Today the Seattle Times stooped to a new low in ignorance and hypocrisy. On page one is an article by Sandi Doughton about genetically engineered (GE) crops wherein she states, “Glyphosate has many environmental advantages over nearly all other herbicides. It’s less toxic to humans, other mammals, birds and fish.”
Ironically, on page A15 is an article by Nicholas D. Kristof on the dangers of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in which he wrote, “The World Health Organization and United Nations this year concluded: 'Exposure to EDCs during fetal development and puberty plays a role in the increased incidences of reproductive diseases, endocrine-related cancers, behavioral and learning problems, including ADHD, infections, asthma, and perhaps obesity and diabetes in humans'.”
Less toxic than what, Ms. Doughton? In 2009 Gasnier et al. published an article in the journal Toxicology citing evidence that glyphosate-based herbicides are endocrine disruptors in human cells. They reported toxic effects to liver cells “at 5 ppm [parts per million], and the first endocrine disrupting actions at 0.5 ppm, which is 800 times lower than the level authorized in some food or feed (400 ppm, USEPA, 1998).”
Glyphosate is in our urine, our air and our water. In a 2011 study by the U.S. Geological Survey, glyphosate was frequently detected in water, rain and air in the Mississippi River basin. Also in 2011,Chang et al. reported concentrations of glyphosate in air and rain as high as 2.5 μg/L in agricultural areas in Mississippi and Iowa. Thanks to GE crops, glysophate is also in our food.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kristof writes, “These are the kinds of threats that we in journalism are not very good at covering. We did a wretched job covering risks from lead and tobacco in the early years; instead of watchdogs, we were lap dogs. One common thread is industry’s greed, duplicity and powerful lobbying in Washington and around the country. The chemical industry spent $55 million lobbying last year, twice the figure a decade earlier, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”