Does glyphosate cause cancer?Glyphosate weedkillers cause cancer, says WHO

24 April 2015


Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate may cause cancer, says WHO

Popular weed killer Roundup made headlines recently when a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that its active ingredient - glyphosate - was 'probably carcinogenic'.

The report, put together by WHO's cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), said that there was 'limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate'.

Is Roundup safe to use?

We asked Scotts Miracle-Gro, the company behind Roundup in the UK, for its views on the report.

A spokesperson for the company told us:

'We strongly disagree with IARC's assertion and believe consumers can feel confident about using these products because the ingredients have been carefully selected, tested and approved.

'All Scotts Miracle-Gro products that contain glyphosate are still approved for sale and use, this will not change.

'We at Scotts Miracle-Gro firmly stand behind the use of glyphosate as a safe and effective ingredient.'

Removing weeds without chemicals

We can't say for sure whether there is any serious risk from using glyphosate, but if you'd prefer to avoid using it, you can find a full list of weed killers containing glyphosate on the RHS website

If you are concerned, here are our top tips for weeding by hand:

  • When removing individual weeds, it's important to dig deep down to the root to avoid any regrowth.
  • If you have a serious problem with perennial weeds, such as bindweed, you can empty your affected border completely.
  • Once clear, leave it fallow for a year, removing any weeds by hand as they appear, and then replant into clean, weed-free soil.

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