KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- For decades, Roundup has been touted as one of the safest ways to control pesky weeds. But, a recent California jury verdict calls that into question.
KCTV5's investigative unit reached out to farmers across Missouri for reaction. Some privately said they are concerned because for decades they believed Roundup was as safe as table salt, so they didn’t take any precautions when they sprayed their fields.
But, most feel it’s a product which transformed farming. Jeff Nail says his crop yield increased 20 percent when his farm switched to Roundup.
“Roundup is safe, safer than what we used in the past,” Nail said.
Nail says he wears long sleeves and gloves when he treats his fields.
“I’ve been soaked a lot on accident. But, if you use it, according to label, there is no risk of cancer. That’s according to the EPA,” Nail said.
Nail says he has compassion for the groundskeeper who sued Monsanto and won a multi-million dollar verdict.
“I know the guy cancer and they are looking for answers. But I don’t think roundup is the answer,” Nail said.
Overall, the Missouri Farm Association tells KCTV5 that the recent California verdict did not change the way that organization feels about Roundup.
Local award winning author questions RoundUp
“The verdict is being heard around the world,” said local investigative journalist Carey Gillam.
Gillam is the award-willing author of the book “Whitewash” which reveals the world’s most popular weed killer has been under suspicion for years.
Gillam interviewed farming families devastated by cancer who believe Roundup is to blame.
“I think we need to be more protective of public health and need to be more precautionary we need to look at risks as well as rewards of these pesticides we use on our food and in farming,” Gillam said.
Gillam points out the verdict is getting so much attention because Monsanto faces thousands of additional lawsuits.
Filings grew after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said the key ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is "probably carcinogenic to humans."
“European regulators have been looking at this really really hard. And they’ve been looking not just at the science but they’ve been looking at the evidence that Monsanto has been deceptive about the science. They are demanding more transparency and calling for a ban on glyphosate,” Gillam said.
Just this week, Germany’s Environment Ministry announced tougher restrictions.
Glyphosate was developed by Monsanto in the 1970s but the patent has expired. It is now found in more than 700 products in the United States.
KCTV5 contacted school districts across our area. Most districts declined to answer if they used glyphosate based products and if the verdict would change how they treat school grounds.
Only one district responded that the use of glyphosate was limited and only sprayed when children are not around.