European Glyphosate Safety Report Copy-Pasted Monsanto Study

GR: We need more regulator regulators. Regulatory government agencies are often so close to the businesses they regulate that they achieve very little control over business behavior. And that’s here, there, and everywhere. Humans are a greedy bunch. But how dull philosophy and literature were it not so. Here’s a perfect example of poor regulatory behavior:

“Two years ago, the debate over glyphosate’s link to cancer took a surprising turn when the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) infamously rejected the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s March 2015 classification of the weedkiller as a possible carcinogen.

“However, new reporting from the Guardian reveals that the European agency’s recommendation that the chemical is safe for public use was based on an EU report that directly lifted large sections of text from a study conducted by Monsanto, the manufacturer of glyphosate-based Roundup.

“The particular sections cover some of the biggest questions about glyphosate’s supposed health risks, including its links to genotoxicity, carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity.

“The revelation comes as the European Union debates whether it should extend its licensing of the world’s most popular herbicide. As it happens, the EFSA provides scientific advice to the EU and plays a key role in the authorization of thousands of products that end up in Europe’s food chain, including genetically modified organisms, pesticides, food additives and nanotech products, according to Corporate Europe Observatory, a non-profit watchdog group.

“The Guardian reports that dozens of pages from of the 4,300-page renewal assessment report (RAR) published in 2015 “are identical to passages in an application submitted by Monsanto on behalf of the Glyphosate Task Force (GTF), an industry body led by the company.” –Lorraine Chow (Continue reading: European Glyphosate Safety Report Copy-Pasted Monsanto Study.)

Did Monsanto Write Malawi’s Seed Policy?

GR:  Monsanto did. The company’s unscrupulous efforts to increase profits are harmful to humans and nature. This story may raise your blood pressure a bit. Such stories of corporate and government greed and corruption have driven some environmentalists to begin predicting human extinction.

“In late July, a short article was published in a Malawian newspaper: Press Release on Organization of Seed Fairs. Issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development, in conjunction with the Seed Traders Association of Malawi, the short statement advised the public that “only quality certified seed suppliers registered with government to produce and/or market seed should be allowed to display seed at such events.” The release was signed by Bright Kumwembe for the Agriculture Ministry.

“I received this news in the U.S. as I prepared a research trip to Malawi, and I was shocked. Malawi is in the final stages of a multi-year effort to reform its seed policy and laws, and the largest point of contention at this point is the failure of the draft policy to recognize and protect so-called “farmers’ rights” to save, exchange and sell the seeds they grow on their farms.

“Remarkably, the policy seeks to define the word “seed” as applying only to certified seed from commercial companies. Farm-saved seed is referred to in the policy as just “grain,” unworthy even of the word seed.

“Some 80 percent of the crops grown in Malawi come from farm-saved seeds, and many of those seeds are displayed, exchanged and sold at local seed fairs. These are often community events organized by local non-governmental organizations or district agriculture offices to promote seed improvement. Farmers show their most successful varieties, sometimes alongside seed from commercial companies that have bred, patented and produced “improved” varieties that are then certified by the government for quality.

“What this press release implied, in no uncertain terms, was that henceforth farmers would not be allowed to display their seeds. The formal and informal seed sectors have coexisted for decades. Why was the Malawian government, embroiled in a controversy over a still-unfinished seed policy, threatening to ban farm-saved seed from the market?” –Food Tank (Continue: Did Monsanto Write Malawi’s Seed Policy?)

Ask your Governor to Stop Monsanto’s Deceptive Marketing

GR: Here’s an opportunity for you to oppose the spread of Monsanto’s dangerous herbicide RoundUp.

“Tell your Governor to stop Monsanto from making false and deceptive claims about glyphosate (Roundup) –a pesticide that hurts workers. Because of its wide use by workers in parks, along utility and railroad rights-of-way, and on farms, use of Monsanto’s glyphosate results in more exposure than any other pesticide. Monsanto has developed and continues to grow its market for this product with false claims of the safety of the toxic chemical. Glyphosate is listed as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (of the World Health Organization) and disrupts a pathway in humans necessary for healthy functioning of the gut microbiome. Meanwhile, Monsanto actively advertises and promotes its Roundup products as targeting an enzyme “found in plants but not in people or pets.”

“Although EPA considers glyphosate to be “of relatively low oral and dermal acute toxicity,” symptoms workers could experience following exposure to glyphosate formulations include: swollen eyes, face, and joints; facial numbness; burning and/or itching skin; blisters; rapid heart rate; elevated blood pressure; chest pains, congestion; coughing; headache; and nausea.

