Is Roundup Considered Safe to Use?
While sheltering in place, one of the best ways to get out and enjoy spring weather is gardening in your own yard. With all this extra time outside, is it safe to use a spray, like Roundup, to control weeds or prep your soil? According to the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University, exposure to glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, can be harmful to both humans and pets. However, as a casual gardener with the proper preparation, you can safely spray for weeds and enjoy the outdoors.
Wear rubber gloves and a mask when mixing and spraying Roundup. If you can’t find a mask in this time of pandemic, use a scarf to cover your face. Spray when there is little or no wind, not only to protect the product from flying back onto you but also to protect plants you do not want to die. If the weed killer gets on a plant you do not want to kill, rinse immediately with water.
If you get Roundup on your hands, be sure not to touch your face or eat before washing your hands. Ingesting Roundup can lead to nose or throat irritation, a burning sensation in your mouth, excess saliva or nauseousness. While glyphosate does not easily pass through the skin, you do need to be careful not to breathe in the weed killer or get it in your eyes while spraying.
If you do feel irritation, check the weed killer label for First Aid instructions. You can always call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 for advice as well.
Keep pets away from recently sprayed areas. If you have sprayed an area and your pet licks or eats the plant before the weed killer is dry, pup could end up drooling or vomiting, having diarrhea, losing his appetite, or getting unusually sleepy. Again, check the label or call your vet.
Be more cautious when using Roundup in your vegetable or herb garden. Glyphosate can stay in soil for up to 6 months and has been found to be absorbed through roots in vegetables such as beets, barley, corn, carrots, and lettuce. When using in a vegetable garden, experts recommend treating the soil ahead of time with Roundup and waiting three days before planting your veggies. During growing season, adjust the spray nozzle to large droplets instead of spray so that the chemical doesn’t spread far and targets only weeds.
Done spraying and ready to grill? Don’t worry about negative effects of any Roundup or other product containing glyphosate that you sprayed earlier in the day unless the area is still wet and someone touches it. The toxin doesn’t vaporize after being sprayed so the air around the sprayed area is safe to breathe later.
Studies of longer term and more frequent, often commercial, use have found links between glyphosate and more serious diseases. A report in the March 2020 issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found a link between the chemical and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer evaluated a number of studies from around the world and classified glyphosate as “probably cancerous to humans.”
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