NOTE: Image is for illustrative purposes only. We do not recommend spraying dandelions or dandelion greens. Instead, here are some brilliant ways to use the flowers and more lovely ways to use the greens.
You’ve heard about Roundup – that “miracle” weed killer created back in 1970 by a Monsanto chemist, John Franz, who discovered that glyphosate is a powerful herbicide that can kill just about every type of plant material you can think of. Farmers in particular were wild for it, but there was one serious drawback, it killed their crops along with the weeds. That led the company’s chemists to develop what’s known as “Roundup ready crops,” i.e., crops that have had their DNA altered, allowing them to be immune to glyphosate so that farmers could spray to their heart’s delight without having to worry about their crops being eradicated.
With the introduction of these new GMO seeds, farmers could now easily control weeds on their corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa crops—crops that thrived while the weeds around them were wiped out by Roundup.
Roundup, The Miracle Weed Killer?
But of course, it turned out to be not so miraculous after all, some say that glyphosate not only causes cancer in animals, but it’s likely to cause it to develop in humans as well. They continue to insist that the side effects of consuming these now genetically modified foods, is coming with a host of serious health risks for all living things on our planet. Despite the controversy and outcry by many, so far the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there is not enough scientific evidence to pull it from the market, although it was recently named by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as probably carcinogenic to humans.
Sadly, even if you don’t use glyphosate, you’re likely to be exposed due to its widespread usage. You can be exposed through the food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe- and, extensive research conducted around the world has found detectable and sometimes unsafe levels of glyphosate in breast milk and urine.
According to a study by Environmental Sciences Europe, between 1996 and 2011, the widespread use of Roundup Ready GMO crops increased herbicide use in the United States by 527 million pounds – this despite Monsanto claiming its GMO crops would actually lessen herbicide and pesticide use. A French court ruled in 2007 that Monsanto was guilty of false advertising after falsifying data on the safety of their weed killer, marketing it as environmentally friendly and biodegradable in order to encourage use in places like school yards and playgrounds, golf courses, home gardens, and lawns. Glyphosate is classed as “dangerous for the environment” and “toxic for aquatic organisms” by the European Union.
Also contrary to claims made by Monsanto, the chemical can build up in the body – research out of Germany found similar levels of glyphosate in urine as well as the liver, lung, kidney, spleen, intestines and muscles in cows, which means that is is being stored by the body.
Possible Health Consequences of Roundup
There have been numerous health consequences of Roundup documented by scientists over the last couple of decades, including the fact that people who are ill tend to have higher levels of glyphosate in their bodies than those who are healthy.
This is a list of just some of the health problems linked to this chemical weed killer, according to EcoWatch.com:
ADHD. Studies have found a strong association between exposure to Roundup and ADHD (attention deficit disorder) in farming communities, which the researchers believe are most likely because of the chemical’s ability to disrupt thyroid hormone functions.
Alzheimer’s disease. Roundup has been shown in the lab to cause the same kind of neural cell death and oxidative stress that’s been seen in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Autism. The rate of autism has risen so quickly in recent years, many experts say there can be no doubt that it has an environmental cause as our genes simply cannot mutate fast enough to account for the rapid rise we’re experiencing. Certain microbes in the body break down glyphosate, which is a good thing, but a byproduct of that action is ammonia, and children with autism tend to have significantly higher levels of ammonia in their blood than the general population. In fact, glyphosate’s capacity to promote aluminum accumulation in the brain may make it the primary cause of autism in the United States.
Brain cancer. When researchers studied children with brain cancer compared to healthy kids, they discovered that if either parent had been exposed to Roundup during the two years before the child’s birth, the chances of the child developing brain cancer doubled.
Breast cancer. Glyphosate has been shown to induce human breast cancer cell growth through estrogen receptors.
Cancer. An extensive study involving 65,000 Argentian residents in farming communities, a place where Roundup is commonly used, cancer rates were found to be two to four times greater than the national average.
Chronic kidney disease. There has been a recent surge in kidney failure among agricultural workers in India, Sri Lanka and throughout Central America, and scientists say that while glyphosate alone doesn’t cause an epidemic like this, it does seem to have gained the ability to destroy renal tissues in “thousands of farmers” when forming complexes with hard water and nephrotoxic metals.
Depression. Glyphosate disrupts processes in the brain that impact the production of the important neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for regulating, sleep, appetite and mood – and when an impairment of serotonin occurs, it’s been associated with depression.
Heart disease. The chemical also disrupts enzymes in the body which causes lysosomal dysfunction, a significant factor in heart failure and heart disease.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, gluten intolerance, and celiac disease. In studies, fish that were exposed to glyphosate developed digestive issues that were similar to celiac – researchers say there are parallels between celiac disease characteristics and glyphosate’s known effects, such as an imbalance of gut bacteria. Glyphosate ca also result in a severe tryptophan deficiency, which can lead to an extreme inflammatory bowel disease that severely impairs the ability to absorb nutrients through the gut because of excess inflammation, bleeding, and diarrhea.
