According to a report released on June 7th, industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world’s best-selling herbicide produced by U.S. company Monsanto, causes birth defects. The report, “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” found regulators knew as far back as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals. But despite such warnings, and although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public.
The “Report” indicates that regulators also misled the public about glyphosate’s safety. As recently as last year, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the German government body dealing with the glyphosate review, told the European Commission that there was no evidence glyphosate causes birth defects. The report comes months after researchers found that genetically-modified crops used in conjunction with Roundup contain a pathogen that may cause animal miscarriages.
After observing the newly-discovered organism back in February, Don Huber, an emeritus professor at Purdue University, wrote an open letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting a moratorium on deregulating crops genetically altered to be immune to Roundup, which are commonly called Roundup Ready crops. In the letter, Huber also commented on the herbicide itself, saying:
• “It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases;”
• “it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients;” and
• “it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.”
Although glyphosate was originally due to be reviewed in 2012, the Commission decided late last year not to bring the review forward. Instead, it was delayed until 2015. The chemical will not be reviewed under more stringent, up-to-date standards until 2030. The report authors concluded:
Our examination of the evidence leads us to the conclusion that the current approval of glyphosate and Roundup is deeply flawed and unreliable.
What is more, we have learned from experts familiar with pesticide assessments and approvals that the case of glyphosate is not unusual. They say that the approvals of numerous pesticides rest on data and risk assessments that are just as scientifically flawed, if not more so. This is all the more reason why the Commission must urgently review glyphosate and other pesticides according to the most rigorous and up-to-date standards.
Source: Huffington Post
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