Glyphosate is a herbicide and crop desiccant designed to quickly kill various plants and grasses. It was discovered by Monsanto chemist John Franz in 1970 and subsequently approved for use in the United States in 1974. Since then, glyphosate has become the world’s most widely used herbicide and is the key ingredient in Roundup, a popular weedkiller developed by Monsanto.
Glyphosate is absorbed through foliage and roots of actively growing plants and works by inhibiting a key plant-based enzyme involved in the synthesis of three amino acids: phenylalanine, tryptophan, and tyrosine.
Following its approval, glyphosate was quickly adopted for agricultural use. In 2007, it became the most widely used herbicide in the United States’ agricultural sector. Between 1970 and 2016, the use of glyphosate increased by a factor of 100.
Despite approval from many of the world’s key regulatory bodies, there are still concerns regarding glyphosate’s effects on humans. A 2013 toxicology review conducted by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment Technology concluded that much of the available data in regards to exposure to glyphosate and related formulations was contradictory at best. Conversely, a meta-analysis published one year later noted increased risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in workers exposed to glyphosate formulations. Likewise, research conducted this year at the University of Washington concluded that exposure to Glyphosate increases the risk of some cancers, including NHL, by 40%.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as category 2A, or “likely carcinogenic to humans”. This conclusion was based on a combination of in vitro studies, epidemiological studies, and animal studies.
Unsurprisingly, the pervasiveness of glyphosate-based herbicides has resulted in a number of lawsuits, currently numbering in the thousands, against Monsanto. If you or someone that you know has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma and have significant exposure to RoundUp, please call the attorneys at Cowper Law LLP for a free consultation. Call us at: 877.LAW.3707.