The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the two federal agencies in the United States responsible for protecting consumer rights in regards to food safety. Millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funds are spent on testing foods annually to monitor the presence of pesticides and herbicides in the nation's food supply. However, the most commonly used herbicide which is sprayed on to genetically modified crops is routinely not tested. Glyphosate, the main ingredient used in Roundup Ready, is the most common herbicide in the world, sprayed on many billions of acres of crops each year. Neither the FDA nor the USDA routinely test for the presence of this herbicide in the nation's food. That is apparently about to change. Civil Eats is reporting that the FDA will now start testing certain foods for the presence of glyphosate.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the pervasive herbicide, Roundup. Its usage on crops to control weeds in the United States and elsewhere has increased dramatically in the past two decades. The increase is driven by the increase over the same time period in the use of genetically modified (GM) crops, the widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds among the GM crops (necessitating ever-higher doses to achieve the same herbicidal effect), as well as the increased adoption of glyphosate as a desiccating agent just before harvest. GM crops include corn, soy, canola (rapeseed), and sugar beet. Crop desiccation by glyphosate includes application to non-GM crops such as dried peas, beans, and lentils. It should be noted that the use of glyphosate for pre-harvest staging for perennial weed control is now a major crop management strategy. The increase in glyphosate usage in the United States is extremely well correlated with the concurrent increase in the incidence and/or death rate of multiple diseases, including several cancers. These include thyroid cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and myeloid leukemia. The World Health Organization (WHO) revised its assessment of glyphosate's carcinogenic potential in March 2015, relabeling it as a "probable carcinogen."
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eilish Cleary Put on Leave After Revealing Toxicity of Glyphosate Herbicide
New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health was working on a study of the controversial herbicide glyphosate when she was put on leave, CBC News has learned. Dr. Eilish Cleary wrote to a Kent County resident in August that her office would be "developing a plan to further explore" the herbicide, which is used in New Brunswick by forestry company J.D. Irving Ltd. and by NB Power. Cleary confirmed in an email to CBC News Wednesday that "This is not a situation where I requested a personal leave." She said she was not allowed to discuss the reasons for the leave.
For the past 35 years Monsanto has known of the link between glyphosate and cancer, but has systematically worked to cover it up through scientifically fraudulent methods in its safety testing research programme. This is the most significant conclusion to be drawn from a new research paper published in the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry and now available online. For the first time the authors, Dr. Anthony Samsel and Dr. Stephanie Seneff, present in tabulated form the data contained in secret Monsanto studies conducted in the period 1980 – 1990 which showed unequivocally that animals exposed to different quantities of glyphosate in their food supply developed tumorigenic growth in multiple organs.
Robert Kremer, Phd., co-author of the book Principles in Weed Management, is a certified soil scientist and professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of Missouri. He recently retired from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he worked as a microbiologist for 32 years. He's conducted research since 1997 on genetically engineered (GE) crops, and in this interview he reveals how GE crops and glyphosate impact soil ecology and biology. We often think of glyphosate as just another herbicide being applied topically, but it's important to realize that one of the properties of glyphosate is that when it enters a plant, it becomes systemic, and cannot be washed off like many other herbicides. Making matters even worse, glyphosate formulations such as Roundup are synergistically even more toxic than glyphosate itself.
Personal injury law firms around the United States are lining up plaintiffs for what they say could be "mass tort" actions against agrichemical giant Monsanto Co that claim the company's Roundup herbicide has caused cancer in farm workers and others exposed to the chemical. The latest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Delaware Superior Court by three law firms representing three plaintiffs. The lawsuit is similar to others filed last month in New York and California accusing Monsanto of long knowing that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was hazardous to human health. Monsanto "led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe," the lawsuit states.
The California Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it plans to label glyphosate — the most widely used herbicide and main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup — as a chemical "known to cause cancer." The World Health Organization's research arm also recently found that the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans, and research has also linked glyphosate to the steep decline of monarch butterflies. And as we reported this week, scientists have increasingly raised new alarms about potential negative health impacts tied to Roundup, including a recent study suggesting that long-term exposure to tiny amounts of the chemical (thousands of times lower than what is allowed in drinking water in the US) could lead to liver and kidney problems.
A Perspective article published in the New England Journal of Medicine calls for the labeling of genetically modified foods. "We believe the time has come to revisit the United States' reluctance to label GM foods," writes Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, co-author with Charles Benbrook, of the article entitled "GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health." The two write that such labeling "is essential for tracking emergence of novel food allergies and assessing effects of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops. It would respect the wishes of a growing number of consumers who insist they have a right to know what foods they are buying and how they were produced."
A new review of the scientific literature shows that glyphosate herbicides may be toxic below regulatory safety limits. Dr Robin Mesnage and co-authors examined a number of different types of toxic effects to arrive at their conclusions, including liver and kidney toxicity, neurotoxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, and teratogenicity (ability to cause birth defects). Unlike regulatory authorities, the researchers considered studies from the independent literature, as well as the few industry toxicity studies, conducted in support of regulatory approvals, that have been made public. They shared this approach of considering the entirety of the published literature with the World Health Organization’s cancer agency IARC, which recently concluded that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. The new review shows that endocrine (hormone) disruptive effects can occur below the doses deemed not to cause any toxic effects in industry studies performed for regulatory approvals. Endocrine disruption may increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Yet regulatory studies do not test low dose exposures for endocrine disruptive effects.
Prof Christopher Portier, one of the co-authors of the recent report by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, said at a scientific briefing today, “Glyphosate is definitely genotoxic. There is no doubt in my mind.” “Genotoxic” means it damages DNA. It is widely believed by regulators that for genotoxic chemicals that are also carcinogenic, as glyphosate appears to be, there is no safe level of exposure.