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Does Glyphosate Cause Cancer?

Does Glyphosate Cause Cancer?

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Studies have shown that human exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup® leads to an increased risk of cancers like non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Despite this risk, Roundup manufacturers continue to say the herbicide poses no danger to human health or the environment.

What is glyphosate used for?

Glyphosate-based herbicides  are used globally for weed control by farmers, foresters, gardeners, and other users. Glyphosate-based herbicides work by hindering a plant’s ability to form the amino acids necessary for growth. Plants treated with glyphosate-based herbicides generally die within a few days. 

What products contain glyphosate? 

Glyphosate is found in soil, air, surface water, groundwater and the food that grows in the contaminated soil.  Traces of the chemical may also be in hundreds of food products, including breakfast cereal, granola bars, cookies and other snacks. 

Glyphosate in Roundup

Global manufacturer Monsanto discovered the herbicidal properties of glyphosate in 1970, and began selling it under the brand name Roundup in 1974.  Sales of Roundup exploded. Within a few years, Monsanto was marketing Roundup in 115 countries, enhancing the company’s reputation and dominance in the marketplace. 

In 1996, Monsanto began to develop and sell genetically engineered Roundup Ready® seeds containing glyphosate to maintain its competitive edge. These genetically modified crops (GMOs) allowed farmers to spray Roundup over their “Roundup Ready” seeds and kill the weeds without harming the crops. 

People worldwide planted Monsanto’s bio-engineered seeds on more than 80 million acres. That same year Roundup Ready® seeds supplied almost 70% of soybeans in America. The following year, glyphosate became the most-used active ingredient in U.S. agriculture. By 2007, 185 million pounds of glyphosate were being used annually. 

Farmers and other residential consumers have been using herbicides that contain glyphosate to kill weeds and grasses for 50 years. Users were unaware of the dangers of the product. Monsanto had introduced Roundup as a technological breakthrough that could kill almost every weed without causing harm either to people or to the environment—an allegedly false and misleading claim. 

Glyphosate exposure risks

Glyphosate and glyphosate-based products have allegedly been linked to many adverse health conditions through ingestion, inhalation and skin exposure. Some extremely serious conditions are associated with not only glyphosate poisoning, but glyphosate exposure, including endocrine disruption, genotoxicity and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).  

In 2015, an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) explored the risks of exposure to glyphosate. They found an increased risk between exposure to glyphosate and NHL including subtypes of NHL. 

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system (the body’s germ-fighting system). In NHL, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow abnormally and form tumors throughout the body. Certain chemicals, such as Roundup, may increase the risk of NHL. The disease has a latency period and may not arise until years after exposure, meaning that time passes between exposure to Roundup and the appearance of symptoms.  

The glyphosate cancer link

Peer-reviewed medical literature and a committee of scientists working for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the WHO reported that glyphosate-based herbicides increase the risk for developing NHL. 

Glyphosate and Cancer

Glyphosate has allegedly been linked to numerous cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The IARC issues monographs (detailed evaluations) identifying environmental factors that are carcinogenic hazards to humans.  In 2015, the agency evaluated glyphosate.  In its report, the IARC concluded: 

  • Glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”
  • Glyphosate exposure causes a human health concern 
  • Glyphosate exposure puts people at greater risk for cancers like non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Monsanto and Bayer have never warned consumers of the risk of using Roundup and its potential connection to cancer of any kind. 

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms

The symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma include: 

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you or your loved one has symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Those with a history of Roundup exposure should consider reaching out to a knowledgeable Roundup attorney.

Glyphosate cancer lawsuits

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) has been filed in U.S. federal court involving thousands of plaintiffs who claim to have developed cancer caused by Roundup. If you have symptoms or a diagnosis of cancer connected to exposure, an experienced toxic exposure lawyer at Motley Rice can help you file a roundup lawsuit.

Contact a Roundup exposure attorney

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after exposure to Roundup, you may have a legal claim. For more information, complete this online form or call 1.800.768.4026.

Our toxic exposure litigation experience

Our attorneys have experience litigating toxic exposure and environmental damage cases for individuals, families, communities, and states. Through our cases, we seek justice for our clients and work to improve environmental standards and protections. 

In addition to our Roundup experience, we have represented people who allege harms by paraquat weed killer

We have also obtained a landmark settlement for 10 cities and counties in California that alleged three lead pigment companies created a public nuisance by exposing residents to toxic lead paint.

Read more on our toxic exposure experience.

  1. Glyphosate in Food: Avoid These Contaminated Products
  2. The International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides
  3. Law360. Monsanto Roundup Cancer Suits Centralized In Calif.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  5. NPR. Safe Or Scary? The Shifting Reputation Of Glyphosate, AKA Roundup

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