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Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide ingredient Glyphosate and its coincidences

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A growing number of lawsuits alleging that Monsanto long knew that Roundup’s glyphosate could harm human health.

In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen”. This determination was based on evidence showing the popular weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” it can also cause cancer in animals. A growing number of lawsuits alleging that Monsanto long knew that Roundup’s glyphosate could harm human health. California resident Brenda Huerta and her husband James filed one such lawsuit in January 2016. Brenda, who exposed them to the chemical, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2013.5 It’s probably no coincidence that California has both the highest level of glyphosate usage and the most cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the type of cancer linked to Roundup, in the U.S.6

Nevertheless Monsanto has maintained that the classification as a carcinogen is wrong and continues to tout glyphosate (and Roundup) as one of the safest pesticides on the planet.

Background story

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was once used only sparingly. It had to be, as the herbicide kills basically any plant it touches. Farmers couldn’t safely apply it near their crops, without risking to kill off their own crops as well. It was only used where farmers wanted to kill all vegetation, says Global Research.

This all changed in 1996, when Monsanto’s so-called “Roundup Ready,” genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-tolerant crops (soy, corn and cotton) were introduced. The GE crops are impervious to glyphosate’s toxic effects, which allows farmers to spray the chemical onto their crops with abandon. Since glyphosate was introduced in 1974, 1.8 million tons have been applied to U.S. fields, and two-thirds of that volume has been sprayed in the last 10 years. Also since 1996, the use of glyphosate has risen nearly 15-fold, according to a new study published in Environmental Sciences Europe, making it the most heavily used agricultural chemical of all time.


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