Glyphosate is everywhere, and for a variety of reasons. Odds are, you may not even be aware of its existence, until now. Originally designed as a mineral chelator in 1964 to clean industrial pipes, it was patented by the Monsanto corporation as a broadleaf herbicide in 1974. It has been used over the course of four decades in agriculture, forestry, gardens, schoolyards, public land and parklands, and sometimes to control aquatic plants. Even after all of these years, the mode of action of glyphosate is still unknown.
Industry reports state that glyphosate is safe because it tightly binds to soil and is nearly gone from the environment within six months after application. So we ask: How often is there only one application of the product? Do we simply spray glyphosate by itself on one area, one time, once a year, and that’s it? Absolutely not, and that is the point. Estimates suggest upwards of 200 million pounds of glyphosate were dumped on fields and farms in the US in 2008 alone. The constant barrage of this chemical, along with the adjuvants commingled with the products (such as Roundup®), make this a much more complicated mess to clean up.
However, it is well documented that glyphosate is known to kill many beneficial insects that serve as predators to other insects, and also many that provide a base diet to birds and other animals. Also, it destroys plant life in waterways due to runoff, which increases the overall temperature of streams. Since other chemicals are added to Glyphosate to increase potency, it is 20 to 70 times more toxic to fish in a commercial form.
Bees and butterflies, two incredibly important insects to our own food supply, are directly in the line of fire. To grow more herbicide and pesticide resistant crops, milkweed is being wiped out across the country. Chemical intensive agriculture, along with additional factors such as mowing down the weed, has worked to cut the monarch habitat by 91% in the past two decades.
Glyphosate plays a huge role in this, as it is often sprayed late in the growing season, when milkweed is flowering and likely to be killed.
Also, our most important pollinator, the honeybee, has been in harms way for quite some time. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been directly implicated as 880 million pounds of RoundUp is applied to the entire country each year and it is used primarily during the main foraging months of the bees. Glyphosate is also used as a desiccant to knock the leaves off of several plants preharvest. This is also a very vulnerable time for the bees, making their lives particularly difficult every year.
We’ve all heard about GMOs – genetically modified organisms. They make up a big portion of our system of agriculture to this day. These commodity seeds could also be termed GRC, or glyphosate resistant crops. When assessed for safety regarding how glyphosate interacts with the soil, water, air or animals in the immediate vicinity where it is used, it is considered to be completely safe. However, these results are all coming from the industry itself. How would we feel if we asked an automobile company like Ford, to simply provide us their safety information considering their seat belts, airbags, braking systems, etc., and we not only took them at their word, but allowed the taxpayers to subsidize the dealerships to sell them. How would we feel about that safety? Also, if Ford directly stated that because of the patent surrounding their vehicles, no one else out there is allowed to do a third party safety assessment, ever. How would we feel about that? Would we feel good about that, just taking everyone at their word and little else? This is exactly what Monsanto has done.
That is why this film is being made. We will get to the bottom of this and many other issues regarding this one chemical, which none of us truly know enough about.