According to a new report entitled “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?”, Roundup, the world’s top selling herbicide causes birth defects in animals and U.S. industry regulators knew as early as 1980. Glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, is what causes the defects. The European Commission has known about the dangers of glyphosate since at least 2002, but neither U.S. nor European regulators warned the public.
Regulators actually misled the public about glyphosate’s safety. 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 glyphosate causes birth defects.
Researchers found that genetically-modified crops used in conjunction with Roundup contain a pathogen that may cause animal miscarriages. After studying the newly discovered organism back in February, Don Huber, a emeritus professor at Purdue University, wrote a to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to request a moratorium on deregulating crops genetically altered to be immune to Roundup, which are commonly called Roundup Ready crops.
In the 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.”
Although glyphosate was originally due to be reviewed in 2012, the Commission decided late last year to delay it until 2015. 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.”
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