American growers sprayed 280 million pounds of glyphosate on their crops in 2012, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. That amounts to nearly a pound of glyphosate for every person in the country.
The use of glyphosate on farmland has skyrocketed since the mid-1990s, when biotech companies introduced genetically engineered crop varieties (often called GMOs) that can withstand being blasted with glyphosate. Since then, agricultural use of the herbicide has increased 16-fold.
This image shows the year-to-year change in glyphosate use on American farmland from 1992 to 2012.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used weed killer, which according to the World Health Organization is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Public interest groups are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take into full account in its deliberations this new assessment by the world’s leading authority on public health.
Given the increased use of herbicides in connection with GMOs, it’s no wonder that more than 90 percent of consumers want the right to know if the food they buy contains genetically engineered ingredients. The current voluntary labeling system is not getting the job done. The only way for people to know for sure what’s in their food is to require nationwide labeling of GMO products.
To learn more about the issue of labeling GMOs, check out ewg.org/gmo.
Image Source: USGS