A new study out this week suggests that Americans’ exposure to the herbicide glyphosate, a possible human carcinogen, has increased by roughly 500 percent since it was first used in U.S. agriculture more than 20 years ago.
On 16 October a cross-party group of MEPs demanded a phase-out of glyphosate by December 2020. They want a ban on non-professional use of the herbicide and use in public parks or playgrounds after 15 December 2017, when the current authorisation expires. The MEPs want the Commission to withdraw its proposal for a 10-year renewal. The MEPs also want a ban on agricultural application after 15 December 2017 in cases where integrated plant protection methods are sufficient. They are asking for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds to be made available to farmers to support the transition to more sustainable methods of weed control.
France has decided to set 2022 as a deadline to phase out the use of glyphosate, the controversial active ingredient in one of the world's most widely used weedkillers, the government said on Monday. Glyphosate is the main component in the best-selling herbicide Roundup produced by the US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto, but there have been concerns it may cause cancer. "The prime minister... has decided that this product will be banned in France by the end of the government's term, as well as others that are similar and which are a public health threat," government spokesman Christophe Castaner told RMC radio.
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Glyphosate, often sold under the brand name “Roundup,” is the most widely used weed killer in the U.S. Glyphosate is a “non-selective herbicide,” which means it kills many plants, not just weeds. It kills them by interfering with the production of critical proteins necessary for growth. In commercial agriculture, Roundup is used on “Roundup Ready” crops—crops that have been genetically modified to resist the powerful toxic effects of glyphosate. The list of Roundup Ready crops includes soy, corn, canola and sugar beets. It is important to remember that, while these plants have been modified to resist the harmful effects of glyphosate, the people and animals that eat them have not. In a series of articles, my colleague Anthony Samsel and I have been exploring the connection between glyphosate and a number of diseases, including multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. In our most recent article, “Glyphosate Pathways to Modern Diseases VI: Prions, Amyloidoses and Autoimmune Neurological Diseases,” we present evidence that glyphosate has made its way into several widely used vaccines. We describe how the glyphosate residue contained in vaccines might induce the kind of autoimmune responses typically observed in autism. Interestingly, of all the vaccines we tested, MMR stood out as consistently having the highest level of glyphosate contamination. This fact may help explain why the MMR vaccine, which contains neither mercury nor aluminum, has been implicated so often in vaccine injury and autism. My research leads me to believe that synergistic toxicity between glyphosate and vaccines, particularly MMR, is a major factor in the growing autism epidemic.
Internal Monsanto documents released by attorneys leading US cancer litigation show that the company launched a concerted campaign to force the retraction of a study that revealed toxic effects of Roundup. The documents also show that the editor of the journal that first published the study entered into a contract with Monsanto in the period shortly before the retraction campaign began. The study, led by Prof GE Séralini, showed that very low doses of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide had toxic effects on rats over a long-term period, including serious liver and kidney damage. Additional observations of increased tumour rates in treated rats would need to be confirmed in a larger-scale carcinogenicity study. The newly released documents show that throughout the retraction campaign, Monsanto tried to cover its tracks to hide its involvement. Instead Monsanto scientist David Saltmiras admitted to orchestrating a “third party expert” campaign in which scientists who were apparently independent of Monsanto would bombard the editor-in-chief of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), A. Wallace Hayes, with letters demanding that he retract the study.
A new report by the toxicologist Dr Peter Clausing shows that the EU authorities violated their own rules and disregarded evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic to reach a conclusion that the chemical does not cause cancer. The EU authorities reached the conclusion that glyphosate is not carcinogenic by disregarding and brushing aside evidence of cancers in experimental animals and by violating directives and guidelines that are supposed to guide their work, according to a new report by the German toxicologist Dr Peter Clausing. The report shows for the first time that glyphosate should have been classified as a carcinogen according to the current EU standards. This would mean an automatic ban under EU pesticides legislation. However, the EU authorities disregarded and breached these standards, enabling them to reach a conclusion that the chemical is not carcinogenic.
A wave of glyphosate bans are being introduced by member states in Europe while the issue of the chemical’s reauthorization at EU level drags on. Among the most dramatic developments has been the announcement by Belgium’s federal minister of agriculture, Willy Borsus, that he wants to ban the sale and use of herbicides by non-professionals. He voiced particular concern over glyphosate. "Considering the risk-benefit balance, there is no justification for the use of herbicides for individuals," Borsus said. He said there were safer alternatives, such as heat treatment, mechanical weeding, or bio-pesticides. Borsus also called for a new investigation into alleged “Monsanto manoeuvres and attempts to influence experts” with the aim of keeping glyphosate on the market.
Modern agricultural practices have led to ever-increasing amounts of chemicals being used on our food, and whether we're talking about pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, most have deleterious effects on health. According to the latest report on pesticide residues in food by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a mere 15 percent of all the food samples tested in 2015 were free from pesticide residues. In 2014, over 41 percent of samples had no detectable pesticide residues on them. That just goes to show how quickly our food is being poisoned. At that trajectory, we may eventually find out none of the non-organic food sold in 2016 or 2017 was pesticide-free. Recent news has highlighted a number of problems associated with this out-of-control use of agricultural chemicals, starting with atrazine.