Research, Technology

Weed killers can lead to death. Is it true?

Glyphosate is one of the most important componentsweed control agents. According to data from open sources, it is so often used in the production of herbicides that it is in first place in terms of production. For a long time it was believed that this chemical does not harm the environment, animals or humans. However, a few years ago, lawsuits rained down on the manufacturer of Roundup herbicide containing glyphosate - there is a suspicion that this organic compound causes deadly diseases in humans. In addition, a popular weed killer has recently been found to be reducing honey bee populations. Given that these insects are one of the most important pollinators of plants, in the long term, the use of glyphosate can lead to crop reduction and starvation. Sounds scary, doesn't it? I suggest looking into the details.

Growers often use chemicals to kill weeds, but they can be deadly.

How weed killers work

There are many ways to get rid of weeds.many, but the most effective of them is the use of chemicals. They are different, but the most effective, judging by the popularity, are products with the addition of glyphosate. The herbicidal properties of this compound became known in the second half of the 20th century - John Franz, an employee of the Monsanto company, learned about this. The production of glyphosate weed killers began in the 1970s and continues to this day.

Canister of glyphosate

Glyphosate is an organiccompound from phosphorus, surfactants and other additives. When a gardener sprays weeds, glyphosate molecules enter their cells and block the shikimate pathway, which is important for nutrient metabolism. Having lost it, the weeds cannot continue to grow and die. This compound is so effective that it is included in herbicides from many manufacturers. Sometimes they are sprayed over the fields with the help of aircraft.

Sometimes glyphsosate is sprayed by aircraft.

Interesting fact: in the 1990s, resistant toglyphosate cotton, soybeans, corn and other types of agricultural plants. Since then, this herbicide cannot harm most plants important to humans and acts only on weeds.

Harm of herbicides to humans

Animals and humans do not have a shikimate pathway, onwhich affects glyphosate. Therefore, scientists have long been confident that the herbicide is completely safe for humans. However, in 2015, glyphosate and several other weed killers were listed as probable carcinogens. This was facilitated by numerous lawsuits against the manufacturer of herbicides - there was evidence that the products produced could cause lymphoma and myeloma, deadly blood diseases.

Some gardeners come into close contact with herbicides and are at great health risk.

The first call about the dangers of glyphosate wasresults of a study in which lab rats were fed corn grown on herbicide-treated land. Two years later, the rodents developed cancer. In fairness, it should be noted that the author of the study was criticized. In addition, among the staff of the scientific journal in which the results were published, there was a former employee of Monsanto - what if he approved the article to annoy his former bosses?

First it was found that glyphosate can be dangerous to animals

Be that as it may, after this discoveryevidence of the dangers of glyphosate has grown. In March 2019, a jury in San Francisco found that the herbicide Roundup was one of the main factors in the development of cancer in 70-year-old farmer Edwin Gardeman. He used the chemical for 30 years and eventually suffered from lymphoma. The court ordered Monsanto to pay the man $80 million in damages. A year earlier, 42-year-old farmer Dwayne Johnson also received several million in compensation from the manufacturer for a deadly disease.


How does glyphosate cause disease?

According to American researchers MichaelDavoren and Robert Schiestle, glyphosate can induce cancer by exploiting abnormalities in cells. In particular, an organic compound can damage DNA and adversely affect the endocrine system.

Glyphosate damages DNA

Scientists also point out thatGlyphosate kills not only weeds, but also bacteria. In theory, if it gets into people through food, the gut microbiome could be disrupted. Given that gut bacteria are a source of some vitamins, weed control can have additional negative effects on the body.

Herbicides can destroy the gut microbiome


Ultimately, it turns out that the means againstweeds harm both animals and humans. What to do about it is unclear, because no one is going to completely abandon chemicals in the agricultural industry. After all, a poor harvest can cause famine, from which thousands, if not millions of people can die in a short time. What do you think about this? Write in the comments or in our Telegram chat.