Roundup Essay

Roundup Essay

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"If you read Wall Street’s reports, they don’t talk of soya bean as originating in China. They don’t talk of soya bean as soya bean. They talk of Monsanto soya. Monsanto soya is protected by a patent. It has a patent number. It is therefore treated as a creation of Monsanto, a product of Monsanto’s intelligence and innovation." – Vandana Shiva (Barsamian, 1997)

Introduction

Monsanto is a Saint Louis Chemical manufacturer that is a major player in the weed killing business. Monsanto has quite a portentous past. They developed and produced the notorious defoliant "Agent Orange" used in the Vietnam War, they invented the controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), and they were the inventors and world’s main producer of polychlorinated biphenols (PCB’s) which are now banned but still linger in our soil and water (Arax, 1997).

Presently, Monsanto is commonly known for its potent herbicide named Roundup. As the biggest-selling weed killer in the world, Roundup accounts for 17 percent of Monsanto’s total annual sales of $9 billion (Arax, 1997). The main ingredient of Roundup is glyphosate. Glyphosate is the eighth most commonly used herbicide in U.S. agriculture and the second most commonly used herbicide in nonagricultural settings (Cox, 1995). It’s estimated annual use according to the U.S. EPA is between 15 and 20 million pounds in agriculture and between 4 and 6 million pounds elsewhere (Arax, 1997). Monsanto claims that Roundup breaks down quickly in the soil, so that little or no toxic byproduct accumulates in plant or animal tissue - a viewpoint often disputed.

Monsanto’s patent on Roundup will expire in two years, and when this happens, countless chemical companies will undoubtedly jump into the mark...


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...Susan Benson, and Rachel Burstein. "A Growing Concern." Mother Jones January / February 1997: 37-43.

Barsamian, David. "We Can’t Afford To Have a Sacred Car Rather Than a Sacred Cow." The Progressive September 1997: 36-39.

Bruno, Kenny. "Say It Ain’t Soy, Monsanto." Multinational Monitor January / February 1997: 27-30.

Cox, C. "Glyphosate, Part 1: Toxicology." Journal of Pesticide Reform Fall 1995 Vol. 15, No 3.

Cox, C. "Glyphosate, Part 2: Human Exposure and Ecological Effects." Journal of Pesticide Reform Winter 1995 Vol. 15, No 4.

"Perils Amid Promises of Genetically Engineered Foods" by Dr. Mea Ho. Biology Department, Open University, U.K. November 1996.
WWW.GREENPEACE.ORG/~GENENG/INDEX.HTML

"Why Consumers and Farmers Should Avoid Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Soybeans" – A Greenpeace Report.
WWW.GREENPEACE.ORG/~GENENG/INDEX.HTML

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