Thanks to the spread of herbicide-resistant crops, herbicide use has been increasing rapidly with the annual spending on herbicide in the U.S. alone, totaling more than $5 billion, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is the top selling of these pesticides. It has been most effective in killing weeds, and is primarily used to control annual and perennial plants. Farmers, knowing that their crop can tolerate or resist being killed off by the herbicides, will tend to use them more liberally.
Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, and farmers believe the glyphosate has made significant contribution to the farming industry, but the chemical once touted as a safe, affordable and critical part of global food production, is now amid safety concerns. In the last couple of years, research has shown that heavy use of the chemical over the years is causing harmful effects to plants, animals, and people.
Critics believe that use of this pesticide does not come without serious health implications, stating that it can cause infertility and cancer. Lawsuits are pending and some, like the Institute of Science in Society has called for a global ban on glyphosate. Another series of lawsuits against the US Department of Agriculture were set in motion on March 18. These latest lawsuits were filed against the agency for approving more Roundup Ready crops. The concern includes “the cumulative impact of increased herbicide load on the environment… and the creation of Roundup Ready ‘super weeds’ that become immune to the herbicide Roundup because of overuse."
The EPA is investigating this issue and has set a deadline of 2015 for a final decision. The EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is in charge of the review and has three main options – continued approval of glyphosate with no changes; canceling the registration to ban its use in the United States; or continue as an approved product but with some modifications for its use.
In 2006, the EPA found four pesticides that posed risks to human health, but decided the pesticides saved farmers so much more money their use that their use outweighed the dangers of the chemicals. How would you explain that to a dying loved one? By ignoring the risks, the EPA has failed us all. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again. Common sense restrictions on pesticide use can safeguard human health.
Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.