Robin: "Glyphosate will lead to the largest health scandal in the world’s history......."
Date Added to website 22nd June 2015
Robin: "Glyphosate will lead to the largest health scandal in the world’s history......."
Robin is a feisty lady, well known for her defiance of Monsanto and her
determination to make hard-hitting documentaries. She has been studying
the issue of GMOs and Roundup for so long now that there are few people
who are better informed. When she says "Glyphosate will lead to the
largest health scandal in the world’s history......." she really means
it. And we believe her. Are there any politicians out there who are
listening, or are they all so naive that they continue to believe all
the nonsense about GMOs saving the hungry of the world, and so forth?]
‘Glyphosate will lead to largest health scandal’
Marie-Monique Robin speaks at a summit in Rosario last week.
By Fermín Koop
French journalist and documentary filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin talks with the Heraldhttp://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/192096/%E2%80%98glyphosate-will-lead-to-largest-health-scandal%E2%80%99
contentious debate is growing in farming communities across the world
as a rising number of environmental and social groups call for an
outright ban on the herbicide glyphosate, which has been used on the
country’s crops for years, after the World Health Organization (WHO)
declared it a probable carcinogenic.
French journalist and
documentary filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin was one of the first to make
public the risks of glyphosate with her book and documentary The World
According to Monsanto (2008), which was then followed by Our Daily
Poison (2011) and Crops of the Future (2012) to complete a trilogy on
food, chemicals and the agricultural sector. She is also the author of
The Death Squads: The French School, where she investigated ties
between the French secret services and their Argentine and Chilean
Speaking to the Herald in a break of her
intensive week in Argentina with lectures and conferences, Robin said
she was shocked after seeing how much soy has expanded and the use of
glyphosate has grown in the country since her last visit in 2005,
warning about the high costs of following that path. Argentina should
change its agriculture model to agroecology, a viable option even
though Monsanto says it isn’t, Robin said.
The World Health
Organization recently categorized glyphosate as a probable carcinogenic
after reviewing many investigations over its health effects. How did
you react to the news after having warned over the health risks in many
of your books?
I interviewed some of the WHO researchers
while I was working with Our Daily Poison and they described the many
pressures the organization had faced from multinational companies and
chemical producers, which has now thankfully changed. Nevertheless, I’m
sure Monsanto put a lot of effort into trying to prevent the
publication of the paper. Monsanto claims there are studies that
weren’t taken in account when doing the paper but they never say which
ones. Two company officials used that argument in a lecture I gave in
the United States during a book tour but they weren’t able to tell me
which papers when I asked them.
In Our Daily Poison, you
warn about the shocking account of dangerous chemical compounds that
have infiltrated the food chain. How did you reach such conclusion?
products aren’t correctly evaluated and companies manipulate all the
major world food agencies. There are more than 100,000 molecules that
have been inserted into the market after World War Two. There’s a
direct link between them and grave diseases such as cancer, diabetes,
parkinson and reproductive system disorders. The number of people who
die because of those diseases grows every year.
companies claim that following that path is the only solution to a
growing population that needs more and more food. Can the world take an
I completely disagree with the companies’
point of view. If we want to feed the world, another path can be taken,
an argument I proved on Crops of the Future. Monsanto says that if we
ban glyphosate we can’t feed the world but they forget to mention that
we aren’t feeding it today. There are about 900 billion people that
suffer hunger and most of them are farmers. The system has completely
failed. Argentina has more than 20 million hectares harvested with soy
and that doesn’t help to feed anybody except for pigs and chicken in
Europe. The path Argentina has chosen leads to a extreme ecological
disaster with a completely destroyed soil, water and air polluted and
sick people. We need to change the system, also because of global
How much is the agricultural sector responsible for global warming?
to 50 percent of the greenhouse gases are directly linked to the
agro-industrial model. A food product bought in a supermarket in the
United States travels an average of 4,000 kilometres before arriving
there, a figure that reaches 3,000 when looking at Europe.
Deforestation is also one of the main sources of emissions as trees are
cut down to farm more hectares. I saw that in my first trip to
Argentina 10 years ago in Santiago del Estero. If we want to face
global warming, we need to start planting trees and choose agroecology
as an alternative model. Argentina will pay a high cost because of the
use of glyphosate and soy. All the fields are being destroyed by this
High rates of deaths linked to cancer and
malformations in kids were recently discovered in towns of many
provinces in which high amounts of glyphosate are used. Were you
surprised by those new findings?
I wasn’t surprised by them
but I was regarding the change the country has seen since my first
visit. Almost nobody cared about these issues in 2005 but now I’m
impressed to see the many scientists, doctors and organizations
involved and trying to find solutions. There are constantly new studies
about the risks of glyphosate. Europe imports transgenic soy sprayed
with glyphosate and data shows that the animals who are fed with that
soy are dying faster. I’m doing a new documentary about glyphosate and
there’s so much information that I don’t know where to begin. France
recently banned over-the-counter sales of glyphosate.
and environmental organizations and scientists are asking Argentina to
do the same and ban glyphosate. Could that be done?
sure but I’m surprised that so much glyphosate continues to be used in
the country. After I published The World According to Monsanto, many
mayors of France started a campaign to ban the herbicide as they were
using it to control weeds in parks. Argentina keeps using it on a
massive scale and I’m really shocked. The government has a short-term
vision as soy brings many dollars into the country. But on a longer
term the costs of following that path will be high. Soybeans to feed
pigs in Europe doesn’t feed the Argentines. I hope the government wakes
up and starts thinking on the longer term. Haven’t they heard about the
What differentiates Argentina from other countries in the region regarding Monsanto, glyphosate and transgenic soy?
is considered the country in which the highest amount of transgenic
crops are harvested. United States reports warn the use of glyphosate
in the country has grown 800 percent over the past few years. When I
came in 2005 all the problems were there but now it’s a much more
complicated scenario. There’s an active participation of the citizens
but nothing seems to change.
What are some of the common practices used by Monsanto in the countries it works?
arrives in Argentina during the Carlos Menem administration. I wasn’t
able to prove if there was corruption involved in the process or not
but the fact is that transgenic soy arrived in the country without many
difficulties and a large support of the press. GMO crops were
authorized by a decree, which was published in English and wasn’t even
translated. Monsanto wanted to work in Brazil first but the country had
more rigorous rules so they chose Argentina instead. Argentina wasn’t a
soy producing country back then and now is now of the largest. That’s
an amazing change in only 20 years. Monsanto arriving in a country
means corruption, pressures on politicians and a large part of the
press supporting it.
Can a federal government take a different stand in order to avoid those pressures?
it all started, nobody knew that glyphosate was so toxic and that
transgenic crops were correctly evaluated. Now the scenario has changed
and glyphosate will lead to the largest health scandal in the world’s
history. Glyphosate is in the air, water and food so it leads to
serious health problems. It’s a poison in many ways.
does it mean for Argentina to keep moving on the same direction and
increase every year the amount of hectares harvested with soy and the
liters of glyphosate used?
It means hunger. I called my
documentary on Argentina The Soybeans of Hunger but I could have called
it The Soybeans of Death since the health costs are really high.
Glyphosate is an accumulative poison, it can’t be destroyed and it’s
not biodegradable. It’s unbelievable that the government is still
blind. Europe has a law that makes companies label all transgenic
products that could have been sprayed with glyphosate. Now we are
asking to label animals who are fed with transgenic soy. What will
Argentina do if that happens? Exports will for sure drop. What will
Argentina do with all its fields destroyed and polluted and without any
vegetation and trees?