December 7, 2004, YUMI WIJERS-HASEGAWA, The Japan Times--CropChoice.com:
The glufosinate herbicide, used in large quantities
on Bayer's GM herbicide-resistant crops, has been found
to have adverse effects on the brain.
Yoichiro Kuroda, the principal investigator in a project
titled the Effects of Endocrine Disrupters on the Developing
Brain, under Japan's CREST (Core Research for Evolutional
Science and Technology) program, believes polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs) and glufosinate can hamper the development
and activity of the brain.
PCBs are "mock hormones" -- endocrine disrupters
that cause neural development defects by disrupting
gene functions and neural-network formation in kids
-- resulting in lower IQ scores and hyperactive tendencies,
Glufosinate, widely used in the U.S. as a super herbicide
for herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops,
is like a "mock neurotransmitter" that has
an aggressive effect on brains, he said. If an embryo
or a baby is exposed to the chemical, it can affect
behavior, as it disturbs gene functions that regulate
the developing brain, he said.
A decade ago, the late Toshiko Fujii, a one-time professor
of medicine at Teikyo University, conducted research
in which she found that the main component of this GMO-compatible
herbicide had adverse effects on the brains of baby
rats. "Male rats often fight one another, but female
rats are peaceful," Kuroda said in explaining Fujii's
research. "But female rats born from mothers that
were given high doses of glufosinate became aggressive
and started to bite each other -- in some cases until
one died. That report sent a chill through me."
He said there is a considerable possibility that fetuses
and babies are also affected by the substance, and since
it is widely assumed that males are more aggressive
to begin with, it is possible they are more affected
than females. "The chemical industry has not been
considering this kind of risk on the developing human
brain, which is a fragile, fine chemical machine,"