10 Big GM Myths, reject "hidden" GM feed, demand liability and more
Risky - A hard look at glyphosate
Glyphosate, marketed by Monsanto as Roundup, is the world’s best selling weedkiller and the basis for GM herbicide tolerant crops, which can absorb high levels of the herbicide without being killed. GM companies promised it would cut costs and work for farmers.
The truth emerging is that this is not the case.
Glyphosate is widely said to be “safe” for the environment and humans, including the residues it leaves in food, feed and soil. and
In a comprehensive report published in June 2011, GM Freeze and Greenpeace examines some of the many problems becoming clear including:
- Glyphosate exposure is associated with cancer, birth defects and neurological illnesses (including Parkinson’s disease), and it may be a ‘gender-bender’ that interferes with human hormone balances and function. Research shows that glyphosate can cause damage to cells, including human embryo cells. A 2012 study revealed higher cancer and death rates for rats fed GM maize and Roundup.
- Environmental impacts of glyphosate include damage to rivers and on the animals living in them, disruption of soil nutrients and contamination of drinking water. Of increasing concern is the spread of “super weeds” that aren’t killed either and are forcing farmers to resort to hand weeding vast fields at considerable cost and effort – exactly the opposite of GM’s promise [watch Farmer to Farmer: The truth about GM crops). There are now over 20 weed species resistant to glyphosate affecting over 100 resistant strains on some 6 million hectares of otherwise good farmland in Argentina, Brazil and the US. Monsanto recommends using even higher levels of even more toxic chemicals, including some that had been discontinued as too dangerous, to control superweeds. It's a war we can't win.
In late 2010 the European Commission postponed for three years a badly needed safety review of glyphosate and 38 other agrochemicals. GM Freeze believes the scientific evidence is so strong that a fully independent review should be conducted immediately and no GM glyphosate tolerant crops should be authorised as food, feed or for cultivation until its safety has been clearly established.
(For full detail of images of how glyphosate works in plants and soll and the pathways of environment and health impacts of glyphosate see our report.)