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October 21, 2014
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editorial

The seeds of destruction? Roundup®: the most popular herbicide in the world


Monsanto maintains that glyphosate, applied as directed in miniscule amounts, is safe for humans and “has a very low toxicity to wildlife.” Yet there are growing numbers of studies that dispute this (ecowatch.com/2014/02/28/monsantos-science-doesnt-add-up/).

An article in the scientific journal Entropy published last year reports that residues of glyphosate are “likely to be pervasive in our food supply” (www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416); and may “plausibly contribute” to numerous diseases, among them inflammatory bowel disease, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, infertility and developmental malformations; and that “contrary to being essentially nontoxic, it may in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.”

More than 50 year ago, the conclusions of Rachel Carson’s seminal book, “Silent Spring” were fiercely opposed by the same chemical companies that, along with Monsanto, continue to sell ever increasing quantities of herbicides and pesticides today. (Most recently, Dow Chemical is seeking approval for new GE corn and soybeans that tolerate the chemical herbicide 2,4-D, a major component of the Vietnam War era defoliant Agent Orange.) Back in 1962, the questions Carson raised in her book inspired the grassroots environmental movement that not only led to a nationwide ban of DDT (which was particularly detrimental to birds and their ability to reproduce), but also led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Since then, even as the low-level use of these agrichemicals has increased and agribusiness’ attempts to weaken environmental regulations have increased, the public has become complacent.

We at The River Reporter believe that Rachel Carson’s message must be reintroduced to a whole new generation of Americans who, when they learn more, will want to question the large amounts of agrichemical poisons in use today. The truth is that nearly 45 years after glyphosate was discovered, we still need a better understanding of its effects and the effects of similar chemical herbicides and insecticides manufactured by other global corporations on both human health and our natural environment.

The question before all of us is: are we allowing ourselves, our land, our air and our water to be slowly poisoned? And do we fully understand the risks of the pervasive use of herbicides and insecticides?