Quantcast
Health

Monsanto's 'Cancer-Causing' Glyphosate Endangers California’s Hispanic and Latino Communities

A new report finds that more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in California is applied in the state’s eight most impoverished counties. Monsanto's glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization and may get a similar designation from the state of California in the coming weeks.

The analysis also finds that the populations in these counties are predominantly Hispanic or Latino, indicating that glyphosate use in California is distributed unequally along both socioeconomic and racial lines.

The report was released yesterday by the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, El Quinto Sol de America, Californians for Pesticide Reform, Center for Food Safety and Pesticide Action Network.

“We’ve uncovered a disturbing trend where poor and minority communities disproportionately live in regions where glyphosate is sprayed,” said Dr. Nathan Donley, a staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “In high doses glyphosate is dangerous to people, and California can’t, in good conscience, keep allowing these communities to pay the price for our over-reliance on pesticides."

The report, Lost in the Mist: How Glyphosate Use Disproportionately Threatens California’s Most Impoverished Counties, finds that 54 percent of glyphosate is applied in just eight counties, many of which are located in the southern part of the Central Valley. They are Tulare, Fresno, Merced, Del Norte, Madera, Lake, Imperial and Kern counties.

“The disproportionate concentration of glyphosate in our region is alarming and worrisome,” said Isabel Arrollo, executive director of El Quinto Sol de America, based in Tulare county. “It is imperative to protect the health of our communities, and any action to better protect health should not be dismissed as being premature. Health matters.”

Right now, California’s Environmental Protection Agency is deciding whether to formally add glyphosate to its list of known carcinogens under Proposition 65. Earlier this year the World Health Organization designated glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

“No one should be needlessly exposed to chemicals like glyphosate, that may cause cancer and other health problems,” said Caroline Cox, research director at the Center for Environmental Health. “It’s especially troubling that communities of color who are already at serious risk from chemicals in their environment are the most likely to suffer from exposures to this dangerous pesticide. The state must take the lead in protecting all Californians from glyphosate.”

This new report aligns with a recent study by the California EPA that found Hispanics and people in poverty disproportionately live in areas of high pesticide use. A 2014 California Department of Public Health study showed that Hispanic children were 46 percent more likely than white children to attend schools near hazardous pesticide use.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has an obligation to ensure that pesticide programs and policies do not result in a racially disparate impact. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and California Government Code § 11135 prohibit such racial discrimination.

“Rural communities and communities of color bear an unfair burden from use of Monsanto's glyphosate,” said PAN Staff Scientist Emily Marquez, PhD. “Scientists around the globe have signaled that this is yet another concerning chemical in the toxic soup of pesticides that end up in the air, water and soil of communities on the frontlines of industrial agriculture. And it’s time for policymakers to respond.”

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. and in the world. In 2012, more than 280 million pounds of glyphosate were used in the U.S. agricultural sector. Its use increased more than 20-fold on just corn and soy, from 10 million pounds in 1990, largely due to the widespread adoption of crops genetically engineered to withstand what would otherwise be fatal doses of glyphosate. Accordingly, glyphosate or its metabolites are now found on 90 percent of soybean crops and in air, water and soil samples around agricultural regions.

“Industrial agriculture has found a way to modify our crops so that they can survive large doses of a probable carcinogen, but whether humans can adapt in the same way is doubtful,” said Sarah Aird, Californians for Pesticide Reform’s acting executive director.

Full or partial bans on glyphosate have been adopted by France, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Colombia.

“The overuse of glyphosate in California and across the country is of increasing concern, especially in light of the World Health Organization's recent conclusion that it is probably carcinogenic,” said Rebecca Spector, west coast director at Center for Food Safety. “In the short term, it is imperative that the state of California better protect vulnerable communities from exposure to this harmful chemical. In the long term, we need to shift our agricultural system away from chemically intense practices all together in order to safeguard human health and the environment.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Elon Musk’s Brother Wants to Revolutionize Our Food System

85% of Tampons Contain Monsanto’s ‘Cancer Causing’ Glyphosate

12 Nontoxic Nail Polish Brands

The Human Cost of Cheap Chicken

Show Comments ()
Sponsored

One Million Trees Pledged to 'Trump Forest' to Offset President's Anti-Climate Agenda

Trump Forest—a global reforestation project aiming to offset President Trump's anti-climate policies—has reached 1 million trees after thousands of pledges from around the world.

