Time to Round Up “Roundup”?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (a research arm of the World Health Organization), reported this past week that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is a “probable carcinogen.”  Specifically, the finding links the product to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer.  And while it was not the first time that that connection has been made, it is “one of the strongest indictments of glyphosate”, says the international director for the Organic Consumers Association.  Monsanto responded with a written statement that “all labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health and supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product.”  The manufacturer issued an “urgent request for the WHO to meet with the global glyphosate taskforces and other regulatory agencies to account for the scientific studies used in their analysis and, equally as important, to account for those scientific studies that were disregarded.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not test food for glyphosate residues.  While the EPA raised the allowable  limits of glyphosate residues on fruits and vegetables in 2013, the agency is scheduled to review the chemical this year.  Most genetically modified crops, such as corn and soybeans, are modified to survive applications of Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world.  “The widespread adoption of genetically modified agricultural products has led to an explosion in the use of glyphosate,” says Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Group, which promotes labeling of all such products.  “Consumers have the right to know how their food is grown,” says Cook, “and whether their food dollars are driving up the use of a probable carcinogen.”