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Roundup Precautions

By Deborah Waltenburg ; Updated September 21, 2017
Roundup must be used with extreme care.

Introduced in 1974, Monsanto's Roundup herbicide is a non-selective, wide spectrum formula that uses the active ingredient glyphosate to decimate weeds in fields, gardens, flowerbeds and yards. Roundup products are favored because of their low toxicity risk to humans and animals. Glyphosate disrupts the enzyme EPSP, essential to plant growth, and creates a strong bind to soil.


Do not allow Roundup to come in contact with the foliage, stems, roots or fruit of plants you want to keep. This and other herbicides are not selective and will decimate whatever plant they touch.

Animal and Pet Safety

While Roundup is considered nontoxic to animals, all caution should be taken to ensure that animals do not ingest this herbicide or vegetation that has been sprayed with it. Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal irritation and distress, including vomiting and diarrhea. Supply the animal with adequate fluids to prevent onset of dehydration and contact your veterinarian if symptoms last more than 24 hours.

Human Consumption

If Roundup is swallowed, it can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation. You should immediately swallow milk or water to dilute the chemicals and seek immediate medical attention. If Roundup is inhaled, immediately move the individual to a location with fresh air and seek medical attention. Administer artificial respiration if the victim ceases to breathe. If Roundup comes in contact with the eyes, flush the eye gently with water for 15 to 20 minutes. If the victim is wearing contact lenses, flush the eye for five minutes, then remove the lenses and continue flushing for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Preventive Measures

Wear protective clothing, face masks and eyewear when handling or applying Roundup. Ensure that there is adequate ventilation if handling Roundup indoors. If Roundup comes in contact with skin, remove clothing, wash immediately with soap and water and put on clean clothing. If clothing or other absorbent materials should become saturated with Roundup, they must be discarded. Wash hands immediately with soap and water before eating, chewing gum, using tobacco products or using the restroom.

Water Safety

Never apply Roundup directly to water, such as ponds or streams, areas with standing water or intertidal areas situated below a mean high water mark. Wash equipment in an area that will not flow into any water source.

Mixing and Application Container Safety

Mix, store and apply Roundup using only containers made of stainless steel, fiberglass, plastic or plastic-lined steel. Never mix or apply Roundup using galvanized or unlined steel. Chemicals in Roundup will react with these types of containers and create highly combustible hydrogen gases that can explode if stored or used beside ignitable materials such as open flame, lit smoking materials, welding torches or other ignition agents.


About the Author


Based in Ohio, Deborah Waltenburg has been writing online since 2004, focusing on personal finance, personal and commercial insurance, travel and tourism, home improvement and gardening. Her work has appeared on numerous blogs, industry websites and media websites, including "USA Today."