Expert response from Cami Ryan, Ph.D.
Social Sciences Lead, Monsanto Company
Tuesday, 04/19/2016 14:11
Roundup® brand herbicides have a long history of safe use at home and in agricultural settings, and we know that all labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health and supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever put together on an agricultural product. As with most chemical products, appropriate precautions must be taken during handling, and use of these products and the directions for use must be followed carefully.
Glyphosate-based herbicides (such as Roundup® brand herbicides) are not food products and are not meant to be consumed as a beverage. Just because these herbicides have been deemed safe for weed control in crop production, doesn’t mean that anyone should drink them. Dishwashing detergent, for example, has also been deemed safe for use as a household cleanser, but I wouldn’t drink it. These chemical products contain surfactants that should not be intentionally consumed, yet low levels of dishwashing detergent are consumed daily off of cups, plates and utensils, without adverse health effects. People are not concerned, and rightfully so, about use or consumption of trace amounts of detergents.David Saltmiras, Toxicologist for Monsanto Company responds to this question in more detail here.
An important principal of toxicology is “the dose makes the poison.” Plenty of common substances – like water, salt, caffeine – can be dangerous in sufficient amounts over long periods of time. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, can be used safely when used as directed for weed control.