There is growing concern that Roundup weed killer and gardening products could be carcinogenic.
Many homeowners have concerns over the safety of the items they use in their yards. Many opt for natural or organic products to avoid overuse of chemicals around their children, pets, and themselves. In most cases, these concerns are limited to mild illnesses and just wanting to do what’s best for their loved ones.
However, the increasing concerns over Roundup products goes beyond the typical concerns about yard safety and is based on the product’s active ingredient glyphosate, a chemical that is considered to be a known carcinogen.
Are Users of Roundup Weed Killer at Risk for Cancer?
According to the maker of Roundup weed killing products, Monsanto, there are no official studies that prove a link between its product and an increased risk for developing cancer.
The trouble is many of the studies used to search for a link were funded by Monsanto. Some objective studies have also failed to prove a link, but the safety of the products seems, at best, suspect.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is linked to the World Health Organization (WHO), officially classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.” Both animal studies and lab studies have shown a potential link between exposure to glyphosate and the development of cancerous tumors and damage to human DNA.
Though there are detractors – those who believe the efforts of the IARC aren’t entirely objective – glyphosate continues to be classified as a carcinogen. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment concurs and considers glyphosate dangerous, but the EPA considers it “probably not” carcinogenic.
Despite the ongoing debate, there are individuals, having been exposed to glyphosate via their use of Roundup weed killer, who believe they developed cancer as a result of the product’s use. Some have even filed lawsuits against Monsanto and are seeking compensation for the damages they’ve experienced, which they believe is linked to their use of Roundup products.
Additional Health Risks Related to Roundup Products
As if a potential cancer link weren’t enough, there are other health concerns linked to Roundup products.
Glyphosate has long been considered a dangerous chemical, even if it is not consistently classified as carcinogenic. The harmful side effects associated with the chemical range from mild to severe and include:
- Skin irritation when glyphosate comes into contact with unprotected skin
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and mouth when exposed to aerosolized forms of glyphosate
- Burns of the mouth, throat, and esophagus if glyphosate is accidentally or intentionally swallowed
- Permanent liver damage if glyphosate is ingested
Consuming glyphosate can be fatal.
There is also concern exposure to glyphosate could be linked to heart disease, depression, diabetes, autism, and birth defects, though a great deal more scientific evidence is needed to prove any of these links.
Is Roundup Safe to Use?
Until the link between products containing glyphosate and cancer or any other health risks can be disproven beyond a doubt, it is likely better to avoid these products when possible.
If you choose to use Roundup weed killing products, be sure to store them in a safe place away from where children can access it. Cover your body with long pants, long sleeves, goggles, gloves, and a face mask before spraying Roundup.
Should you be exposed to Roundup or any glyphosate containing product, rinse the affected area with water for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Should you or anyone you love swallow Roundup, contact poison control or call 911 immediately.