Sunday, 23 May 2010

is roundup - glyphosate - safe to use around dogs?

A recent article in Organic Gardener magazine, about glyphosate (Roundup), has me wondering about this herbicide in terms of its danger to dogs.

I have two concerns (apart from my general concern about the environment). First, I believe this is the herbicide that is used in Darebin Parklands, where we walk frequently.

Secondly, we have a back lane behind our house, one that is great for a short off-lead walk and also provides a private place to chase tennis balls. I asked our local council why a spray is used there and was told it's too expensive to mow it more than four times each year, so herbicides are used to keep the weeds down.

I've noticed that some weeds spring up immediately after the spraying in the lane and asked whether they might be Roundup-resistant, but the council official was non-committal about that.

However... now that I've read this article in Organic Gardener I see that there are now 16 weeds with confirmed resistance to this herbicide.

By the way, to clear up any confusion about what herbicide I'm talking about, here's a quote from the article:
Glyphosate is sometimes referred to by the original trade name Roundup, which was first marketed by Monsanto in 1974, and the two names are often used interchangeably.
I don't like to use this product in my own garden, so it bothers me that Penny is likely to be exposed to it when we're out walking. There's a lot of work being done to regenerate indigenous plants in Darebin Parklands, and glyphosate is considered to be an essential tool in fighting introduced weeds.

The article says,
While bush regenerators maintain they couldn't do their work without it, emerging research may yet see glyphosate join the long list of pesticides that were once thought to be safe, but turn out to be harmful.
The author says we tend to trust the story that glyphosate is relatively safe, but last year France's Supreme Court ruled that Monsanto had not told the truth about the safety of Roundup, and many Canadian municipalities restrict the use of any [pesticides] herbicides for cosmetic purposes such as lawns and driveways, because of health concerns.

Humans can wear gloves and face masks when they use it, and cover all exposed skin. But if my dog walks through a recently sprayed area, she will place her bare paws on it, she will roll in it, she might chew a few blades of grass, she might drink from a puddle that is polluted with runoff.

And not just recently sprayed areas, either - here are a couple more quotes:
While regulators agree glyphosate has a relatively low acute (short-term) toxicity compared with other herbicides, recent research indicating possible long-term health effect is causing controversy...

Glyphosate is relatively persistent in soil, especially in cold climates, where residues have been found up to three years after use. In warmer climates it stays in the soil for between four and 180 days.

Penny likes to dig, sometimes.


M. D. Vaden Portland Landscape said...

Depends on how you use it.

If in tiny amounts, its not much worse than breathing air. If people are concerned about trace amounts of Roundup / Glyphosate, they ought also put respirators on their dogs.

Because even the dashboard of a new car, or carpet, releases chemicals. There is stuff from every house and every part of town floating in the air we breath.

Better to use less or use zero if possible, but also wise not to panic needlessly either.

Page about Roundup / Glyphosate and Ingesting

parlance said...

M.D.Vaden, thanks for the interesting comment. I read your page and found it reassuring in terms of my own minimal use of it in my garden.

a eldridge said...

Every time my husband sprays for weeds with roundup my Maltese gets sick and vomits all day..she eats the grass sometimes and of course licks her paws. I am worried the weed killer may be causing this

Anonymous said...

Used RoundUp on weeds around trees - noticed cat chewing on dead stalks more than once - cat now has liver cancer - are they related? Quit using RoundUp

parlance said...

Anonymous, that is so sad. I agree. I shouldn't use Roundup at all.

Grace Elliot said...

Hello there,
I'm a veterinarian and happen to read in this weeks Veterinary Record ( April 18, 2015, vol 176 / No 16) that cases of glyphosate poisoning are on the increase and there have been fatalities (this study was undertaken in Italy). It only gives a brief extract from the paper and does not suggest how the dogs get poisoned. If you are interested, look up: Glyphosate surfactant herbicide poisoning in domestic animals@ an epidemiological survery. Authors: Cortinovis, Davanzo, Rivolata, and Caloni. Best of luck.

parlance said...

Grace, thanks for this information. I'm going to have a look and see if I can find the article, or at least a summary of it.

Ca W said...

I would like to see testing on long-term effects.

I quit using Roundup on my farm after two dogs, who weren't related to each other, and were of mixed-breed, died of cancer within 3 month of each other. They weren't allowed outside into the yard until a few hours after Roundup had dried.

Licking their paws after being in an area where Roundup had been used (e.g., on the gravel driveway and barnyard area) is what could have been a cause.

A veterinarian friend won't allow horses into his pasture until a certain amount of days have passed. Or, it has rained.

Another blogger relates this issue re cancer in:

See: 9-11-2013 03:29 PM Nevaeh

"FOUR of our beloved dogs died of cancer years back when we were using Roundup!! And they were NOT allowed outside until it was dry. I stopped using it years ago after my dogs died of cancer and I developed RA overnight!"

I'd like to see a study re long-term effects of Roundup on people and dogs.

parlance said...

Ca W, your comment has reminded me of a friend from Argentina who has an adult handicapped niece and told me decades ago that the family believes it came about because at that time - hopefully not now!! - aircraft used to blanket the family farm with pesticides. I reckon it might have been some similar pesticide.

Anonymous said...

My angel Oreo died two weeks ago form of cancer when I took her two the Baisley park in queens ny a few times to run and she was fit and healthy ... I hate this this company for making this deadly chemical to be used in parks and not warning people about its dangers.

parlance said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear about Oreo! I hope that your memories of the good times you had together might help you in this grief. I think it's awful that parks can be spread with this horrible killing chemical. I can't wait for the time to come when the human race realises what terrible things we are putting into the world.

Tbagz said...

Firstly round up is not a pesticide it's a herbicide. Pesticides should absolutely be a last resort and never used in places where people or animals go as they usually contain poisons that can easy affect us and pets. I am sceptical as to the danger to pets from round up though. In saying all this I love my dog and won't use it in my backyard.

parlance said...

Tbagz, thanks for picking up the fact that I'd referred in at least one place to Roundup as a pesticide. I'll scan the post and correct that. I agree with you that it's safest not to use even Roundup in our backyards if we have pets. I'd also think that because of the many small creatures that share my backyard, anyway.

Joy Beum said...

My friend objected to Roundup being sprayed in her yard by apartment management, so the management had it sprayed nearby on a hill behind her townhouse. After a rain, he dog ate some grass in their yard and ended up with a major seizure followed by some small ones. We all know what caused it and just marvel at the stupidity and laziness of people who want to spray chemicals around willy-nilly instead of pulling weeds or mowing it. Roundup is dangerous to humans and animals alike. Rachael Carson warned us a long time ago and the BIG chemical companies just keep poisoning us. I always wonder why they don't mind poisoning their own children and grandchildren as well.

parlance said...

Joy, I'm so sorry to hear about that use of Roundup. How stupid of management not to know the stuff would run down a hill in the rain. I just looked on the Roundup site and they say not to use it if it might rain in the next six hours because it wouldn't have penetrated the leaves. I guess it must have rained behind your friend's townhouse in that time. I won't ever use it again, because I think the evidence is mounting that it's just not safe. (I have used it in the past, unfortunately - before I got a dog, thank goodness.)

DeborahTN said...

Yes, it can cause poisoning. My cat drools and gets very weird -jumpy- after eating grass that's been sprayed. It can kill them if they get enough exposure.

parlance said...

Deborah, I think there's a move in Europe to ban glyphosate altogether as carcinogenic.