Dr. John Swarthout
Issues Management Lead
Bayer Crop Science
Area of Expertise
Dr. John Swarthout is a cellular and molecular biologist whose research focuses on advancing our understanding of disease processes like osteoporosis and cancer. Presently, as a member of an innovative, science driven company, he focuses on the acceptance of existing and emerging technologies needed to ensure we meet the increasing global demand for food and feed. He is especially focused on science-based mis/dis-information and the impacts this information has on societal perceptions of agricultural technologies and practices. He has authored numerous blogs and peer reviewed articles aimed at changing perceptions through education and increased understanding.
In one word, what John loves about science is discovery. He believes that a core component of what makes us human is our curiosity and desire to discover how things work. Science provides a framework through which we can ask and answer questions to help us understand. Being from Missouri, one of his favorite authors is Mark Twain, who states that “the trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.” John thinks true wisdom is knowing that you don’t know everything, being able to listen to others who know something you don’t, and knowing what they say is correct. The last part is the most crucial and challenging. He feels that the power of science, when done right and knowing its limitations, can help us be critical thinkers and critical thinking gives us the ability to assess and question.
Education: Ph.D. Cellular and MolecularBiology, St Louis University
Affiliations: American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST)
Residues of glyphosate in food and dietary exposure
The ability for farmers to control weeds is crucial to produce a crop in a sustainable way: weeds compete with crops and steal nutrients, water and sunlight and can contribute to up to 34% crop loss. Glyphosate is an herbicide that is used on crops, specifically genetically engineered crops, to minimize weeds without damaging the crop planted. After harvest, crops are tested to make sure pesticide residues don’t exceed safety limits established by regulatory bodies across the globe. This paper reviews several previously published papers to examine human exposure to glyphosate from residues in food and assessed exposure in the context of human health. The study finds that glyphosate exposure through food is well within safety limits of glyphosate that a person can ingested daily over a lifetime with a reasonable certainty of no harm. The authors state that to accurately interpret data, the methods used to measure glyphosate must be validated for each type of food tested. When regulatory agencies perform these analyses, 99% of glyphosate residues are below residue limits in Europe and the U.S.
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