From Dr. Mercola:
By Dr. Mercola
In late March, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), published their assessment1,2,3 of the carcinogenicity of a number of organophosphate pesticides, including glyphosate.
Glyphosate was determined to be a “probable carcinogen” (Class 2A), based on “limited evidence” showing that the popular weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” it can also cause cancer in animals.
Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations have also been shown to induce DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, as well as human and animal cells in vitro.
It’s worth noting that while recent years have turned up studies raising serious questions about the safety of glyphosate, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised the allowable limits for glyphosate in food in 2013. And, as reported by the Institute for Science in Society:4
“The amount of allowable glyphosate in oilseed crops (except for canola and soy) went up from 20 ppm to 40 ppm, 100 000 times the amount needed to induce breast cancer cells.” [Emphasis mine]
Root and tuber vegetables (with the exception of sugar) got one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. Meanwhile, malformations in frog and chicken embryos have been documented at 2.03 ppm of glyphosate.5
Glyphosate-Contaminated Foods May Eventually Carry Cancer Warning in CA
IARC is considered the global gold standard for carcinogenicity studies, so its determination is of considerable importance.
It may even end up having a significant impact on the sale of genetically engineered (GE) foods, as the IARC is one of the five research agencies from which the OEHHA—the California agency of environmental hazards—gets its reports to declare carcinogens under Prop 65.
What this means is that in a few years’ time, foods containing glyphosate will have to have a Prop 65 Warning label to be sold in California. And since glyphosate cannot be washed off6 once sprayed on a crop, a Prop 65 label would likely have to be applied to most non-organic processed foods.
Faithful to its modus operandi, Monsanto is pursuing a retraction of the IARC’s damning report.7
Canada to ReLabel Roundup
While officially disagreeing with the IARC’s determination, after re-evaluating Roundup in partnership with the US EPA, Health Canada recently announced it will update Roundup’s label directions to reduce human and environmental exposure.
As reported by The Star,8 changes to Roundup’s label will include:
A statement that application should only be done when the potential for drift to residential or populated areas is minimal Agricultural workers will be advised not to enter fields for 12 hours following application An environmental hazard statement will inform users that the product can be toxic to non-targeted species Spray buffer zones will be recommended to protect land and aquatic habitats from unintended exposure Precautionary statements to reduce the potential for run-off of glyphosate into aquatic habitats Roundup Also Promotes Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs
Right on the heels of the IARC’s reclassification of glyphosate as a Class 2 A carcinogen, another breakthrough study9,10,11 ties Monsanto’s weed killer to the rising scourge of antibiotic resistance.
In this first of its kind study, the researchers found that commonly used herbicides promote antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics.
This includes Roundup, which was shown to increase the antibiotic-resistance of E. coli and Salmonella. As reported by Rodale News,12 the herbicide causes this effect by turning on a set of genes in the bacterium that just so happens to make it more resistant to antibiotics.
In a nutshell, Roundup “produces tolerance to antibiotics in the bacteria. This genetic switch-on occurs at the typical levels of exposure associated with agricultural and residential application.
It’s worth noting that both E. coli and Salmonella are commonly associated with foodborne illness outbreaks originating in factory farms where animals are typically fed a diet of genetically engineered corn and soy, which tend to be heavily contaminated with glyphosate.
The Growing Plight of Farm Workers Exposed to Toxic Chemicals
Getting back to the issue of toxicity, as many as 20,000 farm workers in the US may be sickened each year as a result of pesticide exposure. More than half are undocumented immigrants, which compounds the problem by the fact that they have no real legal recourse, and usually refuse to speak up for fear of deportation.
Mere handfuls of formal complaints are filed each year, which makes it difficult to track and evaluate the human health impacts of pesticide exposure. As previously reported by Mother Jones:13
“’The system in place to address pesticide exposure is horrible. It’s dysfunctional,’ said Caitlin Berberich, an attorney with Southern Migrant Legal Services, a Nashville nonprofit that provides free legal services to farmworkers in six Southern states…
Some top state regulators agree the full toll of pesticides on farmworkers is not documented. Yet reforms requiring more complete disclosure of pesticide use have been caught up in EPA red tape…
The EPA ‘estimates that 10,000-20,000 physician-diagnosed pesticide poisonings occur each year among the approximately 2 million US agricultural workers,’ federal records show… No one, the EPA included, has a full picture of the problem.
An EPA slideshow report14 in 2006, for instance, opened with a question: How many occupational pesticide incidents are there each year in the United States?
The slide listed multiple possibilities, from 1,300 to 300,000. Each number could be true, the report said—it just depends upon the source… This uncertainty… can carry real consequences.
As its slide noted, the lack of accurate information ‘inhibits clear problem identification.’ Advocates say the dearth of information triggers another problem: It’s hard to hold government and industry accountable when there is no benchmark from which to judge.”
As noted by Think Progress,15 while there’s a shortage of studies showing the effects…