12 September 2022
As with the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians are looking for consistent and evidence-based science communication. Some of the recent media coverage about glyphosate trades the sheer weight of global data and research supporting the safety of glyphosate in favour of pseudoscience for clicks. It’s important to know the facts, so here are some important ones.
Over the last 50 years, glyphosate has revolutionised farming practices around the world because of how effective and safe it is. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide which works by inhibiting an enzyme unique only to plants needed to grow. It is completely safe for humans if minuscule amounts are consumed, does not bioaccumulate and is automatically excreted by the body.
Since the 16th century we have known that the mere presence of a chemical tells us nothing about its toxicity, for it is the dose and the concentration that counts. Modern science makes it possible to detect compounds at levels which are thousands of times below both safety thresholds and biological relevance. In fact, glyphosate has a lesser acute toxicity than table salt.
Decades of global peer-reviewed literature and every major independent science-based regulator has comprehensively evaluated glyphosate and arrived at the identical conclusion that glyphosate-based products are safe to use.
The great thing about science is that it’s true, whether you believe it or not, even when it doesn’t align with certain political or lifestyle trends. Rather than worry about residues of a thoroughly regulated product, let’s stick to the facts and inform healthy food choices. Australians would benefit more from consistent science-based information that reflects the true safety of Australia’s food production systems and the importance of eating more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.
The world’s most advanced, competent and independent regulators have scientifically assessed and reassessed glyphosate and declared it to be safe. These include: