Bad strategies, unethical tactics used by the pesticide industry

This 2017 trailer highlights some of Monsanto’s tricks

Video published on 10 Oct 2017 by Greens EFA.

The Monsanto Papers are secret, internal documents that have now been made public thanks to over 10,000 farmers who have taken Monsanto to court, accusing the company’s glyphosate weedkillers of causing them to develop a cancer called non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The documents reveal the various strategies and tactics used by Monsanto to ensure that they can sell their star product, RoundUp, despite the clear dangers for humans and for the environment.

Alternatives to pesticides

Will experts prove a cover-up of the toxicity and dangers of the herbicide glyphosate ?

Of mice, Monsanto and a mysterious tumor

By Carey Gillam, for Environmental Health News, June 8, 2017.
Glyphosate spraying image via Chafer Machinery.

Call it the case of the mysterious mouse tumor.

It’s been 34 years since Monsanto Co. presented U.S. regulators with a seemingly routine study analyzing the effects the company’s best-selling herbicide might have on rodents. Now, that study is once again under the microscope, emerging as a potentially pivotal piece of evidence in litigation brought by hundreds of people who claim Monsanto’s weed killer gave them cancer.

This week tissue slides from long-dead mice in that long-ago research study are being scrutinized by fresh eyes as an expert pathologist employed by lawyers for cancer victims looks for evidence the lawyers hope will help prove a cover-up of the dangers of the weed killer called glyphosate.

Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup products, is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and is applied broadly in the production of more than 100 food crops, including wheat, corn and soy, as well as on residential lawns, golf courses and school yards.

Residues have been detected in food and human urine, and many scientists around the world have warned that exposure through diet as well as through application can potentially lead to health problems. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in 2015 based on a review of scientific literature, triggering the wave of lawsuits against Monsanto, and pushing California regulators to announce they would add glyphosate to a list of known carcinogens.

What the expert finds, or doesn’t find, is expected to be key evidence in hearings slated for the week of Dec. 11 in dozens of consolidated cases being overseen by a federal judge in San Francisco.

Rewind to 1983

Monsanto, as well as many other scientists and regulatory bodies, have defended glyphosate’s safety. They say research showing a cancer connection is flawed and hundreds of studies support its safety.

And yet—rewind to July 1983 and a study titled “A Chronic Feeding Study of Glyphosate (Roundup Technical) in Mice.” Following the document trail that surrounds the study offers an illuminating look into how science is not always clear-cut, and the lengths Monsanto has had to go to in order to convince regulators to accept scientific interpretations that support the company’s products.

The two-year study ran from 1980-1982 and involved 400 mice divided into groups of 50 males and 50 females that were administered three different doses of the weed killer or received no glyphosate at all for observation as a control group. The study was conducted for Monsanto to submit to regulators. But unfortunately for Monsanto, some mice exposed to glyphosate developed tumors at statistically significant rates, with no tumors at all in non-dosed mice.

February 1984 memo from Environmental Protection Agency toxicologist William Dykstra stated the findings definitively: “Review of the mouse oncogenicity study indicates that glyphosate is oncogenic, producing renal tubule adenomas, a rare tumor, in a dose-related manner.” Researchers found these increased incidences of the kidney tumors in mice exposed to glyphosate worrisome because while adenomas are generally benign, they have the potential to become malignant, and even in noncancerous stages they have the potential to be harmful to other organs. Monsanto discounted the findings, arguing that the tumors were “unrelated to treatment” and showing false positives, and the company provided additional data to try to convince the EPA to discount the tumors.

“Glyphosate is suspect. Monsanto’s argument is unacceptable.”

Herbert Lacayo, EPA, wrote in response to Monsanto’s 1985 defense of the weedkiller

But EPA toxicology experts were unconvinced. EPA statistician and toxicology branch member Herbert Lacayo authored a February 1985 memo outlining disagreement with Monsanto’s position. A “prudent person would reject the Monsanto assumption that Glyphosate dosing has no effect on kidney tumor production,” Lacayo wrote. ”Glyphosate is suspect. Monsanto’s argument is unacceptable.”

Eight members of the EPA’s toxicology branch, including Lacayo and Dykstra, were worried enough by the kidney tumors in mice that they signed a consensus review of glyphosate in March 1985 stating they were classifying glyphosate as a Category C oncogen, a substance “possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Research rebuttal

That finding did not sit well with Monsanto, and the company worked to reverse the kidney tumor concerns. On April 3, 1985, George Levinskas, Monsanto’s manager for environmental assessment and toxicology, noted in an internal memorandum to another company scientist that the company had arranged for Dr. Marvin Kuschner, a noted pathologist and founding dean of the medical school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, to review the kidney tissue slides.

