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With recent international studies taking place, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in California intends to label glyphosate as carcinogenic, along with a few other ingredients the Biotech giant, Monsanto, uses to aid in the production of U.S. agriculture. For those who insist genetically modified organisms, better known as GMOs, are risky for the American diet, here are more claims to consider.
For years, protesters who were against the multi-national corporation complained about the procedure of using genetically modified seedlings to gain maximum yields of crops, such as that of corn, soybean, and cotton. Not only that, many protestors were also against the use of a repellent by Monsanto called Roundup, which was used on various agricultural crops to repel insects and certain types of weeds and plants.
Tyler Jones of Newsweek reported that the Center of Food Safety had stated there is an alleged direct connection associated with Roundup and a “drastic 90-percent drop” in monarch butterfly population that has been occurring in the U.S. Considering such a statement must have merit it is wise to look at further evidence which might confirm glyphosate and other Monsanto products may mostly likely be harmful to both environment and human health.
According to Jones, other chemicals, such as “tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, and malathion,” are also part of a list of Monsanto products which may inevitably be linked to cancer. In a peer-reviewed journal called, The Lancelot, various experts of 11 countries had also concluded these types of chemicals could be carcinogenic towards humans, but that the overall effect continues to remain sparse. The effect on laboratory animals, such as mice and rats, show signs of cancerous tumors, as well as various types of cancer.
If one takes a look at the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) website, they can find each chemical’s class, type and property of glyphosate, and other chemicals mentioned, as well as information on the effect on plant growth. Not only that, the information shows toxicity effects reported on laboratory animals as well.
The NPIC Technical Fact Sheet on glyphosate states:
Plants exposed to glyphosate display stunted growth, loss of green coloration, leaf wrinkling or malformation, and tissue death. Death of the plant may take from 4 to 20 days to occur.
Although the NPIC states that the U.S. EPA continues to classify glyphosate in Group E, meaning it is most likely non-carcinogenic to humans, it is wise to note that the included footnotes referenced unpublished reports which were formerly submitted by the Monsanto Company, even though the NPIC page was updated June 2015.
Though the NPIC continues to state that absorption by humans appears to be small and dependent on the kind of contact used, it also stated that 60 percent of farmers who had been tested showed signs of glyphosate consumption in various amounts. The mean consumption was at three parts-per-billion (ppb) and as high as 233 ppb when it came to evaluating “chronic toxicity.”
Interestingly, however, the NPIC data included a section titled, Signs of Toxicity – Humans, which stated:
In a review of 80 intentional ingestion cases, 79 of which were suicide attempts, researchers identified typical symptoms of erosion of the gastrointestinal tract, dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Seven cases resulted in death.
The EPA, The Lancelot, and NPIC state glyphosate can be found in soil, water, plants, and even in the urine of agricultural workers. Yet, this and other potentially hazardous chemicals continue to be sprayed on both food and non-food crops, leading the California EPA to label glyphosate as possibly being carcinogenic to humans.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy that after numerous studies of testing for toxicity of certain herbicides and biotechnological procedures, such as GMOs, a significant amount of experts continue to remain uncertain on whether these types of procedures have an overall negative effect on human health. Results appear to remain inconclusive, despite studies which also reveal high toxicity levels towards other forms of life, through various kinds of contact.
This may be why millions of people around the world have gathered to protest the use of these chemicals and the negative effects such chemicals pose on the environment, and even health of various mammals, including that of human beings. This may also be why many citizens of the U.S. want mandatory labeling placed on products which are highly exposed to these types of chemicals.
Until there is more conclusive evidence of heavy ill-effects posed on human health from over-exposure, which may possibly be gained over a large period of time and through various forms of contact, glyphosate, and other chemicals will continue to be sprayed on food and non-food crops. Those who consider themselves aware of such possible ill-effects will simply have to continue consuming more natural and organic food and plants, while others will simply have to consider the California EPA’s intent on labeling glyphosate as being carcinogenic toward humans.
By Liz Pimentel
Newsweek: EPA to Start Labelling Monsanto’s Roundup as Being Carcinogenic
The Lancelot: Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate
NPIC: Glyphosate – Technical Sheet Fact
EPA: National Primary Drinking Water Regulations
Photo Courtesy of Jason Johnson, NRCS’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License