Lobbyist Claims Monsanto's Roundup Is Safe To Drink, Freaks Out When Offered A Glass

Glyphosate isn't like that, if you had a quart of it, it might be the most dangerous thing in your house. Here's the prognosis for drinking a couple ounces (less than 1/10th of a quart):

You typically wouldn't have the concentrated formulation in your house. The consumer formulations are much more diluted, accidental ingestion of those is rarely associated with major side effects. If you had actually read the study you're quoting, or even just a little more of the abstract that you got that text from, you would have known this.

Here is the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15862083/

Glyphosate is used extensively as a non-selective herbicide by both professional applicators and consumers and its use is likely to increase further as it is one of the first herbicides against which crops have been genetically modified to increase their tolerance. Commercial glyphosate-based formulations most commonly range from concentrates containing 41% or more glyphosate to 1% glyphosate formulations marketed for domestic use. They generally consist of an aqueous mixture of the isopropylamine (IPA) salt of glyphosate, a surfactant, and various minor components including anti-foaming and colour agents, biocides and inorganic ions to produce pH adjustment. The mechanisms of toxicity of glyphosate formulations are complicated. Not only is glyphosate used as five different salts but commercial formulations of it contain surfactants, which vary in nature and concentration. As a result, human poisoning with this herbicide is not with the active ingredient alone but with complex and variable mixtures. Therefore, It is difficult to separate the toxicity of glyphosate from that of the formulation as a whole or to determine the contribution of surfactants to overall toxicity. Experimental studies suggest that the toxicity of the surfactant, polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA), is greater than the toxicity of glyphosate alone and commercial formulations alone. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate preparations containing POEA are more toxic than those containing alternative surfactants. Although surfactants probably contribute to the acute toxicity of glyphosate formulations, the weight of evidence is against surfactants potentiating the toxicity of glyphosate. Accidental ingestion of glyphosate formulations is generally associated with only mild, transient, gastrointestinal features. Most reported cases have followed the deliberate ingestion of the concentrated formulation of Roundup (The use of trade names is for product identification purposes only and does not imply endorsement.) (41% glyphosate as the IPA salt and 15% POEA). There is a reasonable correlation between the amount ingested and the likelihood of serious systemic sequelae or death. Advancing age is also associated with a less favourable prognosis. Ingestion of >85 mL of the concentrated formulation is likely to cause significant toxicity in adults. Gastrointestinal corrosive effects, with mouth, throat and epigastric pain and dysphagia are common. Renal and hepatic impairment are also frequent and usually reflect reduced organ perfusion. Respiratory distress, impaired consciousness, pulmonary oedema, infiltration on chest x-ray, shock, arrythmias, renal failure requiring haemodialysis, metabolic acidosis and hyperkalaemia may supervene in severe cases. Bradycardia and ventricular arrhythmias are often present pre-terminally. Dermal exposure to ready-to-use glyphosate formulations can cause irritation and photo-contact dermatitis has been reported occasionally; these effects are probably due to the preservative Proxel (benzisothiazolin-3-one). Severe skin burns are very rare. Inhalation is a minor route of exposure but spray mist may cause oral or nasal discomfort, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, tingling and throat irritation. Eye exposure may lead to mild conjunctivitis, and superficial corneal injury is possible if irrigation is delayed or inadequate. Management is symptomatic and supportive, and skin decontamination with soap and water after removal of contaminated clothing should be undertaken in cases of dermal exposure.

So if it's diluted, well, good luck. In the unlikely case that you actually have concentrated glyphosate in your house (don't most people buy the pre-mixed stuff?), it is hardly "the most dangerous thing in your house". Of all the herbicides you could have bought, it is likely going to be the safest option in the event of ingestion. If you're buying concentrated glyphosate, there are a lot of insecticides you can buy that will do a much better job (mmm, neurotoxins).

But why bother comparing it to pesticides? Bleach will do a good job of killing you, and drain cleaner will do an even better job. Oven cleaner or toilet cleaner is often pretty nasty. Got ammonia? That will work on its own, but mix it with bleach if you want to do a better job. If you're buying concentrated glyphosate, go buy some concentrated bleach for a fairer comparison.

Don't like this approach? Acetaminophen is extremely common, a large enough overdose will cause liver failure and death within days. It's a very nasty way to die. There are many drugs out there that will kill you a bit too easily, but acetaminophen is OTC and way too common. There are still a lot of people out there with prescriptions for medication that will do an even better job of killing you if you overdose (immediately and with less prolonged agony).

Why are we restricting ourselves to things we can ingest? CO poisoning is pretty nasty.

Is concentrated glyphosate pretty nasty? Yes. But I'd bet that the typical household is going to have many chemicals that are much nastier than glyphosate, and I'd also bet that most households would have the diluted glyphosate, which is much less toxic.

Will drinking glyphosate kill you? The answer isn't simple. I went through the literature yesterday and collected a bunch of research into a post, it's worth looking at if you want a realistic idea of how glyphosate poisoning works out:


If you don't want to go through all that text (I don't blame you), the research basically says that while concentration/quantity is correlated with worse outcomes, there is no clear lethal dose, factors associated with outcome are often unclear, and around 7-10% of patients end up dying. A quart will almost certainly kill one person, and will probably kill two people, but beyond that it's very uncertain.

But anyways, this is just semantics. The guy in the video exaggerated the safety of glyphosate in a very misleading way. You're exaggerating the toxicity of glyphosate in a very misleading way.

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