How Dangerous Is Glyphosphate and the Herbicide Roundup?

A recent announcement that glyphosphate, the most popular weed killer, has been banned in Australia has stunned many farmers. It is the most popular weed killer used and there are over 750 products containing the chemical on sale in the USA, which means they are probably also on sale in other countries. But what is a greater challenge is the commercial herbicide manufactured by Monsanto and sold under the name of Roundup.

According to the National Pesticide Information glyphosphate on its own has little toxicity in small doses. It can enter the body through the skin, by breathing in, and by ingesting the liquid. Pets may be more at risk if they swallow the substance and in my experience chickens died soon after spraying grass that they then consumed.

While it binds tightly to the soil it may remain in it for up to six months. Studies found that lettuce and carrots grown in sprayed soil take up the substance. It does not, however, get into ground water because of its tight binding with the soil. Other studies have found it is associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

While pure glyphosphate is low in toxicity it is when mixed with other ingredients that the real danger occurs. Roundup has come into focus because it is proving to be deadly to human cells. It is the most widely used weed killer in the United States. Monsanto is the same company responsible for genetically modified crops intended to survive being sprayed with Roundup.

New studies have found that the inert ingredients in this product have amplified the danger to humans. In Argentina report of a high rate of birth defects and cancer in those living near areas of crop spraying has prompted a petition to the Supreme Court to ban the substance. The scientists of that country also linked it to genetic malformations in amphibians. A Swedish team then found a risk factor for the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In some countries there is little control over how crops are sprayed with herbicides. Videos have emerged of men in thongs and wearing no protective clothing waving sprays in such a way that it drifts widely and contacts their bodies. There is much to say on this subject and the reader is advised to research the danger of any herbicide before using it.

The question is how safe are the crops grown from the genetically modified seeds supplied by Monsanto? How much of the weed killer and other substances are we consuming in our diet? The evidence now points to weeds that have built up a resistance to this chemical which is why the Australian government has banned it.