Mission Viejo moms sound warning against commonly used herbicide

Mission Viejo, CA = Zen Honeycutt is a mom on a mission.

Her goal is to ban the use of glyphosate, an active ingredient in the herbicide, RoundUp, a weed killer used in commercial farms and sold for residential use.

The product, made by chemical giant Monsanto, is registered for use in 160 countries, including the United States. But that number is shrinking. On Friday, France informed manufacturers that it intends to ban glyphosate and another herbicide because when they are used together they may be causing health problems in humans, Reuters reported.

Honeycutt, a Mission Viejo resident, has been advocating for the ban of glyphosates, which she claims are poisoning our food supply, especially after the chemical showed up in trace amounts in some organic wines, she said.

“It is a matter of responsibility and common sense to protect the American people,” she said in an interview Friday.

Recently, the World Health Organization labeled glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” In a report released in March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO, said there was “limited evidence” that the chemical causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma in humans. The IARC concluded glyphosate also “caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells.”

Monsanto denies any wrongdoing and has criticized the WHO and the IARC scientists for their recent finding, saying they did not look at all the evidence.

Now, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which was formed after the passage of Proposition 65, is considering putting glyphosate on the list of cancer-causing chemicals. For example, benzene, a known carcinogen, is on that list. That’s why at every filling station in California there is a “Prop. 65 Warning” sticker on the side of every gas pump, since benzene is a chemical in gasoline.

Be advised: Don’t breath that stuff in. It’s another reason why I switched to electric cars.

Back to RoundUp: It’s not in the same category as benzene. But the discussion is worth paying attention to, especially if you have a garden and use RoundUp to kill weeds.

According to Reuters article from October, Monsanto, in its public filing, wrote if California were to list glyphosate as a Prop. 65 chemical, that “has the potential to deny farmers and public agencies the use of this highly effective herbicide.”

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The movement against this chemical is stronger in Europe and South America than in the U.S. Companies in Switzerland and Germany, for instance, have taken steps to ban products with glyphosates from their stores. Colombia enacted a ban on some of its crops.

Honeycutt, armed with actions against the chemical in other parts of the world, is focusing her efforts stateside.

She’s asking the EPA to ban glyphosates. Moms Across America, a group she founded three years ago, has generated nearly 60,000 signatures on an online petition in only one week demanding the EPA revoke glyphosate’s license.

“Forty years ago, we did not use this chemical. We’ve been maintaining landscapes and gardens for thousands of years without toxic chemicals. We don’t need it,” she said.

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