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Glyphosate has become lightning rod for environmental activists

Glyphosate has become lightning rod for environmental activists

At last count more than 160 countries have approved uses of glyphosate-based herbicide products. According to most scientists, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides is a relatively benign product as pesticides go.

So why has glyphosate become the pesticide environmental activists love to hate? One reason: It was developed by Monsanto, the company often referred to as the “Great Satan” when activists are lashing out at what they call “industrial agriculture.”

(If you want to see just how absurd the attacks on Monsanto have become, click on this website It’s the website for a group of organizations that are planning to “hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, for crimes against humanity and ecocide” in a tribunal that is scheduled in the Hague, Netherlands, Oct. 14-16.)

The latest chapter in the glyphosate wars began to unfold on Sept. 28 when a group of toxicology experts published a paper in Critical Reviews in Toxicology. The Expert Panels paper examined the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s assessment of glyphosate.

Basically, the experts said a monograph the IARC published in March of 2015 concluding that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” is a bunch of nonsense.

Yes, the panel’s review of the IARC monograph was financed by Monsanto, but, unlike the authors of the IARC document, the panel was made up of actual scientists with reputations for scholarly work to protect.

So why bother? “Every day I read an article from an activist-captured media source that quotes the IARC glyphosate position and ignores the negative reactions from institutions such as the European Food Safety Authority,” said one blogger who writes frequently about the pesticide debate.

“It would be nice if we could ignore IARC’s erroneous excursions into anti-industry activism, but the NGO campaigners and organic food lobbyists have sanctified their glyphosate monograph to Biblical proportions. They are regularly attacking the scientific establishment in their campaign to ban glyphosate.”

Glyphosate isn’t the only pesticide being targeted by activists, who seem convinced we can feed 8 billion people with organically grown crops. But it’s becoming the lightning rod in a fight society must win if the world’s farmers are to continue feeding and clothing its population.

For more on the IARC’s glyphosate finding, visit


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