ROUNDUP IS the world's most widely used herbicide and it is  used extensively in New Zealand.

However a United States jury recently awarded terminally ill Dewayne Johnson US$289 million (NZ$440m) in damages, after it concluded that Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer – and the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure.

They also found that company officials had acted with 'malice and oppression' in their selling of the product despite its risks being known.

Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Roundup and is a cash cow for Monsanto.

In August Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said that she would ask the Environmental Protection Agency to consider adding Roundup to a list of hazardous substances it is reassessing. However the EPA's own website says that :

"The EPA's position is that glyphosate remains safe to use when following the instruction's on the product's label. This is consistent with other regulators worldwide. We will continue to actively monitor and review new scientific and relative evidence in relation to glyphosate, as it is released."

In June this year German pharmaceutical giant Bayer purchased Monsanto for $63 billion. It plans to phase out the Monsanto brand name.

This week Dr Bob Reiter, Bayer Head of R&D Crop Science told the NZ Herald that Roundup was not carcinogenic;

"There's no evidence at all that Roundup is carcinogenic. There's over 800 studies that have been conducted and regulators around the globe have looked at it repeatedly and with over 40 years of assessment of this product it's very clear that it is not carcinogenic."

But critics say that many of these 'scientific' studies were  ghostwritten or manipulated to provide Monsanto with the results it wanted.

These studies, among other issues, are examined by 'The Monsanto Papers'. Produced by ABC News Australia, this Four Corners investigation reveals a potential health crisis triggered by the use of glyphosate.


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