Continued use of Roundup spray by council

The Auckland Council has agreed not to seek a review of the Weed Management Policy, which calls for a phasing out of poisonous herbicides, but they have got nowhere near banning toxic glyphosate, the poisonous ingredient in Roundup, from being used on our berms, parks, and reserves.

I admit that I am totally opposed to the use of Roundup and will not cease my complaining until council sees reason and bans it.

Now that sentence does make me biased, as the Ponsonby News correspondent has claimed.

However, the more scientific papers I read, particularly those written in the past year or two, the more convinced I am that Roundup’s ingredient glyphosate, plus other so-called “inert” ingredients in Roundup (including one called polyoxyethyleneamine or POEA) are a huge danger to human health.

An article in the journal Toxicology revealed that inert ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, surfactants, and other added substances are anything but “inactive.” They contribute to toxicity in a synergistic manner, and were found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity”.

In 2012, a London-based cellular and molecular toxicologist, Robin Mesnage, took two years, but finally unravelled the secrets of Monsanto’s Roundup formulations. He found that the inert ingredients were more toxic than glyphosate alone. In fact, POEA was between 1200 and 2000 times more toxic to cells than glyphosate, officially the “active” ingredient.

And now a second disclaimer. I do not believe that all the so co-called scientific reports that claim Roundup is safe to humans are written by unbiased researchers.

Monsanto and other multi-nationals employ writers and scientists to push their case. If you don’t believe me, read the sad history of tobacco and sugar. Sometimes the same culprits who came out to support those unsupportable products are now employed to actively present evidence to persuade the public these herbicides are safe.

Who pays who? That is the question. In Auckland’s case, who are these faceless people who are influencing not only the Auckland Council but also the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?

I researched one company that supports the use of glyphosate, Biology Fortified Inc, and it says: in answer to the question “Is glyphosate safe?”

“Of course glyphosate is toxic. It is a herbicide after all. The whole point of glyphosate is to kill unwanted plants. Like all chemicals glyphosate is going to be toxic to animals (including humans) at some dose.” Not very reassuring, I thought!

And further, Biology Fortified is basically supplying and supporting genetically modified organisms (GMOs). One of their contributing writers used to work for Du Pont another multi-national corporation pushing GMO foods and chemicals.

Biology Fortified has as its mascot: “Frank N Foode - your friendly neighbourhood GMO.”

Even the National Pesticide Information Center in the United States has this to say about glyphosate: “Pure glyphosate is low in toxicity to fish and wildlife but some products containing glyphosate may be toxic because of the other ingredients in them.”

Like the aforementioned POEA for example!

Apart from the possible immediate danger of Roundup with its glyphosate and inerts like POEA, a huge worry is the report of the Organic Consumers Association which has the eye-catching headline, “Ten Ways Monsanto and Big Ag. Are Trying To Kill You”.

They state quite boldly that, “Roundup is very toxic. It’s known to cause cancer, birth defects and infertility. In fact some scientists are now saying it’s more dangerous than DDT.”

But the “huge worry” is that Roundup-tolerant super-weeds are springing up across the country (read United States) and farmers are having to resort to more and more toxic pesticides for weed control. The biotech industry says it has a solution: replace Roundup ready crops with a new type of GMO, “2, 4-D Ready” crops.

Just imagine re-releasing 2, 4-D which releases dioxin, the ingredient in the infamous Agent Orange which killed and maimed so many during the Vietnam War.

Scientists and lawyers taking cases against Monsanto, say that Monsanto “intentionally mislabelled dangerous co-formulants.”

In 2009 a French court found Monsanto “guilty of lying”; falsely advertising its Roundup herbicide as “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly”, and claiming it “left the soil clean.”

The court called this “outright lies to consumers.”

Finally, back to the council’s weed policy. That policy states under Policy Objectives, “minimise agrichemical use” and “ensure public health and safety.”

Yet, the council still lists control by herbicide as the number one of six methods. The evidence is now overwhelming.

Let’s get rid of the proven poisoner, Roundup herbicide, before we damage the health of more people. (JOHN ELLIOTT)