Healthy Environment, Healthy Kids: Better Living Through Chemistry?
Our dependence on chemicals began in the 1920s when PCBs and DDT were used in industry and agriculture. These chemicals have been banned after years of application because of their hazardous effects on the environment, including human beings, animals and insects. In the 1940s, factories that produced chemical toxins intended for biochemical warfare expanded into becoming the corporations that produced pharmaceuticals and agricultural products. One such product is the weed-killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate – one of the largest-selling herbicides in the world today. It was first patented by Monsanto in 1964 as a mineral chelator to clean boilers and pipes; in the 1970s it was used to formulate an herbicide and later patented as an antibiotic. In 2015, glyphosate was found to be a probable carcinogenic substance by the World Health Organization. Because glyphosate is a mineral chelator and acts as an antibiotic, it interferes with nutrient uptake in the crops that are sprayed with it. Today 80 to 90 percent of our food is grown with the use of pesticides. Much of the food we eat contains pesticide residues and has a decreased nutritional content. Synthetic chemicals being used today impact everything we value in life. The notion of ‘Better Living Through Chemistry’ proclaimed in the early 1900s may no longer hold true today. For better living, it is crucial to research and question the safety of the chemical products we use and are surrounded with in our daily lives. This message is an ongoing education project of Transition Town Manchester.