The US Environmental Protection Agency has insisted Monsanto’s controversial glyphosate weedkiller Roundup is safe, despite court verdicts ruling it a carcinogen and studies backing them up. Is Monsanto pulling its strings?
"The EPA has been subject to regulatory capture. The relationship between the regulator –the EPA– and the regulated –Monsanto– is too close,” attorney Michael Baum told RT. Referring to the “Monsanto papers,” documents released in the court cases against the company, Baum didn’t mince words: “The documents show that the EPA is protecting Monsanto, not protecting the public. "
The EPA maintained “glyphosate is not a carcinogen” in an announcement earlier this week, insisting “there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label.” But the agency’s word stands in stark contrast to two major legal verdicts in the past year, in which juries held the flagship weedkiller of Monsanto –now Bayer– responsible for plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a specific type of cancer that has been linked in epidemiological studies to Roundup use.
"The EPA is not following its guidelines for evaluating the carcinogenicity of chemicals they’re supposed to be counting and evaluating,” Baum said, highlighting emails between the author of an EPA carcinogenicity report and a Monsanto executive asking how he should count the tumors appearing on mice in a Roundup study.
The EPA has also refused to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, despite over 30 studies demonstrating it causes autism, among a host of neurodevelopmental and other health problems including tremors, headache and loss of coordination. Manufacturer Dow Chemicals has contributed generously to President Donald Trump’s campaign and reportedly lobbied the EPA heavily to keep its product on the market.
Not that the EPA needs much convincing – the agency denied a petition in 2017 to cancel chlorpyrifos registrations, insisting the science was not yet settled on the pesticide’s neurodevelopmental effects. When the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered it to ban the substance within 60 days last year, the EPA immediately appealed the decision.
As a result, local governments have stepped into the breach. New York tanishtirdi legislation to ban spraying glyphosate in city parks last month, and Los Angeles deb nomlangan for a moratorium on its use in March after the second court ruling came down linking Roundup to non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Glyphosate was added to California’s list of chemicals “known to cause cancer” in 2017. Even corporations have been stepping up to the plate – wholesaler Costco no longer sells Roundup.
A group of former EPA scientists recently topildi Roundup exposure raises the risk of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma by 41 percent. They have accused the agency of “not following their own rules” in evaluating glyphosate, and a 2016 EPA study purportedly showing glyphosate had “low toxicity for humans” is currently being reevaluated. The World Health Organization ruled glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans"2015 da.
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