Our motivation: for Rapunzel it is normal that all organic products are subject to strict residue controls. All the ingredients for our products are produced by organic farmers who farm without any pesticides. Finding more and more pesticides on the fields - whether organic or conventional fields - jeopardizes the 100-percent-organic promise given by organic farmers, organic producers and the natural health food stores! Therefore, we want to know where the contamination comes from and we support the campaign "Agropoisons? No thanks" with deepest conviction. Here's how you can participate:
The "urinals" study produced significant results about the occurrence of agropoisons away from their place of application. In the study, urine samples of more than German 2,000 volunteers were examined. The results show that a large percentage of the population was contaminated with glyphosate. This substance was found in 99.6 percent of the samples. Also test persons who consumed organic products were affected. The researchers concluded that the pesticides were possibly absorbed by the body via the breathing air.
Agitated by this assumption, organic producers, organic specialist retailers and civil society organizations joined forces.
A scientific study was launched together with the 'Umweltinsititut München'. The results of this study show the degree to which (breathing) air in Germany is contaminated with pesticides.
Will pesticides actually stay on the fields where they are applied? This is what the agrochemical industry has been telling us for decades. Yet appearances a deceiving. Until now, the so-called long-distance transport of pesticides was simply neglected in the approval procedures, despite the fact that up to 35,000 tons of pesticide substances are sold in Germany year after year.
The effects can be measured and they are shocking as was shown in the current and most comprehensive study on pesticide contamination in ambient (breathing) air.
Many toxic pesticides and their metabolic products are spread over long distances via the air all the way into cities and national parks - far away from the fields were they were applied.
The study that investigated pesticide contamination in ambient air used technical collectors, bee bread, filters from ventilation systems and tree bark monitoring in order to examine the occurrence of pesticide substances - in particular glyphosate - and their metabolites. The results are alarming:
The comprehensive study "Pesticide contamination in ambient air" shows that pesticides not only contaminate organically farmed fields and drift into cities, but that even national parks such as the Brocken or the Bavarian Forest are affected.
In addition to the fields where pesticides are applied, they get also distributed in the air. So far, European pesticide approval procedures do not take adequate account of the so-called long-distance transport of pesticide substances.
It is imperative to ban the active substances that have the widest distribution in the air: glyphosate, pendimethalin, prosulfocarb, metolachlor and terbuthylazine.
Until 2035, step by step, the EU Commission must prohibit all chemical, synthetic pesticides.
The Federal Government must implement an annual, Germany-wide monitoring on the airborne distribution of pesticides. The combined impact of different active substances for nature and humans must be studied.
The Federal Government must ensure that organic agriculture is not damaged by chemical synthetic pesticides from conventional agriculture. For this purpose, the government must immediately establish a compensation fund that gets financed by the German pesticide industry. The association suggests, that the pesticide industry allocates ten percent of their annual sales revenue to the compensation fund.
Karl Bär, agronomist Umweltinstitut München: „The results of our study are alarming. Glyphosate and other agropoisons are distributed as pesticide cocktails right down to the very last corners of Germany. Pesticides are scattered in protected nature reserves, on organic fields and in the air that we breathe. We call upon the Federal Government to act immediately and protect humans and nature.“
Leonhard Wilhelm, Rapunzel Managing Director adds: „I am very shocked that glyphosate and more than 130 other pesticide substances were found all over Germany.
Politicians must finally react and drastically restrict the use of pesticides. We only have this one world and we must take care that it stays liveable for our children and grandchildren! The entire world is threatened in all its diversity and all the people who are currently living on this planet.“
From October 2015 until January 2016, the citizens' initiative 'Landwende' carried out a "urinal study". A total of 2011 German citizens had their urine examined for traces of glyphosate. This data collection on glyphosate contamination was the biggest collection of this kind of data worldwide. The study was entirely financed with private money.
Glyphosate was found in 2001 of 2009 usable samples - or 99.6 percent. Only 8 samples - or 0.4 percent - were below the detection limit of the used test procedure. In 79 percent of the samples, the contamination was 5 to 42 fold higher than the maximum permitted residue level for pesticides in drinking water, which amounts to 0.1 nanogram per milliliter. The urine samples of children and teenagers had the highest measured contamination values.
Nearly 50 percent of the study participants consumed primarily organic food products. However, the glyphosate values of this study group were only slightly lower than the values of people with a conventional diet - regardless if they lived in the countryside or in a city.
How is that possible? It cannot be due to the diet because organic products are subject to strict residue controls. Is it possible that glyphosate - contrary to what the industry claims - gets spread all the way into cities through the air?
Trees don't lie! In 2018, the independent TIEM Institute 'Integrierte Umweltüberwachung' examined tree bark for agropoison contamination on behalf of the "Association for an agriculture for our grandchildrens future".
Tree bark samples were taken from 47 sites in Germany, from nature reserves, from organic growing regions and from inner cities. More than 100 active substances that must have been transported to the trees via the air were found in the bark samples; more than a dozen active substances were found very frequently, among them readily evaporating pesticides such as pendimethalin and prosulfocarb.
Glyphosate, a solid material that should not get distributed via the air according to the regulatory authority, also ranks among the five most frequently found substances - a new and alarming result!