Glyphosate is a chemical used to control weeds. It is a broad-spectrum herbicide that works by inhibiting an enzyme found in plants. Glyphosate substances are perhaps the most common herbicide in New Zealand and world-wide, and are used commercially and around the home. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved glyphosate for use in New Zealand.
The EPA commissioned Dr Wayne Temple, a toxicologist and former Director of the New Zealand National Poisons Centre, to undertake a scientific review of glyphosate.The overall conclusion of report Review of the Evidence Relating to Glyphosate and Carcinogenicity is that glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic to humans and does not require classification under HSNO as a carcinogen or mutagen. The 19-page report was published in August 2016 and is available below, along with a two-page lay summary of the report.
The use of glyphosate in New Zealand
Glyphosate substances are used in a wide variety of settings, including orchards, vineyards, pastures, vegetable patches, roadways, parks and sports fields and home gardens. Glyphosate has been used in New Zealand since 1976 and is currently sold under a large number of different brand names.
The safety of glyphosate
Based on the EPA’s current assessment, people are advised that following the label instructions on all glyphosate products provides adequate protection for users.
People should follow the use and safety instructions on all chemical product labels, as these are designed to reduce human exposure to the product and to protect the environment.
If the label has been removed or damaged, you can search the manufacturer’s website to find the relevant safety information.
The EPA operates under the HSNO Act to put controls in place to manage the risks of hazardous substances to safeguard people and the environment.