Herbicides, also commonly known as weedkillers, are substances used to control unwanted plants. Selective herbicides control specific weed species, while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed, while non-selective herbicides can be used to clear waste ground, industrial and construction sites, railways and railway embankments as they kill all plant material with which they come into contact. Apart from selective/non-selective, other important distinctions include persistence, means of uptake, and mechanism of action. Historically, products such as common salt and other metal salts were used as herbicides, however these have gradually fallen out of favor and in some countries a number of these are banned due to their persistence in soil, and toxicity and groundwater contamination concerns. Herbicides have also been used in warfare and conflict.