New Evidence: GMO Crops Could Increase Cancer Risk

March 23, 2015
by Nichol Nelson for Thrive Market
New Evidence: GMO Crops Could Increase Cancer Risk

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

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This article is related to: GMOs, Monsanto, Glyphosate, Glyphosate Toxicity

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14 thoughts on “New Evidence: GMO Crops Could Increase Cancer Risk”

  • LJ

    I think the title of this article is misleading...what the evidence is showing is that weedkiller likely increases your risk of cancer, not GMO crops. I personally think it's likely that GMO crops do the same thing, but that's not what the International Agency for Research on Cancer is saying.

    Reply
    • krouse93

      True, but GMO crops also coincide with large amounts of weedkiller. It's often thought that GMOs don't need weedkiller but that's often not the case.

      Reply
      • Van

        That is not true. GMO is Not responsible for increased usage of chemicals. Indeed it is quite the opposite. Plus the only people who would have increased cancer risks would be the ones applying the chemical as glyphosate has a very short half life.

        Reply
        • krouse93

          Actually it is, because with the increased prevalence of GMO crops bacteria and incects develop mechanisms for mutating and resisting against the pesticides and herbicides in GMO crops. I can guarantee to you that farmers are Not planing GMOs in the soil without accompanying them with pesticides first.

          Reply
          • Van

            You can guarantee that? As a farmer I can guarantee that you are incorrect. We do not always use preplant herbicides and with glyphosate you have a wider window of application. Having said that, glyphosate is not the only chemical available to us and is not the only weed control we use.

            Reply
            • krouse93

              http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24

              Also the most important thing you are not taking into account is that the GMO crops containing bt, glyphosate or otherwise don't just magically make the pesticide trait disappear, they deposit residues into the soil, and the aquifers and this gets into the watershed and polluted our drinking water. I don't think that's something you should be able to do. I wouldn't pop on over to your farm to change my oil in your well or your soil, and farmers shouldn't be allowed to dump toxic loads of fertilizers into the soil which will eventually run off into and contaminate the water supply for the rest of us.

              Reply
              • Van

                Glyphosate has a very short half life and is not mobile, therefore it does not run off in the water. Farmers do not like to "dump toxic loads of fertilizers into the soil" as our inputs are very expensive and we try to apply only what the plants will use.
                Golf courses and city lawns use much higher rates and large cities cause much more water pollution.

                Reply
          • Van

            We plant both GMO and Non-GMO crops. Glyphosate resistance is not the only trait available.

            Reply
            • krouse93

              Van, you do not represent all farmers, nor do you represent farmers in developing countries. In fact GMO Cotton crops do increase the prevalence of pesticide usage, perhaps not glyphosate, but harmful pollutants nonetheless.

              Reply
              • Van

                I do not represent all farmers but enough to know that you cannot guarantee any such thing as you had claimed. Most all of your so-called facts are incorrect.
                Biotechnology does not add to overuse of pesticides and in fact can decrease the use. In the case of bt cotton, and bt corn farmers are able to cut back drastically on the use of insecticides. This is beneficial to the good insects and has improved the environment.

                Reply
    • Van

      Thousands of replicated scientific studies have proven the safety of GMO crops. This article is indeed misleading.

      Reply
  • DENNIS KRAMER

    Consumer Reports Health release a 30 page report on GMO's. Learn fom sources other than the government and lobbyists from Monsanto and other companies only looking out for their bottom line profit margin.

    Reply
    • Van

      How about learning from scientists?
      Novel idea don't you think?
      2000 studies have proven the safety. Real, replicated studies.

      Reply
  • sharonhansen209
    sharonhansen209 May 1, 2015 at 11:24 am

    If one sees the cancer rate increase next to the increase in GMO's in our food, you will easily see that they are obviously related. When man plays God, it doesn't turn out well.

    Reply
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