Implications for Human Health: Glyphosate-Related Soil Erosion Re-Releases Toxic Pesticides from Soil

March 4, 2021 | A study in Environmental Science and Technology finds that glyphosate use stimulates soil erosion responsible for releasing the banned, toxic pesticide chlordecone (Kepone), which was used in banana production in the French West Indies (Martinique and Guadeloupe). For years, an unknown pollution source continuously contaminated water surrounding the islands. However, researchers from the University of Savoie Mont Blanc in France have found that chlordecone—extensively used on banana farms from 1972 to 1993— is the contamination culprit in combination with the most popular herbicide glyphosate, which is ubiquitous in the environment. Researchers note, “[Chlordecone] fluxes drastically increased when glyphosate use began, leading to widespread ecosystem contamination. As glyphosate is used globally, ecotoxicological risk management strategies should consider how its application affects persistent pesticide storage in soils, transfer dynamics, and widespread contamination.” [Sabatier, Pierre et al. Evidence of Chlordecone Resurrection by Glyphosate in French West Indies. Environmental Science and Technology. 55(4):2296–2306, 2021.]