Friday, May 31, 2019

Why I still use herbicides

If you have been following the news then you are aware that Bayer Chemical company bought Monsanto Chemical company just before the "Round-up" law suites slammed them. There is a very real concern that Bayer will be driven into bankruptcy status.

Recently, a California case was concluded with the headlines "Round-up causes Cancer" and a two-hundred million dollar settlement.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of "Round-up" cases percolating through the courts.

This is a perfect storm for Bayer. Monsanto is hated by Greenies because they were at the forefront of what Luddites call "Franken-foods", that is, genetically engineered food crops. Farmers dislike them because Monsanto aggressively protected their intellectual property and used the legal system to put competitors out of business.

One must wonder, why are all of these court cases coming to fruition AFTER Monsanto left "American" ownership and is now owned by the Germans?

I hope I never regret these words
I still use glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-up herbicide.

I also use 2,4-d which was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, the herbicide used in Vietnam.

Both of them are effective herbicides and work as well, or better than claimed on "the label".

With regards to causing cancer...juries are not scientists and lawyers are paid to present the most compelling case, not the most un-biased, evidence-based science.

The the other thing is that users are not supposed to bath in it. I use due care in the application and immediately shuck off the clothing that may have collected spray drift and take a shower.

I was a grounds-keeper for a few summers. The temptation is to spray in the morning when the wind is down and the temperatures are pleasant for walking around. The pant cuffs or socks get wet with dew and the herbicide spray is un-noticed. It saturates the clothing and the person who applied the spray might continue to wear them for the entire shift. Or they might wear sandals while applying the herbicide.

Looking a little farther down the road, it is reasonable to expect that every drug, every chemical in an aerosol can will sky-rocket in price.

In layman's terms, industrial science involves a finite amount of "certainty". Said another way, it is mathematically impossible to drive 'uncertainty' down to zero. Any law suite can chisel away at a produce because the certainty is not absolute.

If 95% certainty is not good enough than what is the magic number? How about 97%? Or 99%? 99.9%? 99.9999%?

Each increase in "certainty" vastly increases the size, complexity and cost of validating products. $20 aspirin tablet will become the norm rather than the butt of a joke and stalks of celery will cost $5 each.

Lefties point to Round-up as a reason why we need more government over-sight. They say you cannot trust Corporations.

I see their conclusion as the result of false choices.

I have limited trust of Corporations and I have limited trust in Government. The Lefties would have the people responsible for the Flint water crisis (Political Scientists and "don't make waves" bureaucrats) overseeing chemists with Ph.Ds. Yeah, great plan. What could go wrong?

It is child-like to think that we can give away our responsibilities and safely live on auto-pilot while floating through life looking at our smartphones and being totally self-absorbed.

My objection to the false choice is that it is neither required nor desirable that adults give their responsibility to any entity, corporate or government.

As an adult, I am the captain of my own ship. I look at the charts and listen to the weather forecasts. I listen to the creak of the ship and assess the quality of my sails. Then I plan my own course and accept the consequences.


  1. I still use it also. The larger containers and the concentrate used for mixing come with a book of instructions, 50+ pages.
    Every case that I have read the details of, the person (or the employer) did not follow the instructions. The cases SHOULD have been thrown out for that alone - the employer is at fault for improper training and supervision. In the big LA suit, the employer was either the school district or the city (I don't remember which). I am sure they are quite eager to NOT be held responsible and it is likely that the local legal system will have similar views.

    Note also that Glyphosate is out of patent and generics are widely available now; it will still be widely available if Monsanto goes out of business.

  2. I may have my facts wrong but my understanding of tha Agent Orange problem in Vietnam was dioxin contamination in the mix. That said I also have the impression that when 24D is used in forestry to kill hardwoods in pure softwood stands leaves the dead wood possibly causing health problems from the smoke if burned as firewood. As far as Roundup is concerned there are safe applications if you follow the directions but using it to kill back potatoes for easier harvest or spraying wheat to kill weeds to reduce plugging of the combine introduces it directly into the food chain!

  3. Thanks for this article stating your reasons why you believe this is the right way and safe from