit of a few.

I leave you with a couple of quotes from Jane Goodall:

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

“Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?”

Johannesen lives in Warren.