Learning Monsanto's Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide, causes birth defects is undoubtedly bad news for mothers. Today we who once carried a child in our womb were forced to count back weeks, months, years, decades to determine whether we gardened while gestating. And then there's the kicker. Monsanto knew it all along, and didn't care to do a thing about it.
It feels like there are so many awful things we learn about, every day, that are bad for us. And it's always too late for us to do anything about it, isn't it? You find out AFTER you get the cancer diagnosis. After your child lands on the autism spectrum. After the Environmental Protection Agency steps in and tells your town to get such and such chemical out of the town water supply.
But Monsanto didn't just suddenly find this out. It seems the company has known Roundup was bad for pregnant women since the '80s, and they simply didn't tell us. See, according to a new report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?" Monsanto learned in the 1980s that glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup, causes "malformations in experimental animals at high doses." Since 1993, the industry has been aware that even lesser doses can cause these malformations.
This was not one of those cases of "well, now we know, and gosh, we're just so darn sorry, we're going to fix it right away." It seems to be a case of "well, we were making so much darn cash, and gosh, it smelled so good, we wanted more." Scientists from the likes of Cambridge University, the King’s College London School of Medicine, and the Institute of Biology, UNICAMP, São Paulo, Brazil were all pointing to the danger of Roundup, and yet the report claims regulators did everything in their power to dismiss them on behalf of Monsanto, betraying the babies in favor of the powerful genetically-modified food industry and its relationship with Roundup. They just didn't care to fix it.
Yes, we're a commercially-driven society, but there's something wrong here, people. Consumers need to be able to trust that industry is at least trying to make their products safe, even if they aren't always succeeding. At least when we find out something has problems -- even if it causes cancer or birth defects -- after we've been using it for awhile, it's easier to swallow if we are finding out at the same time as the manufacturer. The free-market concept comes with the hope that products are made with good intentions at least.
Do you think this is a fluke or is this just a sign of what happens all over the place in industrial manufacturing?
Image via net_efekt/Flickr