As Monsanto Roundup lawsuits continue to mount in courts around the United States, one expert is warning that glyphosate side effects may go well beyond cancer.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup, is the most popular weed killer in the world.
Because of the growing litigation and recent Roundup cancer verdicts, most people are aware of the alleged link between glyphosate and cancer. However, the herbicide’s other possible health risks haven’t been as well publicized.
According to physicist and science writer Mark Buchanan, glyphosate side effects may also include kidney and liver damage, birth defects, and hormone disruption. Some research even suggests glyphosate exposure can cause disease in mammals several generations removed from the initial contact.
Writing for Bloomberg Opinion, Buchanan notes that glyphosate residue pollutes water sources and remains in soil far longer than previously thought. The chemical routinely shows up in the human food supply.
He further asserts that, in both the United States and Europe, the supposedly safe limits for human ingestion are based on long-outdated science.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March 2015. This designation came after the group’s independent review linked occupational exposure to an increased risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes.
In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reiterated its conclusion that glyphosate wasn’t carcinogenic. But just weeks later, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said it couldn’t rule out a cancer link and called for more research.
Plaintiffs claim that Monsanto – which was acquired by Bayer AG last year – used its considerable influence to discredit the IARC review and manipulate the subsequent scientific studies and regulatory reviews that contradicted the cancer findings.
Buchanan agrees, pointing out that the EPA relied on information from industry-linked scientists, as well as industry-funded studies that were neither peer-reviewed nor made public. By contrast, the IARC review only utilized publicly-available, peer reviewed research.
“Glyphosate is clearly not a benign herbicide warranting no concern, its link to cancer aside,” he writes. “It may be causing many other serious disruptions to human biology, and to organisms and plants in the environment, currently invisible to today’s outdated regulatory systems. It’s about time our regulators updated their science.”
Bayer AG is currently defending more than 14,000 Monsanto Roundup lawsuits in courts throughout the United States. Three cases have gone to trial in the past year, all of which resulted in massive verdicts for plaintiffs.
The most recent case concluded last month in California’s Alameda Superior Court, with the jury ordering Bayer to pay $2 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to an elderly couple, both of whom were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following years of Roundup use.
Bayer continues to insist that glyphosate is safe and promised to appeal all three verdicts. Although the German company has also vowed to continue defending the lawsuits, it is complying with a federal judge’ order to enter into mediation with glyphosate cancer plaintiffs.
The Roundup settlement talks are being led by Kenneth Feinberg, the prominent attorney who negotiated the 911 Victims Compensation Fund and other high-profile legal settlements.