Herbicide, Pesticide: What’s the Difference?

Question:  What’s the difference between an herbicide and a pesticide?

Answer:  The EPA classifies herbicides as pesticides; so for all practical purposes, there is no significant difference between an herbicide and a pesticide.

Euphemism Lies

The word herbicide is a euphemism for pesticide.   A euphemism is a “lesser substitute,” according to Webster’s Dictionary.  A euphemism is used to massage the truth or make it more palatable, less ugly.  (Non-combatants killed in wars, for one example, are often called “collateral damage by  military marauders.) The truth, the reality of a thing, doesn’t change because one pastes a different name on it.   An herbicide may be designed to target plants (hence, “herb”) and a pesticide may be designed to target “pests,” but they both kill or cause indiscriminate harm.  The fact is that an herbicide is a pesticide, a poison hostile to living things, and the difference is primarily semantic.

EPA Glyphosate Promotion
The EPA’s web site reads like an advertisement for glyphosate.  It simply ignores glyphosate’s hugely controversial reality.   EPA says, “Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide that controls broadleaf weeds and grasses.  Glyphosate has been used as a pesticide since the 1970s.  Glyphosate acid and several related glyphosate salt compounds are also registered pesticides.”

The EPA clearly promotes glyphosate, saying, “[P]roducts can be safely used by following label directions.” It also claims, “glyphosate has low toxicity for humans.” (At what levels? Where’s the research not done by Monsanto, which shows all kinds of glyphosate safety problems?)

EPA also claims on its web site: “Glyphosate is no more than slightly toxic to birds and is practically nontoxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates, and honeybees.”  (What, exactly, does “slightly toxic” mean?   Ever see a red winged blackbird in a cornfield anymore?  Twenty years ago one could see dozens or hundreds of such birds in every cornfield all over the country.)

EPA Liars or Illiterates?
It is now established as a well-known fact that pesticides are largely responsible for massive bee die-offs in the last 20 years. So is the EPA lying, or are the people running the agency illiterate?  (Trump is famous for not reading anything, so perhaps his appointees also fail to read relevant material?)  Or is the EPA simply so captured by industry that it doesn’t have time to do anything but promote industry?  In the Trump administration, a longtime hater of the EPA, former Okla. Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is now head of the EPA.  Similarly, a man who wanted to abolish the Dept. of Energy is now the head of that department – former Texas governor (and TV dancer) Rick Perry.  For education, a person who has promoted charter schools to the detriment of public ones for decades, Betsy DeVos, has been appointed Secretary of Education.  Fox have now completely taken over the hen house.

The EPA does tepidly admit on its website that “Glyphosate and the related acid and salt compounds are currently undergoing registration review, a program that re-evaluates all pesticides on a 15-year cycle.”  (Don’t hold our breath for the agency to do the right thing.  Its incestuous ties with Monsanto are well documented. )

Agent Orange “Herbicide” Injured People
American soldiers who served in Vietnam during the U.S. occupation of that country were indiscriminately sprayed with an “herbicide” called Agent Orange. It may not have been designed to harm them, but harm them it did. Many thousands of former soldiers have since received compensation from the U.S. government for nerve damage, painful debilitating rashes, and other health problems caused by Agent Orange.  The targeted Vietnamese were not as lucky. Vietnamese peoples have seen at least three generations of birth defects from the tons of Agent Orange dumped on them, their rice patties and jungles during America’s unconscionable attacks on their lands and ways of life.

Where have all the bees and songbirds gone?
Bees and songbirds have been disappearing at a staggering rate over the last 20 years, directly in proportion to the poisoning of the air, ground, and water by Monsanto and other pesticide profiteers.  Roundup and other herbicide pesticides have been dumped indiscriminately all over the world, winding up in rivers, streams and ocean basins.  (Florida has seen parts of its tourism industry severely damaged by glyphosate’s destruction of coral reefs and oceanfront property.)  Pliant “regulatory” agencies like the EPA and FDA, along with top-level judges and politicians, have been captured or compromised by former Monsanto employees and lawyers (like Monsanto/FDA revolving door puppet Michael Taylor, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and former Monsanto lawyer Hillary Clinton, to name just a few.)

Why are Americans so Fat Today?
Why are Americans now chronically obese compared to past generations? More than half of us weren’t morbidly obese just 25 years ago, which is the case today. Part of the blame for obesity, and the rising healthcare costs it triggers, can be placed squarely on Monsanto’s broad chemically-enhanced shoulders. High fructose corn syrup, courtesy of Monsanto’s GMO corn, helps make Americans fatter. GMO foods also strip (or chelate, which is what glyphosate is designed to do) the flora from a healthy person’s stomach, making foods less bio-available and causing the stomach to falter in its most natural function – to digest food, uptake nutrients from it, and provide needed energy to the brain and body.

Monsanto Crimes Against Humanity
Monsanto has been tried for crimes against humanity in the Hague. The company was found guilty.



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