Seven Reasons why Glyphosate should be Banned

WHAT IS GLYPHOSATE, AND WHY SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT IT?

fiel-after-glyphosate-use
Field after glyphosate application…

Seven Reasons To Ban Glyphosate, It’s Time To Stand Up To Monsanto!, eat-better.greens-efa.eu, 26.02.2016.

Glyphosate is a chemical used in herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup and recently became the most used agricultural chemical of all time. Despite this, there’s a good chance you won’t have heard of it, and the chemical giants would probably be happy if it stayed that way.

Why? Well, in addition to being so extensively used, glyphosate has also proven to be highly controversial, with serious concerns being raised about its safety. The licence for its use in the EU expires at the end of June, giving the European Commission a perfect opportunity to ban it.

Unfortunately, the Commission appears to have made up its mind already, and has brought forward a proposal to extend the license until 2031. This will be the subject to the approval of a meeting of EU government officials on 7-8 March. With the Commission apparently keen to push this through in a hurry, it is vital that the arguments in opposition to its renewal are aired as soon as possible.

Here are our seven reasons why glyphosate should be banned in the EU.

  1. IT COULD BE SERIOUSLY DAMAGING YOUR HEALTH
    There is an ongoing and heated scientific debate as to whether or not glyphosate is carcinogenic. While the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic in humans“, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found the opposite. Glyphosate-based herbicides are used not only in agriculture, but also in public and private gardens, potentially putting both farmers as well as consumers at risk.
    Studies also show that herbicides containing the chemical act like endocrine disrupters – substances which play havoc with our hormones, and which can impact on fertility.
    The EU should ban glyphosate until it is proven to be safe.
  2. IT’S A THREAT TO ANIMALS AND PLANTS, TOO
    It’s not just human health that may suffer as a result of glyphosate. EFSA found a high long-term risk to animals, including farm animals such as cows and sheep. The German Environment Agency has also found significant adverse effects on biodiversity due to pesticides in general and glyphosate in particular. Glyphosate does not only kill target weeds, but also useful herbage in and close to fields treated with glyphosate.
    Given the risks glyphosate presents to animals and biodiversity, the EU should reject its license.
  3. GMOS AND GLYPHOSATE ARE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
    In many ways glyphosate and GMOs can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Of the 61 GMOs authorised in EU for import, more than half of them are glyphosate tolerant plants, designed to be used with that specific herbicide. They are both tools for the same kind of agriculture – one that is intensive, harmful to the environment and health, and bad for the local rural economy. Many cases of cancer and physical deformities have been reported in people and animals in South America, where extensive areas of land have been planted with glyphosate-tolerant GM soya in order to export animal feed to Europe.
    By rejecting glyphosate, we can stand up for the health of people in the EU and beyond, the environment, show support for local economies and stop the expansion of GMOs.
  4. THE EXPANSION OF HARM
    Glyphosate is harmful all by itself. But herbicides such as Roundup contain a cocktail of chemicals that can be more toxic than glyphosate alone, with even more risks for farmers as well as the general public.
    In addition, glyphosate-resistant “super weeds” have already spread in the USA and Canada due to overuse of Roundup applied on glyphosate-resistant GM crops. To stop the proliferation of these super weeds, even more resistant genetically engineered plant variety have been approved for commercial use that are resistant to multiple herbicides, including possibly more toxic and environmentally disruptive than glyphosate.
    Approving the use of glyphosate comes with a range of additional risks which can also be avoided by a ban.
  5. GAPS IN THE EVIDENCE
    EFSA indicated as a ‘critical concern’ that eight out of 24 applicants, including Monsanto, presented specifications for glyphosate that were not supported by the toxicological assessment. In other words, the test data these applicants provided were for substances other than those they actually want to sell. In addition, EFSA’s report listed 22 data gaps in the evidence.
    Given the known and probable risks to human and animal health due to glyphosate, we should ensure we have all the necessary evidence before approving it for such wide use.
  6. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY
    Not only are there gaps in the evidence, key studies are being hidden from public scrutiny. Key conclusions of EFSA’s report with regard to the carcinogenicity of glyphosate are based on those unpublished studies, which were produced by the industry themselves. It is unacceptable that these unpublished studies are being allowed to outweigh the publically available information.
    Further, more than 80% of the national experts involved in the EU’s assessment of glyphosate refused to have their names disclosed to the public, thereby avoiding any assessment of possible conflicts of interests.
    The Commission should not be allowing glyphosate to remain in use on the basis of secret, industry funded reports assessed by people who won’t publicly declare their interests.
  7. THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES!
    Organic farmers have demonstrated the same thing time and time again – glyphosate is not necessary for productive farming. The farming of the future is working with nature not against it. It relies on high biodiversity and a high variety of crops and structures, crucially avoiding the vast monocultures that attract pests in the first place, or the continuous cropping on fields that allows the pests to build up in soil and vegetation.
    The use of Glyphosate is linked to a highly intensive agriculture that is simply not sustainable. There are safer, non-chemical alternatives to glyphosate which are equally effective ways of tackling weeds (see statement by German Environment Agency).
    For this reason, and for all the others set out above, glyphosate’s license must be rejected.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

