California has just dealt a blow to Monsanto as the state’s Environmental Protection Agency has decided to list glyphosate, the highly toxic main ingredient used in Roundup, as a known carcinogenic.
It’s noteworthy to point out that a study by Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) found that Roundup herbicide, which is meant to kill farm weeds, “poses the risk of serious human health hazards including cancer” way back in Nov. 2013. The study was authored by research scientists Jasmine George and Yogeshwer Shukla, who pointed out on tumor-promoting potential of glyphosate, the active ingredient of Roundup herbicide. This was widely reported in the media especially by The Hindu.
What is Round-up? Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. It was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970. Roundup is used on crops all over the world, especially Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready varieties – genetically engineered to accept large doses of Roundup to allow blanket application with harm to the crops.
The decision of California to list glyphosate on the toxic chemicals list is the first of its kind. California state’s Environmental Protection Agency observed that “Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the U.S.A., Canada, and Sweden reported increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustments to other pesticides.” It said that Under Proposition 65 – Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, the state is required to list and publish chemicals that cause birth defects, cancer, or other reproductive harm. If a chemical is found to be carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), they are required to be listed as well.The IARC released a report, in March, that states glyphosate to be a ‘probably carcinogen.’ The report shows that the herbicide has been found to cause cancer in lab animals as well.
“As far as I’m aware, this is the first regulatory agency within the U.S. to determine that glyphosate is a carcinogen. So this is a very big deal,” Dr. Nathan Donley of the Center for Biological Diversity said.
California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) filed its ‘notice of intent to list’ glyphosate to be a known cancer agent.
Monsanto was baffled from this decision to place glyphosate on the state’s list of close to 800 toxic chemicals. Charla Lord, spokesperson for the massive company, told Agri-Pulse that “glyphosate is an effective and valuable tool for farmers and other users, including many in the state of California. During the upcoming comment period, we will provide detailed scientific information to OEHHA about the safety of glyphosate and work to ensure that any potential listing will not affect glyphosate use or sales in California.”
WHO released its report naming glyphosate carcinogenic, it took less than a week for Monsanto to call for a retraction. The Biotech giant still claims that Roundup is safe when used as directed.
California seems to be leading the charge against Monsanto within the states, it shouldn’t take long for other states to join in the fight.
IndianBureaucracy.com hopes that decision makers and stake holders will bear in mind that they are the custodians of the Health of the Nation and that Cancer is the second most common disease in India with about 0.3 million deaths every year. All types of cancers have been reported in Indian population including the cancers of skin, lungs, breast, rectum, stomach, prostate, liver, cervix, esophagus, bladder, blood, mouth etc. We hope that Indian Govt. and Indian Bureaucracy especially will take an informed decision way over and beyond the lure of quick fixes.