Glyphosate is the primary and active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and is the most-used herbicide in the world. Roundup is sprayed onto plants, absorbs through the leaves into the sap stream and inhibits EPSP synthase, a key component of protein synthesis. Most plants contain EPSP synthase which makes Roundup an extremely effective herbicide. While Roundup is commonly used for residential and garden weed-management it is primarily used in agribusiness and experts estimate that total glyphosate use exceeds 1.4 billion pounds a year.
When glyphosate was first sold in 1974 it was only applied to weeds. In 1996 Monsanto developed their first Roundup Ready seeds which are injected with a bacterium that essentially immunizes against glyphosate. This led to a drastic increase in glyphosate usage. Farmers using Roundup ready seeds could apply roundup to their entire field and often treat their fields before planting, during growth and 1-2 weeks before harvesting.In the U.S alone use shot up from 85-90 million pounds of glyphosate in 2001 to 180-185 million pounds in 2007. Some experts claim that Roundup Ready crops are responsible for an increase in global herbicide use to the tune of 383 million tons. Perhaps that helps to explain the increased concentration of glyphosate found in food, feminine hygiene products, waterways, and even human urine.
The EPA only requires herbicide companies to disclose the active ingredient of their products in order to maintain the secrecy of proprietary recipes. This is a crucial factor of the carcinogenicity debate. Glyphosate has been studied at length and with mixed results, though the EPA and European regulatory agencies have approved it in the past. We know that glyphosate is combined with an alkali, creating a salt, and that other chemicals, such as surfactants, are used to increase glyphosate absorption and cell-penetration.
When the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released their monograph summary they reviewed the effects of glyphosate and common chemical compounds which contain glyphosate, such as those found in products like Roundup and found that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic”. The European Food and Safety Commission reviewed that report and challenged the findings, “The substance is unlikely to be genotoxic (i.e. damaging to DNA) or to pose a carcinogenic threat to humans.” However, the EFSA admitted that their study only observed the effects of glyphosate, not glyphosate compounds.
The science surrounding Roundup exposure and cancer is somewhat complicated. Industry sponsored studies often indicate that there are few, or few harmful effects of Roundup exposure. However, a growing body of literature indicates that exposure to Roundup may lead to an increased risk for numerous health problems. To further complicate matters, many of the scientific bodies that research and asses the risk of Roundup are also responsible for regulation which subjects them to immense industry pressure.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) monograph on glyphosate is the leading research on the issue. The full monograph is due out in 2016. It’s findings, that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic”, are based on kidney, pancreatic, and other tumors in glyphosate treated animals, epidemiology studies in farmers, and shows that glyphosate damages DNA and chromosomes.
The European Food Safety Administration report responded to the IARC, and argues that there is not sufficient evidence to determine that glyphosate causes cancer. However, the EFSA only reports on glyphosate, not glyphosate compounds. Combined with chemical additives, like in Roundup, the IARC found that glyphosate is carcinogenic. These studies and ongoing scientific conversation will continue as the IARC releases its full monograph.
Scientists have also linked glyphosate to:
• Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
• Cancer in Farmers
• Chronic Kidney Disease
• Necrosis in Embryonic & Placental Cells (Miscarriages)
• Multiple Myeloma
• Chronic Illnesses
• Modern Diseases (Destroys Intestinal Bacteria)
1974 EPA approves Monsanto’s patent for use in US
1983 Industrial Bio-test Industries, the company responsible for Monsanto’s safety-testing, indicted for fraud – only 16% of tests on pesticides were valid.
1985 EPA lists Roundup as Group C, a “Possible Human Carcinogen”
1991 EPA lists Roundup as Group E, a non-carcinogen
1994 WHO claims minimal toxicity
1996 EPA approves Roundup Ready Soybeans
2001 EU Reregisters glyphosate approval
2009 EPA begins reregistering glyphosate, should be finished 2016
2015 IARC review finds that glyphosate is probable carcinogen
2015 EPA confirms that future glyphosate restrictions will accompany 2016 report
2015 EFSA disputes IARC finding
September, 2015 California intends to list glyphosate as carcinogenic
March, 2016 EU delays reregistration of glyphosate
March, 2016 FDA to begin testing food for glyphosate
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and have been exposed to Roundup, we can answer questions about the root cause and the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care. Contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.