Impact of Glyphosate on Soil Health


The use of Glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Round-Up and other weedkillers and herbicides, has been in the news often in 2016 as its ongoing licensing and use in the EU is debated.

The Soil Association UK have recently published this useful summary of evidence on the Impact of Glyphosate on Soil Health which you can read by clicking here: HERE

Green Economy Foundation has long been concerned about the widespread use of glyphosate in agriculture and forestry as a herbicide and as a desiccant applied to crops pre-harvest.  GEF’s concerns can be broadly summarised as follows:

  • Widespread unregulated use on arable crops, forestry sites, gardens, public parks and roadsides with insufficient evidence that it binds to and breaks down safely in soils within a specified time across varied conditions.
  • Its impact and run-off implications when used in riparian zones, sensitive water catchments and close to all manner of ditches, drains and waterways must be more clear.
  • The long term impact of glyphosate on soil and plant health is little understood and must be more conclusively investigated.
  • Insufficient research into the effects on human health both in exposure to glyhosate in handling and application and to passers-by when land is sprayed.
  • Insufficient research into the effects on human health when glyhosate is eaten as a residue on food that has been sprayed prior to harvesting.  Glyphosate can be found in two thirds of UK wholemeal bread and is used on almost a third of UK cereal crops pre-harvest (Soil Association UK 2016) to kill and dry crops for easier harvesting and more consistent water content.  Figures for Ireland are less clear.

Green Economy Foundation feels strongly that the use of glyphosate should be severely restricted or banned in Europe until conclusive research is completed on its impacts.