What is Roundup?
Roundup is a non-selective herbicide used to kill weeds that compete with agricultural crops. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, works by inhibiting a specific enzyme required for plant growth.
By 2001, Roundup weed killer was the most-used active ingredient in American agriculture, with an estimated 85-90 million pounds used each year. In 2007, that number reached 185 million pounds annually and today, Roundup remains the most widely used herbicide in the United States and worldwide.
Monsanto Roundup Weed Killer Safety
Roundup weed killer was first discovered by Monsanto in the 1970s. At the time, public awareness about the toxic effects of pesticides and herbicides was at an all-time high, Monsanto being at the heart of the controversy. Monsanto’s blockbuster pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which became a mainstay in American agriculture throughout the early 1900s, was shown to be toxic to humans. The U.S. banned DDT in 1972.
Between 1961 and 1971, Monsanto was the key developer and supplier of Agent Orange to the military during the Vietnam War. In the late 1970s, after veterans returned from the war, Agent Orange was shown to cause serious health conditions, including increased rates of cancer, along with nerve, digestive, skin and respiratory disorders. It was also shown to cause higher rates of leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, throat cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, soft tissue sarcoma and liver cancer. It is in the aftermath of the DDT and Agent Orange fiascos that Monsanto first launched glyphosate as an all-purpose Roundup weed killer in 1974.
Use of Monsanto Roundup skyrocketed in the 1990s when Monsanto introduced Roundup Ready crops. Roundup Ready crops come from genetically modified seeds that were specifically engineered by Monsanto to be resistant to Roundup weed killer.
According to Monsanto, Roundup Ready crops substantially improve a farmer’s ability to control weeds, since Roundup can be sprayed on plants during the growing season without harming the crop. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready marketing has been extremely effective, with an estimated 70 percent of corn and cotton and 90 percent of soybean production being genetically-modified Roundup Ready crops.
Baum Hedlund are not only amazing attorneys, but more importantly they are activists. They are about changing the systems which got us into trouble in the first place. They understand their role in the process of making change. Attorneys have the fortunate ability to go into the company files during the investigative process. They see the companies’ behaviors and work hard at getting confidential documents declassified that have true public health benefit.
Kim Witczak — Read more from our clients