In a “state of the science” review released today, PAN International presents a large body of research documenting the adverse human health and environmental impacts of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides and underscores the need for a global phase-out. Environmental and health advocates say the monograph on the world’s most widely used herbicide, commonly known by its original trade name Roundup, should serve as a wake up call for regulators, governments and users around the world.
Adverse human impacts detailed in the review include acute poisoning, kidney and liver damage, imbalances in the intestinal microbiome and intestinal functioning, cancer, genotoxicity, endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental reduction, neurological damage, and immune system dysfunction.
Aggressive public relations and marketing by glyphosate’s developer, Monsanto, has resulted in the widespread perception that the chemical is ‘safe’. Registration processes continue to allow its use without raising concerns about its safety even as new data identifying adverse effects emerge.
This review dispels this myth of ‘safety’ and highlights the urgent need to re-examine the authorization of products containing glyphosate. A full chemical profile is presented, along with the regulatory status of products containing glyphosate in many countries and information on viable alternatives.
Glyphosate is sprayed on numerous crops and plantations, including about 80% of genetically engineered, or GE crops, as well as a pre-harvest desiccant, which results in high food residues. It is also widely used in home gardens and public places including roadsides, and semi-natural and natural habitats. Due to its widespread use residues are now detected in different types of foods, drinking water, wine and beer; and even in non-food products derived from GM cotton. The extent of human exposure is confirmed by the presence of glyphosate in human urine wherever it has been tested, principally in Europe and North America; it has also been found in breast milk in the USA.
The 2015 classification by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen resulted in widespread concern about its continued use, especially pre-harvest and in public places.
As a result, national bans and restrictions, and voluntary action by local authorities and retailers to curb use are rising dramatically. Sri Lanka was the first country to ban it completely, although the ban has recently been relaxed to allow use in tea plantations; Italy has banned pre-harvest use, and all use in public places and those frequented by children and the elderly; France is phasing out the use of pesticides in towns and public areas; and the European Union has extended approval for glyphosate for only 18 months instead of the usual 15 years. The research and evidence detailed in the review released today provides valuable scientific evidence for all communities wanting to follow these leads.
Environmental impacts detailed in the monograph are no less concerning, and include adverse effects on ecosystem functioning, pollination services, biological controls, soil fertility and crop health. Residues are widespread in the environment, including in rainwater, surface and ground waters, and the marine environment. Glyphosate can persist in some soils for up to 3 years; and there is some evidence of bioaccumulation.
Resistance to glyphosate is now recorded in 35 weed species and in 27 countries, mostly caused by the repeated use of glyphosate in GE crops, no-till agriculture, and amenity use.
The full Monograph review can be accessed here glyphosate-monograph
For more information please contact:
Dr Meriel Watts, PAN New Zealand: +64-21-1807830; firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Keith Tyrell, PAN-UK: +44 (0) 7588706224: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Paul Towers, PAN North America: 915-216-1082, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Dr. Peter Clausing, PAN Germany: +49 (0) 176-7801 2705, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
The Monsanto Tribunal is an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, for crimes against humanity, and for ecocide. Eminent judges will hear testimonies from victims, and deliver an advisory opinion following procedures of the International Court of Justice. A parallel People’s Assembly provides the opportunity for social movements to rally and plan for the future we want. The Tribunal and People’s Assembly will take place between 14 and 16 October 2016 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Find out more at: http://www.monsanto-tribunal.org/
Statement from PAN International in support of Hawai’ian colleagues
We, as members of the international community from Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the continental United States, convened by Pesticide Action Network, are gathered in Hawaiʻi in January 2016 to stand in solidarity with the movements in Hawaiʻi working to free the islands from the toxic influence of pesticide/genetic engineering (GE) corporations.
Hawaiʻi is ground zero for the development, experimental use and production of pesticide–promoting genetically engineered crops. Five chemical corporations –Syngenta, Monsanto, Dow, DuPont/Pioneer and BASF – facilitated by the government of Hawai’i – occupy tens of thousands of acres of the most fertile agricultural land, including public land which should rightfully be in the hands of the Kānaka Maoli (Hawaiian nationals). According to state law, water in Hawaiʻi is part of the public trust and cannot be privatized. Yet these corporations divert and contaminate this most precious and important common resource, leaving quality agricultural lands and key habitats without a source of water.
These land and water grabs are resulting in severe damage to the ecology of Hawaiʻi, and place the burden of health and environmental costs onto local communities, with no accountability for – or compensation from – the agrochemical industry.
These corporations are holding Hawaiʻi’s people hostage. Successful democratic processes on seven of the eight Hawaiian islands resulted in policies requiring disclosure of pesticide use, a moratorium on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until health and environmental effects are evaluated, and pesticide-free buffer zones around sensitive sites like schools and hospitals. Now the chemical corporations have sued all of the counties that passed such policies, stopping their implementation – for the time being.
We can look at Hawaiʻi to see the nature of these companies and their products: parts of the archipelago are sprayed as much as 250 days per year, or seven out of ten days year round. Many local doctors and nurses have submitted official testimony stating concern that they may be witnessing higher rates of asthma, hormonal diseases, rare cancers, miscarriages, birth defects, and skin disorders in communities living adjacent to experimental fields. Companies have fought even basic notification rules so that families and schools are unable to protect their children from regular chemical exposure.