Kushner had not yet even accessed the slides but Levinskas implied in his memo that a favorable outcome was assured:

“Kuschner will review kidney sections and present his evaluation of them to EPA in an effort to persuade the agency that the observed tumors are not related to glyphosate,”

Levinskas wrote. Notably, Levinskas, who died in 2005, was also involved in efforts in the 1970s to downplay damaging findings from a study that found rats exposed to Monsanto’s PCBs developed tumors, documents filed in PCB litigation revealed.

Kuschner’s subsequent re-examination did —as Monsanto stated it would—determine the tumors were not due to glyphosate. Looking over slides of the mouse tissue from the 1983 study, Kuschner identified a small kidney tumor in the control group of the mice – those that had not received glyphosate. No one had noted such a tumor in the original report. The finding was highly significant because it provided a scientific basis for a conclusion that the tumors seen in the mice exposed to glyphosate were not noteworthy after all.

Additionally, Monsanto provided the EPA with an October 1985 report from a “pathology working group” that also rebutted the finding of the connection between glyphosate and the kidney tumors seen in the 1983 study. The pathology working group said “spontaneous chronic renal disease” was “commonly seen in aged mice.” Monsanto provided the report to the EPA stamped as a “trade secret” to be kept from the prying eyes of the public.

The EPA’s own scientists still did not agree, however. An EPA pathologist wrote in a December 1985 memo that additional examination of the tissue slides did not “definitively” reveal a tumor in the control group. Still, the reports by the outside pathologists brought into the debate by Monsanto helped push the EPA to launch a reexamination of the research.

And by February 1986 an EPA scientific advisory panel had dubbed the tumor findings equivocal; saying that given the tumor identified in the control group by some pathologists, the overall incidences of tumors in the animals given glyphosate were not statistically significant enough to warrant the cancer linkage.

The panel did say there may be reason for concern and noted that the tumor incidences seen in the mice given glyphosate were “unusual.”

The advisory panel told the EPA the studies should be repeated in hopes of more definitive findings, and that glyphosate be classified into what the agency at that time called Group D—“not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.” The EPA asked Monsanto for a repeat of the mouse oncogenicity study but Monsanto refused to do so.

The company argued “there is no relevant scientific or regulatory justification for repeating the glyphosate mouse oncogenicity study.” Instead, the company provided EPA officials with historical control data that it argued supported its attempt to further downplay the tumor incidences seen in the worrisome 1983 study.

“There is no relevant scientific or regulatory justification for repeating the glyphosate mouse oncogenicity study.”

– Monsanto, in response to EPA requests to replicate the mouse study

The company said the tumors in mice appear “with some regularity” and were probably attributable to “genetic or environmental” factors. “It is the judgement of Monsanto scientists that the weight-of-evidence strongly supports a conclusion that glyphosate is not oncogenic in the mouse.” Monsanto said repeating the mouse study would “require the expenditure of significant resources… and tie-up valuable laboratory space.”

Feds fold

The discussions between Monsanto and the EPA dragged on until the two sides met in November 1988 to discuss the agency’s request for a second mouse study and Monsanto’s reluctance to do so. Members of the EPA’s toxicology branch continued to express doubts about the validity of Monsanto’s data, but by June of 1989, EPA officials conceded, stating that they would drop the requirement for a repeated mouse study.

By the time an EPA review committee met on June 26, 1991, to again discuss and evaluate glyphosate research, the mouse study was so discounted that the group decided that there was a lack of convincing carcinogenicity evidence in relevant animal studies. The group concluded that the herbicide should be classified far more lightly than the initial 1985 classification or even the 1986 classification proposed by the advisory panel. This time, the EPA scientists dubbed the herbicide a Group E chemical, a classification that meant “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.” At least two members of the EPA committee refused to sign the report, stating that they did not concur with the findings. In a memo explaining the decision, agency officials offered a caveat. They wrote that the classification “should not be interpreted as a definitive conclusion that the agent will not be a carcinogen under any circumstances.”

