Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

The Weedkiller in Our Food Is Killing Us

Growing research show that glyphosate, one of the most widely used herbicides in the US, causes cancer

On a recent Saturday afternoon, in an estuary near Tampa Bay, Florida, I watched airboats move up and down the river banks, spraying massive plumes of weedkiller on to the vegetation. The state of Florida was trying to control and kill off scores of plant species. Nearby, children were lying out in the sun, though they knew better than to swim in the water, which has recently been blooming with toxic algae. Mists of weedkiller drifted downwind toward them.

The main active ingredient in that mist, and in the weedkiller being sprayed throughout Tampa Bay, is glyphosate, one of the most widely used herbicides in the US. First registered for use here in 1974, it is now an ingredient in more than 750 products, including the most widely deployed herbicide in the world, Monsanto’s Roundup.

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