Workers and their families are most impacted. Just two days ago, ten Syngenta agricultural workers were poisoned by Dow’s product chlorpyrifos and sent to the hospital on Kaua’i. Agricultural workers around the world face similar dangers of acute poisonings and chronic long-term exposure. Similar to other plantations around the world, many of those working on agrochemical operations in Hawai i are migrants that have themselves been directly displaced by corporate agribusiness.
Let’s be clear: none of the crops these corporations are growing feed people in Hawai i; Hawaiʻi imports more than 90% of its food. The seeds grown in Hawaiʻi feed primarily factory farms and fuel cars. They are the foundation of the fossil-fuel and resource intensive, polluting, and climate-devastating industrial agricultural system. As has been acknowledged by the most prestigious international bodies, feeding the world sustainably requires a dramatic transformation away from this system.
That these corporations will act so boldly and rashly in the endangered species capitol of the world portends great threat to the rest of our global ecology and humanity. The fight to end the overuse of chemical pesticides and their increasing promotion through genetic engineering begins in Hawaiʻi, and extends around the world.
In Africa, these technologies are being pushed by the same corporations that are engineering hunger and working to control and patent staple food crops. In Asia, the debt engendered by these chemical corporations and their expensive, patented technologies, has driven rural crises, including an increase in farmer suicides. In the last ten years we have seen a heightened and very aggressive attempt to transform the landscape of ecologically sound food-producing land to genetically modified crops. Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay have become the “transgenic soybean republic,” with devastating health impacts from the associated rise of pesticide use. In Mexico, birthplace of maize, there is strong resistance to genetic theft and GMO maize. In the continental United States – where around half of the farmland is planted GE crops — farmers are facing fewer market options, higher input costs, superweeds, and damage to surrounding crops and ecosystems, while too many rural families face cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
We link our struggles to the struggles of the people of Hawaiʻi. We pledge our commitment to stand together and organize our communities to protect our homes, our children, and our shared planet. The agrochemical industry is global and so is our collective fight.
Together, we will work towards:
1. Advancing sustainable agriculture as a holistic, scientific approach and a movement for social transformation that upholds local knowledge and respects indigenous cultures, integrates participatory research, empowerment of women, farmer control over land, water, seeds and forests, protection of workers’ rights and of rural communities, appropriate technology, bio-diversity conservation, access to and equitable distribution of food, equitable sharing of benefits and food self-sufficiency respecting ecological integrity.
2. Contributing actively to the elimination of harmful pesticides and other agrochemicals and the generation, innovation and promotion of ecological alternatives to pesticide use, especially organic and ecological agriculture with biological, agricultural and cultural diversity as the basis for sustainable communities.
3. Eliminating the use of harmful pesticides in buildings, transporation, household, public health and other non-agricultural pest control areas.
4. Fighting for local, national and international agreements to restrict, reduce and eliminate pesticide dependence and to phase out and ban pesticides that cause acute and chronic effects, including endocrine disruption and cancer.
5. Ensuring food for all, including national policies that promote and ensure the right to food in order to achieve the improvement of human and environmental health. And establishing Food Sovereignty as the inalienable right of peoples, communities, and countries to define, decide and implement their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances.
6. Creating awareness of the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and campaigning to stop the development and use of GMOs in food, agriculture, pharmaceutical crops and animals, forestry and prevent terminator seeds. We demand the implementation of the precautionary principle to prevent the spread of the use of GMOs.
7. Withdrawal of subsidies for environmentally-unsound agricultural technologies and end all aid by international development agencies for hazardous pesticides, GMOs and industrial agriculture promotion.
8. Strengthening people’s movements and empowering women, peasants, poor farmers, fisherfolk, dalits, landless farmworkers, Indigenous people, migrant workers and bonded laborers to participate fully in asserting and promoting their rights, decision making in their societies and access to land, resources and knowledge.
9. Strengthening and integrating gender issues in all agriculture programmes from planning to implementation and evaluation.
10. Empowering communities to monitor and resist the impact of trade policies, technologies, and industries that affect their health and livelihoods. Launching and supporting campaigns against corporate globalization and the international institutions and instruments that are destroying people’s production and promoting corporate and industrial agriculture.
11. Achieving the public release of information by all companies, governments and institutions on production, use and trade of pesticides and GMOs. Demand full accountability and liability for injustices by corporations and governments and full compensation for damages for persons, communities and countries.
To find out more about the situation and struggle in Hawaii:
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7n4YG66iio <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7n4YG66iio>
Hawaii Center for Food Safety, Report: Pesticides in Paradise
The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/23/hawaii-birth-defects-pesticides-gmo
Residents’ lawsuit against DuPont/Pioneer: http://www.stoppoisoningparadise.org/#!video—pesticides-on-kauai/c1vm3 <http://www.stoppoisoningparadise.org/%23!video—pesticides-on-kauai/c1vm3>
Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A): http://www.hapahi.org/pesticides-gmos/ <http://www.hapahi.org/pesticides-gmos/ <http://www.hapahi.org/pesticides-gmos/> >
Hawaii SEED: http://www.hawaiiseed.org/
The Shaka Movement: http://www.mauigmomoratoriumnews.org/
Molokai Mom (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7D4DB5LSBQ