A Roundup herbicide chemical known as glyphosate has been found in the air and water around the Mississippi River basin according to a U.S. Geological survey.
“It is out there in significant levels. It is out there consistently,” said Paul Capel, environmental chemist and head of the agricultural chemicals team at the U.S. Geological Survey Office, part of the U.S. Department of Interior. Capel said more tests were needed to determine how harmful the Roundup chemical, glyphosate, might be to humans and animals.
As its use has increased, so too has the places where its remnants can be found in water and soil. However, the impact that it has on the environment remains unknown, says Capel. He also said glyphosate, was found in every water sample examined in Mississippi during a two-year period and in most air samples taken.
“So people are exposed to it through inhalation,” said Capel. “This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season,” added Capel. “It is used so heavily and studied so little.” There were air and water tests conducted in Iowa as well with similar results.
The USGS said more than 88,0000 tons of glyphosate were used in the United States in 2007, up from 11,000 tons in 1992. The big increase in usage has spurred concerns on many fronts, from the air to the water we drink, and most recently from farmers and environmentalists noting the rise of “super weeds” that are resistant to Roundup. The EPA has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if glyphosate should continue to be sold or in some way limited.