Is the most used herbicide in the world carcinogenic?

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It inhibits an enzyme that is essential for the growth of a plant. It began to be commercialized in 1974 under the name of Roundup for the control of weeds. Monsanto discovered and patented the original glyphosate molecule and maintained the patent in the USA. until the year 2000. Today many other companies have registered their own herbicide products based on glyphosate. In Spain there are more than 100 authorized products for agriculture, forestry, gardening and domestic application that contain it.

Is it carcinogenic?

There is no unanimity among the scientific community. Hence all the controversy. For years glyphosate was classified in group 4 agents probably not carcinogenic to humans. In 2015, the situation changed when the International Agency for Cancer (IARC), dependent on the World Health Organization, included it in group 2A:«The agent (or mixture) is probably carcinogenic to humans. This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animal experiments. " In this category are also red meat, hot mate, tanning lamps, automobile exhaust and even shift work that implies an interruption in the normality of sleep patterns. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European agencies Efsa (food safety) and Echa (chemical substances) continue to maintain thatglyphosate, when used according to the label, does not pose a risk to human health, the environment or pets.

What does the European regulation say?

After two years of particularly intense debates, in 2017 the member states of the European Union decidedrenew the license of glyphosate for five years. The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, justified the decision by the approval of its scientific agencies. The French government promised that glyphosate would be banned partly in 2021 and totally within five years. At least until now, the Spanish executive has had a favorable position to the continuity of this herbicide.

How is the situation in Galicia?

Glyphosate is also the most commonly used herbicide in Galicia. Only in agricultural use, our community spends more than 10 million euros on this compound, whose price in the market is between 5 and 11 euros per liter, depending on the brand. In recent years, the Galician authorities have declared war on glyphosate. A Coruña, Ourense, Santiago, Gondomar, Nigrán, Marín, Combarro, Ames, Brión, Poio, Miño or Ponteareas, among others, have already declared themselves free of this herbicide that is also used in the cleaning of ditches.

What does the last sentence against Monsanto say?

A popular jury in Oakland (California, USA) has ordered Monsanto, owned by Bayer, to pay two billion dollars to an elderly couple considering that a glyphosate-based herbicide caused cancer. Alva Pilliod, 76, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2011, while his wife, Alberta, 74, was found in 2015. The couple had been using the Monsanto Roundup herbicide for about 30 years in the garden from his home in Livermore (California, USA). The seven men and five women of the jury considered that the herbicide was a "substantial factor" in the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas that developed the marriage.

And the previous sentences?

This is the third (and most significant to date) order against Bayer for this matter in the US, after last August a jury in San Francisco condemned the company to pay 289 million dollars (later discounted by a judge to 89 million) to a gardener and in March another jury ordered him to pay 80 million to a neighbor of Sonoma (California). Right nowthere are more than 13,000 similar cases in progress.

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. (tagsToTranslate) European Union (t) European Commission (t) Agriculture (t) EPA (t) WHO

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