Glyphosate Facts

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


Do ethoxylated tallow amine surfactants in herbicides pose a risk to humans?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviewed all reliable toxicity data and concluded in 2009 that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population or to infants and children from dietary exposure to this class of surfactants 8.

(© Kurt Bouda/

Results from some other in vitro studies (using for example, cell cultures or isolated embryos instead of intact animals) have raised concerns that polyethoxylated tallow amines could have an impact on human health. Like surfactants in general, the class of Polyoxyethylenealkylamine (POEA) surfactants of which ethoxylated tallow amine are a sub group, for instance, can impair the integrity of cellular membranes at high concentrations in cell lines. Such in vitro systems are therefore not relevant for evaluating the toxicity of surfactants 5.


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Last update: 25 October 2012