Earth Day 2015: Senator Hoylman Proposes Moratorium on “Roundup” Herbicide

Brad Hoylman

April 22, 2015

Roundup Deemed ‘Probably Carcinogenic to Humans’ By World Health Organization

Senator Hoylman: “Halt sales of this dangerous product now”

NEW YORK – Today, to mark Earth Day 2015, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) announced his legislation placing a statewide moratorium on the sale, distribution or use of products that contain glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide deemed “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization (WHO). Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the popular Monsanto week-killer “Roundup,” which is currently sold in stores throughout New York State.

State Senator Hoylman said: “The initial research on Roundup is extremely troubling. Experts from the WHO have concluded the chemical glyphosate used in Roundup probably causes cancer in humans. It’s therefore prudent to protect New Yorkers potentially exposed to Roundup by halting sales until the research shows that it’s otherwise safe to use.”

Glyphosate is primarily used in agriculture for crops such as corn and soybeans but is also sprayed in forests, on roads and in gardens to prevent the growth of weeds. It is the most widely used herbicide in the world and is found in over 750 different products.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded in a March 2015 analysis of a number of different exposure studies that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The analysis, conducted by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, drew on studies conducted in the United States, Canada and Sweden since 2001 and was based on epidemiological, animal and in vitro studies.

Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating it can be absorbed through the body, and has also been shown to damage DNA and chromosomes in human cells, which can lead to cancer. Furthermore, a number of studies have found glyphosate induces a positive trend of tumors in mice and rats.

Glyphosate is also said to be responsible for the precipitous demise of the population of Danaus plexippus, or the Monarch butterfly. Earlier this year, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency in U.S. District Court in New York claiming the agency has failed to heed warnings about the dangers to monarchs posed by glyphosate.

The lawsuit states that a key reason for the decline of monarchs is the application of glyphosate to farm fields, resulting in the destruction of the milkweed habitat that migrating monarchs rely on. The monarch population was tallied at 1 billion in 1997 and this winter was down to 56.5 million butterflies, the second-lowest number ever measured.

Senator Hoylman added: “A moratorium on glyphosate will not only give us more time to study the potential harmful effects on humans, but also grant a reprieve to the beautiful monarch butterfly, which is becoming threatened with extinction through the widespread use of this chemical.

“As we celebrate Earth Day 2015, we should also recall the work of Rachel Carson, who more than fifty years ago in ’Silent Spring’ showed how the pervasive use of insidious agricultural pesticides poses a calamitous threat to the balance of our ecosystem, including our personal health and the health of native species.”