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Is it safe to use glyphosate (Roundup etc)?



Not the last word, however some very plain and clear speaking.

The explanation of how the IARC part of the WHO reports and how the Australian Cancer Council assesses the reports is most useful.

So you can end up with two different carcinogens in the same IARC grouping, where one will hugely increase your risk of getting cancer and the other might just shift it by a minuscule percentage, Dr Saunders said.

For example, processed meat — including salami, sausages and bacon — is in Group 1, along with tobacco smoke, plutonium, asbestos and even sunlight (solar radiation).“

For any one interested the article from the ABC explains some of the considerations made by the Cancer Council in how it responds to any new reports.



A sad demise caused by an uneducated public :disappointed_relieved:


Yes, let there be education.

Would you use this product after reading the Safety Data Sheet. Sorry, this only applies to NZ.

Here’s the Aussie advice on the product.

The active herbicides in weed and feed are MCPA and diKamba. Both are high risk to acquatic wildlife. Oh and don’t feed any clippings from treated lawn to the chooks!

I still use glyphosate following the APVMA approval and safety precautions. If you added dye marker to it when in use any leakage, over spray or even pickup on clothing is easy to observe and take action to manage. I choose the red version. The same precautions go for MCPA and diKamba. I use the latter selectively. Compared to glyphosate diKamba has a longer residual in the environment and is certainly not suitable for use in any riparian areas or areas likely to flood or water log. I don’t use MCPA, but I understand it is in the same class of herbicides.

The end point here is if increased restrictions on the use of glyphosate came to pass, it is perhaps at the safer end of the herbicide options, what next? Will every home lawn owner take to doing 100% of their weeding on hands and knees in a zero herbicide world? Should hope it’s not all bindis and giant sensitive weed!


This is an important point that most opposed to glyphosate don’t realise. Without glyphosate, one of the safest and most sustainable farming tools we have, farmers will be forced to return to older technology pesticides that are much more toxic to human and planetary health. This is a case of well-intentioned environmentalists causing further destruction to the environment and human populations. It is unfortunate, and the reason why we must keep educating people to make the right decisions :slight_smile:

EDIT: typo



There’s the real cancer right there. Such absurdly excessive awards mean that all sense of proportion is lost, and these awards are hugely distortionery.

This case doesn’t tell you much about your risk of getting cancer from the occasional use of glyphosate or even ingestion in minute quantities via the food chain. Read the details of the case! The guy used it extremely frequently (it was part of his job), had the occasional major accident and was exposed to spray in windy conditions.

Do follow the safety instructions. That means cover all of your skin as far as is possible, including gloves, nose and mouth mask, and goggles. Learn from the above guy’s experience. (I use it from time to time and you do look a bit funny but better safe than sorry.)

There are any number of studies that show that chemical X is toxic but, when you read the details, the subjects (presumably always animals) were being fed 1000 times a dose that anyone would normally ingest. That could, for example, lead to chemical X being labelled a definite, known carcinogen - while still being safe to use if used in normal quantities and in accordance with the safety instructions.


It also notes though: “a 125-pound adult would have to consume 308 gallons of wine per day, every day for life to reach the US Environmental Protection Agency’s glyphosate exposure limit for humans” (excuse the obsolete units of measure, just quoting the text)

I reckon that you aren’t going to die of cancer from glyphosate if you drink 308 gallons of wine per day. :slight_smile:

It is always possible that the US EPA’s safe exposure limit is wrong - human knowledge is constantly changing and expanding - but there’s a large margin for error. The article notes: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets daily exposure limits at least 100 times below levels shown to have no negative effect in safety studies”

The real message from the article - always best to ignore the headline - is that glyphosate may be getting into the environment pervasively and further studies are warranted.


Thanks for the evidence-based summary, @person. There still seems to be a lot of fear-mongering around gardening tools that have been proven to be safe if used according to the instructions. I always find it amusing when people fret over 1ppb of “possible carcinogen” mixed into the 999,999,999ppb carcinogen (alcohol). Perspective is always needed when talking about these issues.


Glyphosate has now been linked to liver disease in animals and negative effects on human livers.

Monsanto is not going to like this.


Having just read the article, it may be useful to consider separately the mechanism of how exposure to the chemical is thought to be occurring. There is separate to research into the supposed effects on the body. In this instance NASH/NAFLD.

It suggests a definite need for better understanding, given the suggestion that the glyphosate has come into human contact through the food chain!

One article suggests how this is occurring and a relationship with the food and water supply, notably GM modified grains and pulses.

Whether this extends more generally to Australia, or is currently a much greater a risk in other places eg USA is not explored. We may simply be lagging here?

The research article referred to by @Fred123 contains one critical caveat:

“There are so many synthetic chemicals we are regularly exposed to,” he said. “We measured just one.”

I am left wondering how many molecules of micro plastics are now in my system, given they are now evident in common seafood? I’ve consumed at least two at risk meals this week. We know BPA plastic residues may not be good for us?


Sometimes, I wonder about the US legal system:


Topic all of it’s own! How the US legal system works and determines loss or damages?

It would appear it is much less costly in the instance of a fatality. Cynically claims arising out of the misuse of a firearm might be the least expensive?

It might be more beneficial if the court was asked to determine whether to ban the product for the whole of the nation? This would seem to be a more universal test and not limited to the US system?

Currently the court outcome says it’s OK to continue the same at risk practices. Although at US$2B a time it would appear it is not sustainable.

Every invention carries risk. Some risks are more obvious or expected than others.

In the instance of the PanAm flight brought down over Lockerbie in Scotland by a terrorist bomb. Should the surviving residents have sued PanAm for not advising there is a risk, Boeing for not being bomb proof, or the inventor of the explosives used? Convenience is we still permit aircraft to carry passengers knowing some can still crash and cause harm. The benefits outweigh the risks. Convenience was also to shift the blame to terrorism. The true cause was more complex with numerous failures across all those involved? We acted after the event to reduce the risk and the community now pays more to fly, sharing the cost.

For herbicides in general are they marketed and community approved as low risk or zero risk? At best it is no demonstrated risk based on knowledge of the day!

At law what is a reasonable level of testing and assessment required to satisfy an accepted standard or level of risk once in use? It is typically not zero! (No pun intended)

Once approved for use, is the community also in agreement with the intended application of a product? Implicitly and explicitly, yes, although individual opinion can differ!

Once through the hurdles, there remains a need for those responsible for regulation and approval to ensure the standards the community have determined as acceptable are met.

In hind sight as we become better at the science and improve our understanding, who should carry the cost of any adverse consequences?
The manufacturer solely,
Collectively with the community that accepted, approved and benefitted from the use of a product?

My suggestion is that as the community has a shared responsibility for the outcomes, perhaps the community should also act to ensure there are better outcomes from future products! :thinking:

Perhaps if it was also the US Govt that was being sued it would have a different outcome?


Regarding the recent court outcomes, the title of this article says it all: Courts don’t determine scientific facts.

“… it is extremely easy to cherry-pick evidence to make it look like the science isn’t settled on an issue or, worse yet, like the scientific consensus is the opposite of what it actually is, and in a courtroom, a lawyer will do precisely that. They are obligated to argue in favor of a given position, regardless of whether that position is actually supported by the evidence.”