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A DANGEROUS CHEMICAL COCKTAIL — The chemicals in Monsanto’s Roundup are seeping into our waterways, backyards and even the food we eat, putting our families and the environment at risk every day. We’re calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban Roundup unless and until it’s proven safe.
Monsanto’s Roundup Could Be Dangerous
Most of us take it for granted that the food we buy for our families and the grass our children play on at a nearby park are not putting our health at risk.
But new research, including some done by the World Health Organization (WHO), has found that Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides could pose significant risks to human health.
Just how serious is the risk? The jury is still out, but there is cause for serious concern. One study by the WHO linked glyphosate — the main chemical ingredient in Roundup — to cancer at high levels of exposure. Another WHO report said the actual risk given probable exposure to glyphosate was minimal.
But Roundup is not just glyphosate. It’s a cocktail of different chemicals, and there’s mounting evidence that this cocktail could be a dangerous one:
- Multiple studies have found herbicides like Roundup were more likely to cause cell-cycle dysregulation, a hallmark of cancer, than glyphosate alone.
- A 2009 study showed that some formulations of Roundup were more toxic to human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells than glyphosate by itself.
- Another study found that one of the inert ingredients in Roundup was up to 2,000 times more toxic to cells than glyphosate.
It’s clear — we shouldn’t be exposing ourselves to something that has the potential to cause such harm. But it’s the fact that Roundup and similar herbicides are so widely used that makes this a serious threat to public health.
Roundup Isn’t Getting The Job Done
Millions of people regularly use Roundup in their backyards, and it’s commonly sprayed in areas where kids play and learn, like public parks, school playgrounds and sports fields.
But an overwhelming majority of the glyphosate used in America is on farms. That’s because Monsanto has engineered “Roundup ready” crops that are designed to withstand the chemical while still killing unwanted weeds.
The problem, however, is that these weeds have grown resistant and developed into “super weeds.” Not surprisingly, the response has been to increase the dosage and frequency of Roundup used on crops.
The result? Glyphosate is now the most widely used agricultural chemical in U.S. history. Nearly 250 million pounds of the chemical are sprayed on U.S. farms every year! And since it was introduced in 1974, 9.4 million tons of glyphosate have been sprayed worldwide.
Meanwhile, Monsanto continues to back the herbicide. At one time Monsanto claimed that Roundup was biodegradable. Studies show a different story, however, as these chemical ingredients are starting to show up in our food and bodies. A recent study discovered traces of glyphosate in the urine of 93 percent of the people they tested. It’s even showing up in foods like soy and beer.
This is not a sustainable solution, and with the mounting evidence clearly showing the dangers of Roundup, it’s time to take action and ban Roundup unless and until it’s proven safe.
Tell The EPA: Ban Roundup
It’s absurd that a weed killer — designed to make our lives more convenient and food production more efficient — should be allowed to put public health at risk. We know there are safe ways to get rid of weeds, including simple crop rotations, following organic farming practices, or just yanking them out of the backyard.
It’s time to ban Roundup. But Monsanto is not going to make it easy. Despite the growing body of evidence to the contrary, Monsanto is still saying Roundup is safe, and they are hard at work trying to convince the EPA that no further testing is required, and no restrictions on its use are needed. So far, the EPA has been receptive to Monsanto’s aims — not that long ago they increased what they considered to be a safe level of glyphosate.
We need your help to call on the EPA to ban Roundup unless and until independent research proves it’s safe.
Image credits: Mike Mozart via Flickr, CC BY 2.0; Chafer Machinery via Flickr, CC BY 2.0
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Three months after nearly 5.4 million infant sleepers were recalled for causing 36 infant deaths, a new survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education (U.S. PIRG) and Kids in Danger (KID) revealed that many child care facilities continue to use these dangerous inclined sleepers. The survey began after PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber discovered that his own son’s daycare in Philadelphia was using the recalled products.
“Every day, millions of parents drop their kids off, assuming their daycares have the information they need to keep their kids safe,” said Garber. “This failed recall is a wakeup call that our current system leaves too many infants at risk from these dangerous sleepers.”
U.S. PIRG and KID blamed the situation on confusing messages about the recall. Initially, a consumer warning for the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play on April 4th linked deaths to infant rollovers, leading some parents and facilities to conclude that proper use would keep babies safe. But a more complete analysis revealed some deaths occurred when the child was buckled in, leading the company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to fully recall the 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play sleepers soon after on April 14. On April 26, nearly 700,000 units of the Kids II Rocking Sleeper were recalled.
Like many American cities, Houston is encircled by rings of highways—nine major radial freeways, three ring freeways, and a 180-mile fourth outer ring on the way.
But Houston isn’t just encircled by roads, it’s symbolically, and literally, being choked by cars. It’s consistently ranked as a top city for traffic congestion, ninth-worst for ozone pollution according to the American Lung Association, and a tragic nexus for deaths from car crashes. The annual death toll, according to the Houston Chronicle, is equivalent to “three fully-loaded 737s crashing each year at Houston’s airports, killing all aboard.”
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the solution is more roads, specifically, a multiyear, multibillion dollar project to widen and expand the city’s highway infrastructure in an attempt to ease persistent bottlenecks that clog downtown traffic.
This isn’t a small upgrade: in the name of accelerating commutes, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) will widen and rebuild nearly 25 miles of highways in the city’s downtown, expanding some to be as wide as the length of two football fields. In addition to years of construction, the “Texas-sized” expansion would displace four houses of worship, two schools, 168 homes, 1,067 multifamily units, and 331 businesses that account for just under 25,000 employees, impacting mostly people of color in low-income neighborhoods.
It would add more impermeable concrete and asphalt infrastructure, plus future maintenance costs, to a city that is still recovering from some of the worst floods in recent memory. Resilience is a serious concern post-Harvey, and as flood maps are updated as flood risks evolve, the addition of concrete to the landscape could make the next storm’s impact worse. Houstonians still recall how highways became channels of water that cut off neighborhoods from aid during the worst of the flooding.
To critics, the I-45 project, named after the main highway that will be impacted, is an urban renewal reboot, a modern version of the freeway expansion projects that wrecked neighborhoods and divided cities in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Why would more urban highways and lanes of traffic—especially at a time when many cities are actively removing or capping their highways—be a foregone conclusion in any effort to mitigate Houston’s serious congestion problem?
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Adam Garber, the PIRG consumer watchdog, was shocked when he discovered recalled baby rockers at his infant son's day care this June.
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We're calling on the EPA to ban Monsanto's Roundup unless and until independent research proves it's safe. Let's hold them accountable.
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