Modern agriculture relies heavily on massive amounts of pesticides to ensure the production of crops thrives. Glyphosate is one such pesticide, and here is what you need to know about it.
If you've watched the news lately, the word glyphosate might have caught your eye. In August 2018, a California court ordered Monsanto, the manufacturer of Round-Up, to pay almost $290 million to a cancer patient who claimed their products caused his terminal cancer. The jury believed that Monsanto knew of the dangers and should have properly warned users.
Then, a news report discovered that the cancer-causing chemical was also in several popular breakfast foods and cereals marketed to children! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered glyphosate in 31 out of 45 tested products! So, this all brings up a few questions. Here is what you need to know.
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is an herbicide that is applied to the leaves of plants to kill weeds and grasses. It began to be used in the United States in the 1970s. Nowadays, it is one of the most widely used herbicides in the country! If you check the ingredient on herbicides, you might notice glyphosate listed as an active ingredient.
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The Herbicide's Usage
This herbicide is one of the most commonly used chemicals in modern agriculture. Its powers lay in its effectiveness to kill weeds, saving farmers time and ensuring strong crop yields. Farmers spray the herbicide on their fields to kill unwanted vegetation before sowing their seeds. The plants absorb this chemical through their stems and leaves before dying.
Before the use of glyphosate, farmers had to manually till their land to remove weeds.
The Controversy Surrounding Glyphosate
It has long been thought that glyphosate led to environmental danger and adverse health effects. The chemical can be found in human bodies. One might think that the chemical is confined only to the corn and soy fields, but tests on our food, such as the one done on breakfast foods, show that the chemical is found throughout the grocery store.
This chemical can be found in cookies, ice cream, crackers, and more. Exposure to glyphosate has increased more than 500 percent since 1994. Before this time, the levels of glyphosate in the human body was barely detectable.
It is no wonder that many people are worried! The World Health Organization lists glyphosate as a possible carcinogen and a recent decision in the European Union means the chemical will start to phase out from agriculture throughout the next five years. A full ban of glyphosate in the European Union begins in 2022. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims that it is safe for agricultural use.
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Truth be told, no one is quite clear the danger that can be caused by such high exposures. It is the first time in history that humans have such high levels in their system, so time will tell what the problems could be. We do know that the recent lawsuit against Monsanto confirmed many people's suspicions and thousands of other lawsuits are now pending against the company.
More and more families are turning away from non-organic foods in hopes to reduce the exposure of glyphosate in their families. So, are you trying to make food choices that reduce your exposure?
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