A new scientific analysis of the cancer-causing potential of glyphosate herbicides, the most widely used weed killing products in the world, has found that people with high exposures have a 41 per cent increased risk of developing a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The evidence “supports a compelling link” between exposures to glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) and increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the authors concluded. Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG face more than 9,000 lawsuits in the US brought by people suffering from NHL who blame Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides for their diseases.
The first plaintiff to go to trial, former schools groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, won a unanimous jury verdict against Monsanto in August 2018, a verdict the company is appealing. The next trial, involving a separate plaintiff, is set to begin on 25 February, and several more trials are set for this year and into 2020.
The new analysis is a blow for Monsanto, which has criticised the probable cancer rating given to glyphosate by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. “This paper makes a stronger case than previous meta-analyses that there is evidence of an increased risk of NHL due to glyphosate exposure,” said Lianne Sheppard, a co-author of the new paper and a professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences department at the University of Washington. “From a population health point of view there are some real concerns.”
In addition to looking at the human studies, the researchers also scrutinised other types of glyphosate studies, including many conducted on animals. “Together, all of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” the scientists concluded.
- Luoping Zhang and others. Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence, Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, published online ahead of print 10 February 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mrrev.2019.02.001
- The Monsanto Papers. TUC glyphosate guide.