The World Has Changed, But Monsanto’s Glyphosate Remains

April 18, 2024 |

The World Has Changed, But Monsanto’s Glyphosate Remains

August 2, 2023  |  by Alexis Baden-Mayer
Organic Consumers Association

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer acknowledged the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. This made lawsuits on behalf of Roundup exposed cancer victims possible and resulted in billion-dollar jury awards. 

Shamefully, the IARC decision didn’t influence the Environmental Protection Agency, but Bayer (which now owns Monsanto) said that, to limit liability, by 2023 it would stop selling glyphosate-based herbicides to consumers, limiting sales to farmers and pesticide professionals.

It’s 2023. Did Bayer keep its promise?

No it did not. Bayer is still selling Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide directly to consumers for home use.

What happened?

Bayer never took glyphosate-based Roundup herbicides off the shelves, it just began offering glyphosate-free versions.

Replacement versions of Roundup™ products are also toxic, as Beyond Pesticides writes in letters to Home Depot and Lowe’s. “Roundup® Dual Action, for example, contains the following active ingredients: triethylamine salt of triclopyr, fluazipop-P-butyl, diquat dibromide, and ammonium salt of imazapic—ingredients that are reproductive and developmental toxicants, sensitizers, and toxic to aquatic and other organisms.”

Triclopyr is especially concerning. Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides offers this consumer warning

“In laboratory tests, triclopyr caused an increase in the incidence of breast cancer as well as an increase in a type of genetic damage called dominant lethal mutations. Triclopyr also is damaging to kidneys and has caused a variety of reproductive problems.”

Diquat dibromide is implicated in Parkinson’s disease and mass deaths of bald eagles.

To see glyphosate replaced with similarly toxic pesticides is incredibly disappointing, but it is infuriating to see glyphosate-based herbicides continue to be sold to consumers, too!

At Roundup.com, Bayer continues to sell its glyphosate-based herbicide, even though everyone knows it causes cancer. Home Depot, Lowe’s and other lawn and garden stores still sell it, too.

What can be done?

In addition to the lawsuits on behalf of Roundup-exposed cancer victims, there are other promising legal avenues being pursued.

The Center for Food Safety has successfully challenged the Trump Administration’s January 2020 “interim registration review” of glyphosate.

In 2022, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with CFS that the EPA had unlawfully concluded there is no cancer risk from glyphosate, coming to “no conclusion” as to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the most well-known cancer linked to glyphosate.

As the record in the case showed, EPA’s own Office of Research and Development concluded that glyphosate is a likely carcinogen that increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Appeal’s Court decision requires EPA to reanalyze its support for the continued use of glyphosate. The Center for Food Safety summarized the ruling, writing:

“The court concluded that EPA flouted its own Cancer Guidelines and ignored the criticisms of its own experts. EPA’s ‘not likely to cause cancer’ conclusion was inconsistent with the evidence before it, in the form of both epidemiological studies (real-world cancer cases) and lab animal studies. In addition to its lack of conclusion as to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk (the cancer most tied to glyphosate), the court also concluded that EPA’s general ‘no cancer’ decision was divorced from its own Guidelines and experts when EPA selectively discounted evidence that glyphosate causes tumors in animals. At various points the Court criticized EPA’s ‘disregard of tumor results;’ its use of ‘bare assertions’ that ‘fail[] to account coherently for the evidence;’ making conclusions that do not ‘withstand[] scrutiny under the agency’s own framework,’ and ‘fail[ing] to abide by’ its cancer guidelines. In sum the court noted EPA’s ‘inconsistent reasoning’ made its decision on cancer ‘arbitrary,’ and struck it down.”

The court required the EPA to redo its glyphosate determination by October 2022. EPA missed the deadline and has yet to comply with the court order.

What about legislation?

Shockingly, no one has ever introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress to ban glyphosate, but many states have considered such legislation and hundreds of localities have enacted bans.

We’ve got our work cut out for us. 

Four out of five people in the US are contaminated with glyphosate, primarily because of glyphosate residues in our food, as demonstrated by testing conducted by the Detox Project, Moms Across America and the Environmental Working Group.

Cancer is just one risk of glyphosate contamination. 

Recent research from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health shows that childhood exposure to glyphosate is linked to liver inflammation and metabolic disorder in early adulthood, which could lead to liver cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Glyphosate was found in 99 percent of pregnant Midwestern women tested by the Indiana University School of Medicine between 2013 and 2016. Higher maternal glyphosate levels in the first trimester were associated with lower birth weights and higher NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) admissions.

The good news is that glyphosate isn’t a forever chemical and it can be removed from the body.

Glyphosate drops 70 percent after six days on an organic diet.

Always eat organic to avoid glyphosate and reduce farmers and farm workers’ exposure. 

And, contact your state legislators to let them know how important it is to get glyphosate out of agriculture and lawn care.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Your State Legislators to Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Weedkiller!

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