Objective scientists and biologists not intimidated by the chemical or biotechnology industry, have claimed for years that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — specifically the active ingredient glyphosate — poses an extremely grave threat to public health.
Yet their pleas have been universally ignored by government regulators around the world, many with ties to the chemical and biotechnology industry.
In a comprehensive article written by Lucia Graves for the Huffington Post, Graves reports on data released this month by Earth Open Source, a UK non-profit; the data suggests industry regulators in Europe have known for years that glyphosate, originally introduced by Monsanto in 1976, causes birth defects in the embryos of laboratory animals.
Partnering with half a dozen international scientists and researchers, the UK group drew its conclusions in part from studies conducted in a number of locations, including Argentina, Brazil, France and the United States, with respective research presentations as follows:
According to the EPA’s Pesticide Industry Sales & Usage Report for 2006-2007 published in February, 2011, the agricultural market used 180 to 185 million pounds of glyphosate between 2006 and 2007, while the non-agricultural market used 8 to 11 million pounds between 2005 and 2007.
The Earth Open Source study reveals regulators with the European Commission have known since 2002 that glyphosate causes developmental malformations in lab animals, yet the commission’s health and consumer division published a final review report of glyphosate in the same year approving its use in Europe for the next 10 years.
According to the report, the European Commission won’t review glyphosate until 2015. And it won’t review the chemical under more stringent, up-to-date standards until 2030.
Graves said the European Commission told HuffPost that it wouldn’t comment on whether it was already aware of studies demonstrating the toxicity of glyphosate in 2002. But it said the commission was aware of the Earth Open Source study and had discussed it with member states.
A commission official told HuffPost in an email that “Germany concluded…[the] study does not change the current safety assessment of gylphosate. This view is shared by all other member states.”
Although Roundup’s impact on humans remains unclear, Graves referenced one laboratory study done in France in 2005 that found Roundup and glyphosate caused the death of human placental cells.
Graves also cited another study conducted in 2009 that found Roundup caused total cell death in human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells within 24 hours. Yet researchers have conducted few follow-up studies.
“Obviously there’s a limit to what’s appropriate in terms of testing poison on humans,” said Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, which advocates against genetically modified food.
“But if you look at the line of converging evidence,” says Smith, “it points to a serious problem. And if you look at the animal feeding studies with genetically modified Roundup ready crops, there’s a consistent theme of reproductive disorders, which we don’t know the cause for because follow-up studies have not been done.
“More independent research is needed to evaluate the toxicity of Roundup and glyphosate,” he added, “and the evidence that has already accumulated is sufficient to raise a red flag.”