“The additional ingredients in Roundup can be more toxic than glyphosate alone, resulting in a number of chronic, developmental, and endocrine-disrupting effects. The “inert” (non-disclosed) ingredients in Roundup formulations kill human cells at very low concentrations. At least some glyphosate-based products are genotoxic.

“Because glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway, crucial for manufacturing aromatic amino acids in plants but not animals, Monsanto claims that it does not harm humans. However, many beneficial bacteria use the shikimate pathway, and glyphosate, in fact, is a patented antibiotic. Glyphosate destroys bacteria in the human gut and, therefore, is a major contributor to disease. Disturbing the microbiota can contribute to a whole host of “21st century diseases,” including diabetes, obesity, food allergies, heart disease, antibiotic-resistant infections, cancer, asthma, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. The rise in these same diseases is tightly correlated with the use of glyphosate herbicides, and glyphosate exposure can result in the inflammation that is at the root of these diseases. Glyphosate appears to have more negative impacts on beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to flourish and enhancing antibiotic resistance.

“Although consumers are at risk from Monsanto’s glyphosate products, the workers who apply it and work in fields and parks, and along rights-of-way where it is used are at greatest risk.

“There is precedent for states acting on false claims by manufacturers. Massachusetts sued Bayer for false and deceptive claims on the label for its neonicotinoid products that harm bees. Every state can seek to protect against a false and deceptive claim under consumer protection and truth-in-advertising law.

“Please use the Beyond Pesticides links and letter to urge your Governor to act on false claims by Monsanto” –Beyond Pesticides (Sign me up! — Beyond Pesticides)

Monsanto Calls for Investigation Into WHO Agency for Ignoring Monsanto-Funded Studies

GR: Here’s an example of a common industry ploy to discredit science using paid researchers. Monsanto knows Roundup causes cancer and endangers wildlife, but they don’t care. They use any means possible to continue selling their dangerous products. The tobacco industry tried and eventually failed to do this. The fossil-fuel industry has been doing this for more than 40 years.

Herbicides seem to offer a final solution for the human war on weeds. However, we shouldn’t be using poisons to control weeds; we should be using mechanical techniques, biological controls, and better weed management strategies.

“The agrochemical and seed giant Monsanto, one of the world’s most controversial corporations, is attempting to take down a World Health Organization (WHO) agency that in 2015 linked the Monsanto product glyphosate to an increased risk of cancer in humans. That year, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that the widely used herbicide is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

“The decision was a major blow to Monsanto as its most popular product, Roundup, is glyphosate-based. Following the IARC’s decision, the European Union began to consider banning the product altogether, potentially depriving Monsanto of a significant stream of revenue. Monsanto, which is seeking the EU’s renewal of the chemical’s license for the next 10 years, is now also fighting a high-profile court case attempting to bring IARC’s 2015 decision—as well as the agency itself—under scrutiny.

“Central to Monsanto’s case is its argument that the IARC failed to consider two studies that found glyphosate to be safe. The first was conducted by the German-based Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), which concluded in 2015 that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.” The second is a study from “independent” German scientist Helmut Greim, who conducted a meta-analysis and found that “glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential is extremely low or non-existent.”

“Monsanto has claimed that IARC’s lack of consideration for these two studies proved that the agency’s findings were an “outlier” in linking glyphosate exposure to cancer. Their failure to include these two studies, according to Monsanto’s vice president of strategy, Scott Partridge, shows that the IARC “was corrupted apparently with individuals who have an agenda” and warrants an external investigation into the workings of the agency and its leadership.

“Partridge told Politico in an interview that “When an organization such as IARC is given authority, with that comes a responsibility … to be objective, transparent, thorough and fair. IARC has violated each and every one of those responsibilities and that should be troubling to anyone who is interested in preserving sound science.”

“Though Monsanto’s reasoning may be considered sound be some, there is clear evidence that the studies that form the base of Monsanto’s legal argument are hardly “sound science” themselves. The first study conducted by BfR, for instance, in drawing conclusions contrary to those of the IARC, relied heavily on unpublished papers provided to its authors by the Glyphosate Task Force—an industry lobbying group, working to relicense the herbicide in the EU, whose website is run by Monsanto UK.

“The meta-analysis conducted by Helmut Greim is little different. According to the declaration of interest found within the study, all of Greim’s co-authors are employed by either the Glyphosate Task Force or Monsanto. Greim himself was funded by Monsanto “as an independent consultant for his expert contributions to this manuscript.” Other work by Greim, including one entirely funded by Monsanto, lists him as having previously served as an independent consultant for Monsanto and for the Glyphosate Task Force.” –MintPress News (Continue reading: Monsanto Calls for Investigation Into WHO Agency for Ignoring Monsanto-Funded Studies.)