On June 14th, with a team of 8 scientists and a farmer, I met with EPA directors of the Pesticide Division and Review Board. After an hour of scientists presenting challenging scientific information, about a myriad of ways in which glyphosate, the declared active ingredient of Roundup, harms life and the soil, I had an opportunity to ask a question. Although I had many questions to ask I chose to ask a very important one.
"Do you have any long term animal studies on the final formulation of Roundup?"
The director looked at his team and one answered, "Well there are hundreds of formulations."
I was irritated that she was trying to dodge the question.
"On any of them? Do you have long term animal studies on any of the final formulations of Roundup?"
There was an awkward moment.
"Long term animal studies on the final formulation? No, not that I know of."
Stunning. Even though I knew, from scientist Anthony Samsel's findings, that they did not have any, it was still stunning to hear them admit it.
"Then, how do you claim that it’s safe?"
I looked at the team incredulously. The tension in the room was thick.
The director stepped in to answer..and to not answer the question. He said, essentially, "We know you have a lot of questions and you have all brought us a lot of information. We are here to listen to your information and review it."
They refused to answer the question, because they couldn’t.
This past week Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyInterior announces expansion of hunting and fishing rights across 2.1 million acres Time to rethink Biden's anti-American energy policies Solar could provide 40 percent of US power generation by 2035, Biden administration says MORE, head of the EPA, also did not answer many questions in a Senatorial Hearing. She was raked over the coals by a slew of Republican Senators for not releasing a committee's findings of glyphosate shown to "not likely to be a carcinogen." The hearing was called EPA Hearing: Ensuring Sound Science.
Meanwhile there is no sound science, showing safety, being considered by the EPA on the final formulation of Roundup. They don't have any. All they have are studies on the one declared "active chemical ingredient,” glyphosate. The problem with this is that the adjuvants, or other chemicals in the products have been shown to make the final formulation of Roundup 1,000 times more toxic. How toxic are the final formulations of the products as they sit on your garden shed shelf or in the farmer's sprayers as they spray them on our food?
The policy of the EPA to test only one declared active ingredient is more than a major flaw of the system. It is a systematic deception on the entire American public which warrants prison time. To allow manufacturers to put products on store shelves with the perception of safety is no less than a Snake Oil Salesman slapping a label on a rat poison and declaring it a Cure-All. Except that we can't chase the EPA out of town because our loved ones are getting sick. We can demand change, however and vote the Senators out of office who pressure the EPA to continue to poison us. Mothers and citizens across the country are fed up with the toxins in our food and in our communities making us sick. We need the EPA to do their job. We need the Senators to remember that we also vote.
The hearing last week was an obvious attempt to bully the EPA into approving glyphosate and pander to chemical corporations. Many people are upset with the EPA for not doing their job. The problem is that the chemical companies and Senators are confused as to what the job of the EPA is. It is not, as one EPA staffer said to me, "to approve chemicals." No, their job is to protect the American people and environment. If the actions they need to take infringe upon the profits of the chemical corporations, then the chemical companies need to be more innovative.
Kodak had the technology for digital cameras for 20 years and they sat on it...putting themselves eventually out of business. It is the chemical companies’ choice to lose profits.
Business, like the deception of the Snake Oil Salesman, should never take priority over the health of the people.
It's time for the EPA to do their job and change their policy to require long term, independent studies of the final formulation. It is time for the toxic chemical companies to change direction. And it is time for Senators to protect their constituents or be voted out of office.
Zen Honeycutt is founder of Moms Across America.
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