Have you heard of glyphosate?
What is it?
Glyphosate is the most frequently used weed killer in the world. Glyphosate is a chemical in Monsanto’s signature herbicide, Roundup. Use has skyrocketed in the past 20 years.
Glyphosate is everywhere, and it’s not “just” an herbicide. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and mineral chelator which may potentially immobilize nutrients and kill microbial life in the soil. Glyphosate is bad for soil health and bad for people, too. Not only does it affect crops it’s sprayed on, but it may also negatively affect your gut health.
Farmers are increasingly using glyphosate as a drying agent (a desiccant). To enable easier harvest, glyphosate is sprayed to kill and dry out crops.
It is being sprayed directly on conventionally-grown crops, like wheat and oats, during harvest. This process speeds up the drying (desiccation) process, but puts our health at risk. There’s a good chance this toxic weed killer is in the food you and your family eat every day.
In a recent scientific study, glyphosate residues were found on staple breakfast cereals that are popular among children!
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans” .
In addition, glyphosate is a known endocrine (hormone) disruptor.A growing number of countries are restricting or banning this dangerous chemical outright.
Unfortunately, South Africa is not one of the countries, and in fact, South Africa has agreed to allow pilot projects in the country to experiment further with the use of Glyphpsate on staple food crops such as wheat and maize.
Glyphosate is also routinely used as a weedkiller in gardens and public spaces such as parks, sports fields,etc, where young children are often in direct contact with the sprayed areas. Are you happy having your children exposed to this toxic chemical? I’m not!
What can we do?
- Spread the word to educate more South Africans about the dangers of Glyphosate
- Advocate and lobby for an outright ban as some forward-thinking countries have already done.
- Support organic farmers and eat organic food. Organic farmers don’t use glyphosate.
- Insist on more organic options being available at your local supermarket. The more people who start asking for organic products, the more will be made available.
- Grow your own food. It is easy and rewarding to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. Even in limited space or indoors, window boxes can grow a surprising amount. If we all grew at least some of our own food, this would decrease the burden on commercial farmers to farm bulk food using unsustainable methods.