Roundup is over the news, thanks to a ruling on Monday in a San Francisco courtroom. Monsanto, the creator of Roundup and one of the world’s largest chemical companies, has been put under the microscope because of its well-known (and widely used) herbicide.
Dewayne Johnson filed suit against the company, claiming that he developed terminal cancer from using Roundup during his time as a groundskeeper. He says the company did not do enough to warn customers of the potential dangers of repeated exposure.
The jury ruled in favor of Johnson’s claim, and he was awarded $289 million dollars in damages. The future of Monsanto, and the many claims against them, remains up the air.
Roundup has become an integral part of the agricultural production industry. Farmers across the world rely on Roundup as a herbicide and pesticide. But it is still unclear whether or not glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is carcinogenic for humans and other forms of life. The EPA says it’s safe; international cancer research institutes say it’s probably not.
Contradictory research continues to cloud the judgement of farmers and industry leaders. The big question remains: is glyphosate safe or is it not?
Most importantly, is there a safe alternative to Roundup? One that isn’t being questioned for its toxicity? There is. Let’s take a look at good old-fashioned vinegar.
-- Vinegar is acetic acid. It works by chemically burning the plant until the leaves are gone. Vinegar can be diluted to be stronger or weaker; it just depends on the specific application, which could be for gardening or general cleaning. For example, Green Gobbler sells 10, 20 and 30 percent vinegar.
-- Vinegar doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. As you may know, it’s made from corn! It’s naturally acidic, so it’s power comes solely from Mother Nature. You won’t find phosphates, sulfates, VOCs, petroleum solvents, chlorine, fluorine, ethoxylates or dyes in vinegar. You especially won’t find glyphosate.
-- Vinegar has low toxicity so it’s one of the most environmentally friendly pesticides. It won’t contaminate your lawn or enter any nearby lakes, creeks or waterways. It still packs a punch, however; most plants will begin to wilt in less than 24 hours.
-- Why hasn’t vinegar been adopted into mainstream use? Well, vinegar is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it may kill any plant that it touches. It also has low residual activity, meaning it breaks down quickly in the soil and doesn’t carry itself into the roots. Glyphosate is residual and sticks to a plant to ensure its demise.
Whether you’re an independent farmer or a part of a corporation, you can choose to use more organic methods of weed killing.
Learn all of your options. Ask other farmers. See if vinegar is a viable option for your crops. At Green Gobbler, we think that if you can avoid using a potentially harmful chemical, it’s probably worth the trouble.