While the Commission seems keen to steam ahead with another 15 years of glyphosate, we still have an opportunity to block their proposal.

  • Please contact your Minister in charge and ask her/him to block this move.
  • If you would like to read about about glyphosate in more detail, or to see references, please see this comprehensive briefing, available on eat-better.greens-efa.eu website

Mother’s Day Infographic

Celebrate DES Mothers advocating for all DES Victims

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Celebrate DES Mothers advocating for all DES Victims on March 06, 2016.

An experienced cattle feeder from Illinois ran his own Stilbosol test

Eli Lilly Stilbosol’s 1955 add in the FFA National Future Farmer

Stilbosol patenting turned the cattle feed industry upside down in the mid 50s with its phenomenal use by farmers.
Image sources
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Your baby’s first environment is not toxin-free, chemical-free

The Myth Of The Placental Barrier

pregnant image
The placenta is permeable to most pollutants, including endocrine disruptors, lead, mercury and pesticides. Unfortunately, the placental barrier is not armed to protect against today’s man-made chemicals. 

“Numerous environmental contaminants can cross the placental barrier, to a disturbing extent, babies are born pre-polluted.”

reported a National Institutes of Health

“Even people who pursue green lifestyles and organic diets have toxic chemicals in their blood. When pregnant, our bodies become an interior ecosystem that exists in communion with the exterior ecosystem we inhabit. Whatever is in our food, air, water or house dust gets inside us.”

said ecologist Sandra Steingraber

Read The Myth Of The Placental Barrier, fitpregnancy, 2015.

Glyphosate carcinogenic evaluation: different views between the IARC and the EFSA

Glyphosate: scientists publish a paper summarising flaws of EFSA review compared to IARC’s

image of glyphosate-spraying
Serious flaws in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific evaluation in the Renewal Assessment Report for glyphosate (RAR) incorrectly characterise the potential for a carcinogenic hazard from exposure to glyphosate – as unlikely… Since the RAR is the basis for the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) conclusion it is critical that these shortcomings are corrected.

Summary

Differences in the carcinogenic evaluation of glyphosate between the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), J Epidemiol Community Health doi:10.1136/jech-2015-207005, March 2016.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working groups (WG) concluded that glyphosate is a ‘probable human carcinogen’, putting it into IARC category 2A due to sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals, limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and strong evidence for two carcinogenic mechanisms.

  • The IARC WG found an association between non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and glyphosate based on the available human evidence.
  • The IARC WG found significant carcinogenic effects in laboratory animals for rare kidney tumours and hemangiosarcoma in two mouse studies and benign tumours in two rat studies.
  • The IARC WG concluded that there was strong evidence of genotoxicity and oxidative stress for glyphosate, entirely from publicly available research, including findings of DNA damage in the peripheral blood of exposed humans.

The Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded (Vol. 1, p.160) that ‘classification and labelling for carcinogenesis is not warranted’ and ‘glyphosate is devoid of genotoxic potential’.

