The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), which represents OB/GYNs around the world, is calling for a ban on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup.
According to a Position Statement issued by the group on July 31st, evidence against glyphosate has accumulated during the past 15 years.
“Whether scientists are reviewing increased rates of cancer, neurodevelopmental disorders, pregnancy outcomes, or birth defects, there is evidence to support the effect of chemical exposures on health,” FIGO said. “Chemicals in pregnant women can cross the placenta and, as with methyl mercury, can accumulate in the fetus and have long lasting sequelae.”
The statement demanded that glyphosate be phased-out globally and remain off the market unless science eventually proves it is safe.
“When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”
Glyphosate was developed by Monsanto in the early 1970s, and is now the most popular herbicide in the world.
In March 2015, however, the World Health Organization declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, after an independent review linked occupational exposure to an increased risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes.
While it’s true that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulators have declared the herbicide safe, critics claims their reviews over-relied on studies that were ghostwritten or otherwise manipulated by Monsanto.
Earlier this year, a study published by researchers at the University of Washington suggested glyphosate exposure increased the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by as much as 41%. And in April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said it couldn’t rule out a cancer link and called for more research.
In recent years, more than 18,000 people across the United States have filed Monsanto Roundup lawsuits that blame glyphosate for causing cancer. While three cases have gone to trial since last August, defendants have yet to win a single verdict.
Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto last year, is currently participating in court-ordered mediation efforts to resolve the massive litigation. Ken Feinberg, the prominent attorney behind the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and other high-profile legal settlements, is leading those discussions.
Hopes for a Roundup lawsuit settlement increased in late July, when Bayer’s CEO suggested the company would be open to a “financially reasonable” agreement.