Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many RoundupTM brand weed and grass killers. Glyphosate-based herbicides are used to manage weed growth across a variety of applications beyond agriculture, including eliminating harmful and unsightly weeds from lawns, gardens, patios, driveways and more.
What is Glyphosate?
Introduced as the active ingredient in RoundupTM in the 1970s, glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, which can eliminate almost any type of weed or grass. It serves as the main active ingredient in most RoundupTM brand weed and grass killer products.
So how does it work? When the herbicide comes in contact with a weed, it targets an enzyme that is essential for plant growth.
Label instructions indicate how, when and where RoundupTM products can be used.* And after application, people and pets can re-enter the area as soon as the spray has dried.
Products in different countries may have different label directions. Always read and follow label directions for the specific product, use and geography in which you are using the product.
Glyphosate-Based RoundupTM Product Safety
There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and Bayer’s glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and European and other regulators in connection with the registration process, which confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)1, the U.S. EPA2 and other regulatory authorities around the world have comprehensively and routinely reviewed glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides for more than 40 years, and their conclusions consistently support the safety of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides such as RoundupTM products when used as directed.
No pesticide regulatory authority in the world currently considers glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans at the levels at which humans are currently exposed.
The Impact of Glyphosate and Glyphosate-Based RoundupTM Products on the Environment
Regulatory authorities such as EFSA1 and the U.S. EPA2 conduct comprehensive evaluations to ensure glyphosate and RoundupTM brand glyphosate products pose no unreasonable risk to the environment. As part of this process, the regulatory authorities specifically evaluate the potential for effects on non-target organisms, like honey bees, and other wildlife.3 This extensive testing has found that glyphosate products do not result in acute or chronic adverse effects to honey bees4,5,6 and do not pose a threat to the health of animal wildlife. 7,8
In fact, glyphosate is an important tool that can help preserve the environment and biodiversity.
Additionally, glyphosate has a unique combination of qualities that allow it to bind strongly to the soil, making it unlikely to leach into groundwater. And, it degrades into naturally occurring substances like carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphate.9
The Importance of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides for Homeowners
Weeds can be unsightly, and they compete with desirable plants for water, sunlight and nutrients, making it hard for them to grow. But beyond just aesthetics, glyphosate-based herbicides like many RoundupTM brand products can help control noxious, invasive and nuisance weeds that can be harmful to other plants, people and animals.
What are noxious weeds? Noxious weeds are a category of plants that are harmful, poisonous or otherwise very unpleasant. Noxious weeds include plants like poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, kudzu and wild blackberry.
Some of these weeds can grow at shockingly rapid rates, have complex root structures and produce toxins, making it virtually impossible to eliminate them by hand and even dangerous to do so. For more than 40 years, glyphosate-based herbicides have provided a highly-effective, safe solution.
RoundupTM Product Stewardship in Homeowner Use
At Bayer, we aim to provide safe and effective solutions today, and leave the planet and our communities in better shape for our children and the generations to come. In addition, we have a robust stewardship program in place to understand and minimize any potential negative impact of our products on human health or the environment.
When a new product like a glyphosate-based herbicide is introduced to the market, regulatory agencies closely scrutinize not only the effects that product has on its target, but also the peripheral effects it may have on non-target areas, pests, animals, people and more. Only after a thorough assessment of each of these categories is the product made available to consumers. And, most importantly, in most countries this scrutiny is recurring, as regulators routinely review such products and the scientific literature supporting their safety profiles.
In the past 40 years, thousands of studies have been conducted on glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulations and then reviewed by the EPA as researchers work to identify potential negative effects on humans or the environment. Based on their reviews, those researchers continue to approve products such as RoundupTM brand herbicides for lawn and garden use.
Label instructions indicate how, when and where RoundupTM products can be used safely. Following label instructions is the best way to ensure you’re using any RoundupTM products as safely and effectively as possible.
Want to know more? Read what others are saying.
Reuters Investigates why a UN/WHO sub-agency concealed health findings favorable to glyphosate, the active ingredient in many Roundup brand weed killers
In this in-depth story, Reuters Investigates why IARC, an agency of the UN’s World Health Organization made significant changes between a draft and final version of its assessment of the weed killing chemical glyphosate.
