(NaturalNews) Herbicide use in the United States continues to grow unabated and the health consequences are likely to become increasingly dire. Today, we take a look at three widely used herbicides which make up an axis of evil poisoning us, our environment, and our food.
Roundup has been around since the 1970s and is the most popular glyphosphate-containing herbicide in the world. For the past decade, Roundup has been the herbicide of choice in the United States and current annual usage in the US is estimated to be a whopping 100 million pounds.
For many years, we were falsely told that Roundup breaks down into harmless compounds within only a couple of days after application. We now know that is untrue. We also know that Roundup use can lead to Sudden Death Syndrome of plants months and years after it is applied.
Roundup has been linked to over 25 different diseases including DNA damage, birth defects, liver dysfunction, and cancer. Already this year, Natural News has reported on studies which found that even very tiny levels of Roundup exposure:
*Destroys human DNA *Destroys testosterone and leads to male infertility *Causes physical changes to the bodies of amphibians and other vertebrates
Many farmers who use Roundup are turning to other herbicides after finding that superweeds are developing which are resistant to Roundup. One such alternative is 2 4-D, the powerful herbicide which was one of the two components of Agent Orange.
Agent Orange was used as a defoliant in the Vietnam War and its use resulted in millions of birth defects, cancer, and other health problems. According to the New York Times, the Agriculture Department is likely to soon approve Dow's new 2,4-D-resistant corn and that is just the first of a new wave of herbicide-tolerant crops being developed by Dow, Monsanto, Bayer, Sygenta, and DuPont.
According to the EPA, annual domestic usage of 2,4-D is approximately 46 million pounds, which until now has been limited mostly to use on ranges for cattle and other livestock.
Atrazine is also widely used in the U.S. primarily on corn. It is estimated that up to 85 million pounds of atrazine is used annually in the US and that up to 85% of all corn crops grown in the U.S. are sprayed with the herbicide.
Only a tiny amount of atrazine in the water supply can cause problems. The herbicide has been banned in the European Union since 2004 - with some individual EU countries having banned atrazine as early as 1991. A U.S. Geological Survey study found atrazine in approximately 75 percent of stream water and about 40 percent of groundwater samples in the agricultural areas tested and it is estimated that 1200 public drinking water systems in the U.S. are currently contaminated with atrazine.
The chemical is a potent endocrine disruptor that causes immunosuppression, hermaphroditism, and even complete sex reversal in male frogs at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion (ppb) - below the 3.0 ppb that the EPA says is safe. Researchers are finding an increasing number of links between atrazine and poor birth outcomes in humans, including reduced body weight and the associated risks of illness in infants as well as later health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Atrazine is both widely present in the environment and unusually persistent. The chemical can still be detected fifteen years after its use was discontinued. Every year, over half a million pounds of atrazine caught in the air stream during spraying falls back to earth in rain and snow, eventually seeping into streams and groundwater. Sources for this article include: