A University of Washington meta-analysis (a study of past studies) published 2/10/2019 shows a clear link between high levels of exposure to glyphosate herbicide and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a cancer that begins in cells of the lymph system). The scary thing is that glyphosate is a very commonly used herbicide also known as Roundup that is widely used on farms to prepare crops for harvest and at homes to control weeds. Roundup (glyphosate) is also detectable at low levels in foods such as oats, as reported by EWG (link below). However, despite the headlines, no one is saying that low level exposure to glyphosate like that in oats will give you cancer. This chemical is almost everywhere though; we could be exposed to it in our breakfast, in our produce, and in our backyards so the exposure could add up. We can clearly add this chemical to the list of cancer causing agents. In fact, the WHO already did in March 2015 – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated the carcinogenicity of glyphosate and reclassified it as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A). IARC is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO).
If you want to reduce your exposure to herbicides: don’t use them on your property, or find out when they are being used on your property so you can protect yourself and/or not be there, wear protective equipment if you are using herbicides, and eat organic foods when possible. Check out the EWG’s Dirty Dozen to see which conventional produce has the most pesticide residue on it. The take-home message is protect yourself from high exposure to all chemicals, even if they appear to be safe when you are using them because we might find out that they are dangerous in the future.
The full UW study is available via this link: KOMO News Roundup Article.
Other related links:
Glyphosate General Fact Sheet from the National Pesticide Information Center.
Monsanto: Roundup substantial factor in man’s cancer, jury finds in key verdict. 2019/3/19 article in The Guardian.
Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup? EWG article.
WHO Glyphosate Summary and Q and A PAHO/WHO link.