Roundup Safety Precautions

Roundup is an herbicide commonly used by home gardeners. This product contains glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide labeled as a systemic product for spraying on weed foliage. Glyphosate attaches to the amino acids produced by the weed plant and gradually shuts down this process. You should practice safety precautions for your own health as well as the health of the landscape when using this herbicide.

Eye Irritant

Over-spray from herbicide application can drift into your eyes. Use protective eyewear to prevent incidences of drift as well as direct spray into the eyes. Roundup is known to be an eye irritant although the manufacturer maintains that it doesn't cause permanent damage. Rinse with water for 15 minutes and contact your doctor after exposure based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Skin Irritant

Some individuals have highly sensitive skin that reacts in contact with certain chemicals. Wear long sleeves and pants to protect your arms and legs from the Roundup product. Include socks, shoes and gloves to prevent absorption into the skin in any exposed area. If skin becomes exposed, rinse immediately with soap and water to remove herbicide residues. Consult a doctor if your skin becomes irritated from exposure.

Ingestion Precautions

Any consumption of Roundup requires immediate notification of a doctor. Rinse the mouth out completely with water. Do not prompt vomiting. Let the doctor decide the best way to deal with exposure to the chemicals in Roundup.

Water Contamination

Roundup shouldn't be used around water gardens or fishponds to limit exposure to fish as well as damage to pond plants. Roundup works by absorption through plant leaves and can affect pond plants. This product also contains a statement that it isn't approved for use around areas with surface water or within areas below the mean high water mark along the shoreline.

Protecting Other Plants

Roundup offers a non-selective herbicide treatment to tackle the toughest weeds in the landscape. The non-selective label means that any plant that comes in contact with Roundup spray will have adverse affects. Provide physical barriers for the safety of desired plants. Choose other methods of weed removal in areas close to existing landscape plants. Slipping a bucket over a desired plant provides complete protection from over-spray since Roundup degrades on contact with the soil. Plant roots will not absorb product from the soil. Avoid spraying Roundup on exposed tree, bark or plant roots to limit potential damage to these growth systems.

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About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.