Research has found that Monsanto’s Roundup, the world’s most popular herbicide, is tied to some life-threatening health risks, including a number of cancers.
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, a weed killer made by Monsanto, may cause serious health issues. Roundup is used on crops such as corn and soybeans. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), farmers in the U.S. used about 185 million pounds of glyphosate in 2007, double the amount used six years earlier.
Agricultural workers, nursery workers, landscape workers, and people who work at farm stands may all be exposed to the toxic effects of Roundup.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” according to the New York Times. The agency made the determination based on studies of glyphosate exposure in the United States, Canada, and Sweden since 2001. The WHO said there is evidence exists that glyphosate may be cancer-causing to people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Glyphosate has been found in food, water, and air following spraying, according to the report. The IARC also noted that the EPA approved increased tolerance levels for glyphosate in 2013.
Glyphosate may cause deadly diseases, including:
- Leukemia: multiple myeloma, myeloma
- Lymphoma: non-Hodgkin’s, Hodgkin’s
- Parkinson’s disease
People exposed to glyphosate may also suffer such heath problems as
- blurred vision with excessive tearing
- hand tremors
- loss of appetite associated with nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea
- loss of coordination
- weight loss
Studies link Roundup to Parkinson’s disease. A 2011 report published in Parkinsonism Related Disorders discussed a 44-year-old woman diagnosed with Parkinson’s symptoms after three years of glyphosate exposure when she worked in a chemical factory. In 2014, Rodale Wellness wrote about a large increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases in the prior 30 years. A review, published in 2014 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, looked at 44 scientific papers to understand how 80 active ingredients in 21 different chemical classes affected farm workers’ risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The IARC found that exposure to glyphosate doubled a person’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A 2014 Norwegian study found high levels of Roundup in genetically engineered soy crops in the U.S.
France banned Roundup in 2015 after the United Nations classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. According to The Independent, French ecology minister Segolene Royal said, “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides . . . I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale.”
In May 2015, residents of a town in Argentina demanded action on high cancer death rates. Nearly half of the deaths in the town in recent years were caused by cancer, though the national average for cancer deaths is18 percent. Residents say the cancers were caused by heavy weed killer use on rice and soybean plots. Entre Ríos province recently increased production of rice and soybeans grown with the use of various pesticides and herbicides that maybe harmful to humans. Chemicals sprayed on fields by special tractors and crop-dusting planes may drift to nearby areas, and there are reports that discarded pesticide canisters have contaminated ground water in some neighborhoods.