Glyphosate Linked to Yet Another Deadly Disease—But The EPA Wants to RAISE the Limit?
Over the last few years, evidence has been mounting that the chemical glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide developed by Monsanto in 1970 and the most widely used herbicide today, may be a serious danger to human health.A recent study has specifically identified glyphosate as a potential endocrine disruptor, which may induce cancer cell growth and induce breast cancer (more on that later). Yet, despite these alarming findings, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to raise the allowances of glyphosate in pesticides in coming days. How is that possible, you ask? Let’s follow the money.
The Story of Glyphosate
Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide worldwide, and is particularly prominent in genetically engineered agriculture. It is the key ingredient in many pesticides, including Monsanto’s Roundup brand products, which are widely used throughout the United States.
While glyphosphate has been on the market since 1970, Monsanto’s patent expired in 2000, making glyphosphate available for use in other brands. But this didn’t really stir Monsanto’s agricultural monopoly, as by then they had already introduced patent-protected glyphosate-resistant crops, enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops—essentially the glyphosate-resistant crops allowed farmers to INCREASE their use of pesticides without harming their plants. Mind you, though, the plants still absorb the additional applications and stronger concentrations of glyphosphate, and it’s still sold to the public for consumption.
The Evidence Against Glyphosate
Despite its widespread use, gyphosate has been subject to a number of health-based concerns.
Past studies have indicated that the chemical inhibits the growth of beneficial stomach bacteria, consequently leading to an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. Furthermore, studies have uncovered potential links between glyphosate and a number of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, autism, obesity, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The chemical constantly finds its way into livestock, such as cattle and poultry, which feed on crops that have been treated with glyphosate.
New Evidence Against Glyphosate
On top of this vast past evidence, a breaking study published earlier this month indicates that Glyphosate may induce the growth of human breast cancer cells via estrogen receptors. The study, titled “Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors,” revealed a dangerous relationship between glyphosate and cancer cell growth. Specifically, glyphosate induced the activation of estrogen response element (ERE) transcription activity, and was found to alter both ERα and β expression. The study went on to nullify a possible defense of herbicide producers, stating that the findings applied to “low and environmentally relevant concentrations.”
Additionally, from an environmental standpoint, glyphosphate is failing us. One investigation recently found that, compared to Europe, where GMO crops are banned in most countries, the biotechnologies used in America’s staple crop production are lowering crop yields and increasing pesticide use.
Yet the EPA Plans to Raise Glyphosate Allowances
Given the checkered history of glyphosate, the fact that the EPA plans to approve higher allowable limits of the pesticide residue is very alarming. And the fact that this relaxation of EPA regulations may be the result of prompting from Monsanto is, if I may editorialize, downright infuriating.
In May of this year, the EPA announced a final ruling to (again) increase the allowed residue limits of glyphosate in food and animal feed, with a final ruling slated for July 1.
Though the EPA’s final ruling may seem to be a foregone conclusion, there is precedence to the contrary. At times in the past, a strong public outcry against such rulings has been enough to prompt the EPA to revisit, and even reverse, their rulings. We currently have an opportunity to protest against Monsanto, Roundup, and the ever-increasing danger from glyphosate.
All who are opposed to the impending raising of allowable glyphosate levels should voice their opinion. To do so, head over to leave your comments to the EPA!
Derek is a technical writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the health care field, having first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware. He is a contributing author on a number of textbooks in the medical field, ran a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and has written a variety of other pieces from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal interest in health and wellness by playing multiple sports and running marathons. An insatiable traveler, he spent 16 months working and living abroad while traveling through South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
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Article updated on: June 28th, 2013