Thursday, March 10, 2016 by Julie Wilson
Biotech giant Monsanto is finally suffering the consequences of poisoning people and the environment with their cancer-causing herbicide, Roundup. Monsanto, which is on record for operating like a vicious mafia, was called out by the World Health Organization last spring when it declared that Roundup’s primary ingredient, glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic.”
Since then, a string of consequences have ensued. In California, lawmakers began the process of adding glyphosate to the state’s list of cancer-causing chemicals. As a result, products containing glyphosate will require labeling that indicates its toxicity to humans, and from now on, will be prohibited from being dumped into water supplies – mandates that in truth, should be a given. However, one must remember that our regulatory system for harmful chemicals is seriously antiquated and largely biased towards agrochemical companies.
Unsatisfied with the Golden State’s protocol, Monsanto filed a lawsuit claiming that the move to list glyphosate as a known carcinogen was in fact “undemocratic,” and a violation of the seed giant’s First Amendment rights.
The winner of the suit is yet to be determined. But Monsanto has another thorn in its side, which also stems from the WHO’s declaration.
In an unprecedented move, The Netherlands, Sweden, France and Italy are contesting the re-licensing of glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe.
The objection resulted in the delay of a vote in Brussels that was expected to rubber-stamp licensing of the widely used weed killer for another 15 years. The Guardian reports that the European Commission may propose reducing the length of the license, or develop a list of “co-formulants” that may either be restricted or completely banned.
But neither suggestion is satisfactory to The Netherlands, which is pushing for further evaluation of glyphosate to determine its threat to humans and the environment, spurred by the WHO’s conclusion that the weed killer is carcinogenic.
“Rushing to grant a new licence now, without waiting for an evaluation by Europe’s chemical agency, would be like skydiving without checking your equipment first. As long as there is conflicting scientific advice, glyphosate should not be approved for use in the EU,” said Franziska Achterberg, Food Policy Director for Greenpeace EU.
Ignoring scientific evidence from the world’s leading authority on public health, Jean-Charles Bocquet, director of the European Crop Protection Agency, blamed the postponed vote on pesky environmentalists.
“We are very upset that countries were influenced by significant political pressure from the environment committee of the European parliament, NGOs and the precautionary principle,” said Bocquet.
If both parties fail to reach a decision by the end of June, Monsanto’s license for glyphosate will expire. The next meeting on EU pesticides is scheduled for May 18-19, but a discussion could occur a month earlier at a plant and animal health meeting, reports the Guardian.
“We would like a solid majority to take a decision on this kind of issue and some member states had sceptical observations that we will have to answer, so it [a postponement] was the wise thing to do,” said a commission spokesperson.
The EU’s regulatory body, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has defended Monsanto against health concerns raised by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a component of the WHO dedicated to identifying causes of cancer in humans.
When the IARC announced that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic,” EFSA countered, no it’s “probably not.”
Close to 100 scientists, including those with the IARC, responded by penning a letter to the EU’s health commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, cautioning that the EFSA’s research “was not credible because it is not supported by the evidence.”
IARC report author, Professor Chris Portier, said EU member countries’ decision to delay re-licensing of glyphosate validated the WHO’s findings.
“France saying that they want glyphosate banned because of IARC’s call is a bit of a vindication of our position. But I would have been much happier if Efsa had come back and said they were now going to label glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans,’” he told the Guardian.
To learn more about toxins like glyphosate in our food supply, be sure to visit: FoodForensics.com.