Monsanto and its German new owner Bayer AG face more than 9,000 lawsuits in the U.S. brought by people suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and who blame Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) for their diseases. Glyphosate/Roundup is an herbicide and herbicides are used to kill weeds.

Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.

Monsanto originally introduced glyphosate to the market in 1974 under the trade-name Roundup. Monsanto’s patent for glyphosate expired in 2000, allowing for new brands to copy and manufacture products with glyphosate. Today, there are numerous herbicide brands containing glyphosate that are being manufactured all over the world.

Roundup is being sold everywhere to landscape professionals and individuals to be used on weeds in driveways, patios, landscapes and lawns — in spite of the fact that studies suggests that people with high exposure to glyphosate have a 41% increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system. NHL is a term that’s used for many different types of lymphoma that all share some of the same characteristics.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is a semi-autonomous intergovernmental agency under the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations (UN) with the purpose of evaluating the evidence of whether a chemical can cause cancer in humans.

In March 2015, the IARC classified glyphosate as “probably causing cancer in humans.” It also concluded that there was “strong” evidence that it was genotoxic, both for “pure” glyphosate and for glyphosate formulations. In genetics, genotoxicity describes the property of chemical agents that damages the genetic information within a cell causing mutations, which may lead to cancer.

In addition, a scientific team in Sweden found that exposure to glyphosate was a risk factor for people developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Journal of Mutation Research published a study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington where they evaluated existing studies into Roundup and concluded that Roundup significantly increased the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The study went on to report that all of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including their own, consistently reported the same key finding: exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL

In 2005, a University of Pittsburgh ecologists added Roundup to a pond at the manufacturer’s recommended dose. The pond was filled with frogs and tadpoles. When the researchers returned two weeks later, they found that over 50 percent of the population of several species had been killed.

While Roundup is being sold everywhere, a jury and then the appellate court ordered Monsanto to pay $78 million to a school grounds-keeper who got terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer after using Roundup.

How is it that Roundup is being sold everywhere as if it is safe? There are no warning labels on the product for people to learn that the material can be toxic to them as well as to their weeds. One can buy Roundup easily anywhere, on line or at stores such as Target, Home Depot, Agway, or local hardware stores. Nowhere on the product does it tell you to wear protective clothing or that it could be harmful. Because people are seeing the product for sale everywhere they might simply assume Roundup is safe.

Herbicides are pesticides, and pesticides carry risks because they are designed to kill living things. Roundup carries risks for human health and people need to use it with caution.

Nancy Alderman is President of Environment and Human Health, Inc.

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