Glyphosate, Found in Weed Killer, May be a Carcinogen Linked to Cancer Diagnoses
Does Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup cause cancer? According to a recent article in Newsweek, California has listed the herbicide glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Roundup, as a carcinogen that is “known to the state to cause cancer.” The classification was reported in California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment on June 26, and the classification took effect on July 7. Monsanto has contested this description of glyphosate, and it previously sued California to prevent the herbicide from being listed as a harmful carcinogen. However, Monsanto lost that claim. While the company plans to appeal, in the meantime, California will be able to move forward with its classification of glyphosate.
What is the current evidence to suggest a link between Roundup and cancer? In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” That classification has been disputed, but there is evidence of some link between the herbicide and cancer, according to the Newsweek article.
The article also suggests that the IARC report is the basis for California’s decision to list glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, California has to “publish a regularly updated list of chemicals thought to cause cancer or birth defects.” Many praise California’s decision to move forward with this classification of the herbicide. According to Nathan Donley, a current senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity who previously conducted cancer research, “California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides.” He emphasized that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should recognize the harms associated with Roundup and should similarly acknowledge its connection to cancer diagnoses.
Get the Facts About Carcinogens and Cancer Risks
According to a fact sheet from the American Cancer Society, there are many different possible carcinogens in our environment with which we can come into contact on a regular basis. Not all cancers are caused by carcinogens. However, some of the changes in a cell’s DNA that do cause cancer “may be caused by outside exposures, which are often referred to as environmental factors,” the American Cancer Society reports. Some of those environmental factors can include the following:
- Factors surrounding a person’s lifestyle, such as nutritional factors, tobacco use, and physical activity;
- Naturally occurring exposures, such as ultraviolet light, radon gas, or other infectious agents;
- Medical treatments, such as radiation or other medicines in chemotherapy, hormone drugs, and immunosuppressants;
- Workplace exposures;
- Household exposures; and
Carcinogens like those found in Roundup may cause cells to behave in different ways that can result in harmful DNA changes and cancer. If you think you may have developed cancer after using a dangerous product, contact a product liability lawyer to determine your rights.