Energy & Environment

Monsanto and the EPA have been lying to us for years about Roundup

Yesterday’s groundbreaking news of a new lawsuit regarding Monsanto’s collusion, cover ups, and corruption inside the EPA is a part of a long string of unraveling safety claims.  

Decades of faulty chemical review procedures are beginning to be overturned. Last week, after years of asking, I received an email from the EPA confirming that the National Toxicology Program is currently reviewing glyphosate and glyphosate formulations.  

{mosads}This is incredibly welcome news because it has long been the EPA’s policy to only require long term safety studies on the one declared “active” chemical, for approval, not on the final formulation. This means that any claims that the final formulation of Roundup and other pesticides, are safe, are unfounded.

The current approval process is similar to the FDA saying that a cookie is safe for a child to eat based on assessing the safety of just one ingredient, like vanilla in the cookie, regardless of the contents or safety of all the other ingredients, which could be fatal food allergies. 

Obviously the assessing of only one chemical in a chemical product is a faulty system, as even third grade science shows that when one chemical is added to another chemical, the effects are completely different.

The significance of this response from the EPA, that they and the NTP are finally looking into the full formulation of a chemical product rather than just one ingredient, is enormous.

80 percent of genetically modified foods are engineered to withstand Roundup or glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) in the USA. Non organic crops are also sprayed with GBH as a drying agent, making it the most widely used herbicide in the world.

The implications of this final formulation review and the possibility of the EPA pulling the license for glyphosate and Roundup could be the beginning of the end of Monsanto. Over 76.7 percent of Monsanto sales comes from genetically modified seeds and 23.3 percent comes from herbicides, the leading seller being Roundup brands.

In 2015, Monsanto made nearly $4.76 billion in sales of Roundup. Currently, 300 million pounds of glyphosate are applied each year to American farms.

In a meeting I attended with a panel of scientists and consumer groups last year, the EPA Pesticide Review Board admitted to me that they didn’t have a single long term study of the final formulation of Roundup. “Then how can you claim that it is safe?” I asked…and they refused to answer.

Because they couldn’t.

So, how did it come to an actual review of the final formulation of glyphosate-based herbicides? One can only speculate that massive public pressure from mothers and activists with sick family members, along with alarming results of scientific and citizen-funded glyphosate testing in food have made a difference. Additionally, several European countries have either banned or voted against the renewal of glyphosate-based herbicides.

Just this January, Anne Temple and I attended the Monsanto shareholder meeting. Two years ago there were around 1,200 people in attendance, but this year there might have been 60. Anne asked a question that was brought to our attention by Carey Gillam of US Right to Know. She asked: 

“The EPA said in September that it wants the National Toxicology Program to research the toxicity of the complete formulated product, not just the active ingredient. We are not aware of Monsanto or Bayer going on the record yet about this, though CropLife and Syngenta recently have.

If Roundup is so safe, why not evaluate the whole formulated product and present the information to the public? Does Monsanto support this effort, or will it try to block such research?”

In the meeting, the CEO of Monsanto, Hugh Grant’s response was to claim that “numerous regulatory agencies have assessed glyphosate and all of them have found glyphosate to be safe.” 

Although this statement is debatable all on it’s own, notice, that he did not say glyphosate-based herbicides. Also note that glyphosate is never used alone. “Safe” has a different meaning in the world of chemical companies as well. In general, chemical companies can claim “safe” equals “not toxic,” meaning it won’t kill a human in 96 hours.

However, the other formulants in Roundup and 750 other generic glyphosate based herbicides, have been found to be 1000X more toxic.

Regardless of Monsanto’s definition of safe, hundreds of studies have recently shown a wide variety of harm from glyphosate-based herbicides, including neurotoxicity, liver disease, thyroid disorders, endocrine disruption, birth defects, testes and sperm damage, growth of breast cancer cells, increased non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the destruction of gut bacteria which leads to numerous autoimmune diseases and autism symptoms, and more.

It should be noted that the EPA staffer refuted the statement that the EPA requested the National Toxicology Program to review the final formulations of glyphosate-based herbicides. I wonder why the EPA would not initiate such a study.

With Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides in the hot seat of the National Toxicology Program, one can only hope the truth about the final formulations will be acknowledged by our regulatory agencies and glyphosate-based herbicides and toxic chemicals will be removed from the market.

President Trump’s recent announcement to cut the EPA budget means that getting a swift answer regarding the final formulation review of glyphosate-based herbicides is critical. 

Zen Honeycutt is Founder of Moms Across America, a National Coalition of Unstoppable Moms with the motto “Empowered Moms, Healthy Kids.” Moms Across America has over 400 leaders who have organized over 700 community events in all 50 states. Moms Across America empowers and amplifies the voice of the mom locally and nationally to create healthy communities by raising awareness about GMOs and related pesticides in our food. 

The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Energy and Environment EPA Monsanto

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