World's Top-Selling Weedkiller Causes Birth Defects, Scientists Say


Photo credit: Bug-E via Flickr/CC BY

Quick -- name a brand of weedkiller. What popped into your head? Was it, by any chance, Roundup? The most popular and most widely-used herbicide in the world? If it was, that's great; the ubiquitous weedkiller will be our topic for discussion today. Why? Because a new, comprehensive review of existing data again reveals, once again, that scientific evidence shows that it may cause birth defects. Lucia Graves reports:

WASHINGTON -- The chemical at the heart of the planet's most widely used herbicide -- Roundup weedkiller, used in farms and gardens across the U.S. -- is coming under more intense scrutiny following the release of a new report calling for a heightened regulatory response around its use. Critics have argued for decades that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides used around the globe, poses a serious threat to public health. Industry regulators, however, appear to have consistently overlooked their concerns.

A comprehensive review of existing data released this month by Earth Open Source, an organization that uses open-source collaboration to advance sustainable food production, suggests that industry regulators in Europe have known for years that glyphosate, originally introduced by American agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto in 1976, causes birth defects in the embryos of laboratory animals.

Only a man with the intellectual might possessed by one such as I could possibly untangle the vast complexities enmeshed in the explanation of why regulators have continued to turn the other way in the face of mounting evidence that Roundup causes adverse health effects:

The product makes Monsanto a lot of money. And Monsanto would rather continue making a lot of money than deal with potentially costly upgrades to its formula. Monsanto is also a powerful corporation, and can influence policy-making decisions in its favor with its political ties and sway on the Hill.

Seriously, we've known that glyphosate causes birth defects in animals for years (and Monsanto knew it since 1980, new documents reveal). Other studies have found that it does severe damage to human cells too. But nothing gets done. How could that possibly be? Maybe its time to read the above paragraph again ...

Read Graves' very good in-depth report for more about the world's favorite weed-killer.

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More on Monsanto
Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Comes Under Fire: EPA Reviews for Safety and Boulder Discontinues Use
One Year After Ontario Ban: Over 80% Decline of Most Common Pesticides in Surface Waters

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