In March 2015, the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in the world’s number one herbicide, Roundup, is a “probable carcinogen”. How has the world responded?
Even prior to the World Health Organization’s Group 2A classification, many countries were already on the road to eliminating the use of glyphosate. Here is a partial list of nations seeking to reduce or eliminate the use of glyphosate. (Click on the name of the country for more information.)
10 countries act against glyphosate
1. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena announced in May 2015 that it will halt the import of glyphosate noting the increasing number of chronic kidney disease (CKDu) patients in Sri Lanka.
2. El Salvador
In 2013, El Salvador blazed the trail by becoming the first country to ban glyphosate, also citing the rise of the deadly kidney disease (CKDu).
The Dutch Parliament took action in 2014, banning the sale of glyphosate to private parties citing a link to cancer, infertility, birth defects, nervous system damage, and kidney disease. In response to the WHO reclassification, the Denmark Working Environment Authority declared glyphosate to be a carcinogen.
Brazil’s public prosecutor has asked Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) to re-evaluate their stance on glyphosate.
More than 30,000 doctors are requesting a ban on glyphosate. A statement issued by the Federation of Health Professionals of Argentina (FESPROSA) states:
“Each year, the soil is sprayed with more than 320 million liters, which means that 13 million people are at risk of being affected . . ”
In 2014, France adopted a decree halting the sowing of Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON810 maize, the sole GMO crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union.
On May 8, 2015, Germany’s state ministers called for a ban on household use of glyphosate. According to the chairman of the Consumer Protection Minister Conference:
“This pesticide should not be found in gardens, parks or on children’s playgrounds. I also do not think use in private gardens is appropriate.”
Glyphosate has been used for decades in Colombia as part of a US-sponsored crop-spraying anti-narcotics program. Colombia has decided to halt the campaign citing adverse health impacts on Colombian residents.
The Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) submitted more than 24,000 signatures calling on the Colombian president and the National Narcotics Council to suspend the aerial spraying of illicit crops with glyphosate just prior to the decision.
In 2011, Peru declared a ten-year moratorium on GMOs, preventing “the import of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) on the national territory for cultivation, breeding or of any transgenic production.”
In December of 2014, the The Mexican Chapter of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal called on the Mexican government to“adopt all necessary measures to ensure the conservation of peasant maize as the main food source and as a vital element of the social structure and cohesion.”
Other notable actions
While not an official move by the government, two major Swiss supermarkets have removed all glyphosate products from store shelves in May of 2105, citing health risks.
More than 400 scientists and 600 non-scientists from 58 countries have signed a manifesto calling for a ban on glyphosate spraying. (See the Independent Scientists Manifesto on Glyphosate.)
What about the United States?
What action, if any is the U.S. government taking in response to the news that glyphosate is now officially a WHO Group 2A carcinogen?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as agreed to review the latest news, but still maintains its 2013 position that glyphosate is noncarcinogenic:
” No evidence of carcinogenicity was found in mice or rats. In a chronic toxicity study in dogs, no systemic effects were found in all examined parameters.” (Excerpted from the Federal Register.)
Monsanto meanwhile has demanded a retraction from the World Health Organization.
Where does that leave you and me? I, for one, am not going to wait for the US government to tell me that glyphosate is potentially harmful. I’m going to continue to avoid all genetically modified foods, drink clean water and seek natural solutions for weed control.
How about you?
For more, see the previous posts: