Please sign the European Citizen’s Initiative to require the European Comission to ban Glyphosate now!
Why? Apart from some dubious interpretation of the scientific literature by the International Agency on Cancer Research, which has been dismissed by its parental body the World Health Organisation, the INDEPENDENT studies of glyphosate show no evidence for carcinogenicity. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/16/glyphosate-unlikely-to-pose-risk-to-humans-unwho-study-says), the US Environmental Protection Agency, the European Chemicals Agency (https://echa.europa.eu/-/glyphosate-not-classified-as-a-carcinogen-by-echa) and the European Food Standards Authority, among others, state that it poses no risk of cancer. The surfactant in Roundup has some toxicity, but the risk is low at the doses used.
The idea of a “Future withour toxic pesticides” is laughable. The organic industry uses pesticides far more toxic than Roundup and more frequently, as does non-GM intensive agriculture. See http://ascienceenthusiast.com/organic-crops-use-carcinogenic-pesticides/.
Finally, the IACR, which classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic in humans, identifies hazard and not risk; these are different. IACR has examined almost 1000 compounds and classified only ONE as posing no risk of cancer (http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/).
Then what is the explanation for Monsanto manipulating scientific studies? The fact in itself is enough motivation for me to support this European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) because
- they are the “inventors” of Glyphosate after all,
- how can they even think of such a fraud? In my opinion such a behaviour is intolerable and by supporting this ECI I can draw attention to the malicious intentions of Monsanto. (Also for example to their influence on biosafety laws on the African continent.)
PS: Here is some information about production rules for organic crops that apply in Europe:
The ECHA document on Glyphosate states the following:
Seriously? They are basing their “evidence” on “studies conducted by industry”? That is exactly what has proven to be the weak point here.
(emphasis mine). Does getting pesticides from a natural source mean they’re safer / non-carcinogenic / less problematic for biodiversity / have a better carbon footprint? I’d think the source of the compound is irrelevant for those characteristics. The ECI also doesn’t specify getting rid of just the synthetic ones. Getting rid of all pesticides is, at present, a bad idea (unfortunately).
I’m still missing the evidence that anything was actually manipulated. I’ve read the e-mails linked from the article, but I’m really missing context. Suggesting that 10 days of work at $21.000 proves that someone has been bought is laughable without specifying what they were paid to do. Even if it is pure labour without any lab costs, it would still be in a reasonable range for consultancy fees. If they wouldn’t charge a reasonable rate, the question would be why public money is financing industry research. The other e-mails leave me equally clueless about what is going on. The ghost writing one is interesting, as with many journals you don’t actually qualify for authorship if you only wrote parts of the text (you need to do more). If and how any assistance is and can be acknowledged depends on the journal. The paper published in 2000 mentioned in an e-mail in this context does list extensive support in the acknowledgements, as you’d expect in this regard. The other journal paper that is being discussed may have never been published, but there is also too little to go on to trace it if it has.
I don’t like a number of products that Monsanto has put to market, but a lot of the criticism that is has come under is for the wrong reasons. Apparently we live in a world where “we’ve had enough of experts”, but personally I don’t believe that throwing out all the reviews of expert literature (there’ve been quite some reviews, in different areas of the world) is really the way to go. I know I personally can’t read up on everything published on glyphosate, but I choose to trust the people that we’re paying to review it for us.
This is mission creep - it is not part of what you’re declaring by signing. Signing the ECI makes a statement on one specific chemical (glyphosate), spray application of chemicals (both natural and chemical) in general, and the way literature review should be performed. None of these is specific to Monsanto. I would instead suggest setting up a proposal that forbids the malicious activities directly.
Stefan, If you read the paragraph you quote from the ECHA RAC, it says “APART from the published studies on glyphosate the committee ALSO had full acccess to the original reports of studies conducted by industry” (my capitals). In other words, they had the peer reviewed scientific literature and the original industry reports (whihch are mandatory for safety assessments). The RAC was in a good position therefore to compare the scientific literature and the industry reports and identify any manipulation of industry data. This is a positive, rather then the negative you paint it.
Also, if your reference sources are organisations such as Natural Society that commericalise products in their “Organic non-GMO Cookbook and Shopping Guide” rather than the Government agencies I quoted or the peer-reviewed scientific literature on glyphosate biosafety, I do not see any point in continuing this debate.
Okay the articles I posted might not be of the highest scientific quality. I’m not a biologist and not in the position to say anything about their credibility.
I view this from the perspective of a citizen worried about food safety. The impression I get is that we wouldn’t need Glyphosate if it wasn’t for GMCs, and that Monsanto benefits highly from selling this chemical (as well as from selling GM seeds).
In conclusion, I don’t see why a toxic chemical should be allowed on our soil, while it is mainly a prerequisite for patented GM seeds that are neither sustainable for the farmers nor for the environment.
PS: Apart from its thematic content I also see the ECI as an instrument to balance out industry lobbyists from companies that don’t have the environment in mind when they make decisions. They have the budget and we citizens are left with our voices.
It’s a bit more complicated than that: glyphosate has been marketed since the mid-seventies, whilst the first GM glyphosate tolerant crop was introduced mid-nineties (and the second late-nineties). The last Monsanto patent on glyphosate as active ingredient apparently expired in 2000. The money is therefore probably coming from the GM crops (of which the first varieties are now also out-of-patent protection). No GM glyphosate-resistant crops are registered for use in Europe, yet I can walk into virtually any garden centre or hardware store and buy glyphosate-based formulations (in fact, it is the most used herbicide in Europe). In other words: glyphosate was likely chosen as GM resistance because of the existing popularity of glyphosate, not because they can earn money on it twice because they owned the rights to producing the compound.
If contracts force farmers to buy the chemicals from Monsanto when they buy their seeds, then that practise should be banned as anti-competitive.
Non of this diminishes the fact we should limit the use of any agrichemical to situations where it is really needed (not e.g. keeping you pavement weed-free), and preferably to use by professionals. I’d welcome sane and science-based policy to govern the use of such compounds. Such recommendations are in the works (see the last glyphosate decision factsheet).
Good points. While I’m no expert at the topic I might add that there was a study awhile back, that concludes with “Glyphosate is likely to be pervasive in our food supply, and, contrary to being essentially nontoxic, it may in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.”
Well, that completes my bingo card of “things that cause Autism”.
Quick overview of some of just some of the things wrong with it:
I agree. Show me a petition to ban any Monsanto-related products from selling in my country and I’ll sign it no questions asked. But receiving a petition like that as a Greenpeace newsletter really disappointed me.
@Stefan I don’t blame you at all, you are not an expert, neither is anyone of us, but NGOs like Greenpeace should really be careful when supporting petitions based on fake-science or they’ll loose their credibility.
The fact that there is so much discussion about the dangers of this pesticide is already scaring to me. What about this study?
So you can kill weed by peeing on it?
Do we really want that? I always learned that peeing in nature was good for the plants because it was like a fertilizer for them…
I just remember toxicology and risk assessment was tricky stuff during my student days. I don’t feel competent enough to comment on these studies, but I did find this guy’s comment which has a couple of good points about the whole debate:
I encourage reading at least the ‘about’ section to decide how credible and/or biased some of the views expressed are based on the author’s expertise and background.
Also - I really don’t want don’t want to seem blunt or offend anyone in this discussion, or be seen as blaming anyone for anything (not even sure what). As I’ve explained I do think we should aim to minimise the use of chemical sprays where it makes sense to do so. I welcome any increased interest in the scientific process in general that this may bring, yet at the same time the glyphosate debate in general depresses me as I increasingly get the view that it has become a confused mess based on the idea that ‘Monsanto = GMO = glyphosate = Intensive agriculture’, rather than a critical evaluation of glyphosate itself.
Me neither! Anyway, I don’t perceive this discussion as offensive.
It seems to me as if NGOs badly want to damage the agro-industry (also due to unscrupulous exploitation of soil and land-grabbing in general) and, since their lobbyism in the European Union is strong, they turn to topics that every citizen can relate to. To be honest, I don’t blame them as it raises awareness and led to this discussion in the first place. I learned a lot from the comments above. Thank you, everybody!
PS.: I might even be able to relate this to Fairphone’s quest. They want to raise awareness on an unpopular topic (exploitation of people and environment in “far-away-countries”) and produce a story-telling device to start the discussion.
PPS.: Maybe we wouldn’t need those NGOs I talked about above if the agro-industry would live up to the principle of least-possible negative impact and social entrepreneurship.
I have read many so called “studies” of how bad, corrupt and downright Evil Monsanto are. They have all proved wrong. GMO-corn and Glyphosate do less wrong (when used right) than any other agriculture that has the ability to feed the world. The resistance against Monsanto is irresponsible and sad.
I don’t know why this unfounded conspiracy theory about Monsanto is turning up here at Fairphone?
Now see that ^ is the problem with fighting evil with bad studies. Evil will shrug off all criticism against them as fake and some people will believe them.
Monsanto is evil, there is no doubt about it. Just look at all the lamentations they have been involved in. You don’t get sued and lose for fake conspiracy theories against you, but for breaking the law.
Remember that this is a community forum and views of community members (like the #moderators ) do not necessarily represent Fairphone’s opinion.
“Monsanto is evil, there is no doubt about it.” Well, yes there is doubt.
Monsanto are about as good or evil as any other large company. Not entirely
innocent in all they do, no one are, but a reasonable company.
The war against Monsanto is equal to Trump’s war
against climate scientists. The network against Monsanto and GMO are the
left-winged version of breitbart.com, Fox News and Donald Trump. A whole
lot of crap-news, crap-science and conspiracy theories. Read up on
agricultural science, and get real.