From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/30-4
by Lasse Bruun
Published on Thursday, June 30, 2011 by Greenpeace International
Have you ever thought about how your favorite picnic spot in the local city park is managed? Or what happens when herbicides are sprayed on the crops that make up your breakfast cereal? The truth is that in both city parks and the intensive agriculture used to produce breakfast cereals, weed killers are used on a massive scale, under the unproven assumption that they are safe. Roundup, one of the most common commercially available herbicides, is marketed by US agrochemical company Monsanto as “safe” for the environment, and for humans – but “deadly for weeds”. Our new report, Herbicide Tolerance and GM Crops written jointly with fellow non-governmental organization GM Freeze, however, paints a very different picture.
One of the main ingredients of Roundup, as well as several other herbicides, is a chemical known as glyphosate. Numerous studies covered in the report associate exposure to glyphosate with cancer, birth defects and neurological illnesses (including Parkinson’s). Alarmingly, lab testing suggests that glyphosate can cause damage to cells, including human embryo cells. Other studies mentioned in the report indicate that glyphosate may be a gender-bender chemical that interferes with our hormonal balance. Do you still feel like having your picnic and breakfast cereal?
The environmental impacts of glyphosate are not much better with evidence suggesting that the chemical has a damaging impact on our rivers and on the animals that live in them. It also disrupts nutrients in soil, exposing plants (that are not weeds) to disease and could end up contaminating drinking water.
Whether we like it or not, we all receive exposure to herbicides: sometimes from aerial spraying, sometimes through chemical residues in our food and sometimes because of chemical run off from agricultural land that pollutes nearby fields, seas or rivers. Nobody is happy with this situation, as an extensive survey on attitudes to the environment published by the European Commission last week shows that, across the board, Europeans feel they need more information on chemicals and farming.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/30-4