OTTAWA—An independent review of the weed killer glyphosate to determine if its effects on users is harmful—and if it does potentially cause cancer—is needed in Canada, says Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes. She will be pushing the federal government to undertake this review.
“There was a presentation made at a meeting I recently attended, and one of the lawyers on hand had argued the case in the US that their client, a groundskeeper, had been exposed to the herbicide glyphosate in Roundup and has terminal cancer. It is believed it is caused by years of his exposure to glyphosate,” said Ms. Hughes.
The American lawyers, Michael Baum and Brent Wisner, “explained how a blind eye is being turned to scientific evidence that shows if a person is exposed to this herbicide for a long period, causes cancer,” said Ms. Hughes. “They talked about tests that have been undertaken on rats, and the effects the herbicide has on the rats, when they are exposed to it just in three days in a row.”
“The evidence is this herbicide has shown to be playing a role in increased incidents of cancer in humans. So, they are asking us to push Canada’s government for an independent review of glyphosate.”
Ms. Hughes attended a Friends of the Earth strategic briefing recently. Two of the individuals present were part of the legal team that represented 46-year-old Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a former groundskeeper who used Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, in his legal victory over Monsanto. Through the legal discovery process, these lawyers raised the curtain of secrecy that typically shrouds ongoing litigation to expose manipulation of science, ghostwritten studies and suppression of findings of the carcinogenicity of Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate, it was explained. They talked about the key aspect of their case that won the day and spotlighted key findings in their case that regulators and the concerned public should consider in addressing the registration and the extensive use of glyphosate in Canada.
Dr. Meg Sears, chairperson of Prevent Cancer Now, also provided a presentation of health trends and concerns in Canada that mirror effects of glyphosate/Roundup. The Friends of the Earth noted, a recent decision by the (Canada) Pet Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) dismissed objections by this group and others to their 2017 re-registration of glyphosate for 15 years.
“So far, most of the reviews that have been done on glyphosate have been done and paid for by Monsanto itself,” continued Ms. Hughes. “The US legal team recommended changes to the report showing, and to provide what evidence is actually being shown in the studies. They showed us some of the emails of the Freedom of Information reports they have received which are quite concerning.”
“It was an interesting presentation,” said Ms. Hughes. “There has to be an independent review done. The federal government, as recently as January, indicated glyphosate can still be used. They are not listening to the disturbing reports that have come out about the effects of glyphosate use. Meanwhile, last fall, Liberal MP Karen Ludwig had announced that she would be pushing the government for a review,” said Ms. Hughes.
“I took her aside and said if she was pushing for an independent review to be done, I would love to work with her on this. But she hasn’t followed up on this.”
“I’ve written municipalities and federal ministers on behalf of the Tek Elders group (Traditional Ecological Elders, based on the North Shore) and on behalf of a constituent in Massey on this issue,” continued Ms. Hughes. “Even before I was first elected, one of my riding’s constituents had brought me to an area that had been just sprayed with a pesticide. You couldn’t even hear a frog croaking. It was dead quiet. This type of pesticide should not be used in the forest or to kill vegetation. It is obviously not safe.”
“An independent review needs to be done on the effects of glyphosate,” stated Ms. Hughes. “And it needs to be carried out by an arm’s length company.”
The US legal team that attended the recent meeting Ms. Hughes participated in sued the makers of the glyphosate containing weed killer Roundup on behalf of a man dying of cancer and say Canada is “dead wrong” to allow it to be widely used here.