The World Health Organization has determined that glyphosates, like those in the biggest seller, Roundup, are a probable carcinogen. That, and recent rulings in favor of cancer patients suing companies who produce it, is more than concerning. I applaud Costco, which has reportedly stopped selling glyphosates, and the dozens of countries who have banned it with more to follow.
When we see people spraying their ditches, we may assume they’re using a glyphosate, although it could be a nontoxic mixture (bought or made) using vinegar, salt, and a little detergent, which has worked for me on my shell drive. And do ditches need spraying or does vegetation help absorb runoff protecting our waters and reducing mosquito breeding? Roundup, as my botanist/student offspring was told in the mid ’90s, breaks down shortly, but that’s only enough to grow “roundup ready” (glyphosate resistant, GMO) seeds. It remains in living tissue and is part of our soil, water, air, and us.
The ads try to convince us that weeds are evil; what about the resistant ones herbicides have generated which can be seen in untilled soils (tall, narrow, and green)? The solution offered is a more dangerous herbicide that drifts and kills “innocent” crops. Corn near the road with weeds seems to do fine. Let’s not tolerate bare ground, but use cover crops, which reduce weeds, contouring, buffers, and other means to stem runoff that depletes oxygen and life in our waters. Also, any organic matter returned to the soil will reduce wet spots and improve tilth and, again, mitigate runoff.
As usual, democracy takes work on our parts and we must push officials, sometimes, to do the right things.
We cannot let megacompanies, whose concern is the bottom line, rule our destinies.