The Environmental Protection Agency’s long-standing position is that glyphosate exposure and low-level consumption does not pose any risk to humans. According to their website, Monsanto supports these claims with their own in-house studies, which have found glyphosate to be “more than 10 times less toxic than caffeine.”
Despite Monsanto’s statements, a number of U.S. agricultural workers and landscapers are currently suing Monsanto, claiming that by using Roundup they were exposed to high levels of glyphosate which caused them to develop Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Monsanto stands by their safety claims, stating “in more than 700 studies, no one has associated cancer with the use of glyphosate.”
However, information obtained through the first cases against Monsanto shows that the EPA reports are likely compromised.
Within the documents lies a chain of Monsanto internal emails, and email communications between the company and EPA staff, suggesting that the EPA research had been ghostwritten by Monsanto, and later signed off by EPA academics. In one such email, Monsanto executive William F. Heydens wrote, “we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they [EPA] would just edit & sign their names so to speak.” There is also evidence that one EPA senior official had worked directly with Monsanto directors to put a halt to further investigations by other federal health agencies into the potential adverse effects of glyphosate. Other documents indicate that an EPA senior officials had worked with Monsanto to hide a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study reviewing glyphosate, which suggested the herbicide could be a carcinogen. A series of EPA internal emails revealed a great level of dispute among employees about the safety of glyphosate.
Even within the EPA, there seems to be a polarizing disagreement of whether glyphosate is hazardous for humans. The agency is currently conducting a scheduled evaluation of the chemical though there is no indication of when the results of the evaluation will be published.
Roundup weed killers have been banned in the Netherlands, France, Bermuda, Columbia, Sri Lanka, and recently, in Vietnam. On April 11, 2019, Vietnam removed herbicides containing glyphosate from the market because of the damaging effects it has on the environment and severe health consequences for the population.
“The decision to remove herbicides containing glyphosate from the list of plant protection chemicals permitted for use in Vietnam is in accordance with the current law, international regulations and in line with Vietnam’s socio-economic conditions,” Hoang Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said in the statement.
The herbicide is Monsanto’s flagship product. Being sold internationally for both mass agricultural purposes and as an at-home gardening applicant, it is the most widely used herbicide in the world.
There are currently more than 700 lawsuits filed against Monsanto related to Roundup weedkillers. The people claiming injuries are made up of agricultural laborers, lawn care workers, and gardeners who have developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma because of their high levels of exposure to glyphosate.
Monsanto continues to assert that Roundoff is safe for consumers.