Is glyphosphate toxic to humans?

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Is glyphosphate toxic to humans?
« on: 24/09/2008 16:57:43 »
AdamJCutler  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi guys,

This might be a bit of a bespoke question for you guys.

I remember in a university lecture in 2005 on how glyphosate / roundup herbicide works that the lecturer said it is so safe that you could "drink it" as it doesn't interact with human metabolic pathways.

But the bottle always carries health warnings and some studies suggest it may be involved in aborted foetuses and liver damage.

It seems strange that there should be such contrasting views on the subject and the suggestion of its toxicity contradicts everything I learnt in that lecture series. Could you clarify the situation please help.
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Offline Don_1

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Is glyphosphate toxic to humans?
« Reply #1 on: 24/09/2008 17:12:34 »
I certainly would not drink any weed killer.

Stick to beer, safer & much more fun.
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Offline Evie

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Is glyphosphate toxic to humans?
« Reply #2 on: 24/09/2008 17:16:42 »
Roundup or glyphosphate inhibits the enzyme EPSP synthase. Humans do not have this enzyme, so it won't kill us the same way it does plants.

It has indeed been touted as one of the safest herbicides available, but this has caused a bit of a black hole in research. Since it's considered so safe, grants for studying the effects of herbicides go to the perceived more dangerous chemicals.

Here's an in-depth website about Roundup, though please keep in mind that not everything on the net is fully substantiated.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Act I, scene 5