Glyphosate

Glyphosate
The most widely used herbicide in the world for decades, and also known as Roundup, the chemical can be used for commercial or private use. There has been controversy linked to glyphosate in reference to its potential links to cancer. (ref)

Pros

Cons

- Effective in killing weeds, hence its long term usage. 

- Glyphosate can be broken down quickly, with the right conditions. (ref)

- Evidence has been found that the chemical can interfere with mammals, their organs, biochemical pathways etc. and can manifest in and damage human cells too. (ref)

- There is an indirect impact on birds and animals as the destruction of weeds and habitats impacts the food chain. (ref)

- The chemical is water soluble, meaning it can impact aquatic life if it makes its way into a water source. (ref)

- It disrupts the microbial populations in the soil, increasing some organisms and reducing others. (ref)

- Negative impacts have been linked to glyphosate in regards to worms and pollinators. (ref)

- Glyphosate is not used just on its own, it has other chemicals mixed in too. (ref)

- Even low concentration of glyphosate impacts the soil, with commercial products being fairly high concentration. The soil is negatively impacted by the chemical. (ref)

- It was once thought to be inactive in soil after use, however it is more complex than this. The chemical binds itself to soil particulates, but weather conditions, temperature, soil pH etc. can make it last longer, (ref) and even leech into groundwater. (ref)

- Due to its wide-scale use, many plants have become resistant to the chemical. (ref)

- It is non selective, and can kill plants not intended to be killed. (ref)

Glyphosate Summary

An effective chemical used for decades, however Glyphosate has recently been found to have links to cancers in humans and mammals. Along with this, environmental issues such as water contamination and food chain disturbance demonstrate that glyphosate is not the most environmentally friendly choice. Other herbicides can be used in replacement of it, and organic herbicides are even more environmentally friendly. 

Alternates
- Mulching an area can be a great way to reduce weed germination, stopping weeds from growing. Organic mulch can also be part of an ecosystem for bugs and other organisms. (ref)
- There are natural weed killers, made with substances such as citrus acid. (ref)
- In carful concentrations, vinegar, soap and salt can also kill weeds.(ref)
- Hand pulling weeds. (ref) Weeds will probably come back unless the roots are also pulled up.
- Flame weeding can kill the top of a plant. (ref)
- A well maintained lawn can create too much competition for weed. (ref)
- Boiling water on plants can be an alternate. (ref)
- A knife can be used to cut weeds back. (ref)
- An impermeable surface can stop weeds from growing, but will also stop everything else growing too. (ref)
- There are guides which specify how to repel certain pests from the garden. (ref), (ref)

Pesticides and Herbicides