Toxicity of roundup weed killer

Written by lakshmy nair
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Toxicity of roundup weed killer
Spraying Roundup may be an easy way to get rid of weeds, but it is harmful to your health. (The weed image by acoljub from Fotolia.com)

Roundup weed killer is a popular herbicide that is used throughout the world. The manufacturing company, Monsanto, produces different varieties of the herbicide, mostly in liquid form. The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate. Manufacturers have widely advertised the safety and non toxicity of glyphosate and Roundup. However, scientific research in the recent past has shown that Roundup can be toxic to human and animal health.

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Harm to Reproductive Cells

A study by Université de Caen in France found that Roundup is highly toxic to reproductive cells. Roundup is twice as toxic as glyphosate on its own. The study employed the use of Roundup at far lower concentrations than when it is applied in agricultural settings. The conclusive evidence was that Roundup killed a majority of the cells that were exposed to it. Roundup has been linked to premature birth and birth defects in farming communities. The risk of miscarriages is also linked to overexposure to Roundup and its residues in food or water.

Toxic Presence in Water

Roundup has been found in waterways, lakes and other water bodies from which the public gets its water supply. The presence of glyphosate in drinking water can lead to kidney ailments, cancer and reproductive issues. Roundup is also highly toxic to aquatic life. Roundup in ponds, rivers and lakes has caused the loss of a major percentage of fish, tadpoles and other marine animals.

Toxicity to Wildlife

Roundup is harmful to wildlife in more ways than one. Firstly, it may be used to destroy vegetation and plants that are vital to the survival of wild animals and birds. Secondly, its presence in the environment is highly pervasive. It can linger in the food and water sources that wild animals depend on.

Toxicity to Humans

People who handle Roundup on a regular basis are at higher risk of problems with reproductive cells, cancer, heart problems and blood pressure. It is important to follow all the required safety guidelines during the process of handling or applying Roundup. Common side effects of exposure include headache, nausea and skin problems. If Roundup gets into the eye, prompt rinsing is important to avoid corneal damage. One of the most serious long term effects of Roundup is non-Hodgkin lymphoma (blood cancer).

Toxicity in the Environment

The prolonged use of Roundup has resulted in many undesirable effects on the environment. The herbicide has caused a decrease in the number of beneficial insects. It also kills plants that are not weeds, which is why more Roundup resistant crops are being genetically engineered. Roundup can also reduce plants' immunity and resistance against several diseases. The remnants of Roundup in crops end up in our food chain and lead to more problems.

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