Glyphosate, the main ingredient in preparing Monsanto’s widely used herbicide is a colorless and odorless chemical which might seem harmless to those who spray it on farmlands for cultivation. But recently the truth has surfaced that this chemical can be harmful to farmers who are exposed to it and to people living close to farming areas where this herbicide is used.
Frankly speaking, glyphosate has been known to double the risk of one blood cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), and adds to the risk of a related cancer (multiple myeloma). Multiple myeloma was recently categorized as a sub-type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but it used to be regarded as a distinct disease.
A report released in late July, revealed that the world’s leading cancer professions at the International Agency for Research on Cancer threw more light on the cancer-causing elements of glyphosate. The report, which took a critical look at the recent research, summarized that glyphosate is absolutely carcinogenic to animals in laboratory studies and that human exposure is linked to a higher risk to develop blood cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The report confirmed the results of the Agency’s previous meta-analysis, which combined the results of several studies and arrived at a conclusion that occupational exposure to glyphosate doubles the risk of getting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. More recent reports have also supported the claims of studies conducted to discover that farm workers’ glyphosate exposure raises their risk of multiple myeloma by 70 to 100 percent.
It’s not surprising, then, that two farmers had filed lawsuits against Monsanto seeking justice because they had been exposed to a chemical that is “unreasonably harmful.” Containers of Roundup carry no warning that it is a probable human carcinogen.
In response to the International Agency’s recent findings, California has moved to add glyphosate to the state’s list of known carcinogens. This would require that Roundup bottles come with some sort of label warning of its dangers.
And farm workers aren’t the only ones exposed to the herbicide. Researchers have found glyphosate residues in food as well. The cancer research agency points out that a 2007 study found glyphosate residues on six of eight tofu samples made from Brazilian soybeans. Soybeans are the largest genetically modified crop produced globally and account for about half of the total area dedicated to growing GMO crops.
It’s time to label genetically modified food and let consumers decide whether they want to support an agricultural system that exposes farmers – and potentially themselves – to unreasonable risks.
Featured Image: credit to ewg.org
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