x
 
 
Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Ingredients in Ortho Weed Killer

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

Ortho Weed-B-Gone is a commonly used weed killer that kills more than 250 different varieties of broadleef weed without killing the surrounding grass. But does the fact that it is safe for your grass mean that it is also safe for your pets, family members and the underlying ground water? Not necessarily. Otrho Weed-B-Gone’s active ingredients, Triclophyl, MCPA and Dicamba, are labelled as safe for yard use. However there has not been enough research conducted to rule them out as noxious compounds. But despite the lack of conclusive evidence, many environmental protection agencies have classified Ortho Weed-B-Gone’s active ingredients as “potentially dangerous” due to preliminary findings.

Dicamba, Dimethylamine Salt

While further research is needed, the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) have listed dicamba as a “bad actor” pesticide. Their research suggests that it has the potential to be acutely toxic, carcinogenic and a ground water contaminate. However, there has not been enough research on this chemical to sufficiently corroborate their evidence.

MCPA, Dimethylamine Salt

PAN and CPR also list MCPA as a Bad Actor pesticide because it is a possible carcinogen, developmental or reproductive toxin and endocrine disrupter. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists the compound as a possible toxin although further research is needed to confirm the existing evidence. And the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists it as a possible class 2B carcinogen. It is a possible ground water contaminant.

However, exposure to significant amounts of MCPA has been proven to cause a host of side effects including skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation if inhaled, coughing, dizziness, blindness, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, bizarre or aggressive behavior, increased heart rate, strange breath odor, slurred speech, spasms, drooling, low blood pressure and unconsciousness. If you think that you may have been exposed to MCPA and are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention.

(Garlon 3A) Triclopyr, Triethylamine Salt

While listed as a “slightly” hazardous compound by the World Health Organization, long term exposure to Garlon 3A Triclopyr is potentially problematic. The Journal of Pesticide Reform reports laboratory tests that show that triclopyr can accumulate in fetal brain cells and increase the risk of breast cancer, genetic damage and mutation in adults and children. Short-term exposure to the chemical is also dangerous. If it gets on your eyes or skin, it can potentially cause blindness or allergic skin reactions.

Garlon 3A triclopyr is also damaging to the environment. When in the soil in large enough amounts, it can prevent plants from absorbing soil nutrients and atmospheric nitrogen. If applied on a large scale (golf courses, agriculture, forestry) it is likely to contaminate nearby wells, streams and rivers.

 

About the Author

 

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.