Monsanto’s glyphosate is now most heavily used weed-killer in history, according to a new study. A paper published Feb. 2, 2016 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe reports that 18.9 billion pounds (8.6 billion kilograms) of glyphosate have been used globally. Glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered crops were introduced in 1996.

The study is summarized in an article published by Here are some highlights and insights provided by Claire Robinson of

  • This is the first peer-reviewed paper ever to report agricultural, non-agricultural, and total glyphosate herbicide use in the U.S. from 1974-2014.
  • The detailed supplemental tables provide in-depth information on glyphosate use on crops in the U.S. from 1982-2014.
  • It is the first paper to report global data on glyphosate use in agriculture, non-ag uses, and overall from 1994 through 2015.
  • This is the first paper that clearly documents the dominant role of GE, herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops in driving glyphosate use higher both in the U.S. and globally.
  • This is the first paper that reports that glyphosate is the most heavily applied pesticide in history, again both in the U.S. and globally.
  • Lastly, it’s the first paper showing that ~2/3 of the total volume of glyphosate applied since 1974 has been sprayed in just the last 10 years. This finding has important public health implications, given that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen linked to cancers of the lymphatic (blood) system. The latency period of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in humans, a cancer linked to glyphosate exposures in some studies, is 15-20 years.
Share This