The health and environmental risks of glyphosate, the pesticide known by the commercial name Roundup, have been underestimated, according to a new report published in the journal Environmental Health.
The paper was authored by 14 scientists, including Michael Hansen, Ph.D, senior scientist at Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. Genetically modified (GMO) crops were developed to be resistant to the effects of glyphosate, so the pesticide would kill the weeds, but not the plants.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
The use of glyphosate has increased nearly 15-fold since 1996, when GMO crops were first approved, according to an analysis by Charles M. Benbrook, Ph.D. (who is also one of the 14 scientist authors of the recent report) published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe. In 2014 alone, the amount of glyphosate used was equivalent to 0.8 pounds per acre of cultivated cropland in the U.S.