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Another Left-Wing Science Scandal


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John Hinderaker

June 19, 2017

 

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill just about any plant. Since it would kill the crop as well as the weeds, for quite a few years it couldn’t be used over the top of an emerging crop. Instead, its use was restricted to lower-value burndown situations, where weeds in a field would be killed prior to planting, or, e.g., to keep down weeds on railroad rights of way.

The first commercially successful genetic modification, carried out by Monsanto, which owned the patents on glyphosate, was to make plants tolerant of glyphosate. A GMO variety, commonly referred to as “RoundUp Ready,” would survive a glyphosate application while the weeds in the field would die. The development of glyphosate tolerant crops (soybeans, corn, cotton, eventually others) was a marvel: farmers could apply RoundUp over the top of crops, killing weeds while the crop was unaffected. The result was cheaper food and clothing.

 

 

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This sounds like a win-win situation–cheaper food, better health, longer lifespans–but some people irrationally hate genetically modified crops, even though the modification–in this case, making the corn or soybean plant tolerant of glyphosate–has nothing to do with its nutritional value. After decades of world-wide experience with glyphosate, it was accepted that the product was safe. So it was a bombshell when the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared, in March 2015, that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” based on tests on rodents.

 

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But the whole thing turned out to be a fraud. Reuters has investigated, aided by access to deposition testimony in one or more of the lawsuits against Monsanto, which evidently was not subject to a protective order. Briefly put, the author of the IARC’s carcinogenicity study, Aaron Blair, an epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, covered up his own research showing that exposure to glyphosate did not lead to a higher incidence of cancer in humans. The story, as reported by Reuters, is astonishing:

(Snip)

 

*A footnote: roughly half of all of the substances on Earth are carcinogenic..............................(Snip)

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