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What’s the Difference Between Herbicides and Pesticides?

Author
Amanda Turner
July 11, 2022

There’s no doubt about it–herbicides and pesticides have both been in the news lately. Many people who used Roundup weed killer or were exposed to the chemical have been surprised to hear that the herbicide has been linked with cancer. Claimants allege that Roundup knew their product was carcinogenic and failed to properly warn consumers about the dangers of using the weed killer. 

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Whether you’re in the midst of a lawsuit against a company after experiencing negative health effects due to herbicide or pesticide use, or you’re simply looking to learn more about how to keep your garden looking great, we’ve got you covered. It’s important to fully understand the chemicals that you’re using in any home or commercial agriculture work, as certain chemicals used to kill plants and pests can have long-lasting health effects. 

Here, we’ll take a look at exactly what you need to know in order to differentiate between herbicides and pesticides: it’s not always as simple as you’d think. 

What Are Pesticides?

Pesticides warning

The concept of a pesticide is simple: it’s a substance used to eliminate a pest. These pests can be plants, animals, or microorganisms. A pest is any animal, plant, or other living things that harms a property, infringes on a person or animal’s access to food, spreads disease, or harms the environment surrounding the property. 

Different people have different definitions of pests. An insect that is considered a pest for a tomato farmer may be different from an insect that’s considered a pest for a livestock farmer. Controlling pests is an important part of any agricultural endeavor. Failure to control pests can make it difficult for a farm or other agricultural business to turn a profit.

Insecticides are pesticides that kill insects, while rodenticides are pesticides that kill rodents. Herbicides also fall into the pesticide category, even though these chemicals are used to kill nuisance plants, not animals.

Some pesticides work to kill a plant or animal nearly immediately. Others take time to work. Some insecticides and rodenticides work by baiting the animal into carrying poison back to other animals, with the hope of stopping nefarious animals from entering the property and causing further damage.

What Are Herbicides?

Herbicides being sprayed on plants

Herbicides are considered pesticides, and they work specifically to kill unwanted plants. There are several reasons why farmers and other agricultural workers may want to kill unwanted plants. When unwanted plants grow rampant on a farm, they can take away the resources necessary for cash crops to grow. This can mean that fruits, vegetables, and grains do not get the sunlight, water, and soil that they need to thrive. 

In addition to stealing valuable resources from cash crops, some herbicides also carry diseases that can be transmitted to other plants. When unwanted plants grow out of control, it can cause a farmer to lose an entire field of crops. 

In landscaping, weeds and other unwanted plants are often removed for aesthetic reasons. Removing unwanted plants can help bring attention to featured plants, and can create a cohesive look. 

Generally, herbicides fall into one of two categories: selective and non-selective herbicides. Selective herbicides only kill a specific type of plant, such as weeds or dandelions. This means that a selective herbicide can be sprayed on a wide variety of plants while only affecting the plant it’s meant to kill. Non-selective herbicides work on all plants. This type of herbicide is ideal when a farmer needs to clear out an area. 

What’s the Difference Between Herbicides and Pesticides?

The difference between a pesticide and an herbicide is clear: a pesticide is a chemical designed to rid an outdoor area of unwanted living things, while an herbicide specifically rids an area of certain plants (or all plants, in the case of a non-selective herbicide). 

It’s important that consumers are made aware of how chemicals used to kill plants and animals could cause human harm, either through repeated exposure or through accidental ingestion.

The Roundup Lawsuit: What You Need to Know

Many people who worked in agriculture were exposed to Roundup, an herbicide that has since been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If you or a loved one worked with Roundup and later developed cancer, it’s possible that you’re entitled to financial compensation. Covering medical bills can be costly, and people who are living with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may also experience lost wages due to being unable to work. If you have a family member who has passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following Roundup use, you likely have had to manage funeral expenses, loss of household income, and, most importantly, the emotional impact of losing a loved one. 

If You Developed Cancer After Using Roundup, We’re Here To Help.

You don’t have to figure out your next steps alone. Our Roundup team is here to help you learn more about your options, and discover whether you have a case against Monsanto, the parent company of Roundup. Reach out to us today to set up your free case evaluation.

Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one were harmed by using Roundup Weedkiller you could be entitled to compensation.

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