Despite the EPA’s ultimate conclusion, the mouse study was among those cited by IARC for classifying glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Indeed, many other animal studies have similarly had questionable results, including a 1981 rat study that showed an increase in incidences of tumors in the testes of male rats and possible thyroid carcinomas in female rats exposed to glyphosate and a 1990 study that showed pancreatic tumors in exposed rats. But none have swayed the EPA from its backing of glyphosate safety.

Christopher Portier, who was an invited specialist to the IARC review of glyphosate and is former director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believes the evaluations applied to glyphosate data by regulators are scientifically flawedand putting public health at risk.

“The data in these studies strongly supports the ability of glyphosate to cause cancer in humans and animals; there is no reason to believe that all of these positive studies arose simply by chance,”

Portier said.

Monsanto fought the plaintiffs’ request to view the mouse tissue slides, calling it a “fishing expedition,” but was overruled by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria who is overseeing the roughly 60 combined lawsuits under his purvey. Monsanto has confirmed that roughly 900 additional plaintiffs have cases pending in other jurisdictions. All make similar claims – that Monsanto manipulated the science, regulators and the public in ways that hid or minimized the danger posed by its herbicide.

“The importance of the original kidney slides and the re-cut kidney slides is immense to the question of general causation and played a critical role in the EPA’s decision to re-categorize glyphosate…”

the plaintiffs’ attorneys stated in a court filing.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Aimee Wagstaff reiterated that in a recent court hearing, telling Judge Chhabria that the events surrounding the 1983 mouse study “sort of dominoed,” and potentially are “extremely relevant” to the cancer litigation.

Carey Gillam,
Research Director at U.S. Right to Know and veteran journalist who specializes in coverage of food, agriculture and environmental issues.

Thirty people tested discover the omnipresence of Glyphosate in their bodies

French NGO Générations Futures finds 100% people tested in France are exposed to glyphosate

To what extent are the French exposed to glyphosate – the world’s best-selling herbicide? generations-futures, 6 April 2017.

Image © credit Claire Robert.

Paris/Brussels, 6 April 2017 – Thirty human “guinea-pigs” entrusted samples of their urine to Générations Futures for testing for traces of the famous glyphosate, one of the active molecules in the herbicide, RoundUp®.

The results? All 100% of the samples contain residues of this herbicide, which is a “probable carcinogen” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Context

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used active ingredient in herbicides. In March 2015, a few months before the European authorisation of glyphosate was due to expire, experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen”. EU regulations prohibit the use of pesticides that are classified as carcinogens or probable carcinogens. However, EU regulations refer to EU classification for carcinogenicity not to that of IARC.

Originally, when the authorisation of glyphosate expired, the European Commission proposed allowing its sale for a further 14 years. But this proposition, which was widely criticised by NGOs and civil society, did not receive the support of the Member States. In the end, the Commission was obliged to extend the approval for only 18 months and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was asked to publish an opinion on the safety of glyphosate the spring of this year. On 15 March 2017, a summary of this opinion was published clearing glyphosate of any carcinogenic risk for humans! The ball is now in the European Commission’s court as it will soon make a new proposal to the Member States.

The survey

It is against this backdrop that Générations Futures wanted to learn more about the extent to which the French are exposed to this widely used herbicide. We chose to carry out a urine analysis of 30 people, including men and women between the ages of eight and 60 years old, living in the city and in the countryside and with a varied diet, organic and non-organic, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. A certain number of well-known people agreed to participate. Analysis was carried out with help of an ELISA test.

Results?

Our investigation demonstrates the omnipresence of this dangerous molecule in our bodies.

  • 100% of the samples analysed contained glyphosate at a concentration above the lowest limit of quantification (LoQ = 0.075ng/ml).
  • The average concentration of glyphosate found in the samples was 1.25 ng/ml urine.
  • The sample with the lowest value was at 0.09 ng/ml and the highest value was 2.89 ng/ml, which is 32.11 times higher than the lowest value.
  • Twenty-nine of the 30 samples (96.66%) contained concentrations that were above the maximum allowable pesticide concentration in water (0.1 ng/ml).

“Unfortunately, these tests confirmed what we feared having consulted surveys undertaken elsewhere in Europe and around the world: we are all contaminated with glyphosate. It is indeed time for the European authorities to become aware of the urgency to act, and to finally forbid this molecule considered likely to be carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer!”

says Francois Veillerette, spokesperson for Générations Futures.

“Not all the cards are played yet. We can still stop the authorisation of this substance. We therefore invite citizens to take action and join the 500,000 Europeans who have already signed the European Citizens’ Initiative calling for the banning of this dangerous molecule,”

he concludes.

