History of glyphosate

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    1. Discovery:
      • Glyphosate was first synthesized by chemist John E. Franz in 1970 at Monsanto, now part of Bayer.
      • It was discovered serendipitously while Franz was investigating new phosphorus-containing compounds.
    2. Introduction to Market:
      • Monsanto introduced glyphosate to the market in the 1970s under the brand name Roundup.
      • Roundup was initially used as a broad-spectrum herbicide for agricultural and non-agricultural purposes.
      • glyphosate
    3. Patent and Monsanto’s Monopoly:
      • Monsanto obtained a U.S. patent for glyphosate in 1974, granting the company a monopoly on its production until 2000.
      • The patent expiration led to the availability of generic glyphosate-based herbicides.
    4. Expansion of Use:
      • Due to its effectiveness, glyphosate became one of the most widely used herbicides globally.
      • Its popularity was fueled by the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops, such as Roundup Ready soybeans, which are resistant to glyphosate.
    5. Controversies and Health Concerns:
      • In recent years, glyphosate has faced controversies related to its potential health and environmental impacts.
      • Some studies have suggested a possible link between glyphosate exposure and health issues, leading to debates and legal challenges.
    6. World Health Organization’s Assessment:
      • In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
      • This classification sparked further discussions and regulatory scrutiny.
    7. Legal Battles and Settlements:
      • Monsanto faced numerous lawsuits alleging that exposure to Roundup caused cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
      • Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, has faced significant legal challenges and settlements related to these allegations.
    8. Regulatory Responses:
      • Regulatory bodies in various countries have reviewed the safety of glyphosate.
      • The European Union re-approved the use of glyphosate in 2017, but with certain restrictions.
    9. Continued Agricultural Use:
      • Despite controversies, glyphosate continues to be widely used in agriculture, particularly for weed control in GM crops.
    10. Ongoing Research and Developments:
      • Ongoing research aims to further understand the potential risks and benefits of glyphosate.
      • Alternatives to glyphosate are being explored as part of efforts to address environmental and health concerns.

    Glyphosate’s history is intertwined with its widespread use in agriculture and the debates surrounding its safety. Ongoing research and regulatory actions continue to shape its role in modern farming practices.

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