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Toxin, glyphosate, carcinogen: Story behind 3 most misused words in conventional vs. organic farming debate

[Editor’s note: Marthélize Tredoux is a former scientist and co-owner and editor at Incogvino, a website that covers wine. By day, she helps South African wineries sell their wine in the US.]

In the conventional versus organic farming debate, I keep seeing basic terms used, abused and misappropriated – more often than not to push an agenda. So for the sake of all that is accurate (and by extension to me as a scientist, holy), let us get a few things straight.

1) Toxin / Toxic / Toxicity
A toxin is “a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms – synthetic toxicants are thus excluded”. Snake venom is a toxin. Botox is a toxin.

The word you’re thinking of is “toxic” or toxicity” which is “the degree to which a substance can damage an organism”. Here’s the kicker: ANY substance you can think of is toxic. But the dose makes the poison.

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2) Glyphosate
Glyphosate has an LD50 of 5600mg/kg. This means an 80kg [176 pound] individual will need to ingest at least 448 grams of pure glyphosate to suffer from acute toxicity and possibly die. Caffeine has an LD50 of 192mg/kg. So the same individual only needs to ingest 15.36 grams of caffeine for similar effects. Table salt has an LD50 of 3000mg/kg.

3) Carcinogens / carcinogenic
Glyphosate is Class 2A – probable carcinogen. In the same group, you will also find high-temperature frying, household combustion of biomass fuel (i.e. wood-burning fires), red meat and “very hot beverages”.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Marthélize Tredoux: The Science Behind Herbicides and Pesticides

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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