American growers sprayed 280 million pounds of glyphosate on their crops in 2012, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. That amounts to nearly a pound of glyphosate for every person in the country.
The use of glyphosate on farmland has skyrocketed since the mid-1990s, when biotech companies introduced genetically engineered crop varieties (often called GMOs) that can withstand being blasted with glyphosate. Since then, agricultural use of the herbicide has increased 16-fold.
This image shows the year-to-year change in glyphosate use on American farmland from 1992 to 2012. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used weed killer, which according to the World Health Organization is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Public interest groups are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take into full account in its deliberations this new assessment by the world’s leading authority on public health.