Dr. Stephen Frantz, looking a bit rumpled, sports a shock of silvery hair that he’s frequently too busy to trim. Now technically retired, but actually more active than ever, he recently engineered a victory in Washington, D.C.
With the help of Congressman Ted Lieu, he arranged two hearings on glyphosate (GLY), a critically dangerous and the most widely used herbicide (RoundUp) in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Last June, Frantz put together, for the first time ever, a group of 11 scientists and science advocates who presented compelling evidence to Congressional staffers and EPA scientists that glyphosate does not meet the regulatory standards necessary for the EPA’s re-registration as a safe herbicide.
More than 75 people packed the Congressional hearing, along with the public, to learn about the many ill effects of glyphosate. Most people did not realize that exposure to this chemical is linked to autism, cancer, birth defects, obesity, gluten intolerance, dead butterflies and bees, crippled elk, climate change, and much more.
For instance, the monarch die-off is directly linked to glyphosate’s obliteration of milkweed, the butterflies’ main food source. The hearings generated much good discussion and ran longer than scheduled.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp, Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide. It has been used since 1974 on billions of acres of U.S. crops and kills the weeds on golf courses and playgrounds, in public parks and, of course, on or near fruit, vegetable and animal feed crops.
Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) corn and soybean crops, the primary feed for meat and dairy animals, are RoundUp-resistant. In other words, RoundUp can be sprayed extensively on GE corn and it will kill everything except the corn plant. Its residues are found everywhere: in the air, groundwater, rainfall, soil, dust, plants, animals and people.
Monsanto argues that the residue dissipates and becomes inactive, while world-wide research has determined otherwise. In March, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer declared GLY as a probable cause of cancer in humans. Slowly, it’s becoming clear that all of us, our pets as well, have some GLY and/or GLY-mutating cells lodged in our bodies.
Frantz’s interest in GLY goes back to 2006-07 when he was investigating White Nose Syndrome (WNS) disease in bats in upstate New York. He speculated that the nearby GLY spraying of RoundUp Ready GE corn where the bats foraged might be connected to WNS. As far as he knows, to date, there has been no research into this connection.
With a Ph.D. in pathobiology from Johns Hopkins University, he has had a long career researching zoonotic diseases–those passed from animals, including rodents, cockroaches and bats, to humans. How to manage these species with the most sustainable and ecologically sound strategies (a.k.a. Integrated Pest Management) has been Frantz’s work for more than 40 years.
What led him to devoting significant time and energy to eliminate GLY (and many other herbicides and pesticides), was the passing of his beautiful English Mastiff, Sanu Ri. She was only six-and-a-half years old and died from osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Most commercial dog foods are contaminated with GLY from spraying of feed crops. In addition, dogs are exposed to neighborhood lawns, parks and roadsides, which are commonly RoundUp-sprayed. Fifty percent of dogs in the U.S. now die of cancer. As a carcinogen, GLY has a tendency to concentrate in bone and bone marrow.
Moving from Massachusetts in 2013, Frantz joined the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM) and sought out local environmental activists. He was drawn to the Topanga Canyon Watershed Committee (TCWC) when he heard of its successful efforts to convince Caltrans to quit using RoundUp to kill weeds growing on the side of the Boulevard. His work with anticoagulant rodent poisons plus his GLY knowledge has brought considerable gravitas and expertise to the TCWC’s mission to clean, revitalize, and preserve our watershed and the flora and fauna that depend on it.
Frantz spoke at a Malibu City Council hearing last June about GLY.
As a result of his and others’ compelling testimony concerning other herbicides, Malibu has banned all synthetic pesticide applications in Malibu City-owned
and/or managed property.
That’s some good news, but the bad GLY news just keeps on coming.
On August 31, Dr. Anthony Samsel released the data he’s collected on vaccine contamination (http://www.tonu.org/2016/08/31/vaccine-glyphosate-link/).
Multiple tests of vaccines (measles, hepatitis B, shingles, diphtheria, pertussis) from half a dozen big pharma companies show high levels of GLY contamination. So, on top of the mercury and aluminium used in vaccines, we are injecting GLY directly into our kids.
So far, no legislation, guidelines or restrictions have grown out of Congressman Lieu’s hearings and now, it’s unlikely that President Trump’s EPA will have any interest in GLY and its fallout.
Here in California, however, we scored a big victory on January 27: Monsanto lost its suit against the state EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. From now on, consumer products such as RoundUp will fall into the Proposition 65 zone that requires products with potential cancer-causing ingredients to bear warning labels.
At a planetary level, the European Commission is registering a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) inviting the Commission “to propose an EU ban on glyphosate, to reform the herbicide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for herbicide use.”
Monsanto is a mega-company but, once again, people educating and organizing themselves at the grassroots (literally!) level, are making definite progress towards ensuring healthy food and, consequently, healthy people.
Thank you, Stephen Frantz, for representing Topangans, and the world, in these efforts.