A new study indicates that Roundup exposure may cause generational toxic damage, meaning that individuals may pass on health problems from the weed killer to their children.
Scientific Reports published the study this week. Washington State University (WSU) researchers say they found “dramatic increases in pathologies” in the grandchildren and great grandchildren of female rats they exposed to glyphosate. Glyphosate is Roundup’s active ingredient.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. The organization’s International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) warned that the chemical increases the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. Following the WHO’s classification, numerous independent studies have continued raising concerns abut glyphosate exposure’s cancer risks. However, the study’s researchers noted that there is only marginal if any research on Roundup exposure generational risks.
In the WSU study, researchers investigated the transgenerational effects of daily exposure to Roundup on pregnant rats. They found that the side effects were negligible among the female rats themselves and immediate offspring. But when they looked at the grandchildren and great grandchildren, there were significant differences between them and those whose grandmothers and great grandmothers had not been exposure to glyphosate.
“In contrast, dramatic increases in pathologies in the F2 generation grand-offspring and F3 transgenerational great-grand-offspring were observed,” the researchers wrote. “The transgenerational pathologies observed include prostate disease, obesity, kidney disease, ovarian disease, and parturition (birth) abnormalities.”
Researchers identified numerous genetic regions involved in the pathologies, suggesting that glyphosate exposure can cause transgenerational inheritance of sperm mutations and disease.
“Observations suggest generational toxicology needs to be incorporated into the risk assessment of glyphosate and all other potential toxicants,” the researchers noted. “The ability of glyphosate and other environmental toxicants to impact our future generations needs to be considered, and is potentially as important as the direct exposure toxicology done today for risk assessment.”
Roundup Exposure Litigation
These new findings could impact the ongoing Roundup litigation over allegations that exposure to Roundup caused landscapers, famers and groundskeepers, as well as casual users to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
This past summer, the first state court case went to trial in California. The trial resulted in a $289 million verdict for a former school groundskeeper who is dying from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The award included $250 million in punitive damages to punish the manufacturer for concealing the weed killer’s dangerous side effects. The court ultimately reduced the punitive damages. However, the judge determined Monsanto should still pay $78 million in damages.
In March, the first federal Roundup case went to trial, ending in an $80 million verdict. The jury determined that the weed killer was a significant factor in the plaintiff developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Throughout the rest of 2019, several other claims are scheduled to go to trial throughout the county, including a lawsuit with more than 15 plaintiffs. If Monsanto refuses to reach Roundup settlements to resolve the litigation, they could face staggering liabilities in thousands of individual trials