Panel to review weed killer

LIHUE — The world’s most widely used weed killer “probably” causes cancer, the World Health Organization announced in March. 

The Environmental Protection Agency came to that same conclusion in 1985. Six years later, the agency reversed its position that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is harmful to humans after re-examining a mouse study that had been the basis for its conclusion.

Now Kauai residents have three chances to catch a panel discussion about Roundup’s potential dangers featuring science and environmental health scholars from around the world.

The panel, titled “Our Right to Health,” will take place at 6:30 tonight at the Waimea Canyon Middle School cafeteria, 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville and 7 p.m. Thursday at Kauai Community Performing Arts Center in Lihue.

Speakers include Stephanie Seneff, senior research scientist at MIT’s computer science and artificial intelligence lab, and Judy Carman, director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research in Adelaide, Australia.

The three evening discussions of the Monsanto product’s safety is co-sponsored by GMO Free Kauai, GMO Free Hawaii Island, Hawaii SEED, The Shaka Movenent, Kokua Coop Market and Honolulu, Hawaii Center for Food Safety.

Monsanto officials have said the company is “outraged” over the WHO report is that says Roundup a likely carcinogen, saying that conclusion is inconsistent with decades of research and accusing WHO researchers of “cherry picking” data.

“Safety is the top priority for every person who works at Monsanto,” Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer, said in March. “Glyphosate-based herbicides on the market meet the rigorous standards set by the regulatory and health authorities who work every day to protect human health, and we want our customers and consumers to be assured of these evaluations.”

But Kauai resident Mi-key Boudreaux, who helped organize the panels this week, said the fact that several countries have banned the sale of glyphosate means people should take a closer look at why.

“As more and more countries are banning this I think it’s really smart for us to find out why they’re doing that,” said Boudreaux. “There’s 24 countries and counting. They must be doing it for a good reason.”

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