  • EFSA classified the human evidence as ‘very limited’ and then dismissed any association of glyphosate with cancer without clear explanation or justification.
  • Ignoring established guidelines cited in their report, EFSA dismissed evidence of renal tumours in three mouse studies, hemangiosarcoma in two mouse studies and malignant lymphoma in two mouse studies. Thus, EFSA incorrectly discarded all findings of glyphosate-induced cancer in animals as chance occurrences.
  • EFSA ignored important laboratory and human mechanistic evidence of genotoxicity.
  • EFSA confirmed that glyphosate induces oxidative stress but then, having dismissed all other findings of possible carcinogenicity, dismissed this finding on the grounds that oxidative stress alone is not sufficient for carcinogen labelling.

The most appropriate and scientifically based evaluation of the cancers reported in humans and laboratory animals as well as supportive mechanistic data is that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. On the basis of this conclusion and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to conclude that glyphosate formulations should also be considered likely human carcinogens. The classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) criteria (Table 3.6.1, p.371) allow for a similar classification of Category 1B when there are ‘studies showing limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans together with limited evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals’.

In the RAR, almost no weight is given to studies from the published literature and there is an over-reliance on non-publicly available industry-provided studies using a limited set of assays that define the minimum data necessary for the marketing of a pesticide. The IARC WG evaluation of probably carcinogenic to humans accurately reflects the results of published scientific literature on glyphosate and, on the face of it, unpublished studies to which EFSA refers.

Most of the authors of this commentary previously expressed their concerns to EFSA and others regarding their review of glyphosate to which EFSA has published a reply. This commentary responds to the EFSA reply.

EDCs Regulation: Now is the Time to put this Right, EU Commission!

Endocrine disruptors: ‘Better Regulation’ or better public health?

Endocrine disruptors pose a substantial risk to public health, yet the European Commission has dawdled time and again on introducing measures that would finally limit their use. Now is the time to put this right, write Genon Jensen, Director of HEAL, and Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust.

pesticide-use-farming image
EDC-use in pesticides is a major health concern. Will Fuller: “I also noticed that the driver was wearing a mask on one of his trips round,. surely if he feels the need to protect himself he should reconsider spraying right outside our front door”.

Endocrine disruptors: ‘Better Regulation’ or better public health?, EurActiv, Mar 2, 2016.

Over twenty years ago, scientists began to be concerned about chemicals that could disrupt our body’s sensitive hormone (or endocrine) system, which are particularly crucial in development and reproduction, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In spite of the fact that chemicals with these properties are found in everyday products, the EU still has not agreed the criteria to identify such EDC chemicals.

Without such criteria the people of Europe – and our environment – are not being properly protected and concerns continue to mount in medical and cancer communities and among leading global endocrine experts.

EU legislation on controlling the use of pesticides and biocides stated that the European Commission should determine these scientific criteria for EDC identification by December 2013. Due to the Commission’s failure to publish criteria by that deadline, Sweden launched a legal challenge in the European Court of Justice.

Its December 2015 verdict stated that the executive was in breach of EU law and that the criteria to determine endocrine disrupting properties can only be done in an objective manner, based on the scientific data in relation to the endocrine system, independently of any other consideration. It ruled there was no obligation to do an impact assessment.

It is now 2016. We welcome the European Commission’s promise to finally propose the criteria “by the summer”. However, in the meantime the Commission has prioritised the Better Regulation approach with carrying out impact assessments that focus on cost to businesses. This is why we are concerned about how they will select the EDC criteria to propose. The executive seems to be putting much more effort into speeding up the impact assessment of different options for criteria than into the scientific justification of the criteria themselves.

In our view, it is clear that the best criteria for identifying endocrine disrupters are those in option 3 of the executive’s roadmap, using the definition from the World Health Organisation, with three categories (rankings based on the weight of evidence), similar to the current EU identification system for carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxic compounds.

If the European Commission was looking for a quick way to follow the court ruling, the next step would obviously be to go ahead and adopt the draft criteria proposal from June 2013, which are already the product of a great deal of Commission-led, Commission-funded, and member state expert work and deliberation. To date, we have not yet heard any specific argument from the executive against the scientific validity of these identification criteria.

The Commission likes to stress the pioneering work on the EDC criteria, as do we. Such criteria would make Europe the first in the world to have official identification anchored in law.

