In a recently released report by an international group of scientists funded by Earth Open Source, the team of researchers concluded that as far back as the 1980s, regulators knew that exposure to the glyphosate-based pesticide commonly marketed as Monsanto’s Roundup causes birth defects.
The report, titled “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” shows a distinct link between glyphosate exposure and a higher incidence of birth defects including “malformations of the craniofacial and neural crest type, which affect the skull, face, midline, and developing brain and spinal cord.”
According to the study, the biotech industry has not only known of the malformation risks since the 1980s, but as far back as 1993, they’ve been aware that even at mild to low levels of exposure, the risks are still high for deformity.
The study’s authors write that although the health risks were widely known throughout the industry, the companies and regulators failed to inform the public about the serious risks of exposure. In Germany just last year, where their regulators have known of the potential threats since 1998, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety told the Commission there was “no evidence of teratogenicity” (ability to cause birth defects) connected with glyphosate. Even though genetically modified foods are banned in Germany (and throughout most of Europe), the companion pesticide product, Roundup is not. Glyphosate was scheduled for review in 2012, but the Commission delayed the review along with 38 other pesticides until 2015.
One of the study’s co-authors and spokesperson for Earth Open Source, Claire Robinson, said, “This looks like a thirty-year cover-up by industry and regulators and it has certainly placed the public at risk. Roundup is used not only by farmers but by home gardeners and in school grounds and other public areas, in part because of false marketing claims that it is safe.”
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