The most widely used herbicide in the world made headlines recently when the World Health Organization deemed it a “probable carcinogen.” Manufactured by Monsanto and marketed as Round-Up, the use of glyphosate has increased in tandem with genetically modified crops such as soybeans and corn, which can tolerate heavy sprayings of the chemical. The classification came after a WHO meeting of 17 experts representing 11 countries, according to the Wall St. Journal, which also cited a Monsanto spokesperson who said that the chemical is safe. But is it?
WHO recently designated glyphosate, aka Round-Up, the most widely used herbicide in the world, a “probable carcinogen.” Here’s how to get it off your plate. Despite the European findings, the Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe. And we should all hope so, since last year Moms Across America conducted a study which found that 70% of the nation’s drinking water contained the herbicide. The study also found that Americans’ urine contained glyphosate levels 10 times greater than those of Europeans, and that glyphosate also contaminates breast milk.
Yikes. That’s especially frightening when put into context with the facts that:
- Glyphosate has been linked to human health problems including celiac disease.
- An Argentinian study found a correlation between glyphosate and problems with honeybees.
- In February, the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the EPA for failing to regulate glyphosate, which has decimated monarch butterflies.
- Glyphosate is banned or restricted in Holland, Denmark and Sweden.
Regardless of whether or not the United States follows the international trend towards regulating and—I hope—banning glyphosate in the future, reducing our use of glyphosate could help farmers.
In 1980, when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed corporations to patent seeds, reversed hundreds of years of precedent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Up until that time, farmers had saved seeds from one crop to plant the next, creating a sustainable system. But Monsanto—which owns more than 600 biotechnology patents, including those that make seeds “Round-Up ready”—forces farmers to destroy the seeds from each harvest, so they have to buy new seeds every year.
Saving seeds is no longer a good farming practice. It’s patent infringement.
What can you do? Buy USDA Certified Organic and/or Non-GMO Verified foods, especially products that contain corn and soy, or their derivatives. Choosing these foods doesn’t just get glyphosate off your plate, it also supports the farmers who are fighting to keep their land independent.
If you really want to go deep, visit WHO and sign up to find out if you have glyphosate in your body.
Then add your name to this petition to ban glyphosate. Because it’s about time.