Monsanto's herbicide Roundup possibly linked to Parkinson's, cancer, infertility and more health issues

Home/Green News/Monsanto's herbicide Roundup possibly linked to Parkinson's, cancer, infertility and more health issues

Correlation is not causation. Many have had concerns about spraying acres of growing crops with potent pesticide or herbicide like Monsanto ‘s Roundup, but without hard data, it is impossible to go past the reasonable doubts rationale. Well a new study just found that heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide could be linked to a range of major health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers.

This very serious study published last week in the scientific journal Entropy said evidence indicates the presence of residues of “glyphosate” (i.e. the active ingredient in Roundup) in food. Glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment and disrupts normal body functions, inducing disease. What makes it hard to report, let alone prove, is that the negative impact on the body is insidious as it manifests slowly over time, as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.

Many experts including environmentalists, consumer groups’ advocates and plant scientists from several countries have already warned about the heavy use of glyphosate, causing problems for plants, people and animals. This is now a fact and as such, needs to be taken seriously and further investigated. And in light of the data, the EPA is conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate and has set a deadline of 2015 to determine if the use of glyphosate  should be limited. The study is one among many comments submitted to the agency.

Monsanto is known to have developed both Roundup herbicide and a suite of crops that are genetically altered to withstand being sprayed with its Roundup weed killer. These biotech crops of corn, soybeans, canola and sugarbeets are planted on millions of acres in the United States each year. The convenience factor is very appealing to farmers: they can directly spray Roundup on the crops to kill weeds without harming the crops. Monsanto becomes a great one-stop-shop. It is also used on lawns, gardens and golf courses. Of the more than two dozen top herbicides on the market, glyphosate is the most popular. About 185 million pounds of it was used by U.S. farmers in 2007.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that’s more than twice the amount used in 2001, and also corresponds to the rising popularity of Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready genetically modified crops.

Unsurprisingly, and in the absence of long term data, Monsanto’s official position, as well as other leading industry experts’, has always been to say that glyphosate is proven safe, but also safer on the environment than other commonly used chemicals.

Until time is on the side of science via more data point, it’ll be difficult to counter Monsanto’ safety allegations about Roundup. But this new study is definitely a long awaited good first step in that direction.

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Credit photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson


* Up for some thought-sharing on this topic?  
– There is this vicious circle where the more crop growing is done without (soil regenerating) interruptions, the more depleted the soil becomes, hence fragile and in need of external help to fight pests and weeds’ attacks. Comes in Monsanto, with Roundup. From occasional herbicide, it became a (the) regular, preventative staple in growing crops in the U.S..
– And with Monsanto ‘s genetically engineered (GE) seeds, man-made so that they can bear Roundup spraying and keep growing unaltered, the loop is closed: farmers need Monsanto all the way through.
. How much human alteration can be made to natural soil and seeds before we endanger our own health? It is pretty intuitive to believe that if we spray what we eat with weeds and pests’ killers, it will not be long before it kills us too. Or worse, it could kill us slowly, and cripple future generations…
. When time is of the essence in getting final proofs of what we firmly believe may happen, isn’t it safer to adopt a precautionary principle approach and just refuse to mix poison and food together?
Let us know… 

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