Turns out what’s been killing weeds on American farms might be killing consumers, too.
In a dramatic move last week, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that the most widely used industrial weed killer in the U.S was a ‘probable carcinogen,” reports the Associated Press.
The decision was published in the journal Lancet Oncology last Thursday.
The issue revolves around glyphosate, the active ingredient in more than 750 herbicide products, according to the AP. The use of weed killers has skyrocketed with the advent of genetically modified (GMO) crops bred for resistance to these types of herbicides. Roundup, made by chemical giant Monsanto, is probably the most recognized brand of glyphosate weed killer.
In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Andrew Kimball, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, explains just how serious the problem really is: “GE crops actually add hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides to our fields and crops, and create greater agrochemical residues on our food,” he writes. “Why? Because around 85 percent of all genetically engineered crops in the United States and around the world have been engineered to withstand massive doses of herbicides, mostly Monsanto's Roundup.”
In response to the decision, Monsanto put out a statement asserting "All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health.”
If you’re not inclined to believe the chemical powerhouse, it’s time to start looking for alternatives to GMO products. The easiest — and most impactful — way to do that? Seek out certified organic produce and products. Pressure for GMO labeling is mounting, but with natural and organic products rolling out in record numbers, there are plenty of options for consumers.
“The recent determination by the World Health Organization that glyphosate is a 'probable carcinogen”'should serve should serve as a wake-up call to Americans that genetically engineering food to survive high-dose toxic weed killer is not healthy for ourselves or our environment,” says David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. “We need to label GMOs in order to make healthier more sustainable food choices.”
Photo credit: bottlerocketprincess via Flickr