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is also calling for a ban on glyphosate. Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) says:

“This study shows that all those tested in France have been exposed to glyphosate. This means that, in all likelihood, all Europeans are contaminated – potentially elevating everyone’s risk of cancer. “The evidence against glyphosate is piling up all the time. National governments face the decision at the end of this year whether to continue allowing glyphosate in Europe. We urge everyone to tell their governments to put preventing cancers first.”

Contacts
Générations Fuures EXPPERT Surveys
  1. EXPPERT Survey 1: Which endocrine disrupting insecticides are children exposed to everyday? Press release, Brussels, 25 March 2013.
  2. EXPPERT Survey 2: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and banned Pesticides in strawberries. Press release, 25 March 2013.
  3. EXPPERT Survey 3: How are children exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?Press release, 9 July 2014.
  4. EXPPERT Survey 4: Nineteen endocrine disrupting pesticides found in samples of women’s hair. Press release, 12 March 2015. Our blog.
  5. EXPPERT Survey 5: Pesticides that are banned or suspected to be EDCs are found in green salads. Press release, 22 September 2015. Our blog.
  6. EXPPERT Survey 6: Homes close to pesticide spraying show all year exposure. Press release, 1 March 2016. Our blog.
  7. EXPPERT Survey 7: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides. What are the exposures in daily life? Press release, 11 October 2016. Our blog.
  8. EXPPERT Survey 8: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides in water. Press release, 8 January 2017. Our blog.
  9. EXPPERT Survey 9: Seven French celebrities discover their contamination from endocrine disruptors. Press release, 24 February 2017. Our blog.

Can glyphosate residues in food cause fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes and ‘metabolic syndrome’ ?

Multiomics reveal non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats following chronic exposure to an ultra-low dose of Roundup herbicide

2017 Study Abstract

The impairment of liver function by low environmentally relevant doses of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) is still a debatable and unresolved matter.

Previously we have shown that rats administered for 2 years with 0.1 ppb (50 ng/L glyphosate equivalent dilution; 4 ng/kg body weight/day daily intake) of a Roundup GBH formulation showed signs of enhanced liver injury as indicated by anatomorphological, blood/urine biochemical changes and transcriptome profiling.

Roundup residues in food cause fatty liver disease, the ecologist, 9th January 2017.

Image credit chafermachinery.

Here we present a multiomic study combining metabolome and proteome liver analyses to obtain further insight into the Roundup-induced pathology. Proteins significantly disturbed (214 out of 1906 detected, q < 0.05) were involved in organonitrogen metabolism and fatty acid β-oxidation. Proteome disturbances reflected peroxisomal proliferation, steatosis and necrosis. The metabolome analysis (55 metabolites altered out of 673 detected, p < 0.05) confirmed lipotoxic conditions and oxidative stress by showing an activation of glutathione and ascorbate free radical scavenger systems. Additionally, we found metabolite alterations associated with hallmarks of hepatotoxicity such as γ-glutamyl dipeptides, acylcarnitines, and proline derivatives.

Overall, metabolome and proteome disturbances showed a substantial overlap with biomarkers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its progression to steatohepatosis and thus confirm liver functional dysfunction resulting from chronic ultra-low dose GBH exposure.

Inert ingredients listed in Glyphosate-based chemicals found to add up to the toxic cocktail

New evidence about the dangers of glyphosate-based herbicides

New Evidence About the Dangers of Monsanto’s Roundup, the intercept, May 17 2016.

Roundup image via London Permaculture.

Until recently, the fight over Roundup has mostly focused on its active ingredient, glyphosate. But mounting evidence shows it’s not only glyphosate that’s dangerous, but also chemicals listed as “inert ingredients” in some formulations of Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers. Though they have been in herbicides — and our environment — for decades, these chemicals have evaded scientific scrutiny and regulation in large part because the companies that make and use them have concealed their identity as trade secrets.

Abstract

Co-Formulants in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Disrupt Aromatase Activity in Human Cells below Toxic Levels, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 26 February 2016.

Pesticide formulations contain declared active ingredients and co-formulants presented as inert and confidential compounds.

We tested the endocrine disruption of co-formulants in six glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), the most used pesticides worldwide. All co-formulants and formulations were comparably cytotoxic well below the agricultural dilution of 1% (18–2000 times for co-formulants, 8–141 times for formulations), and not the declared active ingredient glyphosate (G) alone.

