Associated Press medical writer, Maria Cheng recently reported that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization of the UN has labeled glyphosate – an herbicide used on many commercial farms — a “probable carcinogen.” This determination was made in 2015. Our own US EPA, which makes its own determinations, said it would “consider” the French agency’s evaluation. To date, no determination has been made.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in what is commonly sold as Roundup by Monsanto. The IARC has three levels of risk for possible cancer-causing agents:
- Known carcinogens,
- Probable or possible carcinogens,
- Not classifiable and probably not carcinogenic.
Glyphosate falls in the second level of concern. This classification is for mainly industrial use of glyphosate. The decision was published online in the journal Lancet Oncology. According to the IARC, glyphosate is used in more than 750 different herbicide products and it has been detected in the air during spraying, in the water, and in the food we put on our tables. Glyphosate has been found in the blood and urine of farm workers, showing that the chemical has been absorbed in their bodies.
What is most troubling is that experts feel there is “limited evidence” in humans that the herbicide can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that there is convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause other forms of cancer in rats and mice.
As you would expect, Monsanto and other producers of glyphosate-containing herbicides strongly disagree with the decision. Monsanto’s Phil Miller proclaimed, “All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health.” He is the global head of regulatory and government affairs for Monsanto.
What makes me feel warm and fuzzy about my own government is that the EPA’s 2012 assessment of glyphosate concluded that it met the statutory safety standards and that the chemical could “continue to be used without unreasonable risk to people or to the environment.”
Is this yet another case of a huge agri-business concern putting profits above the health and safety of consumers? You be the judge.
Paul V. Profeta co-founded Profeta Farms with his wife, certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, Joanne Malino and organic farmer John Place. After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Paul created a very successful real estate investment company. Concomitantly, he taught and published at Harvard Business School, created the Real Estate Investment Department at Columbia Business School, and most recently endowed the Chaired Professorship of Real Estate at Rutgers Business School resulting in the creation of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate. As a successful athlete in high school and college, Profeta was always interested in health, nutrition, and alternative medicine. Eventually, he decided that America has to change the way it feeds itself. Industrialized food processors shipping food across the country creating a large carbon footprint and offering “food products” with known contaminants and questionable ingredients was not the answer. He has created Profeta Farms, LLC as a template for the way America should feed itself… local, sustainable, certified organic farms featuring integrity and transparency, using the environment in a sustainable and responsible fashion while treating animals humanely so that local shoppers can “know their farmer” and personally check on the farmers methods and ingredients.