Glyphosate, commonly known by its original trade name Roundup™ (manufactured by Monsanto), is the world’s most widely used herbicide. Glyphosate-based herbicides are manufactured by many companies in many countries.
Glyphosate is sprayed on numerous crops and plantations, including nearly 80% of genetically modified (GM) crops (canola, corn, cotton, soybean, sugar beet); with relatively high levels permitted as residues in food and animal feed. It is used as a pre-harvest desiccant, and because it is a systemic herbicide it cannot be completely removed from food by washing, peeling or processing. It is widely used in home gardens and public places including roadsides. Human exposure is widespread and constantly recurring.
Very aggressive public relations and marketing by its developer, Monsanto, has resulted in the widespread belief that glyphosate is ‘safe’. Registration processes have generally supported this attitude, and there are no national or international bans. However, independent scientific studies and widespread poisonings in Latin America (resulting from aerial application) are beginning to reveal the true effects of glyphosate-based herbicides. Now France’s Supreme Court has upheld judgements by two previous courts that “Monsanto falsely advertised its herbicide as ‘biodegradable’ and claimed it ‘left the soil clean’” (Anon 2009).
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An addendum to this monograph was published in November 2012 and may be downloaded here.
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