Specifically, the deleted findings supported the long standing safe use record of glyphosate and uncovered a potential cover-up inside IARC.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many Roundup brand weed killers.
Reuters: U.S. EPA releases statement about glyphosate, the active ingredient in many Roundup Brand weed killers
In this story, the author discusses recent EPA statements and a draft risk assessment of glyphosate, the active ingredient in many Roundup brand weed killer products.
As noted in the article, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans which is consistent with our long-standing position regarding the safety of glyphosate based Roundup products.
The author goes on to report that the EPA, in its draft risk assessment, also said it found “no other meaningful risks to human health” when glyphosate, the world’s biggest-selling weed killer, is used according to its label instructions.
Article discusses favorable results for glyphosate, the active ingredient in many Roundup brand weed killers, in large-scale health study
The Western Producer is a leading agriculture publication that started in 1923.
Recently, they published a story about a long-term study of pesticide applicators that noted favorable findings related to glyphosate, the active ingredient in many Roundup brand weed killers.
The study began in 1993 and covered approximately 90,000 participants. They were mostly farmers and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina, along with commercial pesticide applicators in Iowa.
AP News covers U.S. judge’s decision that Roundup does not require false warning label
This story, via The Associated Press, talks about a Judge’s decision to block the state of California from requiring a false warning label on Roundup brand weed killers containing the active ingredient glyphosate.
The article features a quote from Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, who said in a statement, “Every regulatory body in the world that has reviewed glyphosate has found it safe for use, and no available product matches glyphosate with a comparable health and environmental safety profile.”
Agweek explores the science behind glyphosate
As you may know, glyphosate is the active ingredient in many Roundup brand weed killers.
The long-term track record for the safe use of glyphosate is well documented by over 800 published studies along with approvals from major regulatory bodies worldwide including the U.S. EPA.
This article from Agweek explores the science behind glyphosate.
Reuters covers large scale safety study of weed-killer use by farmers
In this story, the author discusses a long-term study on the use of the best-selling weed killer glyphosate (the active ingredient in many Roundup brand products) by agricultural workers in the United States.
The story discusses the conclusions reached in the study which support the long standing record of safe use of glyphosate, when used as directed.
NBC News article offers counter point to environmental group’s report.
In this story, the author discusses recent media attention around a sensationalized story promoted by an environmental group about glyphosate residue in cereal.
The NBC News article explains that the amount of glyphosate residue found in cereals referenced in the environmental group’s story was far below the allowable limits, and experts in the field agree that there is little evidence that glyphosate causes cancer or other health issues.
U.S News - EPA: Glyphosate, the Herbicide in Roundup, Does Not Cause Cancer
According to a US News article the Environmental Protection Agency has again reached conclusions that support the long-standing record of safe use for glyphosate, the main active ingredient in many Roundup brand weed killers.
The article notes that glyphosate does not cause cancer or pose a public health risk when proper application procedures are followed.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue cheered the EPA finding, saying it is based on science and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities.
https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4302 [Retrieved February 12, 2019]
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361-0077 [Retrieved February 12, 2019]
https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2019/01/statement-from-health-canada-on-glyphosate.html [Retrieved February 12, 2019]
Ferguson, F. 1988. Long term effects of systemic pesticides on honey bees. Bee keeping in the year 2000: Second Australian and International Beekeeping Congress, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, July 21-26, 1988. Editor: John W. Rhodes. Pages: 137-141.
Burgett, M. and Fisher, G. 1990. A review of the Belizean honey bee industry: Final report prepared at the request of The Belize Honey Producers Federation. Department of Entomology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.
Thompson HM, Levine SL, Doering J, Norman S, Manson P, Sutton P, von Mérey G. (2014) Evaluating exposure and potential effects on honeybee brood (Apis mellifera) development using glyphosate as an example. Integr Environ Assess Manag. 2014 Feb 25. doi: 10.1002/ieam.1529.
https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4612-1156-3_2 [Retrieved February 12, 2019]
Giesy, J.P., Stuart. Dobson, and Keith .R. Solomon. 2000. Ecotoxicological risk assessment for RoundupTM herbicide. Reviews in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 167:35-120.