Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, patented by Monsanto in 1974. It is now the world’s most widely used weed killer. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA. Farmers sprayed enough of the chemical to cover every acre of cropland in the entire world with nearly a half-pound of Roundup, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal “Environmental Sciences Europe”.
Roundup is used not only in industrial agriculture but on vineyards, golf courses, public parks and in schools, in road maintenance and by back yard gardeners. Curiously the more modest uses in schools and gardens have recently come to national attention.
In May 2019 a jury in Oakland, Calif., ordered Monsanto to pay a husband and wife more than $2 billion in damages after finding that its Roundup weed killer caused their cancer. This is the third jury to conclude that Monsanto failed to warn consumers of its flagship product’s dangers. The