Do Ya Think?

Think Local

By Chris Hoffman

(Sherburne, NY – July 2011) In June, Earth Open Source released a comprehensive report stating that Roundup, that ubiquitous weed killer available just about everywhere, has been known for decades by industry and regulators to cause birth defects.

The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate.  Wikipedia describes glyphosate as “a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with crops grown widely across the United States. Initially patented and sold by Monsanto Company in the 1970s under the trade name Roundup, its U.S. patent expired in 2000. Glyphosate is the most used herbicide in the USA. Exact figures are hard to come by because the U.S. Department of Agriculture stopped updating its pesticide use database in 2008.  The EPA estimates that in the US during 2007, the agricultural market used 180 to 185 million pounds of glyphosate, the home and garden market used 5 to 8 million pounds, and industry, commerce and government used 13 to 15 million pounds, according to its Pesticide Industry Sales & Usage Report for 2006-2007 published in February, 2011.  While Roundup has been associated with deformities in a host of laboratory animals, its impact on humans remains unclear.”

The new report from Earth Open Source was authored by eight highly qualified researchers, scientists, and professors, all recognized experts in fields ranging from nanotechnology systems to plant genetics.

The report states, “The industry studies and regulatory documents on which the current approval of glyphosate rests reveal that:

Industry (including Monsanto) has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses.

Industry has known since 1993 that these effects could also occur at lower doses.

The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations.

The European Union (EU) Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations.

The EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year its Directorate General for Health and Consumer Policy published its final review report, laying out the basis for the current approval of glyphosate.

The public, in contrast, has been kept in the dark by industry and regulators about the ability of glyphosate and Roundup to cause malformations.

In addition, the work of independent scientists who have drawn attention to the herbicide’s teratogenic (substances or agents that interfere with normal embryonic development) effects has been ignored, denigrated, or dismissed. These actions on the part of industry and regulators have endangered public health.  They have also contributed to the growing division between independent and industry science, which in turn erodes public trust in the regulatory process.”

This new report provides a comprehensive review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature and documents the serious health hazards posed by glyphosate and Roundup.     Earth Open Source has called on the EU Commission to “arrange an immediate objective review of glyphosphate, taking into account the full range of independent scientific literature.”

It also has demanded that the EU Commission withdraw glyphosate and Roundup from the Market.

On a recent trip to visit family near the Finger Lakes, a friend of mine saw massive brown fields with rows of tiny emerging plants, the only green visible.  When he inquired what was going on, he was told that these fields are being planted with Roundup Ready soybeans and then sprayed with Roundup, which kills absolutely every living plant other than the soybeans. The soybeans then go to processors and become the soy milk and tofu that we buy in the supermarket, and also end up in animal feed, and from there into meat and milk and butter that we consume.

Birth defects. Monsanto has known for decades that Roundup causes birth defects, but put it on the market anyway! And if it can cause embryonic disruptions and abnormalities, what other havoc is it capable of causing at the cellular level, not only to humans, but to the myriad animals and organisms that come in contact with groundwater and streams and soils and plants contaminated by Roundup?

Do ya think that just maybe the ubiquitous use of Roundup on crops and lawns and farmland and roadsides might also be related to high rates of cancer and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s in humans?

Once again, corporate greed and malfeasance, with the complicity of government regulators, trump the health and safety of living organisms and ecosystems. And every time you use Roundup on your lawn or driveway or fields, you contribute to the destruction of the planet and compromise the health of its inhabitants.

Chris Hoffman lives in the village of Sherburne in her 150+ year-old house where she caters to the demands of her four cats, attempts to grow heirloom tomatoes and herbs and reads voraciously. She was instrumental in defeating NYRI’s power lines through her work with STOP NYRI, Inc., and passionately pursues various avenues with like-minded friends to preserve and protect a sustainable rural lifestyle for everyone in Central New York.



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