Lawyers in Missouri just filed a fresh group of 136 lawsuits for people with lymphoma who were exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer.

Osborn & Barr, an ad agency based in St. Louis, was roped into the litigation after escaping scrutiny in hundreds of previous lawsuits.

Monsanto paid Osborn & Barr for advertising Roundup as “safer than table salt” and “practically non-toxic” for over 20 years. The ads were banned in New York in the 1990s because they were misleading.

The truth is that a few tablespoons of salt can kill you. So can drinking a bottle of Roundup. The problem isn’t the weed-killing chemical glyphosate, it’s the other ingredients that aren’t on the label.

Those other ingredients include a soap-like chemical that helps glyphosate stick to the plant and get inside: Polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), a surfactant derived from beef suet (animal fat).

Besides the religious concerns of spraying animal fat on vegetable crops, POEA is known to be toxic to fish and frogs and studies show that it is more toxic to humans than glyphosate.

POEA enhances the toxicity of glyphosate. This is why studies show that glyphosate alone is not very toxic, but glyphosate mixed with POEA in Roundup is extremely toxic at low levels in rats.

Even so, POEA is allowed in foods labeled “organic” by the USDA because regulators say it is not dangerous. Furthermore, residues of glyphosate and its major bioactive metabolite AMPA are now routinely found in soybeans, wheat, barley, and many other foods.

Monsanto and regulators say glyphosate on its own is not dangerous, but no one really knows the safety of highly-concentrated Roundup formulations that are sprayed on crops and mixed with unknown chemicals.

That big problem was highlighted in an essay published this month in The British Medical Journal, in which researchers warned:

Current safety standards for [glyphosate based herbicides] are outdated and may fail to protect public health or the environment.”

Researchers noted that the use of Roundup has increased 100-fold over the last 40 years, but 73% of the studies that the U.S. EPA is currently using to assess the safety of glyphosate were published before 1985. Only 11 of those studies were peer-reviewed.

The researchers said regulators should immediately start monitoring levels of glyphosate and AMPA in humans, re-assess the safety of glyphosate, conduct epidemiological studies with a focus on farm workers, and evaluate the safety of highly-concentrated commercial formulations.

Source: Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides?

Posted by Elizabeth Bradley

Lifelong consumer advocate. Pop culture nerd. Grammar evangelist. Wannabe organizer. Travel addict. Zombie fan.