Trump Forest was launched just under a year ago after POTUS announced he was pulling the U.S. from the Paris agreement.

Keep reading... Show less
The San Francisco Projection Department on Market Street with the #ExxonKnew campaign. Peg Hunter / Flickr

Time’s Up for California AG Becerra to Investigate #ExxonKnew and Prove He’s a Real Climate Leader

By May Boeve

With Trump and fossil fuel executives in the White House, any shot of powerful and lasting protections for our climate and communities will come from our cities and states. That's why it's so troubling that in California, one of the most progressive places in the U.S., current state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is failing to stand up to ExxonMobil and its ilk.

Keep reading... Show less
United Nations Development Programme

Climate Change, Conflict Leave 224 Million Undernourished in Africa

An official with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that climate change and conflict are leading to food insecurity for millions of people living in Africa.

"Undernourishment appears to have risen from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between 2015 and 2016," Bukar Tijani, FAO's assistant director general for Africa, said Monday at a conference in Sudan.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
iStock

A Stargazer’s Guide to Protected Dark Skies

By Sabine Bergmann

For millennia, human beings have gazed into the firmament and been awed by the thousands of stars, galaxies, nebulae and other cosmic wonders visible to the naked eye. But in recent generations, much of humanity has become divorced from these marvels. Today, at least 80 percent of people living in the United States and Europe are so inundated with light pollution that they can't even see our own Milky Way, let alone our neighboring galaxies like Andromeda.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Shutterstock

Contaminated Cosmetics Pose Growing Risk to Consumers

By Scott Faber

A rash of product recalls, government warning notices and contaminated cosmetics may finally push Congress to give our broken cosmetics law a makeover.

This month, a key Senate committee announced a bipartisan plan to consider cosmetics reform legislation this spring and work for its passage by the full Senate this year.

Keep reading... Show less

America’s Cities Are the Vanguard for a Sustainable Future

By Henry Henderson

In the absence of federal leadership on climate change, America's cities have become the vanguard of the country's efforts to create a sustainable future. Recently, 233 mayors from 46 states and territories, representing 51 million residents across the country, have signed an open letter opposing the repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the nation's most comprehensive strategy to combat climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular

Giant Sloth Fossils, Mayan Relics Discovered in World's Largest Flooded Cave

Archaeologists exploring the world's largest flooded cave—discovered last month just outside of Tulum, Mexico—have found an impressive treasure trove of relics.

The vast, 216-mile cave actually connects two of the largest flooded cave systems in the world, the 164-mile-long Sistema Sac Actun and the 52-mile-long Dos Ojos system. Aside from an extensive reserve of freshwater and rich biodiversity, the cave also contains an 11-mile-long, 66-food-deep cavern dubbed "the mother of all cenotes." Cenotes are natural pits, or underwater sinkholes, that are often holy sites in ancient Mayan culture.

Keep reading... Show less
A comet may have brought the mammoths to extinction. Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta / Dave Smith / Flickr

The Day a Comet Set the Earth on Fire: Scientists Find Evidence in Ancient Ice Cores

By Tim Radford

Think of it as the day a comet set the earth on fire. Researchers have evidence of widespread and devastating forest fires around half the world—a blaze to blot out the light of the sun—and all of it at a geological boundary called the Younger Dryas, 13,500 years ago.

The evidence, they say, supports the hypothesis that planet Earth sailed through a cloud of shattered cometary dust and stones, and the atmospheric violence that followed was enough to set light to accumulated forest timber, peat and grasses across the Americas, Europe and western Asia.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!