Green grass is the American Way. Is there a greater symbol of success than a lush, manicured, tailored lawn? Okay, maybe a Tesla Model S in the circular driveway competes. But lawn green means long green to the US lawn care industry. Americans spend $40 billion yearly to keep weeds and bugs off our grass. That’s a lot of poison and more cash than the national budget for foreign aid.
As the weather warms, legions of urban dwellers will patrol yards, sidewalks and driveways toting plastic spray bottles and slowly killing themselves, family and neighbors. And it will get worse with Roundup resistant grass.
Dandelions don’t kill. Roundup does. Roundup is a trade name for perhaps the most powerful weedkiller in history, glyphosate. Discovered, packaged, promoted and marketed by Monsanto, Roundup soon became the number one herbicide in agriculture and home use. It really took off when Monsanto genetically altered crops like corn and soybeans so they would be unaffected by glyphosate. Farmers could plant Monsanto’s patented “Roundup Ready” corn, for example, then spray as much Roundup weedkiller on the field as they wanted, annihilating every plant or weed without killing the corn. Perfect. Monsanto invents a viciously toxic herbicide then invents a seed crop that resists it. They sell both to farmers. Closed loop with huge profits. Worked great — for a while. Then Monsanto packaged this devastating poison for home use and now we see bottles of Roundup in garages, basements and sheds from coast to coast. Every weekend in the spring, summer and fall we see ignorant and unsuspecting dolts waddling along their sidewalks and driveways armed with spray bottles to squirt the weeds back into the dirt while exposing their skin, lungs, pets and children to a natural disaster.
Unintended consequences — again. But as Mother Nature is wont to do, she evolved weeds that became glyphosate-resistant. Uh-oh! Like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, nothing in our chemical arsenal could kill them and trouble emerged. On farms far and wide in the US and abroad, so-called superweeds are cropping up that are near impossible to kill with Roundup or any other herbicide.
The second real problem with glyphosate is that it’s not so good for humans. Remember, Monsanto is the company that gave us Agent Orange used in Vietnam and that didn’t work out too well. Glyphosate is similar in many ways.
Suspicion That colorful spray bottle promising weed-free yards is poisoning you. Here’s what we know so far.
A recent study published in the journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology links glyphosate exposure to a complex set of symptoms known as celiac disease. The researchers state, “[Celiac disease] is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer. Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup®, is the most important causal factor in this epidemic.”
In more research, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in February, 2014, glyphosate is suspected of causing a devastating kidney disease affecting those who handle it: “[Glyphosate] seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers when it forms complexes with a localized geo environmental factor (hardness) and nephrotoxic metals.” The study found that thousands of farmers who handle the weed killer get irreversible kidney disease in a short time, especially when other factors like hard water (like some we have in Omaha) is involved.
Glyphosate and breast cancer. Another study, this time in Food and Chemical Toxicology states, “Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors.” As with most research, the researchers conclude “further studies are indicated and more research should be done.” That’s always a laugh to me. Of course researchers would say “more research should be done.” It’s job security.
Don’t stop there Studies link “gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.” and “a multitude of pathologies in the brain, including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and ALS.” The herbicide has already been “linked with spontaneous abortions, Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma in humans; and in laboratory studies glyphosate caused liver damage in rats.” Many countries in Europe, Asia, South America have banned the use of Roundup or glyphosate.
The evidence mounts against the herbicide used daily on American lawns and driveways. It took nearly 30 years for us to realize that Agent Orange killed and is killing Vietnam War veterans. Now we are seeing the beginning of an awareness that glyphosate is taking us down the same path. The safest thing to do is to avoid it at all costs. Weed out the risk.
Opt out There are alternatives. Common household vinegar can kill most weeds. Other natural products can, too. Pulling weeds is a good exercise. Or just letting them grow can be considered smarter than poisoning them and one’s self. With some education and familiarity, you may find some “weeds” (burdock, lamb’s quarter, dandelions and others) suitable for the table. Article links at HeartlandHealing.com/news
Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit HeartlandHealing.com for more information.