“Farmers have sprayed billions of pounds of a chemical now considered a probable human carcinogen.”
The herbicide glyphosate that was originally only known as “Roundup” but now goes by, but is not limited to, “Roundup WeatherMax” and “Roundup UltraMax,” has been declared the most heavily applied weed-killer in the history of weed-killers.
The key ingredient of Monsanto’s signature product, 18.9 billion pounds of glyphosate have been used globally since the product was first sold commercially in 1974. In a study released Tuesday, American agricultural economist Chuck Benbrook notes that this global upsurge has coincided with increasing evidence that glyphosate may be detrimental to human health.
“This report makes it clear that the use of glyphosate combined with the dominance of genetically engineered crops has produced an looming public health threat both in the U.S. and around the world,” said Mary Ellen Kustin a senior policy analyst at the Environmental Working Group in a press release.
“Farmers have sprayed billions of pounds of a chemical now considered a probable human carcinogen over the past decade,” Kustin said. “Spraying has increased to multiple times a year recently on the majority of U.S. cropland. The sheer volume of use of this toxic weed-killer is a clear indication that this chemical dependency is a case of farming gone wrong.”
Due to herbicide-tolerant technology, the use of glyphosate by U.S. farmers experienced a 20-fold increase from 1995 to 2014, its use rising from 12.5 million pounds to 250 million pounds. As the planting of genetically engineered corn and soybeans became increasingly common so did the use of glyphosate — 74 percent of all glyphosate crop-use has only happened in the last 10 years. This data is based on the sum of three sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service data, pesticide use data sets from the U.S. Geological Survey, and periodic reports from the Environmental Protection Agency.