By: George Kurzom
the carcinogenic Round-up herbicide is the most common herbicide in West Bank and Gaza Strip
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
In March 2017, dangerous US documents revealed the falsification of scientific facts about herbicides containing the active ingredient “Glyphosate” in general and the widely spread pesticide “Round Up” which contains the same substance. This has raised questions about the danger of these herbicides on public health and the environment which are produced by giant chemical industries: "Monsanto" US company.
Vince Chabria, a judge at San Francisco Federal Court, allowed the publication of internal correspondences and telephone conversations between the company and the governmental control bodies that dealt with this dangerous product. Herbicides, especially the Roundup pesticide, are the leading products of Monsanto and it is used worldwide for various purposes, including herb control in agricultural fields and home gardens. Until recently, Monsanto claimed that the pesticide is "safe", based on an old "research" funded by the company itself.
However, in the ongoing trial, the conclusions of an international group of experts confirmed that the main substance in this pesticide is carcinogenic. According to other documents submitted to the court, it was revealed that Monsanto employees forged a “research” that was subsequently attributed to scientists, and a senior employee of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hide the research results related to the basic component of the herbicide: “Glyphosate”; this research was conducted by the US department of health. These documents revealed differences within the EPA on whether the pesticide was "safe".
The trial began after a group of victims filed suit against the company complaining that they have developed lymphoma cancer due to being exposed to the active ingredient "Glyphosate" found in the “Round Up” pesticide. This lawsuit was filed about two years ago, following the publication of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared that “Glyphosate” is carcinogenic, based on research that demonstrated the correlation between “Glyphosate” and this specific type of cancer.
The US court also revealed that Jess Roland, deputy head of the Environmental Protection Agency, provided Monsanto with the content of the US department of health's research, months before it was published, which enabled the company to prepare itself in advance for a public relations campaign. The court also revealed that Monsanto executives had written that Ronald had promised to thwart an independent investigation that the US Department of Health intended to carry out, and as a result, no research has been conducted as of yet.
Afaq environmental magazine warns
In its March 2016 issue, Afaq Environmental Magazine warned that a large number of farmers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are using herbicides containing the carcinogenic “Glyphosate”. The “Roundup” pesticide is considered to be the most common herbicide in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the same pesticide is sold in the market with different trade names. What is remarkable is that the current list of agricultural pesticides permitted in the areas of the Palestinian Authority (until the date of this report) issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture is the list of 2013-2014. Of the large number of hazardous herbicides, the list includes 8 herbicides, with different commercial names, all containing the active ingredient "Glyphosate" and with the same recommended concentration (480 gr/l). These pesticides include: Taifun, Pilaround, Galoop, Glyphogan, Glyphos, Glefon Up, Round up and Rondopaz.
In fact, not only Monsanto claims that the benefits of pesticides are higher than their risks, but all pesticide companies in general repeat the same claim. We do not know all the health dangers of pesticides, because factories and agrochemical companies hide most of health and safety data, and even fabricate false “research” on behalf of scientists and researchers who have been bribed, as in the case of Monsanto. Therefore, as long as there is ambiguity and hidden information, shouldn’t we finally get rid of the use of chemical pesticides?
Commercial profits are of a first priority for agrochemical companies, at the expense of consumers’ health. Health, human and environmental considerations come in last place, meaning that profitability is the primary and only reason for the continued production and marketing of pesticides.
Translated by: Ghadeer Kamal Zaineh