Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–July 1, 2013. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to raise the allowable limits of the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) in certain food commodities like carrots, sweet potato, and mustard seeds. The public comment period ends today at midnight. (See instructions below on sending your comment to EPA.)
Some of the allowable limits, or tolerances, will more than double! Increasing the levels of Roundup on food will pave the way for an overall increase in the use of this chemical in agriculture. The problem is Roundup is toxic to human and environmental health. In fact, a recent MIT study finds that glyphosate’s interference with important enzymes in the body can lead to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Drinking water contaminated with Roundup can lead to congestion of the lungs and increased breathing rate, as well as kidney damage and reproductive effects. Increasing tolerances on glyphosate means not only higher dietary exposure but also more glyphosate use.
Beyond Pesticides Is Telling EPA the following:
While EPA in the tolerance setting process has focused on human health effects from dietary exposure, the agency as a part of this process must consider that its tolerance decision also drives the allowable use patterns of glyphosate. Therefore, this tolerance decision affects overall environmental health, which EPA is obligated to consider in its rulemaking when adjusting tolerances. Without this analysis of environmental impacts associated with tolerance setting, EPA is not fulfilling its statutory responsibility under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to protect against “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.” [7 U.S.C. 136a] Food tolerances should serve as a deterrent to pesticide misuse and abuse. Theoretically, tolerance limits help ensure that pesticide applications do not exceed federal application rates, and that the human population is not exposed to residues that can adversely impact health. These set limits must be based on human health data and should not be amended without complete information or to simply accommodate special interests.
While major commodities like corn and soybeans are not affected by the tolerance adjustments, increasing tolerances can pave the way for further increases in glyphosate applications given the prevalence of genetically engineered (GE) crops tolerant to glyphosate (Roundup Ready crops), including a new number of stacked versions being petitioned, and the simultaneous increase in glyphosate resistant weed species across the country.
Adjusting tolerances for crops like carrots, sweet potato, and oilseed crops should not be done without adequate review of all the current independent, peer-reviewed science on glyphosate. While EPA suggests that increases in glyphosate exposure and use do not pose unreasonable risks to human and environmental health, recent independent, scientific, peer reviewed data paint a very different picture.
Given that alternative methods of growing food and managing weeds are available, like those that exist in organic agriculture, it is unreasonable for EPA to increase human exposures to Roundup.
Tell EPA No More Roundup In Our Diet by July 1st!
To have the most impact, EPA needs to hear directly from you with your comment in the docket! You may use the sample text below, however we recommend that you use your own words to have the most impact. Please note that only fields with an asterisk are required, and if you are not affiliated with an organization, you may put your own name in the Submitter’s Representative field. (If you are having problems accessing the docket, click here and we will enter it for you.)
I am very concerned about the increase in the allowable levels of glyphosate in my diet. EPA should not be supporting an increase in human exposures to this herbicide, given the ecological and human health dangers that recent science has shown to be associated with glyphosate. Recent studies have linked glyphosate to endocrine disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive and liver damage. It also threatens amphibian and fish species, as well as contaminates waterways. Additionally, EPA’s review of the chemical is ongoing and must be completed before any adjustments to allowable food residues are made.
Given the available, sustainable alternatives to growing food in the U.S., including those of organic agriculture, it is unreasonable that EPA would increase human exposures to glyphosate. We urge the agency to reconsider and uphold its statutory authority to protect human and environmental health from glyphosate by not increasing the levels of this chemical in our diets.
Thank you for consideration of my comments.
Organic Solutions Pave a Way Forward
Sustainable, integrated farming solutions and systems must be instituted more broadly –where emphasis on feeding and maintaining healthy soils, cooperating with nature, and moving away from toxic chemical inputs are standard. The underlying standards of organic farming require that practices “maintain or improve soil organic matter content in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances.” This is the only viable and sustainable path forward that can take us off the toxic treadmill. Supporting and buying organic produce is the only way to ensure you and your family are protected from the dangers of Roundup in your food.
For more information on this issue, contact Beyond Pesticides at [email protected] or 202-543-5450. For the future of food, our health, and the environment, tell EPA to say “No” to more Roundup in our food.
All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.