The endocrine-disrupting effects of all these compounds were measured on aromatase activity, a key enzyme in the balance of sex hormones, below the toxicity threshold. Aromatase activity was decreased both by the co-formulants alone (polyethoxylated tallow amine—POEA and alkyl polyglucoside—APG) and by the formulations, from concentrations 800 times lower than the agricultural dilutions; while G exerted an effect only at 1/3 of the agricultural dilution.

It was demonstrated for the first time that endocrine disruption by GBH could not only be due to the declared active ingredient but also to co-formulants. These results could explain numerous in vivo results with GBHs not seen with G alone; moreover, they challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) value for GBHs exposures, currently calculated from toxicity tests of the declared active ingredient alone.

Want to drink some cancerous Roundup? Try some California wine…

Glyphosate found in 100% of California wines tested, even in some labeled as organic

In a recent project, an individual and Moms Across America supporter sent ten wines, including organic and biodynamic, to be tested for glyphosate based herbicides…

On March 16th, 2016 Moms Across America received results from an anonymous supporter which commissioned Microbe Inotech Lab of St.Louis, Missouri that showed all ten of the wines tested positive for the chemical glyphosate, the declared “active” ingredient in Roundup weed killer and 700 other glyphosate ­based herbicides. The highest level of glyphosate detected was up to 28.4 times higher than the other wines at 18.74 ppb from a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional, chemically farmed vineyard. The lowest level was from a bio dynamic and organic vineyard, 2013 Syrah, which has never been sprayed according to the owner, with a level of .659 ppb. An organic wine from 2012 mixed red wine grapes, had 0.913 ppb of glyphosate.

More information
  • Widespread Contamination of Glyphosate Weedkiller in California Wine, MomsAcrossAmerica report, March 24th, 2016.
  • How Do Glyphosate Based Herbicides Contaminate Crops?, MomsAcrossAmerica, APRIL 01, 2016.
  • Watch our pesticides video playlist on YouTube.

Glyphosate studies: expert opinion proves a systematic misinterpretation

Environmentalists press charges against Monsanto and EU regulatory authorities

The Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Germany join PAN Europe and 5 EU environmental organisations in their legal proceedings against those responsible for the assessment of glyphosate in Europe (Monsanto, German government institute –BfR – and European Food Safety Authority-EFSA).

The EU environmental organizations, in an initiative taken by Global 2000 Austria file new evidence to the state attorney in Berlin today showing that the responsible institutions misinterpreted research studies during the assessment procedure in order to conceal the carcinogenic risks associated with glyphosate and facilitate its re-approval.

Environmentalists press charges against Monsanto and EU regulatory authorities, pan-europe, April 21, 2016.

Epidemiologist Prof. Dr. Eberhard Greiser of the University of Bremen emphasizes BfR rejected almost all epidemiological studies on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate for unfounded reasons, disqualifying them as “not reliable”. According to Greiser,

“BfR applied the incorrect methods for analysing and rejecting these studies and EFSA approved them. These provide evidence that would hinder the re-approval of glyphosate.”

An earlier analysis undertaken by toxicologist Peter Clausing (PAN Germany) had already shown that studies submitted by the industry on carcinogenicity using laboratory mice had been falsely evaluated, and significant evidence of carcinogenicity in the animals had been concealed.

“Two of these mice studies on carcinogenicity were also evaluated by IARC experts who in contrast to BfR, accepted the significant incidence of tumours as relevant”

says Angeliki Lysimachou of Pesticides Action Network Europe.

In its final assessment the BfR accepted that the IARC/WHO findings were correct, and admitted to having simply adopted the statistical evaluations presented by the industry but still, both BfR and EFSA kept their conclusion that glyphosate is “non-carcinogenic”. In response, in an open letter to the EU commission 94 respected scientists criticised the BfR and EFSA’s assessment as “scientifically unacceptable”, “fundamentally flawed” and “misleading.

“The large number of weaknesses in the licensing procedure of glyphosate give the impression that the authorities and manufacturers have been working hand in hand to keep glyphosate on the EU market by all means,”

says Sophia Guttenberger, biologist and adviser on consumer protection at the Environmental Institute in Munich.

“If there has been deliberate manipulation of the new licensing procedure for glyphosate with the intention of approving a carcinogenic substance, then this would be defrauding 508 million EU citizens,”

states Viennese lawyer Dr. Josef Unterweger.

