- Roundup is the UK’s most widely used weedkiller and the most popular in history
- However, the safety of its big ingredient, glyphosate, has since been challenged
- Some claim it’s linked to serious conditions including liver and kidney disease
- So should we be worried by Roundup and other popular glyphosate products?
We eat it in our food and spray it on our gardens and allotments. It is all over our parks and farmers’ crops.
Roundup is the UK’s most widely used weedkiller and globally the most popular in history.
When the U.S. company Monsanto launched the product in 1974, its marketing men proclaimed it to be a technological breakthrough that killed almost every weed without harming humans or the environment.
But since the Nineties, the safety of Roundup — and its active ingredient glyphosate — has been challenged by studies that suggest that the weedkiller is linked to serious conditions including liver and kidney disease, infertility, birth abnormalities and cancer.
Monsanto is being sued in numerous cases over the toxicity of Glyphosate, which is also being banned gradually across Europe from being sprayed in public spaces.
However, the real danger may be ingesting it, and this is exacerbated by the fact that farmers (at least in the UK) spray huge amounts of glyphosate on cereal crops just before harvest, to deliberately kill the crop. This speeds up the drying-out process which helps in a country where rain just prior to harvest is a frequent problem. The glyphosate then goes into food chain, and tests have shown that wholemeal (brown) bread has higher amounts of glyphosate because the husk is used.
The article states that spraying of glyphosate just before harvest of wheat, oats, barley and rapeseed (canola) happens in the UK. Whether this occurs in other countries as well is not stated, apart from Denmark, where this practice has been banned.
Tests reported in 2014 by the Defra Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food found that almost two thirds of wholemeal bread sampled contained glyphosate. Ironically, ‘healthy’ wholemeal bread is more likely to contain glysophate residues because it is made with the outer layer of the wheat grain.