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December 1, 2020

New Study Links Glyphosate in Roundup Weed Killer to Hormone Disruption

Infamous Herbicide May Cause Injury to the Human Endocrine System

The number of studies linking the chemical glyphosate to adverse health conditions continues to grow with the release of a groundbreaking study. Research published in October 2020 indicates glyphosate, the controversial ingredient in Roundup weed killer, could interfere with human hormones, leading to reproductive or immune system problems.

According to a study published in the journal Chemosphere, a team of scientists found glyphosate and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) share eight out of ten key characteristics. EDCs can imitate or interrupt the body’s hormones, causing series side effects including brain dysfunction, immune system dysfunction, and developmental and reproductive problems.

The study’s scientists indicate EDCs can do the following to hormone action: “Alter hormone distribution of circulating levels of hormones, induce alterations in hormone metabolism or clearance, alter the fate of hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells, alter hormone receptor expression, antagonize hormone receptors, interact with or activate hormone receptors, alter signal transduction in hormone-responsive cells, induce epigenetic modifications in hormone-producing or hormone-responsive cells, alter hormone synthesis, [and] alter hormone transport across cell membranes.”

Out of this list of actions, glyphosate can do eight of the ten, increasing worry of glyphosate’s impact on human health. This study---authored by a trio team of scientists from the University of Tarapacá in Chile---is the first to collect and analyze the mechanistic evidence of glyphosate as endocrine-disrupting chemical.

Glyphosate in Roundup Cancer Lawsuits

As the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate has been used in some of the most popular herbicides on the market, namely Roundup weed killer. Monsanto Company, creators of Roundup, first introduced glyphosate to the commercial market in 1974, and it has since been used as the primary weed killer of golf course operators, farmers, landscapers, and general consumers.

However, in 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, prompting global concerns about the health impact of glyphosate exposure, notably cancer. Dozens of countries across the world have now banned glyphosate use entirely, indicating glyphosate exposure is extremely hazardous to human health.

Monsanto, now owned by Bayer AG, currently faces over 125,000 in the United States, each alleging that manufacturers failed to warn consumers about the cancer risks of glyphosate in Roundup. Plaintiffs claim glyphosate exposure caused a number of cancer diagnoses, namely non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Roundup lawsuits in the U.S. have been consolidated as part of a massive multidistrict litigation (MDL), and a handful of early trials have resulted in landmark verdicts against the manufacturer.

In June 2020, Bayer announced a Roundup settlement that would resolve around two-thirds of the current cases pending in the MDL, resulting in payments of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion. Even with this Roundup settlement, Bayer is likely to face years of lawsuits over their failure to warn consumers about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

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