Glyphosate Fact Sheet

Author
Select Justice
October 24, 2021

Glyphosate, a chemical found in Roundup weed killer, has been connected to many health issues, from throat burns to cancer. Many people have been exposed to glyphosate due to their line of work, using the chemical in home gardens, or eating food from plants treated with weed killer that contains the chemical. 

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding glyphosate. 

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is an herbicide, or a chemical that’s used to kill plants. Glyphosate works selectively, meaning it only kills certain plants, leaving others intact. Roundup, Pondmaster, and Rodeo weed killers all contain glyphosate. The chemical is used by farmers and corporations in an effort to kill weeds that grow near cotton, canola, corn, sugar, soybeans, beets, and other fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, glyphosate has also been connected to certain cancers and other health problems. Short-term exposure can cause burns, injury, and digestive issues. Long-term exposure can cause cancer and liver and kidney damage. It’s hard for scientists to determine exactly how much glyphosate exposure causes these issues, as most studies are done on animals. 

How much glyphosate is in Roundup weed killer? What percentage?

To determine the amount of glyphosate a person was exposed to by using Roundup weed killer, it’s important to know what variety of Roundup was used. Roundup Ready-To-Use Extended Control Weed & Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer II contains just 1% glyphosate, while Roundup Weed & Grass Killer Super Concentrate contains 50.2% glyphosate. The ready-to-use version of Roundup contains other active ingredients, including pelargonic acid and imazapic. The concentrated version’s only active ingredient is glyphosate.

What products contain glyphosate?

Many weed killing products contain glyphosate, including: 

  • Roundup weed killer
  • Pondmaster weed killer
  • Rodeo Aquatic Herbicide
  • Eraser weed killer
  • Glifonox weed killer
  • Weedoff weed killer
  • Kleen-Up weed killer
  • Bronco weed killer

As a result of glyphosate use on farms, many foods have also begun to test positive for glyphosate, including cereals, pasta, snack bars, flour, crackers, flour, and more. Feminine hygiene products have also tested positive for glyphosate.

How does glyphosate work?

Glyphosate kills most plants by stopping them from making certain proteins necessary for growth. The chemical interferes with the shikimic acid pathway, which helps plants develop certain vitamins and nutrients that allow plants to grow. When this pathway is disrupted, the plant dies. 

How might you be exposed to glyphosate?

Glyphosate Exposure

Many people who experience negative effects related to glyphosate exposure worked with Roundup weed killer and other glyphosate-containing products as a part of their career. Farmers, agricultural workers, gardeners, landscapers, and others who regularly work or have worked with weed-killing products are more likely to experience exposure to glyphosate than people in other careers. Glyphosate can be inhaled, or people who are around the chemical might accidentally ingest it after touching a plant or other surface that has been sprayed with weed killer.

While working directly with herbicides is a common route of exposure to glyphosate, current studies have shown that others are experiencing glyphosate exposure as well. Glyphosate that is applied to plants can make its way into food and water sources, inadvertently exposing consumers to the chemical. 

Is glyphosate harmful to humans?

Short-term exposure to glyphosate can cause problems when it gets in a person’s eyes, on a person’s skin, or when it’s inhaled. People who have been exposed to glyphosate may experience irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. People who accidentally swallow glyphosate may experience mouth and throat burns, as well as pain and an increased amount of saliva. Ingesting glyphosate can also cause digestive issues like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

While the short-term effects of glyphosate exposure are uncomfortable, the long-term effects of exposure are dangerous. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, glyphosate is a probable carcinogen (a chemical that causes cancer). A 2019 University of Washington study showed that glyphosate use increased the likelihood of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, by 41%. Studies conducted on cows show that higher levels of glyphosate in the body are related to liver and kidney problems, and it’s probably that glyphosate has the same effect on humans. 

What are some signs and symptoms of exposure to glyphosate?

Short-term effects of glyphosate exposure and/or poisoning may include: 

  • Digestive issues, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting (vomit may contain blood)
  • Cardiac issues, including slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Breathing difficulty (lips and/or fingernails may turn blue)
  • Anxiety
  • Coma
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Mouth and throat irritation
  • Weakness
  • Kidney failure
  • Death

If you or a loved one are experiencing the above after exposure to glyphosate, you must seek treatment right away. Do not make the person throw up unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider.

Long-term effects of glyphosate exposure may include: 

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Bone cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Skin cancer
  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • B-cell lymphoma

What does glyphosate do when it enters your body?

Roundup

As we mentioned, glyphosate interferes with plant growth pathways. Since humans do not have the same growth pathways as plants, it was assumed that glyphosate would not cause a problem for humans. Bacteria, however, utilize the same growth pathways as plants. Scientists hypothesize that glyphosate interferes with healthy gut bacteria development, leading to a myriad of health issues in humans. Current research also shows that glyphosate may interfere with the human body’s ability to rid itself of harmful materials. 

Does glyphosate cause cancer?

According to current studies, yes — glyphosate exposure increases cancer risk. People who were exposed to glyphosate were 41% more likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than people who were not exposed to glyphosate. 

What types of cancer does glyphosate cause?

Glyphosate exposure is related to an increase in several types of cancer, including: 

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Skin cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • B-cell lymphoma
  • Bone cancer
  • Multiple myeloma

Have You Experienced Negative Effects From Roundup Weed Killer? We’re Here To Help.

If you or a loved one have experienced negative effects after exposure to Roundup weed killer, we’re here to help you learn whether you may be entitled to financial compensation. Monsanto, the parent company of Roundup, did not properly warn consumers about the potential effects of glyphosate exposure. We can help determine whether you have a viable case against Monsanto. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.

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