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Gluphosinate Ammonium

Glufosinate-ammonium is a broad-spectrum herbicide, in use in relatively small quantities since the 1980s. Its use is being increased by the recent development of a more than 100 varieties of transgenic plants, genetically modified to be tolerant of it.

It carries unacceptable risks to humans, especially the neurological development of the foetus, to agricultural biodiversity, and to the environment.

Formulations are more toxic to humans and the aquatic environment than the active ingredient alone, but there is very little information publicly available on the inert, or adjuvant,ingredients in the formulated products.

Common Trade Names :
Basta, Liberty

Other Trade Names :
Aeh, Buster, Challenge,Conquest, Dash, Derringer, Finale, Harvest, HOE
00661, HOE 039866, Ignite, Rely, Remove, Tepat

Major Producers :
Bayer CropScience (Germany),
Zhejiang Yongnong Chem. Ind. Co.,LTD (China)

Acute Toxicity
- the effects are firstly gastrointestinal (nausea,vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea etc.) followed by the onset of neurological symptoms (convulsions and coma), then respiratory failure; death results
from circulatory failure. No antidote.

Long-term Toxicity
- chronic effects are primarily neurological and reproductive because glufosinate-ammonium is structurally similar to a neurotransmitter, glutamate,and interferes with its proper functioning.
- serious effects on early embryonic development, including damage to the brain and neural tube.
- causes the loss of many foetuses and damage to those actually born, including cleft lips.
- transgenerational effects on brain function are reported.

Environmental Effects
- is moderately persistent in some soils, and has the potential to leach to groundwater, especially in sandy soils.
- has insecticidal properties which is highly toxic to beneficial organisms (spiders, predatory mites,butterflies etc.).
- is toxic to a number of soil micro-organisms, and may increase susceptibility to plants diseases, with consequent increased used of and dependence on pesticides.
- long-term use is likely to give rise to herbicide resistant weeds.

Glufosinate tolerance transgenes have already escaped from genetically modified plants and been found in weedy relatives in Japan and the UK.
- there are indications of synergistic interactions with other herbicides, such as with metolachlor to cause damage to testes, and with metsulfuronmethyl to increase phytotoxicity.

Source: Extracted from “Glufosinate-ammonium monograph”,
Prepared by Dr. Meriel Watts, 2007.