Roundup All Around

By Susan Littlefield

New research has come to the disquieting conclusion that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, the world's most-used herbicide, is present in significant levels in our air and water, far from the points of its application.

According to Paul Capel, an environmental chemist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which conducted the research, glyphosate was found in every water sample taken from streams in Mississippi over a two year period and in many of the air samples as well. Similar results were obtained from samples taken in Iowa.

Both these states have extensive agricultural acreage with farmers using large quantities of this herbicide to control weeds in farm fields. It is also widely used on golf courses and in residential landscapes. According to the USGS, in 2007 more than 88,000 tons of glyphosate were used in the U.S., up from 11,000 tons fifteen years earlier.

The research did not look at the impact of such widespread exposure to glyphosate, but according to a Reuters article on the subject, other studies have raised concerns about the development of glyphosate-resistant ″super weeds″ and the effect of the herbicide on soil and animals. The Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the registration for glyphosate with a decision deadline set for 2015.

To read the USGS Technical Announcement, go to USGS. To read the Reuters article, go to: Reuters.

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