April 28, 2016

Roundup, “probably” causes cancer in people

Officials at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization, have declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, “probably” causes cancer in people, Andrew Pollack reports for The New York Times. The study, published in the The Lancet Oncology, bases its information on the same 1985 and 1991 studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, which first said Roudnup might cause cancer, then reversed that decision.

Aaron Blair, a retired epidemiologist from the National Cancer Institute and one of the researchers of the study, told Pollack, “All three lines of evidence sort of said the same thing, which is we ought to be concerned about this.” Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, accuses “the agency of having an ‘agenda’ and ‘cherry picking’ the data to support its case.”

In a separate study published in the online journalMBio, researchers from New Zealand and Mexico looked at the effect of glyphosate, dicamba (Kamba) and 2,4-D to antibiotic resistance, reportsSustainable Food Trusts. They found that “even low levels of the herbicides had the effect of inducing antibiotic resistance before the antibiotics had time to kill the bacteria; in a few antibiotic/herbicide combinations they actually made the bacteria more susceptible to the antibiotic, while in other cases they had no impact.”

“Residues of these herbicides typically found in food were not sufficient to induce resistance, but the researchers have identified a number of situations in homes and on farms where more direct exposure to the herbicides could result in antibiotic resistance in children and pets or farm animals and pollinating insects, such as honeybees, which can need treating with antibiotics to cure bacterial infections.”