IARC; Lyon, France – 3/17/15 │ Seventeen experts from 11 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The IRC is a specialized research unit – with over 250 research experts – of the World Health Organization (see logo photo). The purpose of the effort was to assess the carcinogenicity of insecticides and the primary global herbicides (weed killers). Making international news was that one of the herbicides – determined to be a “probable carcinogen” – was Glyphosate.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in none other than Roundup. City folk know about Roundup as the chemical used around the house to kill weeds and unwanted grasses. However, in the global industrial agricultural realm, the use of glyphosate is staggering. It is used liberally on genetically modified crops which have been modified to be unaffected by the poison. In farming, these crops are called Roundup Ready. The founding company of glyphosate – Monsanto – wields one of the world’s most powerful political lobbies and is known for its armies of attorneys when it comes to applying muscle power.
Originally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classified glyphosate as a possible carcinogen to humans. The EPA, in 1985, reversed that designation to non- carcinogenicity in humans.
As recently as 2013, the EPA increased the allowed limits of glyphosate reside on fruits and vegetables. This is what makes the IARC findings all the more critical as glyphosate is used liberally around the globe.
The three largest stockholders of Monsanto are Fidelity Investments with 28.4 million shares, Black Rock, Inc. with 28 million shares and the Vanguard Group with 30.2 million shares. Collectively these institutional investors control 16.4 percent of Monsanto – the largest “behind the scenes” power at Monsanto. Are your retirement funds invested with any of these three companies? Monsanto sales for 2014 were $15.8 billion (source of info – Monsanto 2014 proxy and financial statements).
Glyphosate has a market share of 25 percent of the global herbicide market. Estimates are that 1 million tonnes (2.2 billion lbs.) of herbicides containing glyphosate are put into the global environment every year. Glyphosate is used so heavily in the U.S. that it has been found in human breast milk, feeding tube liquids for babies and children with cancer in hospitals. Glyphosate is up for review this year by the U.S. EPA, an event that the Organic Consumers Association says we should take full advantage of to get it banned. You can view that effort at: https://www.organicconsumers.org/
Glyphosate is intertwined with genetically modified foods – as many GMO foods have been altered to be glyphosate tolerant.
It is a double whammy of risks – human health risks from foods genetically altered plus the risk of glyphosate used so liberally on them.
Two video clips have been uploaded here. The first video has testimony of Jeffery Smith, one of America’s most visible voices of dissent. The second video has testimony from Dr. Arpad Pusztai – one of the world’s first scientists to speak out about glyphosate and GMOs.
The bottom line is that the indomitable human spirit cannot rest until the whole truth is out. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Monsanto employees who will speak out in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if pressure surfaced to have institutional investors divest themselves of Monsanto stock. Everyone has an urge to do the right thing.