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EPA Urged to Put Public Health Over Monsanto Profits by Banning Cancer-Linked Glyphosate

"This dangerous herbicide causes serious health risks, including cancer, and threatens our environment."

Demonstrators walk with placards during a march for agroecology and civil resistance against U.S. seed and pesticide maker Monsanto on May 20, 2017 in Bordeaux, southwestern France. (Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

As the Environmental Protection Agency moves to greenlight the continued use of glyphosate in the United States for another 15 years, a coalition of environmental and consumer advocacy groups on Wednesday delivered nearly 150,000 petitions urging the agency to ban the cancer-linked herbicide.

The coalition's call comes ahead of the July 5 deadline for public comment on the EPA's interim registration review of glyphosate, which says the herbicide poses no health risks to humans.

"It's time for the EPA to stand up to Monsanto-Bayer and protect farmers, farm workers, lawn care workers, and consumers."
—Alexis Baden-Mayer

Jason Davidson, food and agriculture campaign associate at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement that the scientific evidence contradicts the EPA's assessment of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup.

"The science is clear about glyphosate," Davidson said. "This dangerous herbicide causes serious health risks, including cancer, and threatens our environment. EPA must do its job and ban this toxic pesticide instead of prioritizing corporate profits."

In a press release, Friends of the Earth said the EPA cited "Monsanto-funded studies in its evaluation" of glyphosate.

Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides, said the EPA is "getting the science wrong... and needs to listen to international agencies and peer-reviewed literature on the dangers posed by widespread use of this herbicide."

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"While continuing to pressure EPA, we encourage advocates to get active in their community," Toher said, "and work with their local elected officials towards organic policies that stop glyphosate and other toxic pesticides like it."

As Common Dreams reported last month, a California jury ordered Monsanto—which was acquired by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer last year—to pay a record $2 billion in damages to a couple that was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) after using Roundup for years.

The jury's May verdict was the third time in less than a year that Monsanto was found liable for cancer.

"It's time for the EPA to stand up to Monsanto-Bayer and protect farmers, farm workers, lawn care workers, and consumers," said Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association. "If Trump's EPA chooses to ignore the science, Congress should step in."

Zen Honeycutt, executive director of Moms Across America, warned in a statement Wednesday that, if reapproved, glyphosate will continue to "contaminate our tap water, breast milk, baby food, formulas, cereals, thousands of food types, and cotton products."

"It will continue to destroy soil quality, which contributes to climate change, the decline of marine and wildlife and the environment," said Honeycutt. "In short, the only way the EPA can do its job is to revoke its license."

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