By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – A Washington State University Tri-Cities professor intends to “clear the air” of misconceptions surrounding the controversial herbicide Roundup when he speaks at ecology and pesticide workshops in Chile next month.
Allan Felsot, professor and extension specialist in entomology and environmental toxicology, will speak about glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup – the most heavily used herbicide in the world. The ingredient recently was identified as a probable cause of cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization.
Felsot said because glyphosate shuts down a metabolic pathway not found in animals, it is “unlikely to have a measurable physiological effect from environmental residues.” This contrasts with findings in studies used as evidence by the IARC.
Felsot said he plans to use results from experiments and studies to back up his conclusion that the risk posed from the use of glyphosate is small to none.
“I’ll show the epidemiology study and why the emperor doesn’t have any clothes,” he said.
He will speak at the fifth Latin American Pesticide Residue Workshop May 10-13 in Santiago, Chile. It is co-sponsored by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Two days earlier, he will speak at the Ecological Risk Assessment Workshop about assessing and managing risk concerning chemical agents in the environment.
Felsot said he values the opportunity to “rub shoulders with people from other countries that are in industry and government. You begin to see their viewpoints, then you find out what is shared and in common between all of us.
“You realize we are one world,” he said. “These borders exist only in lines we draw on a map. We have individual perspectives, but we have perspectives that are part of the human experience.”
Felsot is a professor in the WSU Department of Entomology and an affiliate professor in the School of the Environment and School of Biological Sciences. Since 1993, he has been stationed in the WSU Food and Environmental Quality Lab at WSU Tri-Cities. He is a part-time administrator at the campus, serving as program lead for sciences and math and as a graduate coordinator for environmental sciences.