Dicamba and Glyphosate Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments
Findings from the CDCs newly published, first national glyphosate study reveals that over four-fifths of the US population who are six years and older are regularly being exposed to the herbicide glyphosate. Exposure to Glyphosate Study Findings:
IOA hosted Dr. Charles Benbrook, Executive Director of the Heartland Health Research Alliance (HHRA) and cooperator of The Heartland Study, where he summarized the new CDC findings, as well as a broader discussion about HHRA’s research highlighting the health and ecological risk assessments of glyphosate and dicamba use and exposure and the value and importance of greater, comprehensive research to better understand the effects of herbicide exposure on human and environmental health.
Dr. Benbrook shared a new study that reports evidence of oxidative stress among farmers more recently exposed to higher levels of glyphosate which complements data found in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. He provided an update on these new findings , in addition to new HHRA findings related to glyphosate exposure and genotoxicity. Journal of the National Cancer Institute: Glyphosate Exposure and Urinary Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in the Agricultural Health Study
The US EPA considers glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” EPA asserts that there is no convincing evidence that “glyphosate induces mutations in vivo via the oral route.” IARC concludes there is “strong evidence” that exposure to glyphosate is genotoxic through at least two mechanisms known to be associated with human carcinogens (DNA damage, oxidative stress). Why and how did EPA and IARC reach such different conclusions? [Benbrook, Environmental Sciences Europe, Jan 2019]
According to the EPA’s updated dicamba human-health risk assessment, the widespread use of dicamba on ExTend GMO soybeans and cotton was not supposed to contribute significantly to human exposure, except for people living or working within a few hundred feet of treated fields. New HHRA findings show widespread exposures to dicamba in both cities and rural areas, exposures that most likely are the result of dicamba volatilization and drift. About two-thirds of the pregnant women in the Midwest are now being exposed to dicamba on a regular basis, about a three-fold increase over the pre-dicamba-tolerant seed era.
Charles Benbrook has a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Dr. Benbrook has published several scientific papers on pesticide use, risks, and regulation. His research and advocacy has focused on agricultural impacts on public health and the environment, soil health and water conservation, pesticide use and regulation, biotechnology, and ag policy and politics.
Below is a list of programs available to specialty/organic producers through the Risk Management Agency (RMA) with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
– Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program which provides a risk management safety net for all commodities on the farm under one insurance policy for any farm with up to $17 million in insured revenue: https://www.rma.usda.gov/en/Policy-and-Procedure/Insurance-Plans/Whole-Farm-Revenue-Protection
– Micro Farm program, improves upon WFRP for smaller producers with up to $350,000 in approved revenue: https://www.rma.usda.gov/en/Fact-Sheets/National-Fact-Sheets/Micro-Farm-Program
– Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance (TOGA) program for agricultural producers who have crop insurance coverage on crops in transition to organic or certified organic grain and feed crops: https://www.rma.usda.gov/en/Policy-and-Procedure/Bulletins-and-Memos/2022/PM-22-048
IOA is advancing organic agriculture and food systems in Iowa. To support Iowa’s growing organic movement, please consider a donation or becoming a member, business member or a sponsor.
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