Loc: Waterloo, NY
Citing GMO-Herbicide Link, Renowned Children’s Health Expert Calls for GMO Labeling
By Libby Foley, Policy Analyst - Thursday, August 20, 2015
Titled “GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health,” the paper by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D. and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D. focuses on the widespread adoption of GMO crops across the U.S. and the resulting explosion in the use of toxic herbicides – some of them, like Monsanto’s glyphosate, linked to cancer – and argues that labeling these foods is a matter of protecting public health.
Landrigan and Benbrook write that since being introduced in the mid-1990s, 90 percent of U.S.-grown corn and soy has been engineered to tolerate being doused with weed-killing herbicides, resulting in an enormous increase in the use of herbicides:
Widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant crops has led to overreliance on herbicides and, in particular, on glyphosate. In the United States, glyphosate use has increased by a factor of more than 250 – from 0.4 million kg [kilograms] in 1974 to 113 million kg in 2014.
As a result of the overreliance on glyphosate, weeds have increasingly become resistant to the weed killer, forcing growers to add other herbicides, including 2,4-D, to control them. The Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the sale of Enlist Duo, a new weed-killer made by Dow AgroSciences that combines glyphosate and 2,4-D. Landrigan and Benbrook argue that the agency’s risk assessment of the product relied on flawed science:
The science consisted solely of toxicologic studies commissioned by the herbicide manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s and never published, not an uncommon practice in U.S. pesticide regulation. These studies predated current knowledge of low-dose, endocrine-mediated, and epigenetic effects and were not designed to detect them. The risk assessment gave little consideration to potential health effects in infants and children, thus contravening federal pesticide law.