But It Hurts People, Animals, and the Environment
Christina Sarich | Natural Society
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide, Roundup, is “the most widely applied pesticide worldwide.” Yet farmers report that glyphosate is failing to control weeds – so why is it still being used?!
It’s no accident that Agent Orange and glyphosate, both produced by the multinational company Monsanto, have both been used in wars led by the United States. The long-term effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam are widely known – the effects of glyphosate in Colombia and other countries, not so much. Robert Bellé, a French scientist who investigated aerial spraying of glyphosate on some 1.5 million hectares in Colombia says:
“Formulated glyphosate is causing the early stages of cancerization.”
Was this chemical blend even meant to kill weeds? Midwestern farmers are seeing ‘super weeds’ grow past their high-water boots, and globally over 120 million hectares have had an increase in weed growth, not a decline. The weeds are resistant to glyphosate! Even when these chemicals kill weeds quickly, they are likely killing us in slow motion.
Monsanto and the pesticide industry claim that glyphosate is minimally toxic to humans, but research published in the journal Entropy strongly argues that mammals and fish are greatly harmed by this chemical.
Glyphosate Use Increasing Dramatically
None of the environmental or human health damage that’s been caused by glyphosate has deterred Monsanto. As the paper “Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally” describes, the U.S. has used over 1.6 billion kilograms (3.5 billion pounds) of glyphosate since 1974 when Roundup first hit the market. This accounts for 19 percent of the 8.6 billion kilograms (18.9 billion pounds) of glyphosate used around the world.
Agricultural economist Charles M. Benbrook, Ph.D. and author of the study, wrote:
“In the U.S., no pesticide has come remotely close to such intensive and widespread use.”
The study also noted that worldwide glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since 1996 when “Roundup Ready” crops were introduced. These crops, such as soy, corn, canola, alfalfa and cotton, are genetically engineered to withstand direct application of Roundup, as it kills “only the weeds.” It’s no surprise that these crops now account for about 56 percent of worldwide glyphosate use.
“The dramatic and rapid growth in overall use of glyphosate will likely contribute to a host of adverse environmental and public health consequences.”
Is it any wonder that researchers have found glyphosate residues in the human fetus, mother’s breast milk, cow’s milk, and our own blood and urine?
Monsanto Remains Obstinate about Roundup
Monsanto still maintains the safety of Roundup, which generated $4.8 billion in 2015 revenue. The agribusiness giant has also vehemently denied glyphosate’s link to cancer, demanding a retraction of the report from WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Monsanto is even suing California to stop it from listing the chemical as a known carcinogen.
All this, and glyphosate still doesn’t kill weeds – at least not safely. There are so many other options.