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A Guide to Glyphosate: What is it and Why Should We Be Concerned?

Since its inception in the 1970s, individuals have used 9.4 million tons of glyphosate in fields across the world. As of 2016, it was the most-used chemical for agriculturalists.

You would think, what with its enormous popularity, glyphosate is safe. Unfortunately, recent trends, lawsuits, and heartbreaking stories prove otherwise.

Roundup weed killer’s safety is questionable.

If you or someone you love handles Roundup, you have a right to know its dangers. Find out more by reading about glyphosate in detail and its harrowing effects on users.

What Is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a chemical compound in Roundup and other herbicides.

The herbicide works by blocking protein production in plants, which results in their demise. It also regulates growth in specific crops.

Farmers use glyphosate on multiple crops, including:

  • Cotton
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

Research suggests glyphosate itself is non-toxic. Further, it binds to the soil and dissipates in several days, making it unlikely to infiltrate groundwater.

However, scientists note there are few studies that sought to better understand the mechanisms behind the herbicide. More recent and smaller studies may indicate glyphosate affects mitochondrial functioning or other systems, but the results remain unclear.

The Difference Between Glyphosate and Roundup Weed Killer

Although most studies indicate glyphosate in itself isn’t dangerous, that doesn’t mean mixed solutions with glyphosate in them aren’t.

This is where scientists’ concerns come to light. Originally produced by Monsanto (now bought by Bayer), Roundup weed killer is a commercial mixture that contains other chemicals aside from glyphosate.

Unfortunately, the US doesn’t require businesses to share every ingredient in their products. This makes it impossible for toxicologists to mimic the effects of Roundup accurately.

Is Roundup Weed Killer Dangerous?

That leads us to the heart of the matter: is Roundup dangerous and is there a link between Roundup and cancer?

There are conflicting opinions.

Human Impacts

Neurotologist  Vanessa Fitsanakis used commercial formulations to test glyphosate’s effects on worms. Her conclusion is that, if someone has the right genetic predisposition, exposure to these chemicals may lead to neurodegeneration. This could cause diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Even more recent research indicates a 41% higher chance for humans to contract non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a type of cancer. Other studies indicate a link to leukemia.

Most scientists cite concerns about continual exposure over long periods to Roundup, including international organizations. The World Health Organization classified glyphosate and insecticides malathion and diazinon as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Many organizations, including the EPA and European Food Safety Authority, claim glyphosate and Roundup are most likely harmless.

Environmental Impact

Glyphosate is in the majority of US rivers, waterways and rainfall. Because it bonds so tightly with soil particles, however, it generally does not make it to groundwater.

The increased presence is somewhat due to Monsanto’s monopoly over agriculture. After many farmers turned to Roundup for their needs, the company introduced Roundup-resistant seeds.

The corporation patented the seeds, forcing many farmers to turn to Monsanto for crops and weed control.

Due to how much the chemical infiltrated the environment, new studies link glyphosate with antibiotic resistance, increased pathogens among plant and animals and chronic, low-dose effects on plants and animals.

Some scientists worry the chemical will wreak havoc on current ecosystems while others remain convinced it is relatively harmless. There remains a need for further research.

Recent Court Cases

In 2019, California farmer Edwin Hardeman was awarded $80 million in his lawsuit against Monsanto.

In the case, Hardeman’s attorneys claimed the type of cancer he developed, B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was due to his continued exposure to Roundup. Hardeman used Roundup from 1986 to 2012.

The jury agreed and he won the case.

Hardeman isn’t the only individual to sue. A California groundskeeper also received $80 million from Monsanto in 2018. Altogether, individuals have filed over 9,000 allegations.

What Are the Symptoms of Exposure?

Exposure to Roundup occurs in three main ways:

  1. Ingestion
  2. Inhalation
  3. Skin contact

Farmers and those living on farms are the individuals most susceptible to all three exposure types. Failure to wash hands before eating, inhalation while spraying and contact with residue on plants all lead to exposure.

Brief exposure leads to flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Skin rashes and irritation in the nose and through may also occur.

Long-term exposure is much more dangerous. It can lead to:

  • Leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • B-Cell Lymphoma
  • Myeloma

Yet numerous other issues may also be a consequence of Roundup exposure. Studies have linked conditions such as autism, ADHD, diabetes, reproduction issues and more to Roundup.

What Can I Do If I’ve Been Exposed?

The actions to take if you are exposed to Roundup depend on the type of exposure.

Brief Exposures

Brief exposures usually require washing the area with soap and water. If the chemical enters the eye, hold your eye open under a gentle stream of running water for 15 to 20 minutes.

Always call a doctor or poison control agency in exposure situations, especially if Roundup was swallowed.

Preventative measures, such as wearing protective gear and spraying when there is no wind, reduce the likelihood of exposure.

Long-Term Exposures

Long-term exposure presents itself in numerous ways depending on the type of illness. If you notice any symptoms associated with cancer or leukemia, see a doctor immediately. Not only will this step give you the medical treatment you need, but it will also provide documentation for the next step: obtaining a lawyer.

Long-term exposure is costly. Hardeman, for instance, spent $200,000 on cancer treatments.

An attorney can help you obtain the damages you deserve to pay for past, current and future treatments. With the previous cases against Monsanto, now is a promising time to ensure you get the compensation needed for your or your loved one’s health.

Was Your Cancer Caused by Roundup?

Although scientists disagree about Roundup weed killer and its effects on humans, juries seem to think the chemical was harmful to some who were brave enough to voice their concerns in court. This was apparent in Hardeman’s case.

If Roundup caused you or your loved one to become ill, now is the time to act. Find out if Roundup caused your illness by taking our online evaluation.

Get the help you deserve.