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Should the United States ban glyphosate?

Screen shot from DW English's YouTube video: Should glyphosate be banned? | Business

Glyphosate is an herbicide that can be found in Roundup, which is commonly used here in the U.S. and worldwide. It helps control plant growth and therefore is often used in controlling weeds. Like many chemicals, its use is evaluated to determine its effectiveness and safety. Although it doesn’t have high levels of toxins in its natural state, it is often combined with other chemicals that together can be harmful to humans as well as other animals.

Many people are concerned with the health risks associated with the consumption of and exposure to glyphosate. They argue that increased amounts of glyphosate in our food has led to increased incidents of illness and even birth defects. Some studies have concluded that exposure to extremely high levels of glyphosate could be connected to the development of a type of lymphoma and, in a few cases, has been fatal. More information about glyphosate and its potential harmfulness can be found at the National Pesticide Information Center.

These health concerns have sparked local litigation against Monsanto, the developer of Roundup,  and have also caused some controversy overseas. Members in the European Parliament (MEPs) have been reviewing the use of glyphosate in Europe and are opposed to renewing the herbicide’s authorized usage. However, according to Sustainable Pulse, the MEPs don’t actually have the power to stop or veto the reauthorization. What they can do is vote for glyphosate’s use to become illegal, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. In fact, 244 out of 355 votes were to ban the use of glyphosate by 2022.

Despite the possible health concerns, many argue that glyphosate is actually much safer than other herbicide alternatives. In fact, there have been allegations that organizations such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have falsely indicated glyphosate as a potential carcinogen due to pressure by those that fund them. Another argument in favor of using glyphosate is that it’s beneficial to maintaining quality soil, which is vital for sustainable agriculture.

The following video from DW English presents both sides of the banning glyphosate debate:

The Issue

There is growing concern that the herbicide glyphosate is dangerous to humans and the environment. As a result, there are many calling for it to be banned, including Members of the European Parliament. Of course, there are still many who believe that glyphosate does not really pose any health threats at all, and that it has just become the target of organic lobbyists.

In support of banning glyphosate

Those who call for the banning of glyphosate site research that supports the harm it has done to animal populations such as bees, and amphibians, as well as pointing out its increased absorption into the human body.

In opposition to banning glyphosate

Those who feel that glyphosate should not be banned claim that there aren’t really any health concerns, and that there is a distinct lack of safer alternatives that are just as effective.

Where do you stand? Should glyphosate be banned?

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