(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2007) John E. Franz, Ph.D., inventor of the toxic herbicide Roundup (active ingredient is glyphosate), is to be inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, along with inventors of the MRI, the automotive airbag, vaccines, and various medicines. The honor is being awarded under the false claim that glyphosate is nontoxic.
The 2007 class of inductees was announced at an event Thursday, February 8, on Capitol Hill, and the induction ceremony will take place on May 5 in Ohio. The statement released by the National Inventors Hall of Fame says of Dr. Franz: “In 1970, while working at Monsanto, Franz discovered the glyphosate class of herbicides, later marketed under the brand name Roundup ®. Glyphosate herbicides eliminate more than 125 kinds of weeds and are nontoxic to animals.”
In fact, Roundup has been found to be harmful to animals and may pose a threat to humans as well.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the number one most commonly used pesticide in U.S. agriculture, and the second most commonly used in non-agricultural settings in the U.S. According to a Beyond Pesticides literature review (GATEWAY), glyphosate is linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney/liver damage, and asthma.
A study published by the American Cancer Society (1999) finds that people exposed to glyphosate are 2.7 times more likely to develop Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Further, four peer-reviewed studies demonstrate the ability of glyphosate-containing herbicides to cause genetic damage to DNA (mutagenicity), even at very low concentration levels (source: Journal of Pesticide Reform). A 2005 study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, found damaging endocrine effects of glyphosate and Roundup to fetal growth at levels 10 times lower than used in agriculture. The product formulation Roundup was shown to be at least twice as toxic as the active ingredient alone.
Glyphosate use directly impacts a variety of nontarget animals including insects, earthworms, and fish, and indirectly impacts birds and small mammals. A study conducted by the International Organization for Biological Control found that exposure to Roundup killed over 50 percent of three species of beneficial insects — parasitoid wasps, lacewings and ladybugs. Repeated applications of glyphosate significantly affect the growth and survival of earthworms. Studies have also shown that glyphosate, and in particular, the inert ingredients in the formulation of Roundup are acutely toxic to fish.
TAKE ACTION: Send a letter to the National Inventors Hall of Fame telling them that it is inappropriate to honor the inventor of a toxic chemical among the ranks of great medical inventors. Using the above points, write a letter to the editor/opinion responding to articles about Dr. Franz’s induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (See list of newspapers covering the story: http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&ncl=1113440420), including ABC News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Wyoming News, and others.