Glyphosphate: Helpful or Harmful?

Genetically modified crops are growing more prevalent around the world as a solution to some of the challenges that the agricultural sector is facing due to factors like climate change and an increasing human population. As a result, environmental and public health risks associated with the herbicide glyphosphate, commonly known as Roundup, which is used on eighty percent of genetically modified crops are becoming more prevalent as well.

 

One can argue that there are many positive attributes to growing genetically modified crops. However, it is unclear whether the benefits of increased food production will outweigh the costs of heavy pesticide use.

According to new research, studies show that glyphosphate use poses various adverse effects to human health.

  • Cancer
  • Learning disabilities
  • Birth defects
  • Reproductive Health
  • Endocrine disruption

 

Not only is the population in danger, but glyphosphate use poses risks to the environment too. Environmental impacts include adverse effects on the following:

  • Soil fertility
  • Ecosystem function
  • Crop health
  • Water contamination
  • Development of herbicide resistance

It seems there has been a recent flood of new studies pointing to evidence which clearly proves that glyphosphates are considered to be a hazard. Some countries internationally are already in the process of phasing out and eventually banning Roundup use due to the overwhelming flood of evidence of its adverse effects.

glyphosphate

Photo courtesy of EcoWatch

So why is the United States not following suit? Unfortunately, the answer is it’s an economic issue. In order to increase food production through growing genetically modified crops, toxic pesticides and herbicides like Roundup must be heavily applied. Shedding light on the risks glyphosphate poses will hopefully cause a gradual change to safer alternatives.

Sources:

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/glyphogen.html#whatis

http://sustainablepulse.com/2016/10/12/pesticide-experts-release-shocking-review-of-global-glyphosate-damage/#.WBKdG-grI2w

http://pan-international.org/wp-content/uploads/Glyphosate-monograph.pdf

10 Things You Need to Know about Glyphosate

http://www.ecowatch.com/results-of-glyphosate-pee-test-are-in-and-its-not-good-news-1891129531.html

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Glyphosphate: Helpful or Harmful?

  1. amyquandt

    Is Roundup worse than other chemicals that are used as far as its health and environmental impacts? Is it worse than what is used on non-GMO crops?

    Like

  2. Peter Newton

    Hi Sam. I’m glad that you’re interested in this topic, but Amy’s question is pertinent: glyphosate is far more benign than herbicides that are or were being used by conventional agriculture. And several of the claims presented here are simply false: glyphosate is in the same toxicity category as coffee, has been declared by multiple agencies to be non-carcinogenic, and breaks down very quickly after being applied (so doesn’t have any detectable effects on the environment). Multiple peer-reviewed journal articles have concluded that there have been no detected negative human or environmental health impacts from glyphosate. The ‘evidence’ that you cite is from a Pesticide Action Network, who have a clearly stated agenda to discourage pesticide use and promote agro-ecology – as such, it would be wise to approach their ‘research’ (which is not peer-reviewed or independently published) with some caution. I completely understand why you might not have realized this – there is a LOT of misinformation on the web with respect to GM crops, and much of it is convincingly presented. I hope this helps.

    Like

  3. kennedyroddy

    Do you know of any, or were any alternatives to glyphosate mentioned in the articles/reviews that you read? If so, do you know why we don’t use these instead of glyphosate?

    Like

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