Organic Consumers Association

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Monsanto's Roundup Is the Most Used Herbicide in NYC

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Health Issues page.

In addition to its use on omnipresent Roundup Ready crops, Roundup is also now used increasingly for cosmetic gardening purposes, by city park maintenance crews, for roadsides, railways, sidewalks, lawns, and as a Monsanto spokesman once put it, to "protect schools." It's even been used as a key weapon in the US government's global counternarcotics programs, such as in Colombia, where crop dusters have sprayed it over suspected coca and poppy fields, including UNESCO nature reserves, as part of our Plan Colombia offensive.

Roundup is used so much that scientists around the world are reporting with alarm the extent to which glyphosate is turning up in the food, water, and even the air around us. A German study this year, for example, even found glyphosate in all of the urine samples it took from nonagricultural workers in Berlin, at levels 5-20 times the limit for drinking water. Meanwhile, as Mother Jones' Tom Philpott has reported, glyphosate-resistant "superweeds" have sprouted and spread across millions of acres of US farmland.

While Bloomberg's administration defends the city's prodigious use of Roundup, it was New York's attorney general who back in 1996 sued Monsanto over the company's use of "false and misleading advertising" of it. That case ended with Monsanto agreeing to stop calling Roundup "biodegradable," and to pull ads claiming that Roundup was "safer than table salt" and "practically nontoxic." As one such ad put it, "Roundup can be used where kids and pets play." Monsanto has long claimed as one of Roundup's prime selling points that the chemical is effectively bound by the soil, and "stays where you put it."

A team out of a French national scientific research center has over the past few years published a series of studies reporting that Roundup provokes the first stages that lead to cancer, by inducing dysfunctions in cell cycle regulation. Last year, Earth Open Source-a nonprofit whose mission is to challenge Big Ag's chemical safety claims-conducted an extensive review of the studies in Roundup's regulatory approval dossier, and suggested that regulators should have noticed that Roundup was associated with an increased rate of birth defects in lab animals. Also last year, a microbiologist with the USDA warned that Roundup affects the root structure of plants and is suspected of causing fungal root disease.
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