Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup herbicide, is the foundation for 80% of GM crops grown in the world. These GM crops, which include corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and alfalfa, are genetically engineered to work with glyphosate. About 200 million pounds of glyphosate/Roundup are sprayed each year in the US on these and other crops.
US farmers are spraying so much glyphosate that the US Geological Survey has found traces of it in rain, stream, and air samples in the Midwest.
A recent announcement by the World Health Organization has exposed the underlying toxicity of GMO agriculture. A group of scientists at the agency’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.”
GMO supporters have claimed that glyphosate is safe. They say that it degrades in the soil, is less toxic than other herbicides, and doesn’t present risks to humans. Some say it is so safe that you can drink it. (Former Greenpeace member, now GMO supporter Patrick Moore claimed this in a recent interview, but when offered a drink of glyphosate, Moore declined, saying: “I’m not stupid.”)
But the IARC’s report has popped that hot air balloon of safety claims.
In recent years, a growing body of published research has documented the negative health and environmental impacts of glyphosate. It has been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, causes irreversible damage to DNA in human cells, damages sperm in rats, increases deadly kidney disease risk, and creates malformations in tadpoles. It is also an endocrine disruptor, and a leading cause for the collapse of monarch butterfly populations. The list goes on.
Recent testing by consumer groups and scientists have found traces of glyphosate in food products, honey, and mothers’ breast milk.
Incredibly the US Department of Agriculture, which tests many foods for residues of different pesticides, doesn’t test for glyphosate residues.
Glyphosate’s carcinogenic status raises greater alarms about the safety of GMO agriculture and foods and adds greater urgency to the need to label such foods.
Glyphosate is up for review this year by the EPA. It’s time the EPA recognized glyphosate’s hazards as the WHO has and for the FDA to require GMO labeling.
Ken Roseboro is editor of The Organic & Non-GMO Report, www.non-gmoreport.com.