Roundup’s Marketing History: The Rise and Fall of a Controversial Herbicide

Roundup, a popular herbicide produced by Monsanto, has been the subject of controversy for many years. While the product is widely used to kill weeds in gardens, parks, and other public spaces, some have raised concerns about the safety of the chemical glyphosate, which is the primary active ingredient in Roundup. 

Recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Program have detected the herbicide glyphosate at least once in 66 out of 70 streams and rivers across the United States. 

These findings suggest that glyphosate is present in a range of land-use settings, highlighting the need for continued research and monitoring to better understand the potential risks associated with the use of this herbicide.

In this article, we will investigate the history of Roundup’s marketing and the controversy surrounding its safety claims.

The Rise of Roundup

Roundup was first introduced in 1974 by Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. The herbicide quickly became popular among farmers and gardeners because it was highly effective at killing weeds, while also being relatively safe to use. The key ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, a chemical compound that targets and destroys the enzymes responsible for plant growth.

Marketing Claims and Controversies

Monsanto marketed Roundup as a safe and effective herbicide for decades. The company claimed that the product was biodegradable and environmentally friendly and that it posed no harm to humans or animals. However, as more studies were conducted on glyphosate, concerns began to arise about the safety of the chemical.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a report stating that glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in Roundup, was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” 

Furthermore, in 2019, researchers at the University of Washington further concluded that the use of glyphosate increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41 percent. 

The report sparked a wave of lawsuits against Monsanto, with plaintiffs claiming that Roundup had caused them to develop cancer. TorHoerman Laws group recommends seeking the help of the best lawyer for a Roundup lawsuit if you have suffered from the consequences of Roundup. 

They estimate that the average settlement for health problems due to Roundup could range from $5,000 to $250,000. 

However, Monsanto has vehemently denied these claims, stating that glyphosate is safe when used in accordance with the instructions on the label.

The company has also criticized the IARC report, stating that it is based on flawed science and that other regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have deemed glyphosate to be safe.

Despite Monsanto’s claims, the controversy surrounding Roundup’s safety continues to rage on. In 2018, a school groundskeeper in California was granted a compensation of $289 million by a jury who believed that his cancer was caused by Roundup. 

The verdict was later reduced to $78 million, but it sent shockwaves through the agricultural industry and sparked a new wave of lawsuits.

The Future of Roundup

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Roundup, Monsanto has faced intense scrutiny from both consumers and regulators. In 2018, the company was acquired by Bayer, a German pharmaceutical and life sciences company. Since then, Bayer has been working to settle the numerous lawsuits filed against Monsanto, while also exploring alternative herbicides that do not contain glyphosate.

Roundup, despite the controversy surrounding its safety, remains one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. Its effectiveness has won the loyalty of many farmers and gardeners, and it is still approved for use by regulatory agencies in numerous countries. 

In 2020, the worldwide glyphosate market had a worth of $9.3 billion and is anticipated to have a 6% compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2031. However, the ongoing lawsuits and negative publicity surrounding the product have undoubtedly impacted its reputation. 

It is unclear what the future holds for Roundup and whether it will continue to be a profitable product for its parent company, Monsanto.


The history of Roundup’s marketing and the controversy surrounding its safety claims is a complex and ongoing saga. While Monsanto and its supporters argue that the product is safe when used properly, many others remain skeptical, pointing to studies that suggest glyphosate may be harmful to human health. 

With lawsuits and regulatory battles continuing to play out, it is clear that the debate over Roundup’s safety is far from over. Whether glyphosate will continue to be a staple of the agricultural industry or be replaced by alternative herbicides remains to be seen.

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