OK, hello new year! I’ve been stagnant in posting while deciding if I should rebrand, given that Glyphosate Girl does not connote the most trustworthy of sources. Particularly the immaturity of the “Girl” portion. Well, actually “Glyphosate” most definitely shouldn’t instill trust, but the general population doesn’t know that yet. For now, I’m sticking with Glyphosate Girl – but would love your input if you think there’s a better name out there.
Over the last few months, I’ve been reading stacks of research written by leading scientists investigating the health risks of glyphosate and Roundup. The research cumulatively unveils the lurking monster that is glyphosate, bearing metaphorical similarities to the creepy bearded man I spotted in an unmarked van in the underground parking lot at Whole Foods last week.
However, after a calming magnesium bath with Billy Joel on Spotify, I’ve opted to focus this entry on the outstanding recent progress in the glyphosate fight made by politicians, scientists and activists in just the last few weeks.
The Benbrook Study
Dr. Charles “Call Me Chuck” Benbrook, the chatty, dynamic and sweater-vested expert witness in the Johnson trial, published a groundbreaking study in Environmental Sciences Europe entitled: How did the US EPA and IARC reach diametrically opposed conclusions on the genotoxicity of glyphosate-based herbicides? This information is so critically needed in the ongoing battle against the deceptive practices of AgChem companies and regulatory agencies.
In the study, Benbrook clearly delineates and analyzes what research was used in the glyphosate and formulated product approval process by both the EPA and IARC. The EPA evaluation is heavy on the industry-provided data – no surprise here, given the level of disappointing cahoots we saw between Monsanto and the EPA revealed in the Johnson trial.
Conclusions from the paper:
- EPA relied mostly on industry provided, unpublished studies, 99% of which were negative for genotoxicity. IARC relied on peer-reviewed studies, 70% of which were positive for genotoxicity
- EPA’s evaluation was largely based on data from studies on pure glyphosate, whereas IARC’s review placed heavy weight on the results of formulated glyphosate-based herbicides and AMPA assays (the stuff that’s sitting in the final spray bottle)
- EPA’s evaluation focused on general population dietary exposures at legal levels, but did not take into account occupational exposures. IARC assessed data from dietary, occupational, and elevated exposure scenarios.
KEYPOINT: This study confirms that the US EPA relied overwhelmingly on industry provided studies in its evaluation of glyphosate safety, and reached an extremely different outcome than IARC.
Discoveries from the European Parliament
As noted last Fall, the EU Parliament has started to suspect trickery in EFSA’s glyphosate regulatory approval assessment. A group of members of the European Parliament (MEP’s) commissioned an investigation into the report that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) provided for EU glyphosate relicensing. The MEP’s study revealed that BfR copied 50.1% of the chapters that assessed published studies on health risks of glyphosate straight from the text of industry applicants. They just used cut-and-paste from Monsanto’s own playbook.
Parliament is alarmed that the pesticide approval procedure has been so extensively manipulated by the chemical industry, and is looking at steps to make the approval process transparent and independent.
In case you are interested, this excellent source article from The Guardian expands into more detail on this topic.
KEYPOINT: This news is critical, because it means that Germany and EFSA did not independently evaluate publicly available research on glyphosate safety, but rather took Monsanto’s word for it.
Well, France gave Roundup the sack yesterday. A court in Lyon ruled that regulators didn’t thoroughly account for safety concerns in approving the use of Roundup. The French safety agency ANSES announced that sale and use of Roundup Pro were banned as of Tuesday, January 14th. More Deets
KEYPOINT: I’d like to move to France.
HOLY cow – Moms Across America reports that Costco will take Roundup off their shelves for the Spring season! Apparently, they don’t want to make a big media thing out of it, so I haven’t seen any press releases.
After the news broke yesterday, I was perusing the Costco website to read the Roundup comments section. I was going to post a few sample excerpts, but I see that they have already pulled the product from their site!
