The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
150 European Parliament Members to Test Urine for Glyphosate
Glyphosate being applied to a field in North Yorkshire, England. In Europe, there has been growing controversy over the substance. Photo credit: Flickr
According to The Guardian, the move comes ahead of a symbolic vote on glyphosate's prohibition in the European Union this Wednesday.
The European Commission is proposing to grant the herbicide a new 15-year lease when it ends in June. However, in March, several EU member states, including France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands, led a very public rebellion over the relicensing, citing its purported health risks. The actually vote to re-approve glyphosate has now been postponed to at least mid-May.
Coupled with that, a new Yougov poll found that two-thirds of Europeans support a ban on glyphosate.
"A prohibition on the herbicide ingredient was backed by three quarters of Italians, 70 percent of Germans, 60 percent of French and 56 percent of Britons, in a survey of more than 7,000 people across the EU’s five biggest states," The Guardian wrote.
Green Party MEP Bart Staes told The Guardian “this poll clearly shows that the European public does not want ... the authorization of glyphosate, and certainly not until June 2031.”
Glyphosate has garnered a great deal of backlash in Europe ever since the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified the ingredient as a possible carcinogen last year.
The European Green party will vote on a resolution objecting to the commission's plans to reapprove the substance in Europe on April 13. "The finding that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans by the WHO should be leading to a global moratorium on its use," the Greens said.
A number of studies have detected glyphosate—the “most widely applied pesticide worldwide”—in our immediate surroundings and even in human bodies. A 2013 Friends of the Earth Europe study reported people in 18 European countries have traces of glyphosate in their urine.
This past February, a German study found that 14 of the most popular brands of German beer tested positive for glyphosate, which inspired the MEPs to organize the urine sampling.
David Zaruk, a Brussels-based environmental health risk research analyst who runs the blog The Risk-Monger, questioned in a post if the MEPs are testing their urine as "a clever stunt" before their symbolic vote on Wednesday.
Zaruk published his email correspondence with Staes, asking him if tax dollars were paying for the tests. He also shared with Staes this meme floating on the Internet about wine's hyped up glyphosate risks compared to ethanol.
Here's an excerpt of Zaruk's email to Staes:
Are you also aware that the trace levels of glyphosate are so low as to be insignificant, and the fact that it is being expelled in urine is actually good news (as opposed to cocaine and alcohol). Ok, I suppose you really don’t care about facts ... maybe your voters will!
Kind regards and good luck frightening Europe for petty reasons while choking agriculture.
In response, Staes wrote back to Zaruk saying that the MEPs are paying for the urine tests out of their own pocket and added:
As a MEP I am for the last 17 years very active to fight for another kind of agriculture. For me and the Greens, glyphosate is the very incarnation of “modern agriculture,” a model that is not sustainable at all:
1. It stands for reckless monoculture: a non-selective herbicide—a broad band killer which kills all plants, algae, bacteria and fungi—is used to deal with a few pests, thereby creating massive effects on non-target organisms and biodiversity,
2. It is strongly linked to GMOs (56% of global use is for glyphosate resistant crops)—killing everything but the genetically engineered crop,
3. It stands for economic gains at all costs:
• it has replaced traditional agricultural practices such as tilling because spraying glyphosate is cheaper (“chemical plough”)
• it is used not only to kill unwanted weed, but also the crop itself prior to harvest to accelerate ripening and facilitate harvest (“desiccation”).
So what I do is far from a political gimmick.
Zaruk also responded to each of Staes' points in his blog post.
In recent news, France banned glyphosate mixed with the additive tallow amine due to its perceived risks to human health citing results from a November report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Even though EFSA rejected the IARC's classification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen and said it was “unlikely” to pose a public health risk, the EFSA admitted that it only examined glyphosate alone, not glyphosate formulations.
The adverse health effects of the herbicide, therefore, could be related to reactions with “other constituents or ‘co-formulants,’” the EFSA report said.
Monsanto, which has long maintained the safety of their flagship product, confirmed to Reuters they are one of the companies affected by the French ban, adding that the debate over glyphosate is “political.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By George Citroner
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the World Health Organization currently recommend either 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (walking, gardening, doing household chores) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming) every week.
But there's little research looking at the benefits, if any, of exercising less than the 75 minute minimum.
It seems the reality of the climate crisis is too much for the Federal Reserve to ignore anymore.
For 21 years, Doug Distaso served his country in the United States Air Force.
He commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.
But after an Air Force plane accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, Distaso was placed on more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
The scourge of plastic waste that washes up on once-pristine beaches and finds its way into the middle of the ocean often starts on land, is dumped in rivers and canals, and gets carried out to sea. At the current rate, marine plastic is predicted to outweigh all the fish in the seas by 2050, according to Silicon Canals.
By Julia Conley
Joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Friday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders held the largest rally of any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to date in Iowa, drawing more than 2,400 people to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.