roundup weed killer more toxic than originally believed

Lawn Care Chemical’s Deadly Secret

Report: A labeling loophole means the world’s most common herbicide is even more toxic than originally believed.

Lawn Care Chemical’s Deadly Secret

Maybe coating your lawn with poison isn't such a good idea.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you ever turn over a bottle of Roundup, one of the most popular chemical weed killers in the world, you’ll see glyphosate listed as the active ingredient. What you won’t see is a list of inactive ingredients. And that’s problematic. Because researchers who recently tested the product’s active ingredient in combination with certain inert ones found the combo makes this weed killer much more toxic than previously disclosed. “It’s not as benign as people are led to believe,” says Greg Bowman, editor of the Rodale Institute’s New Farm online publication, which focuses on nontoxic farming methods. And even the listed ingredient may be more dangerous than was previously thought. “More and more studies by medical and agricultural specialists are revealing the subtle, low-level impact that Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, has on wildlife, soil life, and—directly and indirectly—people themselves,” Bowman says.

THE DETAILS: Researchers tested four combinations of Roundup on cultured human cells, and found that one inert ingredient in particular, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, significantly boosted the toxic effects of the main ingredient, glyphosate. In the study, the combination of the two killed or damaged many more of the cells than glyphosate alone. The study was published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

WHAT IT MEANS: In the U.S. alone, farmers and homeowners use an estimated 100 million pounds of the Roundup herbicide a year. The problem is, weeds are becoming resistant to the chemical, so farmers are forced to apply more and more of it. Between 1994 and 2005, the use of glyphosate increased 1,500 percent. And while the manufacturer and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say the product is safe, a growing body of nonindustry-funded scientific research suggests otherwise. When the active ingredient alone is tested—which is standard procedure in toxicology testing—the product may seem relatively safe. But when all the chemicals in the product are tested together, which provides a realistic snapshot of the product’s safety, the results suggest much more toxicity.


Published on: July 7, 2009

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Great information here. Love it. :)


What I want to know is who is crazy enough to put Roundup all over their lawn? Considering it's a weed killer, it's not as if the chemicals are smart enough to differentiate between wanted plants and weeds... if you spray it on your prized daisies or begonias, they will die, too. Roundup isn't for lawns, it's more like a spotchecker, not a weed prevention tool.


Thanks for the sharing of such information we will pass it on to our readers.
This is a great reading.
lubricants additives
Engine Additive

the photo could be accurate...

It depends...if they are going to kill the lawn with the intent to reseed or sod, then they would likely spray the lawn with Roundup a week or two ahead of time.

Picture / Article

It is an absolute must that you get the correct picture with the article. I have seen this error in
many articles, but in Rodale--help!!! The information is timely considering the problems
with weeds that chemical users are having. No chemical control or fertilizers for me.!!! I am one of
those who became DDT toxic when it went into wide use after WW ll. Long time reader and
appreciator of your organic publications-----get the pictures right.

Accuracy Builds Credibility

I really enjoy these articles, but this one really misses the mark by linking Round-Up and lawn care. It is still worthwhile in pointing out that inactive ingredients must be considered and that non-industry funded research exists. I hate using any pesticide, but I've got more poison ivy than I can handle without a little Round-Up. I put on a painting jumpsuit and latex gloves and pull everything I can. I sun dry the debris in my leach field and spot spray any tiny shoots as they appear where I've weeded. The suit and gloves are garbage. Poisin Ivy is nasty stuff.

Very Sloppy

This is the second day in a row that the photo and caption don't fit with the story! If you guys need some good help, I'm available!

Lawn Care Chemical's Deadly Secret

Nobody uses Roundup on lawns unless they want to kill all of the green organic matter on the lawn. Unfortunately, articles like this show that the author(s) have no knowledge about what they are writing and thereby do a major disservice to the underlying science. Please, do your homework before you write an article pretending to be factual.

Sevin - Another Dangerous Chemical

Sevin acts on insects by attacking the nervous system. With people spraying this chemical freely to kill Japanese Beetles and other insects, is it any wonder that conditions such as Autism continue to rise at alarming rates? Sevin needs to be removed from store shelves as it is dangerous and being used with no regard for the ecosystem.

"Lawn care" chemical?

The title and funny picture on this interesting article are misdirected. Glyphosate is not used on lawns. It would kill the grass.

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