Glyphosate

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 4, 2022, 7:12

Glyphosate is a herbicide widely used to control the growth of weeds and grass with broad leaves. The herbicide was first registered in 1974 in the U.S. Glyphosate was earlier considered less toxic and had a low impact on other animals and humans. However, the rampant and excessive use of this herbicide has revealed the potential dangers of the chemical. There have been several controversies around the safety of the commercial formulations of Glyphosate.

Concerns Associated With Glyphosate Use

Several cases of Glyphosate effects have been reported in the past three years. Many farmers have been using them frequently because they are cheap and effective weed killers. Cases of Glyphosate showing in humans and causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma have been reported in the U.S.

Glyphosate is a family of compounds with different properties. Recently, reports have recognized it as a potential carcinogen. As a result, it is continuously detected in water, food, and livestock feed.

A field study conducted in a few states of India like Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu found that Glyphosate herbicides were approved only for controlling weeds in tea gardens and non-crop regions. The study revealed that around 20 crop fields, out of which 16 were crop regions, used Glyphosate.

After banning around 27 pesticides, the Center has decided to ban Glyphosate herbicides for agriculture. The Restriction on the use of Glyphosate will be in force in the final publication of the official Gazette. According to the draft notification from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, only pest control operators can use Glyphosate.

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Glyphosate Toxicity on Exposure

Glyphosate in its pure form is low in toxicity. However, the final commercially available product is highly toxic when combined with other ingredients. The product causes skin and eye irritation, nausea, burning of the throat, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Long-term exposures to Glyphosate can lead to chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, cancers, infertility, and congenital disabilities.

Chronology of Glyphosate Herbicide Development

Year

Development

1974

  • Glyphosate commercialization under the brand name Roundup
  • Monsanto scientists claimed its safety

1990

Glyphosate packaging with crops

Mid 1990

China began manufacturing pesticides at very low prices

Late 1990

  • Patents on Glyphosate expired
  • Generic pesticide marketing in low-cost versions began.

2000

  • The cost of Glyphosate became cheap.
  • Glyphosate price dropped ten times from 1980 to 2000

2015

A World Health Organization Agency, International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified Glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

2018

  • 46 percent of Glyphosate was exported worldwide.
  • Several pesticide factories were placed to suffice the growing demands.

2019

On May 24, 2019, the Kerala agriculture department cancelled all the licenses for Glyphosate distribution in the state.

2020

Restriction on the use of Glyphosate to be effective soon

It is essential to curb the use of Glyphosate in agriculture. Government restrictions, continuous awareness programs, and better non-toxic herbicides can help reduce the impact of Glyphosate on people.

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FAQs on Glyphosate

Q.1. Is Glyphosate harmful to humans?

When the herbicide Glyphosate was first developed, it showed low toxicity. However, combining it with other ingredients and commercial products with Glyphosate showed increased toxicity and carcinogenic effects.

Q.2. Which particular agency first showed the carcinogenic effects of Glyphosate?

The particular agency of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified Glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

Q.3. What is India’s stand on the use of Glyphosate?

According to the draft notification from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, only pest control operators can use Glyphosate.

Q.4. What are the Effects of Glyphosate on the Human Body?

The product causes skin and eye irritation, nausea, burning of the throat, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Long-term exposures to Glyphosate can lead to chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, cancers, infertility, and congenital disabilities.