As Natural Society (and just about every other news source) has reported, the WHO recently classified the herbicide chemical glyphosate as a ‘probable carcinogen.’ Just days after the report was released publicly, GMO giant Monsanto called on the entire agency to issue a ‘retraction.’ But it doesn’t end there. The news also gives increased urgency to reconsider the use of GMO crops which have been made specifically to tolerate copious amounts of pesticides.
Emily Marquez, Ph.D., staff scientist at PAN, released the following statement:
“Given glyphosate’s widespread usage with crops genetically engineered to tolerate herbicides, IARC’s finding comes none too soon. The working group found ‘convincing evidence’ that glyphosate can cause cancer in laboratory animals. This, combined with more than a decade of studies documenting human exposure to the herbicide, gave IARC sufficient evidence to make the ‘probable human carcinogen’ classification.
It should be noted that in well over a decade’s use of glyphosate in GE crops, hundreds of millions of pounds of this chemical have been released into the environment. USGS surveys document widespread water contamination, and — as documented in a recent Consumer Reports study — residues of glyphosate also show up in our food. Even though glyphosate is so widely used, the U.S. does not currently conduct biomonitoring for glyphosate residues, and USDA conducts only minimal testing for food residues.
The U.K.’s Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) program has consistently found glyphosate residues in starchy foods in their quarterly survey. Though Monsanto’s ‘RoundUp Ready’ GE crops are not widely grown in Europe, glyphosate is used as a wheat desiccant prior to harvest. PRiF reported glyphosate residues in samples taken of cereal bars and bread.
The dramatic growth in herbicide use in the U.S. driven by GE technology has resulted not only in increased human exposure to these chemicals, but also in the development of herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds.’ Farmers are offered more toxic mixes of herbicides as a so-called solution to this new problem. Dow’s recently approved Enlist seeds — designed for use with a mixture of glyphosate and the antiquated, highly toxic herbicide, 2,4-D — offer a case in point.
This increasingly dangerous pesticide treadmill calls into question the logic of genetically engineered herbicide technologies that rapidly lose their utility to farmers and — as IARC’s recent finding makes clear —put human health at risk.”
Numerous past studies have proposed what most of us have already surmised, that glyphosate – the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp – is utterly killing us. What’s more – it is causing damage in much smaller servings than the agriculture industry is dishing out in its common GMO and pesticide spraying practices.
Positively, the news should give farmers yet another reason to start choosing organic, as many farmers have already done for various reasons. From falling GMO grain prices to a rising tide of public distrust of genetically modified ingredients, failing GMO traits, higher GMO seed prices, and the premium prices that people willingly pay for quality food over toxic junk, the conventional farmer is changing his tune when it comes to Big Ag practices. This news will undoubtedly spring this shift forward.
With the already existing plethora of research pointing towards Roundup’s dangers, as well as this most recent assessment from the WHO, I think we have reason enough to find a better way to stop weeds.