Family Farm Defenders (Kansas Chapter)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Round Up, Hazardous to Human Health: A Call for a Sustainable Ornamental Gardening Movement for the Health of our Children

Round Up, Hazardous to Human Health: A Call for a Sustainable Ornamental Gardening Movement for the Health of our Children

Thousands of tons of chemicals are sold to ornamental gardeners, part time back and front yard gardeners.  But while the sustainable farming movement has taken off and people are concerned about pesticides and herbicides  on what they eat, this awareness has not spread to the ornamental gardening businesses and communities.  It is  difficult to find organic and sustainable flower gardening practices.

Having worked for landscapers, local nurseries and garden shops for ten years in the Greater Kansas City area, I know personally about the amount of synthetic chemicals sold in the search for beautiful, weed-free lawns, flower, tree and shrub gardens. Round Up or glyphosate is “the US and the world's best-selling herbicide, used extensively in the US and on more than 150 crops.1” A report by Earth Open Source, found that glyphosate was detected in “between 60 and 100% of air and rain samples taken in the American Midwest during the crop growing season.2” It is produced and sold by the Monsanto Corporation, located in St. Louis, MO.
Even more alarming, a recent study by Friends of the Earth found disturbingly high traces of glyphosate, Round Up, in the urine of urban dwellers.3   Recently research was released showing Round Up deeply harmed human health, contributing to diseases,  including Parkinson’s and lymphoma,4 yet our children play on lawns treated by Round Up.   Round up is the largest chemical sold to ornamental gardeners from Big Box stores to smaller nurseries1. Many homeowners think nothing of spreading it on their lawns.
Furthermore, round up and many of these other harsh and strong chemicals are harmful to the environment on which we depend to live.  They pollute our water supply as well as gather and dump into the ocean killing fish, a necessary nutritional element to human brain development.
We need to start a sustainable ornamental gardening movement to preserve our and especially our children's health who play on the lawns and yards where we are dumping harmful herbicides like Round Up, pesticides and other harmful substances.

1. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey Office of Communications and Publishing, April 29, 2011 Newsletter
2. “Glyphosate Herbicide Found in Many Midwestern Streams, Antibiotics Not Common”, USGS, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
3. “Weed killer Found in Human Urine”, Friends of the Earth
4. Global Research, Monsanto Weed Killer Harmful to Human Health, April 4. 2013; html.; “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases;”;  Pesticide Tolerances: Glyphosate (Document ID EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0132-0009), EPA,,,; “Glyphosate Induces Human Breast Cancer Cells Growth via Estrogen Receptors.”, Food Chemical Toxicology,


  1. Last I checked, the label for RoundUp was 130 pages long for farmers, much shorter on the consumer side.

  2. Wow! Thanks for sharing! We in the nurseries who sold this stuff never saw that or got any training at all; none for big box and consumers as well. Just bought it and started using it.