Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2021
By Christine Manwiller
Glyphosate, the ubiquitous agricultural herbicide and main ingredient in Bayer/Monsanto’s “Roundup,” causes deadly environmental and human health problems, and, to add insult to injury, leaves behind tons of radioactive waste.
Glyphosate contains 18.3% phosphorus, which is produced by extracting it from phosphate ore mined mostly in Florida. The mined phosphate, used largely in fertilizers, produces five tons of radioactive phosphogypsum for every ton of fertilizer. Containing this waste is problematic. Roughly one billion tons of radioactive phosphogypsum waste are kept in two dozen stacks in Florida — a state vulnerable to hurricanes and sea level rise. Earlier this year the Piney Point phosphate plant near Tampa made headlines when its over-full waste lagoon began spilling over, and threatened to flood the surroundings with contaminated waste water. More than 300 homes were evacuated and 215 million gallons of untreated waste water were pumped from the lagoon into Tampa Bay.
The hazards of glyphosate exposure are legend. A $10 billion-dollar damage settlement against Bayer in June 2020 is only the latest in a long list. Recent studies show that the poison may “raise the risk of Non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma as much as 41 percent.” Environmental Pollution reports that measurable amounts of glyphosate were found in the urine of infants and children, and, “There is growing evidence linking glyphosate exposure with the epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin in farm workers in Central America, Sri Lanka, and central India.” Glyphosate in food is just part of its down side.
— Organic Consumers Association, May 13; The Guardian, Apr. 11, 2021; Environmental Health Journal, Nov. 12, 2020; NPR News, June 24, 2020, EP, Oct. 23, 2019
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