Round Up: Is it Harming Your Health?

Round Up may be a common and convenient way to kill weeds, but is it doing more harm than good?

Getting rid of weeds can be a tedious and annoying process. That’s why the majority of landscaping companies simply apply synthetic herbicides to weeds to get rid of them. At Greener Environments, we believe in keeping harmful herbicides to a minimum. Instead, we do it the hard way and we hand pick the weeds.

But why?

Why wouldn’t we just spray an herbicide like RoundUp? Why would we want to work so hard? The reason is because it is worth it to us. Glyphosate is the leading chemical in RoundUp and it has been found to be linked to a number of health problems. It is not only our job to keep your landscape looking nice, but we feel that we have a responsibility to our clients and our employees to use safe practices. We will never sacrifice your health or the health of your children, your pets, or our employees in the name of convenience.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide. It was initially discovered in 1950 by a Swiss chemist and then recognized as an herbicide in 1970 by a Monsanto chemist. Monsanto put the new herbicide in the market in the 1970s under the name Round Up. It quickly gained popularity and became especially attractive to farmers when Monsanto introduced genetically engineered seeds that resist glyphosate. This enabled farmers to spray their entire field without damaging crops. Glyphosate is now used in more than 160 countries with over 1.4 billion pounds per year applied. The majority of the use is in agriculture. 90% of the soybeans in the US are grown with RoundUp Ready seeds, and are thus sprayed with glyphosate. Corn and cotton are next in line. RoundUp is also very widely used as an herbicide for home gardens. Most people in the US probably have a bottle of RoundUp in their garage or garden shed.

Why not just use the bottle in your garage?

Studies have found the chemical to be linked to cancer, liver and kidney problems, tumor growth, and other health issues. These studies have caused the herbicide to be banned in several countries across the globe. France has banned the use of glyphosate, Sri Lanka has enforced a prohibition on the use or sale of the herbicide, and Colombia is placing a ban on the product. After increases of cancer were linked to the use of glyphosate, health officials in Argentina are urging the government to ban the use of the chemical. A large German retail company has removed glyphosate products from their stores as are two large Swiss companies. Mexico has restricted the product, and Canada is in the process of doing so.

The US EPA does not yet recognize glyphosate as a toxic chemical to humans, but progress is being made.

In March the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is an arm of the World Health Organization, released a report that stated that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans.

In September the Environmental Protection Agency of California posted a notice of intent to label glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer. This action was taken under Prop 65, which is a measure that was approved in 1986 that requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Under Prop 65 businesses must provide a clear and reasonable warning before exposing people to a chemical on the list.

Monsanto, however, stands by their claim that the chemical is virtually non-toxic to humans and they have studies to back up that up. These studies, however, are mostly either done by Monsanto scientists or are funded by the company. It takes a quick Google search to see the countless lawsuits against Monsanto over unethical practices and falsified claims made by the company. Monsanto is a controversial company, to say the least. With just a little bit of research it becomes pretty clear that what they are not is an ethical company that is concerned with public health and safety. Even more troubling is their ties in government.

The Edmonds Institute wrote about the “revolving door” between the biotech industry and government agencies. Many higher level employees or people on the board of directors for Monsanto have also worked in the EPA and the FDA. These conflicts of interest have kept information from being exposed to the public on the safety of many of Monsanto’s products and practices and have even helped Monsanto increase their business. For example, in 2013 the EPA raised the levels on the amount of glyphosate allowed in our foods. Why did they do this? Because Monsanto asked them to.

So…. do you still want to use that bottle of RoundUp in your garage? The World Health Organization seems to advise against it, but then how are you going to get rid of your weeds?

There are ways to minimize weeds easily and naturally.
Read this blog: 5 helpful tips for a weed free landscape to learn about how to control your weeds.

If you have decided that you don’t want to use RoundUp, yet you still have a bottle of it in your garage, make sure that it is properly disposed of.

We do our best to stay educated and take extra measures to ensure safe practices and hope that we can inspire others to do the same. If you have any questions or comments or need further advice on safely managing your weeds, feel free to contact us. We’d be glad to help!