Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. It is a systemic herbicide, meaning that when applied to plant foliage, it is absorbed through the tissues to kill broadleaf plants, weeds and grasses.
Uses & Benefits
Agriculture & Farming
Glyphosate is an active ingredient a variety of herbicides used to control broadleaf weeds and grasses. Glyphosate works by preventing plants from making certain proteins that are necessary for growth.
When used precisely and according to label instructions, herbicides help to keep weeds from competing with crops for water, sunlight and nutrients. Glyphosate helps farmers and homeowners control weeds in many different kinds of plantings, including:
- A wide variety of fruit, vegetable, and other food crops.
- Ornamental plantings, lawns and turf, greenhouses, aquatic areas, forest plantings, and roadside rights-of-way for vegetation control.
- Glyphosate-resistant (transgenic) and GMO (genetically modified organisms) crop varieties that include canola, corn, cotton, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat.
Many regulatory agencies in the world have reviewed glyphosate, which has been in use since the 1970s.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), glyphosate products can be safely used by following label directions.
Is glyphosate a carcinogen?
- The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has stated that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”
- New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a report issued in August 2016 that glyphosate is “unlikely to be carcinogenic” and should not be classified as a mutagen or carcinogen.
- In a joint report issued in May 2016, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) said glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans” exposed to it through dietary exposure.
- Alternatively, WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a statement in March 2015 that classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” but WHO and IARC also noted there was limited evidence of glyphosate’s carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.