Friday, October 07, 2016 by Vicki Batts
Could the reign of Monsanto’s premier weedkiller finally be coming to an end? One can only hope. There are rising concerns over Roundup’s key ingredient, glyphosate, and it seems as though the EPA may finally be paying attention.
Roundup was introduced to the marketplace some 40 years ago, and has been growing in popularity ever since. The Huffington Post reports that about one-third of Monsanto’s profits come from their weedkiller. After decades of allowing the product to be used, the EPA has recently announced that they will spend four days this month holding public meetings with a scientific advisory panel to discuss glyphosate and its ramifications.
Of course, Monsanto and the rest of the agri-chemical industry is up in arms over the meetings; they have gone so far as to say that such meetings should not even be held. They have even told the EPA that if they want to hold such meetings, that top scientists should not be allowed to be present. One might say that their resistance to discussion could be seen as a “red flag.”
What is interesting about all of this is that in May, the EPA posted findings that declared glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer in humans. Such a revelation was probably accepted with great joy by Monsanto. However, days after the 86-page report was posted, it was removed from the EPA website. Reuters reports that according to the EPA, they hadn’t finished conducting their review and the report was published prematurely. The questions still remain, however: Where did this mystery report go, and what prompted the EPA to host another discussion of the product? We’ll probably never know for sure, but one might be inclined to question their integrity following incidents like these.
Regardless, perhaps this new four-day inquiry will yield results that are more satisfactory for those of us who actually care about the dangers of glyphosate. Given that the EPA’s new 227-page report that was released mid-September came to similar conclusions as the report that disappeared in May, the chances are slim. The EPA concluded their newest report by stating that glyphosate “not likely to be carcinogenic to human[s] at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.”
While Monsanto clearly is not happy about the opportunity for public scrutiny, it seems that the EPA is probably still on their side. While the EPA did note in their extensive report that some studies indicate the herbicide causes cancer, the agency had no shortage of reasons as to why those studies were faulty.
At the end of the day, it is hard not to wonder if these EPA meetings are just being held to appease the jury of public opinion, and one cannot help but suspect that they will hold very little value in terms of regulatory action. But, as they say, hope springs eternal.