Glyphosate Facts

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

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Stewardship ensures the responsible use of glyphosate

Product stewardship is about the responsible and ethical management of a product through its entire life cycle - from the discovery, right through to use and beyond.. It requires that all stakeholders take measures to minimize any potential impact on human health or the environment. Herbicides containing glyphosate are an effective means of controlling weeds which would otherwise reduce crop yields or negatively affect the quality of the grain. The popularity of glyphosate can be attributed to its effectiveness and safety profile.
 
Minimizing risks, maximizing benefits
Training in the field is an essential part of stewardship programs © iStock.com/BartCo As with all human activity, agricultural practices (including the use of herbicides) have the potential to impact the environment. The minimization of potential exposure of non-target sites and of associated non-target organisms presents challenges.To address those challenges, a wide range of studies have been conducted on glyphosate to look at any potentially negative effects. The information obtained is reflected on product labels and has been used to develop guidelines, fact sheets and programs which aim to promote best practices in relation to the use of herbicides. For products containing glyphosate, the objective is to maximize the benefits from their use, while minimizing potential risks to human health and the environment.
 
Avoiding pollution of water
The protection of water both on farm and downstream is vitally important. Although glyphosate binds strongly to soil particles and organic matter and is metabolized by microorganisms, measures should still be taken to avoid spray drift and run-off. Therefore, a key objective of stewardship strategies for products containing glyphosate centres on avoiding the pollution of water. 
 
Training for a responsible use
Training provided by extension services and by industry plays an important role in advising and educating farmers about best practices. In addition, a crucial element of product stewardship is the development of clear label instructions which outline measures to reduce water contamination risks.
 
Guided by international standards
The FAO International Code of Conduct for the Distribution and Use of Pesticides sets out the principles of product stewardship which are required in order to protect human health and the environment, while improving the productivity, sustainability and livelihoods of farmers.

Last update: 13 July 2015