Debunking Common Aquatic Herbicide Misconceptions: Glyphosate
Written by industry expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist and Senior Business Development Consultant
One of the most common questions asked by clients is whether the products that we use to control aquatic weeds and algae in their waterbodies are “safe.” These concerns have become considerably more widespread in light of the recent controversies surrounding the herbicide glyphosate. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation that is circulating, making it difficult to discern the difference between public outcry and peer-reviewed scientific data.
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in history. It is a broad-spectrum product that is used worldwide to control weeds in agricultural, turf, ornamental, and aquatic environments. The glyphosate controversy gained momentum in 2015 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization, classified it as a probable carcinogen after reviewing public studies. And in recent years, a series of multi-million-dollar verdicts have been awarded by California juries to people who have successfully argued that glyphosate caused their cancer. However, after further review uncovered deficiencies in the validity of the findings, two of the studies used as evidence in the trials have now been retracted by the journals in which they were published. After reviewing all of the available studies and information, in 2017 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that “glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans…(and there are) no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.” This conclusion is widely shared by other global regulatory and research agencies.
Another misconception about glyphosate is that it kills frogs, which would be extremely concerning for aquatic uses if it were true. However, there is only one study that has been cited by opposition groups to this use pattern, and it was done using a glyphosate formulation that was not approved for aquatic use and should never be used in aquatic environments. The only glyphosate products used in SOLitude’s management programs are specially formulated or tank-mixed with an appropriate surfactant that is completely safe for aquatic organisms.
Most of us in the lake and pond management industry have chosen our profession because we are passionate about water resources and we strive to provide the most environmentally sustainable aquatic weed treatment and water quality management solutions available. While chemical algaecides and herbicides are important tools in our management toolbox, the best approach to achieving a healthy waterbody is through an integrated Annual Management Plan. However, if your lake or pond is already suffering from an overgrowth of aquatic weeds or shoreline vegetation, the appropriate algaecides and herbicides can help get your waterbody back to square one. When applied by experienced professionals, licensed and approved chemical products are safe and effective management solutions that can help regain control of your lake or pond so proactive solutions can be implemented.
Managing Nuisance Aquatic Weeds and Algae
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint. SOLitude’s team of aquatic resource management professionals specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, bathymetry, mechanical harvesting and hydro-raking, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat evaluations, and invasive species management. Services and educational resources are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, drinking water authorities, parks, and state and federal agencies. SOLitude Lake Management is a proud member of the Rentokil Steritech family of companies in North America.