Roundup weed killer has been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), and the maker of this dangerous product, Monsanto, which is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, has been ordered to pay out three huge settlements to people who developed cancer after using Roundup for many years. Now, there’s evidence that the product’s main ingredient and the one at the core of over 10,000 product liability lawsuits, glyphosate, may cause additional very serious health problems.
Even more disturbing is the belief that glyphosate may affect future generations because there are indicators that glyphosate can cause disease in mammals several generations removed from the initial exposure. Maybe new evidence of the far-reaching and long-lasting deadly effects of glyphosate will be what federal regulators need to ban the use of any and all products containing glyphosate.
How Glyphosate Works
Over the last several years, Monsanto has faced numerous lawsuits for various reasons, but in recent months, Roundup weed killer and its main active ingredient, glyphosate, have been in the spotlight. In addition to Monsanto, other glyphosate manufacturers around the world have insisted that glyphosate is completely safe for humans, animals, and all non-plant life.
Glyphosate is an herbicide that’s applied to leaves of plants to kill broadleaf plants and grasses. Pure glyphosate is low in toxicity, but products usually contain other ingredients that help the glyphosate get into the plants, and it’s these ingredients in products like Roundup weed killer that make it more toxic.
Glyphosate works by inhibiting a biochemical pathway that plants must have in order to grow, but animals don’t share that pathway. While glyphosate does not starve animals to death as it does plants, it has been scientifically proven to harm animal and human life in many ways including non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.
Far-reaching Effects of Glyphosate
For many years, there’s been a debate about whether or not glyphosate-based herbicides lead to terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Studies have confirmed that people with long-term exposure to glyphosate have a 41% increased risk of developing NHL. A review of 44 scientific studies conducted over the course of several years concluded that glyphosate doubles the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma among farmers who use it on their crops.
An article on Bloomberg.com notes “toxicity studies in rodents have found that glyphosate can damage the liver and kidneys, even for doses in the range generally considered safe for humans. Young pigs fed soybeans contaminated with glyphosate herbicide residues have exhibited congenital malformations, not unlike birth defects observed for people living in and near farming regions with intensive glyphosate use.” Now there’s evidence to indicate that the deadly effects of glyphosate may affect future generations who may not even come into contact with the chemical (assuming it’s eventually banned).
Epigenetics is the study of how “offspring inherit not only the genes of their parents but also certain patterns of chemical activity written onto those genes,” which simply means that environmental factors that affect an organism during its lifespan may be passed down to offspring. Glyphosate may be destroying life on Earth today and future life on Earth, as well. Will this new information about glyphosate’s harmful effects on human life be enough for federal regulators to ban this dangerous chemical? For our sake and the sake of future generations, we certainly hope so.