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Glyphosate in New Zealand

Glyphosate is a chemical used in products to control weeds and is commonly used throughout the world in both commercial and home environments. 

Like any other hazardous substance, before glyphosate could be used in this country it was approved the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. It has been approved for use in New Zealand since 1976.

Before any hazardous substance can be approved we assess its risks and, where necessary, add controls to manage those risks to safeguard people and the environment.

Our current assessment is that if you use glyphosate and follow the recommendations for using and storing it, you will be adequately protected. 

EPA scientific review

Last week we released a scientific review of glyphosate – Review of the Evidence Relating to Glyphosate and Carcinogenicity. We commissioned Dr Wayne Temple, a toxicologist and former Director of the New Zealand National Poisons Centre, to undertake the review.

The overall conclusion of the review is that glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic to humans, and does not require classification under HSNO as a carcinogen or mutagen. 

You can read the review, an accompanying two-page lay summary, and our media release at the links below:

The review took into account studies reviewed in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report, as well as additional studies that were not reviewed by IARC, but have been assessed by overseas regulators including the European Food Safety Authority, US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues.

We are in the process of writing to councils to bring this review to their attention and to offer them the opportunity for us to meet with their stakeholders and communities to talk about about glyphosate in general, our role in regulating it, and the latest scientific opinion on its use.

We will continue to actively monitor international developments and the latest research on the safe of glyphosate. If any information comes to light which suggests that a formal review of glyphosate use in New Zealand is needed, we are able to initiate a reassessment.  

Read more about how glyphosate is regulated in New Zealand and current international research findings

Using glyphosate safely

There are some practices that you should follow every time you use glyphosate. Our information sheet details these safe practices:

About glyphosate information sheet [pdf, 153 kb]