The pesticide industry and regulators have repeatedly misled the public with claims that Roundup glyphosate herbicide is safe. As a result, Monsanto's Roundup is used by gardeners and local authorities, in school grounds, and in farmers’ fields. The EOS report showed industry has known that glyphosate causes birth defects since the 1980s and EU regulators have known since the 1990s. But instead of informing the public, industry and regulators have repeatedly claimed that glyphosate and Roundup do not cause birth defects.
Scientific studies show that Glyphosate can cause serious health effects like human birth defects, abnormalities in vital reproductive hormones as well as blood cancer. There is a marked increase in use of this herbicide due to increased use of herbicide tolerant GM crops which is primarily manufactured and marketed by Monsanto.
lyphosate is the active ingredient in many herbicides sold throughout the world. Glyphosate-based herbicides are used widely for weed control because they are non-selective; glyphosate kills all vegetation. Monsanto has also come up with herbicide tolerant GM crops in soya bean, maize and cotton which form the majority of the GM crops grown in USA, Brazil and Argentina, the only 3 countries in the world where GM crops are grown extensively. The company is now trying to introduce herbicide tolerant GM maize in India. Presently GM maize field trials are allowed in 11 locations across 8 states in the country.
Industry and EU regulators knew as long ago as the 1980s-1990s that Roundup, the world's best selling herbicide, causes birth defects but they failed to inform the public. This is the conclusion of our new report, 'Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?', authored by a group of international scientists and researchers.
The report reveals that industry’s own studies (including one commissioned by Monsanto itself) showed as long ago as the 1980s that Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate causes birth defects in laboratory animals. Industry submitted these studies to the European Commission in support of its application for glyphosate’s approval for use in Europe. As the 'rapporteur' member state for glyphosate, liaising between industry and the Commission, Germany took an active role in minimising the problems with glyphosate and must shoulder a chunk of the responsibility for allowing it onto the market.
The facts are these:
• Industry (including Monsanto) has known from its own studies since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses
• Industry has known since 1993 that these effects also occur at lower and mid doses
• The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations
• The EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations
• The EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year it signed off on the current approval of glyphosate
But this information was not made public. On the contrary, the pesticide industry and Europe’s regulators have jointly misled the public with claims that glyphosate is safe. As a result, Roundup is liberally used by home gardeners and local authorities on roadsides, in school grounds, and other public areas, as well as in farmers’ fields.
The latest whitewash attempt by regulators came in the wake of an independent scientific study published last year by Argentine scientists. The study showed that Roundup and glyphosate cause birth defects in frogs and chickens at concentrations much lower than those used in agricultural spraying. The research was prompted by reports of escalating levels of birth defects and cancers in areas of South America where glyphosate is heavily sprayed on genetically modified glyphosate-tolerant crops.