29 April 2013 18:48 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Agricultural firm Monsanto on Monday refuted a study by researchers, which asserts there is a link between the popular herbicide, Roundup, and long-term health problems such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
In the peer-reviewed report published in the journal Entropy researcher Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel state that glyphosate, the main active ingredient in the herbicide, can be found on food from crops grown using Roundup in the form of residue.
The study says that this leftover trace can combine with other food-borne toxins and create adverse health reactions which lead to cancer, infertility or other disorders.
“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifest slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the report states. “It is imperative for more independent research to take place to validate the ideas presented here, and to take immediate action, if they are verified, to drastically curtail the use of glyphosate in agriculture.”
“Glyphosate is likely to be pervasive in our food supply, and, contrary to being essentially nontoxic, it may in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.”
However Monsanto officials answer the allegations by pointing out that the popular brand has been very extensively studied by the company and prior chemical remedies were not as safe as glyphosates have been proven over time to be.
In a statement Monsanto said the study was by two authors who are known to be a part of the movement against genetically modified crops, and that the report was lacking scientific quality and is based on hypothetical speculation.
“The paper strings together numerous observations to propose a chain of causation linking glyphosate to these various health issues. Many of the individual observations made are controversial, incorrect or poorly established. None of the disease associations are supported by available toxicology testing, experimentation or by observation associating glyphosate exposure with these disease outcomes in human populations,” said Monsanto.
As environmental and consumer groups have increasingly raised concerns about what they believe has been heavy usage of Roundup, and continue to voice the position that the product is causing harm for humans and nature, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to get involved.
Currently the EPA is conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate and has said it will release a ruling on the safety of the chemical by 2015. In making their decision the agency could put a variety of limitations on future applications.
The product has become an increasingly viable tool for agricultural producers across the world in the last decade as a means to combat weeds and grasses that can rob crops of nutrients, reduce moisture levels and thereby reduce yields by limiting optimal growth patterns.
US farmers in particular have praised the use of Roundup in allowing them to reduce labour, equipment usage and the need for other chemical inputs as the herbicide is effective in eliminating unwanted vegetation and can be applied throughout a majority of the growing season for vital crops such as corn and cotton.
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