Regulators knew Monsanto’s Roundup causes birth defects

by Amber Cornelio
5 June 2011

I can count the suggestions on two hands from people mowing my Atlanta lawn that I should spray my rockery with a weed-killer, Roundup as that’s the only thing that will stop the dandelions from growing! And those weeds certainly spring up rather quickly with all the rain we get here in Atlanta!

However, a new report was released today that industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world’s best-selling herbicide produced by American company Monsanto, causes birth defects.

The “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” report’s findings are that regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals.

Further to that, the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, but the information was not made public by them either.

Regulators mislead the public about glyphosate’s safety, according to the report. Then as recently as last year, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the German government body dealing with the glyphosate review, told the European Commission that there was no evidence of glyphosate causing birth defects.

Don Huber, an emeritus professor at Purdue University, wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting a moratorium to deregulate crops genetically altered to be immune to Roundup, which are commonly called Roundup Ready crops.

In his letter, Huber also commented on the herbicide itself, saying, “It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.”

More shockingly, glyphosate was originally due to be reviewed in 2012, but the Commission decided late 2010 not to bring the review forward, instead delaying it until 2015.

Moreover, the chemical will not be reviewed under more stringent, up-to-date standards until 2030.

“Our examination of the evidence leads us to the conclusion that the current approval of glyphosate and Roundup is deeply flawed and unreliable,” wrote the report authors in their conclusion. “What is more, we have learned from experts familiar with pesticide assessments and approvals that the case of glyphosate is not unusual.

“They say that the approvals of numerous pesticides rest on data and risk assessments that are just as scientifically flawed, if not more so,” the authors added. “This is all the more reason why the Commission must urgently review glyphosate and other pesticides according to the most rigorous and up-to-date standards.”

Just doing my bit here, to make sure that we in Atlanta are well informed of the harm caused by Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate!