Asked June 11, 2019, 1:38 PM EDT

With all the hubbub around Roundup, what herbicides are safe?

El Paso County Colorado

1 Response

The short answer is that, when used as directed on the label, all herbicides are safe (for lawns, trees, people, pets, pollinators, wildlife) to use. When instructions aren't followed is when problems occur. This includes the use of Roundup (glyphosate). The "hubbub" is the result of opportunistic lawyers (and expert witnesses) using faulty research (or misrepresenting the research) to sway juries (comprised of people who largely aren't scientists or are versed in science) to make decisions that aren't based on science, but rather sentiment (or anger against big companies like Monsanto or Bayer).

Many herbicides certified for organic vegetable production are extremely hazardous (to human health, eyes, skin, breathing) to use. Given the choice, I would always choose glyphosate/Roundup over many of the "natural/organic" herbicide options used for organic production - both from a short- and long-term exposure perspective, as well as when considering economics.

That is the short answer to a question that can have many nuances to it - including what the definition of "safe" means to different people.