A University of Washington researcher said she is “convinced” that the active ingredient glyphosate in the commonly used weed killer Roundup can cause cancer after conducting an analysis with colleagues on the chemical.
Lianne Sheppard, senior author and professor of biostatistics and environmental and occupational health sciences, said she and colleagues found a “compelling link” between people with the “highest exposure” to glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system.
“All of the meta-analysis conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding; exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” the authors wrote in the journal Mutation Research. The risk for those with the highest exposure to glyphosate is as high as 41 percent, they say.
Bayer issued a statement calling the research a “statistical manipulation.” Bayer, which acquired Roundup maker Monsanto in 2018, has held firm to its stance that Roundup is safe. This, even after a California jury in August awarded a school groundskeeper $289 million after finding his non-Hodgkin lymphoma was caused by regular exposure to glyphosate in Roundup. The award was later reduced to $78 million.
But Francis Martin, a biosciences professor at the University of Central Lancashire, told CNN that investigating the safety of glyphosate is important because it is widely used not only by commercial farmers and landscapers, but also home gardeners.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.