Dangers of Glyphosate
Glyphosate, the world’s most widely used broad-spectrum herbicide and the primary ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup, is the key ingredient in the toxic mix of chemicals routinely sprayed in industrial farming and on forest clearcuts, because it’s the most cost-effective way to prevent “competition” by weeds. Glyphosate went on the market in 1974, and since 2002 (when Monsanto’s patent expired) it has been the basic ingredient in most other commercial herbicides as well. The Guardian reports that almost seven million tons of glyphosate-based weedkillers were sprayed worldwide between 2005 and 2014. Contrary to the statements made by manufacturers, glyphosate is NOT safe for humans, animals, or the environment.
On the internet you will find conflicting information regarding the safety of glyphosate—how toxic it is to humans and animals, how deeply it penetrates into the soil and water table, how far it may drift in the air when sprayed, and how long its effects last. Monsanto/Bayer has paid scientists to write articles that minimize glyphosate’s dangers, or which simply omit incriminating data. It is important to understand that companies such as Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) pour many millions into the misinformation campaign that floods the broadcast and social media.
But hundreds of objective scientific studies demonstrate the serious long-term dangers of glyphosate. A new University of Washington study finds that exposure to the chemicals in Roundup increases the risk of some cancers by 40 percent. A recent Western Washington University study has found increased incidence of Parkinson’s disease linked to exposure to glyphosate, implicating consumption of well water. Glyphosate is found in the urine of almost all people tested in a California study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Scientists are concerned about its possible neurological effects on child development.
New research at the University of Northern British Columbia concludes that glyphosate persists for at least a year in plants not even directly targeted in aerial spraying. Glyphosate is present in cereal, and in fact, virtually everywhere in the food chain. Its disruption of endocrine functions, gut bacteria, and reproduction is likely contributing to the rapid extinction of insects (bees most catastrophically), amphibians, and other species. Furthermore, the chemicals in pesticides have been shown to cause even worse toxic effects in combination than in isolation.
It’s no accident that Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) and other corporations sell both agricultural seed and weed killers. These companies developed new versions of crops by altering their genetic makeup so they’re resistant to chemical weed killers. The new engineered crops are what’s meant by GMOs, genetically modified organisms. So the vast majority of the world’s food—fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish—as well as lumber—are now grown this way. GM food crops and trees are grown and maintained “scientifically” with the aid of poisonous herbicides which kill everything but the crop in question. What’s more, fruits, vegetables, and grains are sprayed several more times with glyphosate as they’re crated and transported to market. Thus, the vast majority of food in the world is part of a cycle that enriches the chemical corporations, from seeds to your table.
You can’t wash glyphosate off; it becomes part of the plant. The only way to avoid ingesting these poisons is to buy organic produce and hope that the poisons from neighboring mega-farms have not drifted to the organic producer’s land.