Glyphosate is an herbicide used to control a wide range of undesirable plants that may be growing in lawns, row crops, pastures, aquatics, road sides, and rights-of-way. First introduced for use in 1974, glyphosate is now one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. Today, there are over 750 products that contain this active ingredient for agronomic, commercial, and home use.
The biggest question consumers have is, “What effect does glyphosate have on the food that comes from plants that have been sprayed with it?”
In a recent fact sheet released by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, current research demonstrates that glyphosate has no appreciable health risk when consuming a normal diet. In the factsheet, scientists addressed the question about glyphosate in food and indicate that both the FDA and EPA, who initially approved the use of glyphosate, have continued to perform rigorous testing on its safety. Testing has included risk assessments to evaluate the potential for harm to humans, wildlife, fish, plants and other non-target organisms. Human health risks are thoroughly evaluated, including considerations for sensitive groups such as children and immunosuppressed individuals.
According to the factsheet, regulating agencies, such as the EPA, have reviewed and evaluated potential exposures through residues in food, water, residential uses, and occupational risk to those applying the product during their work. A baseline exposure limit is identified using experimentally determined metrics. These metrics are defined as either the lowest dose at which adverse effects are seen (LOAEL) or the dose at which no adverse effects are seen (NOAEL).
Acceptable daily intake (ADI) limits are set by multiplying the NOAELs or LOAELs by an additional 100-fold safety factor. The resulting ADI is published in mg per kg body weight per day (mg/kg/day) and is considered a safe residue intake level for a healthy adult. The EPA has set an ADI of 1.75 mg/kg/day for glyphosate in food. Therefore, this means an adult of 175lbs could consume 140 mg of glyphosate residue in food daily, over a lifetime, and have no significant health risks or repercussions.
To see the entire factsheet go to
General Information About Glyphosate SCS-2018-1, Scott Nolte-Texas A&M AgriLife Extension; Peter Dotray-Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension; Muthu Bagavathiannan-Texas A&M AgriLife Research