The main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is being found in everything from food crops to vaccines to rainwater, and even in childhood vaccines.
But one aspect of this deadly Monsanto utilized chemical that is often overlooked is the damage it can cause to bodies of water and the creatures that depend on these ecosystems every day.
According to recent research, glyphosate may have surprising negative effects on the oceans, and it may be even more bad news for the company as more and more people are finding out.
“Studies Link Monsanto Chemical to Ocean Death”
It’s not just fertilizer runoff that’s capable of causing serious harm to oceans and other large bodies of water — glyphosate’s persistence in seawater has been widely under-reported.
According to this study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin in August 2014, glyphosate is increasingly remaining within oceans and does not break down nearly as fast as most people realize.
“This study demonstrates glyphosate is moderately persistent in the marine water under low light conditions and is highly persistent in the dark,” it concludes.
The first study of its kind showing glyphosate persistence in seawater, the “half life” of the “probable human carcinogen” glyphosate (according to a World Health Organization body) ranges from 47 to 315 days depending on how much sunlight ends up reaching it. The deeper the ocean, the more likely glyphosate is able to persist.
This is especially noteworthy considering the half-life of glyphosate in soil (its intended use) is only 5 (in soil) to 49 days (in bogs or freshwater), generally speaking.
But because of glyphosate’s ability to kill off smaller organisms within the ecosystem, a key question remains: is the overuse of glyphosate in agriculture and subsequent runoff killing marine life from the bottom of the food chain up?
Phytoplankton is the source of life within ocean ecoysystems ranging from smaller fish all the way up to whales. Ocean and coral reef life death can be traced to the die-off of these organisms, and loss of phytoplankton has risen by 40 percent during the 1950s.
Some researchers have asked the question as to what new substance has been introduced in the past 40 years that is capable of killing off a wide variety of plant life, and many are now wondering if the answer may be synthetic chemicals such as glyphosate (Dr. Kathy J. Forti lays out the possibilities and questions in a recent blog post titled “Studies Link Monsanto Chemical to Ocean Death” here).
Monsanto of course insists its flagship herbicide is “safe” noting its approval by various governmental safety bodies, but what unintended consequences may be happening that haven’t been studied yet?
A 2016 study published in PLOS One has already shown that the “…continued use of glyphosate and increasing concentration of this herbicide in the coastal waters will likely exert significant impact on coastal marine phytoplankton community structure…”
In other words, glyphosate in our bodies of water is a pretty big deal, and it’s just one additional reason why we need to take extreme caution with synthetic chemicals in our agriculture system (or better yet, to ditch them altogether).