A critique on the rejection of Epidemiology studies by EU athorities, PAN Europe, 5 April 2016.

For this reason Dr. Unterweger is pressing charges on behalf of Munich Environmental Institute and the six environmental organisations: Global 2000, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, PAN Germany, PAN UK, Générations Futures (France), WeMove Europe, and Nature & Progrès Belgique. A report will also be submitted to OLAF, the European anti-fraud office.

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

Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globall

New analysis: no pesticide comes remotely close to the intensive and widespread use of glyphosate

glyphosate-pounds-applied
Genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops now account for about 56% of global glyphosate use.

Abstract

Environmental Sciences Europe, DOI 10.1186/s12302-016-0070-0, 02 February 2016.

Background
Accurate pesticide use data are essential when studying the environmental and public health impacts of pesticide use. Since the mid-1990s, significant changes have occurred in when and how glyphosate herbicides are applied, and there has been a dramatic increase in the total volume applied.

Methods
Data on glyphosate applications were collected from multiple sources and integrated into a dataset spanning agricultural, non-agricultural, and total glyphosate use from 1974–2014 in the United States, and from 1994–2014 globally.

Results
Since 1974 in the U.S., over 1.6 billion kilograms of glyphosate active ingredient have been applied, or 19% of estimated global use of glyphosate (8.6 billion kilograms). Globally, glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called “Roundup Ready”, genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996. Two-thirds of the total volume of glyphosate applied in the U.S. from 1974 to 2014 has been sprayed in just the last 10 years. The corresponding share globally is 72%. In 2014, farmers sprayed enough glyphosate to apply ~1.0 kg/ha (0.8 pound/acre) on every hectare of U.S.-cultivated cropland and nearly 0.53 kg/ha (0.47 pounds/acre) on all cropland worldwide.

Conclusions
Genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops now account for about 56% of global glyphosate use. In the U.S., no pesticide has come remotely close to such intensive and widespread use. This is likely the case globally, but published global pesticide use data are sparse. Glyphosate will likely remain the most widely applied pesticide worldwide for years to come, and interest will grow in quantifying ecological and human health impacts. Accurate, accessible time-series data on glyphosate use will accelerate research progress.

Stop unecessary pesticide use in Bristol parks and streets

Living in the “Green Capital”, Bristolians really need to sort this out and move with the times

SPRAYING-MONSANTO-GLYPHOSATE banner image
STOP SPRAYING MONSANTO GLYPHOSATES ON BRISTOL’S STREETS AND PARKS!
SIGN THE PETITION!

TO: BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL & GEORGE FERGUSON, MAYOR OF BRISTOL

Please ban the spraying of Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides on the streets and parks of Bristol.

Why is this important?

Bristol Council currently uses four glyphosate herbicides including Monsanto’s Roundup on our streets and parks. This is despite the fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified glyphosate as likely to cause cancer in humans. The WHO finding sits alongside a wealth of existing evidence that raises alarming questions marks over the long term safety of exposure to glyphosate both on its own and in combination with other chemicals found in formulas such as Roundup.

The use of glyphosates has already been banned or restricted in 8 countries. It is not acceptable that ourselves, our children and the animals we share this city with are being routinely exposed to these chemicals whether we like it or not.

If Bristol is to have any credentials as the current European Green Capital, it must exercise the precautionary principle and follow the example of cities such as Chicago, Paris and Rotterdam by banning this spraying in public places.

This is a matter of great importance for those of us who care about each other’s health and the health of our children, our cats, our dogs and all the flora and fauna of this city, of course including our beloved bees.

For more information see this article from The Bristol Cable.

There are viable safe alternatives to glyphosates. The Netherlands have outright banned glyphosates in public spaces and are using a hot water treatment instead. A hot water and foam method is also available in the UK and Bristol Council is already aware that this can be a more effective alternative than hot water on its own. Glyphosates are the cheapest option but we must send the message loud and clear that value is not just about price and that the health and safety issues around glyphosate render its ‘cheap and easy’ status irrelevant. Other effective methods may cost more in cash terms but represent far better value to local residents. Using a formula such as Roundup in our public spaces is simply unacceptable no matter how cheap and quick it makes the task of urban weed management.

Have your say and SIGN the petition!

2017 Update

Read Forget the vinegar, the real reek is inaction on glyphosates, thebristolcable, 31st January, 2017.