Anti-biotech activists are honing in on a new target — the herbicide glyphosate or Roundup.
The activists, in their push to smear biotech seeds, are putting the world’s leading weed-control product in their crosshairs and are doing everything (sensational reporting, warnings by movie actors, lawsuits) to try to limit or even ban the use of this product. They want federal authorities to ditch Roundup even though it’s been thoroughly tested for safety and is a keen tool for protecting the environment.
By hobbling glyphosate, the activists figure they can dramatically cut the acreage of herbicide-resistant crops developed through biotech.
It doesn’t matter to these folks that the combination of glyphosate and herbicide-resistant crops has helped the environment by allowing farmers to dramatically reduce pesticide use in corn, soybeans and other crops. It’s also a key tool for conservation tillage, which reduces soil erosion.
Now, sadly, there’s concern that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be buying into this anti-glyphosate hysteria. That pressure could be the reason that the EPA last month whisked away a newly minted, 87-page report that dispelled links between glyphosate and cancer.
The report, the EPA said, was posted "inadvertently" and was only a draft. The report, the agency said, still needed work and peer review.
Is EPA frightened?
But the EPA’s switch-a-roo on glyphosate is raising questions in Congress. According to an article published last week by the National Review, two congressional committees have asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy what’s behind the decision to pull the report. The two committees want to know if the EPA pulled the report because it was frightened by the reaction of anti-biotech activists. They are expecting an answer from the agency in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, other agencies are stepping up to say that the herbicide is safe to use as directed and dispelling any link between glyphosate and cancer. Indeed, the United Nations World Health Organization last month issued a report that found no link between glyphosate and cancer in humans.
It’s time for the EPA to step up and reaffirm the safety of this essential product.