Glyphosate Facts

Transparency on safety aspects and use of glyphosate-containing herbicides in Europe

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Surfactants: A threat to fish and frogs?

(© McRommy / pixelio.de)

Surfactants are found in many everyday products such as shampoos, toothpaste, and detergents. Many different classes of surfactants are used to improve the efficiency of plant protection products, including glyphosate products.
Over the last few years there have been allegations of side effects of polyethoxylated alkyl amine surfactants to fish and frogs. Although these allegations have not been completely scientifically substantiated these issues continue to be raised in some EU Member States. Consequently Germany has decided to selectively phase out certain products containing tallow amine-based surfactants.
However, so far only laboratory experiments with very high dosages have shown any negative impacts on frogs and their larval stages (tadpoles), and these exceedingly high doses and durations of exposure are very unlikely to occur in real-life scenarios. Thus, a surfactant such as the polyethoxylated tallow amine contained in glyphosate-based formulations is unlikely to be threat to fish or frogs when used according to defined agronomic practices.

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Last update: 25 October 2012