Round-up aka Glyphosate

I used to tell lies. I didn’t know it at the time, but lies were coming out of my mouth every time a customer asked me about Round-up.

Back in the early 1990s, I worked at a popular gardening centre. It was one of the busiest places in the city that sold everything a gardener needed, including herbicides (aka weed killer, aka plant killer). If gardeners had an invasive weed or a little dandelion in their driveway, we were taught to sell them Round-up.

Round-up, we were instructed, was a systemic weed killer, which means it could be sprayed on the leaves and the plants ‘circulatory system’ would deliver the poison right to the root of the problem: the roots. Once the roots were attacked, the plant–regardless of how wild and large–would die. Most plants would die, anyways. I don’t remember if it claimed to kill alder bushes. But it would kill your favourite rose bush if you sprayed it by mistake.

The fact it was a systemic killer was the first selling point. The second was that it broke down in the soil and in short time–a few weeks or a few months–it would dissolve into nothing. Gone from the soil without a trace. In other words, Round-up was advertised as biodegradable and as leaving the soil clean after use.

That was a BIG FAT LIE.

clam-harbour-and-taylor-head-beaches-088This is what the company–Monsanto–boasted about. Retailers embraced the miracle weed killer that dissipated, leaving the soil healthy and unharmed. But they were so wrong. Monsanto was convicted of false advertising in 2007, ending this biodegradable claim.

The fact that the opposite is true makes me angry that I sold thousands of dollars worth of this chemical to hundreds of unsuspecting gardeners. Round-up (glyphosate) remains in the soil for years, one study suggesting 50 years. Everything planted in that soil will be contaminated with it.

There’s studies suggesting (insert rolling eyes, thinking of a sarcastic comment) Round-up may be more damaging to soil than I first believed: “According to USDA scientist Robert Kremer, who spoke at a conference last week, Roundup may also be damaging soil—a sobering thought, given that it’s applied to hundreds of millions of acres of prime farmland in the United States and South America.”

To read more about this, check out the article at Mother Jones: Monsanto’s Round-up Herbicide Soil Damage.

The countries that banned glyphosate include El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Bermuda and Colombia. Canada should add their name to this list. We do not need this chemical in our air, water, soil or food.

But our ridiculous Nova Scotia government who does not put our health first but big business has approved spraying our woodlands–our playgrounds–with glyphosate. Read it and weep here: Nova Scotia gives OK to spray hundreds of hectares of woodland with glyphosate. These are the very places I love to spend my life and now they are poisoning them.

Environment Minister Margaret Miller is doing nothing to protect the people, the animals, the land, the water, the air or the soil of Nova Scotia. She is contaminating the province. She says, “We are quite secure that it is not going to be an issue.”

Oh, this is an issue alright. It’s a big issue, and you need to step down and take a walk through the forest while they are being sprayed. And don’t look back. People like you are not needed to protect our environment.

Cliff Seruntine also has an issue with spraying this chemical in Nova Scotia. You can read his post here.

I will never support the use of Round-up (glyphosate) in our province. Ban it!


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