Will the EPA do its job?


The ongoing saga of Monsanto and its pesticides has not been resolved, and may not be anytime soon. The powerful lobbies in government continue to be a force working against us. Part of the problem is government partiality to corporate monies and part is the fact the men and women who are educating our politicians in Congress are often from the very corporations that are creating the agra-toxins.

It’s a predicament, especially since science is honing in on a number of diseases these plant-infecting and air-borne chemicals may be causing: Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) is a case in point.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, an alternative medicine doctor, osteopathic physician, supplement founder and web entrepreneur, writes this about ALS:

MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff and colleagues have published a new study detailing the mechanism by which glyphosate may contribute to the fatal neurodegenerative disease ALS.

(According to Wiki: “Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. It was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.[3] Monsanto brought it to market in 1974 under the trade name Roundup, and Monsanto’s last commercially relevant United States patent expired in 2000.”)

A significantly-increased risk of ALS has been noted in glyphosate-exposed workers.

The disease involves several protein mutations in glycine-rich regions, and the researchers suggested glyphosate may play a role in ALS by mistakenly substituting for glycine, an amino acid essential for the synthesis of DNA, during protein synthesis as well as by disrupting mineral homeostasis and setting up a state of gut dysbiosis.6 They wrote in the Journal of Bioinformatics and Proteomics Review:7

” … [W]e paint a compelling view of how glyphosate exerts its deleterious effects, including mitochondrial stress and oxidative damage through glycine substitution.

“Furthermore, its mineral chelation properties disrupt manganese, copper and zinc balance, and it induces glutamate toxicity in the synapse, which results in a die-back phenomenon in axons of motor neurons supplying the damaged skeletal muscles.”

So far, the Environmental Protection Agency has poo-pooed the science and looked the other way. But the health food industry isn’t going along with the results the EPA is putting out there.

Dr. Mercola’s latest piece, published today 12/27/16, gives us food for thought and helps us better understand the fight ahead. Unless the people rise up and stand up to these harmful practices, we’ll continue to have challenges with the food we eat and the air we breathe. Stay educated and make your voices heard as new bills come to the fore.

The following is excerpted from a longer article which you can find today on the web.

By Dr. Mercola

In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), determined glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, to be a “probable carcinogen” (Class 2A).

This determination was based on evidence showing the popular weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” it can also cause cancer in animals.

Monsanto has maintained that the classification as a carcinogen is wrong and continues to tout glyphosate (and Roundup) as one of the safest pesticides on the planet. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meanwhile, has yet to take an official position regarding the virtually unchecked use of this poison on U.S. soil.

The EPA postponed — at the behest of the industry — a series of public meetings it intended to hold earlier this year to discuss glyphosate research, particularly that linking it to cancer. In December 2016, those meetings finally took place.

Will the EPA Side With Industry or Move to Protect Americans’ Health?

More than 250,000 public comments were filed with the EPA prior to the glyphosate meetings, at which another 10-plus hours of in-person public commentary is expected from scientists, activists and industry giants.

“The exercise is academic by design, but powerful economic forces are hard at work hoping to influence the outcome,” The Hill reported, adding:1

“An official regulatory nod to cancer concerns could be devastating to Monsanto’s bottom line, not to mention its planned $66 billion merger with Bayer AG, as well as to other agrichemical companies that sell glyphosate products.

Monsanto is also facing more than three dozen lawsuits over glyphosate cancer concerns and needs EPA backing to defend against the court actions.”

Already, in September 2016, the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs released its glyphosate issue paper to evaluate the chemical’s carcinogenic potential,2 in which it proposed glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

Many experts disagree, however, and have suggested glyphosate is not only a probable cause of cancer in humans but also a “likely cause.”

In a review published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, a team of scientists thoroughly reviewed the research behind the IARC’s ruling, noting an association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was found based on available human evidence.3

Associations between the chemical and rare kidney tumors, genotoxicity and oxidative stress and even DNA damage in the blood of exposed humans were also revealed.

EPA Removed ‘Anti-Industry’ Scientist From Panel at Industry’s Request

After the public commentary period and meetings end, a scientific advisory panel will get to work offering the EPA its best sound scientific advice on whether glyphosate poses a risk of cancer to humans. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

But industry is working hard to ensure that any science not on their side is overlooked by their friends in high places. Biotech trade group CropLife America is one group worth watching. They’ve launched a “full-fledged assault” against the team of IARC scientists who determined glyphosate’s carcinogenic status.

Not only is CropLife trying to get IARC’s U.S. funding cut, but it’s demanding the EPA reject IARC’s classification of glyphosate and allow for its continued virtually unchecked use in the U.S. First they tried to convince the EPA to forgo the scientific meetings over glyphosate entirely.

When that didn’t work (although they did succeed in getting the EPA to postpone the meetings for several months), they sent the EPA criteria to use in selecting their expert panel.

After the EPA panel was in place, they told the EPA to remove epidemiologist Peter Infante, doctor of public health, saying he was biased against the industry. The EPA complied, even though Infante denied the allegations, but gave no explanation as to why the expert consultant was removed.4

This, coupled with an earlier snafu in which the EPA posted, then promptly removed, a favorable glyphosate safety assessment, has left environmental and consumer groups doubtful that the EPA will uphold its mission to protect public health. Patty Lovera, assistant director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, told The Hill:5

“Their track record is awful … We don’t want to throw in the towel entirely. We want to try to hold them to their mission. But there is clearly evidence of industry influence. They aren’t doing anything to inspire confidence that they’re taking a serious look at this.”