Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide and has been registered as a pesticide in the U.S. since 1974 under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
It can kill certain weeds and grasses. It is used primarily in agriculture, but also in forestry and lawn and garden care.
Glyphosate is also the main active ingredient in Monsanto-Bayer’s herbicide “Roundup” that has been used to treat crops like corn, cotton, canola, soybean, sugar beet, alfalfa, berry crops, brassica vegetables, bulb vegetables, fruiting vegetables, leafy vegetables, legume vegetables, cucurbit vegetables, root tuber vegetables, cereal grains, grain sorghum, citrus crops, fallow, herbs and spices, orchards, tropical and subtropical fruits, stone fruits, pome fruits, nuts, vine crops, oilseed crops, and sugarcane.
a brief timeline of glyphosate
1965 – Glyphosate was originally patented to clean pipes, like Drano
1974 – Glyphosate was found to be an effective herbicide and was eventually brought to market by Monsanto – as with the original pipe cleaning patent, glyphosate binds (chelates) to vital nutrients which could negatively affect the nutritional value of food
2003 – Monsanto applied for a patent regarding the potential antibiotic or antimicrobial activity of glyphosate. The patent was awarded in 2010.
2013 – El Salvador adapted a law banning glyphosate over links to deadly kidney disease. Soon glyphosate is banned in at least 10 jurisdictions, including Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam, and at least 15 additional countries restrict its use
2015 – The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) formally classifies glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.”
2017 – The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment lists glyphosate as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer.
2019 – Seattle joins Miami, Austin, and other cities in restricting the use of herbicides with glyphosate, such as Roundup
2019 – The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) acknowledges links between glyphosate use and cancer development in its toxicological profile on glyphosate.
Jan 2020 – the EPA, however, claims that glyphosate is “unlikely” to cause cancer when used according to its label
Jun 2020 – Bayer-Monsanto (formerly Monsanto) agrees to pay $10 billion over claims its signature herbicide Roundup causes cancer in people (NY Times)
how to avoid glyphosate
Glyphosate is probably impossible to avoid altogether, but levels can be reduced by eating organic as much as you can.
Despite the fact that organic crops can also pick up some glyphosate residue from wind erosion blowing soil particles off a nearby conventionally-managed field, a new study found levels of glyphosate and its breakdown products reduced, on average, more than 70 percent in both adults and children after just six days of eating organic.