In 2015, authorities in rural Monte Maiz, Argentina called on researchers from the University of Cordoba to study the people in the town and whether the environment was affecting their health. Researchers collected soil, air, water and blood samples from the locals and found agrochemicals like glyphosate in many of them.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killers that include the brand-names Roundup and Ranger Pro. For two decades, the herbicides have been used liberally on the 28 million hectares of crops in Argentina genetically modified to resist the effects of glyphosate, resulting in higher yields of crops like soybeans.
Glyphosate is one of the most popular herbicides in the world, and is also widely used in the United States. But Argentina uses a larger share of it – about 3.5 liters per inhabitant compared to 0.4 liters per person in the U.S.
In Monte Maiz in particular, University of Cordoba researchers found an alarming situation likely linked to the heavy use of glyphosate – high rates of skin and lung diseases, miscarriages, hypothyroidism, non-alcoholic cirrhosis, and cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer and leukemia.
The cancer death rate in all of Argentina is 12 per 100,000 deaths. But in the farming town of Monte Maiz, the cancer death rate is 55 per 100,000. Of the 117 deaths in 2014, 66 were caused by cancer.
When the results of the research were made public, a sanitary emergency was called in the town. And while the country’s authorities dismissed the data, regulations involving agrochemical activity were adopted in the town.
In 2015, the same year researchers started their study in Monte Maiz, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.” Studies had specifically linked exposure to the chemical to blood cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Bayer AG, which recently purchased Monsanto, continues to defend the safety of its weed killer. But, in August, a California jury awarded a school groundskeeper $289 million after finding his regular use of Roundup and Ranger Pro contributed to his cancer diagnosis.
Source: TRT World