The popular weed killer called Roundup is the brand name of Monsanto’s formulated glyphosate product. The chemical glyphosate is a phosphonate compound, which, as “Roundup” has been used as both an herbicide (plant killer, targeting weeds that compete with crops) and also as a broad-spectrum crop desiccant (which causes the crops to ripen and get harvested sooner) since the 1970s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that its safety was put into question, disproving the company’s mantra that it is as “safe as table salt”.
There is a severe glyphosate side effect that you should be aware of. In fact, a 2008 International Journal of Cancer study noted that Roundup is the leading herbicide associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), with data demonstrating a doubled risk of developing NHL through regular Roundup exposure. There are several other types of cancers slowly being connected to Roundup exposure, including B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lymphocytic lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, lymphoma of the primary central nervous system, and multiple myeloma.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is the form of cancer with the strongest evidence of connection to glyphosate exposure, a type of cancer that starts in lymphocyte cells, located in the lymph nodes, bone marrow and spleen, as part of the body’s immune system. Data shows that glyphosate works in the human body as a disruptor, affecting everything from thyroid and hormone production to neural cell death and toxicity to beneficial body bacteria. Prior to its use as a herbicide, glyphosate was briefly used as a chemical chelator (bonding agent), supporting scientific research stating that while glyphosate alone may not cause chronic disease, it can destroy human tissues after forming complexes with hard water and nephrotoxic metals in the body. Though research hasn’t determined what connects NHL and glyphosate exposure, the severity of NHL cannot be understated. NHL survival rates are 69% after five years, and 59% after 10 years, depending on the advancement of the cancer when diagnosed.
If you’ve had extended exposure to Roundup weed killer at work or in your home, keep an eye out for the following symptoms (often associated with NHL and hematopoietic cancer) and contact your doctor:
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Swelling or distention in the abdomen or belly
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Even if you’re not a farm worker, a landscaper, or a weekend gardener who uses Roundup on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean that glyphosate toxicity can’t affect you. At the same time that Monsanto was expanding its glyphosate market from Roundup weed killer to Roundup Ready seeds, the United States EPA relaxed its regulation of the chemical. Today, what’s considered a “safe amount” of glyphosate residue in food is 50 times more than what was considered safe in 1996, and what’s considered a “safe amount” of exposure to the chemical has increased by 17%.