Monsanto Company is an American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation, based in Missouri.
It is best known for developing genetically engineered (GE) seed and producing Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide.
On their website Monsanto states that Roundup “offers
weed control, weed to weed and field to field, even hard-to-control weeds such
as velvetleaf, purslan, morning glory, lambsquarters and Canada thistle”.
also claim that Roundup has consistently outperformed imitator herbicide
products in greenhouse and field trials.
Probably a human carcinogen
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is deciding whether
or not to approve the use of Roundup for the next 15 years, a report by the European
Union Food safety Authority (EFSA) stated that glyphosate (the active
ingredient in Roundup) is “unlikely to cause cancer”.
On the face of it, that statement should be just what Monsanto wanted to
hear, especially after the findings of the World Health Organisation (WHO)
earlier this year that glyphosate is probably
a human carcinogen.
Read: 6 hidden cancer causes
There’s more to it, though, and, as the environmental watchdog Sustainable
Pulse pointed out, even if the main ingredient glyphosate doesn’t cause
cancer, the mixture of glyphosate with other constituents or “co-formulants”
could be genotoxic. (A substance that is genotoxic damages DNA and may lead to
Additives not tested
Sustainable Pulse adds that
tests carried out on laboratory animals involve only the active ingredient, in
this case glyphosate. The additives that increase or support the herbicidal
properties of the weedkiller are not tested, although they form part of the
product used on crops, and to which people and animals are exposed.
The WHO findings were not based on glyphosate alone, but combined with
all the other additives in Roundup.
According to a study pesticide formulations are up to 1,000 times
more toxic than the isolated “active ingredient” that is tested. The study also
found that Roundup was the most toxic of the herbicides and insecticides that
Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini, who headed the study, said that
the public isn’t aware of how toxic these pesticides are and that they should
be assessed more realistically. Ignoring the situation and doing nothing could
endanger people’s lives.
UN agency classifies pesticides as 'probably carcinogenic'
Monsanto orders review of 'carcinogenic' herbicide