Liver disease. Even very low doses of glyphosate can disrupt human liver cell function, increasing the odds of liver disease, according to research published in Toxicology.
Infertility and other pregnancy issues. Problems with stillbirths, miscarriages, and infertility have also been linked to glyphosate. Scientists say that it’s toxic to human placental cells, which is what likely explains the pregnancy problems agricultural workers faced when exposed to the chemical. Animal studies have shown many reproductive issues linked to exposure to high levels of glyphosate during either pubertal or prenatal development, including reduced sperm production, decreased testosterone production and delayed puberty.
Respiratory illness. The same study of 65,000 in Argentina farming communities discovered that there were higher rates of chronic respiratory illness too.
And, this is just the short list – Roundup has also been linked to multiple various birth defects, including anencephaly; chronic kidney disease; colitis; diabetes; hyperthyroidism; Lou Gehrig’s disease; multiple sclerosis; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Parkinson’s disease; obesity, and more.
Environmental Consequences of Roundup & Other Chemical Weed Killers
Chemical weed control also contributes harmful toxins to the environment that negatively affects other plants and organisms. The harmful effects can vary from the killing of beneficial insects to the contamination of groundwater.
They’re spread through the air. Those weed control chemicals are usually in sprayable forms, making them easier to soak into undesired plant foliage and roots. But any inaccurate spraying leads to chemicals drifting into the surrounding areas. Depending on the chemical, non-targeted plants may die or suffer severe damage from exposure.
Harm to groundwater and soil. Many chemical weed killers tend to coat plants with a film that slowly decays any weeds. But if it starts raining after application, that chemical film filters into the soil below. Water runoff then sends harmful chemicals into the local water supplies, from lakes to streams. And, we all suffer, humans, animals, and plants, from contaminated water supplies.
Monsanto’s Roundup has been found in 75 percent of air and rainwater samples, according to a 2014 study by the US Geological Survey, which focused on Mississippi’s highly fertile Delta agricultural region.
Harm to wildlife. When the chemicals contaminate groundwater, fish can suffer from toxins – and, the birds that eat those fish can suffer too. Chemicals drifting through the air also harm beneficial insects like bees, which contribute to pollination and high fruit yields.
Just say no to chemical weed killers – it’s easier than you think
Even if chemical weed killers, including Roundup as well as those GMO plants, were found to be 100 percent safe, the reality is, that stuff is incredibly expensive too. Why would you want to shell out a ton of your hard-earned cash, and risk harm to yourself, your family, your pets, wildlife and the environment when you can easily kill weeds using cheap ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen pantry: ordinary table salt, white vinegar, and dishwashing soap?
How to Make Your Own Cheap, Organic Weed Killer With Just 3 Ingredients
It may sound too simple to be true, but you really can make your own incredibly effective weed killer using just 3 ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now.
White vinegar. Simple ordinary distilled white vinegar with 5% acidity is super cheap and works extremely well. The higher the acidity the better, as it will work faster the more acidic it is, but in the end, the results will be the same – dead weeds.
Table salt. All you need is the cheapest salt there is – not anything fancy like rock salt, sea salt or Epsom salts, just your basic iodized or unionized table salt. That’s it.
Dishwashing soap. The brand doesn’t really matter, and all you need is a few drops. The dishwashing liquid is used in order to break the surface tension of the white vinegar so that it will stick to the weeds and force them to more readily absorb it.
How To Use Your Weed Killer
Now that you’ve got your own weed-killing solution, there are a couple of different ways to use it, depending on if you plan to spray in areas that will be replanted, or if you want to use it on areas where you never intend to grow again.
Using it in areas to be replanted. If you have weeds in areas you’d like to replant, here’s how to use your weed killer. Fill up an ordinary sprayer with white vinegar and then add about a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. We like to re-use our spray bottles for purposes just like this, so if you have any laying around, you can simply upcycle it to use for your DIY weed killer, although empty spray bottles can be purchased at many grocery stores, drug stores, etc., as well as online, such as these. Once your soap and vinegar is added to the sprayer, put the top on and get ready to spray. That’s all you have to do!
It’s best to choose a dry, hot day to spray your weeds if you can – spray until they’re totally saturated and they’ll begin to wilt and shrivel up within just a few hours. Be very careful not to spray anything you want to live, but you don’t have to be concerned about killing anything below the soil as it won’t harm it. You can also safely replant in the area once all your weeds have died off.
Using it in areas you don’t plan on using to grow again. In places where you don’t want any living thing to grow again, such as vegetation in driveways, walkways and other areas, you’ll want to tackle them a little differently. To do so, combine a gallon of white vinegar and two cups ordinary table salt in a large container – it needs to be bigger than one-gallon as you’ll need room to add the salt. Once combined, put the lid on tightly and shake until the salt has dissolved. Now add a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap, mix it in, and then pour the solution into a sprayer. Simply apply it to weeds on a sunny, dry day in areas you don’t want to see that vegetation return in the future.