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FDA to Start Testing Monsanto's Glyphosate in Food

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will begin testing food for glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used pesticide, according to Civil Eats. This marks the first time that a U.S. agency will routinely test for glyphosate residue in food. It comes after the Government Accountability Office released a report condemning the FDA for failing even to disclose its failure to test for glyphosate in its annual pesticide residue report.

The World Health Organization (WHO) found that glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, was a probable human carcinogen and glyphosate has been named as a leading cause of massive declines in monarch butterflies.

“In the wake of intense scrutiny, the Food and Drug Administration has finally committed to taking this basic step of testing our food for the most commonly used pesticide. It’s shocking that it’s taken so long, but we’re glad it’s finally going to happen,” Dr. Nathan Donley, a scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “More and more scientists are raising concerns about the effects of glyphosate on human health and the environment. With about 1.7 billion pounds of this pesticide used each year worldwide, the FDA’s data is badly needed to facilitate long-overdue conversations about how much of this chemical we should tolerate in our food.”

Leading scientists published an article about the exploding use of glyphosate around the world in yesterday’s issue of the journal Environmental Health. Pointing to concerns over rapidly increasing use, outdated science and the WHO’s finding, the authors called on regulatory agencies to take a fresh look at the real-world impacts of glyphosate and to start monitoring its levels in people and in food.

“The alarm bell is ringing loud and clear. The current cavalier use of glyphosate and lax regulation, cannot remain in place,” Donley said. “It’s long past time to start reining in the out-of-control use of this dangerous pesticide in the United States and around the world.”

Just last week 35 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concerns regarding the potential negative health and environmental impacts of a pesticide, Enlist Duo, that combines glyphosate and 2,4-D. EPA is currently reanalyzing its decision to register the dangerous pesticide following a remand order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Monsanto is also now embroiled in a legal battle with the state of California over the state’s move to list glyphosate as a carcinogen under Proposition 65 law. As the legal battle plays out California, a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity found that more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in the state was applied in the state’s eight most impoverished counties.

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Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.

"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."

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NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.

As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.

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The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.

"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."

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