by Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution:
- The Facts:Glyphosate, an active ingredient within Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was recently re-licensed and approved by the European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto.
- Reflect On:With so much science showing it’s harmful to humans and the environment, and the fact that several dozen countries have made it illegal, why is it still approved in the UK, Canada, and US? Among a few other places.
It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to glyphosate, an active ingredient used in Monsanto’s infamous ‘Roundup herbicide,’ a product that’s illegal in many countries (not including Canada and the United States). For a number of years, these countries have been citing the devastating health and environmental effects of Roundup herbicide, namely regarding glyphosate. Sri Lanka, for example,completely banned the product because of it’s link to deadly kidney disease, whereas many other countries have cited its carcinogenic effects. The science is quite clear, and it’s been coming out for decades. Fernando Manas, Ph.D. at the National University of Rio Cuarto in Argentina, outlines how “There is evidence of high levels of genetic damage in people of Marcos Juarez (Argentina), which may result from unintentional exposure to pesticides.” (source)
Nobody can really argue against whyglyphosate shouldn’t be approved anywhere in the world, especially when you take a look at the science. Glyphosate recently made headlines, as the case regarding school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit claiming that glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. There are thousands upon thousands of similar pending cases. Any jury that reviews all of the scientific evidence will not be able to rule otherwise, and Johnson’s case was a great example that showed glyphosate caused his cancer.
How are these products approved? It comes as a result of corrupt regulatory agencies here in Canada as well as within the US, specifically the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The list of examples is very long when it comes to corruption and government connections to corporations like Monsanto. This is the only way these products get approved, it’s not science, it’s simply lobbying efforts and shady politics.
“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014), article ID 179691
EU regulators recently decided to relicense glyphosate, and it came based on an assessment that was plagiarized from industry reports. It’s quite backwards that for years, health regulators have been relying on the scientific reports from the company that manufactures these products, instead of seeking out independent scientific studies.
A group of MEPs decides to commission an investigation into claims that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (bFr) copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies.
As the Guardian points out:
The study’s findings have been released hours before a parliamentary vote on tightening independent scrutiny of the pesticides approvals process. The authors said they found “clear evidence of BfR’s deliberate pretence of an independent assessment, whereas in reality the authority was only echoing the industry applicant’s assessment. Molly ScottCato, a Green MEP, said the scale of alleged plagiarism by the BfR authors shown by the new paper was “extremely alarming.”
Molly Scott Cato, a member of European Parliament, went on to tell the Guardian:
“This helps explain why the World Health Organization assessment on glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen was so at odds with EU assessors, who awarded this toxic pesticide a clean bill of health, brushing off warnings of its dangers.”
The study found plagiarism in half of the chapters assessing published studies on the health risk, which means that half of the science came directly from Monsanto themselves, because the plagiarism was of industry science. And what does the industry do? Jane Goodall, although referencing GMOs, hammers home the point:
As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals – and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science. They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that GMOs were safe. (source)
This quote came from a book written by Lawyer Steven Druker, who sued the FDA and uncovered documents showing how the agency manipulated the science and corrupted scientists in order to get GMOs approved. You can read more about that in detail here.
The same thing goes for glyphosate.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) based its recommendation that glyphosate was safe for public use on the BfR’s assessment.
According to the EFSA, “The report does not provide any new scientific information that calls into question the assessment and conclusions of glyphosate. EFSA stands firmly behind the integrity of its risk assessment process and its conclusions on glyphosate.”
Jo Lewis, the Soil Associations policy director told the Guardian:
“It is unacceptable that pesticide-industry studies receive greater recognition than scientific peer-reviewed open literature in regulatory decision-making. Whilst this paper focuses on the US EPA, similar criticisms have been made of EU decisions and we fear that outside the EU, pressure to approve pesticides will increase.”
Again, it’s weird how this is even a debate. This has been known for a very long time, and we’ve seen similar happenings with DDT in the past.
“Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.” – October 2012 report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) (source)(source)
Keep in mind that the use of glyphosate has skyrocketed, a 1500% increase from 1995 to 2005 was seen, and 100 million pounds of this stuff is used every year on more than a billion acres in the United States alone.
It’s found in our food, our beverages, our favourite snacks, etc.
It’s even been found in the breast milk of mothers, and in urine samples of people across Europe. (source)
The main toxic effects of glyphosate as identified by MIT’s Dr. Stephanie Seneff include:
- Kills beneficial gut bacteria and allows pathogens to overgrow
- Interferes with function of cytochrome p450 (CYP enzymes)
- Chelates important minerals (iron, cobalt, manganese, etc)
- Interferes with synthesis of aromatic amino acids and methionine – leads to shortages in critical neurotransmitters and folate
- Disrupts sulfate synthesis and sulfate transport
Need I write more?