I’m sure you’ve heard of RoundUp, the weed-killer brought to you by Monsanto. People frequently use it in the backyards, and it’s commonly sprayed on public parks, school playgrounds, and sports fields.
What you probably don’t know is that recent studies have shown that exposure to glyphosate – the key ingredient in RoundUp – poses grave health risks for people.
In March, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization announced that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” In the WHO report, scientists cited evidence from studies showing that glyphosate has been linked to tumors in mice and rats and has caused DNA damage to human cells. A 2014 study also found that exposure to low levels of glyphosate can result in significant liver and kidney damage.
Armed with this research, the California EPA recently announced that it plans to label glyphosate as a chemical “known to cause cancer.”
Why does this matter?
Well, first, if the California EPA’s plan to label glyphosate is finalized, then consumers like you will have the facts needed to make informed choices about whether to use this weed-killer. Consumers have a right to know about the health risks of commercial products, and this plan helps protect that right.
Another reason this matters so much is because of the widespread use of glyphosate in food production. Glyphosate is the number one herbicide used in agriculture. According to a National Geographic article, nearly all U.S. corn, soy, and cotton is treated with glyphosate.
What this means is that food you might eat could have been sprayed with this dangerous chemical and might carry some residue. Could that residue in food be large enough to pose serious health risks? The answer is unclear at this point.
What we do know, however, is that glyphosate is a chemical known to cause cancer. As consumers, we have a right to know this fact and whether products contain high levels of this dangerous chemical.
The California EPA’s public comment period ends October 20th. If you’d like to submit a comment, you can do so here.