A recent announcement that glyphosate, the most popular weed killer, has been banned in Australia has stunned many farmers. It is the most popular weed killer used and there are over 750 products containing the chemical on sale in the USA, which means they are probably also on sale in other countries.
But what is a greater challenge is the commercial herbicide manufactured by Monsanto and sold under the name of Roundup.
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According to the National Pesticide Information glyphosphate on its own has little toxicity in small doses. It can enter the body through the skin, by breathing in, and by ingesting the liquid. Pets may be more at risk if they swallow the substance and in my experience chickens died soon after spraying grass that they then consumed.
While it binds tightly to the soil it may remain in it for up to six months. Studies found that lettuce and carrots are grown in sprayed soil to take up the substance. It does not, however, get into groundwater because of its tight binding with the soil. Other studies have found it is associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
While pure glyphosate is low in toxicity it is when mixed with other ingredients that the real danger occurs. Roundup has come into focus because it is proving to be deadly to human cells. It is the most widely used weed killer in the United States. Monsanto is the same company responsible for genetically modified crops intended to survive being sprayed with Roundup.