Exposure to Glyphosate in Herbicides Increases Risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Study Says

Exposure to Glyphosate in Herbicides Increases Risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Study Says

Exposure to glyphosate, a common broad-spectrum herbicide used worldwide, increases the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) by 41 percent in humans, a study says.

The study, “Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence,” were published in Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research.

Over the last few years, there has been controversy over the carcinogenic risks of glyphosate among regional, national and international health care agencies. In 2015, the World Health Organization‘s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) stated that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

However, two years later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) both stated that glyphosate “is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

In the same year, Bayer went even further and claimed the herbicide was “a safe and efficient weed control tool.” As a result, Bayer and Monsanto, an agricultural company acquired by Bayer, were sued by people worldwide over claims that Monsanto’s Roundup agricultural herbicides containing glyophosate were responsible for NHL.

Now, a team of researchers from the University of California-Berkeley and their collaborators carried out a meta-analysis to investigate the relationship between glyphosate exposure and NHL risk in human populations.

The meta-analysis included the 2018 update of the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) cohort, as well as five case-control studies, involving nearly 65,000 participants who had been exposed to the herbicide. The AHS is a prospective study designed to evaluate cancer incidence and other medical conditions in a group of licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses residing in Iowa and North Carolina.

Meta-analysis results revealed a compelling link between glyphosate exposure and higher risk for NHL in human populations. These findings were also supported by animal studies showing that mice treated with pure glyphosate had a higher incidence of malignant lymphoma.

“All of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to [glyphosate-based herbicides] are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” Rachel Shaffer, co-author of the meta-analysis, said in a news release.

“However, given the heterogeneity between the studies included, the numerical risk estimates should be interpreted with caution. Additionally, … the available studies [may] not capture the possible effects of increased population exposures due to secular increases in use where “green burn-down” practices introduced in the mid-2000s may be a particularly important source of population exposures,” the researchers stated.

Bayer maintained the same stance, arguing that the meta-analysis results were obtained by “statistical manipulation” and there were “flaws” in the study design and methods. The company finished by saying that the study “provides no scientifically valid evidence that contradicts the conclusions of the extensive body of science demonstrating that glyphosate-based herbicides are not carcinogenic.”

Following Bayer’s claims, the authors of the study assured that the relationship they found between glyphosate exposure and NHL risk is real, reinforcing the carcinogenic potential of the herbicide.


  1. martin levin says:

    I am a USAF veteran who spent 2 years (1969-1971)traveling to all the military bases in that country during the war in Vietnam. In 1990 I was diagnosed with NHL by Stanford University’s Dr Saul Rosenberg, head of oncology and believed to be the physician who saw more lymphoma than anyone else in the world. He informed me that statically I have about 7-9 years to live from date of diagnosis, but nothing was said about the source of the disease in my or anyone’s case.
    In 2012 the VA had me examined by its top physician in the field who said that my NHL was certainly due to exposure to Agent Orange which was rampant at U.S. military bases because it was sprayed around the perimeters to kill foliage in which the North Vietnamese solders might hide. I put in a claim in March 2012 but was denied appropriate benefits becasue they argued that only military stationed or traveling through Vietnam itself have been verified to have had exposure to A.O. and they could not find the records of my one visit there during my two years in Southeast Asia. But in January I was informed by an employee of the VA that the Dep’t of Defense had announced that they sprayed every base in Thailand as well, exactly where I was stationed for two years. I appealed their prior denial and was told that I would get a hearing but the wait was about two years! I still ahvre not heard from them and check regularly.
    So I would like to submit “new” evidence based upon your article above about Glyphosate herbicide, which I imagine is even less toxic than Agent Orange. Am I correct and will your study help support my claim? In the Air Force I landed and took off from the tarmac of every military base almost 6 days a week as I served as the only Jewish Chaplain in the 631st Combat Support Group of USAF, and while at a base I was often called to the flight lines to wish the pilots of fighter and bomber planes success and good wishes before their missions. The DOD states that the flight lines as well as the perimeters were the targets of most A.O. spraying.

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