Bottles of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide on a store shelf. (photo: Jeff Roberson/AP)
28 May 14
group of mothers is going after the biotech corporation Monsanto, pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to crack down on the company’s controversial herbicide. “Moms Across America” says that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup should be recalled.
The group points to evidence that glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, is building up in women’s bodies and is now being detected in breast milk. The chemical has previously been found in drinking water, but its presence in the human body is especially concerning, considering the fact that glyphosate been linked to health issues like neurological disorders, reproductive issues, and birth defects.
Glyphosate, which is now the most popular herbicide in the world, spiked in use in the 1990s after Monsanto genetically engineered crops that can survive being sprayed directly with Roundup. Monsanto executives have previously stated that glyphosate doesn’t accumulate in human bodies, but the new research appears to contradict that claim.
“This is a poison and it’s in our food. And now they’ve found it in breast milk,” Zen Honeycutt, the founder of Moms Across America, explained to Reuters. “Numerous studies show serious harm to mammals. We want this toxic treadmill of chemical cocktails in our food to stop.”
The EPA is currently conducting a standard review of glyphosate. By next year, the agency will decide whether the chemical can continue to be used as it is currently, or whether there needs to be stricter regulation over it. That’s why environmental activists like Moms Across America are taking the opportunity to meet with regulators to express their concerns about Roundup.
Moms Across America is also targeting other government agencies on this issue. The group wants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct more tests to determine glyphosate’s potential long-term effects on Americans’ health. “It is the responsibility of parents to care for their children and it is the responsibility of the CDC to partner with us to care for our nation,” the mothers write.
This isn’t the only potentially harmful chemical that could pose a threat to women’s health. There’s increasing evidence that environmental toxins can harm women’s ability to have children. Last year, two leading reproductive health groups — the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine —issued a joint statement urging the EPA to limit the chemicals that could have a negative effect on women’s pregnancies.
Nonetheless, Monsanto doesn’t shy away from using its considerable economic power to undermine the policies that would restrict its current business model. The company hasdeep roots in Washington, and has poured millions of dollars into campaigns to defeat state legislation to regulate genetically engineered groceries.