What is Glyphosate (Roundup) and why is it in my tap water?
Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. It was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970. Monsanto brought it to market for agricultural use in 1974 under the trade name Roundup, and Monsanto's last commercially relevant United States patent expired in 2000.
Farmers quickly adopted glyphosate, especially after Monsanto introduced glyphosate-resistant Roundup Ready crops, enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops. In 2007, glyphosate was the most used herbicide in the United States' agricultural sector and the second-most used in home and garden (2,4-D being the most used), government and industry, and commerce. By 2016 there was a 100-fold increase from the late 1970s in the frequency of application and volume of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied, with further increases expected in the future, partly in response to the global emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds.
According to a small research study cited by the national coalition Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse, the amount of glyphosate (Roundup) allowed in American drinking water is much higher than the limit should be.
According to the study, close to 70 percent of household drinking water tested contained between 0.085 and 0.33 parts per billion of glyphosate. The current limit in the United States is 0.4 parts per billion, which might not sound like much, but research shows that even with only one-fourth of that amount, which is the limit in the European Union (EU), glyphosate can damage 4000 genes and can cause many serious health problems. The higher allowable amount of glyphosate translates into ten times higher amounts of glyphosate found in urine tests in Americans than in Europeans, which is serious cause for alarm.
Laboratory and epidemiological studies confirm that Roundup and glyphosate pose serious health and environmental hazards, including possible endocrine (hormone) disruption, cell death, DNA damage, cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders.
Some of these toxic effects are observed at low, realistic doses that could be found as residues in food and feed crops and in drinking water.
People are exposed to glyphosate though contaminated food, water and air, often as a result of the herbicides application to fields. This is not only the case in rural areas, where ‘Roundup Ready’ GM crops are grown on a large scale. Glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used by municipal authorities on roadsides, pavements, and in public parks and school grounds. It is also widely used by home gardeners. Roundup and glyphosate and their residues have been detected in previous testing in air, rain, groundwater and even circulating in women’s blood.
Recent articles on Glyphosate:
We are asking the wrong questions on glyphosate