A few of the consumer comments intrigued me, including many complaints that the Roundup has gotten weaker over the years because the weeds are no longer dying despite repeated sprays. At first I thought that they were just witnessing weed resistance. However, on the Home Depot website, there are many similar claims. Most interestingly, a user commented with a compelling hypothesis:
I believe that due to this product causing cancer. The company has made this product weak. Its takes a week for the weeds to die.
KEYPOINT: It could be informative take a sample from the Roundup bottles from the last decade and compare the concentrations. I wouldn’t be surprised if Monsanto diluted the formula in attempt to further coverup their product’s toxicity.
Around The World
China, Russia and Iran are tightening their policies on the use of GMOs and/or glyphosate. Perhaps the policies stem from a geopolitical avoidance any kind of dependency on Western AgChem. Or maybe they don’t want ¼ of their children to have autism in ten years like US children will at the going rate. Double bonus there.
KEYPOINT: The US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Australia and Europe (sans-France) should take note – this strategy will lead to a much healthier, vibrant population and a more robust ecosystem. It isn’t just for us tree-hugging environmentalists; it’s a matter of long-term national security.
The first of the much-anticipated federal court trials (covering a new set of plaintiffs harmed by glyphosate) is set to begin on February 25th. A lot of shenanigans have gone on from the Monsanto side – not an unfamiliar scenario.
In a setback for the plaintiffs, Judge Chhabria ruled that the three bellwether trials will be bifurcated into two phases. The first phase will focus on whether glyphosate can cause cancer and what a compensatory damage award should be. If found to cause cancer, the second part of the trial will address Monsanto’s liability and punitive damages.
This split into two phases will ensure that, in the first phase, much of the evidence establishing Monsanto’s corruption of the regulatory approval and scientific review process will be barred from discussion.The jury will not get to see evidence of the corrupt behavior, ghostwriting scientific research, lying, nor zombie emails.
Johnson Juror #4 Robert Howard shared: “The two phases, the cancer science part and the corporate malfeasance part, are like twins conjoined at all the vital organs. Chhabria is creating a mess trying to separate the twins. It’s like our trial with all the evidence that the plaintiffs could not bring forward. They had to go through contortions to ask a witness questions in such a way that the answer did not mention the barred evidence.”
Attorney Brent “Champagne on Ice” Wisner reportedly gave a compelling argument against bifurcation, but the order stood.
A Few Comments from the Home Depot Website
These Home Depot Roundup reviewers may join the 9500+ Plaintiffs. The comments were left since the verdict and show a promising sign that consumer perceptions are changing.
I have been using Roundup for over 20 years at least, Used it in my old house (1980-2000) and ever since we moved into our current house (2000) until now (2018). I have spent a lot of money on these products. And now they say it may cause cancer? Let’s hope not.
The Roundup is a good product, but the spray piece on the bottle doesn’t work. The first one I bought locked up and I ended up getting Roundup all over me trying to get it to work. I returned it and got another and the new sprayer didn’t work either, and I ended up taking another bath in the Roundup trying to pour it into a spray bottle just do I could use it. I hope I don’t get cancer now.
Powerful but scary stuff. Does what it says. Clears the land. I keep it away from desirable plants, well away from any food plants or storage, and wash myself up to my elbows after use. If you have pets, keep them away from it until sprayed plants are thoroughly dry.
Good all-around grass and weed killer. Bummer that the main chemical causes cancer and Monsanto steals farmer’s land claiming that they own the seeds that grow there.
The banner photo to this blog entry is of an NHL sufferer receiving treatment, and admirably spreading an important message while doing so.
There is palpable momentum in this war against glyphosate. I find it tragic that the US court found glyphosate to be carcinogenic, but yet there is no hint of change in US policy. What more will it take?
For now, the best we can do is buy organically and support the farmers making that challenging shift from conventional agriculture.
I will be attending some, but not all, of the upcoming trial – it was easier to swing in the summer!
© 2019 Kelly Ryerson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED