[permaculture] "Roundup and birth defects", Earth Open Source, June 2011
maryshaeffer at comcast.net
Fri Jun 10 11:03:58 EDT 2011
This information needs to be distributed. MSM will not publish so the larger
part of the general public will remain in the dark. Please forward to as
many as you can via email. We need to expand the informed consumer base so
the chemical/GMO agriculture industry can be held accountable for the harms
they are perpetrating on humanity and the very nature we depend on for our
Mary Shaeffer Smith
maryshaeffer at comcast.net
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Lawrence F.
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 7:24 AM
To: permaculture; Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
Subject: [permaculture] "Roundup and birth defects", Earth Open Source,June
"Roundup and birth defects; Is the public being kept in the dark?"
Earth Open Source
52-page PDF, 359 citations to science papers, magazine & web articles,
*Public kept in the dark on Roundup link with birth defects
*Industry knew since 1980s, regulators since 1990s
Earth Open Source
Press release for immediate release, 7 June 2011
Contact: claire.robinson at earthopensource.org
Industry and EU regulators knew as long ago as the
1980s-1990s that Roundup, the world's best selling
herbicide, causes birth defects but they failed
to inform the public. This is the conclusion of
a new report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the
public being kept in the dark?" co-authored by a
group of international scientists and researchers
and released today.
The report reveals that industry's own studies
(including one commissioned by Monsanto) showed
as long ago as the 1980s that Roundup's active
ingredient glyphosate causes birth defects in
The German government has known about these findings
since at least the 1990s, when as the "rapporteur"
member state for glyphosate, it reviewed industry's
studies for the EU approval of the herbicide. The
European Commission has known since at least 2002,
when it signed off on glyphosate's approval.
But this information was not made public. On the
contrary, regulators have consistently misled the
public about glyphosate's safety. As recently as
last year, the German Federal Office for Consumer
Protection and Food Safety, BVL, told the Commission
there was "no evidence of teratogenicity" (ability
to cause birth defects) for glyphosate.
BVL made this comment in its rebuttal of an
independent scientific study published last year
by Argentine scientists. The study showed that
Roundup and glyphosate cause birth defects in frogs
and chickens at concentrations much lower than
those used in agricultural spraying. The study
was prompted by reports of high rates of birth
defects and cancers in areas of South America
growing genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready
soy, which is engineered to tolerate being sprayed
liberally with glyphosate herbicide.
In its rebuttal of the Argentine study, BVL cited
as proof of glyphosate's safety the industry studies
submitted for the Commission's 2002 approval of
glyphosate (the approval that is currently in force).
But the authors of the new report obtained the
approval documents and found that contrary to BVL's
claim, industry's own studies, conducted in the
1980s and 1990s, showed that glyphosate/Roundup
causes birth defects in experimental animals. In
some cases, these effects occurred at low doses.
The German authorities and the EU Commission's ECCO
expert review panel whitewashed the findings
and the Commission approved the herbicide.
Claire Robinson, a co-author of the new report
and spokesperson for the sustainability NGO Earth
Open Source, which published it, said, "This looks
like a thirty-year cover-up by industry and regulators
and it has certainly placed the public at risk.
Roundup is used not only by farmers but by home
gardeners and in school grounds and other public
areas, in part because of false marketing claims
that it is safe."
Commission delays review of glyphosate
A new, more stringent pesticide regulation comes into
force in the EU this June. An objective review of
glyphosate under this new regulation would almost
certainly result in a ban. This is because under
the regulation, independent studies have to be taken
into consideration. Many of these studies, summarised
in the new report, show that glyphosate and Roundup
cause birth defects, cancer, genetic damage,
endocrine disruption, and other serious effects,
often at very low doses.
Glyphosate was due to be reviewed in 2012. But late
last year, the Commission quietly passed a directive
delaying the review of glyphosate and 38 other
pesticides until 2015.
Moreover, in 2015, glyphosate will be reviewed under
lax, outdated standards. This is because the Commission
has failed to complete the data requirements (the
tests that industry has to do) for the new regulation
in time for industry to do the new tests. So glyphosate
will likely sail through its 2015 review and will
not be reviewed under up-to-date, more stringent
data requirements for another 15 years, in 2030.
Claire Robinson said, "Glyphosate could get a free
regulatory ride until 2030, at a time when biotech
companies are pressuring the EU for permission to
cultivate glyphosate-tolerant GM seeds in Europe.
This would lead to a huge increase in the use of
glyphosate in Europe, as has happened in North and
South America. The beneficiary of the Commission's
delay will be the pesticide industry; the victim
will be public health.
"The Commission must cancel the delay and conduct
an immediate review of glyphosate and Roundup,
taking into consideration the independent scientific
literature. In the meantime, it must apply the
precautionary principle and withdraw the herbicide
from use in Europe until the review has been
1. Antoniou, M., Habib, M., Howard, C.V., Jennings, R.C., Leifert, C.,
Nodari, R. O., Robinson, C., Fagan, J. 2011. Roundup and birth defects:
Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source. June.
2. BVL, Germany. 2010. Glyphosate Comments from Germany on the paper
by Paganelli, A. et al. (2010): "Glyphosate-based Herbicides Produce
Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid
Signaling". October 19.
3. Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V. et al. 2010. Glyphosate-based herbicides
produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid
signaling. Chem Res Toxicol 23(10): 15861595.
4. This review role is now performed by the EFSA's PPR Panel.
5. European Commission. 2010. Commission Directive 2010/77/EU of 10
November 2010 amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC as regards the
expiry dates for inclusion in Annex I of certain active substances. OJ L
6. The detailed reasons for this delay are explained in the new report.
Details as above.
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