Is there a link between Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer and Roundup? If you believe Monsanto, the producer of Roundup, there is none.
A large, long-term study on the use of the weed killer glyphosate released in 2017 found no link between exposure to the pesticide and cancer.
However, it is very important to point out that much of the evidence that Monsanto has produced showing there is no link between Roundup and serious cancers, such as Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is based upon research that was done by Monsanto or was paid for by that company. Also, internal documents that have been obtained during legal discovery in various lawsuits against the company show that Monsanto never really tested Roundup to see if it is a human carcinogen.
Plenty of independent research and expert opinion have shown that there well may be a link between Roundup and deadly forms of cancer.
Toxicology Expert Weighs In
Recent expert evidence has come to light in a March 2018 federal court hearing in San Francisco that suggest that Roundup and glyphosate do indeed cause cancer.
A toxicology expert, Dr. Charles William Jameson, Ph.D., stated in court that to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, it is clear that herbicides based upon glyphosate, including Roundup, likely cause cancer in humans, especially non-Hodgkin lymphoma at real-world exposures, such as levels that farm workers and others face when using Roundup. Jameson stressed that there is strong evidence that glyphosate does cause cancer, and added that oxidative stress caused by glyphosate-based herbicides is a known link to cancer.
Evidence also has emerged that shows the EPA may have colluded with Monsanto to protect the company’s interests by manipulating and preventing investigations into the cancer-causing potential of glyphosate.
Glyphosate Has Been Linked to Many Health Hazards
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which is a research branch of the World Health Organization, reclassified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. This was based upon ‘limited evidence’ that showed the weed killer can cause Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer in human beings, and ‘convincing evidence’ that the product is linked to cancer in certain animals.
That same year, California’s Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that glyphosate is going to be listed as a chemical that is known to lead to cancer under Proposition 65. This requires consumer products with possible cancer-causing ingredients to carry warning labels.
Monsanto filed suit against OEHHA in 2016 to stop the classification of glyphosate as possibly causing cancer. But a superior court judge in Fresno CA ruled in favor of OEHHA in February 2017. At this time, no warning label is required on Roundup in California.
Other older Roundup cancer studies have shown there could be a link between Roundup and cancer:
- International Journal of Cancer – 2008. Glyphosate exposure can double risk of cancer within 10 years.
- Occupational and Environmental Medicine – 2003. Thousands of farm workers in the Midwest, found higher incidences of non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnoses associated with Roundup exposure.
- Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention – 2001. Found dose response relationship between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Aside from the possible carcinogenic potential of Roundup, there has been independent research done that is untainted by Monsanto influence or the chemical industry that has also seen a connection between Roundup with a long list of disturbing health and environmental effects. For example, Roundup and glyphosate have been shown to do the following:
- Affect the body’s ability to product functioning proteins
- Inhibit the shikimate pathway that is essential in gut bacteria
- Cause interference with how cytochrome P450 enzymes function
- Chelate vital minerals
- Cause disruption of sulfate synthesis and transport
- Interfere with how aromatic amino acids and methionine synthesize. This can result in folate and neurotransmitter shortages.
- Disrupt the animal gut and human microbiome by performing as an antibiotic
- Damage the gut lining, which can cause gluten intolerance
- Damage methylation pathways
Roundup – More Toxic Than Glyphosate By Itself
The respected Ramazzini Institute in Italy has been working on a global glyphosate study to determine what its carcinogenicity is, and its potential for chronic toxicity. The pilot phase of this research has shown that ingesting glyphosate daily at the level set by EPA can alter the sexual development of rate, cause changes in the intestinal microbiome and cause genotoxic effects.
Worse, tests that were done by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) have revealed that Roundup is much more toxic than glyphosate by itself. According to NTP, glyphosate formulations can cause a significant alteration of human cell viability by damaging the functionality of cell membranes. Essentially, Roundup can kill human cells.
First phase testing did not show evidence that Roundup is carcinogenic, but it does show the formulation is more toxic than glyphosate by itself. And, there is evidence that shows that glyphosate has a high carcinogenic potential.
First Trials Over Cancer-Causing Potential of Roundup Have Begun
In the time since the IARC’s classification of glyphosate as a possible human carcinogen, more than 4000 people have filed lawsuits against Monsanto. They claim that the weed killer caused their Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This is a type of cancer that begins in the white blood cells in the immune system. More than 425 of these cases are pending in multidistrict litigation in the US District Court in San Francisco.
The MDL procedure is like a class action lawsuit in that it consolidates many pretrial proceedings, but each case does get its own jury trial, and outcomes vary depending upon the strength of the evidence in each case.
The first cancer patient who already got his day in court was Dewayne Lee Johnson. He was granted an expedited trial in 2018 because he is nearing death from his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is believed he only has a few months to live. Johnson is a 46-year-old husband and father who used Roundup 20 to 40 times per year when he worked as a groundskeeper for a California school district from 2012 to 2015.
During the time that he was spraying hundreds of gallons of Roundup PRO at a time, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma known as mycosis fungoides in August 2014. He informed his doctor that the rash he got that summer got worse after he was exposed to the herbicide. He filed his lawsuit in 2016 after he became too sick to work. He accused Monsanto of hiding the many health dangers of Roundup.
Johnson Verdict – $289 Million
The verdict was recently reached in the case, and Johnson was awarded $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages from the jury. Monsanto, of course, is appealing the verdict, but the outcome of this case will certainly have a strong effect on future Roundup trials.
For example, during the Johnson trial, evidence came out that EPA colluded with Monsanto to protect company interests. A 2016 meeting in December where a scientific advisory panel analyzed the scientific evidence and evaluated the EPA decision to exonerate glyphosate, concluded EPA had actually violated its guidelines by discounting important data from studies where a strong cancer link to Roundup was found.
Johnson trial evidence also showed paper trails that showed that Monsanto had ghostwritten articles that EPA used when backing the safety of glyphosate.
There also is ample evidence that Monsanto worked to suppress publication of many damaging data. Johnson’s attorney noted that internal Monsanto documents suggested a high level of manipulation of the record.
As more Roundup trials unfold, we can expect more evidence to come out about the link between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Roundup.
- Roundup Causes Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Scientist Says in Federal Court. (March 2018). Retrieved from https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/roundup-causes-non-hodgkin-lymphoma-scientist-says-federal-court
- Roundup Linked to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. (2018). Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/07/03/roundup-linked-to-non-hodgkin-lymphoma.aspx
- Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit Roundup. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/toxic-tort-law/monsanto-roundup-lawsuit/roundup-cancer-non-hodgkin-lymphoma/
- Large US Farm Study Finds No Cancer Link to Monsanto Weedkiller. (2017). Retrieved from: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cancer-glyphosate/large-u-s-farm-study-finds-no-cancer-link-to-monsanto-weedkiller-idUSKBN1D916C