Glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, was once hailed as a kind of miracle solution to the problem of weeds.
Today, glyphosate-based weedkillers like Monsanto’s Roundup are a disgraced product, associated with a shocking and increasing number of health and environmental problems.
Glyphosate has long been promoted as a fast-acting weedkiller, as effective in small gardens and lawns as it was in industrial corn and soy fields. Its use on farms dramatically increased with the introduction of herbicide-tolerant GMO crops. But glyphosate is also regularly sprayed on non-GMO crops—‘healthy’ foods such wheat, oats, maize and barley but also soya, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and chick peas—as a desiccant, used to dry out the crops in a uniform fashion, so they can be harvested all at once.
Glyphosate-based herbicides are also used to control weeds in parks, on city streets, roadsides, sidewalks and in playgrounds.