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CAS Number: 1071-83-6
Synonyms: Pondmaster, Rodeo, Rondo, Roundup
Contaminant Type: Chemical

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum, systemic herbicide used to control a wide variety of annual and perennial plants including grasses, sedges, broad-leaved weeds, and woody plants [804]. This non-selective herbicide is also used on a number of crops [802, 804]. It is one of the most widely used pesticides in the world [805].  It is widely used on residential weeds as Roundup.

Although glyphosate is an acid, it is often produced in salt form, most commonly the isopropylamine salt. It is also available in a trimethylsulfonium salt form. Glyphosate is generally applied as water-soluble concentrate or powder [804].

Glyphosate is regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) amendment of 1986. Although glyphosate may be controlled by oxidation, it's "best available technology" for treatment is GAC adsorption. The maximum contaminant limit is 0.7 mg/L [801].

In the past, research on the chemical had shown a low mammalian toxicity, leading to widespread usage of the compound. Recently, however, some researchers have identified secondary effects in animals such as reproductive dysfunction [805].

Studies have shown glyphosate to be present at low levels in some natural waters. A sampling survey conducted in the Netherlands found surface water containing 0.5 - 1.0 μg/L of glyphosate. Another study conducted in Canada found glyphosate residues as high as 5153 μg/L, measured after direct application over lakes, ponds, and streams [800].

Date of Literature Search: June 2009

800 WHO; 2005; Glyphosate and AMPA in drinking-water; Background document for development of WHO guidelines for drinking-water quality ; June 2005
801 Speth, T.; 1993; Glyphosate removal from drinking water; Env. Eng.; 119:6:1139
802 Chen, S. and Liu, Y.; 2007; Study on the photocatalytic degradation of glyphosate in TiO2 photocatalysts; Chemopshere; 67:5:1010
804 Extension Toxicology Network; 2009; Pesticide information profiles: Glyphosate; http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/glyphosa.htm; As posted on 31st Aug 2009, Offices of Cornell University, Oregon State University, the University of Idaho, and the University of California at Davis and the Institute for Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University
805 Mallat, E. and Barcelo, D.; 1998; Analysis and degradation study of glyphosate and of aminomethylphosphonic acid in natural waters by means of polymeric and ion-exchange solid-phase extraction columns followed by ion chormatography-post column derivatization with fluorescence detection; J Chromatogr A ; 823:1-2:129
806 Brosillon, S., Wolbert, D., Lemasle, M., Roche, P. and Mehrsheikh, A.; 2006; Chlorination kinetics of glyphosate and its by-products: modeling approach; Wat. Res.; 40:11:2113