New research points to a significantly increased risk of developing cancer after prolonged or high-level exposure to the weedkiller glyphosate, more commonly known as the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup.
The new analysis suggests a "compelling link" -- a 41 percent increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) after high-level exposure.
“This paper makes a stronger case than previous meta-analyses that there is evidence of an increased risk of NHL due to glyphosate exposure,” co-author Lianne Sheppard, a professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences department at the University of Washington, said in a statement. “From a population health point of view there are some real concerns.”
The research looked at all published human studies and a number of animal studies conducted on glyphosate exposure. Among the research is the Agricultural Health Study which Monsanto has also reviewed and referenced as proof that no link exists between its product and cancer. But the new findings suggest otherwise, particularly for high exposure groups.
“Together, all of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to [glyphosate-based herbicides] are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” the scientists concluded.
While the U.S. EPA maintains its position that glyphosate isn't a high-risk chemical, the World Health Organization declared it a possible carcinogen in 2015. Last year a U.S court awarded a California man nearly $300 million in a lawsuit against Monsanto after he was diagnosed with terminal NHL. He claims his work as a groundskeeper caused daily exposure to the herbicide. The company maintains its position that the chemical is safe.
Monsanto, now a subsidiary of the Germany-based Bayer AG, has faced nearly 10,000 lawsuits just in the U.S. All claim their non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a result of exposure to the Roundup herbicide.
Glyphosate is commonly used on Monsanto-developed genetically modified seeds for crops such as corn, cotton, soy, and canola engineered to withstand heavy applications o of the herbicide. It's also commonly used on grass such as soccer fields or golf courses.
Bayer maintains the product is a “safe and efficient weed control tool”.