Herbicide pollution events in aquatic ecosystems often coincide with increased turbidity and reduced light intensity. It is therefore important to determine whether reduced light intensity can influence herbicide toxicity, especially to primary producers such as benthic diatoms. Benthic diatoms collected from 4 rivers were exposed to herbicides in 48 h rapid toxicity tests under high light (100 µmol m −2 s −1) and low light (20 µmol m −2 s −1) intensities. The effects of 2 herbicides (atrazine and glyphosate) were assessed on 26 freshwater benthic diatom taxa. There was no significant interaction of light and herbicide effects at the community level or on the majority (22 of 26) of benthic diatom taxa. This indicates that low light levels will likely have only a minor influence on the response of benthic diatoms to herbicides. Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;35:2252–2260.