If you’ve ever used a commercial weed killer on your yard or farm, you have likely used Roundup®. In fact, glyphosate — the active chemical in Roundup — is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. In the past decade, however, concerns about its health effects have caused over 125,000 people to file lawsuits claiming Roundup causes cancer.
And now, new research suggests that the controversial product may also increase the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Roundup owner Bayer announced that it will stop selling glyphosate-based herbicides for residential use in the U.S. beginning in 2023. But that does little to help the tens of thousands of people who believe they were harmed by the product.
Does Roundup Cause Cancer?
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” According to NPR, the scientists based their conclusion on the following three types of studies:
- “Strong evidence” that glyphosate can damage cellular DNA, which is the first step in causing cancer.
- Studies showing that when mice consume glyphosate, they get more tumors.
- “Limited evidence” that people exposed to glyphosate have higher rates of a kind of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
While non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the form of cancer most commonly associated with Roundup, a 2022 University of California study found a link between thyroid cancer and 10 pesticides, including glyphosate.
Does Roundup Cause Neurological Diseases?
Several studies in the past few years have raised concerns about the long-term health risks of Roundup, especially regarding diseases of the brain:
- In 2020, a study in Japan concluded that glyphosate may be a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease.
- In 2022, a Florida Atlantic University and Nova Southeastern University study showed that glyphosate and Roundup increased seizure-like behavior in roundworms, concluding that the chemical has “concerning” effects on the nervous system.
- In 2022, researchers from Arizona State University showed that glyphosate infiltrates the brain, suggesting a possible link to conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body disease, and Huntington’s disease.
Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a decision in 2020 that did not identify any human health risks of concern from glyphosate exposure, it withdrew this decision in 2022 pending further review. Continue reading