Posted March 2018
What is glyphosate?
- Glyphosate is a chemical used in herbicides to kill or suppress a variety of plants, including weeds and aquatic plants.
- Glyphosate-based herbicides have broad applications, from agricultural and commercial uses to home uses (including lawns and gardens).
- Herbicides containing glyphosate or glyphosate salts are sold as liquids, gels, and solids.
How does exposure to glyphosate occur?
- Glyphosate-based herbicides can be applied to target plants directly or by using hand-held sprayers and wands or commercial ground and aerial sprayers.
- During their application, exposure can result from:
- Skin contact.
- Breathing in aerosol droplets.
- Glyphosate has been detected in a variety of foods, but available information on levels in food is limited. It is unclear if consumption of any specific food would pose a significant cancer risk from glyphosate exposure.
- During pregnancy, glyphosate can pass from mother to baby.
How can I reduce my exposure to glyphosate?
- Follow label directions in handling or use of glyphosate herbicides.
- Do not handle or use glyphosate herbicides without skin protection, such as gloves. Wash your hands after handling or using glyphosate herbicides.
- Limit your and your child’s contact with surfaces that have been recently treated with glyphosate herbicides. Wash your hands and your child’s hands after contact with these materials or surfaces.
For more information on glyphosate:
General Fact Sheets and Resources
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
- Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
- National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), Oregon State University (OSU)