But if the criteria finally proposed by European civil servants, and chosen by our national government officials, are not good at identifying the hormone disruptors to which we are exposed, and which pose a threat to our health and environment, our pioneering efforts will have ended in failure.

The good news is that scientific assessments and tools are already available, even though there is still the need for more and better tests and screens. EDCs have already been identified under REACH according to the WHO definition. This demonstrates that EDC identification is possible and workable in a regulatory context.

It is important to note that the identification of a chemical as an EDC is just the first stage of a regulatory process, which does not mean a total immediate ban. In the case of pesticides, if there is no safer alternative and a chemical is still needed due to a “serious danger to plant health”, then its use can continue.

For a biocide, use can continue if a ban would lead to a “disproportionate negative impact”. In the REACH authorisation process, the regulators can consider a socioeconomic assessment of the consequences of use versus non-use. But any decision-making on the necessity versus problems of the uses will not work well if we have not identified the EDCs correctly in the first place.

HEAL and CHEM Trust have joined over 60 groups in the EDC Free Europe coalition to write to all 28 environment and health ministers prior to the next Environment Council meeting this Friday (4 March). We asked them to defend the law they made in order to protect our health and to demand that the Commission immediately complies with the ruling of the ECJ.

This could mean picking up the draft scientific criteria proposed in June 2013 and putting it through the internal Commission consultation as soon as possible. It would use valuable work that’s already been completed, and Europe could move on and start transitioning to sustainable agriculture and healthier farmers and societies.

Distilbène boîte alu

Ma Petite Brocante, Retail and Consumer Merchandise

Ma Petite Brocante : virtual store located in Brive la Gaillarde in the Limousin region nestled between Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees and Auvergne.

Boîte ancienne en aluminium Distilbène, Diamètre 5 cm.

Le Diethylstilbestrol ou DES a été commercialisé via de nombreux noms tels que le Distilbène®, Stilbetin®, Stilboestrol-Borne®, Benzestrol®, Chlorotrianisene®, Estrobene® et Estrosyn® par exemple.

Nombre de sociétés ont promu et vendu leur médicament DES sous plus de 200 noms de marque différents.

Images de médicaments DES

Le Distilbène DES, en savoir plus

BPA: Dutch Ministry of Health recommendations for risk management

RIVM recommends more stringent EU standards BPA

BPA-research
More stringent European standards for safe exposure of workers and consumers to bisphenol A (BPA) were proposed in 2014 and 2015. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has concluded that new insights sufficiently warrant consideration of even more stringent standards and has recommended taking supplementary measures in the near future for a further reduction of BPA exposure.

Synopsis

RIVM recommends more stringent EU standards BPA, RIVM, 2016-03-03.
Bisphenol A: Part 2. Recommendations for risk management, RIVM Report 2015-0192, 2016-03-03.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a substance that occurs in numerous products, such as cash register receipts, building materials (paint and coatings), food packaging materials, toys and medical devices. Excessive BPA exposure is harmful to fertility and can affect the hormone system.

New studies show that BPA can impair the immune system of unborn and young children at a lower exposure level than the one on which the current standards are based. This lower level is roughly comparable to the current every day BPA exposure level of workers and consumers. As a result of this exposure, people could have a greater probability of developing food intolerances and could become more susceptible to infectious diseases.

Based on these new insights, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) advises the national government to reduce BPA exposure in the short term wherever possible. Special attention needs to be devoted to protecting small children, pregnant women and women who breastfeed. This is because developing unborn and young children are more sensitive than adults to the effects of BPA.

Ways to reduce exposure include developing safe alternatives or ensuring that less BPA is released from products. Additionally, workers can be protected against BPA exposure.

Lower exposure is also important for sediment-dwelling animals that experience adverse effects due to current BPA concentration levels.

 

Ful-O-Pep with Diethylstilbestrol

Advertisement in the The Western Producer, May 1956

The Western Producer, May 1956.

Stilbosol patenting turned the cattle feed industry upside down in the mid 50s with its phenomenal use by farmers.

It’s all well and good for cattle to be Ful-o-Pep, as promoted in an advertisement in the The Western Producer,  May 10, 1956.

Image sources

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