Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide is officially the most used weed-killer in the global history of chemical agriculture, according to a poignant paper published this week by the journal, Environmental Sciences Europe.
The author of the landmark paper, Charles Benbrook, PhD, emphasizes “The dramatic and rapid growth in overall use of glyphosate will likely contribute to a host of adverse environmental and public health consequences“. Dr. Benbrook also makes the connection between glyphosate exposure and many serious health effects, including liver and kidney diseases, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“My hope is that this paper will stimulate more research on glyphosate use, and human and environmental exposure patterns, to increase the chance that scientists will quickly detect any problems that might be triggered, or made worse by glyphosate exposure,” Benbrook notes.
The paper details that nearly 19 billion pounds (8.6 billion kilograms) of glyphosate have been used world wide since the introduction of “Roundup Ready” GMO crops in the mid-90s. In 2014 alone, enough glyphosate was sprayed to cover three-quarters of every harvested acre of cropland in the U.S. Most shocking, 74% of all glyphosate ever sprayed has been done so in the last decade as the amount of genetically engineered crops have grown exponentially across the globe.
It is now made generically and used in numerous products, not only Roundup.
“This report makes it clear that the use of glyphosate combined with the dominance of genetically engineered crops has produced an looming public health threat both in the U.S. and around the world. Farmers have sprayed billions of pounds of a chemical now considered a probable human carcinogen over the past decade. Spraying has increased to multiple times a year recently on the majority of U.S. cropland. The sheer volume of use of this toxic weed-killer is a clear indication that this chemical dependency is a case of farming gone wrong,” Mary Ellen Kustin, a top-ranking policy analyst for the Environmental Working Group, stated in response to Dr. Benbrook’s research.
Kustin’s comments reflect the World Health Organization’s March 2015 declaration that glyphosate ‘probably’ causes cancer. The assessment was reached by the opinion of 17 experts from 11 different countries, who convened last spring to review the carcinogenicity of glyphosate among other organophosphate pesticides.
(Monsanto promptly accused the agency of having an “agenda” and “cherry picking” the damning research.)
To read Dr. Benbrook’s paper in its entirety, please visit the Environmental Working Group here.