The Real Story On Glyphosphate… Another Story That Hasn’t Reached The Daily Papers and Probably Never Will

In October 2009 France’s highest court has ruled that Monsanto lied about the safety of its weed killing herbicide Roundup. The decision confirms an earlier court judgment in France finding that Monsanto had falsely advertised Roundup as being “biodegradable” and that it “left the soil clean.”

The original case was brought to court in 2001 and finally ended in a ruling against Monsanto in 2007. Monsanto appealed and also lost that case as well in Lyon in 2008. So they appealed again. This time it went to France’s Supreme Court; it lost that hearing and now faces fines and nowhere else to go for further appeals.

Although the fine was small (US$22,400), the case resulted in the Roundup brand with fourth quarter losses of US$233 million. Disturbingly Monsanto has made no public statement about the court`s ruling. It could also mean civil cases from farmers and communities harmed by the false advertising. However there has been growing evidence of Roundup’s extreme toxicity and findings that glyphosate- based herbicides are now major pollutants of rivers and surface waters.

This is why many are now calling on a worldwide ban on glyphosate herbicide and GM crops which rely on its use. They argue that these GM crops and seeds are worse for the environment and could be a real problem. And indeed there is strong evidence indicating that apart from the fact that more than 80 percent of all GM crops grown globally are engineered to be glyphosate-tolerant they have also been responsible for a 15-fold increase in glyphosate use on major crops as glyphosate-resistant super weeds proliferate. In other words, Roundup is causing major problems, far more than it solves.

Did you know that glyphosate was found to kill human placental cells at concentrations below that recommended for agricultural use and approved by regulators, while Roundup was lethal at even lower concentrations? The herbicide has already been linked with spontaneous abortions, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma in humans; and in laboratory studies glyphosate caused liver damage in rats. Roundup is also highly lethal to amphibians.

Would farmers and home gardeners use it if they were really aware of the associated risks? I don’t think so. For too long Monsanto’s tactics, including ruthless legal battles against small farmers and its decades-long history of toxic contamination has been hidden from the public. Why? It seems all discussions about the subject are based on ignorance and deliberate misinformation by the industry.

Today’s Gold Nugget was written in response to the Age Article attached. I corrected Geoff Strong’s claim that ‘unlike glyphosate, which readily breaks down – triazene lingers in the environment and can have a serious impact on the productivity of crops for a year or more“. Strong like many others has been misled by Monsanto who has for decades successfully advertised that its weed killing Roundup (main ingredient glyphosphate) breaks down readily with no harmful residue. However after a court challenge by the farmers in France Monsanto has been forced to withdraw the claim as it simply is not true.