- Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — identified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 — is the most heavily used agricultural chemical in history
- A 2016 study revealed use of glyphosate rose nearly fifteenfold between 1996 (when Roundup Ready crops were introduced) and 2014, and a recent data analysis by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting shows usage has dramatically increased across the Midwest in recent years
- In 2016, Midwest farmers used an estimated 188.7 million pounds of glyphosate, a fortyfold increase from 1992, and the Midwest accounts for 65% of the total glyphosate usage in the U.S.
- Some states have seen an even greater increase. In Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa, glyphosate usage was about 80 times greater in 2016 than in 1992, and 15 times higher than in 2000
- The glyphosate market is predicted to continue growing, potentially doubling by 2021, from the current $5 billion per year to as much as $10 billion
According to polls, the No. 1 reason people choose organic food is to avoid pesticide exposure.1 Not only do these chemicals threaten the environment, but they also pose a very clear and direct risk to human health.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — identified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)2,3 in 2015 — is the most heavily used agricultural chemical in history.4
A 2016 study5 published in Environmental Sciences Europe revealed use of glyphosate rose nearly fifteenfold between 1996 (when Roundup Ready crops were introduced) and 2014. Between 1974 and 2014, 1.8 million tons of glyphosate were applied to U.S. fields. The global total for that timeframe was 9.4 million tons.
Mounting evidence shows the weed killer is nowhere near as effective as it used to be, thanks to mounting resistance, and there are more than 13,000 pending lawsuits6 charging Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s7,8) herbicide Roundup caused the plaintiffs’ Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Despite that, a recent data analysis9 by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting shows usage hasn’t dropped off. On the contrary, glyphosate use has dramatically increased across the Midwest in recent years.
GMOs have been a primary driver of toxic weed killer use
One of the reasons for this massive increase is that genetically engineered corn and soybeans dominate this agricultural area, and glyphosate is routinely used on these crops as they are designed to survive direct application. Walljasper and Ferrando write:12
“Once thought of as a miracle product, overreliance on glyphosate has caused weeds to grow resistant to the chemical and led to diminished research and development for new weed management solutions, according to Bill Curran, president-elect of the Weed Science Society of America and emeritus professor of weed science at Penn State University.
‘We’re way overreliant on roundup,’ Curran said. ‘Nobody thought we were going to be dealing with the problems we are dealing with today’ … James Benham has been farming in Southeast Indiana for nearly 50 years. Benham said, as resistance grew, Roundup went from a cure-all to a crutch. ‘Sometimes if you timed it just right, you could get away with just one spraying. Now we’re spraying as often as three or four times a year,’ he said.
Benham said farmers continue to spend more on seed and chemicals but aren’t seeing more profit. ‘That puts the farmer in that much more of a crisis mode. Can’t do without it, can’t hardly live with it,’ he said. As glyphosate became less effective, farmers also turned to even more pesticides to try and grow successful crops each year.”